TV’s Bottom Feeders for 2014: The Dirty Dozen!

Stalker - Richard Cartwright

Happy New Year!

I thought I’d say farewell to 2014 by excising the memory of the worst television had to offer in the past year. The list is an official Dirty Dozen of shows that were misconceived from the start, or smothered potentially great ideas under the weight of terrible writing (making one wonder how their creators could have even had that good of an idea to begin with).

There are no reality shows here – neither competition or alleged slice-of-life variety does much for me so I tend not to watch them. I haven’t seen everything, so there are probably a ton of awful shows that I have never seen. Feel free to add your thoughts on terrible shows in the comments.

So as to not single out a single worst show of the year, I’ve listed the contenders alphabetically.

Bad Judge (CBS) – hard living single woman in early middle age refuses to grow up in her personal life but is a tough-but-fair judge in court. It coulda been a contender, but the writing was awful and even Kate Walsh couldn’t save it.

Bad Teacher (NBC) – based a frequently funny movie but possessing none of that movie’s best features – the swing from hips gross-out humor, unexpected wit and/or heart. Being a network show, you can understand lessening of the first one, but fatally missing the second and third? Totally unacceptable.

Black Box (ABC) – brilliant neurosurgeon fights her own mental illness without medications of any kind. Inspirational? Nope – Nonsense of the highest order for all that it’s allegedly based on a true story…

The Comeback (HBO) – this is a show you either love or hate. If you love it you find the cringeworthy Valerie’s cringeworthy behavior to be funny. If not, like me, you just find it cringeworthy. This is one of the rare shows where I get what they’re trying to do and I completely get why it works for some people. It just doesn’t work for me.

Criminal Minds (CBS) – see: Stalker

Crossbones (NBC) – everything we expected the Michael Bay produced Black Sails to be – turgid, florid, meandering pap with explosions.

Dominion (Syfy) – an awful adaptation/continuation of a mediocre movie about a war between humans and angels. Misconceived on every level.

Gang Related (FOX) – tried to be the Hamlet of police procedurals. It wound up being the Irving Forbush (look it up…).

Mulaney (FOX) – here’s a stand-up comic who makes shrewd observations about everyday life. Let’s hijack the Seinfeld format and stick him in it. It’ll be brilliant! No. No, it won’t.

The Mysteries of Laura (NBC) – it’s a wacky dysfunctional family sitcom! It’s a seriocomic police procedural! It’s two! Two! Two shows in one! (Pity neither one of them is worth watching…)

Rush (USA Network) – House as a concierge doctor. Meant to be edgier than USA Network’s usual blue sky fare, it turned out to be more soporific than anything else.

Stalker (CBS, pictured) – officially the most misogynistic show on network TV (Criminal Minds drops/climbs to second place). It’s only reason for existing seems be wallowing in the torture of people (most often women) in ways ranging from the psychological to the physical. At least Criminal Minds attempts to place its nastiness in (relatively) decently constructed mysteries.

Dishonorable Mentions: Law & Order: SVU (see: Criminal Minds, Stalker), Dexter (should have gone away a couple seasons back), How I Met Your Mother (talk about losing touch with what your audience wants! As big a miss as the series finale for Star Trek: Enterprise, only it went on for a whole season), Two and a Half Men (featuring – in its final season – as the ‘Half a Man’ – a woman!) and Utopia (I never saw it myself, but few shows have plummeted from the height of hype to not even a memory in such a short time – Lone Star is better remembered for its all of two episodes).

Stalker Photo courtesy of CBS