The Best Performances in Bad TV Shows

by thethreepennyguignol

So, we love a little blog synergy around here, right? Well, this week over at our film blog No But Listen, we’ve been looking at the best performances in bad movies, and that got me to thinking – who fills that gap on the small screen? So many bad shows to choose from, so little time, but I’ve narrowed it down to my three favourites. To the list!

  1. The Penguin/Oswald Coppblepot – Gotham

I have spent enough time in my sweet, short life roasting Gotham already, but hey, what’s a few more paragraphs for old time’s sake? Gotham is a show of such astonishing garbage that my partner tried to intervene me voluntarily watching three seasons as it could probably be considered at act of violence against the self. But, that all said: this show could get it’s villains, temporarily and occasionally, right. From Cory Michael Smith as the Riddler, to Cameron Monaghan as not-the-Joker-no-siree-bob, about the only compelling reason to watch this show was for the delightful adaptations of these in-utero Batman villains. None better than Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin/the star of far too many Eniggobleplot slashfics that I didn’t spend one slow July reading my way through in their entirely. He’s genuinely unsettling, swerving between pathetic and imposing, and watching his slow bloom into full villainy is the excuse I gave myself to watch far too much of this show.

2. Malcolm Merlyn – Arrow

I hated dark, edgy DC before it was cool. I’ve expressed my distaste for the gruellingly self-serious Arrow before, but the one bright spot in this funerial dirge of a show is John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn. He’s been plucked straight from an episode of the (great, season one version of) The Flash– you can practically still the ink still drying on him, he’s so comic-book ready, so wildly over the top and howlingly camp that I’m surprised he wasn’t scooped up for the similarly Saturday morning cartoon-toned Legends of Tomorrow.

3. Carol Peletier – The Walking Dead

Now, maybe this is a little unfair, because The Walking Dead has been a good show – but it’s also, undeniably, one of the worst shows on TV right now. This is a show that even in its death spiral has had a number of excellent performance – I have The Walking Dead to thank for introducing me to the inimitable Merrit Wever, for example – but none has endured more than Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier. Her arc has honestly been one of the most impressive things I’ve seen on any TV show, and it’s this gruelling, painful, raw performance that elevated it to that status. Watching Carol rise from an abused mother and wife into an intimidating and ruthless killing machine is the female Walter White arc that I’ve been waiting for, and McBride has my eternal respect for managing to hash out such a brilliant character in the midst of this clusterfuck of a show.

Who stands out as a bright light in a terrible show? Let me know in the comments below! And head over to No But Listen to check out our best performances in bad movies lists, part one and two here.

(header image via Bustle)