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 TV.com 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...

Lost

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 >>

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.

NEXT: NCIS >>

NCIS

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.


Glee

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"?

Comments (636)
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No byline with this and I can see why. The criticism of 30 Rock barely qualifies as an opinion. 30 Rock brought wit and absurdity to new heights. Tina Fey was spoofing the workplace comedy in a brand new way and appreciating 30 Rock requires intelligence that this "critic" clearly lacks. Tina brought a new voice to satire itself and her show will be remembered as one of the all time greats.
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Wow, I agree with every single show on this list
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NCIS is overrated. Really wanted this show to improve but it's gotten worse. It never wins awards which doesn't always matter but it never wins even The People's Choice. Most fans online rant about how fantastic it is and insult you if you don't agree. Most of the characters have no depth and neither do the stories. I personally don't see why it's lasted so long. I guess it's a plus that it runs early enough that teens watch. No 1 show. If you want stale humor, boring plots and a show that has run it's course.
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Have to say that when i started to watch it properly the office became one of my favourite shows on tv
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I love Tina Fey
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NCIS is so popular because they do their own thing and doesn't care about that some "anonymous contributor" thinks that everyone on TV should be 20 years old and look like Barbie and Ken or whatever. They focus on the characters, their personality and development and the interaction between them. And they do it perfectly! I must ask, could ANYONE honestly say that there is a character like Abby out there? Or one like Gibbs, a tough guy but with such depth, and he would do anything to keep the members in his team alive. And they all would do the same thing for him, no doubts about it (every fan remember when Ziva shot her half brother to save Gibbs). One other thing is that NCIS is unpredictable. You never know what's going to happen, like when Kate died (but they still remember her and mentions her, it's not like they pretend nothing has happened, and you can actually tell that the characters are forever changed after this.). You also have to use your brain to really keep up with what they are doing, I think this is good but some might find it hard to for once actually have to use their brains (!). What makes the show incredible is that the team is like this really quirky, funny family and NO ONE is unoriginal. If you say that you can either not see the show for what it actually is (amazing!) or you're not very smart (then i feel sorry for you) or you have just decided not to like it. I do understand why some people don't like NCIS, but I would say that is because they haven't really understood the humor, seen the bonds between the characters or seen everything that has happened throughout the seasons. Because if you haven't seen it all it might be hard to understand what depth the show actually has. Then i feel really sorry for you because you have really missed something. I feel it superfluous to make a comment about the statement that Mark and Michael "aren't that hot" (!). I was upset when I saw what "anonymous contributor" wrote, and made an account just to explain what NCIS is actually about. And please, I'm 16 and Swedish so don't try to make any smartass comments about my English, you would just make yourself look stupid.
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If Mad Men didn't have that fantastic wardrobe, know one would watch this soap opera. Hollywood is in love with this kind of "drama", and Hollywood has spun this weak melodrama into the undeserved hit it is today.
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I wasn't hugely keen on Mad Men for most of the first season but the fantastic subtle script and superb acting have built into something special over the four seasons that have so far aired.
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Mad Men is poorly written, it spews continually lackluster dialogue, and it struggles with one boring plotline after another. The show boasts quite the cast, but this only underscores how poorly the writers have done in utilizing the talent at their disposal. When it first came out I was intrigued, and subsequently watched several episodes, but it didn't take long to come to the realization that there is simply no "there" there. Short of the somewhat unique premise of the series, there is absolutely nothing about this show that warrants the attention it is getting. Are people really so shallow that they fall for this sophomoric, gimmicky drivel? When I heard that it was actually winning awards I couldn't even believe by ears. Mad Men is every bit as trite and pathetic as our modern movies and music. Style over substance, nothing more. I also agree that these other shows listed are overrated as well. LOST season 1 was fascinating, but after that it took a steep nose dive and never recovered.
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NCIS would be the most overated show, abby is annoying.
And American Idol too, its been going too long.
I like Lost (more like devoted to be loyal all half of a dozen years), its overated i have to say, but i fell in love with the characters.
30 rock is just simply funny
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The Office: really pathetic humour, 15-25% i find funny. I wont be watcing reruns of this.... Scrubs thou is funny and I will watch re-runs of it, but then again In australia i suspect they dont broadcast episodes in chronological order... sometimes they play reruns and dont tell u its a re run unless ur a super fan of the shows. Wake up australian broadcastors stop confusing us FFS.
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LOST: what the frac was that about ..... ffs.... from season 1 I was LOST.... going back and forth one parralell life to another what story was the right story. this is the only TV show in my life I actually LOST the story line. For sanity's sake i hardly watched much of it.... more frustrating then entertaining. Thank god its over, I wont waste money buying the dvd series or downloading online from any source.... a Total waste..... the actors were fine but the telling of the story was crap. AGAIN thank god its over I hope I never hear of it EVER AGAIN.
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Prison Break. First season was thrilling but i got bored half way S2. And Gossip Girl. Every one has dated each other by now, so lets cancel it already
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Lost must be destroyed!
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Lost sucks so much,i agree :)
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I am with you on all the overrated shows, except Mad Men - that I can relate to, having spent 11yrs in advertising.
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Wait, so your complaint about 30 Rock is that it's a series of rapid fire silly jokes?
You... do know that it's a comedy right? "Hey, there's nothing in this sitcom but funny! IT STINKS OMG"
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Lost is definitely overrated. Tried to get into it time and again and simply can't. What's worse is trying to find someone to explain it to you without them finishing with "Well, you have to watch it to understand..." I can't see how Heroes has not made this list. That show should have ended on Season 1.
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Glee, Mad Men and The Office are very overrated.
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While I agree these shows are overrated I am glad to see that no one got credit for writing this craptastic article. If they were to get a byline it would be over rating them.
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Why am I not surprised? This is a CBS website, after all... only NCIS made the notorious list.
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30 Rock actually Sucks just about 30 Rocks! Tina made herself known by pretending to be someone else. Now that she\'s herself we can see why she was someone else.

Lost is so convoluted that you just had to watch to see if you could understand enough to try to figure out what was going on and what might come next. I like it, but can\'t tell anyone why I do.



Never watched Mad Men, NCIS, I saw about a half of a single epiode of Weeds and decide I would waste my life watching something else. I just couldn\'t see the point in giving that show any more of my time.

Flash Forward was a great idea, but there isn\'t enough to keep it going. It should have been a mini series like THE DOOR though the Door would make a pretty cool show I think. There are way too many Cop shows, but I must say that the Unusuals was pretty darned good. I guess that\'s why it\'s gone. I hate Cops, lawyers, Doctors and that is why there are so many shows about them. They ar F\'in with me, Man! Just F\'in with me. I like House, but since they got him off the Vicodin He\'s just a Prick without an excuse. It was fun to watch before, but now there is too much \"Wilson\" and Cuddly Cutty is screwing the Babysitter. They wil be gone soon. Another show ran out of ideas. How many Mystery DIseases can you showcase in a season anyway.



Hmmm, Saturday Night is still LIVE? You could have fooled me. They died years ago, if you ask me. I quit watching and have parused through the re-runs and feel like I\'m looking at an accident. I don\'t want to look, but I just have to. I know that at least one show will have something funny in it per season. Perhaps two. The skits are pretty lame and I hate that word, but it really is. You just can\'t polish a Turd! That show is on just to F\' with me too.



Hmmm, there are certiainly more to write about. Fringe was real cool and then their writers got colic or something. There are lots of crazy ideas in my head so why aren\'t there like tons of crazy stories on Fringe? Don\'t let it die yet. Get out the Cattle Prod and make those writers come up with some fresh WEIRD and lay off the morality. Leave that **** for the Sit Coms. In the olden days of TV when a sitcom was about to die someone would have a Baby or dedicate a single show to child abuse or Womens rights or racism. What chew talking about, Willis? Remember THAT show? Ummm Huh. I\'m wondering if someone of Fringe is about to get Pregnant or learn a lesson about trusting strangers. Don\'t kill that show. It has lots of potential. Common people. It\'s not that hard to write crazy weird stuff. Really!
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LOST!!!!!!
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Ya'll were way off the mark with 30 rock and mad men, but everything else was dead on.
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Lost is great! It's also not getting very good ratings anymore, so it's not overrated. It's become more of a cult show now, just a reallly big cult show in the vein of battlestar galactica. and with deserving merit. the show is the only program on tv which i watch devotedly, because just one episode of lost is more entertaining than whole seasons of shows. (i'm looking at you, heroes season 3. i can't believe i still watch that show) lost is not overrated, it deserves all the hype it gets
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We are not violent.
We are not racist.
We are no longer silent.
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i totally agree with that list but add prison break ,bones (which is horrible)and well any reality tv show. theres so much crap on tv theres really no wrong answer except family guy that show has gotten better and better.
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Seen Lost and most of the other shows...and I gotta say: I totally agree. Happy when this **** off the screen!!
Well done, TV.com!
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LOST's biggest "critics" are those who have never seen more than a handfull of episodes and really have no clue about it. LOST is my favorite show ever! Even the worst LOST episode is better than most anything else on TV. The most overrated to me is easily GLEE.
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Amen Elkins. Ten flipin' seasons and they still won't let HIM FLY. Talk about overrated.
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I'm surprised that Smallville is not on list.
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LOST & GLEE
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NCIS?! I love that show, and abbey is my fave character^^ On other hand, I can't understand why some shows are still running, like grey's anatomy, smallville, three hill, desperate housewives, heroes etc.
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Although this is a rare list where I can basically agree that every selection is overrated despite there being a number of equally deserving titles like House. I was on-board with Glee up until the show "came back" (if you could even call it that, given the current state) and undid almost every major event of the previous episode in addition to introducing a slew of new characters. Could they seriously not have taken that ONE episode to really build on some of the existing characters and also let fans have one moment? I can completely understand NCIS's criticisms. You couldn't run a sales department like that, let alone a criminal investigations. The show is more of a comedy than anything else, amping up the humor to differentiate itself from its more serious colleagues. Lost has always been a jumbled make-crap-up-as-it-goes-along deal; I imagine that their writers are a lot like school children scrambling to finish their homework at the last minute. The whole story feels regurgitated from the laziest writer's workshop. I'm surprised that The Office is still on the air, but then again the Simpsons and South Park have skated by forever despite fizzling out years ago. Also never seen the appeal of 30 Rock. I guess it must really be a Tina Fey thing. American Idol should've ended after Season 2 but given the garbage currently in the line-up it's a small wonder why it's still around. Right now I'd probably give the crown of most overrated either to NCIS (which somehow has buzz around it?) or South Park.
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"Yes, Dear", if it was actually any good at all, would have automatically been the most overrated show of ALL time.
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For crying out all, these are people's personal opinions. Just because they think it, doesn't mean they're wrong or right.

But I've got to say this, who in heaven's name thinks NCIS is overrated. Come on. This show is one of the more realistic investigative shows on television. Investigation is not about kicking ass and waving guns. It's about finding the bad guy. GET REAL NCIS is one of the best shows ever! AND there is NOTHING wrong with Abby S.
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Lost is just getting worse and worse. They think making it more and more complicated all the time, makes it good. It's just a mess.
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Seriously why is this back?
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For those of you who said that this list must be bogus, because so many people watch these shows...did you read the TITLE? Yes, lots of people watch these shows, that's what makes them over-rated. If people didn't watch them, then they would be under-rated. Get it? Good.
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Funny how a couple months ago, this site was hyping Lost back up again and now that they have, they want to knock it back down again. Fickle much?
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They forgot "Two and a Half Men!"
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Totally NCIS. That show is just not worth it IMO...
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I totally agree with Lost and Glee. Some of the worst shows out there.
Howcome '24' has to pack up and lost could live on? Stupid world.
Also Heroes should have been here as well on that list., They're lost just like Lost
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B...but I like Abby! D=
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Wait a second... Did I forget to mention Friends and South Park? Those shows are not funny, yet somehow, they're put on a pedestal. And don't even get me started on Family Guy. Talk about your raging shock value.
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The Closer. i've tried it several times but I just don't get it!
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Can't belive How I Met Your Mother is not on this list. Maybe because nobody watches it! But then, WHY IS IT STILL ON THE AIR? ARRRRGGGGHHHH!
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What? No South Park or American Dad? WTF?!
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I've been hooked to Lost non-stop since I started watching it in season 3. There were a lot of people who thought the writers had no idea what they were doing back then, but I think this season they've proved they did in fact know what everything was the whole time. My only complaint about Lost is they never told us why Walt and Aaron were so special. As for The Office, I think at the beginning it wasn't overrated, but the writing has deteriorated and now it is. Then there are shows like Mad Men, 30 Rock and NCIS which, while I don't like them, I understand completely why people do. What I think is the most overrated show on TV is Family Guy. I mean, it was hilarious ten years ago before it was first canceled. But since it came back the plots are totally random and all they go for is shock value.
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30 Rock is one of my favorite shows, along with Three and one half Men. My most favorite is House.
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Besides NCIS I completely agree with this list. I understand NCIS being on this list though because it is one of those shows that you either love or just don't get, not much in between. I personally love it, but I can understand why some don't get it - I can't even really describe why I like it so much - and I know there are people that really like these other shows that myself and these contributors just don't get...
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