2015: The Worst in TV

I’ll admit that 2015 was not a great year for TV. Well, let me take that back. Compared to many years, it was fabulous. Television has never been more diverse, more vibrant, or more engaging than it was in 2015. So why do I say it wasn’t a great year? Because of the shows that dragged it down.

While the reality “craze” has finally died down, there was still enough reality TV out there to keep me searching for something else to watch. There’s a lot of “copycat” TV out there, and a lot of it isn’t that good. In fact, even though I have more choice than I ever have before, my DVR’s playlist is emptier than it has been in previous years. Too many cop dramas, too many identical-looking protagonists, and too much absolute nonsense. I was inspired by Variety’s list of “The Worst TV Shows of 2015” and I agree with many of their choices. Here are the five shows that were so bad that turning them off simply wasn’t enough.

True Detective
This show has to win a special award for worst sophomore season. It should have been great… top-notch actors and a ripped-from-the-headlines plot. But while season one kept you guessing because you weren’t sure what was going on, season two just made you not care what was going on. This season should be put on the scrap heap with the last seasons of Scrubs and The Office, promptly forgotten so we can go back to talking about how good the show used to be.

Dr. Ken
This show should have been great. Ken Jeong is a comedic genius and the show is literally about the guy he used to be before he got into movies. So what happened? Stale plots, that’s why. This show might have fit in well back in 1978, but today there’s actual, real good comedy out there.

This show is on most people’s “best” lists but honestly, I think it’s a pretty lousy way to show how hard it is to admit that who you are inside doesn’t match who you are outside. The characters are for the most part unredeeming and unfunny, and it’s just hard to root for anyone in the show. Most of us don’t live in the Hollywood hills and I think the show suffers because it doesn’t connect with real people and the struggles real people face.

Dancing With The Stars
It’s probably not fair to put this show on the “worst” list but I don’t have a “Look how far it’s fallen” list. This past season brought us the bountiful Bindi Irwin but little else and it continues to struggle as it can’t decide whether to court millennials or their parents. Come on, ABC… this show used to be great fun: take a bunch of actors you haven’t seen in 20 years, put them in spray tans and sequins, and set it all to the tune of your high school playlist/mix tape/radio dub. Why mess with success? Give the older crowd something to watch, would you?

Minority Report
Here’s a show that just didn’t get it. The film worked because it took the disturbed paranoia of Philip K. Dick and combined it with a slick yet realistic near-future. The TV show is nothing but a procedural drama set in the future without anything to distinguish it. Kudos to the casting director for creating a multicultural cast that probably looks like we’ll all look in the future, but other than that this show should have just been called Dragnet:2055. It’s a tired cop show and nothing more.

Honorable mention goes to…
Any of the myriad shows on premium channels and streaming channels whose producers thought that by adding nudity and language to essentially unlikeable characters, they’d have a hit. Shows that just trade on crassness are cute for a little while but sooner or later they get boring. Oh, and enough with the Kardashian stuff already.

What do you think? What are the worst shows you’ve seen this year?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.