TV is enjoying something of a golden age right now with Netflix churning out high-quality Original series faster than you can click add to My List: (Chilling Adventure of Sabrina (opens in new tab)), HBO scooping up the awards for it’s hard-hitting dramas (Big Little Lies), and the BBC debuting it’s most watched series to-date (Bodyguard). While it feels like we can’t move for hot new TV shows (opens in new tab) that everyone’s raving about, not everyone gets the appeal of your favorite TV obsession.
That’s the debate on team GR this week - what popular TV show do you secretly think is terrible? We’ve had some contentious, and surprising, responses including Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and The Good Place. If you can’t believe that someone would hate on these acclaimed shows, read on in bemusement, horror, and perhaps (secret) agreement. As ever, let us know in the comments below - or on Twitter (opens in new tab) - what popular TV show you secretly think is terrible...
Game of Thrones
I know, I know, what an unpopular opinion to have about one of the biggest shows of this generation. But, I'm sorry, Game of Thrones just isn't for me. And I've tried. I got halfway through the first book, and have tried watching Game of Thrones season 1 (opens in new tab) so many times I can describe those first few episodes with startling clarity. And yet, as we approach Game of Thrones season 8 (opens in new tab), I am so gloriously behind that I never, ever want to catch up. It's not because I think the stories are dull, or the characters underwhelming. It's the gratuitousness of the female nudity, and the way rape and women are described in the book, that I find so frustrating - enough so that it mars everything else the series is trying to do. Daenerys getting out of that bath for the first time, for example, and that long, lingering shot of her fully naked frame. Was that really necessary? Why aren't the men treated with a similar camera pan of their crown jewels, especially when they usually spend just as much time naked as the women do? I realise that there's a specific time period setting for Game of Thrones and that distorts things somewhat, but in the time we live in now, we should have TV shows that showcase equality, especially when it comes to gratuitous nudity. I do like the dragons though. Sam Loveridge
The Good Place
More like The Bad Show, am I right?! Yes, I'm well aware that not loving this Emmy-nominated comedy makes me an inhuman freak with no emotions or sense of humor, but it really boils down to one main problem: I'm no fan of Kristen Bell, especially when she's playing a ditzy, dead jerkwad with a saccharine heart of gold. In writing this entry, I went ahead and spoiled the season 1 twist for myself, which I must admit is quite clever; too bad I only made it through five episodes before bailing, having no real attachment to any of the characters or the afterlife hijinks they get into. Perhaps it's a problem of expectations, as I came in ready to laugh out loud frequently rather than smirking occasionally between bits of TV-grade CG. Ted Danson is great, but he alone can't keep me invested in The Good Place. I'd much rather watch him in Little Danson Man (opens in new tab). Lucas Sullivan
While I can't speak to the UK version of this workplace comedy, the US adaptation of The Office has always rubbed me the wrong way. And I'm sorry to say the main reason is Michael Scott, portrayed by Steve Carell. And I want to be clear here, it's not that I think Carell does a bad job or I don't like him - he's actually one of my favorite comedy actors! - it's more that he's too good at portraying Scott's buffoonery and stubbornness. And yet the show acts like it's cute and we're supposed to like this guy. Take the season 3 episode where Kelly invites the office to a Diwali celebration, and Michael tries to make the occasion about him and his love for Carol. Or season 2 where Scott burns his foot (a self-inflicted injury from the incredibly dumb idea of leaving a George Foreman grill on his bed), begs the office to help him, compares himself to the handicapped, and reprimanded his workers for not coddling him enough. I guess I just don't find stupidity and selfishness something to be celebrated or cheered. Sorry not sorry. Anecdotally, one thing I've noticed is that the people who most enjoyed or continue to enjoy The Office are those who've never actually worked in an office environment. Methinks for those that have, they've dealt with enough real-life Michael Scotts that the joke stops being funny. Sam Prell
Don’t hurt me. Stranger Things just isn’t very good. Sure, the child actors are cutesy and often quite funny but, once the original mystery was solved in Stranger Things season 1 (opens in new tab), there was very little for the show to say anymore. And the show wasn’t exactly outstanding to begin with. It was (and still is) mere bread-and-butter mystery fare. Broadchurch did the whole missing child story better, San Junipero in Black Mirror nailed the ‘80s theme, and literally every other sci-fi show ever has dealt with the mysterious forces that go bump in the night more expertly. Now we’re just getting story clumsily explained and then stapled onto an original mythos that was pretty threadbare to begin with. But everyone’s making it out to be not only the best thing Netflix has ever produced, but one of the best shows in years. Come off it. Bradley Russell
It’s not that I don’t like The Wire as such. It’s more I never quite understood its revered status as ‘greatest TV show ever made’. I thought it was basically an okay cop show, like so many other okay cop shows before it. I never felt that religious fervor from watching it that affected so many of my friends and regularly drove them to explain to me, passionately, how wrong I was for not ‘getting it’. It mainly seems to consist of men being horrible human beings and occasionally getting shot as a result. As far as I can tell it floats in that same wheelhouse as Mad Men, where people treat other people in awful, selfish ways, but do it in such a cool way it becomes something aspirational. If anyone actually acted like that in real life there would be shouting, legal action, and yet in The Wire they end up becoming heroic figures battling against the evils of ‘not getting their way’. Leon Hurley
Ever since its debut in 2011, all I've heard from friends, family, and strangers on the street is about how great Suits is, the legal drama about two white, wealthy lawyer bros living on an unhealthy diet of ramen, women, and masturbatory ego trips. Then, just when I thought the buzz had died down, Meghan Markle decided to get married to Prince Harry, and people started talking about it all over again. Having seen just a handful of episodes across several of the eight seasons myself, I can only say I've never watched something so bland and insipid to the naked eye. It's that particular breed of American cable TV where everything's been sanitised and photoshopped to the point of nothingness, with two main characters so unlikeable in their Trumpian pomposity, you can understand why the new Duchess got out of there while she still could. The televisual equivalent of a lukewarm Budweiser, I'll never understand why Suits has received such acclaim, especially when dozens of other shows have proven that the medium is capable of so much better. Alex Avard
Oh, let me count the ways I hate Breaking Bad. I hate the awful-but-apparently-heroic characters, I hate the slow pace of the first few seasons, and I hate the way everyone talks about how it’s the best TV show (opens in new tab) ever made. No, it’s not. I’m willing to admit that there’s a few exceptional moments of television during its five season run, but they’re few and far between and no series which is this inconsistent can be considered one of the best shows of all time in my opinion. ‘You have to get past the first couple of seasons’ people told me, ‘then it gets really good!’ Well, I’m sorry (not), but any show where you have to watch two crap seasons to get to something sort-of good, isn’t a good TV show to me. And it’s not like I didn’t try! I’m literally half an hour away from finishing Breaking Bad and I just couldn’t do it. I slogged through the entire show when it hit Netflix, pushing myself through the pain because everyone raved about how good it was, and even managed to get all the way to the final episode only to decide that life was too short and I didn’t need to force myself to do this anymore. I still don’t know which one of them died and it’s not because I’ve been avoiding the spoiler intending to one day finished it… I just don’t care. Lauren O’Callaghan
Check out last week’s big question and the GR team reveal which games from their childhood they want to see rebooted (opens in new tab).