The Most Overrated Shows on Television

Sometimes it's hard to understand exactly why people are so worked up over a certain TV show; that's human nature—you aren't supposed to like everything. But what happens when it seems like everyone you know is in love with a show you find intolerable? It builds and builds until you just can't hold it in any longer...

WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE [insert overrated TV show here] SO MUCH?

The staff here at also suffers from these feelings, and we thought it might be therapeutic if we got our beef off our collective chest. So we asked the folks who work here to reveal which popular TV shows that are absent from their personal favorites lists. (Note: To protect them from your hateful comments, we've promised each contributor anonymity.) Read on to see if any of your favorite—or least-favorite—TV shows made our list...


Our anonymous contributor says: Lost should’ve been a three-season series, or maybe it should have ended after two. The first season set up the story brilliantly, and introduced us to one of the most interestingly original casts of characters TV has ever seen. But instead of bringing it all home over the course of another season or two, the show subjected us to years and years of often-tedious teasing, dragging the mystery out for so long that only the most diehard fans remained loyal. And after a while, despite statements to the contrary, I couldn't shake the feeling that Lost's producers were simply making it up as they went along. The show may be nearing its end, but does anyone still care? Sure, the long journey has had its rewards. But the original thrill has passed, and now we can only hope that the producers have one last ace up their sleeves for the series' final episodes.

The Office

Our anonymous contributor says: I wish I could explain why The Office is overrated without sounding like a BBC version purist, but it’s hard not to compare the American Office to its show of origin. So please hear me out:  Ricky Gervais’s and Stephen Merchant’s brief mockumentary-style glimpse into the mundane world of the Wernham Hogg office was a deftly crafted and humorously poignant reflection of uncomfortable work relationships and the insecurities and awkwardness of the human experience. The characters, while sad and lonely, were likable (or, at the very least, easy to relate to). And because of its short two-season run (three if you count the Christmas special), the British Office left the audience wanting more. The American version took the funny and awkward formula and ran with it, but at this point it can't get more stale. The increasingly bizarre story lines unabashedly exploit people’s neuroses and insecurities in a way that is mostly mean-spirited; as a result, the show's once-charming characters seem grumpier and more vengeful with each episode. And I’m sorry, but that joke's just not funny anymore.


NEXT: Weeds >>


Our anonymous contributor says: Weeds came out at a time when HBO ruled the premium cable universe and Showtime was seeking to differentiate itself as an even-edgier, risk-taking alternative. A suburban woman selling pot to maintain her luxury lifestyle after her husband’s death? Sure, we’ll take it, although back in 1983 Risky Business featured a suburban teen running a prostitution operation out of his parents' house. But Mary Louise-Parker was kind of gorgeous, and the supporting cast that included Elizabeth Perkins and Justin Kirk could always be counted on for laughs. Plus, Weeds captured the ennui in built-from-scratch suburbs, giving people who hate suburbs and love to use terms like “ennui” plenty to rhapsodize about. But even though the show's more surgical satire and grounding in reality faded fast, fans continue to call it “the best show ever” and write about how “addicted” they are, never failing to note their “withdrawal” at season’s end. (Get it?!?!) Well, in that spirit, the mellow buzz that Weeds once provided is long gone—and despite hints of its early promise, too often the show is just a bad trip.

American Idol

Our anonymous contributor says: How is it possible that a show in its ninth season still occupies sometimes three nights of primetime TV? No, really, I don't understand how it's possible. Kelly Clarkson catapulted Idol to mega-stardom during its first season, yet no other Idol winner has reached number one since. They're good singers and all, but I don't find them to be the Earth-shattering show-stoppers Idol makes them out to be. Nor are they really that "unknown" before Idol plucks them out of obscurity—the original spirit of the show—now that it's been forced to accept less-talented and older singers to keep the talent pool from running dry. (Though, of course, "unknown" is all relative.) While I'd still like to believe that the most popular show on television is one where, in the words of its own host, "anything is possible," Idol has devolved into nothing more than a platform for product placement and mediocre musical chops.



Our anonymous contributor says: NCIS is quite possibly the most overrated show on this list. It receives the highest ratings of any drama out there and boasts an insanely devoted fan base, yet it seems that no one is able to explain exactly why. Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly aren't that hot. They and the rest of the NCIS team can't wield guns or kick ass any more effectively than any other crime-solving white knights. All of the characters are plagues by weak, unoriginal senses of humor. And don't get me started on that annoying chick Abby Sciuto; someone should tell her that her Hot Topic wardrobe went out of style five years ago.


Our anonymous contributor says: There’s no denying that Glee is infectious, with its catchy tunes, perky ingenues, and the brightest color palette this side of Sesame Street. But in the brief time it’s been on the air, the series has already shown sides of straining. The writing, which somehow managed to beat out Modern Family's at the Emmys, is weak and plot hole-laden. Two-dimensional characters shuffle through storylines that go nowhere in favor of splashy musical numbers. While the songs are undeniably fun, few have reached the heights of the pilot's "Don't Stop Believing." And the legitimate talent on the show—Jane Lynch and Lea Michele are standouts—is mostly underutilized. Once the hype dies down, Glee will reveal itself to be little more than glorified karaoke; it's worth bopping your head to, but hardly a timeless classic.

NEXT: Mad Men >>

Mad Men

Our anonymous contributor says: For too long I was told, "OMG you just have to watch , it's the most amazing show in the world!!!" I also read tons of praise from critics, who lauded Mad men's importance to television and called it one of the best show's in recent history. But when I finally tuned in, all I saw was a elaborately crafted, beautifully costumed snoozefest. Admittedly, it's not so much the show I have a problem with as it is the outspoken fans; people insisted I'd like Mad Men because it features boozin' and smokin' and womanizin', but I never found it all that interesting. Even after repeated attempts to get into show, I fall asleep sometime around the second commercial break. So I'll stick with AMC's actual best show, Breaking Bad.

30 Rock

Our anonymous contributor says: In order to like 30 Rock, it helps to like Tina Fey. And if you don't like Tina Fey, all the pieces fall into place to really not quite understand why everyone likes this comedy. 30 Rock routinely sweeps Emmy comedy awards, and I have no idea why. It's silly joke piled upon silly joke with no uniform narrative and ridiculously annoying characters. With its rapid-fire pop-culture references, 30 Rock is a Saturday Night Live skit that goes on for too long and has no shelf life; the show will be dead and buried five years after it goes off the air.

What show do you think deserves the title of "most overrated show on TV"?

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