Year-in-Review: Worst TV of 2012

By
From the December 27, 2012 edition

There was some really bad stuff on television in 2012 to go along with all the great shows. My 10 worst shows may be missing a few you’d expect to see — “The Neighbors,” “The New Normal,” “Mob Doctor” — but these irritated me the most. Some just because they were truly terrible, others because there was potential for something great, but resulted in something infuriatingly poor thanks to lazy execution.

10. “The Newsroom”

I really wanted to like this show and enjoyed the pilot for the most part. (I even loved Sam Watterson’s over-the-top performance throughout the first season.) The issue was that all of the problems with the characters from the pilot only became magnified over the course of the season. It’s a shame that a cast with Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Alison Pill was virtually wasted.

9. “Are You There, Chelsea?”

This crap actually made “Whitney” look like “Louie.”

8. “Smash”

I’m not a musical fan, but have to admit there was potential in this show’s early episodes. That was squandered pretty quickly by terrible writing and an ugly performance by Debra Messing.

7. “Work It”

Rebooting “Bosom Buddies” could only sound like a good idea in a room full of out-of-touch network executives.

6. “Liz & Dick”

I hoped this Lifetime biopic about Elizabeth Taylor (Lindsay Lohan) and Richard Burton (Grant Bowler) would have more of a so-bad-it’s-good quality to it. Don’t get me wrong, this thing is packed with over-the-top dialog, and Lohan is giving a performance that ranks alongside “I Know Who Killed Me” in terms of awfulness. Somehow “Liz & Dick” still should’ve been much trashier.

5. “Alcatraz”

This should have been an intriguing show. It would never be as good as “Lost” at its best, despite the interesting and crazy sci-fi premise and J.J. Abrams producing. Unfortunately it was worse than “Lost” at its most frustrating. By blending an overarching and convoluted mythology with case-of-the-week procedural, “Alcatraz” could never find its footing. Plus, the performances, especially a campy Sam Neill and bland Sarah Jones, were just laughably bad.

4. Political Ads

In Ohio these things — on both sides — were as relentless as they were unrelentingly abrasive. If they had been around all year, they would have been No. 1 on this list.

3. “Anger Management”

I actually love Charlie Sheen’s work from the ’80s and ’90s and think he has incredible comedic charisma … onscreen. “Anger Management” doesn’t utilize any of Sheen’s skills, instead relying on lazy jokes — that often resort to misogyny—for this pointless concept.

2. “The Killing”

First off, I want to say that Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos are amazing actors who were very good on “The Killing” despite the terrible writing. They elevated piss-poor material to a point where I occasionally forgot how bad this show was and just enjoyed their work. I didn’t think “The Killing” could get any worse than its first season, but the way showrunner Veena Sud decided to wrap up the mystery of “Who Killed Rosie Larson?” was as ridiculous as it was meaningless.

1. “Kim & Kourtney Take New York”

I normally leave reality television off this list completely because so much of it is completely abhorrent, but this “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” spin-off was so offensive it had to take the top spot. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries having their (scripted) marital problems in order to perpetuate their faux careers as celebrities was total B.S. The only time I hate seeing the letter K more is when it’s attached to white supremacy groups.