Is It OK To Give Up On TV Shows (Especially Black Ones)?

Photo: Courtesy of OWN.
Some of our best stories come from our weekly Unbothered all-staff meetings. Our kikis always turn into content. Last week, we were debating whether or not it’s okay to give up on TV shows before their series finales — inspired by the final season of Queen Sugar. We all agreed that we loved the show, but some of us fell off before we could find out whether the Bordelon siblings resolved their many, many issues. And some of us have held on, watching every dramatic turn, and rooting for Nova, Charley and Ralph-Angel to the very end. Quitting shows midway through is standard in the age of streaming when there’s so much to choose from. Why stick with a show when there are literally thousands more to pick with the swipe of a finger or press of a button? Like dating in 2022, the options are endless, and technology has only made it easier to hit it and quit it. 
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But when the show is part of the prestige TV canon, a much-buzzed about series, or just a project made by and for Black folks (something that is still rare in Hollywood), is it harder to say goodbye before the final curtain call? And when (if) you do give up on a show, does it have to be for a good reason? Consider this your invite into our team meeting. Here, the Unbothered team shares our unfiltered opinions on whether we stick with it, or quit it, when it comes to watching TV. 
Chelsea Sanders - Vice President
"I’ll quit a show faster than I’ll quit a man; in other words, with quickness! I’m sensitive as hell, and impatient as ever, so if I'm not immediately invested with a guaranteed payoff, I'm out. Characters’ wigs are askew? Cut! We don’t get a fake happy ending in a season finale (The Magicians, Jane The Virgin)? Cut! You kill off the one character I like (Love you Shonda but no, every single time. Also Power? No.)? Cut! Things get very weird, very quickly for no reason (Orange Is The New Black, Dear White People)? Cut! Wikipedia is free (ish), so let me get my Google on, and I’ll finish the show in the comments – orrr I’ll just rewatch Schitt's Creek for the seventh time."
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Sandy Pierre - Branded Execution Manager 
Once I start a show, I have to see it all the way through. Even if it's bad, there's something about not knowing how it ends that doesn't sit right with me. For example, Queen Sugar is one of those shows that had some dry seasons with no real story plot, and everyone I know pretty much gave up on it. But not me! The series is in its final season, and I have to know how Ralph Angel and Darla's story ends. Do they eventually figure it out, or do they part ways? My heart just can't take any cliffhangers.
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Kathleen Newman-Bremang - Deputy Director, Global
I have given Shonda “She Done Did It Again” Rhimes, Krista “How Dare You” Vernoff, and Grey’s Anatomy 19 whole seasons of my life. Nineteen seasons of plane crashes, tumour ghosts, inexplicable death, heartbreak, more death and more heartbreak and more death. NINETEEN SEASONS. The time I have spent on this show is officially legal drinking age in Canada. We’re about to enter season 20 — with less Meredith Grey — and even though I swear I’m going to quit every year, I will absolutely be back to watch Mer give a Chief Webber-worthy iconic speech to the new residents. So, yeah, my point is that I rarely give up on TV shows. I am loyal to a fault — especially when there are Black people involved, in front of or behind the scenes. I watched every episode of Dad Stop Embarrassing Me, that now-cancelled Jamie Foxx Netflix show no one else watched just because I started and couldn’t stop. I swear I single-handedly kept All Rise on the air. I felt too guilty to give up on Our Kind Of People even though I wasn’t into it at all. I have a problem. I will, however, make an exception on giving up on TV if there are no characters to root for. That said, I am obsessed with Succession. See, it’s a problem!
Photo: Mitch Haaseth/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images.
Ineye Komonibo - Culture Critic 
I’m one hundred percent a proponent of throwing in the towel with a TV show! I mean, I do it all the time, and for a variety of very valid reasons, the most important being that my viewership has to be earned — word to Olivia Pope, the main character of one of the few series I’ve watched until the bitter end. (I’m shamelessly on my fourth Scandal rewatch, and it is a lot. But I’m still here, baby!) Even with shows that I've been super invested in, that fierce loyalty isn’t really there. Go ahead, ask me how How To Get Away With Murder ended. I couldn’t tell you; I stopped watching after they killed off Wes for no reason. (Plus, every episode was literally too dark. What was the show’s lighting budget?!)
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L’Oréal Blackett - UK Editor
I still haven’t finished This Is Us… and, this is hard to admit, I don’t think I ever will. As someone who determinedly watched the entire Pretty Little Liars series despite it being utter trash, it irks me that I’m struggling to finish a show with A+ acting and storytelling. But that’s the problem with This Is Us: I feel too deeply for the characters (especially the Black Pearsons they’re my family now too) and watching them navigate their family traumas is just *too much*. If they hurt, I hurt! So, I’ve decided it’s OK not to carry on watching — cry-screaming at the television every single episode can’t be healthy!
 

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