10 of the Worst TV Shows of 2016
Though 2016 has brought us plenty of great TV (Stranger Things, American Crime Story), not every new show has been a winner. These freshman comedies and dramas failed to impress this year, earning lackluster responses from critics and audiences alike. From February’s Fuller House to this fall’s Notorious, here are 10 of the worst TV shows of the year.
1. Fuller House
Netflix’s revival of the classic family sitcom may hold a certain nostalgia-fueled appeal for diehard Full House fans, but most others would probably agree that the show has little to offer besides that. Though all of the original cast members make a cameo at some point or another, that alone isn’t enough to make up for the show’s wildly bad jokes and overly contrived scenarios — let alone justify its creation in the first place. Despite the poor reviews (32% on Rotten Tomatoes), the show is reportedly one of Netflix’s most widely-watched series and will air a second season in December.
2. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
CBS didn’t do viewers any favors by greenlighting this critically panned extension of the Criminal Minds franchise. Currently holding a 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Beyond Borders has been slammed not only for relying on the same boring tropes of its predecessors, but also for its clunky world views that seemingly stoke the flames of xenophobia. Despite its problematic storytelling, Beyond Borders is helped by the popular brand it’s attached to. To that end, CBS has already renewed the drama for a second season.
A&E’s midseason entry, based on the horror film series The Omen, didn’t work on any level. The show’s attempted scares fell flat, largely weighed down by a ludicrous plot and bad direction. Adding insult to injury? The central character, Bradley James, isn’t particularly interesting or believable. Between the show’s terrible reviews (resulting in a pitiful 11% on Rotten Tomatoes) and bad ratings, A&E had plenty of reason to cancel the series after one season.
Heartbeat flatlined very fast and it’s not hard to see why. The medical drama, based on the real life of Dr. Kathy Magliato, was chock-full of genre cliches and plot devices that seem lifted straight from stronger titles, like Grey’s Anatomy. This, combined with unlikable characters explains why the show earned only a 21% Rotten Tomatoes score. Following disappointing ratings, NBC officially axed the show before its series finale.
Wow, this show is bad. SyFy’s new series, following an FBI agent who joins a secret government unit to hunt a group of alien terrorists, has earned a literal 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Why? Between the low-budget look and heavy reliance on genre clichés, it’s hard to find anything good to say about this freshman entry (based on Whitley Strieber’s best-selling novel, Alien Hunter). And it seems viewers agreed. Midway through its 13-episode season, the show was abruptly pushed back to a midnight time slot due to poor ratings. Needless to say, it won’t be returning for a second season.
Much was made about Netflix’s first ever talk show, which featured the return of Chelsea Handler to TV and was advertised as a one-of-a-kind late night series that doesn’t have to adhere to the typical broadcast formula. But despite its “anti-talk show” billing, Chelsea doesn’t feel particularly different. The comedian still kicks off every episode with a speech that sounds suspiciously like a monologue (although she insists it’s not), followed by an interview with an evergreen celebrity. Plus, the loose structure — clearly meant to be appealing and casual — just feels awkward and clumsy.
Despite landing high-profile guests, the show has made little splash since its debut and is one of the worst-reviewed shows from Netflix’s lineup. Fortunately for Handler, the company is big on second chances. The show has already been renewed for a sophomore season.
7. Feed the Beast
With two strong leads (David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess) and an acclaimed network like AMC backing it, Feed the Beast seemed to have all the makings of a great crime drama. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to its promise. The show’s convoluted plotting and unlikable characters earned it a low 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. It proved equally unappealing to audiences, failing to crack 1 million viewers in any of its episodes. Given its poor reception, it’s no surprise that AMC decided to cancel the show after only one season.
Even Hayley Atwell can’t save this overly formulaic law procedural, which has proven to be disappointing in more ways than one. The show, which marks Atwell’s return to the network after the cancellation of Agent Carter, has failed to resonate with either critics or audiences. Scoring a low 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, the series has been panned for its conventional trappings and mediocre storylines. It also hasn’t fared well ratings-wise. After airing one of the lowest-rated premieres of the season, the show has continued to see a decline in viewership. Unsurprisingly, ABC recently announced it won’t be ordering additional episodes of the drama, although the network has retained its options on the cast.
ABC’s new drama has proven to be a poor fill-in for the network’s Thursday night block. The series, which served as a replacement for Scandal this fall, earned dismal reviews ahead of its debut — and for good reason. This is far from ShondaLand standards, despite its clear attempts to replicate that twisted, dramatic tone. As if the 25% Rotten Tomatoes score isn’t bad enough, it also failed to impress ratings-wise, only garnering an average of 4.1 million viewers per episode. Though the show has not been officially canceled, ABC reduced the number of episodes from 13 to 10 in October — not a good sign for its future.
10. Crisis in Six Scenes
Woody Allen’s highly-hyped Amazon series — which he wrote, directed and starred in — proved to be a major disappointment. The comedy earned dismal reviews, scoring a 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics slammed the show for being “talk-heavy” and “unfunny.” To be fair, Allen himself called the development process “very, very difficult” and said he “regretted every second” since agreeing to the project, so that should’ve been fair warning.
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