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5 Worst TV Shows of 2013

We’re in a golden age of television — discounting this garbage

John P. Johnson/HBO

Even in a year when TV was exploding with creativity, there was plenty of craven crapola around. These were the lowest of the low points.

by Rob Sheffield


Vivian Zink/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images


‘Ironside’ (NBC)

It was worth a try. Well, no, it probably wasn't. The first show axed this season was far from the worst – Blair Underwood's remake of the 1970s cop show (immortalized by the Beasties on Paul's Boutique: "ride around town like Raymond Burr") was probably one of the fall season's less terrible efforts. It just wasn't not-terrible enough. That's how dire things have gotten for network TV. These days, the old joke "They can't cancel everything" is no joke at all.


Justin Lubin/NBC


‘Community’ (NBC)

Believe it or not, the Dan Harmon-in-exile season had its moments. The Sophie B. Hawkins dance and the Inspector Spacetime convention were excellent episodes, and while the German-invasion one fell apart badly in the second half, the first 10 minutes were pretty funny. ("There must be nearly 100 luftballons!") But most were so bad I couldn't even get through them, and Community saved the worst for last – the final two episodes were so methodically, bombastically awful, everyone seemed to be screaming, "Get me out of this goddamn show or so help me I will undo a season's worth of unfunny 'Changnesia' set-ups by inviting Chang out for frozen yogurt, thereby reforming him." Sad – it was like watching Vicky dance for Twinkies. Dan Harmon is back, whether it's too late or not. But we'll always have Blanketsburg.

Seth Macfarlane Oscars



The Oscars, Starring the Guy Who Wrote ‘Ted’ (ABC)

No seriously, this happened. They let the dork who wrote the movie Ted host the Oscars. "Seth MacFarlane," that was his name. They kept cutting off the movie-star speeches because the host needed more time to sing show tunes and tell jokes. At the end of the ceremony, George Clooney won an Oscar for producing Argo, but he didn't get to say a word – there wasn't enough time because the host wanted to do one more show-tune duet with Kristin Chenoweth. This really happened.

The Goldbergs

ABC/Bob D'Amico


‘The Goldbergs’ (ABC)

Aaaw – an old-fashioned family sitcom, from an old-fashioned network, set in the halcyon pre-Bundy days of 1985. What could go wrong? Who doesn't love Eighties jokes? And people yelling at each other? Saying things like "The only one who understands me is Flavor Flav"? Except Public Enemy didn't make their debut album until 1987, so either they don't have wi-fi in the writers' room or – more likely – everybody involved gave up on this sucker before it began. Another unskinny flop from another disastrous crop of freshman network shows. Light a candle for what's left of the American sitcom.