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Here Are All the Reeking, Sh!t-Covered Network Series You Should Avoid in 2016-17

By Brian Byrd | Lists | May 19, 2016 |

By Brian Byrd | Lists | May 19, 2016 |

Hey, remember network television? It’s still out there grinding even as viewers flee in droves. During each year’s upfront presentations the Big Four inexplicably convince advertisers that their new crop of formulaic, cliché-riddled serials and Caucasian-dominated multi-cams will finally break the decade-long cycle of customer attrition and Internet irrelevance. Brands trample one another to part with their easily earned millions. And by Christmas they realize handing that money to a coke-sniffing baboon would have been the more fiscally responsible option.

This season is no different than the last. Or the one before that. Or the one before that. Flies are already buzzing around much of the fresh meat. Surprisingly, though, the bulk of the stink emanates from just two networks. It’s probably not the pair you’d expect, either.

Somehow, the Robert Greenblatt Fecal Experience didn’t only avoid smashing itself in the face with a rake this year (an unmitigated success by NBC standards); it actually managed to deliver a few promising offerings. Granted, the network released trailers for just three of its eight new series (The Good Place, This Is Us, and Timeless), sparing us looks at Powerless and a serialized version of Taken, two shows that would almost certainly occupy spots on this list had the Peacock made even a single frame available for consumption. So there’s still ample opportunity to slide back into the latrine.

UPDATE: The remaining NBC trailers hit the web and they mostly invalidate everything I wrote above. Quick hits:

- Emerald City looks visually amazing (no surprise from Tarsem Singh) and thematically mediocre.

- My predictions about Powerless and Taken were scarily accurate.

- The great news for Great News is that it’ll be cancelled quickly so the talented cast can move on to a project that wasn’t written by a sixth grader.

- Midnight Texas: bury this shit in the Alamo basement. It’ll secede from the lineup a few months after it premieres.

Fox, feeling about as confident as a white guy in [insert literally any possible situation except “On a non-gentrified city block”], dropped trailers for all 11 of its new series. And goddamn if I can’t find a single one worthy of scorn. The closest candidate for ridicule is APB, a cop drama where a rich tech guy (Justin Kirk) privatizes an entire police precinct, outfits officers with cutting-edge tech (including the titular APB app), and impresses Ernie Hudson. It reads like a store-brand RoboCop, but Kirk brings enough energy to the lead role to narrowly avoid inclusion here. “Thank Christ,” proclaimed sweaty Fox execs whose jobs literally depend on avoiding this list.

ABC and CBS, on the other hand, basically decided to commit domestic terrorism over public airwaves. The Alphabet voluntarily greenlit shows about a depressed talking dog, a woman with an imaginary friend that looks like a broken tampon, what happens after Romeo and Juliet die (spoiler), and an overweight woman living among wealthy skinny white bitches. Just kidding. I invented three of those concepts to trick you. Just kidding again they’re all real. CBS did some shit that’ll appeal to old people. I dunno, guys, read the damn post. I can’t relive their awful lineup again. it’s too traumatic. “GROW A PAIR, YOU PUSSY!” screamed an MRA who has never once mustered the courage to look a woman in the eyes.

Network: ABC
Cast: Peggy Carter, Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore, Emily Kinney
Entire Premise in One Tweet: Famous white girl escapes consequences for deviant behavior because she’s hot and her mom was president.
Best Worst Line: “Prison is full of good-looking black poster boys.” Or, “From a Producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds.”
Best YouTube Comment: “Why does she have a dude’s name? Hayes, terrible choice.”
Mrs. Byrd’s Review: “So the girl gets off a DUI because the guy wants to fuck her? Is that what this was?”
Number of episodes before cancellation: Full season

American Housewife
Network: ABC
Cast: Katy Mixon, Dietrich Baker, Generic Hot White Women
Entire Premise in One Tweet: Overweight women and mentally handicapped children are hilarious, amirite?
Best Worst Line: “This is straight-up communism.”
Best YouTube Comment: “I can’t wait to watch this…get canceled after 4 episodes.”
Mrs. Byrd’s Review: /shakes head profusely
Number of episodes before cancellation: 9

Downward Dog
Network: ABC
Entire Premise in One Tweet: A show for people who call dogs “Canine-Americans.”
Best Worst Line: Nothing. There is no best because they are all equally the worst.
Best YouTube Comment: “I want to kick this dog, the voice actor needs to be thrown off something high. You made a dog unlikable ABC. How?”
Mrs. Byrd’s Comment: “Is this a real show?”
Number of episodes before cancellation: 5

Imaginary Mary
Network: Wait for it…ABC
Cast: Jenna Elfman, Stephen Schneider, a bisected anthropomorphic tampon voiced by Rachel Dratch
Entire Premise in One Tweet: A grown ass woman has an imaginary friend that looks like a monster from a prescription drug commercial
Best Worst Line: “I am a mom, and I do the Macarena. Where is my minivan, oh I’ll find it later.”
Best YouTube Comment: “Hot girl and the Hobo coming soon to ABC!”
Mrs. Byrd’s Review: “This is the female version of Drop Dead Fred. Well, the child was female in that show. So maybe it’s the cartoon version. But I don’t even think that makes sense. It doesn’t make sense.”
Number of episodes before cancellation: 3

Still Star Crossed
Network: ABC
Cast: Wade Briggs, Zuleikha Robinson, Anthony Head, Grant Bowler, Torrance Coombs, Ebonée Noel, Lashana Lynch, Lucien Laviscount (this is a real person), Clara Rugaard, Mixtavian Falconer (this is not a real person)
Entire Premise in One Tweet: Shonda Rhimes does Shakespeare with all the nuance and overenunciation you’d expect from one of her shows.
Best YouTube Comment: “Hitler died trying to stop this” and literally hundreds of other abhorrent racist comments that will make you wonder why Godtopus has allowed humanity to survive so for long.
Mrs. Byrd’s Comment: “How many of these do you have to watch? I don’t want to watch these anymore.”
Number of episodes before cancellation: Full season

Network: CBS
Cast: Lucas Till, George Eads
Entire Premise in One Tweet: Find the guy with the most punchable face in the universe and cast him in this painfully clichéd reboot of an 80s show
Best Worst Line: “Are you nervous?” “No, it’s just another Friday.”
Best YouTube Comment: It’s a tie: “What the hell was that? Is Mac a dwarf?” and “Why is he three years old?”
Number of episodes before cancellation: Full season

Kevin Can Wait
Network: CBS
Cast: Kevin James, Erinn Hayes, Gary Valentine, Lorenzo Halloween (that one is made up)
Entire Premise in One Tweet: Paul Blart, but retired. And less funny. With a FIVE MINUTE TRAILER WHAT THE CHRIST?!?
Best Worst Line: “Dad, I probably shouldn’t go to school today. I probably got a concussion from football.” “Jack, you play Madden football.”
Best YouTube Comment: “I AM KEVIN JAMES!”
Number of episodes before cancellation: Six million

Man With A Plan
Network: CBS
Cast: Matt LeBlanc, Jenna Fischer
Entire Premise in One Tweet: The multi-camera equivalent of watching a school bus packed with C4 plow into a nunnery.
Best Worst Line: “This fall, Matt LeBlanc takes on his toughest challenge yet…fatherhood.”
Best YouTube Comment: “If America still has half a brain this show will die within a month.”
Number of episodes before cancellation: 12