TV's 20 Biggest Disappointments of 2011

Just as TV can exceed our expectations by, say, taking what felt like the umpteenth couples comedy and parlaying it into wonderful, weekly Happy Endings, gripping us tight with Homeland drama or reviving the primetime sudser with a delicious serving of Revenge, small screen fare can also let us down.

With 2011 drawing to a close, we reflected on 20 instances over the past year when, for one reason or another, the TV gods didn’t quite smile on us. Review our picks, then share your thoughts in comments.

TVLine Also Counts Down: The 10 Most Underrated TV Performances of 2011

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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356 Comments
  1. erin says:

    Way to keep is classy Supernatural fans. What is with all the personal insults and name calling? Regarding season 7, I thought 5 episodes were great and 5 were subpar (with the wedding episode being the worst SPN episode ever). Despite that I am actually kind of excited for the second half of the season.

  2. Scy says:

    I like and miss Castiel, and I’ll be glad to have him back, but I don’t feel the show has jumped the shark without him.

    For me, this season was never about ‘going back to the brothers the way they used to be,’ it was about stripping all the conveniences away from them and pushing them incredibly hard – particularly Dean – to see what happened. Sometimes in a series, be it a book series, television series, or movie franchise, you have to take away everything the main characters relied on to see how well they hold up on their own. It’s been amazing to watch the boys adapt and deal with losing their easy access to cash, their familiar ride, their insta-heal life support, and their anonymity. Sam’s a hallucinating nutcase and Dean’s a broken shell, but they keep doing what they do because it’s what they do. I appreciate the writers continuing to inject humor into the show because while SPN is far from real life, it’s not a soap opera. People on this show do not sit around and weep about how awful their situation is. We only get glimpses of how bad it is to live with memories of Lucifer’s cage, broken trust, and dead father figures. We’d hate it if they resolved those issues too quickly, or if they just made them go away. I think the pacing has been good this season, much better than last season when we stumbled around for episodes and episodes without knowing WHAT was going on.

    I don’t think this season’s been repetitive OR a failure, and I most certainly don’t think it was ever just ‘meh.’ I appreciate the writers letting the characters continue down the paths they were on at the end of season 6. I, for one, am looking forward to the new episodes because I really want to know how the series is going to deal with a smart, relatively indestructible and adaptive creature like the Leviathans.

    • DeanFTW says:

      ” It’s been amazing to watch the boys adapt and deal with losing their easy access to cash, their familiar ride, their insta-heal life support, and their anonymity.”

      How has it been amazing. Besides Dean not driving the Impala, there is nothing different in the way they go about their day. Have we seen any evidence that being short on funds has affected their ability to hunt or eat? They could no longer count on Cas to help them out of tight spots so now they have different new characters show up every week to do it for them instead. Each “loss” has basically gotten one brief mention and then it’s business as usual with almost no change in the formula of the show or the structure of each episode.

      The idea is solid, but like most things on this show in recent years, the execution has been incredibly half-assed and sloppy.

      • Scy says:

        I’m not sure what you mean by other characters showing up to take Castiel’s place as saviors. I haven’t seen that, myself, though I’m not discounting your opinion. You do make a valid point that some things haven’t been addressed in detail – like the fact that while their credit card scam is now more difficult, they still find the cash to eat and purchase gas and bullets. I’d like to see that dealt with a bit more harshly.

        While I admit that this isn’t the best season ever, I wouldn’t call it sloppy and I still enjoy it without feeling dissatisfied. It doesn’t have the tight cohesiveness of the first few seasons, though, that’s for sure.

  3. Carol says:

    The horrid treatment of Cuddy and the departure of Lisa Edelstein was clear and away the biggest disappointment of this TV year. What an unmatched creative and ratings disaster for “House.” Without Cuddy, this season has been spiritless and limp. Hugh Laurie seems to be sleepwalking through the dull episodes and former fans are leaving in droves.

    I like to remember earlier seasons of “House,” when the character exploration was foremost, the writing crackled with insight, and the extraordinary chemistry between Laurie and Edelstein made every episode spark with intelligence and sexy humor. Those were the days, my friends.

    • Rei says:

      Yes, the intelligence and sexy humor of sausages in bun, ass grabs, boobs grabs, Cuddy’s breast and ass showed in our face, bombs stinks, stupid pranks, traip wires agsinst a cripple, stolen thong, and so on, lmao.
      First seasons with just few seconds of Cuddy and huddy non existent the show had more than 20 millions of viewers, the huddy crap got them a season 7 with 10 millions, huddy and Cuddy really ruined the show. Of course this years the millions who left aren’t back, they moved on

      • Belle says:

        If you actually do a ratings analysis you will note that ratings for the first 15 episodes of S7 were pretty steady (particularly in the key 18-49 demographic) most of the viewers began to leave in season 7 after episode 15, the episode that saw them split House and Cuddy up. After this episode there was a steady decline that continued into Season 8 and lead to the rather poor ratings the show is getting now. Please actually check and review the ratings figures properly before making biased and misinformed statements about the effect of “Huddy” on the show. For example there is no Huddy in Season 8 at all are you still blaming it for the fall in ratings for this season? If you are then you would have to say the lack of Huddy may be the reason for the fall in ratings wouldn’t you??

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Can we add the outcome of “law-enforcement crushes tournament” to that list?

  5. Gia says:

    Supernatural got so boring for me without Castiel I haven’t watched since the fourth episode of the season, and believe me I tried. I heard Cas is coming back at some point, but now I couldn’t care less, too little too late.

  6. Alejja10 says:

    Ok people the real answer is that every adicion to the show has been great and if you guys were really Castiel haters you would have stop watching the show since 4×01 ……but adding Misha Collins and Jim Beaver as one of main characters with Jared and Jensen has been one of the best choices ever written by the writers
    And it SUCKS that Misha and Jim are not in the show right now

  7. DeanFTW says:

    Supernatural is failing because the writers are more interested in getting a rise out of the online fandom than in actually telling decent stories. They kill off characters for no discernible reason just to piss off fans so that they can chortle to themselves at all the teeth-gnashing on various message boards. It’s a charming way to treat the people who have kept them on air despite almost no support from their own network or buzz in the mainstream media.

  8. Lana says:

    I’m glad Supernatural is in there – it is my favourite show in the world but I have been so disappointed over seasons 6 and 7. I feel like the character assassination of Castiel is a big part of that, and perhaps that should have had it’s own disappointment tab.

  9. Sarahliz says:

    Smallville ended perfectly. They always said Tom Welling would never wear the tights, and I for one believe it would have been way too hokey to change him so blatantly into superman. For those of us who were not Superman fans before Smallville and still are not after Smallville, it ended just how us fans of the show, Smallville, wanted. If you were hoping for “Superman”, you were watching the wrong show, and they told us that from the beginning.

  10. Sarahliz says:

    Yes, Chloe King was cancelled WAY too soon and I am horrified that I won’t get any more of it.

  11. eric says:

    Pleasantly surprised that Community still got in the mix. The day that NBC announces its return and its fourth season will be a day of rejoicing. #sixseasonsandamovie!!!

  12. barjy says:

    i followed supernatural from the beginning…I love the concept of this show…I love the story about 2 brothers…But for me, it’s important to have some people in the background to explore the character of Dean and Sam…Characters like Bobby who saw them in the eyes of a father and character like Castiel who saw them in the eyes of a friend…Just 2 brothers and the show turns to itself…Boring…like now..seems “deja vu”…I was disappointed when i saw what was matter with CVa

  13. barjy says:

    i followed supernatural from the beginning…I love the concept of this show…I love the story about 2 brothers…But for me, it’s important to have some people in the background to explore the characters of Dean and Sam…Characters like Bobby who saw them in the eyes of a father and character like Castiel who saw them in the eyes of a friend…Just 2 brothers and the show turns to itself…Boring…like now..seems “deja vu”…I was disappointed when i saw what was matter with Castiel but also with the character..Where were the dean and the sam of compassion…Where were the true about the family behind the blood…they had a friend and they didn’t care about his lost..the story about leviathan are not so great that i expected after the great 7.01…What’s the matter with my show? where is my spn spirit? some of you are happy to see castiel out of the show…It’s sad to see that because he brought so much so the show and with his “lost” show lost a lot..you can’t like castiel but you can say that his departure is a good thing for the show that will be unfair…2 bro need some background because face to face are not a great thing for the evolution of the show…and i love this show…

  14. ellie says:

    As a fan from the pilot sadly I have to agree about Supernatural. After the great opening episode this season has felt like a re-run of the previous six. I love that the brothers have reunited once again but how many monster of the week episodes can you put up with before it gets boring even if you LOVE the show.

  15. Kate says:

    I’m enjoying season 7 a lot. There have been a couple of ropey moments but I can say that for each and every season. When you’re doing a 22 (this year 23) episode season, you can not be perfect out of the gate every single time. I’ve enjoyed a stronger focus on the brother’s relationship, it’s been a long time coming and is needed to get this story back on solid footing because with out that relationship the show wouldn’t exist. I love all the characters that have come and gone, mostly, and totally adored Castiel, but one character a show does not make and to say the removal of that character….which we now know was not permanent…does not destroy a show as strong as this. It is still far and away one of the best written, produced and acted shows on TV, all on a tiny budget on a tiny network. I will never understand how people can throw their love for a show away when they don’t like the outcome of one character, because a TV show is the sum of ALL it’s parts. Also, for Heaven’s sake, this is Supernatural after all…no-one dies forever…thank goodness! No, this show is going strong, still has plenty of fuel in the Impala’s tank and there will be a season 8.

  16. Leticia says:

    Smallville, yeah. And Cuddy leaving House, my fave series.

  17. D says:

    So far the bigger disappointment is the MIA status for Community, I really wish it’s back soon because I miss Greendale.
    I’d also say that Bored To Death cancellation was a bad choice from HBO, it had a couple of very brilliant characters and a very original and fresh atmosphere for a comedy series.
    I was also a little let down by Fringe’s early episodes, but I feel like it will come back stronger. And Dexter sucked againg this year.

  18. sarah says:

    The office has gone down hill for a couple seasons now and it really should have ended last season when Michael left
    I kind of like Charlie’s Angels

  19. Anita says:

    It’s oh so amusing to see the Cas haters go on and on with the old “I’m glad he’s gone, show’s better without him, just two brothers, blah blah, true fans”.
    I’ve been watching SPN since the very first episode, and I’m still a Cas fan. So are several hundred people. Deal with it.
    As for “Show’s better without him”, yeah, it’s been doing SOOOO well lately, low ratings, fans complaining (not only Cas fans, mind you, but also those who are objective enough to notice the sloppy writing and the boring storyline) and oh, look! now it’s appearing on a TV’s Biggest Disappointment list!
    I can surely see how it’s improving! /irony
    I’m not going to be foolish enough to think this is all because Cas is gone. But the point is… EVERYBODY’S gone except Sam and Dean.
    How can some people still seriously think the “two brothers only” approach is best for Show??

  20. Belinda says:

    Biggest disappointment and wasted storyline potential, having Misha Collins to play the Leviathan. That was such a waste, the man carried the premiere of Supernatural Season 7 with such grace and instead of using their “lightning in a bottle”, they decide to waste it and just shove him out. I don’t think I will ever understand that. Just because the show is about Sam and Dean doesn’t mean they can’t have supporting characters around or other interactions. The show has starting to become a wasteland and I honestly don’t think I appreciate it anymore. Hopefully they got something better cooking up for the second half because it has been filler after filler with no direction.

  21. nonabgo says:

    The new season of HIMYM is my biggest disappointment of 2011. If I want to watch that kind of drama, I tune in to some crappy daytime soap. This is supposed to be a sitcom but it looks more like Y&R.

  22. Sara says:

    I agree and disagree with Supernatural being on this list. I have been a fan of the show since Season 1, but I also love Cas to death. I think a lot of the Cas haters don’t seem to understand that, yes everyone was pissed and upset that they killed Cas off, I was one of them, but what pissed me off more than him being killed off was the way that they handled it. Im sorry, but to treat such a beloved character and a character that has had such an integral part of the show as a throw away is a bunch of BS.

    Some things this season have been great, while others I just have no damn clue what the point was, case in point the wedding episode. I know its only the first half of the season, but something has to be done with Dean and Sam, Dean angsting and drinking while Sam is still screwed up from the wall coming down, and now with the possibility that Bobby may be gone its like how much more can these boys take. Im just hoping that the second half of the season gets better, and start to tie up some loose ends from the first half.

  23. Sara says:

    On another note, I didn’t think Torchwood was THAT bad. I personally liked seeing more into Jack’s past, but then again I love that sort of thing…seeing what makes a character the way he was. Mind you there were a few slow scenes, and a couple of things were just…why were they added again, but overall it was a decent season.

    But I gotta wonder, what exactly do you mean by Jack/Gwen twosome, fighting or together. Because if you listened to any of the radio plays you know that Jack loved Ianto and wanted him back…just saying.

    • Ashley says:

      I agree that Miracle Day wasn’t that bad … as long as you watched it all in a row. I found it was too fast in spots, and too slow in others. Basically, it needed a better rewrite, or fewer episodes, or something.

      Immortal Sins, which was all about Jack’s relationship with Angelo, was my favorite episode, one I can watch over and over on its own. Plus there was minimal new characters, mainly Jack/Gwen/Angelo. Perfect.

      I think what they mean is that Jack and Gwen, who are the two main characters from the old series’, didn’t get enough screen time either apart or together in a friendly way. Too much focus on new characters and too many random plot lines resulted in less of what made Torchwood, Torchwood, originally, which is the team dynamics and them all playing off each other; not just bigheaded people who have no idea how Torchwood does things, trying to run the missions.

      I respectfully disagree with your opinion that Jack loved Ianto and wanted him back. I consider the books, radio plays, audio books, comic books, whatever not canon. Canon to me is series one and two, Children of the Earth, and Miracle Day. Also, for the amount of time Jack has been alive (100+ years or 2000+ years, depending on how you count), there’s no way he’s going to have only one love. He’ll have many loves over many time periods and many planets. Yes, he may miss Ianto for a period of time, but he will have to move on. It’s the only way he will survive the however many years he has before he turns into the Face of Boe and eventually dies. Plus, with his 51 century values, he’s a lot more fluid and open about the concept of love and marriage and monogamy. Us, as 21 century humans, can’t fit him in our neat little boxes, because he’s not supposed to fit.

  24. Kate says:

    I am a diehard Supernatural fan but I have to admit that I haven’t been as thrilled with this season. I still love the guys but I don’t like Sera Gamble’s vision for the show. Too much Sam and not enough of the lighthearted Dean mixed with the tortured. I hate that they killed Bobby and I miss Cas. They can bring the show back but Sera needs an overseer!

  25. Bobby says:

    I would have bought the entire series of Smallville on disc if they had given us Clark in the suit without the CGI and some closeup. 10 years of watching that series and they screwed us all.

    Thanks for nothing Smallville.

  26. The only thing I want to say right now is that i’m F**kin sick of hearing those website saying “oh they will get back together” and then ” oh there is no hope about that” and then again “Lisa is back everything will be back to normal” !!!!!!!!!!! This is enormously annoying for us the only thing that we all wanna know is the trust but as we can see they are not really able to do that because the only things that they are selling since the beginning is SH*T …. for some of us, this huddyship is not only a little hobby but an inspiration or an other life that we live when we watch them together… And the only thing those website are doing right now is playing with us and our feelings….. I don’t consider this article as a serious one… I think the only way to know what is going to happen in this show is to wait ….

  27. Mia says:

    The problem with Supernatural is not the loss of Castiel or Misha Collins, I think it’s the loss of Kimm Manners and Eric Kripke.

  28. Melanie says:

    Bring back Cas. The show and the boys need him. He’s part of the heart!

  29. anne ryan says:

    i love cas glad hes coming back now i only hope bobby stays gone sorry but the guy gets on my tit

  30. Kira says:

    I agree with you about a lot of shows, but not “Supernatural.” Season Seven so far feels like the old show. I applaud the writers for killing off Castiel, a fan-favorite, because the character had run its course. The only issue I have with the show is that Sam never has a good emotional storyline. Things happen to him and he has to struggle through it, but the focus is usually on Dean’s angst. And I really felt like it was short-sighted with the whole Lucifer-hallucinations. Mark Pellegrino needs to return!

    With that said, I can’t WAIT for new episodes. I’m LOVING this season!

  31. Hols says:

    Lol. Supernatural fandom is the gift that just keeps on giving. Never change, SPN fandom, never change.

  32. Scy says:

    Man, I agree with Torchwood being on this list. I had a blast watching the new series… right up until the last episode. The characters were great as always, even the new ones! There was some really beautiful writing. But the plot was way too big! For something of that scale, it needed more episodes or fewer side stories to resolve correctly. The last fifteen minutes of the last episode left my head spinning. Disagree with the opinion on the team dynamic here, though. Gwen and Jack had plenty of opportunity to work together and they had some of the best moments in the entire season. But they have teammates, and I was glad to see them interacting both together and separately with Rex, Esther and (for a while, anyway) Vera.

    • Ashley says:

      I completely agree with you. Something had to be done about the plot. The worst part is they had written out an overview before writing individual scripts. SOMEONE should have caught the inconsistencies and everything before it got to filming.

  33. Melody says:

    I’ve gotta disagree about Supernatural, I’ve loved season 7, everything except for the wedding episode. Season 6 was hard to get through, but this season has been fantastic!! I’m very much looking forward to 2012 and more with my Winchester’s.

    On the other hand, I have to completely agree about Smallville, what a complete disappointment. The entire final season was bad, just bad.

  34. belle says:

    I would love to see House and Cuddy on our screens again. I genuinely miss Cuddy being on the show and the failure of the writers to even address her abscence has just hung around like a big elephant in the room this season. Lisa Edelstein and Cuddy deserve what Camerson, 13 and Masters got and that is a proper farwell and an acknowledgement of what they (the actress and the character) contributed to the show.

    I dont trust the writers not to try to screw Cuddy over as a character even more than they have already done if they were to bring her back but my genuine enjoyment in seeing Lisa Edelstein and Hugh Laurie and the particular brand of theatrical chemistry they bring to the screen on my TV once more actually overrides that fear. Bring it on I say…..I would like to see Cuddy back on House.

  35. Sean C. says:

    “Glee” spending the better part of a season building up Santana’s coming out story, some of the best material in the show last year, and then ruining it all in the space of a single episode with “I Kissed A Girl”, an episode so noxiously sexist and skewed in favour of Hero!Finn that it should by all rights have gotten them cited by GLAAD for endorsing outing.

  36. Kimmie says:

    I’ve been a fan of Supernatural but I agree with it making this list. I don’t even know what they’re doing with this season. Frankly, it’s giving me a headache.

  37. Cheryl says:

    Now that Supernatural has finally rid itself of the overused and overblown and overblown Angel mythology and castile which put this show at Deaths door itself from Seasons 4 thru Season 6 with dropped ratings. It now needs to rid itselfof creating constant issues between the boys and have them pop up naturally as they do with brothers and get Supernatural back to being the brothers versus everything again.

    • Erie says:

      I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that you don’t even know how to spell the character’s name or the fact that you aren’t aware that ratings actually rose during season 4.

  38. Cheryl says:

    But I am enjoying Season 7 of Supernatural. Its the first time since season 3 its felt like our old show again (Just please have Dean get over his whiny woah is me supposed rocker journey) As seriously writers didnt you OD us on this Dean in Season 5. Please give us back our Dean, that kick ass hunter and protective big brother and have the boys fully on the same page again. And theres no way Sam is okay please finish telling his story. Him taking care of Dean is kind of ass backwards storyline but okay now its time to reverse it.

    • saltrounds says:

      I totallly agree. Too much whiny Dean and not enough Sam story.

    • Sara says:

      The kick ass hunter IS back, now,they just need to let him have fun with the hunt again…*fingers crossed* we’ll get that in the second half. As far as I’m concerned, they can deep six the protective big brother/Dean having to take care of Sam crap since Sam has his big boy pants on now; and he can come and go as he pleases, whenever he wants, and for whatever reason he wants-as we’ve been told endlessly since S5. He doesn’t need protecting anymor-except when he does; then Dean needs to be there Johnny-on-the-spot for him *eye roll*. Since the showrunner has no interest in creating a truly balanced and loving brotherly relationship, I’d actually prefer more episodes in which they’re separated. I haven’t seen Sam take care of Dean this season, nor do I really want that any longer. And to be perfectly honest, I wish we’d never have to hear about Sam’s ripped off hellpain storyline again, but if we do, he should handle it on his own, as he has been, with little fanfare attached-and as Dean had to in S4 because Sam’s demon-blood drinking storyline that lead to Sam opening Lucifer’s cage was obviously more important and too critical for anything such as Dean’s not-as-horrible-as-Poor Sammy’s hellpain(*bigger eye roll*) to get in the way of. The writing has sucked on this show since mid S5.

      • smellynellie says:

        Sam is handling it on his own. Dean is too busy angsting over everything under the sun. But Dean can take care of himself. He’s a big boy. Sam should be free to do as he please.

        • Sara says:

          Yes, and if Sam is allowed and enabled by the writers to be so “free” and independent, then so, too, should Dean be when the other shoe drops and Sam starts angsting over his epic manpain from his most horrible hell ever-which was my point.

  39. Kristin says:

    Your biggest disappointments was spot on for the shows that I watched. Castle is afraid of being like Moonlighting. Don’t drag it out forever. Whitney showed promise but fizzled. Grey’s is good but with the exception of Callie/Arizona the other couples all get no reward or payoff for all their struggles. What season or decade will Meredith finally catch a break? The football overruns are killing The Good Wife. Seriously! The angels were horrific. AMC and Agnes Nixon deserved a better send off. Lisa needs to return to House for at least one episode for closure. I’m watching Desperate Housewives only to see the characters through it. I thought they’d do a better job in the last year given the fact that they know it’s their last year. The writers not the actress’ who are great. The parents of five year old beauty contestants should be reported to DFCS. I miss Brothers and Sisters. Don’t understand the love you have for Cougar Town. But to each their own. Cheers to the back end of the 2012 season for whatever you all love to watch

  40. Mila says:

    Castiel is awesome I am so happy that he will come back and I hope that Bobby also back. :D

  41. Zepp says:

    For me, I have another major disappointed to 2011 in terms of TV series, which was the cancellation of the very good series: V – visitors. This series was emerging as one of the best line of science fiction. An elaborate production, direction, post production and cast, also very good, episodic, well suited to the arc of the story, in short, had everything to success, and … came the cancellation. A disappointment!

  42. Taryn says:

    hey guys, i just had a thought. what if sam stops hallucinating lucifer and starts hallucinating Castiel? Does that sound possible to any of u guys?

  43. Amber says:

    While I find it very annoying that Cuddy left House so abruptly, I am much more disappointed by Meloni leaving SVU, Hargitay taking a backseat in her final season, and the news that uninteresting actors would be taking their places. Nobody is gonna have that same presence and chemistry that Chris Meloni and Marsika Hargitay had on that show.

  44. Angela says:

    Whomever is making the decisions to bench shows and freaking out over ratings and viewerships and the incredibly dumb “demographic” category and such needs to wake up. I’m tired of networks blowing money on shows that are clearly bad ideas to begin with and don’t even last (“Work It”), only to then turn around and screw with good shows because they claim to be in “financial struggles” or whatever lame excuse they give. I’m tired of them complaining that nobody’s watching a show, completely forgetting about the type of technological age we live in and the rabid fanbases that the Internet now provides. So much reevaluating that TV executives need to do, if they want people to keep watching TV at all.

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