It’s always subjective to judge a movie or TV show as “great” or “terrible,” but Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer – an aggregator of reviews from critics and fans alike – is a great tool to get a general sense of how the majority of people feel about a particular project.
Ideas that look good on paper don’t always translate into an equally good television series. Some writers, for example, take years to craft a pilot episode but aren’t able to follow through with an entire season that lives up to the project’s potential. On the other hand, some TV shows take so long to set up their stories that the audience becomes quickly uninterested. And, to be fair, certain series are just purely terrible ideas that leave us wondering how they even got approved, funded, and made in the first place.
In this list, we explore some of the television shows that have the very worst scores on the Tomatometer, and it’s safe to say that pretty much all genres are covered. Sitcoms, dramas, superhero shows, period pieces, adult animation, original ideas, reboots… It’s all here.
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John Mulaney is a successful standup comedian who wrote for Saturday Night Live for six years and was even awarded an Emmy in 2011 for his work on a Justin Timberlake episode.
In 2013, the comedian pitched a semi-autobiographical sitcom called Mulaney to NBC, but the network passed. In 2014, Fox picked up the project, which went on to air 13 episodes between October of that year and February of 2015.
The show was received with a general negative consensus, and some stated that it resembled Seinfeld a little too much. Mulaney was definitely a low-point in John Mulaney’s career, and its score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes makes that quite obvious.
The comedian was most recently seen on Broadway and around the United States as he toured with the Oh, Hello comedy act.
19IRON FIST (17%)
Marvel and Netflix’s Iron Fist has its fair share of fans, but as a general consensus, the show definitely under-delivered in comparison to its predecessors Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, earning the show an incredibly low score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes.
While it was confirmed by Marvel and Netflix during SDCC 2017 that Iron Fist will indeed get a second season, the companies were also quick to point out that a new showrunner will take the reins of the project. Raven Metzner, whose writing credits include Sleepy Hollow, Six Degrees, and Clue, will replace Scott Buck as the series’ showrunner.
For now, the hero will be seen in the miniseries event The Defenders, which will assemble all four of the main Marvel superheroes with shows on Netflix.
NBC’s Ironside was a TV procedural drama that premiered in 2013 and only went on to air nine episodes before it was promptly canceled due to terrible ratings and highly negative reviews. It was a remake of 1967’s Ironside, which aired for eight seasons on NBC and was considered a major success.
Ironside’s cast featured actors Blair Underwood (who went on to play Andrew Garner in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Kenneth Choi (who appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), and Pablo Schreiber (who appeared in Orange Is The New Black and American Gods).
It is safe to say that the Ironside remake was a complete disaster for NBC, scoring the show a terrible 14% on Rotten Tomatoes.
17TRUTH BE TOLD (13%)
Writer David J. Nash had a great run collaborating on shows such as ‘Til Death, and went on to create Growing Up Fisher in 2014 and Truth Be Told in 2015. The latter, however, was received particularly badly by critics, which gave it a 13% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Starring in Truth Be Told were Mark-Paul Gosselaar (who played Zack Morris in Saved By The Bell), stand-up comedian Tone Bell, former TRL correspondent Vanessa Lachey, and Bresha Webb (who had recurring roles in ER and Grey’s Anatomy).
The reaction to Truth Be Told was so bad that NBC decided to not even air the final two episodes of the show’s first and only season. It was also promptly announced that Tone Bell was already cast in another TV series.