Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of RDW Group, Inc.
As a media strategist, it’s my job to evaluate the latest crop of television shows and select those that will best showcase our clients’ brands, products or services. It’s important to be strategic. Understand the audience, time slot and the competition before putting your eggs in a particular basket. How will social media conversation affect your buy? All of these things could impact the effectiveness of your placement.
Much has been written about the abundance of wonderful content currently on the air and online. Viewers are pretty fortunate these days. That said, here are the programs I am glad we didn’t select for our clients in 2017. At the risk of incurring the wrath of anyone reading this who believes FX can do no wrong (I loved Feud: Bette and Joan), Fargo is my choice for the worst TV drama of 2017.
This was the Fargo in which Ewan McGregor played two brothers. This show was ugly, gratuitously violent, and unrelievedly disgusting — basically all the adjectives listed above.
But that was far from the only drama to be described that way. Others included Happy on Syfy about a deranged ex-cop who kills everyone he meets; and Damnation on USA Network, about various people who kill a lot of other people in the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Other dramas that deserve mention as the year’s worst tv shows include The Deuce on HBO, a dreary drama about pimps and hookers in 1970s New York, and Ten Days in the Valley on ABC about a Hollywood screenwriter (played by Kyra Sedgwick) with addiction issues whose child suddenly disappears. That’s entertainment? Not for me.
Of course, not every show earning a place on the year’s worst tv shows list needs to be violent. They can just be inept such as Will on TNT, a lame-brained drama about the young William Shakespeare.
Wisdom of the Crowd on CBS, which starred Jeremy Piven as a tech genius who turns ordinary people into vigilantes with smartphones, was wholly unbelievable. Marvel’s Inhumans on ABC was, simply put, the worst of all the new network dramas that premiered last fall.
On the comedy side of things, at least two new CBS comedies vied for the Worst Comedy of 2017, but 9JKL beat Me, Myself & I by a hair. 9JKL is the sitcom starring Marc Feuerstein as a man who lives in a New York apartment between his meddling parents and his brother. Whoever approved this thing for airing on CBS ought to have his or her head examined.
The same goes for Me, Myself & I, which was about three portions of a man’s life — youth, middle age, and older age. The only problem: Middle-aged Guy was played by Bobby Moynihan and Older Guy was played by John Larroquette, who is something like a foot taller than Moynihan. So what happened to this guy? Did he grow a foot between the ages of 40 and 65?
Also making the list of worst comedies: The CBS All Access original called No Activity, a show about cops on a stakeout that was so dull it was as if the show’s writers couldn’t be bothered to give their characters anything to do. An apt title for a show, in my mind.
Looking back on the reviews of 2017, I find a preponderance of TV Blogs in which the following words were applied to a host of shows that premiered this past year: “dreary,” “loathsome,” “unpleasant,” “ugly,” “depressing,” “disgusting” and “meaningless.” How sad and violent TV has become. Let’s hope for a more cheerful 2018.
Joe Handly is a Senior Media Strategist at RDW Group. With more than 25 years of experience as a senior advertising professional, Joe has worked at several Boston-based agencies prior to RDW, leading media planning programs and accounts for both state and private sectors. He earned his B.A. from Providence College and MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Glendale, Arizona.