Winter 2006 Critics Poll: Worst of the Worst

Jan 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Tacky sitcoms easily dominated the list of worst series in TelevisionWeek‘s semiannual Critics Poll.

But sitcom lovers have reason to feel encouraged: Worst lists in recent years have been commandeered by reality series. It’s arguably a sign of progress that, once again, enough craptacular comedies are being produced to populate the Worst Series list. In fact, only one reality effort, “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” made the top 10.

With a clear margin of victory, Fox’s “The War at Home,” starring Michael Rapaport as a father raising his rambunctious teenagers, was ranked worst of the worst.

“Beware the network sitcom trying to become ‘the next “All in the Family.”‘ Usually all that means is they’re using a central character who is racist, sexist and homophobic for clumsy comedic effect that can’t help but offend,” wrote Roger Catlin of The Hartford (Conn.) Courant.

Added Victor Balta of The Herald in Everett, Wash.: “Confuses bold humor with insulting our intelligence.”

Ranking second was ABC’s “Hot Properties,” which Ellen Gray of The Philadelphia Daily News cited more for the network than for the content.

“Sure, there are probably worse shows out there,” she admitted. “But I’ve already come to expect more from a revitalized ABC than this crap portraying real estate agents as sex-crazed idiots.”

The WB’s “Twins,” about polar-opposite sisters-one beautiful (of course), one smart (of course)-came in third. “Even the laugh track machine could barely muster a giggle,” snarked Rob Salem of The Toronto Star.

Among miniseries and specials, disaster epics ruled. At the top spot is NBC’s “The Poseidon Adventure.”

“The people on an upside-down boat thought they had it rough. They didn’t have to sit through this mess,” wrote Terry Morrow of The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel.

Runners-up included CBS’s “Category 7: The End of the World” and Sci Fi’s “The Triangle.”

Not all reality flew under the radar. Matt Roush of TV Guide had VH1’s “Breaking Bonaduce” and Bravo’s “Being Bobby Brown” in a tie for first place on his worst shows list and offered a scathing assessment of celebrity reality offerings.

“I do not find any of this the least bit amusing or compelling, the spectacle of pseudo-celebs baring all about their surreal lives, imagining themselves to be fascinating no matter how debased their behavior becomes,” Mr. Roush wrote. “VH1, MTV, Bravo, E! and A&E are all basically interchangeable many nights. They all disgust me.”

Maybe there’s hope for reality after all.