Television shows

10 TV shows critically hated but loved by viewers

Since the turn of the century, the overall quality of television programming has improved exponentially. Studios are committing more funds, allowing producers to attract a greater caliber of more established actors and directors. Things don’t always work out though.

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Over the past few decades, there have been countless series that have failed to hit the critics. Some are just plain bad, but there are others that manage to find an audience without impressing professionals. While often not enough to save these shows from cancellation, that at least justifies all the hard work that has gone into making them happen.


In Justice (2006) - TV Show

With its solid cast and interesting stories, In justice offered a refreshing take on the detective drama genre. The cases dealt with each week by the National Justice Project were fascinating, as were the lawyers themselves. At least that’s what the overwhelming majority of viewers thought. Critics have taken a very different point of view.

Some found the show both bland and absurd in equal measures, but one of the most prominent complaints was that it just wasn’t “fun” enough. Given the content of the subject, this is probably a rather unfounded criticism. Regardless, the show holds a modest 48 Metascore and was quickly canceled after just one season.

Men In Trees (2006) - TV Show

Given the large amount of high quality comedies on television these days, Men in the trees was always going to have a hard time making a good impression. Despite this, he had no trouble wowing his viewers with his well-written characters and subtle humor. The critical response has been much less positive, however.

While some critics seemed to understand what the creators were looking for, the majority were not impressed. Many objected to the show’s writing while others found the delivery too woody. One or two just didn’t seem to get the humor. Fortunately, that wasn’t enough to keep the show from returning for a second season, although declining ratings ultimately kept it from going any further.

The Black Donnellys (2007) - TV Show

The black Donnellys shares many similarities with Peaky Blinders, although it arguably lacked that larger-than-life character needed to truly captivate audiences. Even so, there was a lot to like about the show, especially its well-written narrative. As its User Score suggests, most viewers loved it, although its Metascore tells a very different story.

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Many reviewers spoke positively about the show, but most were quite damning. Strangely enough, several even compared it to The Sopranos which seems a bit unfair considering the latter is one of the best TV dramas ever. The cast of the set has also been criticized, as has the writing of the series.

Norm MacDonald Has A Show (2018) - TV Show

Netflix’s top executives seem to love ordering comedy talk shows – and it’s easy to see why. The costs involved are usually quite low compared to a drama or sitcom and the steady influx of famous faces can really help attract an audience. On the other hand, it can put a lot of pressure on the host.

Norm MacDonald is a highly respected comedian and loved by many for his straightforward performance. Unfortunately, however, not all critics were too enamored of the industry veteran; with great difficulty understanding his dry sense of humor. Luckily for Norm, the same can’t be said of the show’s viewers; as evidenced by its User Score of 8.6.

What about Brian?  (2006) - TV Show

With JJ Abrams among the list of What about Brian?Executive producers of, the expectations for the series were pretty high. In many ways, he also delivered. The vast majority of viewer comments were positive, with one person even pitching the show as a potential successor to Friends. Sadly, a combination of poor ratings and overwhelming critical reception kept him from approaching this role.

Critics have separated just about every element of the show; with the characters themselves receiving the brunt of the criticism. Others have complained of a general lack of depth, with one or two describing it as a Thirty-some.

Surface (2005) - TV Show

When Area started airing in 2005, comparisons with Lost weren’t too far behind. Both shows feature beautiful cinematography as well as a plethora of unexplained sci-fi-inspired monsters. Damn. Even the promotional material was reminiscent of the ABC show. As Lost however, it also turned out to be quite divisive.

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Most of the reviews have been critical, with several lamenting the lack of suspense and narrative tension. The characters have also been criticized; although the majority of viewers saw it a little differently. Despite many positive ratings and reviews from audiences, however, the series never reached a second season.

Pepper Dennis (2006) - TV Show

The Warner Bros. Television Network has published its fair share of stinks over the years and, if critics are to be believed, Pepper Dennis is one of them. The dramatic comedy currently holds a Metascore of 37 with many reviews calling it boring and not funny. Regular viewers saw it a bit differently though.

While not all of the show’s users’ scores are positive, the overwhelming majority are. Those who took the time to review it generally found it to be both funny and charming, while many also singled out Brooke Burns’ solid performances throughout the show’s lonely season.

Moonlight (2007) - TV Show

With both Buffy and angel having closed a few years ago, there was a vampire-shaped hole in the timeline that CBS was eager to fill. The show they put on to do it was Moonlight, but despite being made from a mold very similar to that of Joss Whedon’s vampire classics, it just didn’t fit.

Critics were quick to joke about how the show “bit”, but viewers were generally much more forgiving. Many praised its format and cast, while others praised its impressive cinematography. That wasn’t enough to save the show, however, with CBS finally putting it down after just one season.

South Beach (2006) - TV Show

Produced by Jennifer Lopez and with breaking Badby Giancarlo Esposito, south beach had a lot of potential. He never really realized it, although he arguably got a lot closer than his 29 metascores would suggest otherwise. At least according to viewers of the show, anyway.

Many have praised the acting game while others have been captivated by its intriguing storylines. However, this was in stark contrast to critics, the majority of whom found the series both silly and pretentious. Much to the chagrin of fans of the show, UPN appeared to side with the pros and canceled the show after just one eight-episode season.

October Road (2007) - TV Show

October road had a bit of everything but not enough to impress critics. It probably didn’t help that many of those who reviewed the show weren’t in its target audience, but that didn’t seem to stop them from going to town.

None of the 25 reviews on Metacritic scored it above fifty, with the majority opting for ratings below 25. Three reviews even gave it a zero; describing it as “miserable”, “distressing” and “appalling”. Conversely, most user scores were positive; with many viewers praising the show’s acting as well as its eclectic soundtrack.

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