The title is self-explanatory. And I could go on, but I have to stop somewhere, so let’s make it 10. Your own nominations welcome in the comments. The coffee-stained envelope, please:
10. Keeping Up with the Kardashians. You could fill this whole list with the exhausted genre of celebreality shows, but let’s stick with E!’s tribute to undeserving fame (well, I’ll exclude Bruce Jenner), begun in 2007, which is possibly the first TV show essentially spun off from a sex tape.
9. Do Not Disturb. This short-lived Fox hotel sitcom made me long for death, or ‘Til Death, whichever would come first.
8. American Gladiators. Besides being an outstanding source of baby names—Stealth! Venom! Fury!—there was little to recommend this big-haired strike retread.
7. The Andromeda Strain. More like strained, this tedious, stiffly acted remake tried to glom onto the zeitgeist with a trendy environmental conspiracy plot, but it simply blew greenhouse gas.
6. Alter Eco. …and speaking of trendy environmentalism, while Discovery’s new Planet Green channel had a handful of worthy series (e.g., Greensburg), this Adrian Grenier vanity project wasn’t one. The star and his friends showed us how to build green mansions, how to buy expensive biodynamic wine, and, mainly, how cool and noble they are. On the plus side, Entourage is now Grenier’s second worst show.
5. Little Britain USA. The British sketch comedy show crossed the Atlantic and went from amusing and overrated to pointless and perplexing. The funniest sketches involved characters already worn out on the original show, jarringly transplanted into American settings. But there were worse imports…
4. Kath & Kim. …QED. The Australian mother-daughter sitcom didn’t translate, losing the original’s full-throated nastiness but managing to stay creepy and patronizing to its characters.
3. The strike. The root of much of TV’s evil this year (see American Gladiators), it doesn’t claim the number one position only because we had to share it with 1997 2007.
2. Rosie Live. The one redeeming factor: this was clearly a labor of love for variety fan Rosie O’Donnell. But the result was a self-indulgent trainwreck of poor production, lame jokes and painful musical numbers. Rosie was doing this one for herself, and it probably should have stayed that way.
1. Knight Rider. A lot of shows make the worst list because they are so poorly executed. This one makes the list because, as far as I can tell, it was perfectly executed: it resurrected the spirit of lousy high-concept ’80s TV, and made me grateful to be living two decades later. “It’s not a TV show so much as an ironic nostalgia lunchbox in video form,” I wrote when it debuted. If only we could sell it on eBay and forget about it.
As I said, this list is hardly comprehensive, so feel free to toss your rotten tomatoes into the ring.