While plenty of new shows premiered this year, not all of them were as successful as the networks may have hoped. These comedies and dramas – only three of which are still on air – all failed to meet their potential, earning terrible critical reviews during their time on the small screen. Here are 9 of the worst shows of 2014, in order of premiere date.
1. Friends With Better Lives
The CBS multi-camera comedy, starring James Van Der Beek, Majandra Delfino, Zoe Lister-Jones, Brooklyn Decker, Rick Donald, and Kevin Connolly, followed the lives of six friends, each of whom thinks the others have it better. The show premiered in March, with the network clearly hoping it would serve as a suitable replacement for How I Met Your Mother. The series ended up earning mixed reviews, with critics called the jokes tired and the characters mostly unlikable. CBS eventually ended up canceling the series after airing only five episodes.
Considering its two talented creative forces J.J. Abrams (Star Wars) and Alfonso Cuaron (Oscar-winning director of Gravity), viewers and critics alike had extremely high expectations for the show, which starred Jake McLaughlin, Johnny Sequoyah, Jamie Chung, Kyle MacLachlan, and Delroy Lindo. The series follows a gifted young girl and a man sprung from prison, who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power. Audiences weren’t completely disappointed with the show, giving it a 70% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But critics weren’t as convinced, issuing mixed reviews and a score of 38%. Twelve episodes of the 13-episode first season ended up airing, before NBC canceled the series altogether in May.
3. Bad Teacher
Loosely based on the 2011 film of the same name, the CBS comedy starred Ari Graynor as Meredith Davis, a former housewife determined to meet a rich divorcee so that she can resume her gold-digging ways. She poses as a middle school teacher in order to meet the single fathers of her students. Like the movie, the series earned mixed reviews, with critics calling the plot “one-note” and predictable. The networked canceled the show in May after only three episodes and yanked it off the schedule, although the remaining episodes eventually aired.
Fox had high hopes for its reality show, which premiered earlier in the fall. Based on the Dutch version of the series, the show followed a group of people as they spend a year building a society in rural isolation. The network originally scheduled the series to air two nights a week. But though the premiere performed fairly well, ratings began to decrease with subsequent episodes. That, combined with harsh reviews from both critics and viewers alike, caused the network to pull Utopia from Tuesday nights, leaving it only air on Friday nights. Eventually, the show was canceled altogether.
5. The Mysteries of Laura
Starring Debra Messing, the comedy follows the life of Laura Diamond, an NYPD homicide detective who struggles to balance her day job with her duties a single mother to twin sons, while also trying to get her soon-to-be-ex-husband (who is also her boss) to sign the divorce papers. The show performed well in viewership, causing NBC to extend the order to a full 22-episode season. But though the series has proven to be highly successful for the network in its Wednesday time slot, that hasn’t made it go over any smoother with critics. The series has earned a poor reception with reviewers, who called it “dated.”
6. Manhattan Love Story
The ABC rom-com chronicled the journey of a new couple (played by Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman), as well as the doubts and questions they have about each other from the very moment they meet and begin dating. The series debuted in at the end of September and, like several of the other romantic comedies that hit the small screen around the same time, the show received generally negative reviews from critics. The series became the first new fall entry to get canceled, after just a handful of episodes and lackluster viewership. Still, the show isn’t quite done yet. At the end of November, it was announced that the remaining episodes unaired by ABC would be released in the United States on Hulu.
The police procedural stars Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q as a pair of detectives who investigate stalkers in Los Angeles. The show, which is only of three shows on this list still airing, premiered on CBS in early October, drawing in an impressive 9.05 million viewers. After the first few episodes continues to win top ratings in the Wednesday time slot, the series was ordered for a full first season. Despite that the series started off relatively well-received by viewers, the show has proved controversial and earned mostly negative reviews, with critics calling the storyline hard to watch and labeling the entire series as “exploitative and misogynistic.”
8. Bad Judge
The comedy, which debuted on NBC in early October, starred Kate Walsh as Rebecca Wright, a tough-as-nails judge serving on the Los Angeles County Circuit Court, whose know for partying and displaying reckless behavior during her off-hours. The series underwent its share of problems even before debuting, with showrunner Liz Brixius (Nurse Jackie) exiting in September due to creative differences over the direction of the show. After its premiere, the bad news continued, with the show getting universally panned by critics and earning a poor 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. By the end of October, NBC canceled the series after five episodes, although the network said it would finish airing their 13-episode order.
The Fox sitcom stars stand-up comedian and former SNL writer John Mulaney as a fictionalized version of himself and features him performing stand-up to a studio audience. The network initially issued a six-episode order and then later added 10 episodes. The series premiered on October 5, but was met with widely negative reviews from critics. By October 19, the channel shut down production of the series, reducing the 16-episode order by three episodes. Though the network hasn’t said it’s officially canceled, it’s unlikely the show will return for a second season — especially since ratings haven’t improved.