Lambasting Bad Scripted Fare

Feb 3, 2008  •  Post A Comment

ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” may have topped TelevisionWeek’s semiannual Critics Poll of best shows, but one of the network’s other freshman efforts was crowned the worst.
Famously born from a series of insurance company ads, the ABC sitcom “Cavemen” received twice as many votes as the closest runner-up. The list continued a recent Critics Poll trend away from singling out trashy reality fare and focusing instead on weak scripted efforts.
“The Geico TV commercials were great, but a TV series built around these characters?” wrote Christine Champagne of TVWatch. “A little bit of the cavemen goes a long way.”
“No, it’s not ‘so bad it’s good,’” added Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News. “It’s just bad.”
Critics seemed flummoxed that the modestly rated “Cavemen” didn’t flop with viewers right from the start. But that wasn’t the case for the second-place finisher, CBS’ musical drama “Viva Laughlin,” which aired two low-rated episodes before the network pulled the plug. Not even the threat of a writers strike, which extended the lifespan of several borderline series, could convince CBS to keep “Viva” going.
“It would have taken a miracle for CBS to pull off this adaptation of a bizarre British musical/drama/mystery hybrid,” wrote Matt Roush of TV Guide. “It didn’t have the guts to pull off the musical sequences, and the drama was inert.”
In third place was another freshman effort, “Big Shots,” the second of ABC’s three finishers in the worst list’s top five. (ABC launched more new series than any network last fall, so having an inordinate number of shows on this list isn’t surprising.)
CBS’ reality experiment “Kid Nation” was fourth. “Just because children weren’t roasted over an open fire doesn’t mean that CBS shouldn’t be ashamed of putting kids through a ‘Survivor’-like experience (complete with the over-orchestrated challenges that make so much of ‘reality’ TV so unreal),” wrote Ms. Gray.
Rounding out the top five was ABC’s “Carpoolers,” which ran as the companion series to “Cavemen.”
“At least ‘Cavemen’ tried something a little different,” wrote David Kronke, Los Angeles Daily News. “This show was content to be wearily, depressingly the same-old, same-old and still couldn’t manage many laughs.”


  1. None of these “critics” have watched the series the entire way through I can guarantee you. Cavemen is actually well written and acted, and far sharper than anyone’s giving it credit. It’s lame that so pre-determined opinions have come together to bag on a show that deserves much better.

  2. And I suppose you think “Meet the Spartans” is worthy of an Oscar…

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