The worst of TV in 2020, from 'Space Force' to fake audiences to Quibi
2020 was a really terrible year and television couldn't escape the curse.
Although there have been some wonderful TV shows, exciting live moments and the arrival of two promising TV streaming services this year, there have been a lot of stinkers in 2020: Seriously terrible new series, a ton of bad calls on cancellations and a few sad sad months of Quibi, a word we may soon forget.
While we may never forget some of the most tragic parts of 2020, we hope that those terrifying TV shows and moments are erased from our memories (sorry, Steve Carell).
Miami Heat Bank members react with virtual fans in the background during the first half of a game against the Denver Nuggets in August
The terrible substitute for a live audience
The eerie valley had a field day in 2020.
Sporting events, talk shows, award shows, and other TV events that saw a live audience screaming, clapping, and jumping for the cameras had to adapt as COVID-19 precautions kept the few in-person events as small as possible. For the sport, this meant a major visual and acoustic change - no more roaring of the crowd for a touchdown, no audience getting to their feet for a three-point shot.
Attempts to recreate the experience of live viewers ranged from amusing, such as cardboard cutouts and giant teddy bears at baseball games, to downright terrifying attempts, such as video chat to the virtual audience at NBA games. It was hard enough preparing for a late summer basketball season, but seeing the blue-screened people in the "stands" of a Hornets game made the experience far too surreal. And 2020 was surreal enough on its own.
Other bad substitutes: Archive footage of past crowds for Fox's "The Masked Singer," which to the untrained eye would be a violation of state and local health regulations
Jimmy O. Yang as Dr. Chan KaiFang, Steve Carell as General Mark Naird, Ben Schwartz as F. Tony Scarapiducci, and Don Lake as Brad Gregory in Space Force.
Bad TV shows that should have been better
Steve Carell, reunited with Greg Daniels, co-creator of The Office, should have made a slam dunk sitcom, right? Unfortunately, Netflix's "Space Force" was a major misfire last spring that wasted the talents of Carell, Lisa Kudrow, John Malkovich, and others. A worthy dialogue, bad jokes, and an identity crisis caused the launch to fail.
I also expected more from "Emily in Paris," Netflix's love-it-or-hate-it series from "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star; David Schwimmer's peacock comedy "Intelligence"; Anna Kendrick's HBO Max series "Love Life"; and CBS All Access's high-profile remake of Stephen King's "The Stand". All of these series had strong talent behind them but did not produce any results.
Kaitlyn Dever on HBO's Coastal Elites.
Bad TV shows that were just bad
Why bring back hideous reality series like "The Biggest Loser" (USA) or "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (HGTV) in 2020? Why do pandemic shows like Freeforms "Coronavirus Love" or HBO's "Coastal Elites" too early?
The pandemic changed a lot of things, but it didn't stop terrible TV shows.
More: The TV shows that made 2020 bearable, from "Supernatural" to "Schitt's Creek"
The shows were canceled too early (or again).
Only in our strange new media era can a show as wonderful and popular as "One Day at a Time" be canceled twice.
The Netflix series, a remake of the 1975-84 original by Norman Lear, was picked up by Pop TV for a fourth season that aired in early spring but was unceremoniously removed from cable last month as the ViacomCBS -Own network had stopped the original programming.
The year also introduced an unfortunate new trend: the "Un-Rewenal," where shows that had previously promised new seasons got an unwanted ax, supposedly due to the challenges of filming during the COVID era. These series included two spectacular gems, Netflix's Emmy-nominated "GLOW" and Showtime's Kirsten Dunst dramedy "On Becoming a God in Central Florida". The fact that both series were created by women with and / or starring who are still all too rare in Hollywood only made their untimely goodbyes worse.
"Shape of Pasta" is a cooking show on Quibi.
A quick bite of quibi
Quibi is dead. Long live something else.
The ill-advised but heavily funded company of former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman closed just six months after it was founded. The streaming app was aimed at providing "quick bites" of high quality entertainment to the phones of busy viewers on the go. But it was a resounding failure as its supporters failed to understand what people actually want from short form entertainment. Quibi was exacerbated by a pandemic that kept potential audiences in the home and was quickly closed.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Worst TV of 2020: Quibi, 'Space Force' and More That We Could Live Without
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