When should TV programmes be stopped? When they stop being good? Okay, fair point, but what about shows like 30 Rock or Arrested Development, that even post their high points still outclass their rivals. When ratings are poor? But then most of the best shows of the past decade wouldn’t make it past a handful of episodes. Mad Men and the like would barely have seen the light of day. At their zenith, when it seems it just can’t get better? On the surface that seems artistically the wisest option – but who decides when this is? The producers? The writers? The *gulp* critics?

Perhaps the only fair point to stop a show is when the stories have been told. The characters have got from A to B and, even if not every end is tied up or there is an unhappy ending for a select few, the audience is broadly happy with the destination. Which leaves us to question, why a third series of Fresh Meat? I mean, I love it, but the first two series told the story and it felt as if everything was complete. The group was dispersing. Second year beckoned and you felt as if everyone wanted to move on. We had reached the destination.

Instead, we have a third series that feels like a step backwards. Take JP for instance. Jack Whitehall plays him perfectly, although his critics would perhaps argue the level of acting he needs to do to play a posh berk is minimal. During the previous two series his front as the misogynistic, sex-starved, selfish, arrogant toff got stripped away to reveal an emotional vulnerability that if the character had been played by a less divisive actor would have been in the running for a BAFTA. Yet at the start of series 3 he was back to square one, bullying Howard, chasing women and generally being a pain in the arse.

The problem is, as anyone who goes to university knows, is you go back to your second year that little more cynical, that fraction more hard-nosed, with extra bit of common sense and street smarts. Yet none of the characters have, bar say Oregon, who seems to have completely flipped the other way in terms of character. She even seems unexcited by drugs now (speaking of which this is a second bug bear I had with the episode – since when was it funny to bully a first year into doing drugs? For that matter why did hard drugs have to feature at all? It isn’t The Wire).

Above all else, the question that bugged me is – what is the destination? What is point B? Is it Kingsley and Josie to be together forever? If so, do we need a whole series to get there? A one-off special would have suited this perfectly. And if that is the end point, what are the other characters supposed to do? Actors like Zawe Ashton and Greg McHugh need to be given more than just drifting in and out of misadventures whilst a love-struck couple moon at each other.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Maybe the next episode will demonstrate more clearly that there are more stories for the characters to tell. I do hope so, I would hate to see such a good programme be sullied because people didn’t know when to stop.

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