50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 31st-35th Most Insulting TV Shows

Knockoffs, imitators and just plain unlikable people are on display in this entry.  Instead of handing them a golden globe, they are getting their asses handed to them for offending viewers with these 5 shows.  And given how much viewers LOVE commercials jammed down their throat, one network had the gall to turn a commercial into a sitcom.  Joke was on them as viewers changed the channel.

Catch up on the prior 15 offenders and be prepared as the bar continues to lower.

46th-50th: Overexposure and Preposterous

41st-45th: Wasted Opportunities

36th-40th: Misfires and Assaults

35. Monarch, FOX (2022)

Susan Sarandon on screen in an appealing soap?  The promos for this series read strong, making its broadcasting outright insulting.  Showrunners appeared to try and channel successful primetime soaps with country music superstars we enjoyed on Nashville, the mystery and suicidal launch of Desperate Housewives and a taste for blood like Revenge.  The trouble was Monarch lacked the charm the prior three mentions possessed.  The pilot's "twist?"  Susan Sarandon's character Dottie commits suicide, limiting her hook which drew in viewers.  Viewers could hardly weep as Dottie was established as a narcissistic diva which made us grateful Sarandon had a limited commitment.

Viewers who had the misfortune of continuing to watch had the appalling experience of Trace Atkins' brash and bullying Albie, hardly a lead to invest in.  Unlike Nashville, which held the draw of producing original music, Monarch's pallet consisted of covers, leaving viewers who joined hoping to relive that experience disappointed.  And the mystery?  It lacked the depth and cleverness of Desperate Housewives as well as beauty and subtlety of Revenge.  FOX's scheduling history has demonstrated they save the best for the new year, so fall scheduling of Monarch indicated FOX recognized the show was frail before debut.  11 episodes were burned off by December, and viewers were able to move on from this insulting soap.

34. The Real Wedding Crashers, NBC (2007)

Often if a show uses the word "real" in it, that means finish the sentence and say "really bad."  Ashton Kutcher produced this series hoping to replicate the success of his other series "Punk'd."  Inspired by the success of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson's 2005 film Wedding Crashers, the same fun and charm of the movie held was missing.  The trouble was everyone saw Wedding Crashers, so how could people pull the same stunt on unsuspecting people?

Reality TV shows are often accused of staging the "drama," which Real Wedding Crashers so obviously stooped to.  The people being "duped" couldn't manage acting surprised, which showed and had viewers tuning out insulted.  Real Wedding Crashers did rate moderately, coming in tied in 74th Place with veteran Law & Order in 74th Place for the 2006-07 season (read the complete list HERE).  However, it was pummeled against stronger entries such as American Idol and Dancing With the Stars and placing 4th, signaling NBC to pull from the schedule as realize the series was failing by even their weakened standards.  Next time, showrunners ought to remember it's called Reality TV as it's supposed to be REAL, not staged. 

33. Caveman, ABC (2007)

Viewers love commercials jammed into their programming.  They crave shows they love being shortened so networks can shamelessly jam more into programming.  As the digital age enabled viewers using Tivo and other DVR's to bypass these nuisances, National Insurance provider Geico decided since clever viewers were avoiding their prolific commercial count.  Their recourse was to confront them inside scripted programming on the sitcom front, enraging viewers and critics with an unrealistic premise and evident product placement.  

The majority avoided this poorly conceived series, so much so the series mustered a 2.5 rating in 78th place of the 139 shows despite choice scheduling (see the 2007-08 seasonal ratings list HERE).  Where Caveman also qualifies as one of the worst series is ABC delivered an impressive pilot season with stylish series such as fantasy-laden Pushing Daisies, comic gold Samantha Who? with Christina Applegate and scandalously delicious Dirty Sexy Money.  All reigned superior in conception, and all deserved renewals despite the 2007-08 WGA strike ravaged television schedules. 

Product placement has been present in programming since the 50's, but the art lies in writers and actors being able to weave the advertised product into a relevant part of a series.  This applies to sitcoms, soaps, reality TV and any genre (this hardly works for dramas though).  Had Geico wished to reach viewers via programming, a wiser approach may have been to do a sitcom on a Geico call center which the befuddled agents deal with bizarre insurance claims (there's a landmine of comic material these hard-working folks work with).  In addition to the mentioned grievances, Caveman included high production costs as makeup and prosthetic work was time consuming and costly.  ABC placed the series on hiatus during the strike, demonstrating its deplorable delivery as they could have burned off episodes while original programming was in scarcity.

32. Princes of Malibu, FOX (2005)

The rich behaving badly?  Hardly an innovative story on our television screens or in real life.  Somehow, FOX thought viewers would devour watching Brandon and Brody Jenner (sons of Linda Thompson and Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner) behaving poorly and being unproductive in this obviously-staged reality TV series.  The Jenner sons would have been wise to consult their former stepmother and stepsisters, who 2 years later would launch their lucrative Keeping Up With the Kardashians enterprise and prove worthy of being the Jedi's of public relations.  The Princes of Malibu appears to have been a test-run for this extended family as the two brothers were scorched and discarded.

Where Princes of Malibu failed rests not only on unrealistic and staged premise, but the Jenner's camera personas were unlikable.  Anyone who watches Keeping Up With the Kardashians agree that yes indeed the principle cast is vain and privileged, but they are nice, well meaning people sharing their adventures.  And therefore why so many tune in and enjoy.  In Princes of Malibu, we were delivered two party boys refusing to be a productive part of society, favoring hanging out with fellow waste of space, Spencer Pratt ("famous" for "starring" in The Hills).  These elements, along with predictable "drama" which was so-obviously manufactured, comprised the content of this show.

After Thompson and then-husband and costar, revered music producer David Foster, announced their separation the day after the show premiered, the potential to invest vaporized.  This development confirmed the series was conceived as a publicity stunt not only to get Foster and Thompson back into the headlines, but catapult the Jenner sons into the spotlight.  When a reality TV series makes the Kardashian's product appear more realistic and heartwarming, viewers immediately smell a dud.  FOX yanked the series after two outings, only to have the remaining mock-worthy episodes air via lesser outlets.  

31. Knight Rider, NBC (2008-09)

The 2000's were not NBC's day.  Having drowned in 4th place for 4 consecutive seasons, the peacock was reaching for revival and looked into its history and attempted to revive Knight Rider.  Several prior mentions have been criticized for being copycats attempting to exploit history, but showrunners on this revival would have been better suited copying more elements which initially charmed its audience.  The plot indeed copied the original's premise of an injured man is rebuilt and works on behalf of secret intelligence agency Knight Industries Research and Development after his prior identity is wiped via an intelligence team faking his death.  

The trouble laid not only in the miscasting, but also the writing worked too hard to update to the 21st century and dissolved the simplicity and magic of the original.  In the original series, Hasselhoff's reinvented character survives a near-fatal bullet to the head, wiping his memory and leaving a prime candidate to assume a new identity as a secret intelligence agent.  The modernized "change" Michael goes through was too complex as it turns a dramatic superhero change being muddled by psychology.

Justin Bruening has proven he is a worthy and talented actor, but filling the shoes of David Hasselhoff was a mismatch.  Bruening has a wily, antagonistic energy prevalent in his acting which is appealing, where Hasselhoff was more grounded and level-energy.  Another inconsistent element is the naming of the prized Ford Mustang Shelby (which was an equal costar to Bruening and appeal of the show) did not match the acronym of NBC's original Knight Industries Two Thousand, which they felt was dated as the series passed the year 2000.  Their updated name should have had KITT titled "KIRD," hardly a slick and sexy moniker like the original series.

These elements which led to disconnect with viewers led NBC to do an overhaul to salvage this failing series.  A wise idea, but it came too late as they ordered an overhaul on November 10, 2008.  Unfortunately, these desired changes did not set in until January 2009, too little, too late as NBC rescinded their initial 22-episode season down to 17 episodes by December 3, 2008.  The Knight Rider reboot missed the mark not only to recoup viewers, but also the initial hook to attract an audience faded fast as the fall season moves fast.  NBC slashed the tires on its Knight Rider reboot after 17 episodes which show one should respect quality over trend.

Did anyone have the misfortunes of sitting through these shows?  Sound off in the comments and enjoy roasting.

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