50 Worst Shows of the 21st Century : 41st-45th Most Insulting TV Shows

Coattailing on trends or copying the past can lead to a dud.  These entries bored viewers to tears as they had poor dialogue, predictable characters and not enough attention being paid to details.  Saturating TV screens with concepts already played out turns fascination to an eyeroll, and later a cancellation.  ABC ought to be embarrassed they have delivered 3 losers on this list and thus far are leading the tally for the most shows called out as the worst.  Unlike many failed series, all of the mentions in this list were handed excellent lead-ins and had proper conditions to grow.  But viewers rejected and tuned out.

TVRG posted 5 previous entries HERE so catch up on which previous 5 insulted America in the 21st Century

45. Pan Am, ABC (2011-12)

ABC sought a replacement after cancelling Brothers and Sisters, and Desperate Housewives was on its final season.  They prioritized locating suitable Sunday replacements as they monopolized the Sunday lineup for 8 seasons.  The network was in trouble as they again dropped to 4th Place among the major players as they had from 2002-04.

Pan Am on paper seemed like an appealing, lighthearted drama which could fill the void.  Set in the early 60's when air travel was elite and neat, the premise seemed like a win.  The cast was strong and featured Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie, the sets were beautiful and promotions were plentiful.  What went wrong?  Attention to details was not a priority for showrunners, and period pieces need that element to not only make the backdrop realistic, but also the dialogue to be accurate for the era.  Pan Am did not succeed in either, with phrases like "be a superhero" or "he's a douchebag" punctuated the scripts.  

The trouble is no one used phrases like that in the early 60's and people exhibited greater discipline in using coarse and profane language.  Younger viewers couldn't invest in this flimsy story, and older viewers who lived through that era noticed glaring inconsistencies in dialogue and settings.  Most criminal of all, it underused the talents of Ricci and Robbie who found themselves adrift in plot driven twists.  The ratings showed there was no growth as Pan Am delivered a 2.42 18-49 demo rating in 75th place out of an ailing Desperate Housewives' 3.57 rating in 27th place (see the complete list of 2011-12 ratings HERE).  By springtime, ABC recognized Pan Am failed to take off and tested out pilot GCB.  Lessons to be learned if one wants to do a period piece, they best pay attention to details or history or one will land with a dud on their schedule.

44. Connecting..., NBC (2020)

The ugliest year in the new century left production delays and problems leaving scheduled programming lean.  NBC, almost always superior in creativity among its competitors, attempted to make the best of it and did episodes featuring friends video calling to cope with the stay at home orders.  While innovative, this series did not connect with viewers.  Perhaps it was too close to home for saddened viewers missing life as they knew it, or perhaps the cast couldn't find viewers willing to invest in the one-dimensional characters.  Connecting... delivered a paltry 0.308 rating in 145th Place, the lowest rated sitcom on the board and NBC's lowest scripted series (read about the complete 2020-21 seasonal ratings HERE).  After 8 dismal outings, NBC recognized viewers wanted their beloved returning shows instead and ended the call with Connecting....

43. Dr. Ken (2015-17)

ABC was the place to be for sitcoms in the 2010's, with 8 timeslots offered on three evenings.  The network garnered critical acclaim for displaying the first complete Asian cast on display in 2015.  That honor was reserved for Fresh Off The Boat, not Dr. Ken.  Dr. Ken indeed had the same Asian prominent cast, but far inferior than FOTB due to a flimsy premise and jarring laughtrack.  Had this tired sitcom trend not been added to the mix, Dr. Ken could have channeled the vibes of prior hit Scrubs.  It also followed ABC's recent sitcom trend with a crazy mother, dopey father and household full of random children, a formula they still exploit to this day despite viewers say "no thanks."

Dr. Ken had more leniency with ratings as it was lodged on Friday night at 8:30, a cursed timeslot following hit Last Man Standing which dispensed three sitcoms since 2012.  Ratings for its 1st season were respectable, pulling a 1.4 in 88th place out of Last Man Standing's 1.6 in 76th place and outrating prior occupant Cristela, earning a renewal (see the complete 2015-16 seasonal ratings HERE).

This respectable retention placed Dr. Ken on high priority as ABC sought to increase their sitcom offerings from 8 to 10 timeslots.  Dr. Ken's second season featured a 21% drop in the ratings down to a 1.1, coming in 110th place (see the complete 2016-17 ratings HERE).  While most shows historically lose ratings over time, the belt at ABC grew tighter as Last Man Standing held steady in the 2016-17 season and climbed in rank to 60th Place.  Dr. Ken proved it was not stable enough to anchor a night or develop a new series, and ABC president Channing Dugney eyed an overhaul to the schedule to update.  Few realized LMS was eyed for elimination as it was produced by 20th Century Fox, then an outsourced show prior to the Disney/FOX merger.  With its companion taken out, ABC opted to end the awkward premise and revoke Dr. Ken's medical license for ratings malpractice.

42. The Kids are Alright (2018-19)

Another ABC series which misused ample growth opportunities was The Kids Are Alright, a 70's period piece nestled on Tuesdays after highly rated The Conners.  Gaining initial recognition for its flashy energy and similarity to 80's-themed Goldbergs, The Kids Are Alright appeared to have a solid start.  However, the novelty wore off fast when viewers realized they had another knockoff delivered to them with a crazy mother, dopey father and a house full of kids, and the ratings faltered fast.  The Conners delivered a 1.55 rating in 13th place, and The Kids Are Alright embarrassingly shed nearly half of that rich lead-in with a 0.82 rating in 69th Place (see the complete list of shows by ratings for 2018-19 HERE).

The problem with The Kids Are Alright was the showrunners dropped the ball again by not paying attention to details.  With 7 kids in the mix, how could the writers properly develop the characters as the bloated cast was fighting for screen time?  Worsening this element was the dialogue attempted to reach current viewers by incorporating phrases like "That's phony news," playing off of President Donald Trump's notorious catchphrase "That's fake news."  The show bored younger viewers, and the viewers old enough to remember the 70's would say "give me a break!" as people did not speak like this in the past.  Another example of details being overlooked was despite the wardrobe was accurate, the cast did not possess hairdos from the early 70's.

The Kids Are Alright is a great example of having ideal conditions to develop a winning product, but viewers lost attention soon after a strong debut and failing to recapture viewer's interest.  It was no surprised ABC evicted The Kids Are Alright as it gave them ample opportunities to develop an audience  and failed.

41. We Are Men (2013)

Like ABC later that decade, CBS invested heavily in having sitcoms on display in the early 2010's.  We Are Men debuted on Monday night at 8:30, sandwiched between successful How I Met Your Mother's final season and trending 2 Broke Girls.  The premise was, typical.  Jerry O'Connell played a jilted groom who starts his life over at an apartment complex and befriends three older divorcees.  The trouble was the entire Monday lineup consisted of hangout comedies such as this one.  Why would anyone want to park here when they had the slick, sophisticated How I Met Your Mother and ultra hip/biting 2 Broke Girls as offerings instead?  We Are Men hemorrhaged more than half of HIMYM's rich ratings and was eyed as the culprit dragging 2 Broke Girls down by the ankles.  

CBS acted quick and ripped the show off the schedule after two painful outings despite having 9 more episodes ordered, returning the rightful space to successful Mike & Molly.  To show how disastrous We Are Men's ratings were, let's examine how all the Monday sitcoms fared (and see the complete list of the 2013-14 season HERE):

How I Met Your Mother: 5.49, 6th Place (8:00)

2 Broke Girls: 3.813, 21st Place (9:00, then 8:30 after We Are Men was pulled)

Mike & Molly: 3.368, 30th Place (9:00)

Mom: 3.064, 40th Place (9:30)

We Are Men: 2.764, 58th Place (8:30) 

Agree to disagree...  if you happened to have enjoyed one of these series, discuss in the comment section

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