Chris Philpott 's Opinion

Chris Philpott is nzherald.co.nz's resident TV expert.

Chris Philpott: These were the worst shows on TV in 2013

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Chris Philpott unveils his picks for the worst TV shows of 2013.
'Beauty and the Beast', 'Under The Dome' and 'Red Widow' receive dis-honourable mentions in this year's worst list.
'Beauty and the Beast', 'Under The Dome' and 'Red Widow' receive dis-honourable mentions in this year's worst list.

It was a funny old year for television: there was so much good stuff to watch that there was rarely time to stop and appreciate the bad - and, as a result, both the Worst Of and Best Of lists for this year have been really hard to figure out and finalise.

But you're not here for excuses; you're here to see which shows were the worst of the worst.

Here are the TV shows I'll remember as being the worst Of 2013:

Dis-honourable mentions:

It turns out The Life & Times Of Temuera Morrison ( TV One) are actually pretty damn boring.

Beauty & The Beast (Prime) should have been called Beauty & The Other Beauty With A Scar, Neither Of Whom Seem Interested In Starring In This Show.

The only interesting thing to be found Under The Dome (Prime) was Dean Norris' instant regret at taking the lead role.

The Neighbours (TV2) was the third best show on TV2 with the word "Neighbours" in the title, behind Neighbours At War and, uhh, Neighbours.

And Red Widow (TV One) had two big problems: the writing, and everything else.

Those shows were only pretty bad - here are my picks for Worst TV Show of 2013 ...

10. 666 Park Avenue (TV2)

Dave Annable as Henry Martin in '666 Park Avenue'.
Dave Annable as Henry Martin in '666 Park Avenue'.


This kind of spooky serial show was never going to succeed on American broadcast TV because compromising on the ongoing story to make it suit a broader audience - introducing pointless love triangles and Vanessa Williams, for example - inadvertently ruins the ongoing story. Also, surrounding the great Terry O'Quinn with a miscast pack of amateurs didn't help.

Chance of Improvement: None. It got cancelled. Though I continue to believe it would've been a hit for someone like The CW in the USA.

9. 2 Broke Girls (TV2)

'2 Broke Girls'.
'2 Broke Girls'.


I had this show ranked #2 on my list for 2012. So, yay! It did better this year!

Chance of Improvement: None. As I noted last year, 2 Broke Girls is what it is at this point - it rates too highly, and is too popular in international markets, for its producers or network to make any changes.

8. Mitre 10 Dream Home (TV2)

'Mitre 10 Dream Home' contestants.
'Mitre 10 Dream Home' contestants.


I watched a handful of episodes and at no stage did I feel comfortable with the fact that a home renovation competition was being set in Christchurch.

Chance of Improvement: High. The concept of the show is okay and Mitre 10 Dream Home would've been harmless if not for, y'know, seeming to exploit the suffering of the people of Christchurch. Move the action to another city and you've got yourself a mediocre renovation show to match mediocre renovation show The Block!

7. Dexter (SoHo)

'Dexter'.
'Dexter'.


The eighth and final season of Dexter made me feel like Homer Simpson when Lisa gets rid of his barbeque pig in Season 7's Lisa The Vegetarian. "It's just a couple of terrible characters; it's still good, it's still good ... it's just a little bad writing that makes me wonder why brand new characters are doing things that existing characters could have been doing; it's still good, it's still good ... it's just a few horrible developments that make no sense in the context of the entire series and an ending that disappointed on every level; it's still good, it's still good!" "It's gone, Chris." "[dejectedly] I know."

Chance of Improvement: None. Thankfully. I mean, unless that Dexter spin-off idea takes flight. In which case, may God save us all.

6. Best Bits (One)

Te Radar of 'Best Bits'.
Te Radar of 'Best Bits'.


Best Bits should have been an interesting and funny show. It had some really talented pieces: host Te Radar and original panelists Rose Matafeo and Matt Heath are all funny, entertaining, talented people, plus it enjoyed the services of a number of really funny writers and researchers. Yet the end result was badly written, overly scripted and felt strained on all sides. A fun idea that was absolutely no fun by the end.

Chance of Improvement: High. I actually think there is the core of a really great show underneath the play-it-safe exterior - aim at the Jono & Ben/7 Days audience and let the host/panelists improv their hearts out, and I reckon you'd have something pretty entertaining on your hands. Call me, TVNZ. Let's talk.

5. The Radio (TV3)

Paul Ego and Jeremy Corbett from 'The Radio'.
Paul Ego and Jeremy Corbett from 'The Radio'.


Radio is rich with comedy - just ask Frasier, Go On, NewsRadio, WKRP In Cincinatti and Alan Partridge. A shame, then, that The Radio somehow lost itself in a jungle of old jokes and unfunny cliches. Paul Ego and Jeremy Corbett were wrong for the lead roles, Urzila Carlson was criminally underused - as evidenced by her wonderful run on Super City - and running jokes about things like photo walls and an over-abundance of Nickelback were tired by the end of the first episode. And it didn't help that the studio audience only half-heartedly chuckled at most of the jokes. One of the few instances where I think I would've used a laugh track instead.

Chance of Improvement: None. TV3 mercy-killed this one, which was the first decent thing anybody responsible for The Radio did with this show.

4. Mrs Browns Boys (One)

If you want to know the kind of viewer Mrs Browns Boys is aimed at, consider that the BBC received almost a thousand complaints after interrupting an episode to report on the death of Nelson Mandela. You're better than that, viewing public of New Zealand.

Chance of Improvement: None. You can't polish a turd, so the saying goes.

3. Zero Hour (TV2)

If Anthony Edwards had known this was in his future, I'm guessing he never would have left ER. Or his house.

Chance of Improvement: None. ABC pulled the plug on this one after three episodes.

2. New Zealand's Got Talent (One)

'NZ's Got Talent' judges Jason Kerrison, Rachel Hunter, and Cris Judd.
'NZ's Got Talent' judges Jason Kerrison, Rachel Hunter, and Cris Judd.


Of all the problems NZGT suffered through this year - a dilution of talent thanks to the far superior X Factor NZ, dropping ratings, instantly forgettable acts, lack of viewer engagement - I think the funniest has to be the hiring of backup dancer Cris Judd, a man who is only famous for being the former husband of Jennifer Lopez, to join the judging panel with Rachel Hunter and Jason Kerrison. Half the acts were more famous than Cris Judd by the end of the first episode. TVNZ, you're telling us he was the best person available for the job? Really?!

Chance of Improvement: Some. NZGT won't be competing for singers with The X Factor NZ next year, and they don't have to hire Judd again, so it could theoretically improve. NZGT hasn't yet been confirmed as returning, though.

1. Please Marry My Boy (TV2)

Australian television programme 'Please Marry My Boy'.
Australian television programme 'Please Marry My Boy'.


A badly produced, cheap-looking knock-off of The Bachelor - and that was just the contestants! Seriously, Please Marry My Boy - a dating show in which a handful of dropkicks agree to let their mothers choose a girlfriend for them - was completely unredeemable. The worst thing to come out of Australia since Cody Simpson, hands down. This show makes me embarrassed to be a human being.

Chance of Improvement: High. I mean, it can't get any worse. Right? RIGHT?!

* What were your most hated shows of 2013? Do you agree with my list?

Chris Philpott

Chris Philpott is nzherald.co.nz's resident TV expert.

In a strange way, Chris Philpott has grown up with television: his first big addiction was The X Files, which he watched as a teenager, enthralled by what was possible with the form. Chris’ love of TV grew over the years, parallel to the popularity and quality of serial dramas like The Sopranos, Lost, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. He began writing about TV professionally in 2010, before joining the NZ Herald in late 2013, and considers writing about TV more than a passing interest or hobby: he genuinely loves sharing new series and discussing the big shows with readers. Chris is based in Whangarei, and lives with his wife and daughter. When he isn’t watching television … just kidding, he’s always watching television.

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