WARNING! The following review contains spoilers...read at your own risk.
We have much to discuss ladies & gentlemen. I know I don't do much here on DA anymore but I thought today would be a good day to finally remedy that, if only for a journal post. Today I'll be giving my thoughts on the first half of 2319mi's TPI: Abandoned. Recently the show reached episode 15, which was deemed the mid-season finale & in many ways it showed. We're going to talk about the season overall. Episode's 1-15 have been...a wild ride to say the least. Gonna say it right now, this show is pretty much one of the few shows I consistently watch nowadays & keep up with. In other words, aside from AXC's inevitable clock to conclusion ticking, Abandoned is one of the few shows keeping me tethered to the community right now. With introductions out of the way, let's discuss this show's highs & lows the only way I know how: REVIEW FORM!
So last May, we witnessed a pilot that looked like it had potential. More importantly, it was a new pilot from Jake....who already had 2 previous/unfinished shows under his belt. That's all I needed to know upon seeing this new show in my sub box. I was hesitant that this particular show wouldn't work out...and to my surprise, that pilot almost made me cry tears of joy. I reviewed Jake's previous TPI...and he managed to take a lot of that advice I gave him to heart since that review dropped in 2016. As a result, he took the time to make this new show. I instantly fell in love with Abandoned, along with many others in the community. I'm really glad this show is getting major attention across the board...well deserved.
Premise-wise, the show starts off like 99% of all other TPI's. The setting is no surprise but it's how it's executed that makes it different from all the others. Abandoned is set in a place called Camp Nightmare & has 30+ contestants competing for cash. As you can tell, this gave me way too many red flags. First off, I'm not the biggest fan of big casts anymore. Long story short, if you have more than 20 contestants it bugs me. That being said, Jake pulled off having 30+ contestants & almost all of them are likable.... almost (worry not....the character section exists for a reason.) On top of that, his plots/storytelling were also working overtime to stay consistently good & surprising. He's also got some great humor...seriously dude, you're hilarious.
Now then, let's talk about those plots & how the storytelling was executed. For the most part, the storytelling was pretty solid. Everything was well paced & played out nicely...save for a few minor plots. There were instances in which some plots decided to exist & go on for longer than they had to. For example, the dragged out love triangle between Electrike, Flaaffy & Dewott. This plot has been going on forever now. Nothing has progressed, not much action has been happening..all we're seeing is Electrike suffer by watching two bland as hell characters date one another. Or how about the Ivysaur & Frosslass plot...which started out so sweet & then turned to crap real quick. Ivysaur is a terrible excuse of a person for what he did. And the less I mention the dragged out ZoraQuil couple the better. It didn't start out that way (I dug them at first because I predicted those 2 hooking up in the beginning) but it did become a problem in the later episodes. The single digit episodes did a great job of introducing us to the characters & sending certain ones home when their time had come. It seemed like everything played out just fine for a long while....and then the double digits happened, specifically 11-15. Brace yourselves...I'm about to rant...
Episode's 11-15 are a mixed bag & hard to rewatch because of it. The biggest issue I have is bringing back the 4 contestants at such an early time in the game. See here's the thing with that...I'm not mad that they're back. I've had a lot of time to think about this...and while I can't stand Servine or have no real reason to care about those that came back, that's not my biggest issue. No no, my biggest issue is WHEN they came back. Jake...you have too many damn contestants to be bringing back 4 characters that early in the game. There's no excuse for that & pretty much did nothing to propel anything major in terms of plots. Sure, Kirlia got some development & Servine is serviceable as well....but what the hell is Corphish still doing in the game? Why did freaking Bergmite come back!? I love Bergmite but he had absolutely no reason to come back. He's a damn one note & you thought he was worth bringing back!? Come on man....one notes were meant to stay gone once they're gone & unless you had plans to develop him, I reiterate once again: NO REASON TO COME BACK! Then there are the eliminations....oh my god the eliminations. With the exception of 15, all of the eliminations in these episodes have been predictable or just made absolutely no sense. Need some proof? Ok...did anyone reading this give a damn about Meditite let alone remember her existence? Did we care about Poochyena enough? I sure as hell didn't...he's literally the same character type (and pokemon) I made in my own show back when Revenge of Stick Figure Island existed. We all saw Swellow's elimination from a mile away...adding insult to injury is the separation of a couple all in the same episode....nothing says "let's anger me" quite like separating a couple that literally hooked up in the same damn episode.
In light of watching some recent TPI episodes, I’d like to touch on the art of predictable outcomes. It’s fine to have something be seen as predictable so long as it’s executed well. I don’t mind it once in awhile. However, it becomes a problem when shows depend on it & make that their entire shtick all season. You can only do it so many times to the point where I am feeling the same way every damn episode. I’ve seen this on 4 different shows in the past couple months & I’ve grown tired of it. Again, predictable outcomes CAN BE GOOD but should be done in moderation otherwise most people will catch on & grow bored knowing exactly how things will play out.
The characters are one of the best parts of the episode...but also one of the more frustrating parts as well. One of my biggest gripes is the background characters. For some reason, Jake thinks it's ok to let some of the cast just go for episodes with one liners or no dialogue while living off the fact that they still exist. I mean, I get it...you kinda have to do that with how many characters are on this show. You can't possibly work on everyone in the same episode per episode....that just sounds ridiculous. However, that doesn't excuse some of the characters that get shoved into the background to simply exist & suddenly get a plot but then fade into the background again or get the boot out of the blue (See Meditite as an example.) I'd love to know more about Mincinno aside from the fact that she's a dumbass, I would've loved to know more about Meditite & how "un-zen" she can be...would've been nice to see more out of her. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more of what Corphish could do...because right now, he's a one-note party guy with comic relief buying more unnecessary time. You see what I mean folks? As the numbers continue to drop, I sincerely hope Jake has a plan to finish off some of these characters & NOT leave them hanging. With 20 contestants left, I'm really hoping for tighter writing & character stuff because now there's no excuse.
Going in-depth about some of the characters for a moment, I'd like to touch on some of them and their plots. Let's go!
- Pansear: You are best character & it's a damn shame you didn't get to stick around much longer. Shame you didn't get your own separate plot..at all.
- Servine: Die honey. Die.
- Fletchinder: You're garbage.
- Munchlax: I feel you're in a "middle of the road" situation. You started out simply existing but then you pulled a fast one with that vote you made & then sabotaged Swellow...you could go either way at this point...just wish you did.
- Flaaffy: You're bland honey. You've done absolutely nothing of note since putting Electrike in the friend-zone.
- Dewott: You're also bland to me.
- Electrike: You're the best character out of the 3 in this dragged out love triangle.
- Bergmite: I love you dude but you should've stayed gone. You're a one-note.
- Riolu: All talk & no action. All you have to your name is a sabotage & 15 episode facade.
- Gastly: You're doing great bro...getting better per episode.
- Mincinno: Wish you were used for more than your humor.
- Corphish: Same as Mincinno.
- Bisharp: Great host...who can be an asshole.
- Hariyama: You put up with a lot of crap. God bless you & your patience.
- Ivysaur: You're a terrible person. You deserve to get your ass kicked for hurting Frosslass like that. Jake this is lowkey my least favorite plot thread of the entire season thus far so thank god you ended it when you did.
- Frosslass: I'm sorry girl. You deserved so much better.
- Quilava: You're some form of LGBT honey. Jake, you fell into the "coming out" trap & it's dragging..do something about it...this couple is dragging. Pansear basically summed it all up for me in Episode 15.
- Servine: Die. Die. Die. Die.
- Magby: Love you man. Glad you're proving yourself & finally kicking things into overdrive.
And then there's the antagonist problem in the show. I've had an issue with the villains in this show overall tbh. The only one keeping me interested, especially after Episode 15, was Gastly. The others are just...disappointments. Riolu, the golden boy turned bad egg, is honestly just a nuisance who basically pulled a Nidoking and made himself look good in everyone's eyes, but is now out for blood. All of the signs were there for the perfect reveal & at first, I was on board..but all it's been is big talk about a game he's playing while pulling one sabotage and setting someone up. It just doesn't feel as big or important. I'm not asking for brutality or pure evil but I am asking for more actions that make me give a damn about someone claiming to be "bad." Speaking of attempted bad, Fletchinder sucks. She's a generic villain & funny enough, she was like this in Jake's last TPI. I don't see her getting interesting at all. She's supposed to be hated I'm sure...but if she's supposed to keep my attention then you've failed in that department. She only gets props for convincing Munchlax to get his hands dirty...that's about it. She's done sabotage and dodged elimination too many times....I just want her ass gone. She's not doing much anyway. And of course, there's the most egregious antagonizing force of them all...Servine. This poor excuse of an antagonist has been nothing but a nuisance as well but since the beginning...so basically she's worse than Riolu. Credit to Riolu, at least he had some nuance to him regarding the whole "not really good" reveal...but Servine was straight up atrocious since day freaking one. But if that wasn't enough...the idea of her leaving one episode & coming back in the next has been my biggest complaint. No scratch that, it's the one thing that's pissed me off since Episode 11 aired. Yeah, that's what bothered the hell out of me. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!? No seriously, why the hell would you do that!? Jake...this was where I started having issues with the show when you decided to bring back these contestants & NOT work with the ones you had. To be honest this wouldn't have been a problem if you had just done this later in the game...like merge or something.
Ok, I think I've said enough on that subject. There seems to be more negative than positive in this review, but that's only because these thoughts were being saved for the scrapped review I had plans to post on the channel months back. Just so we're clear, I'm still in love with Abandoned. I think it's one of the best TPI's I've ever seen. Hell, it was my original #1 TPI of 2017 (shock of all shocks, right?) Do I think it's better than my usual favorite: Levi's TPA? In some ways, yes but in others not so much. Either way, Abandoned is still one of the better shows to come out of the dry well that was 2017 in TPI making. Sure there was Total Pokemon Cross Country, Total Pokemon Paradise, Total Pokemon Village, Poke-Survivor: Back To The Past, Levi's TPA, Some Fool's show set in a Safari Zone & yeah, even Total Pokemon Galaxy Games....but this was the only one that I managed to keep up with throughout it's run all last year because of how consistent it was, both in its schedule and quality. The single digit episodes were phenomenal. Even Episode 10 was spectacular, as I believe it was a true peak in how good the show can be. Episode's 11-15, however, were rocky as all hell. Let me sum them up like this...
- Episode 11 was the first hiccup & that's when it all began
- Episode 12 began to show more issues beneath the surface
- Episode 13 was just straight up piss off-worthy, especially it's ending
- Episode 14 was a return to form despite the predictable outcome
- Episode 15 was a pleasant surprise & reminded me of how great the show is...but hot damn it's lengthy lol
Overall I still loved the 15 episodes we got. Far from perfect but still exceptionally written & brought to life with a passion to make something great. I can tell that Jake definitely gave a damn about this show with all of the effort put into it. And now he's reaping the rewards that come with putting in the work towards a show...even if it's a hobby. It can be done, folks. No excuses. And with that, I shall conclude this review folks. Thanks for reading...as this will likely be the only journal I post here until Abandoned or my boyfriend's TPI concludes (I owe him a complete season review^^) Until next time, peace out!
Thanks For Reading!
BTW, if you'd like to keep in touch or know more about what I'm up to I'll almost always be around on Twitter: twitter.com/ESProductions55