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The Three Worst Shows of 2023 (And 16 Runners-Up)

Zoinks! TV's content saturation blitz left plenty of room for clunkers

It’s that time of the year again when critics share their “Best Of” lists.

I like to start with the three “worst” shows I watched over the past 12 months.

To be clear, these shows have the distinction of at least being watched all the way through. My list of “dropped” shows grows larger every year in our content saturation age.

Shows Dropped

1. “I Hate Suzi Too” (HBO/Max) — I liked season one and was looking forward to more, but the “Dancing with the Stars” plot didn’t intrigue me. The lead, Billie Piper, reminds me so much of an ex that the first few episodes of every season I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s why I love her.” And then as the show progresses I’m all, “Oh yeah that’s why we can’t be together.” And I get that it’s British cringe humor and you’re not supposed to actually like Suzi, but it’s not an enjoyable show to watch.

2. “Shadow and Bone” (Netflix) — This show got canned and I’m not surprised. I watched season one and it made me scratch my head about what’s going on over at Netflix. Why cancel superior shows like “Teenage Bounty Hunters” “The Irregulars” and “Lockwood & Co” but greenlight this for a second season? Obviously, numbers play a role, the answer to all your questions is money, but Netflix is going to have to learn to be patient with good shows that need to find their legs. Almost every great show has a rough first season. 
Textbook case: “Seinfeld” season one.

3. “Vikings: Valhalla” (Netflix) — I think I watched all but three episodes of the latest season, and I’ll probably come back to it at some point. I just completely lost interest.

4. “Sky Rojo” (Netflix) — I have stuck with this Spanish show about three strippers/escorts who rob the owner of the club and escape because it feels like “Spanish Tarantino” and you can’t help but root for the girls. Still, wow does season three drag. I’ll hopefully get back to this show soon and finish it.

5. “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House” (Netflix) — This is an odd show, one you have to be in a specific mood to get into it. It’s like watching paint dry, and that has its place but most nights it’s not worth it.

6. “Sweet Tooth” (Netflix) — I liked season one but couldn’t get into season two at all.

7. “Citadel” (Prime) — WOW this show was awful and painful to watch and that’s amazing given the talent involved, especially Stanley Tucci, Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra.

8. “Mrs. Davis” (Peacock) — This show is like a pancake breakfast. It starts out fun but by the end I was sick of it (an old Mitch Hedberg joke). Star Betty Gilpin is amazing in everything she does and I liked the show’s take on Jesus being loving and alive, but I still don’t need to see anymore of it.

9. “Dead Ringers” (Prime) — It’s a dark, moody show about descending into madness in a corrupt world. The theme is perfect for today’s age, and star Rachel Weisz just crushes it as the main character(s). I still found it to be a difficult watch.

10. “Invisible City” (Netflix) — This little show from Brazil about old myths living among the “normals” is similar in theme to the great comic book series “Fables.” The show’s first season was fantastic, but it meandered a bit during the first five episodes this season and I got lost along the way; I’d like to get back to it and support this show but it’s a maybe at best.

11. “Beef” (Netflix) — This dramedy is going to make a lot of people’s “Top Ten” lists for 2023, and I acknowledge how good it is. Plus, Steven Yeun is one of my favorite actors and Ali Wong is fantastic. My brother said it’s a fascinating look into Asian life in California, and I just couldn’t do it. The material proved just too grim.

12. “Sexify” (Netflix) — This show from Poland about college students building a sex app had a fun first season but season two just didn’t hold any interest; I dropped it after the first episode of the second season.

13. “The Head” (HBO/Max) — Season One made my “worst show” list in 2022. Oh, it was awful. I was mildly curious to see if things might improve in season two, but after about ten minutes… nope.

14. “The Witcher” (Netflix) — How could a show be so good in seasons one and two and then just flame out season three?

15. “Human Resources” (Netflix) — If I had made it past episode three it would’ve made my list of worst TV shows at #4.

16. “Irrational” (Peacock) — I loved the book “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely on which the show is loosely based, but it devolved into a “Murder She Wrote,” cookie-cutter formula in record time.

The Three Worst Shows of 2023

1. “Kaleidoscope” (Netflix) — I can hear the marketing exec in my head, “Okay, this show turned out awful, but what if we cut it up into eight parts and mix and match them? Like every viewer sees the same episodes but in a different order? Do you think that will work?” Sold. And so it happened just like that. It doesn’t matter what order you watched it in, this show stunk. This was, by miles, the worst thing I watched on TV all year.

2. “Velma” (HBO/MAX) — I liked the animation, the voice actors and some of the humor, but this show was so deeply nihilistic, narcissistic and preachy it sucked whatever joy you remember from the original “Scooby-Doo!” right out of you and sent you into deep existential angst and question all the life choices you’ve made up until now.

3. “Treason” (Netflix) — The primary reason for not liking this show is that nobody behaved like actual spies. Just a cursory reading of John le Carré or even if they caught a James Bond film or two it could’ve given the writers a better understanding of the genre. It feels like this show was intended as a corporate drama, maybe even set in a private club or university, but someone at Netflix said, “Hey what if we raise the stakes and make it a spy story?” It all went downhill from there. (Note: “Treason” debuted Dec. 26, 2022)

How about you? What was the worst show you watched this year?

5 Comments

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  2. Haven’t heard of a single one of them. I watch movies and sports. Couldn’t care less about TV series, and haven’t since Battlestar Galactica in the early 2000s.

  3. I would add the New Frasier to the worst list, its so bland none of the supporting characters have any charisma or charm of the old show.

  4. Knowing it was just a miniseries, I was fine with Mrs. Davis in the end. Love those leads. I’m probably already hitting my limit for shows about AI though, and I know it will only get worse.

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