All right, all right. It’s time for another worst list. This time I’m talking about television. Ah, television. It’s given us so many great programs over the years, so many wonderful characters to love and relate to. So many memorable storylines and epic finales. So many quality programs we’ll remember for years to come. These are not that. These are garbage. To qualify for this list, I simply had to have watched the show at some point this year, though it helps if it also aired this year. They don’t, however, have to have been new shows this year. And I’ve seen some pretty awful programs this year, so let’s get this takedown started:
- Shadowhunters (Premiered January 12, 2016):
Adapted from Cassandra Clare’s hit series The Mortal Instruments, this show went from mediocre to terrible in no time. It was tolerable enough when it followed the plot of the books (albeit loosely), but once they started writing their own plotlines everything went off the rails. So much of the show is either ridiculous or offensive. There’s a complete lack of understanding about what made the books work. Also, in changing things from the books, it made it very difficult to go back to book plot points. Clary’s mother is killed and her romance with Jace is nonexistent. This is why it makes no sense when Clary asks the angel Raziel for Jace’s life back like she does in the books. The two aren’t even that close and her mother is dead, yet she asks for Jace’s life back? Meanwhile, one of my favorite villains (the balls-to-the-wall demonic Sebastian Morgenstern) is ruined. He’s completely nonthreatening and is apparently also a lasagna now. On top of all this, the acting is abysmal. None of the characters have chemistry or even seem alive (with the obvious exception of Alberto Rosende as Simon Lewis). Take into account the numerous problematic cast members (a Trump supporter, an anti-feminist, a cultural appropriator, a homophobe, and a grown man who can’t take criticism from teenagers), and this show is just one giant mess.
2. The Magicians (Premiered January 25, 2016):
A Netflix original series based on the book series of the same name by Lev Grossman, this story sounds like it should be the adult Harry Potter. The story isn’t exactly the same, but college-aged students go to a magic school so it’s close enough to count. The problem is the characters are just so unlikable. I have nothing against unlikable characters in general, but these characters aren’t even unlikable in a good way. They’re just snotty and irritating. Truthfully, I couldn’t even make it through the first full episode. My suspension of disbelief failed when one of the characters Googled the secret, hidden magical school and it came up. Just… what? I gladly left this show behind and will not be giving it a second chance. If you want Harry Potter-for-adults, just wait for the Shades of Magic show/movie.
3. Riverdale (Premiered January 26, 2017):
I didn’t grow up reading the Archie comics. In fact, I didn’t start reading comics at all until last year. So my interest in this show came mainly from the hype surrounding it before it premiered and information I learned from friends on Twitter familiar with the comics. Then I watched the show. At first it was fine, just a typical teen drama. But, somehow, the characters managed to get more and more annoying with each episode. It quickly got to a point where I didn’t even care who killed Jason Blossom; I just wanted everyone to shut up. I jumped ship right as Betty and Jughead (a canon asexual character) began a relationship. The acting was terrible anyway. The show is a gross offender when it comes to queerbaiting. As time has gone on, this cast has also proven itself to be very problematic (a body shamer, lesbophobes, and an alleged abuser). All-in-all, this is another show I was glad to drop before things got immeasurably worse.
4. Friends From College (Premiered July 14, 2017):
I had been looking forward to this Netflix original series for a while before it premiered. I’m a huge Keegan Michael Key fan and the show was sold as a comedy, so I was excited. But when I watched the first episode, I was let down. The show is catty and already has at least one cheating plotline. It seems more along the line of a dramedy than a comedy, which is fine but not what I was prepared for. It was also just… not interesting. We’re told up front these characters are trying to show off for each other and act like their lives are better than they are, but it’s more pathetic than funny. Once again, all the characters are unlikable in the worst of ways. It’s so slow and weirdly makes me feel embarrassed for all involved. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly makes me cringe at this show, but I do. And I hate it. If you haven’t tried this show yet, don’t bother. It is not worth your time.
5. The Orville (Premiered September 10, 2017):
I have eternally mixed feelings about Seth MacFarlane. I used to love Family Guy and still kind of like American Dad, but I don’t believe he’s quite the king of satire his fans think he is. Mostly because… most of what he does is not satire. It’s shock humor. However, being a fan of Star Trek and parody, I was looking forward to this show. I thought it would be along the lines of his Western parody A Million Ways to Die in the West. The problem is… this is not a parody. Seth MacFarlane is very serious about this show. It’s classified as a dramedy, but it’s lacking the drama and the comedy. It’s an average, middle-of-the-road trainwreck. And, seeing as it’s not a parody (or even a pastiche), I can’t help but wonder… how is this allowed? I mean, it’s a blatant Star Trek rip-off. With Family Guy, you could excuse any parallels to The Simpsons and say that they are similar but fundamentally different. Here… it’s literally just a dollar store version of Star Trek. Seth is a mediocre leading man at best, but you get the sense he thinks he’s a bigger presence than he really is. This display of blatant thievery is offensive to me as a consumer and a writer, and only serves as further proof that Seth MacFarlane is a garbage fire of a person. If this show makes it past season one, I will be shocked.
Do you agree with my choices? What were the worst shows you watched this year? Tell me about them in the comments!