The Best Shows We Watched One Episode Of
When you're good, but not good enough.
Photo Courtesy of HBO.
There was a time when, if you missed an episode of television, well, that was it. That time was long ago, however; these days, if you miss an episode of television, you can watch it the next day, or the next week, or years down the road, instantaneously.
But something else you can do is never watch it; the accessibility of the medium has made it so that many of us have less guilt than we ever did about dropping something and not picking it back up. Here are some of the shows we started, and never finished. We wish them the best.
I really phoned it in on Sharp Objects. I know I made it through more than one episode, but I definitely didn’t commit to all ten. I probably watched three, got busy or bored, and then abandoned the Gone Girl/Ozark mashup without a second thought towards Amy Adams or the staggering amount of booze she consumes and somehow still manages to hold a job as a reporter. I did something sneaky though: I cheated and found out how it ends. It wasn’t really on purpose; I’d been away on a trip and came home to find my roommate and a friend on our couch watching the finale. I didn’t have the burning desire to spend seven hours catching up, so I plopped down and watched with them. (Spoiler alert) Turns out the crazy daughter was tiling the floor of her dollhouse with human teeth? Weird flex, but okay.-Kara Weisenstein
I watched Season 1 of GLOW, and liked it. I don’t know if I loved it, but it was captivating and fun and interesting and all of it was available at once. And then Season 2 came, and I said, yes I’ll watch this again. And then I finished Episode 1, and said “NOPE!” As many have noted, the show immediately dives back into the action, meaning that the women involved with Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling try to take on more control of their careers, and are immediately shut down in ways ranging from ostracization to sexual harassment. I was so stunningly depressed by one episode that I didn’t stick around to see what happened next, and honestly, probably still won’t. Sorry. I don't need TV; I’ve got reality.-Kate Dries
The mind-bending cyberpunk series Altered Carbon is Netflix’s answer to the mind-fuckery of HBO’s Westworld. Based on Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 novel, the story follows a former terrorist whose mind is slurped out of his body and dropped into another one so he can solve the mysterious murder of the richest man in the world. It’s full of interesting action sequences, puzzling mysteries, complex geopolitics, and enough brooding stares to fill a Stephenie Meyer novel. Or at least that’s how it seemed based on the first episode, which is as far as I got into the series. The schlocky futuristic noir thing is extremely my shit in films like The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell, but for whatever reason, Altered Carbon didn’t get me to smash that Next Episode button. Maybe I would if there weren’t 700 new shows coming out every damn year.-Beckett Mufson
Lost in Space
The first episode of Netflix’s Lost in Space reboot tells you everything you need to know about the show. It has pretty special effects, and it’s about a dysfunctional family of scientists who are going to be almost dying a lot. I tuned in for a nostalgia boost, but when I got to the part where the robot (who’s an ALIEN now??) says “Danger, Will Robinson,” it was all wrong, so I stopped.-Beckett Mufson
Jessica Jones (Season 2)
The first season of Jessica Jones is enthralling—perfectly paced, full of dark comedy and a kind of violence that hits you on a guttural level. I seriously anticipated the second season, and admittedly, I watched all of it. But it felt more like getting an expansion pack to the first season than a new story. Jessica is still a raging alcoholic with PTSD and attachment issues. These are very real problems that require space to process and explore. But the noir-loving sycophant in me wanted more refreshingly twisted plot developments—something as audacious as a room full of people being directed to hang themselves followed by a young woman stabbing herself in the neck with a broken wine glass.
The plot of Season 2 doesn’t really coalesce until halfway—in fact, I don’t even remember what happened in the first half of the season. And all I remember from the second half is that Trish, the only good character and arguably the show’s moral center, becomes insufferable. But the middle episode of the season is phenomenal, and I can recount it basically scene for scene. In that sense I effectively only really watched one episode of that season. I’d recommend that one.-Nicole Clark
With Netflix now dropping a new show every five picoseconds, I’ve become tactical as a general preparing for battle when selecting content deserving of my precious time. I’ve started regarding friends, colleagues, and trusted critics as pop culture scouts, biding my time at camp until they report back from the front lines of Stranger Things Season 2 with recommendations to retreat, “especially if you didn’t like Season 1.” It’s an increasingly rare occurrence for my reconnaissance teams to suggest charging forward on a show, and rarer still for unanimity, but Maniac was one such exception. The reports were packed with encouraging omens: Cary Fukunaga directed it; Patrick Somerville wrote it; “it’s weird.” Emboldened by their dispatches, I began a head-on assault of the oddball miniseries. The campaign started strong. I immediately loved the show’s Cold War futurism design and quirky performances. Halfway through the episode, however, my resolve began to waiver. At some point, in the fog of war, I’d lost the narrative and was struggling to reunite with it. It eventually ended, leaving me confused but undeterred. I’d rally and re-watch the ep before pushing on, I promised myself. Sadly, that promise went unkept. The content production machine never tires, and fresh battles beckoned me daily, leaving Maniac a senseless casualty in my endless, Sisyphean entertainment war.-Justin Caffer
Making a Murderer (Season 2)
Just like every other true crime obsessed creep, thirsty for the blood of others to be spilled upon the hands of their shitty husband (it’s always the husband) or deranged ex (if it's a woman, the bangs will be terrible), I was chomping at the bit when Netflix announced a second season of its wildly popular documentary series. Making a Murderer follows the possibly wrongful, maybe questionable arrest of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the 2007 murder of Teresa Halbach in the podunk town of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Between all the yeah’s and truly remarkable fashion that filled Season 1, viewers caught an enthralling story about the criminal justice system and accusations of police and government corruption in a small town seemingly bent on keeping one man behind bars. Season 2 was to take up where they left off, only now Avery and Dassey are national celebrities, with hundreds if not thousands of people sending them letters, scrapbooks, and at least one weird blanket emblazoned with odd, yet (I imagine) cozy photos of Dassey. The first episode looked at the celebrity and notoriety gained, the new hot shot attorney they managed to score to defend them, and what the next steps are in the case. As the people of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, often say: yeah, I dunno. It was just a lot of information and legalese, and I couldn’t get past that first episode because it required me to pay attention. That’s just not something I could commit to after a long day. But for those who can stay awake and love true crime, seems like a solid bet.-Alex Zaragoza
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.