As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s time to reflect on the highs and lows of the year in television. While there were plenty of shining moments that had us on the edge of our seats, it’s equally important to acknowledge the shows that left us scratching our heads and wondering, “What were they thinking?” Join us as we take a lighthearted stroll down memory lane and revisit the 10 worst shows that graced our screens in 2023.
1. The Idol (HBO): Unmasking the Aggressively Ugly Showbiz Drama
Kicking off our list is HBO’s The Idol, a show that aimed to take down the music industry but ended up being a masterclass in how not to do it. With Sam Levinson at the helm, viewers were promised a revolutionary takedown, but what they got was an onslaught of clichés, unsexy sex scenes, and unintentionally funny dialogue. The real cherry on top? The Weeknd’s wooden performance as sinister club promoter Tedros, a turn so devoid of charisma that it might just be the single worst TV performance of the past decade.
2. Fear the Walking Dead (AMC): A Lurching Spinoff’s Laughable Decline
As the first Walking Dead spinoff staggered toward its inevitable end, viewers were hard-pressed to find any resemblance to the promising drama that debuted in 2015. Character motivations changed with the wind, plot twists became increasingly silly, and catchphrases were repeated to the point of absurdity. With more than 40% of TVLine readers grading the series finale an “F,” it’s safe to say that Fear the Walking Dead missed the mark and then some.
3. Secret Invasion (Disney+): Marvel’s Super-Mad Misstep
In a year filled with Marvel magic, Secret Invasion managed to stand out – for all the wrong reasons. The six-episode series left fans frustrated with its handling of certain characters, and the subsequent release of The Marvels only served to highlight the apparent waste of five hours of our lives. As we wave goodbye to 2023, Secret Invasion remains a super-mad misstep in the Marvel universe.
4. FUBAR (Netflix): Arnold’s Loud and Dumb Action Misadventure
Netflix’s FUBAR promised old-school Dad Movie fun with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the forefront. Unfortunately, what viewers got was a series that bombarded them with cartoonish violence and groan-worthy one-liners to the point of exhaustion. Despite an announcement for Season 2, many won’t be coming back for more of this very loud and very dumb misadventure.
5. Alert: Missing Persons Unit (Fox): The Procedural That Lost Its Way
In the middle of the TV landscape, Alert: Missing Persons Unit found itself all over the map – tonally speaking. One minute it was grave and serious, the next it was cracking jokes and making quips. The lead investigator referred to the missing as “babies” even when they were grown adults, and random jokes about Scott Caan’s hairline added an extra layer of oddity. A rollercoaster ride from Philadelphia to Las Vegas and back, this midseason procedural left viewers wondering if they were watching the same show from one moment to the next.
6. Big Brother (CBS): A Disappointing Milestone Cycle
Celebrating its 25th cycle, Big Brother had the potential for a memorable season, but alas, it fell short. Twists went nowhere, evictions were reversed, and an entire week passed with literally nothing happening. Even the presence of Survivor legend Cirie Fields couldn’t salvage this interminable season that stretched on for a record 100 days. It seems even reality TV stalwarts aren’t immune to the pitfalls of disappointment.
7. The Flash (The CW): A Superhero Farewell That Fizzled Out
The CW’s longest-running Arrowverse series bid farewell with Season 8, using up the last of the good stuff it once boasted. Season 9 struggled to live up to expectations, delivering underbaked takes on various plot points, a barely mourned Frost, and a pointless bottle episode. Even Oliver Queen’s improbable return and Nora’s long-awaited birth couldn’t inject life into this sloth-like sendoff.
8. Citadel (Prime Video): A Spy Drama with a Lack of Chemistry
Prime Video’s ambitious international spy drama, Citadel, boasted a star-studded cast including Richard Madden and Stanley Tucci, along with a reported budget of a whopping $300 million. However, what viewers got was a surprisingly by-the-numbers series that showcased signs of behind-the-scenes creative differences. The lack of chemistry between leads Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Madden left audiences wondering where the promised magic went.
9. Velma (Max): A Scooby-Doo Spinoff That Lost Its Humor
On paper, Max’s Velma seemed like the perfect adult animated series – a modern twist on a familiar IP with Mindy Kaling at the helm. However, the reality fell short as the show, despite having comedy veterans on the creative team and an all-star cast voicing the Mystery Inc. gang, hardly delivered the expected clever, subversive humor. What was hoped to be a laugh-inducing series turned out to be disappointingly cynical and endlessly self-referential.
10. The Crowded Room (Apple TV+): Overlong Drama with A-List Talent
Closing out our list is Apple TV+‘s The Crowded Room, a 10-episode limited series starring Tom Holland, Amanda Seyfried, and Emmy Rossum. Despite the A-list talent, the show left audiences enduring a gratingly overlong drama that meandered predictably, squandering the considerable talents of its three stars. In the end, it stands as one of Apple TV+’s most high-profile misfires.
As we wrap up our trip down the memory lane of the worst shows of 2023, it’s important to remember that even in the sea of disappointments, there were still plenty of gems that shone brightly. Here’s to hoping that 2024 brings us more entertainment highs and fewer lows. Cheers to a new year filled with captivating stories, unforgettable characters, and the occasional guilty pleasure!