I watched the entire first series of Mad Men, thirteen episodes, five hundred and ninety three minutes. I didn’t enjoy a second of it. Not one. Which isn’t to say that Mad Men is bad because it is clearly a well made and well acted tv programme, just that it wasn’t for me. I persevered with it because when I said I was struggling with the first few episodes, a lot of people told me, ‘it starts off slow, but it gets really good’ or ‘just wait until episode seven’. You live and learn.
Or you don’t. I watched every episode of Disenchantment this year because I was convinced it would start to get better, which it didn’t. I don’t know why I carried on watching them, I don’t even like Futurama very much and Disenchantment is basically the same programme, but I did, the whole series, with a heart full of misplaced hope.
That was more than an exception than the rule nowadays though. I’m getting pretty strict with telly. Jack Ryan got half an episode, Doctor Foster got one, Goliath got three, Happy! got five or so. There are so many high quality tv shows being made that (as you obviously can’t watch them all) you may as well just concentrate on the ones you immediately fall in love with and walk away from those that try your patience. You can’t like everything. It’s nobody’s fault.
There are some shows that you do need to surrender a bit of time to. I only ‘quite liked’ the first few episodes of Bojack Horseman but I am so glad I carried on watching it. No spoilers, but the one with the [redacted] and the episode when it flashes back to [redacted], and just the [redacted] generally, wow. It is brilliant television. The middle of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Nobody likes that. But series four? So good. So good. Even something like The Good Wife, which I loved from the first scene, got better and better as the world they created took shape.
So when should you give up on a tv show? Fucked if I know. Do whatever you want, mate. It’s only telly.