We’ve been spoiled for choice this year with television. Hell, Marvel Studios gave a 4 new shows in a single calendar year. And, we were given countless other new and continuing series that dazzled us consistently. Though there were a lot of successes, the year of television wasn’t exempt from bad entries. There were certainly some duds, and I have put together a short list of some my personal worsts that I watched this year.
I know, I know. Another disclaimer. First, the list is only pulled from shows I actually got a chance to watch AND review. There were more shows released this year than I think anyone with a life could consume, so there’s bound to be some bad ones that are missing. Secondly, as much I would like to have them all, I don’t have all the streaming services. So there are bound to be some shows released that I simply will not be able to watch and include. This goes for the best of list too, but there may be a show you absolutely hated that I didn’t get to see. And lastly, art is subjective, and these are simply my opinions based on the content I consumed in 2021.
Ok, let’s get into the worst television shows of 2021.
“The Bad Batch “
I’m starting off light, because “The Bad Batch” is more of a disappointment that a technical worst of television. However, the spin-off series started with such promise and then went off the rails in the worst of ways. It turned its focus from the most unique and compelling characters that make up a perfectly cliched “The Bad Batch” into something more akin to “adventures in babysitting.” This narrative shift about three episodes in really took away from the promise of a great show, and limited the capabilities for a great, darker, adventure show. It really is a bummer, because I wanted to love “The Bad Batch,” but after a few episodes I simply couldn’t sit through it anymore. I’m including my review here, and you can see for yourself how misguided I was in my view of show as a whole. It started off so strong (as my review reflects my thoughts on the first few episodes) and fell apart quickly to make it on the worst of list.
Catch it on Disney+.
“Tiger King 2,” and “The Doc Antle Story”
This one is a twofer, they’re part of a second season and spin off released in the same year. Both “Tiger King 2” and “The Doc Antle Story” suffer from the same faults. Namely, being released at a time when we are no longer in the same place culturally. As it turns out, “Tiger King” benefited from the time of when it was released and Joe Exotic, who’s strangeness and brashness lent significantly to our obsession with it. Subtract these two things, and you’re left with a continuing series that lacks the magic or interest of predecessor and spin off better suited to not be associated with the “Tiger King” brand. It’s certainly a bummer, because you would think that the answer to our continued cycle of pandemic woes should be more backwoods, drug infused private zoos. Sadly, the lightening can’t strike twice.
“Masters of the Universe: Revelations“
Ok, before you get all up in arms about including “Masters of the Universe: Revelations” on here for not being woke or appreciating female protagonists in culturally outdated cartoons, let me just say that my gripes with this show have nothing to do with the more controversial discourse about the merits of gender roles in animation. No, my gripes with “Masters of the Universe: Revelations” have more to do with overall execution and the horrendous and grotesque marketing ploy to split the show into two parts. I’m fine with wanting to stay relevant, but “MOTU” fell victim to their own rouse. Kevin Smith and friends seemed desperate to creating controversy for controversy’s sake, and that was never more apparent than with how the first part ended and the entire second part unfolded. I genuinely enjoyed the first part, but return was so poorly done is diminished any of the enjoyment you could get from part one.
Catch parts 1 and 2 on Netflix.
“Jupiter’s Legacy “
This was an accidental watch, as someone recommended the show to me. “Jupiter’s Legacy” falls victim to an array of Netflix show mistakes, filling the show with far too many subplots, focusing on the wrong and least interesting aspects of the narrative and the incorrect number of episodes. There’s a lot wrong with “Jupiter’s Legacy,” and the truth is that in an endless sea of comic book and graphic novel adaptions, it’s not enough to just be mediocre. You have to really set yourself apart, and unfortunately this series misses the mark and gets far more wrong than it does right. There’s some things that are decent, but over all “Jupiter’s Legacy” is a huge misfire for Netflix.
Without out doubt, “Them” takes the cake for being one of the most unpleasant viewing experiences of the year. It is quintessential black trauma porn, and feels more exploitive than meaningful. It’s is grotesque and brutal in its depiction of racism and brutality, and whatever it is trying to say is drowned by these harrowing elements. I’m more than okay with using violence to convey challenging themes and add a sense of realism to challenging events, but “Them” goes overboard. It feels more like violence for the sake of violence, and struggles to have anything meaningful to say underneath all its brutality. I almost didn’t make it through “Them,” and it stands as one of the more particularly disturbing and unpleasant watching experiences of the year.
So there you have it, the worst TV series of 2021. What were some of your least favorite shows this year?