The Ten Worst Shows on Television 2015

Thumbs DownThe four month awards season begins with the Gotham Award nominations and ends with the Academy Awards on February 28, 2016. On Sunday, January 10th, the Golden Globe Awards were presented to the best film and television shows and today the Oscar Nominations were announced. Each year the significance and value of these awards decrease as they are more frequently bestowed for everything but the work. Time and again, nominees win for their celebrity, to right a wrong or as The Martian did in the wrong category at the Globes. The glitz, glamour and unrealistic expectations of awards are best illustrated by Jim Carrey. With a smile just short of the maniacal one he used for Fireman Bill on In Living Color, Carey deadpanned what seemed like an extemporaneous speech.

Thank you, I am two-time Golden Globe winner, Jim Carrey. You know, when I go to sleep at night, I’m not just a guy going to sleep. I’m two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey going to get some well-needed shut-eye. When I dream I don’t just dream any old dream. I dream about being three-time Golden Globe actor Jim Carrey. Because then I would be enough. It would finally be true, and I could stop this terrible search, for what I know ultimately won’t fulfill me. But these are important these awards – I don’t want you to think that just because you blew up the solar system, you wouldn’t be able to find us or any of our solar system from the naked eye. But for us, this is huge.

Hollywood and the entertainment industry have sullied the awards with studio promotions, category fudging and an unhealthy need for acknowledgment. Even the counterpoint to the Oscars,  the Golden Raspberry Awards for the worst films are gracefully if not happily accepted. So here is my addition to award season! The Fade Award is for the worst shows on television. These are the shows whose mere existence on television defy logic. These shows are bland, illogical, with low production value, terrible plots, poorly written characters and sad performances. These shows are so bad, you may think that they can’t possibly avoid cancellation, but they reappear season after season.

The worst shows on television are…

scorpionsIn its second season, Scorpion is a combination of MacGyver and Numbers. It is based on the real life of Walter O’Brien, a genius with an IQ of 197. A group of genuises led by Toby Curtis work with Homeland Security to solve complicated threats.  True to its network, CBS, this show is milquetoast personified. It takes the concept paint by number to a new low. From concept to weekly plots and performances this show has no saving grace.

mysteries of lauraIt is amazing that The Mysteries of Laura is in its second season. The first season was so bad, I thought they mistakenly aired rehearsals or first takes. In the vein of Monk, this show attempts to present a quirky divorced cop with twin sons. Debra Messing was great on Will and Grace but here she is unable to strike the right balance of credibility and competence as a NYC cop. If the show were set in a small mid-western or south-western town and the show’s other characters were more unique, this show may have had a chance. The only mystery here is why audiences tune in; season one averaged 7.45 million and season 2 is averaging 6.998 million.

11 ncisInitially called Navy NCIS , it spun-off from Jag in 2003.  Special  Agent Leroy Gibbs leads a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) team in solving Navy and Marine Corps crimes. As CBS’ number one scripted show, it is a ratings juggernaut but the show has been crippled by the departure of three major characters, Caitlin Todd, NCIS Director Jenny Shepard and Ziva David, and a forth major character is slated to leave this season, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. The show is in its twelvth season, and is a mere shadow of itself. Check-out my thoughts on How CBS Destroyed NCIS.

minority report 2The show holds closely to the premise put forth in the film with Tom Cruise, but it is plagued by poor casting, especially Wilmer Valderrama, over-use of technology and lackluster scripts. The pilot  feels rushed and Goode’s performance is pedestrian, which isn’t helped by the director’s focus on her physique. Hopefully in the next episode she delivers in spite of the obstacles this show presents as she won’t have many more opportunities to lead on TV.  Fox has not had success with sci-fi and this show will not change that. Like Michael Ealy’s Almost Human, there is much to like about this show, but it is not likely to see a renewal, much less a complete season. Though salvageable, this show will never reach Fringe’s quality or cult fandom.

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are a poor representation of dating/courting and engagement. In its twentieth and eleventh seasons respectively, this show’s Cinderalla/Prince Charming theme has always bothered me. Though Washington Posts’ Suzannah Weiss has identified ten times the show made feminists proud, this show is an illustration of the demise of integrity and privacy. The vast majority of the contestants do not make it to the altar, and many of them only use the show to springboard into the entertainment industry. This show isn’t about dating or finding love. This show sells its viewers a false promise, but the audience has shown time and again that they do not care if the stars are truly looking for love, as long as they play the game and give good television.

love and hip hop nameThough this franchises’ name is reminiscent of the much appreciated movie Love and Basketball, this show should be called Sex and Hip Hop because it is not about relationship love or music love. Produced by the infamous Mona Scott, the shows (Atlanta, Hollywood, New York) feel exploitive and more like  Flavor of Love than I love New York. That is, the shows are not fun. They are derided not because the casts are on the fringe of hip hop, but because their behavior is often inappropriate and exaggerated if not scripted for the cameras. Do these shows pull-back the curtain of hip hop or are they simply creating a spectacle? They dishonor the hip hop I love.

the real housewifesThough labeled a reality or unscripted, Bravo’s Housewives Franchise is at best a bad soap opera with infomercials, and at its worst it is a snapshot of the dysfunction and hypocrisy of pseudo fame. While the Atlanta franchise is often labeled rachet tv, the other franchises are no different. They are only in different zip codes: New York, New Jersey, Orange County and Potomac.

pretty little liars 2

This popular Freeform show, formerly ABC Family, is Millennials’ 90210. However, this show’s creator and/or showrunner has failed. The number of illogical leaps the characters take has altered the show’s trajectory. First, the high schoolers all have romantic relationships with  much older men and women. Second, Caleb Rivers left Rosewood and died in Ravenswood, a spinoff show; however, he returned to PLL with no explanation. Third, After years of a build-up to the A reveal, we learn that it is Allison’s sister who is really her brother and was never really a character on the show. Fourth, it took six season for the ‘girls’ to complete high school and in the show’s seventh season, the show jumps five years and they are all in well established uber successful careers. Oh vey!

true detective b

Universally panned, the second season of True Detectives was just a really bad crime drama. The story was poorly constructed and the characters were bland and the script was over-written. After such a successful first season, this was such a sad effort from this team. TNT’s Murder in the First was much more engaging storytelling than True Detective.

Originally Posted January 15, 2016

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