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QUICK QUESTION: Which Prolific TV Producers Should Take a Vacation Already?

It takes a special breed of person to produce just ONE hit show, let alone a string of them over several decades. But for obvious reasons, television networks want each new series to be as much of a sure bet as possible. One of the best ways to ensure a hit is to work with producers who've created them in the past. The problem is, too often it seems like mega-producers get TOO MANY shows on the air, perhaps spreading themselves a bit too thin, and, if anything, become just as much of a crapshoot quality-wise as an untested young talent. So we say, take a break, you buncha billionaires! Let's get more untested fresh blood up in our TVs!

So if you were in charge of the universe, which mega-producer would you tell to take a break for a while? Here are at least six people who have no fewer than THREE shows currently airing (or coming up). Make no mistake, all of the people listed below are masters of the industry and respectively brilliant, but perhaps masters should concentrate doing a few things well and not bogarting primetime?



Josh Schwartz


More or less the inspiration for this post just for the sheer number of series he'll be bringing to The CW—a network with only TEN hours a week to program, mind you—Josh Schwartz has in recent years begun to emphasize quantity over quality. Sorry, it just needs to be said. The O.C. was fantastic, Chuck had its charms, and then... well. Then he made more shows. A lot of them. Enough already?

Current Shows: Hart of Dixie (The CW), Gossip Girl (The CW)

Upcoming shows: Cult (The CW), The Carrie Diaries (The CW), Copeland Prep (The CW pilot), Losing Our Cool (Fox pilot)



Shonda Rhimes


Who could've predicted that one of the masterminds behind the Britney Spears film Crossroads would become one of the most powerful and prolific writer-producers in TV history? Well, Grey's Anatomy was a deserved hit (at first), but Rhimes' self-plagiarism at ABC started wearing thin a long time ago. Fortunately Scandal has turned into something of a treat, but there's a sizable contingent of viewers who MIIIIGHT have become fatigued by Rhimes' distinctive pretty-girl-sad-times style, you know?

Current Shows: Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Scandal (ABC), Private Practice (ABC)

Upcoming shows: Under the Gun (NBC pilot)



Ryan Murphy


The best thing that can be said about Ryan Murphy is that he doesn't tend to repeat himself and for that reason he's undeniably made the TV landscape a better, more interesting place. But the most damning (and accurate) thing to say about him is that he has a crippling inability to quality-control. Whether it's how dramatically Glee or Nip/Tuck went from must-watch to must-avoid, there's definitely a consistency issue at Ryan Murphy Productions, and constantly generating NEW shows is not the best way mitigate it.

Current Shows: Glee (Fox), The New Normal (NBC), American Horror Story (FX)



Jerry Bruckheimer


Obviously the kinds of shows Jerry Bruckheimer produces aren't the most creatively thrilling ones on television, so nobody's demanding originality here. No, Bruckheimer's shows are mostly mindless, expensive diversions for people who just want to kick back after work. And that's fine! But after a while they've just become interchangeable and the sheer number of them has made TV a worse, more boring place.

Current Shows: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS), CSI: NY (CBS), The Amazing Race (CBS)

Upcoming Shows: Trooper (TNT pilot), Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (NBC pilot)



Mark Burnett


Mark Burnett is in the franchise business. He doesn't just produce reality shows, he produces DOZENS OF SEASONS of reality shows. He's good at it (all the people on this list are brilliant businesspeople) but that doesn't mean we deserve the same old thing over and over. Even people who ASK for the same old thing over and over don't actually deserve it. Let's do better.

Current Shows: Survivor (CBS), Shark Tank (ABC), School Spirits (Syfy), Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), The Voice (NBC), Stars Earn Stripes (NBC)

Upcoming Shows: Romancing the Globe (USA pilot), The Bible (History miniseries), The Job (CBS pilot)



Chuck Lorre


I'm guessing Chuck Lorre already owns several castles by now? Sir, please go chill in one of them. We'll be fine.

Current Shows: Two and a Half Men (CBS), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Mike & Molly (CBS)



J.J. Abrams


Haha, sorry guys! But real-talk: J.J. Abrams is NOT the surefire bet a lot of us may have once considered him to be. Maybe he's just too scattered with his thriving film career, but it's time to accept that the Bad Robot brand is no longer synonymous with quality. Alcatraz? Undercovers? And don't get me started on his newest Event TV dud Revolution. Mr. Abrams, you are cordially invited to take some time off, regroup, and come back only when you have the time to actually make these concepts actually worth our while.

Current Shows: Fringe (Fox), Person of Interest (CBS), Revolution (NBC)

Upcoming Shows: Untitled Robot Cops Project (Fox pilot)


Your turn! Which producers or showrunners should take some time off?



POLL: WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING TV PRODUCERS
SHOULD TAKE A VACATION ALREADY?

Comments (62)
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Shonda Rhimes can't take a break, too many things left to be resolved w/ greys. Josh Schwartz needs to take a long break, thought he is talented at producing shows that appeal to a certain group of people. J.J. Abrams is good at creating an interesting concept but has huge continuity and end game issues; bad robot used to be a green light to watch a good show, but now its more of a precautionary message.
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Alan Ball. He is only a little more talented than Ryan Murphy, but they have very similar problems on their shows. His new show Banshee may be watchable for a season or two, but it will derail after that.
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Ryan Murphy really needs to take a break. Or even better, stop making the gay characters in his shows complete stereotypes and parodies of gay people in general. It's comedic that he thinks these characters help the gay community at all, if anything they hurt it by confirming everything the people who are against it always say.
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i'll be totally with you on this if it wasn't for AHS
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JJ Abrams should retire, I mean, "take a vacation". A nice, long vacation where he doesn't ruin TV and movies alike while being praised by people who remember his better works and want to apply that quality to the lesser materials he produces now. Maybe go down to South America, learn to throw pottery, or to a small island in the South China Sea and master an archaic martial art.



This is a good list though, here's how I voted:

JJ Abrams: yes, obviously, as stated above.

Ryan Murphy: I voted no, even though The New Normal looks painfully grating as long as his next thing isn't focused in that same direction it seems like he knows how to make compelling tv.

Chuck Lorre: No again, his shows are exactly what they need to be, home-run sitcoms for CBS. If anything, I think he needs to do a 4th, this 12-13 season is really poor.

Shonda Rhimes: I gave a yes, she's repeating the same notes over and over.

Jerry Bruckheimer: A no vote here, the man knows how to deliver cinema-quality visuals and compelling light fare, keeps the hard dramas in check and keeps eyeballs on the networks.

Mark Burnett: Yes, take a damned break, you're the best at what you do and what you do is ruining television.

Josh Schwartz: Another no, he does light fare as well, but on the sillier side of things, and it keeps tv from getting too serious about itself. That said, Carrie Diaries nearly tipped my vote the other way.
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Tyler Perry needs to take a break, even though he's just working on one show now. Especially from making movies.
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I think that 2 shows at a time is about the limit that any producer can really handle if they want to keep quality going, especially if they intend to be the brains behind the show. I think someone like J. J. Abrams is usually a bit more involved with the show than someone like Jerry Bruckheimer. While Bruckheimer's way works as far as procedurals go, I'd rather see less procedurals, so I'm fine with him taking a seat for a little while, and involved people like Abrams stretch themselves too thin, so it'd be nice for them to dial it back a little bit, too.
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I would say NONE of them. just keep making good TV
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Not to rain on the JJ Abraham's hate/love parade, but Person of interest is Jonathan Nolan's brain child. JJ. Give credit where credit is due.
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Wikipedia says that it was based on a screenplay by the two of them, so maybe he should get some credit for that. But it's just silly when he gets credit for Revolution (created by Eric Kripke) and Alcatraz (created by Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt).
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i think you missed the most important one though: Julie Plec.

lol
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Yeah and she should give the showrunning duties back to Kevin Williamson.
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All of above. Lifetime vacations for everybody on that list except JJ Abrams...I'd give him 2-5 years forced break.
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The problem is that they have one pattern for their show and they change the environment and they've got a new show.... It's understable since they have something that is working that they use it but it's becoming really boring!
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I think most of these should take a break, cool down, and think about the direction they want to take in the future. Producing TV shouldn't be about pushing shows out like from a high-speed conveyor belt.



- J.J. Abrams' name has suffered an inflation because he has attached it to too many projects without any actual involvement. He has done a lot of good, but maybe he should slow down a little and use his massive brain to truly focus on quality instead of quantity.

- Ryan Murphy's shows are known for starting out strong, but unfortunately as quickly as the novelty of his quirks wears off, the quality and ratings take a dip. It's only a matter of time before he creates a show that doesn't take off at all, The New Normal might actually be the one.

- Chuck Lorre is just old-school, and not in a good way. He hasn't come up with original comedy in a few decades. Maybe it's time for him to reinvent himself.

- Jerry Bruckheimer is exactly what you said: not the most "creatively thrilling". His shows are the equivalent of bland, processed, frozen food. Produced to give a quick fix to the masses, but void of all flavour.



The others I have really nothing to say about. I could rip into Mark Burnett for filling TV with junk, but I never watch reality TV, and I can still find enough good scripted shows to watch, so I can ignore his transgressions. Shonda Rhimes' shows I never watch either, but as far as I know she has a good reputation and an admirable track-record in producing shows with a high success rate. Josh Schwartz is not among my favourite producers, but I have to admit that the shows he has produced have done fairly well, despite not having the best ratings; The O.C, four seasons; Chuck, five; Gossip Girl, six. And now Hart of Dixie barely made it to a second season. However, maybe he could at some point try to think outside the box a little.
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and while we are giving break to these guys -yes, all of them- could TV.com hire Taccado as a reviewer? It has been a couple of years since I follow this site and while I do not agree with everything he says, I have never once seen sth ridiculous or dumb in his analysis.. even though you disagree you give him some credit in what he says.. and yet, I know more than a couple of actual writers on the site that cannot be described as such.. among many fanboys and chronic haters and people who cannot understand what they read and etc. thanks Taccado for providing resourceful user commentary.. I've been meaning to say this a while..
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Producing does not equate to being a showrunner who is far more important for a show's quality. Though it has Abrams brand name attached to them - Lost, Fringe, Person of Interest and Revolution had/has superb showrrunners and hence they're good! That said, the only one who is worth giving a try from this list is JJ Abrams since he doesn't do the same things over and over again and his movies are excellent. Also to a degree, Ryan Murphy (Mainly for AHS)!



As much as I love(d) OC, Chuck (Season 1 & 2), TBBT and Grey's Anatomy; Josh Schwartz, Bruckheimer, Rhimes, Burnett and Lorre should all take a hike! They're all mostly misses these days and less hits. You missed Ryan Seacrest as well! He gave us the vapid Kardashians!
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Definitely J.J. Abrams! Don't get me wrong, he's great in the mystery business! But lately, it really seems that he is in such a hurry to put more and more shows out there that he doesn't think them through anymore. And there were so many logic gaps in most of his recent shows, no wonder that they didn't make it!

Dear Mr. Abrams!

Pleeaase!! Take a break, get your mojo back and return when you have a really great idea that revolutionizes :P television, cause that would be more on your level!!

And to everyone else: TWO shows are the maximal amount anyone should be working on!!!!!!!!!
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Josh Schwartz is milking the teenage drama too much .. he should work with Chris Fedak

again and make another series similar to Chuck .. and dont give it to the stupid NBC
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Producers do not equal showrunners, and more so for these mega-producers. I guarantee if JJ Abrams were showrunner for all of his shows, they would all be fantastic (but he'd be dead from exhaustion). These producers are basically putting forth their own brands of programming, and of the above brands, the only one I would equate with quality television is Abrams.



I would also like to submit to this list Seth MacFarlane. Enough already, dude.
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I definitely think that Josh Schwartz and J.J. Abrams should take a break. Josh has what, about 4 shows on The CW and one currently 2 in development and Abrams has tried and failed to find the next Lost but maybe when he takes a break, the perfect show might come to him.
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BTW.: Revolution = Eric Kripke not J.J. Abrams
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True dat. Eric deserves as much recognition and credit for Revolution as J.J.
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And Im looking forward to the future episodes. SPN became great later on not during the pilot.
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Agree with you there and the pilot was the start of something awesome.
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When reading the title of the article J. J. Abrams was the first to spring to my mind. I'm glad you didn't overlook the elephant in the room. :)
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All of the above.
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THANK GOODNESS you mentioned J. J. Abrams. I was afraid you would go the route most people go, which includes (I believe) worshipping at the man's feet. I am a HUGE fan of Person of Interest, but I have never been interested in a single other Abrams vehicle (yes, Lost included, and yes, I did give that show a good try, and jumping down my throat about my dislike of Lost will not change my opinion of it) and groan every time I see/hear the words "From producer J. J. Abrams" on my television. Enough already.
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Why not include Ryan Shecrest on the list? RSP brought us Keeping up with the KarTRASHians and its myriad of spin-offs, plus, the boring Married to Jonas and many other failed reality shows.
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The only names not on this list that I'd like to add are Mike Fleiss and Ryan Seacrest.



Fleiss: Creator and/or producer of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, and H8R.

Seacrest: Producer of ALL of the Kardashian shows and most recently Married to Jonas.



PLEASE somebody force these two into vacation so that they may stop flooding my TV with garbage.
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The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men aren't what they once were, but I don't mind Chuck Lorre trying for more sitcoms. Sometimes they're funny -- usually in their first handful of seasons.



JJ Abrams often has misses, but he also has hits. I commend him for trying to get out as many sci-fi shows as possible. Most wont be that good, but if he can crank out a Fringe or a Person of Interest every now and then, I say he should keep at it.



The rest can take a vacation.
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The only one who i'd allowed to keep working (if i were in charge of the universe) is J.J. Abrams, and only because of POI which i didn't know he was responsible for...

The rest should take nice long vacation (although i like TBBT and Scandal)
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I would say all of them. JJ especially, he makes good movies. I just watched Super 8 recently and enjoyed it very much. But his shows have been miss after miss after miss.



I am looking forward to Last Resort because Shawn Ryan makes good tv. I am looking forward to Whedons Shield show. Because he makes good TV. And for crying out loud will someone make a show like The Unit but with SEALs. After all of the years for the military how a show like that is not being made is mind boggling.
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You know what I would like to see... an article talking about the producers who had great shows but weren't given a fair shot because of prolific producers are network ineptitude. Or the up and coming producers who have largely remained a bit under the radar. Because sad truth is, as much as these people need to take a break to get their creative juices flowing, in a network tv world where studios think of money first...
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^ This! I hope Cory writes that article!
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I'm not sure why people are so quick to turn on Abrams. Alcatraz and Undercovers failed not because of the concept but because of the absolutely lousy acting. The main character in Alcatraz was forgettable to the point when I try to remember a scene all I remember is Jorge Garcia. In Undercovers neither of the main actors were any good and their assistant had way too much of a man crush on the male lead, it wasn't amusing.



While yes, Revolution looks like it could have been much better as a 2 hour movie, at least Abrams has been trying to come up with concepts other than the typical recycled shows. Person of Interest is the first crime drama in years that has been from a different mold than what is always seen in the genre. Fringe took the best parts of The X-Files and went completely sideways with it (almost literally) and then FOX in it's infinite wisdom decided to bury the show in the Friday night death slot.



Sure the guy has had some misses, but they are far outweighed by his hits.
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for the most it I have to agree,
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Totally agree about JJ Abrams. You had "Lost"...stop making a million predictable knock-offs and try to start a "new thing." My eyes roll every time I hear that I am supposed to be impressed he is involved in a new show...and I never expect much.



Also, Seth McFarlene, but I think I my opinion is pretty much ubiquitous anymore.
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How DID they miss the McFarlane shows? American Dad still manages to be funny occasionally, but usually stinks like the rest of his work.
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There's basically no good shows from any of those people. The best work has all been on cable. Network shows are mostly vapid fluff - two and a half men and big bang theory being notable exceptions.
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So everyone is a "yes" then...cool, I guess...
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You say Ryan Murphy doesn't repeat himself, and yet The New Normal features character archetypes we've already seen done better on Glee.
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Ryan murphy himself admitted that the new normal is a lazy combination of "what if kurt and blaine got married down the line and were trying to have kids" and his own life.
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To quote Jimmy Buffett..."It seems like I've run out of reasons to be here, so I'm just gonna steal from myself."
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JJ ABrams for me!
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Everyone except JJ Abrams.
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Yeah, I mostly vote yes just to JJ Abrams here, simply because his shows always seem like they have so much potential, and then they falter. JJ, take 6 months to a year, relax, hang out on the beach, have mojitos, and come up with ONE really fantastic idea. And then stick on that for at least a full season, long enough to get the tone down and where the show is going to go, then hand it off to a showrunner and collect royalties.
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Price, you cannot be more right about Lorre and Abrams - those two were the first names that pop up from my mind after reading the title.

We all know that J.J. has talent, so he should just stop backing every TV show under the sun, take a deep breath, and actually come up with a genuinely interesting idea for a serie.

Chuck should just stop. Like, right now.

As for Schwartz - this is why the idea of him doing an American version of "Misfits" literally scare the shit out of me. Seriously, buddy, focus on one thing and do it right or don't do it at all.
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Wow, it is shocking how much I dislike most of the people on this list. Ryan Murphy isn't on the voting option, but seriously the Glee Project was his worst move ever because it showed him as a capricious moron who apparently never understood what made Glee fun and what now makes it and crap like the New Normal insufferable.
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Staff
Murphy should be in the poll now!
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Typical TV.com bellyaching. Sorry, Tim; your friends and/or relatives are not getting a shot if the networks stop buying shows from production companies with a track record. You're the one who treats announcements of pilots being developed by these people as a big deal. If people checked out Person of Interest because JJ Abrams' name was attached to it, more power to him. I was initially attracted Jonathan Nolan's being the creator. If anything, Jerry Bruckheimer raised the bar for drama series with CSI, and if his shows are interchangeable to you, maybe you're not a very observant critic. You children and your disdain for procedurals!
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CSI was good once, but was clearly out of creative juice through the Fishburne years. Danson picked things up a little bit. Both spinoffs have been ridiculous for years. CSI Miami had a ghost story (in a show about scientists who solve crimes!) while CSI NYwas never interesting in the first place (Sorry, Lt. Dan, but your character's boring.)
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Admittedly, CSI's best years are probably behind it, but I'll still watch it before the umpteenth high school soap opera/supernatural thriller filmed in Canada on the WB or MTV.
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If you're going to confuse Tim with Price, and then claim the writer isn't a very observant critic...
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Well, Price's friends and/or relatives won't get a show on the air either just because the networks stop buying shows from production companies with a track record. But I stand by my point. If you can't distinguish among CSI, Without a Trace, and Cold Case...
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Staff
Tim didn't write this story...
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A million times yes to all of the above. Even though I still love Big Bang Theory, I recognise there has been a large decline in quality.
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I disagree... they've done the wise thing, and added new characters with new quirks to explore. Perhaps what you perceive as a "decline in quality" is merely the fact that Jim Parsons' characterization of Sheldon has gotten so familiar to you that it isn't as funny to you as it used to be. In other words, you spent the first couple of seasons learning all about Sheldon's weirdness, laughing at how weird he was, and the writers don't have any way to outweird the weirdness you've already seen. I mean, they've given you grown-up-Blossom's weirdness, but it's not new and shiny like Sheldon's weirdness was back in season 1...
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J.J.Abrams hands down he has been on a failing strike (not counting Person of Interest) he should take some time and think about the shows that he want's to create and not throw a show every year so (TAKE SOME TIME OFF)
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just leave JJ alone!
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Yes, that's the argument. Leave him alone to think about ideas until he has a FULLY-baked premise and story-arc plan to work from.
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