Decisions on whether to cancel or renew TV shows are fundamentally mysterious to me. Loads of good TV gets canceled (and sometimes not even because of poor ratings) while crap gets renewed. Maybe there are monetary or political considerations at work in these decisions. A good example of this, for me, is the show The Catch. It’s the fourth of Shonda Rhimes’s shows to be on the air at the same time. Her grip on network television feels almost dictator-like, as the trio of her hit shows – Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, dominate. The long-running Grey’s has hit a creative renaissance, while (for me) Scandal and How to Get… suffer. Scandal grows increasingly ridiculous while How to Get hit a popular nerve in its first season, but seemed to grow less interesting in its second season. Maybe it was just me, but I grew weary and considered whether I should even continue (especially because it lost its magnetism for me).
Given this backdrop, The Catch was pitched as some kind of sexy mystery caper. Helmed by the usually solid Mireille Enos as Alice, it is immediately obvious that this show is not the right vehicle for Enos … or frankly for anyone in the show, including Peter Krause, who plays Enos’s conman fiance. He has conned her and her investigative firm, but doesn’t disappear into thin air afterwards because he has, apparently, actually fallen in love with his mark. The premise is flawed because it’s like it was written for the span of an eight-episode mini-series, not for a multi-season regular tv show. But it was nevertheless renewed for a second season, despite the weakness of the plot and the apparent discomfort of all the players in the play, so to speak. The script and story make all the characters look foolish and dumb, not at all the clever, canny, intuitive people we’d expect to be successful heads of major investigative firms or successful swindlers and con artists. I am prepared to buy into things that are not necessarily believable premises, but things like The Catch – with its bad plots, bad writing and overglamourizing its main characters – isn’t one of those things.
It’s boring; it’s a story that has been told multiple times before; it’s not even got a hook to differentiate it from stories like it before.