The Worst TV of the Decade

by thethreepennyguignol

Let’s face it: there’s been a lot of bad TV this decade. I should know, I’ve written about most of it: Smash, UnREAL, Riverdale. But what is truly the worst of the worst, the true bottom of the barrel that nobody should have been scraping in the first place? Well, I’m here to tell you (my opinion on the matter). Without further ado, let’s get into it!

  1. Sherlock

For a not-insignificant period of time, The Cutprice Guignol was basically a Steven Moffat hate blog. Now, as time has passed, as tempers have cooled, as I have grown to love and accept the world around me more, you might think I’ve left some of that rampant despisement behind me. But, oh, boy, you’d be fuckin’ wrong!

I really considered putting the last few years of his atrocious Doctor Who tenure here, but that still has, at least, Michelle Gomez as Missy, lifting it out of “offensive waste of my time” and into “offensive waste of her time”. But Sherlock? No, Sherlock is different

Helmed by Moffat and co-conspirator Mark Gatiss, Sherlock is a show that almost, almost convinces as something good. All flash and bang and solid performances and wise-cracking scripts, we were all fooled, including me, into thinking that it was a decent piece of television for a while. But it didn’t take long before that began to unpeel at the seams.

Where to begin, really? With their complete fuck-up of Irene Adler? With that grindingly ill-informed Women’s Suffrage episode? With that insult of a final season? Aside from the stupidly convoluted and frequently idiotic writing, the show almost deserves lauding for taking a series written a century ago and somehow making it less progressive, and didn’t even have the good manners to at least make it fucking entertaining to make up for it. Fuck you, Sherlock, and fuck me for deciding to review Gatiss and Moffat’s Dracula adaptation because I just can’t resist a trainwreck.

2. American Horror Story – Apocalypse

Now, I was spoiled for choice when it came to AHS. Where,from this delicious selection of genuinely bad television, should I look for the worst of the worst? Which spike-rape was the most egregious, which talented actor the most wasted?

But there is only one answer to that question, really, and that is Apocalypse. I would warn you of spoilers ahead, but that would be to imply that I actually viewed this as a story. As my increasingly deranged reviews of the season at the time chronicle, this season of TV basically amounted to Mister Ryan Murphy, Esquire, walking into my house and wrestling ten hours of my life brutally out of my hands.

This is, after all, a season which retconned its own fucking existence by the time the ending rolled around. One that made me sit through the return of The Worst Season (till then), to sit through extraordinarily talented actors playing multiple roles of which none were even fucking good, one with so many Stevie Nicks musical breaks that it could be mistaken for a New Year’s Eve special…my blood pressure rises when I think for even one brief second that I took this bullshit ten-episode run as anything other than a thumbed nose to the actual quality that this show once lay claim to.

Oh, and that Tate and Violet retcon? An act of war against me personally. And if anyone thinks that this turn of the decade will make me forget that, they are sorely, sorely mistaken.

3. The Walking Dead

Ah, tragedy comes in many forms, but none so potent as the show that lost its way. The Walking Dead, for a while, was a really serviceable little zom-dram, packed with great performances and interesting characters and a broad, diverse cast once they got over killing off all their black male characters.

So, where did it go wrong? I’ll tell you where: when it realized it was actually a TV show. You know, one with fan favourites who couldn’t be killed off, one with season finales they had to deliver Big Moments in, one that had to deal with actors and writers and, you know, the real world at large.

Throw in a real loss of bite (heh) when it comes to the plots and arcs at hand, and The Walking Dead swiftly descended into just about any other low-effort bullshit on TV. Only problem was, we had seen how good it could be, and the schlocky descent into plot-armour worship and Jeffery Dean Morgan yelling and leaning just wasn’t up to scratch any longer. I would make a joke about the show being a zombiefied version of what it once was, but you’ve already cracked it. And frankly, everything about this show just needs to die already. Including this little segment on it.

So, those are my worst shows of the decade – what stands out to you as a real suckfest? Was it bad from the start, or did it take that turn later? What let you down and what never pulled you in from the start? Let me know in the comments below, and, as ever, please consider supporting me on Patreon if you enjoyed this article. You can also check out our best-of-the-decade movies over on No But Listen!

(header image via Radio Times)