With every new TV season comes the smell of possibility: 60-odd television shows that could, each of them, be the new Friends or Law & Order or Star Trek: The Next Generation — programs that not only ran for years and years, but stand as paragons of the form.
And then there are the other ones, the shows that history forgets because they get canceled super-fucking quickly. Sometimes, because they’re shitty — like, stink-out-loud shitty. Other times because the network didn’t know how to sell a perfectly good show to the audience that would’ve loved it.
This year, we’ve got our first four shows to be put out of their misery. (They should all be thankful they made it to their second episode — not every show is so lucky.) NBC’s Bad Judge was the one with the worst ad campaign this year — the vaguely mulletish “Upholding the rules by day, breaking them at night.” A to Z was an exercise in “are we there yet?” — given that every episode stood for a, wait for it, letter in the alphabet.
Fox pulled out of Utopia, their expensive reality TV air ball and ABC shut down a show I’ll bet you didn’t even know was on the air: Manhattan Love Story. (And Fox is cutting down on the number of episodes they’ll be producing of Mulaney, a very unfunny sitcom starring the very funny John Mulaney.)
It’s up to you if you want to cut bait now, or see these shows to the bitter end. But why prolong the inevitable? Be like the rest of the smart people and just invest your time in Black-ish.
Marc Bernardin is the Deputy Editor of Playboy.com. He worked on a TV show once.