We’re immediately drawn to certain types of television shows: the “based on a series of novels ” fantasies, politically-incorrect cartoons, or riveting dramas following anti-heroes who just can’t seem to put down the bottle—programs that fire on all cylinders. And then there are the misfires: the sitcom revivals, reality shows, comedies that try too hard, or teen dramas that everyone else just can’t seem to stop talking about (and we, on principle, will not watch). We pity those shows and their audiences because we know quality and they do not. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has induced a streaming drought no biblical figure could’ve anticipated. We’re thirsty for new, quality television that empowers us to look down on inferior programming…those pathetic TV shows we once pitied suddenly look pretty tempting. No, we haven’t seen the following shows (or at least very little of them), but if you’re a die-hard Fuller House fan, feel free to be offended.
Cover Photo: Netflix
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12 Pathetic TV Shows
And here it is. There was a time for the Tanner family. That time was the '80s and '90s, when corny sitcoms were splendid. Full House wasn’t the greatest, but it still holds a special place in the hearts of everyone old enough to remember it. Then came Netflix’s spinoff, Fuller House —yet another attempt to manipulate nostalgia. Except it returned without the Olsen twins aka Michelle Tanner, so, who cares? However, it still has Danny, Joey, and Jesse...maybe we’ll give it a shot.
Quibi was advertised to death prior to its launch. Every major celebrity seemed to be on board. Does anyone actually use it? Short, chapter-like portions of television shows formatted specifically for your mobile phone? We digress. Dummy follows the ever-endearing Anna Kendrick as Cody Heller, a writer who befriends her boyfriend's sex doll. Basically FX’s Wildred but a lot creepier; it’s not the “sex” part that’s creepy, it’s just the “doll” part. Based upon the trailers, it doesn’t really look all that funny...maybe it is though.
Here’s an idea: let’s make a model a judge who presides over small claims court. Oh, also, let’s make her mother the bailiff. Fantastic. Sounds like solid reality television. Sorry Judge Judy, things just got a whole lot more contemporary. Redacted, we have no intention of signing up for Quibi.
'Council of Dads'
So, basically, just an inferior This Is Us but with three “dads.” To be fair, Bruce Feiler’s book, The Council of Dads , about his decision to ask his six friends to be father figures to his daughter following his cancer diagnosis (which inspired the series) was well-received (and obviously heartfelt). One just can’t help but imagine an overload of superficial melodrama in its network adaptation.
Comedy/satire that doubles as a middle-finger to Trump’s U.S. Space Force? Sounds great. Steve Carell, Lisa Kudrow, John Malkovich, Fred Willard, and Ben Schwartz? Are you fucking kidding? Unfortunately, Space Force has made next to no critical waves (and the trailer looks meh). Still, we’re going to check this out.
'Love is Blind'
OK, maybe this one isn’t pathetic (it just appears that way for people disinclined to watch reality television). Family, friends, everyone was talking about Love is Blind , the show where singles fall in love without ever meeting face-to-face. That’s basically just what happens in quarantine. Catfish is real, fellow humans. Heed our warning, sometimes you can't tell.
The CW, a breeding ground or teen dramas where the teens look nothing like teenagers, men and women in their mid-20s worrying about the high-school prom. Some of the kids on these shows look the same age as the adults. But hey, Riverdale ’s popular and Cole Sprouse lives that suite life. Respect.
'Marvel's Iron Fist'
Netflix’s Marvel shows were fantastic; Daredevil , The Punisher , Jessica Jones , Luke Cage , and The Defenders . Except for Iron Fist . Marvel's Iron Fist is that show you start but never finish. It follows Danny Rand, a rich white kid who survived a plane crash and is then raised by warrior monks. If we hadn’t already watched The Karate Kid 30 times, we wouldn’t even consider revisiting this.
'Teen Wolf '
For those too young to remember, Michael J. Fox tore it up on the basketball court in 1985’s Teen Wolf . Turning that franchise into a teen drama is the kind of decision one makes when they are seriously lacking inspiration. Still, werewolves playing sports...game on, MTV.
Update: It's more of a horror/comedy and it's not bad at all...
Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 sci-fi film, Snowpiercer , following the survivors of Earth’s second Ice Age aboard a train (divided by class), was awesome. That said, it pretty much hit all the narrative beats. Sure, the various sections of the train could be fleshed out, but is it necessary? TNT’s Snowpiercer is another spinoff in a long line of endless iteration. Can't we just create new things? Fine, we’ll watch it.