What was television like in 2011? I had to put myself in that frame of mind of back then. I was definitely still watching things more often on television proper. At the end of 2010 I had moved to Los Angeles, so it’s easy to pinpoint. I was watching TV on demand, but not new streaming shows. I could watch TV on Netflix, but it was old television. When I wanted to see something new, I had to watch it on TV. Also, I had to watch it when it aired by and large, though not always. Still, the television landscape was traditional. Was it any good?
Two popular shows I never really came to care about debuted early in 2011 in Bob’s Burgers and Downton Abbey. Very different shows, yes, but neither of them appeal to me. Also FX debuted Lights Out the boxing drama. That puts me into the environment. Cable networks were all trying to do the serious drama thing. They wanted their own Breaking Bad and Mad Men. FX had put together some of their own shows already, too. Lights Out didn’t land, though.
This was a truly awful year for new network television shows, and honestly cable wasn’t much better. One show that ended up sticking with me debuted in 2011, and that’s New Girl. Even that show got off to a slow start. I remember almost giving up on New Girl early in the first season because the show could not figure out how it wanted to characterize the main grouping. Jess was all over the place. It was frustrating. Fortunately, they figured it out, and New Girl turned into a really good hangout sitcom.
MTV and VH1 dipped into their histories, bringing back 120 Minutes, Beavis and Butt-head, and Pop-Up Video. Of those three, Pop-Up Video interested me the most, but none of them lasted long. I tried to get a job writing for the Pop-Up Video reboot. I did not succeed.
Honestly, we didn’t lose any real notable shows, either. Most of the shows ending in 2011 were shows that debuted in 2011, or in the fall of 2010, that got cancelled after one season. What a brutal year for television. We got stuff like H8r and Pan Am and got some warmed over reboots that didn’t stick around. What a forgettable year for television. Good thing streaming came along soon thereafter.