TV Shows That Aged Seriously Badly, Part Two

by thethreepennyguignol

So, you all seemed to like my last look at TV shows that aged like unpasteurised milk, and, as a denizen of television stretching back decades, I have a whole lot more I’d like to talk about. What shows have you watched that are enough to make you wish you hadn’t hyped them up to everyone you know before you had a chance for a rewatch yourself? Let me know in the comments!

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Look, okay, hear me out, Buffy stans: I’m not here to say that Buffy is a meritless pile of garbage that you should have chucked out with your Dollhouse DVDs. But, watching it again recently, it’s been hard to avoid the really ugly stuff the show just accepts as fact. Angel, a centuries-old vampire, beginning his romantic pursuit of Buffy while she’s in her early teens; Xander’s “it’s a commentary on Nice Guys, not just a shameless example of one!” nonsense, the fridging of one of the shows only queer characters…not to mention the fact that the show chucks in a couple of examples of magical rape against men, and then uses it as an emotional prop for their love interests to wield (Riley with Buffy, Oz with Willow). I can still respect the place the show holds as an iconic piece of pop culture history, but yeesh, let’s not slap “exceptionally feminist” on a show that’s still upholding some pretty gross misconceptions about sex, gender, and love, shall we?

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2. The L Word

Right. RIGHT. Okay. When I was growing up, starved for any delicious gay content, The L Word was about the only thing with actual notoreity and budget and longevity that contained anything beyond a sniff of queerbaiting nonsense. It was all we had! So much so that it could morph every single viewer from an avid fan to a powerful hatewatcher with a fucking scroll of problems that they were going to take up with the showrunners personally, all in the knowledge that we would stick it out for want of anything better. In a contemporary landscape with so much more great gay television, The L Word seems like an experiment in how bad things could get before the awful outweighed the gay. And the answer was, fucking very. That said, will I be watching the sequel? Of course. And so will you.

3. Doctor Who (Seasons 5-7)

I think this is the perfect example of a show that belongs on this list – and yeah, sure, it’s not technically the series’ entire run, but this chunk of the show’s history does feel like a beast unto itself. At the time, when I was writing about it, I really did like it – Steven Moffat’s first few seasons seemed quirky and spunky and witty in ways that the earlier run of the show had not. But now, looking back, since Moffat has since, regrettably, become a pop cultural behemoth, it’s easy to see this as the breeding ground for many of his bad habits: awful female characters, overwritten, smug gotchas, dire LGBT representation, and every. fucking. lead. character. he would write beyond this sounding exactly like a riff on this version of the Doctor…watching this run again is an exercise in how much I can take before the spirit of Moffat’s nightmarish, squawking, generic leading man possesses me entirely and I’ll finally Get why the second season of Sherlock is seen as so brilliant. We live in hope, huh?

(header image via Deadline)

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