The 50 worst TV shows in modern history, according to critics

NetflixDebby Ryan’s character is nicknamed ‘Fatty Patty’ by bullies in ‘Insatiable.’

Many of the worst television shows in history have originated from some highly questionable concepts that make you wonder how they ever got greenlit in the first place.

ABC’s “Cavemen” series in 2007, for instance, was based on characters from a short-lived GEICO commercial, and Fox’s 2014 reality show “I Wanna Marry Harry” saw 12 women compete for the chance to marry a Prince Harry look-alike who they thought was the real Prince of Wales.

Both shows were critical disasters and each lasted only one season – as many of the worst reality shows, dramas, and sitcoms have.

To find out which programs critics hated the most, we turned to review aggregator Metacritic for their all-time list of the worst TV shows(though data only goes back to 1995), which ranks show seasons by their composite critical reception.

Keep reading to see the 50 worst TV shows of all time from least to most objectionable, according to critics.


50. “South Beach” season one (UPN)

UPNOnly eight episodes of ‘South Beach’ made it to air in 2006.

Critic score: 29/100

User score: 8.6/10

What critics said: “A preposterous and pretentious drama series.” – The Washington Post


49. “Hidden Hills” season one (NBC)

NBCJust 14 episodes of ‘Hidden Hills’ aired on NBC in 2002.

Critic score: 29/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “This series reflects the way wealthy, neurotic, overly busy and sex-obsessed TV executives and producers think America lives, in other words, the way they live. They’re wrong.” – The Detroit News


48. “American Inventor” season one (ABC)

ABCABC made 11 episodes of ‘American Inventor’ in 2006.

Critic score: 29/100

User score: 5.1/10

What critics said: “A bloated disappointment that spends more time on the judges than the inventors and their inventions.” – Houston Chronicle


47. “Big Brother” season one (CBS)

CBSThe first season on ‘Big Brother’ premiered in 2000.

Critic score: 29/100

User score: 5.2/10

What critics said: “Five days a week of people in a cramped house full of IKEA furniture is like a bad college flashback.” – Variety


46. “Rob” season one (CBS)

CBSRob Schneider’s 2012 comedy only made it to eight episodes.

Critic score: 29/100

User score: 3.8/10

What critics said: “There’s hardly a moment or performance in ‘Rob’ that doesn’t reek of the leftover and the second-rate.” – USA Today


45. “Ghost Whisperer” season one (CBS)

CBSTwenty-two episodes of ‘Ghost Whisperer’ aired from 2005 to 2006.

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.” – Boston Globe


44. “The Return of Jezebel James” season one (Fox)

FoxJust seven episodes of this show aired in 2008.

Critic score: 29/100

User score: 5.2/10

What critics said: “Miscast and only intermittently funny, ‘Jezebel James’ misfires on all cylinders.” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


43. “Sex Box” season one (WE)

WE‘Sex Box’ premiered and ended in 2015.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: 3.0/10

What critics said: “Watching it is kind of like bad sex – the clock watching, the profound embarrassment, the desire to check your email.” – The New York Times


42. “Painkiller Jane” season one (Syfy)

SyfyOnly 22 episodes of ‘Painkiller Jane’ aired in 2007.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: 6.1/10

What critics said: “The show is long on concept and short on execution which would actually be OK if the writing and acting were not so simply terrible.” –Los Angeles Times


41. “The War at Home” season one (Fox)

FOXThis one-season show aired its 22 episodes from 2005 to 2006.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: 3.9/10

What critics said: “If ‘The War at Home’ spent more time on good jokes instead of recycling every gimmick ever seen on TV, it might merely be mediocre, but it’s worse.” – San Francisco Chronicle


40. “Love Inc.” season one (UPN)

UPNOnly 22 episodes of ‘Painkiller Jane’ aired from 2005 to 2006.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: 7.5/10

What critics said: “A grating comedy.” – Chicago Tribune


39. “Murphy’s Law” season one (ABC)

ABCThis 1988 series had just 13 episodes.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “A series so monumentally meaningless, so pathetically puerile, so irredeemably ridiculous that, within my limited professional context, it prompts the Biggest Question of them all: Why is there television?” – Newsday


38. “Rules of Engagement” season one (CBS)

CBSSeven episodes of this show aired in 2007 before it was cancelled.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: 7.5/10

What critics said: “The series quickly begins to resemble one of those fake sitcoms you’d see in a snide movie that likes to take easy potshots at low culture.” – L.A. Weekly


37. “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” season one (CBS)

CBSThirteen episodes of this show aired in 2016.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: 3.8/10

What critics said: “Moving on from the prevalent misogyny of the original ‘Criminal Minds,’ CBS’ new spinoff ‘Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders’ is a pure distillation of xenophobia.” – The Hollywood Reporter


36. “Bleep My Dad Says” season one (CBS)

CBSJust 18 episodes of this William Shatner comedy aired from 2010 to 2011.

Critic score: 28/100

User score: 4.4/10

What critics said: “‘Bleep My Dad Says’ is a dismal show, harboring the worst qualities of every lame, four-camera, laugh-tracked sitcom on television.” – Slant Magazine


35. “Marvel’s Inhumans” season one (ABC)

ABCOnly eight episodes of ‘Inhumans’ aired in 2017 before it was cancelled.

Critic score: 27/100

User score: 3.9/10

What critics said: “Inhumans has nothing at all to recommend it. Its only superpower is its sheer ineptitude.” – Variety


34. “Dirty Dancing” season one (CBS)

CBSEleven episodes of ‘Dirty Dancing’ aired in 1988.

Critic score: 27/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “Play[s] like an extended shampoo commercial and lacking the edge and joyful vigour of the movie on which it is based.” –Los Angeles Times


33. “Does Someone Have To Go?” season one (Fox)

FOXThis 2013 show only lasted six episodes.

Critic score: 27/100

User score: 3.3/10

What critics said: “‘Lord of the Flies’-meets-a-telephone book, and just about as entertaining.” – Newsday


32. “In Case of Emergency” season one (ABC)

ABCJust 13 episodes of this show aired in 2007.

Critic score: 27/100

User score: 6.9/10

What critics said: “Somewhere trapped inside this shrill, irritating comedy is a better show that emerges only in fleeting glimpses.” – Variety


31. “Desire” season one (My Network TV)

My Network TVThis telenovela aired 81 episodes before its cancellation in 2006.

Critic score: 27/100

User score: 7.5/10

What critics said: “In terms of intelligence, wit and quality, ‘Desire’ is a serious cut below most prime time drama series.” – Detroit Free Press


30. “Truth Be Told” season one (NBC)

NBCJust 10 episodes of this show aired in 2015.

Critic score: 26/100

User score: 4.1/10

What critics said: “Not a single scene feels authentic, even if we excuse the overexplanations we often see in comedy pilots. This show is not provocative. It is not a conversation-starter, it is not thoughtful, it is not sharp, it is not enlightening.” – Vulture


29. “Get This Party Started” (UPN, Season 1)

Frederick M. Brown/GettyThis 2006 reality show aired just two episodes.

Critic score: 26/100

User score: 3.6/10

What critics said: “UPN’s new series has a shot – in the sweepstakes for the worst reality show of all time.” – PopMatters


28. “How to Get the Guy” season one (ABC)

ABCThis is another 2006 reality series, but ‘How to Get the Guy’ made it to six episodes.

Critic score: 26/100

User score: 7.2/10

What critics said: “A ridiculous, cloying, condescending, wrong-headed reality show.” –New York Post


27. “Dr. Ken” season one (ABC)

ABCTwenty-two episodes of ‘Dr. Ken’ aired from 2015 to 2016.

Critic score: 26/100

User score: 3.0/10

What critics said: “A family comedy has to have heart and humour, and ‘Dr. Ken’ has neither.” –Los Angeles Times


26. “Hawaii” season one (NBC)

NBCEight episodes of ‘Hawaii’ aired in 2004.

Critic score: 25/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “The new cop series ‘Hawaii’ isn’t your father’s ‘Hawaii Five-O.’ It’s probably not yours, either, or your child’s, or anyone’s. It’s awful.” – New York Daily News


25. “Happy Hour” season one (Fox)

FOXJust seven episodes of ‘Happy Hour’ aired in 2006.

Critic score: 25/100

User score: 8.3/10

What critics said: “Sheer, excruciating pain…. ‘Happy Hour’ stands a good chance of being named Worst New Show, or at least feeblest new sitcom.” –The Washington Post


24. “The Trouble With Normal” season one (ABC)

ABCThis 2000 comedy had just 13 episodes make it to air.

Critic score: 25/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “ABC has been promoting the heck out of ‘The Trouble With Normal,’ but the shockingly unfunny ensemble and rotten scripts will undo all that publicity in minutes. On a positive note, this will almost certainly end the TV career of Jon Cryer.” – Kansas City Star


23. “Tucker” season one (NBC)

NBCThirteen episodes of this NBC comedy aired from 2000 to 2001.

Critic score: 25/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “A dopey comedy deserves a dopey assessment: Tucker sucks. Please make it go away.” – Detroit Free Press


22. “Insatiable” season one (Netflix)

NetflixThe first 12 episodes of ‘Insatiable’ premiered on Netflix in 2018.

Critic score: 25/100

User score: 7.0/10

What critics said: “The show specialises in the easiest forms of scripted cruelty and snark. The fat-shaming, such that it even exists, is brief and nowhere nearly as harmful as the middling idiocy of the entire effort. That’s my review and also a scolding: If you’re watching this, you really need better things to do. ” – The Washington Post


21. “Killer Instinct” season one (Fox)

FOXThirteen episodes of ‘Killer Instinct’ aired in 2005.

Critic score: 25/100

User score: 8.5/10

What critics said: “You won’t see any worse acting across the broadcast spectrum. The women-in-peril scenes are vile. The writing is atrocious. The series is horrifically bad.” – San Francisco Chronicle


20. “Unan1mous” season one (Fox)

FOXAll eight episodes of this reality show aired in 2006.

Critic score: 24/100

User score: 3.1/10

What critics said: “Makes a solid bid to win the Most Unpleasant Reality Show of All Time award.” – Miami Herald


19. “Woops!” season one (Fox)

FOXOnly 10 of the 13 filmed episodes aired in 1992.

Critic score: 24/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “It could have been the funniest show in the world, if there was a nuclear war, really, and this was the only one show left. ‘Woops!’ is moronic on so many levels.” – Newsday


18. “Modern Men” season one (WB)

WBAnother 2006 show which aired just seven of its episodes.

Critic score: 24/100

User score: 5.6/10

What critics said: “Bad sitcom, bad.” – Chicago Sun-Times


17. “10.5 Apocalypse” miniseries (NBC)

NBCThis four-part drama was not a hit with critics or audiences.

Critic score: 23/100

User score: 4.2/10

What critics said: “The calamities and catastrophes occur with such frequency and ferocity that, yes, indeed, ‘Apocalypse 10.5’ suffers the curse of being unintentionally funny – even hilarious.” – The Washington Post


16. “I Wanna Marry Harry” season one (Fox)

FOXEight episodes of this reality show about dating ‘Prince Harry’ aired in 2014.

Critic score: 23/100

User score: 3.0/10

What critics said: “Instead of just creating the horror show that is 12 women competing for a man, it chooses also to play them for fools.” –The AV Club


15. “October Road” season one (ABC)

ABCSix episodes of ‘October Road’ aired in 2007.

Critic score: 23/100

User score: 3.0/10

What critics said: “This wretched show not only features a lead character who is an unredeemable nitwit but dialogue that manages to be leaden, preposterous and pretentious all at once.” – Chicago Tribune


14. “Identity” season one (NBC)

NBCThis primetime game show only lasted 12 episodes from 2006 to 2007.

Critic score: 22/100

User score: 8.4/10

What critics said: “Now, you may be saying, ‘There he goes again, that elitist toad.’ But believe me, even Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Bill O’Reilly would think this show was stupid.” – Philadelphia Inquirer


13. “The Game” season one (The CW/BET)

CW‘The Game’ is yet another 2006 series which only lasted one season.

Critic score: 22/100

User score: 8.2/10

What critics said: “It just isn’t funny. At all. Ever.” – USA Today


12. “Do Not Disturb” season one (Fox)

FOXThis 2008 series only lasted six episodes.

Critic score: 21/100

User score: 3.5/10

What critics said: “This is a show that could bury the [sitcom] genre altogether.” – The Hollywood Reporter


11. “Sons of Hollywood” season one (A&E)

A&ETwelve episodes of ‘Sons of Hollywood’ aired in 2007.

Critic score: 21/100

User score: 3.9/10

What critics said: “Once again, reality TV invites us to marvel at the idiocy, futility, and self-destructive tendencies of the rich and famous. But this petty, home-movie-level material wouldn’t even fly on YouTube.” –Boston Globe


10. “Uncle Buck” season one (CBS)

CBSThis 1990 comedy lasted for just one 22-episode season.

Critic score: 21/100

User score: Unavailable

What critics said: “The jokes are obvious, the situations cliched, the characters obnoxious. Would you believe a lecherous insurance agent named Doreen Douche?” – Newsday


9. “Knight Rider” season one (NBC)

NBC‘Knight Rider’ aired its only season from 2008 to 2009.

Critic score: 21/100

User score: 6.0/10

What critics said: “[An] almost hilariously cheesy remake of the David Hasselhoff original.” – Chicago Tribune


8. “Momma’s Boys” season one (NBC)

NBCThis reality dating show aired just six episodes from 2008 to 2009.

Critic score: 19/100

User score: 4.3/10

What critics said: “Executive produced by Ryan Seacrest, this sucking wound of a show introduces three guys and their mums who move into a house filled with women.” –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


7. “The Real Wedding Crashers” season one (NBC)

NBCOnly five episodes of this prank show aired in 2007.

Critic score: 19/100

User score: 4.3/10

What critics said: “An HD broadcast: Hugely Dumb.” – The Washington Post


6. “Cavemen” season one (ABC)

ABCSeven episodes of this GEICO-commercial spinoff aired in 2007.

Critic score: 19/100

User score: 5.2/10

What critics said: “‘Cavemen,’ is pretty bad. It’s definitely among the stalest pieces of bread in the loaf, which already includes ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘According to Jim.’ And it’s certainly the most tasteless.” – Boston Globe


5. “Work It” season one (ABC)

ABCTwelve episodes of ‘Work It’ aired in 2012.

Critic score: 19/100

User score: 1.1/10

What critics said: “‘Work It’ is dreadful almost beyond comprehension: witless, tasteless, poorly acted, abominably written, clumsily directed, hideously lit and badly costumed.” – USA Today


4. “Category 7: The End of the World” miniseries (CBS)

CBSJust two episodes of this miniseries aired in 2005.

Critic score: 18/100

User score: 3.7/10

What critics said: “Here’s an early candidate for worst miniseries of the 21st Century.” –Detroit Free Press


3. “Stalker” season one (CBS)

CBSTwenty episodes of ‘Stalker’ aired from 2014 to 2015.

Critic score: 17/100

User score: 7.4/10

What critics said: “The violence, creepiness and depravity appear to be the point, because nothing of value is offered in balance…. It’s unforgivable.” –Los Angeles Times


2. “Dads” season one (Fox)

FOXNineteen episodes of ‘Dads’ aired from 2013 to 2014.

Critic score: 15/100

User score: 3.7/10

What critics said: “A crass generation-gap sitcom with the wit if not the intelligence of an elementary-school flatulence contest.” – Miami Herald


1. “The 1/2 Hour News Hour” season one (Fox News)

Fox NewsJust 10 episodes of this satirical news program aired in 2007.

Critic score: 13/100

User score: 2.8/10

What critics said: “The conservative answer to ‘The Daily Show’ … Sometimes the humour is so heavy-handed that it seems almost like self-parody.” – The New York Times

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