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50 Worst TV Shows of All Time, According to TV Guide

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From comedies, dramas, action, reality, and everything in between, some TV shows are a hit, and some are a flop. According to ratings, reviews, professional critics, and self-proclaimed movie gurus, these are the worst TV shows ever to hit the airwaves (in no particular order). 

1. Lil' Bush (2007-2008)

Image Credit: Comedy Central.

Lil' Bush faced harsh criticism for its satirical take on political figures. Many viewers found the humor to be in poor taste, as it often relied on crude and juvenile jokes. I guess it was like South Park but not nearly as well-received, though the two shows shared similar styles of humor. 

The show's approach to sensitive political topics, including the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina, was considered by some to be insensitive and offensive. It only lasted two seasons before it got the boot. 

2. The Jerry Springer Show (1991-2018)

Image Credit': Justin Hoch/Wikimedia Commons.

The Jerry Springer Show exploited the misery and conflict of its guests for entertainment. There was always a ridiculous storyline followed by screaming, fighting, clothes flying off, and more, which all felt staged or exaggerated. I never got the appeal, but it lasted quite a long time despite the trashy vibes it gave off. 

3. The Bachelor (2002-Present)

Image Credit: ABC.

Despite the low ratings across platforms like IMDb, The Bachelor has a cult following alongside those who hate the premise. It's a reality dating competition that features a single man choosing a potential partner from a pool of women. 

The show is superficial and unrealistic, on top of promoting weird expectations related to romance and relationships. I have no idea how no one has gotten tired of it after all this time, but here we are 27 seasons later.

4. The Real Housewives (2006-Present)

Image Credit: Evolution Media.

This may be a hot take, but I am not a fan of The Real Housewives franchise. It reminds me of a classier version of Bad Girls Club, which I also disliked. This reality TV series follows the lives of affluent women in various cities. None of it feels authentic, though; it's scripted and sensationalized. It focuses way too much on excessive consumerism, vanity, and drama. 

5. The Swan (2004)

Image Credit: Fox Network.

This idea of going from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan has a lot of harmful side effects when it comes to perpetuating a false idea of beauty. The Swan was a reality makeover show that featured women undergoing extreme physical transformations through plastic surgery, exercise, and counseling. 

The backlash was centered around it being exploitative, unethical, and reinforcing negative body image and low self-esteem. Many viewers found it disturbing, sad, and downright cruel.

6. Fear Factor (2001-2012, 2017)

Image Credit: MTV.

Looking back, I always watched Fear Factor and thought it was as intriguing as it was ridiculous. It featured contestants performing extreme stunts that tested their physical and mental limits. 

Some stunts involved eating gross or live animals, facing phobias, or enduring pain and danger. A lot of people thought it was scripted and unethical, and I can't say I disagree in hindsight. It was still a pretty popular show, but I get why it would be rated poorly!

7. The Apprentice (2004-2017)

Image Credit: NBC Universal, Inc. / Douglas Gorenstein

The Apprentice was a business competition with aspiring entrepreneurs competing for a job offer or a partnership with a successful mogul. They had to complete various tasks that involved selling, marketing, negotiating, or managing a project. 

Some say it was boring, predictable, and played out after the first few seasons. There was always the lingering question as to whether it was an accurate representation of business and leadership. I think not.

8. Saint George (2014)

Image Credit: Wind Dancer Productions

I loved The George Lopez Show, so I was surprised that Saint George was such a disaster. This series was about a successful entrepreneur and wealthy businessman who was recently divorced and juggling the demands of his ex-wife, feisty mother, and kids. 

I hear it was filled with lackluster writing, traditional sitcom tropes, and a distasteful portrayal of Mexican-Americans. The show struggled to connect with a broad audience, leading to low ratings and a short run. 

9. Anchorwoman (2007)

Image Credit: Fox Network.

Anchorwoman was doomed from the beginning. The show revolved around the premise of hiring Lauren Jones, a former adult model with no prior journalism experience, as a news anchor for a small television station in Tyler, Texas. It didn't make it longer than a few episodes, as many feel that she was only ever given the opportunity because of her looks, but she lacked depth.

10. Two and a Half Men (2003-2015)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

Two and a Half Men followed the lives of two brothers, Charlie and Alan, and Alan's son, Jake, who lived together in a beach house. It was crude, vulgar, and chauvinistic, heavily relying on stereotypes, cliches, and repetitive jokes. The show's quality declined after Charlie Sheen left the show in 2011 and was replaced by Ashton Kutcher.

11. Surviving Suburbia (2009)

Image Credit: American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

The problem with Surviving Suburbia was not that it was particularly terrible. It garnered low Rotten Tomatoes scores and unfavorable critic reviews because it was blander than expected. 

Bob Saget played a cynical dad to a delusional daughter and lovestruck son, but he was just a bit too generic to arouse any true comedy. Canned laughs and run-of-the-mill writing could not set the ABC sitcom apart from others, making it one of the least popular TV shows of all time.

12. Joey (2004-2006)

Image Credit: NBC.

Joey was a spin-off of Friends that followed Joey Tribbiani as he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. Although he was hilarious on Friends, spectators often found the show unfunny, unoriginal, and disappointing. It also lacked the appeal of the original characters. The show was a commercial and critical flop that lasted only two seasons.

13. Work It (2012)

Image Credit: y Bob D'Amico – American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Where to start? Work It featured two men who dressed as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical sales reps. The show came across as offensive and transphobic. It also had poor writing, acting, and directing. It was one of the most controversial and hated sitcoms ever made, which got it canceled after only two episodes due to low ratings and backlash.

14. Cavemen (2007)

Image Credit: ABC Studios.

Cavemen was destined to fail because the premise turned a serious topic (oppression) into a joke. These three cavemen live in modern-day San Diego, and they face prejudice and discrimination from humans. The show was criticized for being poorly written with dry humor. The show was a commercial and critical flop that lasted only six episodes.

15. Dads (2013-2014)

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Dads was a sitcom that followed two successful video game developers who had to deal with their intrusive and immature fathers moving in with them. They pretty much just complained about how awful their lives were every episode. 

Countless viewers thought the show was lewd, with too many racist jokes and an uneventful plot. It's a shame because the cast is very talented. The show was one of the most poorly reviewed sitcoms of its time.

16. Mulaney (2014-2015)

Image Credit: Fox.

Mulaney starred comedian John Mulaney as a fictionalized version of himself, trying to make it as a stand-up comic and working as a writer for a game show host. It was just all-around disappointing. It also failed to showcase Mulaney's previous work on Saturday Night Live. The show was often complicated to Seinfeld, except people genuinely hated it. Ouch. 

17. Allen Gregory (2011)

Image Credit: Fox Broadcasting.

Allen Gregory was an animated sitcom that featured a pretentious and arrogant seven-year-old boy who had to attend public school for the first time after being home-schooled by his father and his dad's male partner. 

He was an unlikable and annoying protagonist who was hard to root for or relate to. According to one person online, the show had numerous issues leading to its cancellation, but the person kept coming back to watch each episode. It only persisted for one season, however. 

18. The Neighbors (2012-2014)

Image Credit: ABC Studios.

The Neighbors centered around a family who moved to a gated community and discovered their neighbors were aliens. We've seen wacky stories like this before, so it's not entirely unbelievable to think it could work. 

The biggest commentary on why this show failed was that it didn't offer anything insightful regarding humans and how we accept or interpret diversity. The show itself wasn't necessarily bad, but it never quite gained steam. 

19. Dracula (2013-2014)

Image Credit: NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

Dracula was a drama that reimagined the classic vampire story as a Victorian-era thriller. The show starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula, who posed as an American entrepreneur in London while secretly plotting revenge against his enemies. 

The reason this TV show didn't make it seems to be because of a mixture of expectations for the character and dull execution. The audiences have stated that it's not really scary, not necessarily funny, has no action, and is overall inconsistent in terms of character development. 

20. Marvel's Inhumans (2017)

Image Credit: American Broadcasting Companies, Inc..

Marvel's Inhumans is about a race of superpowered beings who live in a hidden city on the moon. I was expecting great things, especially when you attach the Marvel name to something, but I was highly disappointed. 

The series (if you can call it that) stood out as the worst Marvel adaptation of the year without a doubt. Everything was wrong, from the lighting to the costumes to the confusion regarding superpowers, and so much more. Thankfully, they've had some bangers when it came to movies since then to redeem themselves. 

21. Iron Fist (2017-2018)

Image Credit: Marvel Television.

Iron Fist was a superhero series that showcased Danny Rand, a billionaire martial artist who returned to New York after being presumed dead for 15 years. It was also another Marvel dud! 

The writing was weak, the pacing was slow, no one really bought into the fight scenes, the cast didn't seem to really fit, and it just paled in comparison to other successful Marvel Netflix series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones.

22. Heroes Reborn (2015-2016)

Image Credit: NBC.

In some people's minds, Heroes Reborn should have never been launched when you consider how poorly Heroes ended. Heroes started off strong and slowly lost viewership until it crashed and burned at the end. 

Heroes Reborn was supposed to be a revival of sorts, but most people felt that the sci-fi drama was ultimately confusing, boring, and disappointing. It didn't have the same appeal as the original series and its characters in the slightest. 

23. Terra Nova (2011)

Image Credit: FOX.

Considering that Terra Nova had a pretty good story, it's sad to say it was so short-lived. It was about a family who traveled back in time to a prehistoric era, where they joined a colony of humans trying to save humanity from extinction. 

The show was produced by Steven Spielberg and had a high budget—and that's it. Rumor has it that things were constantly messy behind the scenes when it came to a revolving door of writers, there was no pilot stage, not enough dinosaurs, awful CGI, and no compelling cast members as the lead. At $4 million per episode, there was no way to justify the spending on such a mediocre TV show. 

24. Viva Laughlin (2007)

Image Credit: CBS.

Viva Laughlin was a musical drama that followed an ambitious entrepreneur who wanted to open a casino in Laughlin, Nevada. The show was based on a British series called Viva Blackpool

There were way too many awkward musical numbers that didn't fit the tone or the plot of the show. It tried to be too many things at once, but it had no saving grace. The dialogue was bad, the setting was bad, and the overall direction of the show was just flat. 

25. Cop Rock (1990)

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

When you have a sitcom about police officers who sing and dance while solving crimes and dealing with personal issues, your execution better be top-tier. Unfortunately, that's not how things played out for Cop Rock

It was ridiculous and unrealistic at best. It also featured cheesy songs and choreography that clashed with the serious themes and stories of the show. All in all, it had 11 episodes to impress, and it failed miserably. 

26. The Cape (2011)

Image Credit NBC Universal, Inc.

The Cape was yet another vigilante show that just missed the mark. A former cop becomes a masked vigilante after being framed for a crime he didn't commit. It's not super original, and it didn't stand out. 

David Lyons' special cape was his weapon and ally, and the whole thing was clichéd, corny, and poorly written. Writers also failed to create a compelling hero or villain or to explore the moral dilemmas of vigilantism.

27. Undercovers (2010)

Image Credit: National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

Undercovers was a spy drama about a married couple who were former CIA agents and were reactivated for a special mission. Some folks thought the spy plot was kind of shallow and didn't grab their attention. Plus, there was this feeling that the lead actors, Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, didn't really click on screen, which made it hard to buy into their characters' relationship. 

On top of that, the show often followed predictable and formulaic storylines, so there weren't many surprises. The series got the ax after just one season, which pretty much summed up its struggle to win over a big audience or critical acclaim.

28. Smash (2012-2013)

Image Credit: Universal Television.

Smash followed the creation of a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. There were multiple factors that contributed to its demise. The writing was hit-or-miss, with some storylines and characters shining while others felt melodramatic or underdeveloped.

Some theater buffs thought the show didn't quite capture the real Broadway scene realistically. The show also suffered from behind-the-scenes turmoil and creative changes that affected its quality and direction.

29. The Cougar (2009)

Image Credit: TV Land.

The Cougar was such a bad TV show because it was a cheap imitation of The Bachelorette, but with a twist that was more cringe-worthy than romantic. The show relied on stereotypes and clichés about older women and younger men.

However, it failed to create any genuine connection or chemistry between the contestants. The host, Vivica A. Fox, was the only redeeming factor of the show, but even she could not save it from being a flop. The Cougar should have never been made, let alone aired on TV Land.

30. The Following (2013-2015)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

The Following tried to be a smart and suspenseful crime thriller but ended up being a mess. It had a promising premise and cast but wasted them on a plot that was full of holes, inconsistencies, and absurdities. 

The show also had a disturbing amount of violence and gore, which seemed to be there for shock value rather than storytelling. I didn't personally dislike it, but I can see how it wasn't everyone's cup of tea. I'm also a loyal Kevin Bacon fan, so maybe that helps. 

31. H8R (2011)

Image Credit: Scott Hubert/The CW Network, LLC.

H8R was so bad that it's hard to put into words where it went wrong. It was a pathetic attempt to make celebrities look good by confronting their critics, who were often just ordinary people with valid opinions. 

The show was hosted by Mario Lopez, who seemed to have nothing better to do than to meddle in other people's lives. Viewers also found the confrontations often scripted and uncomfortable. Hard pass. 

32. South Beach (2006)

Image Credit: United Paramount Network (UPN).

South Beach was like a trainwreck you couldn't look away from but for all the wrong reasons. It stumbled through a maze of predictable characters and soap opera-style drama, making you wonder if it was trying to be a telenovela. 

The show's forced dialogue and plot twists left audiences wincing rather than engaged. Despite its sun-soaked Miami backdrop, South Beach ended up being more of a guilty pleasure for bad TV aficionados than a hit.

33. Twenty Good Years (2006)

Image Credit: NBC.

Twenty Good Years kept my attention for twenty good minutes. It was a sitcom that tried to bring the laughs, but it felt more like a missed opportunity. The humor was too reliant on tired, outdated gags and weak punchlines. It needed more wit and originality. Two men in their 60s trying to live life to the fullest had potential, but not quite enough. 

34. Love, Inc. (2005)

Image Credit: Jesse Grant/

Love, Inc. was a romantic comedy series that struggled to find its footing. It was bland and didn't do well at garnering laughs or making you care about the characters. The rom-com was about a group of matchmakers who were ironically unlucky in love.

Instead of exploring the irony, the show focused on jokes and stereotypes. The host was more annoying than amusing, and there was no on-screen chemistry. With only one season, it's safe to say that Love, Inc. didn't find its perfect match among audiences.

35. American Inventor (2006-2007)

This post first appeared on The Financial Pupil, please read the originial post: here

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50 Worst TV Shows of All Time, According to TV Guide


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