The Critics Have Spoken: The 25 Worst TV Shows Ever To Hit The Small Screen
With the variety of streaming platforms, digital cable networks and primetime, television shows are gaining universal acceptance by the day. However, a few quack shows have managed to slip through the crack of the TV industry over the years. Although not every TV show will trend like Game of Thrones, some TV shows have highly questionable concepts. And that has made some people wonder why they ever got a green light in the first place. This list is a product of critics review, and if your favorite show happens to make it here, we apologize in advance; but the reviews and ratings have spoken.
The Jerry Springer Show
Although The Jerry Springer Show aired for 27 seasons and over 3, 800 episodes, it fell out of favor among TV shows fans and reviewers. Little wonder why a TV review dubbed it "the worst show in the history of television." The show made its debut in the fall of 1991 and surprisingly had a long run.
We are not sure if anyone would expect any high-brow performance from a show with episodes titled "Your Groom Is A Cheater," "I'm Leaving My Baby Mama," and "A Man Marries a Horse." Springer commented on the show by saying:
I would never watch my show," so take those reviews as you will, and watch with discretion.
My Mother the Car
If you are one of those yet to view the 1965 comedy series, My Mother Car, then, you've probably missed nothing than the movie title. In this drama, you will find an attorney who acquired a vintage car. Unknown to him, the car was his reincarnated deceased mother. That is the theme of the show. Then, the reincarnated 'mother' in the form of car talks to the attorney through the vehicle, and amusement ensues. What a drama, indeed!
Later on, the show-runners further confused viewers by doing away with the laugh-track. At times, the series could have a more serious tone taking away the comedy part. Also, certain parts which could have projected as comedy often fell flat, and that seems boring to people. That confusion probably won My Mother Car an honorable #2 spot on TV Guide's list of Worst TV Shows.
The Cop Rock was fortunate enough to come up when the TV industry was facing problems much like those it confronts today. Peoples were away from network TV and embracing new entertainment options such as video games and VCRs. Since an anything-goes mindset filled the air, ABC offered viewers the Police drama presented as a musical in 1990.
In the series, criminals rapped, officers sand and judges announced their verdict by bursting into gospel tunes. The series which tend to tell a cop-shop story with the Broadway musical turned out a high-profile failure and ridicule on the TV Guide ranking list.
The aftermath of M*A*S*H, which should have been a respectable move, ended up a thrash movie of the original. The TV series was an ill-advised movie as a follow-up to M*A*S*H. AfterMASH was only able to bring back on board three casts from the original series.
While M*A*S*H won a place in the mind of almost everyone as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, AfterMASH was named among "100 Worst Ideas of The Century" by the TIME Magazine. The show was an unnecessary addition because it explored similar themes as its predecessor. Many think we all leave AfterMASH out of memory for M*A*S*H legacy to continue.
The Flying Nun
The American sitcom took its base from a 1965 book- The Fifteenth Pelican, written by Tere Rios. The Flying Nun starred the Sally Field, the multiple Academy Award winners, who played the role of Sister Bertrille. Sister Bertrille, the novice nun, had the ability to fly.
Reminiscing the nostalgic movie which debuted about 50 years ago, one person who won't be indulging in a fond look back is Sally Field. In the words of the lady with aerodynamic ability in the movie:
I am is still embarrassed by her participation in the series.
Given the review and ranking of TV guide ranking list, we can see why Sally Field feels that way.
People have almost endless love for M*A*S*H, and that made it a national treasure in the mind of TV show viewers. Because of the love and acceptance of the movie, one might want to presume that anyone involved in the series would automatically fall in the good books of people. Alas, this assumption didn't work for the McLean Stevenson (Lt. Colonel Henry Blake) who starred in Hello, Larry.
Hello, Larry packed off the air only after two seasons, as it speedily turned from "the great white hope to the butt of jokes," as per Rolling Stone. Larry Alder (McLean Stevenson) is a radio talk show host who left Los Angeles for Portland, Oregon with his two daughters after being divorced. People couldn't get on board with Larry despite Stevenson's pedigree in M*A*S*H.
The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer
Will network officials ever learn that some concepts can stand as the topic of a sitcom, to illustrate, slavery in pre-Civil War America? The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer stirred up controversies even before its debut in 1998 because of the perceived light-hearted stand on the issue of American slavery.
The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer focuses on a Black English nobleman who became a butler to President Abraham Lincoln after fleeing England due to gambling debts. The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer became more preposterous when it portrayed all White House officials as inept drunks, and Lincoln as one with stereotypical gay affections.
The Chevy Chase Show
The premise of The Chevy Chase Show was a great idea, and it has ingredients that seemed to make a recipe for success. But somehow, the movie didn't pass the rating of TV series reviews. Instead, the film that starred the highly praise spell Chevy Chase of Saturday Night Live turned out a catastrophic failure of late-night television.
In the words of Time Magazine, "Nervous and totally at sea, Chase tried everything, succeeded at nothing." Also, the movie got an F from a TV critic, Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly. But luckily for Chase, he continued in his film career with a streak of success after The Chevy Chase Show cancellation.
Homeboys in Outer Space
The American science fiction sitcom aired between 1996 and 1997, and it starred Flex and Darry Bell. The plot centers on Tyberius "Ty" Walker (Flex) and Morris Clay (Bell); the two homeboys who flew across the universe in a space ship named 'Space Hoopty.' The flying car, which was piloted by a talking computer (named Loquatia) was a cross between 18-wheeler and a low rider.
The whole arrangement of the movie is what you can't just make up. No wonder the reviews were hard on the science fantasy movie. A critic once described Homeboys in Outer Space as stunning but clumsy and tasteless. Another designated the writing, acting, and production of the film as 'merely sloppily indifferent.' Homeboys in Outer Space shot for the megastars, so they fell, we respect their effort nonetheless.
Critics are still confounded about the film which focuses on three cave dwellers trying to navigate life in modern-day San Diego. It is a surprise why someone would think that turning a popular 30-second Geico auto insurance advertisement into a thirty-minute situational comedy would yield good results. Spoilers didn't rest on the Caveman; the reviews were savage altogether.
In the words of a critic from the New York Post, "It became clear to me that Cavemen is extinct on arrival." While the Variety review accorded the film an utterly flavorless exercise, American daily newspaper (The Boston Globe) described as the stalest pieces of bread in the loaf and certainly the most tasteless.
We agree that not every show can be Law and Order: SVU (the longest-running crime procedural on TV to date). But, the 'Killer Instinct' didn't even come close. The movie which, set in San Francisco starred detective Jack Hale in the SFPD Deviant Crime Unit.
While some TV viewers went easy on the movie, others didn't forgive the ineptitude film. Miami Herald modestly called it 'A mess,' and 'Persuasively disappointing' were the words The New York Times employed in describing the clumsy movie. But the Francisco Chronicle had no restraint; it wrote: 'As it stands, you won't see any worse acting across the broadcast spectrum…The writing is atrocious. The series is horrifically bad.'
Just like the name Woops!, the short-lived comedy is a concept of dismay, which deserves an apology from its viewers. The show featured two kids who accidentally wiped out humanity save a combination of six characters. They achieved that by setting off a nuclear missile. That was altogether a funny idea to people. What could be more amusing than a nuclear holocaust engineered by two kids?
Alas, lots of things are funnier than the quick idea of the Woops! The show could not continue after 13 episodes of just a season. It seems Newsday was right about the film. In their words, it could have been the funniest show in the world, if there was a nuclear war, really, and this was the only one show left."
Hogan's Heroes won two Emmy awards during its six-season spell. If you liked World War II, you'll love Hogan's Heroes!" was the tagline for the comedy series. Its focus was on a POW camp during WWII. Unfortunately, the movie ranked #5 on TV Guide's list of Worst Shows of All Time and various outlets agreed with that rating.
Considering the awful devastation of WWII, we are unsure if anyone would agree with the movies' tagline or like the movie itself. It seems trivializing a terrible memory of WWII didn't go well among viewers, and that has affected the overall acceptance of Hogan's Heroes. That was unfortunate for the movie, but, maybe a POW camp shouldn't have been taken for a joke. choppy
Okay, you might be surprised why this series made our list but read to find out. Following the popularity of Baywatch when it just started, one will be right to say it is a good one. However, we know better now because the series did not make it past the first season before NBC canceled it due to low viewership.
The show was about some lifeguards' unimaginable lives. Running in slow motion was a unique skill they had. Following Miami Herald's review, the show might have been called “Sullying Sand ‘n’ Surf with Silly Stories.”
The Powers of Matthew Star
The genre, science fiction is one of the most treasured movie genres. Thus, it was not surprising to see The Powers of Matthew Star garner early popularity among viewers. It is a Sci-fi centered around a high school student, Matthew Star. He is a superpower alien also, a prince from planet Quadris.
Although the series started well, viewers began to lose interest midway in the only season because of a significant change in the storyline. The turning point was when Matthew and Walt, his alien guardian, were recruited as the US government's secret agents. The show was eventually canceled.
Sometimes, viewers influence the decision of TV houses to stage a comeback for certain shows. It was the case of Galactica 1980. The show was an answer to fans call for ABC to revive the canceled Battlestar Galactica TV show. However, viewers soon found out they had made a mistake.
Obviously, not much was spent on staging Galactica 1980, as only a few of the original cast were included. Because of this act of reducing the production cost, the series did not air more than 10 episodes.
The TV show Black Scorpion is about Darcy, the lead actress. She was a regular policewoman during the day that was able to stay clear from driving the regular black Ford Crown Victoria that the majority of the cops drive. Instead, being extraordinary, she drives a no ordinary white Corvette.
At night, Darcy is a Black Scorpion. Not only that, her Corvette changes into a Scorpionmobile, and it comes with all sorts of sci-fi equipment. Many critics said the script lacked substance. Here is what the Boston Herald reported: “This series looks like a sad refuge for actors down on their luck.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt played the role of Melinda Gordon in the TV series Ghost Whisperer. The newlywed owns an antiquity shop and can relate with dead people. Her assignment and the theme of the series is to see earthbound spirits complete their unsettled businesses so that they can pass on. It is considered up to standard for a sci-fi.
The audiences were to an extent interested in the supernatural series which aired a total of five seasons. However, critics seemed to think of the series as substandard. To give you an idea, check out the way Philadelphia Inquirer described Ghost Whisperer: "Dim-bulb junk."
Considering that Flying High was an airline show, one is not surprised at the initial level of interest from audiences. However, that interest gradually faded away following the supposed bad idea of having three inexperienced women - Marcy, Lisa, and Pam playing the lead roles. The women played the role of three hostesses working for a fictional Sun West Airlines of Los Angeles.
The show crash-landed soon after and could not be continued after the first season. Critics and viewers' reactions were not encouraging in any way, especially as the show was considered exploitative. According to People Magazine, the show painted a picture that women were curiously old-fashioned, if not stereotypical.
Not many people know about the show Co-Ed Fever because it only aired a few times. Unlike the National Lampoon's Animal House, that inspired it, the frat house comedy did not crack up audiences that much.
After the premiere episode "Pepperoni Passion" aired just two weeks before the planned debut, CBS canceled the show. Although Co-Ed Fever was not the only three frat house comedy show affected, it does not change the fact that the 1979 TV show failed so fast.
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
Looking at The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, one will say it is always better to leave the stage when the ovation is loudest. Probably ABC should not have come up with the idea after the success of The Brady Bunch. It was just some sort of spinoff that the audiences did not seem to like much. The premise painted a show inside a show, that is, more like the Bradys having to star in an ABC variety show.
The show required the Bradys to sing and dance, things they were not good at doing. Although it did not matter to them, the audiences did not see it that way. It was only one of the original cast member, Eve Plumb, that thought it wise to opt-out of the show - The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
Hee Haw Honeys
Hee Haw Honeys is another show that somehow made our list though its parent show, Hee Haw was a success. The show, which featured some of the big names in the industry back then, could not attain the same height the parent show attained.
The show followed the same style as its parent show as it had similar hillbilly cornpone humor except that critics and viewers considered it less humorous. It was a show, which took place at a truckstop showcasing two roadside diner's stewardesses - the Honeys. Kathie Lee Gifford and Misty Rowe played the roles.
Manimal failed from the very beginning, standing no chance at all because of some reasons. Apart from the poor choice of title, the unintelligent premise was a disaster. Again, it had a very tough competition from Dallas, which was famous among viewers.
The main character in the TV series was Dr. Jonathan Chase, a British professor, who was capable of shape-shifting into any animal. The shape-shifting was not responsible for the cancellation of the series, especially as Dr. Chase solved several crime cases with his unique ability. However, critics slaughtered the series with only eight episodes aired.
Life With Lucy
Life With Lucy turned out to be a career misstep for legend Lucille Ball. The show happened to have been a little behind time following its material. Washington Post summed it all like this: "Reruns of Life With Lucy may have a future as a torture device for use on captured KGB agents and drug smugglers."
Nevertheless, Ms. Ball still commands lots of respect and admiration to herself because of the success of I Love Lucy. However, the argument regarding how stale Life With Lucy is continues to linger on till date.
The theory that anything that can go wrong will go wrong in Murphy's Law seems to have affected the unpopular TV show. The audiences were not particularly impressed with the storyline, which presented Daedalus Patrick Murphy as a problematic fraud investigator in the insurance sector. Thus, the show stopped airing prematurely.
Here is how Newsday reviewed Murphy's Law: "A series so monumentally meaningless, so pathetically puerile, so irredeemably ridiculous that, within my limited professional context, it prompts the Biggest Question of them all: Why is there a television?"