Part of this is because I have few illusions about who is in control of the story. I have no problem pointing out shoddy workmanship in a novel, because the author has control there, but I'm also highly unlikely to judge an unpleasant ending or oddball twist if there's any way of squaring it with the rest of story, because I feel that the author probably had a good reason for writing it the way he or she did.
When it comes to television, I make greater allowances, because of the collaborative nature of television writing and production. Smaller stuff I may just shrug off, or I may gleefully construct far-fetched meta to explain it away. Larger stuff, even if I disagree with it personally, as long as it doesn't radically conflict with established canon, I also give great leeway to.
So when a show I adore does something so egregious that I feel like I got punched in the face, it's kind of a new experience for me.
I'm actually not going to talk about that much, maybe not till the end. I'm more interested in the fact that I've never reacted this strongly before, and am going to look at past instances where show canon really upset me.
WARNING: specific spoilers for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, Alias, Stargate SG-1, and Doctor Who.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
This is the first time I can recall being furious with a show for the way a plot twist--in this case, a character death--was handled. When Jadzia was killed by Dukat at the end of "Tears of the Prophets," I flipped out. Partly I was grieving for the character, one of my favorites, and the loss of the romance with Worf (a hard sell to me, one which I had finally gotten very, very attached to). But mostly? I couldn't believe they'd killed her in such a mundane way. She didn't even have time to draw her weapon, she was just shot down like a dog. Jadzia Dax, warrior and scientist, murdered because she was in the way.
Even taking into account that Trek never knows how to handle character deaths....
I'm still kinda pissed, actually.
I kept watching the show, and even grew to like Ezri Dax, but it was a very near thing.
I fell for this show so hard it's not funny. My first major fandom after Trek, and it told me that yes, television shows could do all the stuff I loved in fiction, and do it well. I rolled with most of their plot twists, trusting that JMS had a plan and would work it out. I even rolled with the wrap-up of the major Shadow arc in early season 4, which struck me as a bit of a humanistic copout in a show that had played the good vs. evil card so strongly.
I hung on through that, and was glad, because season 4 was an awesome ride.
Season 5, though? Maybe 2 good episodes (which would be "Day of the Dead," aka Gaiman's episode; and the Psi Corps ep, because Bester is made of win). *facepalm* I really should've stopped watching before the character assassination of Lennier. *sigh* I was young and optimistic. That is my only excuse.
I am an absolute sucker for undercover stuff (which also explains my addiction to Miami Vice), so this show was pure gold. *g* Not to mention the fantastic characters.
The first two seasons I loved. Season 3 started out with a lot of promise. But instead of doing the patented Alias misdirect and twist, they went for the obvious and petty ending for the Vaughn/Lauren storyline, leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
For that disappointment, I stopped watching. It was good while it lasted, Alias.
This show gets cut a lot of slack, because of the kind of show it is. I can suck up a lot of weirdness, a lot of continuity shredding, and be just fine.
So "Full Circle," while it annoyed the heck out of me and I will rant about why at the drop of a hat, did not actually do anything to mess with my appreciation of the show as a whole. Sporking the whole idea of the Ascended Ancients is a fandom pastime, so I'm in good company.
But the end of that episode was one of the biggest copouts in the history of all my fandoms. Show, if you're going to do something as tragic as allow Anubis to destroy Abydos and kill Daniel's adopted people, just effing go there. Don't have Oma-frakkin'-Desala ascend the entire planet!!! *primal scream*
I loved the episode, but I hated what they did to Donna. I am attempting to cut the show a lot of slack, because I know part of this is because I have a massive squick to do with memory tampering of any kind. But on the other hand...this was just a shameful way to treat a character who was so awesome and grew so much over the course of the season. *siiiigh*
I'm still watching, but mostly because Doctor Who gets even more free passes than Stargate: I expect it to be on crack, and behave accordingly. And as the old school fen like to tell me, they don't really have "canon" as much as "suggestions." But I did go stuff my brain with fix-it fic over this one.
In conclusion, I've gotten less forgiving as the years go on. *g* Also, the more brilliant a show has seemed to me, the more I have respected the creators and the show itself, the harder I take it when said show disappoints me.
Regarding the reference above to a show I adore, I don't know what I'm going to do with its latest episode. I'm a talented fanwanker, meta-constructor, hand-waver. And this is still sticking in my craw. I must rewatch the episode and see what happens.