Sometimes fans and critics have different taste, especially when it comes to TV shows. To determine which shows (with five or more seasons) were a hit with viewers but left critics lukewarm, INSIDER consulted data from Metacritic.
From sitcoms to sci-fi to soaps, keep reading to learn about 11 long-running series with a loyal fanbase but below-average critical reception.
“Rules of Engagement” (CBS) kept fans engaged, but not critics.
Critic score: 28/100
User score: 8.1/10
What critics said: “At no point will you feel like scratching your own eyes out rather than sitting through an episode. So there’s that.” ― Chicago Tribune
This sitcom starring Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price offered a look at various stages of relationships ― married life, dating, and, of course, engagement.
Viewers found “Rules of Engagement” relatable and enjoyable, but critics were less kind, with one labelling it a “misguided piece of fluff.”
It ran for seven seasons from 2007 to 2013.
Some critics just didn’t feel “Stargate SG-1” (Showtime/Syfy) was exceptional.
Critic score: 48/100
User score: 8.1/10
What critics said: “Pedestrian writing, pulp-mag plotting, shopworn characters, hackneyed dialogue (‘with all due respect’ pops up at least three times in the first hour) and Mario Azzopardi’s broad direction will all undoubtedly delight billions and billions.” ― Variety
Earning a place in the sci-fi canon as a cult classic, “Stargate SG-1” (based on the 1994 “Stargate” movie) premiered in 1997, airing for a total of 10 seasons. The series centered on a military team from Earth that used a bridge portal to journey through the galaxy.
Although critics didn’t eviscerate the series, some found it too mainstream and action-heavy to be exceptional.
“Criminal Minds” (CBS) had some dedicated fans.
Critic score: 42/100
User score: 8.1/10
What critics said: “The problem with ‘Criminal Minds’ is its many confusing maladies, applied to too many characters. As a result, the cast seems like a spilled trunk of broken toys, with which the audience ― and perhaps the creators ― may quickly become bored.” ―The New York Times
This crime procedural about members of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU) has been on since 2005. Starring Matthew Grey Gubler, the show’s ensemble cast has featured the likes of Mandy Patinkin and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
While some critics were put off by the rotating cast of characters, viewers have praised “Criminal Minds” as “the best show of the week.”
“Baywatch” (NBC/Syndication) was called shallow by some critics.
Critic score: 35/100
User score: 7/10
What critics said: “You suspect that the creators of ‘Baywatch’ are lifeguards moonlighting as writers.” ― Los Angeles Times
Millennials might be more familiar with the 2017 film reboot starring Zac Efron and The Rock, but the series that started the red swimsuit craze ― and made Pamela Anderson a household name ― was on the air from 1989 to 2001.
Initially broadcast on NBC, the lifeguard-focused action drama was canceled after the first season. However, the show (which was re-branded as “Baywatch: Hawaii” in 1999 when production moved to the Aloha State) was shortly revived through first-run syndication contracts.
“Beverly Hills, 90210” (Fox) had some loyal fans.
Critic score: 46/100
User score: 7.7/10
What critics said: “Isn’t this the kind of stuff ‘The Simpsons’ was created to destroy forever?” ― Entertainment Weekly
This California-set teen drama addressed issues relating to topics such as sex, drug abuse, and racism. Still, critics labelled “Beverly Hills, 90210” predictable and dull.
The original show ran from 1990 until 2000. It was rebooted in 2008 as “90210.”
“Ghost Whisperer” (CBS) had fans and critics divided.
Critic score: 29/100
User score: 8.3/10
What critics said: “At times during ‘Ghost Whisperer,’ the sentiment is so thick you might want to go away from the light ― the light from the TV set, that is.” ―The Boston Globe
This supernatural series, which aired for five seasons from 2005 to 2010, starred Jennifer Love Hewitt as Melinda Gordon, a woman who can see and talk to ghosts.
Fans and critics are seriously divided about “Ghost Whisperer” ― they either love it or find it cloyingly sentimental.
Some critics felt “George Lopez” (ABC) wasn’t very original.
Critic score: 44/100
User score: 7.7/10
What critics said: “The series is so derivative you can almost see its creators playing all the angles. It’s ‘My Wife and Kids,’ but with a Latino family and not quite as upscale. It’s ‘The Bernie Mac Show’ but with a less brash father figure and not quite as upscale.” ―The New York Times
The comedian’s self-titled sitcom aired for six seasons from 2002 to 2007. It starred Lopez as a fictionalized version of himself balancing work and family life.
Notable for having a primarily Latinx cast, “George Lopez” made fans laugh ― but many critics thought it was too middlebrow.
Some critics felt “Melrose Place” (Fox) used recycled plot lines.
Critic score: 47/100
User score: 6.6/10
What critics said: “For all its soap-opera slickness, ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ manages to tap into real concerns of contemporary teens: dating, parents, friends, sex. ‘Melrose Place’ thus far is tapping into nothing more than worn plot lines from ”The Young and the Restless.'” ― Time
This Primetime soap centered around the drama surrounding a group of young adults living in West Hollywood. Although “Melrose Place” was rebooted in 2009 (only to be canceled after one season), the original series aired from 1992 to 1999.
Some critics felt “American Dad!” (Fox/TBS) seemed off.
Critic score: 41/100
User score: 7.6/10
What critics said: “The series aspires to pick up where ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘South Park’ left off, but many of its jokes and cultural references seem off.” ― The New York Times
“American Dad!” is an adult-geared cartoon from “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane.
But unlike the story of the blue-collar Griffin family ― which includes unforgettable characters like infant prodigy Stewie and anthropomorphic dog Brian ― this political satire feels forced and falls short of being funny, according to critics.
Still, MacFarlane die-hards have kept the series afloat. A whopping 15 seasons have aired already, and it was renewed for two more.
“Full House” (ABC) was deemed one-note by some critics.
Critic score: 31/100
User score: 7.8/10
What critics said: “And so it goes, one predictable situation following another, with the actors frantically trying to keep the patient from becoming a full-fledged corpse.” ― The New York Times
It’s hard to imagine that this feel-good sitcom about a widowed dad (Bob Saget) trying to raise his three daughters with help from his best friend (Dave Coulier) and brother-in-law (John Stamos) was panned by critics ― but reviewers called it “one-note” and overly cutesy.
Airing from 1987 until 1995, it got the reboot treatment in 2016 thanks to Netflix.
“One Tree Hill” (The WB/The CW) went over better with fans than it did with critics.
Critic score: 46/100
User score: 8/10
What critics said: “It’s like they came up with the concoction ― teen angst and pouting and brooding and raw emotions and shirtlessness ― then mixed it all together with lumpen writing and overarching themes.” ― San Francisco Chronicle
“One Tree Hill,” a teen drama about half-brothers who compete with each other on and off the basketball court, may be a fan favourite (scepticism about the four-year time jump aside), but critics found the plots hokey and the characters one-dimensional.
It ran for an impressive nine seasons ― and it was just announced that Lifetime will air a reunion special in November.
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