Bad TV

Yesterday I noted that Kish and I have been enjoying The Wire, which we think is one of the best TV shows we have ever seen. For every great show, however, there are dozens — maybe hundreds — of horrible shows. Usually you don’t notice them, and they vanish from the airwaves before anyone pays much attention to how awful they are. Sometimes, however, they last for a while for reasons that are a mystery. Maybe the producer had enough clout with the network to keep the show around longer than it merited, or maybe it appealed to some miniscule portion of the population (like, say, adolescents) but was unwatchable for any other population demographic.

What makes for a truly bad TV show? First, it has to be broadcast long enough to really demonstrate a consistently appalling quality. Second, it has to have at least one character that is immediately, and completely, annoying. Third, it has to involve a stupid concept and mindlessly repetitive plots. Any other irritating aspects — such as cheesy special effects, bad scripts, an ear-splitting laugh track, or grating and utterly failed efforts to create a catchphrase that will sweep the nation — are just a rancid cherry on top of an otherwise foul concoction.

We all have our candidates for the dubious designation of bad TV shows. I’ll be writing about mine over the next few weeks, and I welcome anyone else to offer their views.

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