Nearly 500 scripted series in a year means that you’re going to wind up with a few duds.
Let’s bitch it out…
As always, a few caveats:
- There’s a lot of bad TV that I won’t even sample, so you won’t find 9JKL or Young Sheldon on here.
- I can’t watch every TV show, so there may be a few omissions.
- I’ve named a few other dishonourable mentions – you can find them at the bottom of the post
- In case you hadn’t guessed, SPOILERS ahoy
- If you missed them, be sure to check out the posts on Best Scenes and Best Episodes of 2017
5: Kingdom S3 (Audience Network)
It’s physically painful for me to put the final season of my beloved MMA fighting series on the worst list, but let’s be honest: this last batch of episodes were hot garbage. Between the horrible, unlikeable new character that Kirk Acevedo is saddled with, Jay (Jonathan Tucker) and Christina (Joanna Going)’s debbie downer storylines and, most egregiously, the tone-deaf handling of Nate (Nick Jonas)’s murder in the final few episodes, Kingdom goes out with a whimper when it should have gone out with a roar. What a shame.
4. The Path S2 (Hulu)
This one confounds me. The Path has a killer premise and a ridiculously stacked cast…and yet the writers seem utterly incapable of finding anything interesting for their talent to do. S2 proves particularly frustrating because it walks back on all of developments that occurred at the end of S1, when the show seemed poised for a leap in quality. Instead The Path literally returns to the status quo, only 10 hours of my life have passed.
Maybe this show is the real cult?
3. Emerald City S1 (NBC)
Despite imaginative visuals and set design (thanks in large part to the lush shooting locations in Spain and Portugal) , this “gritty” reimagining of The Wizard of Oz was frequently a creative bust. Poorly, lethargically plotted with thin characters that generally wasted the talents of the actors – particularly Joely Richardson, who literally looks bored whenever she shows up as Glinda – Emerald City never comes together as anything other than a failed experiment in capitalizing on a recognizable brand. Also: Vincent D’Onofrio’s wig is absolutely terrifying (easily the most terrifying hairpiece since Lizzie’s S1 monstrosity on The Blacklist).
2: Time After Time S1 (ABC)
Hot HG Wells chases hot Jack the Ripper in Kevin Williamson’s modern redo of the 1979 film of the same name. Unfortunately neither Josh Bowman, nor Freddie Stroma have the acting chops to anchor their own series and the scripts are ridiculous beyond belief (the entire narrative is built on Jack regularly killing innocents in order to acquire a key to Wells’ time machine). Poorly realized, without charm or novelty, Time After Time‘s worst offense isn’t just that it’s bad; it’s boring.
1. The Mist S1 (Paramount Network)
An adaptation of Stephen King’s masterfully creepy novella about the way a town self-destructs when enveloped in a monster-producing mist sounds like a slam dunk genre series. Unfortunately the Spike/now Paramount Network series is horribly written (both dialogue and plot are clunky). It’s also poorly performed by ill-cast actors, with unconvincing special effects and, most baffling, regressive and even downright offensive social constructions (the misguided attempts to explore rape and infidelity, in particular, are sexually reductive). The minute that the jock punched the queer kid and the latter immediately kissed him was a) tired b) offensive and c) the end of the road for me.
- The Americans S5 (FX): Not a bad show by any measure, but considering this is the series’ second last season, it sure felt like a lot of wheel spinning.
- American Horror Story: Cult S7 (FX): Come for Evan Peters smearing Cheetos on his face in the wake of Trump’s electoral win, stay for Sarah Paulson screaming her head off about clowns every five seconds. Hard pass.
- Blood Drive S1 (Syfy): Insane fun or just plain dumb? This series would have worked better had it been less convoluted, though when the moments of crazed madness and gore work, they really work.
- Casual S3 (Hulu): Same old, same old. Laura has never been less tolerable.
- Marvel’s Inhumans S1 (ABC): The CGI hair heard round the world. No, it wasn’t just an atrocious wig that sunk this poorly realized Marvel series – it was sheer ineptitude, bad casting and terrible special FX/
- Marvel’s The Gifted S1 (FOX): Not as terrible as Inhumans, but the waste of Amy Acker and the charisma void that is Stephen Moyer make this another Marvel TV miss.
- Riverdale S2 (The CW): I know that this series has its fans, but the tonal imbalance, the stupidness of Archie and that completely inappropriate striptease by Betty (in front of a bar of strangers AND HER MOM) easily lands Riverdale on the Worst list.
- Top of the Lake S2 (Sundance TV): Unfortunately magic didn’t strike twice. Absent the memorable New Zealand scenery, this second round leans too hard into misogynistic police culture and features the single worst character in villain Pyke (Ewen Leslie) that I had the displeasure of watching in 2017. Unfortunately S2 simply repeats everything that worked in S1…with far less success.
Hungry for bad TV lists from previous years?
Check back tomorrow for the Best Returning TV 2017 list. In the meantime, sound off below with your pick for the worst TV of the year!