Every network and streaming service has at least one show that is a total misfire. That’s especially the case on network TV, although our favorite cable channels and streaming services occasionally produce a stinker, too.
A lot of these horrifically bad shows get canceled quickly, but some are still airing right now. Let’s look at the absolute worst shows — that haven’t been officially canceled yet — on each major network and streaming service. One of the most terrible shows on TV features a disappointed Hollywood star (page 9).
NBC doesn’t have anything too egregiously awful on the air right now — at least not since it canceled Taken. But compared to its other shows, Marlon has not received great reviews, as it holds a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In his review for The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Fienberg argued the show’s biggest issue is simply too much Marlon. “In giving himself a vehicle that showcases a lot of the things he does very well, Wayans has made a family comedy in which the family contributes almost nothing and is consistently fading into the background behind an oversized lead performance.”
Next: This show hoped to become the next Empire.
The network hoped to replicate the success of Empire with Star; it even comes from the same creator, Lee Daniels. But viewers have not received this musical nearly as well, with a score of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics’ consensus reads, “Despite Queen Latifah’s strong performance, Lee Daniels’ Star is weighed down by sloppy melodrama and overly cartoonish stereotypes.”
The Chicago Tribune explained that the series is a combination of terrible TV movies and mediocre pop songs, and it “suffers from stilted dialogue and a narrative so sloppy it overshadows the show’s more redeeming qualities.”
Next: This ABC show managed to get a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 10%.
In March 2017, Netflix’s Iron Fist left Marvel fans quite disappointed. But they had no idea how bad it could get; later that year, ABC debuted Inhumans, by far the worst-reviewed entry into the MCU to date.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Inhumans holds an embarrassingly low score of 10%. This isn’t one of those cases where critics dismissed a show but hardcore fans liked it. No, just about everyone seemed to hate this thing. But somehow, ABC hasn’t canceled it yet.
Next: This recent CW series is one of the lowest-rated shows on TV right now.
Network: The CW
Starring Lucy Hale, Life Sentence follows a young woman who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer but who learns she is going to live after all. The show holds a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critics’ consensus reading, “Life Sentence avoids asking tough questions about serious issues, settling instead for a cloying sweetness.”
In a particularly negative review, The Boston Herald wrote that the show’s “humor is cringey, its dramatic moments rarely authentic. I’m hard pressed to think of another show in recent memory that gave you so little reason to tune in the following week.”
Life Sentence struggled to find an audience right off the bat, and the ratings have been flat out horrible ever since. The series’ lowest-rated episode so far only drew 400,000 viewers.
Next: This show on Netflix managed to get a Rotten Tomatoes score of 0%.
Netflix has its fair share of low-quality originals, from Iron Fist to Between. But by far the worst-reviewed original show on the streaming service is Real Rob, which holds a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rob Schneider stars in this series as himself, i.e. Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. But the show has been criticized for being derivative and at times downright offensive. Common Sense Media said that the series is “painfully unfunny” and full of “jaw-dropping stereotypes.”
Despite this, Netflix actually gave Real Rob a second season, which premiered two years after the first one. And according to Schneider’s Twitter page, he’s currently working on a third season that absolutely nobody asked for.
Next: This Amazon original show can’t do its inspiration justice.
Most of Amazon’s current shows receive fairly positive reviews. But its lowest-rated series currently is Lore, based on the popular podcast. It holds a score of 65% on Rotten Tomatoes (another case where the series is the least good and not exactly the “worst”).
Lore demonstrates why not all podcasts work well on TV. It mixes narration with re-enactments, but the re-enactments are never compelling. We just want to listen to the narration; in other words, we want the podcast experience instead. Still, Lore was popular enough to earn a Season 2, even as many of Amazon’s shows were canceled.
Next: It’s not clear if the network will keep airing this horrible show.
Network: Paramount Network
Technically, Paramount Network (formerly Spike) has not aired Heathers yet; it was delayed in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting. But the pilot was available online for long enough for viewers to see how terrible this reboot is.
The show holds a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Hollywood Reporter arguing that it’s “a one-note disappointment, taking certain surface-level detours from the movie and adding precious little scathing insight of its own.” Others hated it even more; Birth.Movies.Death called it a “hateful, bigoted exercise in regression hiding behind the guise of dark comedy.”
It’s not even clear when or if Paramount will actually air Heathers. But based on its reception, scrapping it entirely may be for the best.
Next: This TBS show just doesn’t work.
The Guest Book
TBS doesn’t have any shows on-air right now that are really bad. But critics consider The Guest Book to be the least good. Every episode of this comedy focuses on different vacationers staying at a rental cottage.
The first season earned a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. Both the positive and negative reviews tend to agree the show is a mixed bag with plenty of highs and lows. Variety argued it “lacks jokes that land, which is a problem, considering this is a more conventional single-camera comedy that more openly promises laughs. It rarely delivers.”
Next: This HBO show came from a popular creator but received negative reviews.
Here and Now
This network doesn’t tend to produce many terrible shows; if it has a new original out, it will likely be good. But of its current programs, one is a complete miss: Here and Now.
Even though it comes from Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball, critics found it unfocused, trite, and flat-out boring. In a scathing review, TV Line called Here and Now “a crushing disappointment: an insufferably mopey family drama that’s as dull and meaninglessly vague as its title.” On Rotten Tomatoes, the show holds a score of 24% — one of the worst-reviewed HBO shows ever.
Next: This cliche show will still get a second season.
You can expect the vast majority of FX’s shows to meet a certain standard of quality. Right now, it doesn’t have anything on the air that is downright awful.
But the current FX show with the most mixed reviews is Snowfall; the first season earned a score of 61% on Rotten Tomatoes. Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall argued the series is cliche and poorly paced, noting it “oddly feels sluggish and rushed at the same time.” Snowfall will return for a second season, though, which could potentially be an improvement.
Next: A Hollywood star can’t rescue this AMC show.
Not long ago, AMC had two of the greatest shows ever — Mad Men and Breaking Bad — airing at the same time. These days, its slate is not nearly as prestigious, although it does have some solid series.
But critics are not super into The Son, which earned a score of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus: The show is bogged down by “sluggish pacing, hasty direction, and superficial execution.” This was a case where most critics didn’t really find the show to be spectacularly bad; it was just nothing special or worth recommending, even with Pierce Brosnan on-board.
Next: This show got the Big Bang Theory‘s old time-slot.
9JKL starts with a terrible title and goes downhill from there. By far the worst-reviewed show on CBS right now, it has a shockingly low Rotten Tomatoes score of 13%. Considering the many bad shows from CBS, being this terrible is almost an accomplishment.
When it premiered, The Daily Beast called this the worst sitcom nobody’s watching. “Crass, but not clever, and wallpapered with caricatures, stereotypes, and tired tropes, the series is getting the cold shoulder from viewers too, miffing the Big Bang Theory lead-in it was gifted for its debut.” Variety called the show “generally both bland and obvious.”
The critics aren’t alone, as the series also has an IMDB score of just 4.8 out of 10.
Next: Despite coming from an acclaimed comedian, this Showtime show earned negative reviews.
I’m Dying Up Here
Jim Carrey drew upon his own experiences for the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, about the stand-up comedy scene in the ’70s. But the show received mixed reviews, earning a score of 51% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics’ consensus reads, “Its attempts at affecting drama are undermined by subpar writing and a muddled focus.”
Variety noted it doesn’t have anything interesting to contribute to the ever-growing genre of shows about comedians. The publication wrote:
The series spends a lot of time on truths that are fairly well known — i.e., that standups are generally damaged, difficult people who have trouble with intimacy and both cheer and envy the success of their peers. But the show doesn’t spend quite enough time and effort on the kind of deeply textured character development that would allow it to stand out in a crowd.
Next: Critics have called this Hulu show predictable and uninteresting.
Hulu doesn’t have too many huge, breakout shows outside of The Handmaid’s Tale, but it also doesn’t have many shows that are notoriously awful. But one of its least enjoyable is Freakish, a zombie show with a cast consisting largely of social media stars.
It’s more of a teen soap than a horror series, and Variety panned it by writing, “The show never quite becomes interesting enough to transcend either the dully predictable beats of zombie horror or the plodding angst of young adulthood.”
Although Hulu doesn’t release numbers, this would appear to be one of its least popular shows. Even on IMDB, the reviews lean negative; the show holds a score of 6.6 out of 10.
Next: This show is based on one of the most popular superheroes of all time, so why isn’t it a hit?
Krypton is yet another superhero TV series, but it’s unfortunately not one of the better ones. It takes place on Superman’s homeworld 200 years before his birth, with the main character being Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather.
Critics’ reviews have been mixed, with the show earning a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics’ consensus reads, “Krypton‘s eccentricity declines into silliness with a dull narrative that fails to fulfill a promising premise.”
In general, critics felt the show suffers from a number of problems, not the least of which was the fact that delving this far into Superman’s backstory just isn’t that enthralling. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Any series that looks and feels, at least 50 percent of the time, like a spoof is already in a pretty bad spot. But if that series gives off the vibe that the characters inside it look completely uninspired, then you have a whopper of a problem.”
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