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The Top 5 Shows This Season That Deserved to Fail

They won't be missed

By Kurt Anthony Krug     April 27, 2011

Top 5 Shows This Season That Deserved to Fail
© NBC/Robert Trate

 If we had our way, all reality television shows would be abolished, but they’re here to stay, for better or for worse (most likely, worse). That said, there were plenty of shows that started out this season with potential that fizzled quickly. Then there were the shows that plain sucked from the get-go. This list highlights this season’s top five shows – which includes some non-genre shows – that deserved to be cancelled and should be cancelled.


5) My Generation (NBC)

The premise was an aspiring filmmaker documenting the lives of high school seniors in 2000, getting all their dreams and aspirations on record. A decade passes and life doesn’t turn out for these late twenty-somethings as they wanted it back in high school (does it ever?). The characters were clichéd stereotypes: the jock, the wallflower, the rich kid, the snob, the nerd, the beautiful girl, et al.

Yes, it’s not a genre show but it was pretty hyped up before its premiere and the show bombed badly. The show was cancelled after its second episode because ratings were in the sewer. This mockumentary deserves to be put on this list for that reason.

STATUS: Cancelled.


4) The Cape (NBC)

This cheap super-hero knock-off was not for the lactose intolerant, it was so cheesy. The Cape was about the titular character (David Lyons) who in his alter-ego of Vince Faraday was a decorated cop that had his reputation destroyed as he was believed to be the villainous Chess (who was really powerful business tycoon Peter Fleming, played by James Frain).

Faking his death, Max hooked up with the mysterious blogger Orwell (Summer Glau) and the Carnival of Crime led by Max Malini (Keith David). Max gave Vince a cape with which he fought crime. You felt very sorry for Lyons, Glau, and David because they really tried to make it work, but the writing was poor, the dialogue was bad, and many of the characters were cookie-cutter clichés. The cheesiest episodes of the Batman series from the 1960s were better than this. Ratings were so bad, that NBC cut the episode number from 13 to 10; however, the 10th episode could be seen only on NBC’s web-site.

STATUS: Cancelled.


3) Chase (NBC)

Chase was yet another formulaic police procedural drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who’s best known for the CSI franchise in terms of his TV work. The show revolves around U.S. Marshal Annie Frost (Kelli Giddish) and her team that tracks down dangerous criminals in Texas. Each episode opened up with Annie and her team chasing (no pun intended) down a criminal before getting the assignment of tracking down the episode’s main criminal du jour. The dialogue was stilted and it was hard to see Annie run after convicts (in cowboy boots, no less) and be able to take them down, regardless that they’re twice her size (at least Buffy had super-powers). The characters really had no depth to them, despite giving Annie daddy issues that were never fully explored. NBC ordered a full season (22 episodes) that was later reduced to 18. It then pulled the show and recently started showing the remaining episodes after several months on Saturday nights.

STATUS: On the Bubble.


2) No Ordinary Family (ABC)

The Powell family – patriarch Jim (Michael Chiklis), matriarch Stephanie (Julie Benz), daughter Daphne (Kay Panabaker), and son J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) – gain super-human powers after a trip to the Amazon Rainforest, making them a cross between the Fantastic Four and the Incredibles. At first, they try to conceal their powers but Jim likes being a super-hero. Turns out, they’re not the only people with super-powers. Stephanie’s boss Dr. Dayton King (Stephen Collins) is giving people super-powers, but it’s later revealed Mrs. X (Lucy Lawless) is the true mastermind.

What hurt this show was that it was turn between being a family-friendly show with done-in-one episodes or a serial drama with dark overtones. It was very awkward and the creators couldn’t find a balance between the two. Plus, the family used their powers a lot to do housework or they used them for the wrong reasons. For instance, Daphne uses her telepathic powers to get past the vice-principal when cutting class but not to scan the minds of people with duplicitous intentions, such as Eric Balfour’s Sabretooth wannabe. It was just hard to suspend disbelief sometimes. In a hackneyed finale that a comic book hack-job wouldn’t even think of: Dr. King acquires the Powells’ super-powers and fights them. The show had potential, but it was sadly squandered.

STATUS: On the Bubble.


1) The Event (NBC)

This show is more like “The Non-Event.” In the networks’ futile yet never-ending quest to find the next Lost, we have The Event. The show centers around a group of ageless aliens who look like humans, the bulk of which have been detained by the United States government for the past 67 years since the end of World War II. Some of the aliens, however, have assimilated into human society.       The President (Blair Underwood) wants to release the aliens and announce their existence to the world at large, but various parties don’t want him to do this for obvious reasons. Thus, an assassination attempt is planned and a software engineer named Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) learns of this while on the lam with his girlfriend Leila (Sarah Roemer) with whom he has reunited. Both Sean and Leila become reluctant participants in a conspiracy that is very convoluted.                                                                                               

The show started off with promise, but just didn’t go anywhere. The tension isn’t there, too, as the aliens just don’t seem that threatening. It also got confusing, especially with all the flashbacks that were eventually cut out from the series. Then NBC goes and yanks it for several months, which is not a smart thing to do to a serialized drama with so many intricate plotlines, let alone does wonders for the ratings. The Hollywood Reporter’s Barry Garron said it best: “The effort required to follow the story goes well beyond what most viewers might be willing to give.” Agreed.

STATUS: On the Bubble.


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fatpantz 4/27/2011 7:59:51 AM

Kurt, I think a lot of people will disagree with you on The Event (including Stephen Lackey) who has given many of the episodes an A grade.  Have you been watching it the last half of the season?  It was a slow buildup and Jason Ritter carries a little fromage to his role as well (although I think it is the dialogue writers fault as well as some of those lines are just sooo bad), but the political/invasion storyline has a lot of potential.  I can agree with your other picks though.

bobjohnson221 4/27/2011 8:03:35 AM

Man, NBC can't seem to get a break. I'm thinking the new Wonder Woman show is also not going to last long. Could be wrong. Have been before.

Wiseguy 4/27/2011 8:27:16 AM

I lost interest int The Event early on when Lee was made and was being tested and yet Thomas manages to get in there and switch samples around as if nothing. A small thing but let me know how little the writers cared about certain details. Oh and a black president, come on man, let's at least keep that within the realm of possibility. Still I may catch up on it if they renew, just to see if it can hold my interest

I didn't follow The Cape closely but I liked it for the same reasons you said it should be cancelled. Yeah it was cheesy and everything else but it felt like an old comic book. But oh well

Same with No Ordinary Family, I enjoyed every episode I managed to catch. You say it's on the bubble but both leads have already signed on to other pilots from my understanding


MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/27/2011 8:55:35 AM

No Ordinary Family was great. As for Daphne not using her powers at tims you can simply attribute that to her be under pressure or being a careless teenage girl. I mean I bet if you took Manning - either one - and told him some horrible news or said that you'd kill him if he didn't throw three good passes that he'd probably be off his game a little. Some people might overcome pressure like that but jeez not everybody.

DarthRaider 4/27/2011 9:33:30 AM

is V coming back next seasom?

CaptAmerica04 4/27/2011 9:38:29 AM

I really like No Ordinary Family, as does my 7-year old.  It's our weekly bonding show.  I think it balanced the family aspects and the superhero aspects really well, actually.  It would be hard to imagine a mom with superspeed who didn't use it to finish her housework faster to spend more time with her family.  And I think almost every guy in the nation can sit down and watch a guy whose life didn't turn out the way he wanted, and empathize.  What guy, especially in that circumstance, given super strength and invulnerability WOULDN'T go try to be a hero?

JawbreakingEquilibrium is also totally right about Daphne not having the best reactions in a crisis.  Lots of people freeze up.  I think her panicking in emergency situations and not thinking to use her powers makes her MORE plausible and reasonable as a character then if she was the consummate professional soldier under fire at the age of 15.

No Ordinary Family has a lot of potential and just needs a little better guidance to keep it focussed.  Given a second season, I think this show will really hit its stride.  I hope it does come back.

@ Wiseguy, my understanding is that yes, Chiklis and Benz did sign on to other pilots, but that those jobs are contingent on No Ordinary Family being cancelled.  I read that it's not uncommon for actors in shows "on the bubble" to hedge their bets this way, but it isn't necessarily dispositive of the show's fate either way.


keithdaniel 4/27/2011 9:38:35 AM

Kurt, HELLO?  You've admitted that My Generation isn't a genre show but you still included it on this list anyway because it was a bad show that needed to be canceled.  I've never seen it but that's irrelevent and beside the point.  Just because it may have been a bad show and needed to have been canceled doesn't mean it should've been included on here!  AGAIN HELLO, IT'S NOT A GENRE SHOW AND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN INCLUDED!

keithdaniel 4/27/2011 9:54:21 AM

However, despite my criticism of the author of this thread, I strongly agree with him on No Ordinary Family.  That show has potential but is being squandered very badly because the producers don't seem to know what to do with it!  They seem to be going back and forth to being a family drama to a superhero crime drama.  The show started out like the latter but then they started to go down the road of appealing to the Twilight crowd by making the show more about Daphne and her high school crowd, at least a tad too much for my liking and I don't give a sh$t about any of that.  I think many viewers may agree with not only my last point but also the inconsistent material of the show.  One would think that they would've learned from the Fantastic Four movies as what not to do!  The show needs to be a tad darker as well so we agree there Kurt!  MEMO TO THE NO ORDINARY FAMILY PRODUCERS: MAKE THE SHOW A DARKER SUPERHERO CRIME DRAMA AND TONE DOWN DAPHNE'S BORING AS HELL AND GENERIC HIGH SCHOOL LIFE!

krathwardroid 4/27/2011 9:56:15 AM

I never watched any of these. I'm slowly losing all interest in TV. After Smallville ends, Supernatural will be the only show left that I do watch. 

samson 4/27/2011 10:08:01 AM


My thoughts exactly on No Ordinary Family and The Cape. Enjoyed them bot for what they were.

As far as The Cape goes, it was just a good old fashioned superhero romp with costumes and over the top villians. I think we've gone too far in the "realness" direction in terms of superheroes. Could it have been better written? Yes. But, the elements where there for it to be grow into a good show. I think had it been a first run syndication show (like STTNG, Highlander, Herculese, etc ...) it would have had the time to do just that.

Does anyone remember how gawd awful the first season of The Next Generation was? However, look at the sc-fi juggernaut it turned into. Too bad shows like The Cap don't run in first run syndication anymore.


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