2010 has been a fantastic year for television. This year brought us a slew of great new programs and if we include the second halves of all the series that debuted in the fall of 2009 (which I am for these features), we have probably just experienced the best run of newbies since 2004. While we were just getting comfortable with great new series like Justified, Boardwalk Empire and Louie, we had to unfortunately say goodbye to the likes of Lost, 24 and Law & Order. NBC mishandled its attempts to correct its late night situation and continued to dig itself deeper into a primetime hole. Meanwhile, the ever-popular True Blood and a stable of great new series helped HBO regain its early-aughts swagger. 2010 gave us a reborn Coco, awesome Survivor tribal councils, the Rally To Restore Sanity, “The Rocky Horror Glee Show,” the World Cup and even more awesome episodes of Jersey Shore. LeBron made his decision, CNN brought David Blaine on as an analyst during the Chilean Miner Saga, Dancing With The Stars became about politics and President Obama made appearances on more non-news programs than I can even count. Broadcast ratings might be down, but 2010 yet again proved that “television” does not always happen on the big screens in our living rooms. It’s everywhere, it’s everything and this is my celebration of it.
Throughout the next week or so, I’ll be going through all sorts of random categories and giving out fake awards for the best, worst and all that was in between for television in 2010.
I know, I know. This is supposed to be the “Best of 2010,” but sometimes you just have to bring the hate. This is one of those times. Despite all the television greatness 2010 has brought us, this past year hasn’t been immune to crap. You know, because there’s still A LOT of terrible television out there. And I’m sure that I’m not even touching the surface of suck because I’m more or less sticking to the major broadcast and cable networks out there. I’m sure some random cable network in the 450s on your cable guide aired something worse than this. But chances are, that cable network didn’t have the funds NBC did to make some of the awful crap it put on the airwaves this year. So, without further ado, the first worst new television series of 2010.
5. Outsourced (NBC): If I were writing this post back in September, I certainly would have put the NBC “comedy” higher up on the list. It’s wildly offensive, completely didactic and just boring to watch most weeks. However, I’m somehow willing to give Outsourced a slight benefit of the doubt. It has gotten “better” over the season and sometimes, I smile a little bit while watching it. That probably makes me an awful, awful human being, but I’ve been less enraged with Outsourced than I figured I would be. But, IT IS STILL AWFUL. Don’t forget that.
4. Sh** My Dad Says (CBS): The “Shit My Dad Says” Twitter feed is often unbelievably funny, mostly because the titular father doesn’t actually know the things he is saying are wildly inappropriate and thus hilarious. So it makes total sense that CBS would hire William Shatner, one of the most obvious and knowing performers out there, to be play that role in the television adaptation. I obviously haven’t seen every episode of Sh** My Dad Says because it was just so awful. It’s not morally offensive like Outsourced, but it’s offensive in the fact that it is so stupid and so unfunny. There are other series out there that are less put together, but few that make me this angry thinking about.
3. The Event (NBC): After all the blusterous marketing that NBC did over the summer, I just cannot believe that The Event is a terrible mess of a series that has no direction, no substance or any sense of of character development. I am just SHOCKED. In some ways, The Event is the best television series of 2010. It’s totally postmodern in that it is about nothing, makes absolutely no sense for 40 minutes a week and then hits you with a ridiculous cliffhanger that may or may not be related to mutant children, old people with eye droppers or various other insane things that anyone on a LSD trip might come up with after a weekend trip at Joshua Tree. I’d like to say that it’s an improvement over Heroes, but I’m not even sure that’s true anymore. I think I would rather watch Zachary Quinto chew random scenery every week than whatever the hell it is that is happening on The Event right now. I guess it doesn’t really matter, you know, since The Event is cancelled. Yeah, I know it’s “rebooting” in 2011, but it’s cancelled. Let’s just move on.
2. Gravity (Starz): I don’t even know what the hell Gravity was supposed to be. It was paired with the hilarious Party Down, which implies it was comedy. It was about a group of suicide survivors, which implies it was a drama, or at least a Showtime-esque dramedy. It was written by Jill Franklyn of Seinfeld fame, which implies it was a comedy. And finally, it starred a group of “Hey, it’s ____!” people, which implies it was terrible. I think at least one of those things was true. Gravity is one of the weirdest and and most awkward series I have ever seen. It is also most certainly one of the worst. Do yourself a favor and don’t even look this travesty up on Wikipedia. DON’T!
1. The Marriage Ref (NBC): I don’t plan on dipping too far into unscripted territory, but I’m not actually sure that Ref is totally unscripted. What I do know, however, is it is absolutely the worst thing I saw on television this year. It’s fully self-indulgent, crass, offensive and elitist. I can’t believe how often this POS goes to the “Hey, we’re rich, LOOK AT THOSE MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS, muahahaha!” well. It’s pathetic. I think we have officially figured out that A.) Jerry Seinfeld owns NBC’s ass and will literally let him do whatever it is he wants and B.) Jerry Seinfeld, the persona, was totally supported by Larry David’s hilarious ass. Random guest stars, stupid bits and a whole lot of unnecessary promotion, the perfect NBC formula! I can’t wait for season two!