You didn’t think I’d let the year end without doing this list, did you? To hell with the holiday spirit!
1. The Writers’ Strike. You need not have a side in this confict to hate it, so long as your side happens to be opposite a TV screen filled with reruns and game shows. Pay the freakin’ writers and end it already!
2. On the Lot. This much-hyped, tedious directors’ competition from Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg did more to make America hate the movies than The Golden Compass.
3. Big Shots. Not just bad, but obnoxious, gross and unpleasant–and all this with a cast of accomplished male leads. That’s not just bad TV, that’s an accomplishment.
4. 24. Yes, I put this show on my All-TIME 100 TV shows list this year. No, season 6 of 24 did not make that decision easy. Being implausible and over-the-top is OK; recycling implausible and over-the-top scenarios from your first five seasons is not.
5. The 1/2 Hour News Hour. Is funny conservative political comedy possible? Sure. Is Fox News capable of creating it? Not intentionally.
6. Entourage. This is more about badness vs. potential. A once-excellent show that became this meandering and irrelevant deserves to be on a worst list, if only to keep it honest.
7. Viva Laughlin. I almost don’t want to put this on the list, because it feels like piling on. But there’s no denying the evidence of my senses, or the tone-deaf hash CBS made of the fine British musical Viva Blackpool.
8. The war on TV violence. This 2007 crusade–in which would-be FCC censors tried to use torture scenes in 24 as a new wedge issue in the fight to tell us what to watch–isn’t ranked higher because it fortunately hasn’t succeeded. Yet.
9. Pirate Master. Arrrrrrr!
10. John from Cincinnati. An explanation. Yes, there were far, far more than ten shows in 2007 that, honestly, were far, far worse than JFC. (Lil’ Bush, The Pussycat Dolls Present, The Wedding Bells, Bionic Woman…) But plain-old crappy TV shows will always be with us; far more deserving of notice are shows that pass themselves off as Quality TV–the Studio 60s of the world. With great regret, I have to put the ambitious, poetic–but sloppy, self-indulgent and pretentious–JFC on the list. If David Milch had succeeded at what he was trying to do–explaining the ways of God to man in a TV drama–JFC might have been the best show of 2007, or maybe ever. But he didn’t, and it wasn’t. I watched every episode nonetheless, which I guess tells you something: sometimes there are worse things than bad TV.
I’m sure there are plenty of shows that my mind has mercifully repressed memory of. Do your worst in the comments.