« 2012's TV: Top 20 | Main | Dexter and the "Home Stretch" »

2012's TV: Bottom 10

2012 is over and this is the first of a few posts regarding the year that went by. First I'll be presenting my list of the Bottom 10 shows of 2012. Later this week you'll see my Top 20 shows, before my list of best movies arrives in late February. In-between the shows and movie-posts, you'll probably see a Retrospective from me regarding this blog, broken promises and tons of other stuff that probably won't interest you in the slightest. But that's all in the future...

Television-wise, it was a bad year (more like "fall", really) for new comedies, a good year for the disappointing shows of 2011 (good job True Blood, The Walking Dead, Dexter and Grimm - too bad none of you won’t be on my top 20 list, but congrats on staying off the Bottom 10 and remember; there’s always next year!) and a great year for returning shows, as you'll see later this week. For now, let's dig into this year's biggest disappointments, most annoying shows and those that were just plain bad.

Bottom 10

Interestingly, there hasn’t been that many really bad shows this year; most have been disappointing, annoying or just plain boring. These are the ones that have been most on my nerves. Number 1-8 have all been dropped, as well as number 10 (more on that later) and number 9 is next on the proverbial chopping block.

1. The Mindy Project
I remember reading tons of good reviews on this. I was looking forward to sitting down and seeing the pilot, to see a new female comedy talent. I was incredibly disappointed. Didn’t laugh once, was never even mildly amused and thought the whole thing was just... standard. And if it’s one thing I hate is a standard and unfunny sitcom.

2. Elementary
Seriously; why? A contemporary adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, as a dull, boring American cop show. Totally unnecessary, incredibly dull and just... bad. Granted, I only saw the first episode, but I didn’t even finish that, which is really saying something. Not even Jonny Lee Miller - who is usually really good - and Lucy Liu - who is tolerable - could save this.

3. The New Normal
I really like Ryan Murphy. I loved the first 13 episodes of Glee, I think American Horror Story is one of the funnest and most addictive shows around. But this? This is bad. Like The Mindy Project, it’s unfunny, it has a message that it constantly beats you in the head with, it’s mean, horrible and... just really boring.

4. Nashville
A lot of people said this was a really fun soapy musical show; I disagree. I watched four episodes of this in one night and had my head spinning for an hour afterwards. Yes, the music is good and it is fun, but it’s also incredibly badly written. It’s just too much of everything; too much soapy-drama, too much music and too much love-triangle - at least for me. The characters are incredibly unrealistic, grappling with problems and decisions purely for the sake of plot, which is pretty much the death of an interesting and fun soap. Nashville had potential - some of the writing, as well as the songs, was incredibly strong - but it kept wasting it.

5. 666 Park Avenue
...aka “The Return of Terry O’Quinn”, aka “American Horror Story on Network”. In essence, this was a soapy American Horror Story with Terry O’Quinn playing someone who might be the Devil, granting the tenants of the building various wishes. It was a morality story, with writers and politics and other people who wants something; usually fame and/or fortune. Unfortunately, it was also really dull. And a television show about people making hard decisions and getting punished for them in a supernatural building which the devil might be running should be anything else but dull. Sadly, uninteresting characters, stupid storylines and very, very bad episodic plots haunted the show more than intriguing mysteries.

6. Last Resort
Another show full of promise that was squandered by bad episodic plots and badly defined characters. I was never sure who anyone was, the episodes just went along - even with fantastically intriguing mysteries - and I was never really excited for the next episode. I loved the last two shows Shawn Ryan was involved with - Terriers and The Chicago Code, both favorites of 2011/2010 - so it was a real shame for me when I didn’t like this much at all.

7. Animal Practice
There seems to be a pattern within this list; bad episodic plots, unfunny sitcoms with potential and a struggle with characters and long mysteries/plotarcs. This has it all; tons of elements that could work great together - funny animals, the human characters being the real animals, romances, medical plots and so on - but it just never found the right way to balance them all. And that’s really too bad, because this could’ve actually been really fun.

8. Falling Skies
I love science fiction. The genre has infinite possibilities to delve into what it means to be human, as well as the potential for big space-battles, interesting (and, in any other genre, completely insane) plot twists, laser swords and pathos. Falling Skies, the story of a group of survivors after an alien attack and occupation on Earth, have all those elements. It’s just very, very bad at using them. And over the course of its second season, it became infinitely clearer that this just wasn’t going to work anymore - at least for me. And I find that sad. After all, this is one of the few science-fiction shows on television right now, along with Fringe and (kinda-sorta) Revolution (which would totally be #11 on this list), and the only show featuring aliens. And it could be so great; it has similarities to the American civil war as well as a technological-holocaust as the aliens keeps kidnapping children, it has incredible pathos it could use if it wants to, and it has the story of these people surviving on an occupied Planet Earth. Sadly, it struggles with being written as a bad soap-opera, rarely giving us any answers, only digging at the same mysteries, never clearing up relationships, sloppily building characters that all have waaaaay too horrible backstories to be realistic. If you look at it as a science-fiction show, you’re going to be disappointed in those aspects. As a post-apocalyptic survival-show, you’re going to be disappointed there too, as they’re bad at depicting things like using gas and hunting for more, as well as having little food or ammo. If you watch it as a soap opera you might enjoy it more, but then you’d likely get annoyed by all the other plots getting in the way, and when a soapy moment occurs it often just comes off as silly. And it’s really too bad, as they have decent actors (including Terry O’Quinn as a guest star; 2012 was not a good year for him...) and good special effects. All its faults are, sadly, in the writing. Here’s hoping they fix that in season 3 and that someone will tell me about it, cause there’s no way in hell I’m going to keep watching and waiting for it to happen.

9. Burn Notice
Burn Notice is playing it too safe. Granted, it has taken more risks than it did last year, but it still isn’t enough as this show just won’t let go of what once made it great and evolve into something even greater. This season has seen Michael and his friends fighting a conspiracy (dull), being on the run (slightly fun) and then being betrayed by yet another person they trusted. I am this close to giving up on the show, having turned from a guilty pleasure to be a real chore to watch, as the episodic plots are terrible, the plotarcs are highly unconvincing and not fun at all - what they’re missing is a great villain, which this show used to have in spades - and even the characters are fucking awful. I’m honestly just waiting for this to be cancelled or announced an end date, so that I can finish the show and end my (and its) misery.

10. Go On
Ah, Go On. Before anything, I have to say it; I really like Matthew Perry. That, however, is not an excuse to make this. Semi-ripping off Community with the story of a therapy-group, Go On has the characters, the cast and the pathos to make this into a brilliant show. We’ve seen shades of it all throughout it’s first season - I still haven’t seen the last three episodes and I don’t think I will till I get word if this is cancelled or renewed, and has gotten better - but the elements just haven’t been balanced right. I know a lot of comedies need time to find themselves, especially when it comes to their strengths and balance - looking at you here Parks and Recreation, as well as number 10 on my Top 20-list - and I’m hoping that, given a little time, Go On can be a great show. It’s just not quite there yet.

And that’s it. As I said, it’s not been that many really BAD shows this year - at least not that I have seen. It’s mostly been disappointing and frustrating to watch potentially and previously good shows either mess up or not find their balance.

But there was a ton of good stuff too... Which I’ll be getting to later this week, so stay tuned!

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>