There were a ton of shows to watch this year, and some were just bad. I tried (in some cases repeatedly) to give each of these shows the benefit of the doubt, but they never clicked for me.
Iron Fist was nowhere near as bad as reviews would’ve had you believe, but it did suffer from being overlong and dull. Danny Rand (Finn Jones), the protagonist and titular Iron Fist, was often petulant — it was hard to tell if he was supposed to come off as naive, childish, annoying, or all three. When the series stuck to its action pieces, it was much more intriguing. The good news, too, were that the primary villains were a little better than the usual Marvel Cinematic Universe fare. Sadly, it was just a slog.
Shows that take risks can be dazzling (see: The Young Pope or Twin Peaks: The Return) or be duds (see: Legion). The first season of Legion started with the right pieces: a new vision on the superhero origin story and a set of deep central characters. It just quickly became more and more frustrating with each cutesy episode. Much like Mr. Robot‘s second season, the first season became all about how it can trick the audience. While this fit the motif of the show’s mentally unstable (or is he?) protagonist, it ended up feeling too much like jerking the audience around just to be quirky and less for the sake of the story.
Taboo, or as I liked to call it, How Much Mumbling from Tom Hardy Can You Understand? The FX series had an alluring premise: Set in 1814, James Delaney (Tom Hardy), thought to be dead, shows up in London to claim his deceased father’s estate, which mainly consists of a piece of land off the coast of North America. Of course, everyone wants it. More importantly, is Delaney in love with his sister? Is he really dead? Was he a part of a sunken slave ship? This show drug on slower than molasses going uphill January. And it was only eight episodes! Sometimes the shows with the most promise end up being the biggest letdown.
I’m Dying Up Here
Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, based on the early 1970’s comedy scene in L.A. could’ve very well landed the coveted top spot on this list, but since I could not finish it, I don’t know just how bad it got. I’m assuming awful. It didn’t swing for the fences, yet it still didn’t get a hit. The primary reason that stopped me from watching beyond the fourth episode wasn’t just a tedious plot, but the completely unlikable characters. I didn’t feel like spending my Sundays watching a bunch of self-loathing creeps make dick jokes to one another. I can do that with my friends on my own time.
There were two good things about Marvel’s Inhumans: Iwan Rheon (you may remember him as Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones) and a CGI teleporting dog. That’s it, and the dog damn near stole the show. The plot was paper thin. The acting fluctuated from bad to worse to decent, at best. The whole thing felt as if it was put together in very little time. (And likely was.) This was, by far, Marvel’s biggest misstep. It made Iron Fist look like Citizen Kane. It’s hard to fathom that someone wanted to put out the first episode of Inhumans, a two-hour premiere, in IMAX a month before it appeared on television.
Only Marvel completists will watch this; they’ll cringe with each scene.