- With more and more TV shows coming out, critics are important in figuring out what TV is worth spending our time on.
- Sometimes, critics don’t have the nicest things to say about TV shows.
- These are the funniest and most intense TV reviews by critics.
TV reviews can feel like a necessity at a time when more shows are being made than ever before. Critics provide a valuable service to viewers who are overwhelmed by choices amid the growing TV arms race. But just as the way we watch television has evolved, so has the way we write and think about it.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman has written extensively on how TV criticism has been affected by changes in viewing patterns and argues that with appointment-viewing essentially dead, “the best role a critic can play in 2018 and beyond is a curator.” For Goodman, that means reviews are “evergreen” and shouldn’t be rigidly tied to date-specific events like pilots, premieres, and finales.
“Criticism can’t just be about the new anymore. It has to be about the missed and the lost and, more than ever, the essential,” he wrote.
Below are 50 of the funniest, most searing TV reviews ever written:
“Notorious” had a bad reputation with critics.
“Honestly, instead of watching this, why not just remove your brain, put it in a jar and admire it from the couch? That’s one way of trying to dissuade you from watching this ill-spirited and possibly corrosive drama – but of course, now I’ve piqued your interest, haven’t I?” – Hank Stuever, The Washington Post.
“Fuller House” has been renewed for a fourth season despite consistently scathing reviews.
“But ‘Fuller House’ is like the childhood friend who never grew up, who still lives at home, still hangs out at places frequented by teenagers, still makes the same dated pop-culture references. Visiting that person usually isn’t fun; it’s just sad.” – Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly.
Critics called “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” “xenophobic.”
“Moving on from the prevalent misogyny of the original ‘Criminal Minds,’ CBS’ new spinoff ‘Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders’ is a pure distillation of xenophobia. A shameless combination of international b-roll and Trump Era paranoia, ‘Beyond Borders’ stands as a compelling argument for building that wall around Mexico and not stopping until it contains and protects the entirety of our fragile, fragile nationhood.” – Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter.
“Marvel’s Inhumans” is counted among the worst superhero shows.
“Do not spend any of your limited time on this planet watching this show. If you have a superpower, use it to race away from ‘Inhumans’ faster than the speed of light.” – Maureen Ryan, Variety.
“Wisdom of the Crowd” was basically a cop drama about crowdsourcing.
“The principle and the title of this drama from Ted Humphrey (‘The Good Wife’), who has worked on enough good shows to know better, are based on the idea that a sufficient enough volume of feedback can cut through individual garbage and yield truth. Like the way a restaurant with 10 reviews, eight of them positive, on Yelp may not be trustworthy, but you can probably trust a restaurant with 2,000 reviews, 1,600 of them positive. This, of course, is why in some small towns, Olive Garden also solves murders.” – Daniel Fienberg,The Hollywood Reporter.
“Marvel’s Iron Fist” didn’t pack a punch with critics.
“‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’ isn’t just the wimpiest punch ever thrown by the world’s mightiest superhero factory. The new Netflix binge swings and misses so bad that it spins itself around and slaps itself silly with a weirdly flaccid hand.” – Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly.
Critics thought that “Midnight, Texas” was a cheap imitation of much better shows.
“It’s kind of like AMC’s ‘Preacher,’ but without the gonzo, kick-arse abandon. It has a lot in common with HBO’s vampire saga ‘True Blood’ – including book author Charlaine Harris – but it’s not nearly as clever or sexy, and feels neutered by comparison, since it airs on network TV. Basically, it just reminds you of other, better shows you’d rather be watching.” – Dave Nemetz, TV Line.
“Rob” was canceled after just eight episodes.
“And while Schneider has to participate in a few mortifying moments on his new CBS sitcom ‘Rob’ (tonight at 8:30 p.m.) – notably a scene where he’s involved in consecutive misunderstandings involving shrine desecration, masturbation and rape – for the most part it’s a less ridiculous vehicle for him than most. It’s not good, mind you. If anything, it suggests Schneider is probably better off playing an animal, a teenage girl, or a stapler.” – Alan Sepinwall, Uproxx.
Critics thought everything about “Dads” fell flat.
“It feels like a show that’s literally out of its time – as if it had been time-warped in from the early ’90s, when it was still possible for a sitcom jam-packed with bigoted or otherwise offensive jokes, populated by types rather than full-fledged characters, and conceived as an utterly unremarkable, brightly lit three-camera sitcom with a laugh track to make it onto a major network’s fall schedule and be hyped along with shows that don’t stink.” – Matt Zoller-Seitz, Vulture.
Critics were mostly bored by the dialogue on “October Road”
“The show is as commercial and mechanical as an entry-level Mercedes, but not as emotionally involving.” – Tom Shales, The Washington Post.
Critics panned “Cavemen,” a sitcom based on a Geico commercial.
“Now we know why cavemen are extinct: They were too stupid to live.” – Robert Bianco,USA Today.
“Stalker” was universally hated by critics.
“One of the luxuries of cultural abundance is the wonderful freedom of saying, ‘I could wait and see, but I don’t have any reason to wait and see, because life is short, good things are plentiful, and your pilot makes me feel like I have food poisoning.'” – Linda Holmes, NPR.
Critics couldn’t imagine themselves hanging with the characters on “Friends From College.”
“The show is, however, a particularly egregious example of substituting unsavoury people for interesting ones and then neglecting to make the case for these jerks on the presumption that their frequent faux pas are case enough. The show inadvertently proves that a clan of misanthropes can be just as boring as milquetoast besties, so long as the two groups are treated with equal abstraction.” – Alison Herman, The Ringer.
Critics weren’t hungry for whatever “Insatiable” was serving.
“‘Insatiable’ makes ‘Norbit’ feel like a comedic masterpiece, and in 2018, there’s nothing noble about that distinction.” – Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times.
Netflix canceled “Gypsy” quicker than any other original drama.
“A retrospective of ‘Gypsy’ the musical would have been a better fit, with [Naomi] Watts as Mama and [Billy] Crudup as Herbie. What we wouldn’t give for a chorus of ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses.’ Instead, everything’s coming up arseholes.” – Gwen Ihnat, The AV Club.
“Two and a Half Men” lasted 12 seasons but wasn’t a hit with critics.
“It’s the only comedy series that I’ve watched where I never – not even once – laughed at a single joke.” – Pilot Viruet, Grantland.
Critics thought “Conviction” was overstuffed and predictable.
“Then you add all the jarring visual flourishes and shaky shots of case photos on a whiteboard. Then you add the flashbacks to the actual crime during the investigation. Then you add the stirring musical montage at the end of each episode when the wrongly convicted are vindicated and get to re-enter the world. That’s the toddler standing in front of you wearing every single thing in her closet thinking she’s not going to get ridiculed at kindergarten.” – Brian Moylan, The Guardian.
Reviewers thought “StartUp” was a bland imitation of similar series.
“‘Startup’ is a hacking thriller grafted onto an action movie, primarily so that Martin Freeman can walk around menacingly while speaking in an unsettlingly bland American accent.” – Sonia Saraiya, Variety.
Critics thought “Here and Now” was a rare miss for HBO.
“One viewer’s inscrutable bucket of pabulum masquerading as a modern existential parable is another’s vision of idiosyncratic poetry. So, I am not one to judge those people. Nor am I one to give them my time. Life’s too short. Spending a few minutes with this show will remind you of that. Spending several episodes with it made me want to scream ‘Get out.'” – Melanie McFarland, Salon.
“Heathers” was basically cancelled before it aired.
“The whole time I was watching the pilot I was thinking, ‘If you distilled the soul and songs out of ‘Glee’ you’d be left with this caustic, highly stylised sludge and that sludge be the show ‘Heathers.” There’s no affection behind any of the clowning on #youths, no depth to it. It’s just an acerbic, self-congratulatory rant.” – Heather Hogan, Autostraddle.
“Work It” did not work in any way, according to critics.
“I would love to surprise you and announce that ‘Work It’ is a good dumb show, but my conclusion is sadly as predictable as this sitcom: ‘Work It’ is bad dumb, memorably bad dumb, the kind of bad dumb show you will use in years to come as a benchmark for other bad sitcoms.” – James Poniewozik, Time.
“The Big Bang Theory” was never a critical favourite.
“It’s hard to believe that anyone’s even making a three-camera sitcom this mothballed; only an offhand mention of the word ‘blog’ suggests that it takes place in the present day.” – Scott Tobias, The AV Club.
People thought “The Orville” was derivative and not very funny.
“The best way to describe ‘The Orville’ is ‘What would happen if a guy who spent years writing animated dick jokes for television got the opportunity to make his own ‘Star Trek’?'” – Liz Shannon Miller, IndieWire.
“Gravity” made critics want to turn off their TVs.
“‘Gravity’ itself takes up too much screen time and does so very, very slowly. Fortunately, viewers can put themselves out of their misery in simple ways that stop well short of death. There’s changing the channel, for one.”- Tom Shales, The Washington Post.
“Disjointed” was swiftly canceled after one season.
“So, is ‘Disjointed’ a meta-meditation on the nature of situational comedy and mind-altering substances? I freakin’ hope it is, because otherwise, it’s a phoned-in, pandering cliché-fest you’d mostly only find funny if you have extreme and ignorant prejudices against people who use medical Devil’s Lettuce and need those prejudices reinforced. And, more importantly, it’s a criminal underutilization of the ridiculously talented Kathy Bates.” – Amy Glynn, Paste.
“The Resident” isn’t on life support despite the reviews.
“This is the kind of show in which grown men square off and snarl, ‘How dare you!’ The only thing missing is the glove slap and the demand for pistols at dawn. Maybe for a special sweeps episode?” – Mark Perigard, The Boston Herald.
Critics thought “Rise” didn’t have the range.
“It’s not blind, but it can’t quite see. That’s basically the motto of ‘Rise’: blurry eyes, full hearts, sometimes it loses.” – Willa Paskin, Slate.
Critics thought “Deception” was designed for a very specific audience.
“Sometimes reviews can be really simple, like this: If you enjoyed the quippy, procedural lightness of ABC’s long-running drama ‘Castle’ but Nathan Fillion’s seasoned, snarky charisma wasn’t a factor in your pleasure and, in fact, you thought, ‘I’d love this show a lot more if the leading man were blander and the leads had no ongoing sexual chemistry,’ you just may be the target audience for ABC’s new drama ‘Deception.’ And if you happen to love magic, even when it doesn’t always seem conveniently shoehorned into a weekly investigation? Boy, allow me to introduce your new favourite show.” – Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter.
Even a show as critically lauded as “Breaking Bad” had its detractors.
“On an even more basic level, ‘Breaking Bad’ turns unnecessarily nauseating by the beginning of the third episode, turning off anyone who isn’t completely in by that point.
“‘Breaking Bad’ does have one thing going for it, though. Few other shows do more to help you to appreciate the entertainment value of marijuana.” – Melanie McFarland, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“Ghost Whisperer” was too silly for some critics to enjoy.
“Yeah, yeah, she sees dead people. And when she sees you, she will do everything in her power to help you complete your final tasks. Like a personal shopper or a courier service, she will make sure the job gets done and done on time so that you won’t miss your big date with destiny. Her name: ‘Ghost Whisperer.’ Her game: Putting down ghosts.” – Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe.
“I’m Dying Up Here,” a show about stand up comedy, didn’t make anyone laugh.
“‘Dying’ doesn’t look like the actual ’70s as much as it looks like ‘The ’70s’ seen in ’90s films like ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Boogie Nights.’ There are even a few self-consciously showy tracking shots in the initial episodes if the homage weren’t clear enough.” – Dave Nemetz, TV Line.
“$#*! My Dad Says,” a sitcom based off a Twitter account, was not popular with critics.
“There’s something obviously anachronistic about a three-camera sitcom based on a barely year-old Twitter account. Kind of like an iPad that looks like a typewriter.” – Daynah Burnett, Popmatters.
Critics loved to hate on “The Newsroom.”
“In ‘The Newsroom,’ clever people take turns admiring one another. They sing arias of facts. They aim to remake television news: ‘This is a new show, and there are new rules,’ a maverick executive producer announces, several times, in several ways. Their outrage is so inflamed that it amounts to a form of moral eczema-only it makes the viewer itch.” – Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker.
“A Crisis In Six Scenes” is easily one of Amazon’s most forgettable shows.
“Set against the political turbulence of the ’60s, ‘Crisis’ feels like being trapped in a dusty museum with outdated exhibits and a rambling, stammering docent who doesn’t seem to have left the premises in years.” – Inkoo Kang, MTV News.
“Dallas” wasn’t a show that needed a reboot, according to critics.
“If TNT believes that a younger generation who may have only heard of ‘Dallas’ via Trivial Pursuit or some joke on Twitter will flock to this new version with unbridled enthusiasm, well, that’s some fantastic spin. Good for you. We are a country lacking in optimism.” – Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter.
Netflix gave “Girlboss” the ax after one season.
“‘Girlboss’ is an interesting time capsule into the world of 2006 when the contents of someone’s MySpace top eight could be considered conflict and it could have been a really fun, really interesting complicated show. Instead, it’s been sanded down and painted millennial pink.” – Dana Schwartz, The Observer.
“Snooki & JWoWW” got bad reviews.
“The show is horrible, but Snooki is a classic product of reality TV, a fully crystallised and probably unalterable personality. She’s a character actress without being an actress.”- Tom Gliatto, People.
“A.P. Bio” didn’t make the honour roll.
“Each caricatured student is another punch-line persona; each elaborate scheme is another stagey bit. You see? It’s comedy.” – Sonia Saraiya,Variety.
You’ve probably never heard of “Pine Gap,” but critics weren’t fans.
“A group of buttoned-down people staring at screens and discussing what they see ad infinitum may be a realistic depiction of the central location, but my kingdom for a patina of dramatic intrigue – or something, anything, to energize an agonizingly dull and inert production.” – Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian.
“The Arrangement” didn’t keep anyone guessing, according to critics.
“But ‘The Arrangement’ entirely misses the point of why we get obsessed with some celebrity matches, even when we can freely admit that we really know nothing about the famous people involved. It’s the joy of deduction: piecing together a story that makes sense to us from a messy collision of colourful images and often contradictory connotations. There’s no fun in just being given the answer.” – Inkoo Kang, MTV News.
“Mixology” was quickly canceled after one season.
“I leave you with a new word: Parthenogenesis. It refers to reproduction in which embryos grow and develop without fertilization. It’s an entirely asexual process. ‘Mixology’ makes a compelling argument for it.” – Daniel Fienberg, Uproxx.
Critics thought “Lucky Louie” was toxic.
“But we’ll take a pile of ‘Entourage’ over ‘Lucky Louie,’ the thing stuck to ‘Entourage’s’ $US900 shoes, dragging behind it at 10:30. This is comedian Louis C.K.‘s attempt to lampoon the classic half-hour sitcom if by lampoon you mean drown it in toxic failure.” – Melanie McFarland,Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Critics thought “Charlie’s Angels” was a reboot best left forgotten.
“Charlie’s Angels’ feels utterly unloved by anyone. Not the people acting in it, not the writers, not the creators, not anyone. It feels like pre-chewed food: intended for easy digestion, it comes out (1) unappetizing, (2) textureless, and (3) devoid of character.” Linda Holmes,NPR.
“Heartbeat” was a medical drama that couldn’t save itself from cancelation.
“The situation is growing desperate in America’s fake hospitals. Not from a financial crisis or a nursing shortage. It’s a desperation of plotting. The medical-drama genre is now so exhausted that hospital shows have to go to absurd lengths to make viewers pay attention, and that has never been more evident than in ‘Heartbeat,’ which begins on Wednesday on NBC.” – Neil Genzlinger, New York Times.
The second season of “True Detective” was a major disappointment for many.
“Last season was already veering close to parodying prestige-TV tropes. This season seems to be parodying itself. Sometimes, the romance between a show and its viewers ends badly. To paraphrase True Detective 2’s tagline: Maybe we get the television we deserve.” – Alison Gilmore,Winnipeg Free Press.
“We Are Men” didn’t survive more than two episodes before it got the ax.
“I only know that watching ‘We Are Men’ made me feel stupid almost immediately and then bitter that I’d wasted the time. But maybe that’s because I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the four male representatives of this series, nor hear the actors portraying them say any more ‘jokes.'” – Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter.
“9JKL” didn’t need much explanation, according to one critic.
“Here’s a comedy that just reeks of CBS.” – Ed Bark, Uncle Barky.
“I Hate My Teenage Daughter” didn’t do itself any favours with its title.
“So let me at least use my hack-y little joke, to sum up, the major problem with this pleasureless Fox comedy, debuting tonight: it should be called We Hate Every Character on Our Own Sitcom.” – James Poniewozik, Time.
“Whitney” lived a short life and was canceled after two seasons.
“Watching ‘Whitney’ is a bit like participating in a séance. It often seems that the traditional sitcom has died and you are communing with its angry ghost. The show clangs with musty setups and rattles with hoary material, while the viewer supplies agonized moans.” – Troy Patterson, Slate.
“Containment” was pretty much “The Walking Dead” without zombies.
“It’s no surprise that in our golden entertainment age of ‘Angry Birds: The Movie’ and ‘Ouija Board: The Movie’ somebody finally decided to just make ‘Cough, Cough – You’re Dead: The Limited Event Series.'” – Daniel Fienberg,The Hollywood Reporter.
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