In a year so loaded with great TV, it’s easy to forget the crap—unless you’re a professional television watcher in need of holiday-month filler.
The best will come next week; here are (some of) the worst:
Kevin Can Wait (CBS): Kevin James plays a recently retired cop who finds that life at home with the family is exactly like a shitty sitcom from the ’80s. He’s fat! He’s dumb! He’s ’Merica! And we’re in for at least four years of it, if not eight. Thanks for nothing (again), CBS.
Party Over Here (Fox): A bait-and-switch Andy Samberg/Paul Scheer production that hinted at a Lonely Island sketch show, but instead pitted a trio of unknown (but talented) female comics with no material against Saturday Night Live. Just stay out of late night, Fox.
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS): It has a decent cast (including Gary Sinise and Alana de la Garza), but this sub-xenophobic, white-folks-in-peril-abroad spinoff has little reason to exist when we already have a perfectly good O.G. Criminal Minds.
Heartbeat (NBC): In this now-canceled mess, Melissa George starred as a genius-rebel heart surgeon who whose accomplished-if-occasionally-man-splained career contrasted with her garbage personal/romantic life as a single mom and Melissa George-level hot thang. Insert time-of-death joke here.
Houdini and Doyle (Fox): An intriguingly weird setup—Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle solving crimes in the 1900s—turned into another redundant cop procedural, albeit one with an impressive suspenders and mustache-wax budget.
Maya and Marty (NBC): It’s an undead collection of rejected Saturday Night Live sketches that Maya Rudolph and Martin Short shambled though like The Walking Dead gang smeared in zombie guts, desperately trying to avoid attention. Upside: M&M should be the final nail in the variety show’s coffin.
Feed the Beast (AMC): Could a sullen wine sommelier (David Schwimmer) and a sketchy master chef (Jim Sturgess) make their Bronx restaurateur dreams come true? Or at least not get seared and deconstructed by the local mafia? No one, absolutely no one, cared.
Roadies (Showtime): Cameron Crowe’s ode to the hard-knock life behind the rock ’n’ roll fantasy, starring Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino and cameo bands galore, began more rom-com than rock show, then noodled as aimlessly as a Dead jam. Roadies did mostly pull it together by the end, but it was waaay too late.
Wayward Pines (Fox): The first go-round of Wayward Pines, with M. Night Shyamalan at the helm, was a nearly perfect sci-fi season—it was also meant to be the only season. Then Fox got greedy and went ahead with a needless, nonsensical second that made Under the Dome look like a model of cohesion.
Legends of Chamberlain Heights (Comedy Central): The only genuinely funny aspect of Comedy Central’s latest (badly) animated series Legends of Chamberlain Heights is the name of the school where it’s set: Michael Clarke Duncan High. Following one of the most uneven seasons of South Park didn’t help.
Notorious (ABC): At least this criminally-stoopid mashup of The Newsroom and Law and Order, about a gorgeous lawyer (Daniel Sunjata), a gorgeous-er news producer (Piper Perabo) and “the unique, sexy and dangerous interplay of law and the media,” has been mercifully canceled by ABC. Just like …
Conviction (ABC): Yet another “sexy” legal drama, this one starring Haley Atwell as a party-girl lawyer learning how to overturn wrongful convictions and “care,” if not master an American accent. Conviction has a handful of episodes to burn off in January, but Atwell is now freed up for more Agent Carter (hint).
The Exorcist (Fox): This unnecessary reboot of the 1973 horror classic is spooky, atmospheric and … not much else. Kind of a letdown, considering it’s The Exorcist and all. Premiering months after Cinemax’s satanically superior Outcast didn’t help, nor did the Friday time slot. Lucifer is the only Fox devil you need.
Aftermath (Syfy): And another supernatural-apocalypse series—but this time, it’s about family! Mom is Anne Heche, who appears to be perpetually hungover, and phones her performance in from behind a ridiculous pair of sunglasses. Even she realizes Aftermath is hot trash.
The Affair (Showtime): Season 1 of The Affair delivered some intriguing adult drama from multiple perspectives. Unfortunately, now that it’s dragged on into Season 3, this “prestige” series offers little more than Middle-Aged Rich People Probs and pricey East Coast real estate views.
Broadcast and Cable News (all of it): Bitch all you want about “fake news”; the “real news” failed spectacularly in this election year. They handed over billions of dollars-worth of free advertising to the worst two presidential candidates in history, and they’re surprised by the outcome? Trump TV might actually be an improvement.