Outside of my incrasinagly suicidal Doctor Who reviews, I feel like I don’t review enough bad television nowadays. Christ, it was only a couple of years ago that I spent the winter holed up eating crisps and shouting at the Food Network; sometimes heaping praise on TV (or the new Star Wars movie) gets tiring, and I want to tear into something with all my bottled-up vitriol. So here’s a run-down of the worst pieces of pop culture I’ve seen this year, old and new. Merry Christmas one and all!
Worst Pilot-The 100
Look, I know that everyone loves this show now, and even I can admit that it got better (not enough to convince me to watch an entire season, but still), but my God was this a staggeringly bad opening. The premise- in which one hundred children are dropped back down to Earth after a global evacuation for reasons that failed to imprint themselves on my memory- stank of cashing in on a recent young adult sci-fi boom, and wasn’t helped by the gawky nature of the premiere. The symbolism was as subtle as a marble bust to the back of the head, the dialogue ferociously awful, and the “characters” drifting off into the distance like the scent of a retreating bin lorry. It took me two goes to get through the whole thing.
Most Inexplicable Failure-Breakout Kings
I’ve never been super into procedural shows, but following my love affair with the brilliant How to Get Away with Murder, I decided to give this one a go. It had one of the Macpoyles from It’s Always Sunny in the main cast, for Christ’s sake! But then I actually watched it, and decided to assume for my own sanity that it’s some sort of derangedly po-faced satire on the genre. Following a bunch of inmates matched with police officers to try and capture escapee prisoners, it’s got every dumb renegade-cop-show cliché you could probably imagine, but doesn’t even have the good manners to make them any fun. I refuse to understand how or why this was considered a good idea.
I wrote about this miniseries before, mainly to rant on the historical accuracy (or complete lack thereof), but I think it’s also worth pointing out that this show-which should have been a fascinating biography of one of the most interesting figures of the last century, played by the always-brilliant Adrien Brody, rarely allowed itself to get beyond (somewhat appropriately, I guess) shallow spectacle. And was paced dramatically badly.
Worst Movie-Avengers: Age of Ultron
Of all the films I saw in the cinema this year, this was the one that just straight-up sucked the hardest. I think I tried to be reasonably diplomatic in my review, but as the film has faded in my memory all I can really remember is a jumbled bunch of samey action sequences and allowing my brain to get soothed into a coma by the sound of James Spader’s lovely, lovely voice. In a year with a few cracking blockbusters, AoU was one of the worst examples of the genre I can remember in recent memory. Except my nemesis Man of Steel, of course.
Most Unwatchable Scene of the Year
American Horror Story’s violent spike sodomy. All the ugh.
Worst New Show-Scream Queens
After I watched the first couple of episodes, I kind of dismissed this with a shrug that it didn’t do it’s horror was particularly well handled and forgot about it. But I eventually caught up, and the whole thing had just become a manifestation of Ryan Murphy’s raging id; violent candy hues, intricately horrible violence, and uncomfortable doses of ironic racism at every turn. I mean, this got bad, and not even entertainingly bad- embarrassingly, avert-your-eyes awful. #GetLeaMicheleBacktoBroadway2K15
Worst Performance of the Year
I seem to have gotten all snobby about performances this year, and lots of my reviews have taken time specifically out to rip on certain actors. The two most egregious failures that come to mind are Frank Dillane in Fear the Walking Cashcow, playing a pirate except without all the characteristics that make a pirate fun or cool, and Freema Aygeman in the otherwise superb Sense8 (a small nod has to go to Jenna Coleman’s texted-from-the-inside-of-a-tunnel turn in this year’s Doctor Who, too). John Barrowman in Arrow should probably take the biscuit, but he looks like he’s having too much fun to care.
Worst Episode Ever
The Girl Who Died. The Girl who Murdered the Show I Loved, more like.
So, what were your worst (and best) episodes, characters and shows on TV this year?