This one hurts, because Season 1 of Lifetime’s scathing reality-TV exposé made our Best Dramas of 2015 list. But this year’s follow-up gave new meaning to the term “sophomore slump.” Everlasting’s choice of a black suitor, which had a lot of storytelling potential, led to some truly ridiculous plot twists — so, Jeremy’s a murderer now? — and an unforgivably clumsy take on police shootings. (Darius’ pal Romeo gets shot by cops, isn’t mentioned for weeks, then reappears unscathed in the finale?!) Get back to basics in Season 3, UnREAL, and maybe we’ll think about giving you another rose… er, shot.
9. SCREAM QUEENS
Season 1, while completely nonsensical, felt fun and fresh. So despite the series' inherent flaws, we entered Season 2 with high hopes — only to be completely let down. The jokes aren't as sharp (poor No. 5), the twists aren't as exciting (of course the newbies are the killers), and worst of all, Chad Radwell is dead. Even the pacing feels off this season: Just look at Kirstie Alley, whose character was announced with much fanfare, only to be basically sidelined for five weeks before revealing her entire plan via a clumsy voice-over. And the proof is in the scary-low ratings.
Here's the thing: We wanted to like ABC's Hayley Atwell-led procedural, especially following the untimely death of Agent Carter. But cliché characters and snoozy subplots made it anything but must-see TV. Conviction had potential — the life of Atwell’s First Daughter-turned-train wreck always made for some interesting drama — but in a world where hundreds of scripted series are screaming for viewers' attention, is there any worse crime than being boring?
7. FEED THE BEAST
This dreary, ill-fated drama was as unappetizing as its menu suggested: David Schwimmer at his absolute whiniest, playing an alcoholic resturauteur reeling from his wife’s hit-and-run death; Jim Sturgess as a morally compromised chef with a chronic case of the sniffles (even with no cocaine in sight); overwrought metaphors about the healing power of pasta; a child who refuses to speak; and a trite tale of how the guys get sucked into a mob boss’ money-laundering scheme. Mercifully, AMC scraped the whole thing into a black plastic bin liner and tossed it into the Dumpster at the end of its unfortunate 10-episode run.
HOUDINI & DOYLE
Fox’s murder mystery imagined magician Harry Houdini and author Arthur Conan Doyle as a crime-solving duo. But it couldn’t conjure up enough ratings to justify a Season 2.
Despite her promise to shake up the talk-show format, Chelsea Handler’s move to Netflix was remarkable only in its willful, gleeful aura of know-nothingness. Whether discussing her understanding of cars (“I know they go vroom-vroom”), offering up un-funny pre-taped sketches (one groaner found the host failing to understand Spanish while visiting a school for telenovela actors), or muddling through uninspired celeb interviews that inevitably shifted back to her favorite topic (herself!), Handler’s disdain and disinterest proved the peculiar driving force. And in this case, ignorance was most certainly not bliss.
4. WAYWARD PINES
Much like Under the Dome, this once-promising “event series” should have quit while it was ahead. Its dire second season felt like it largely existed to kill off fan-favorite characters, and when it wasn't busy doing that, it was a vague retelling of Season 1 — only now with a far less intriguing protagonist in Jason Patric's Dr. Theo Yedlin. We were also treated to the world’s ickiest subplot, in which town leader Jason discovered that wife Kerry was also his biological mother. Honestly, we’d rather be fed to the Abbies than return for a (possible) third go-round of this post-apocalyptic dreck.
The real horror of A&E’s continuation of 1976’s The Omen turned out to be its plodding pacing, shoddy action sequences and a glum, blank-faced lead performance by Bradley James as the reluctant antichrist-to-be. Oh sure, Barbara Hershey, chewing all the scenery as an end-of-days fangirl, brought some daft energy to the proceedings, but it often felt like the titular antihero’s long-range plan was to crush the populace with unbearable ennui. Like Damien's wide-eyed love interest, comically swallowed whole in the pilot by a demonic sinkhole, this ridiculous mess should’ve been swiftly and unceremoniously buried in the development phase.
Scalpel! Forceps! Actually, just slap a toe tag on NBC’s profoundly stupid, aggressively unappealing medical drama starring Melissa George as a collection of groan-inducing clichés. Heartbeat followed the brilliant, “edgy,” and super-annoying Dr. Alex Panttiere as she juggled two dreamy love interests (including a criminally wasted Dave Annable), pulled off wildly unorthodox surgical procedures and tossed the stinkin’ rule-book into the medical-waste container, dammit. With most of the supporting characters making as much of an impression as white markers on a dry-erase board, Jamie Kennedy’s smelly, casually racist doc stood out, catching the eye of a Korean-American nurse by calling her "Ping Pang Pong." See why we asked for that toe tag?
1. MAN WITH A PLAN
No show better epitomizes how bland and safe network TV has become than Matt LeBlanc’s depressingly formulaic CBS sitcom. The former Joey Tribbiani plays a dad who stays home with his kids while his wife goes back to work, and (shocker!) he’s terrible at it. The whole concept of a hapless dude baffled by simple paternal duties is decades out of touch, and the groan-worthy punchlines aren’t any fresher. The Friends cast has struggled to make new magic since leaving Central Perk behind, but Man With a Plan might be the most lowest low yet.