2022’s Worst of TV

Spoilers

As much as we love television, not everything makes the grade.

It can be difficult when a show we love betrays its characters for the sake of drama or when certain aspects feel phoned-in.

From awful characters, overly traumatic plotlines, terrible episodes, and more — sometimes we have to call it as we see it.

Worst Of 2022 Collage

The Orville: New Horizons Season 3 Episode 4 – “Gently Falling Rain” (Hulu)

Of the numerous problematic plot lines The Orville introduced, the Planetary Union’s interactions with the Krill are the worst.

A Krill Child - The Orville: New Horizons Season 3 Episode 4

Specifically, Captain Mercer commits mass murder aboard a Krill ship, then unknowingly becomes emotionally and physically involved with a Krill spy, and then tops it off with some general war crimes.

As if that wasn’t enough, the writers somehow thought adding a child to the mix was a good idea — one born of Mercer and Teleya’s relationship before she was revealed to be a Krill survivor of the Yakar.

It might have been an attempt to give Mercer a sympathetic storyline — and, at the same time, open discourse on unwanted/unplanned pregnancies.

Unfortunately, MacFarlane hasn’t got the acting chops to carry off an emotionally torn father while commanding a starship AND carrying out a subversive mission. Everything about Anaya’s backstory and potential future in the series is painfully awful.

The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+)

Will On The Hunt - The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 5

A hot priest, played by Tom Hiddleston, sounded very promising, but sadly, nothing really happened in The Essex Serpent.

Claire Danes and Hiddleston valiantly tried to save a horrible script, but their chemistry was non-existent, and the whole thing fell flat.

The show managed to morph from an enticing religious/political small-town storyline to a trite and banal romance in only six episodes.

Fantastic visuals couldn’t save the romance from feeling forced, with the entire miniseries culminating in one of the worst finales in recent memory.

Call Me Kat (Fox)

Kat Waiting On a Date

Memo to all Hollywood actresses not named Zooey Deschanel (Lizzy Caplan gets a case-by-case exemption): Quirky can’t just be done by anyone.

The problem with Mayim Bialik’s interpretation of the character is that she seems to be quirky for quirkiness’ sake.

At times, the broadness of Kat and her cohorts carries charm, but it’s also pretty cringy.

As the show has gone on, it has leaned more and more into the hammy camp of it all, which is a shame because the show initially had some promising moments.

Survivor Season 43 (CBS)

Hang In There - Survivor

After the post-pandemic return of Survivor with two fantastic seasons (41 & 42), it stands to reason that Season 43 fell into a bit of s slump.

The cast was great, but the rapid gameplay came at the expense of the relationships, and it all felt very paint-by-numbers.

Add a truly out-of-left field winner and possibly the most brutal final four fire-making challenge since it was introduced, and you have a lackluster entry into CBS’s most consistent reality franchise.

Here’s hoping Season 44 will re-ignite the spark!

Josh Wallace – In the Dark (The CW)

Josh's Comeuppance -tall - In The Dark Season 4 Episode 13

Josh became one of the most loathsome characters of the series — which says a lot when Dean was a cop who killed an unarmed Black teen.

Josh became so deranged and unhinged that it was stressful to watch.

His vendetta against Murphy was downright disturbing, and he’s the reason Max got killed.

A large portion of the series’ unwatchable final season was because of him.

Rutherford and Tendi – Star Trek: Lower Decks (Paramount+)

Love is in the Air - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 6

It’s nice that SNL one-season wonder Noel Wells is getting voice-over work and solidifying her place in the Star Trek canon. Ditto Eugene Cordero, but, well, he has plenty of other gigs.

No offense to these two actors, but the third season of this animated parody of Star Trek has done nothing to make the cases that Tendi and Rutherford offer anything of value.

Also, the two characters have pretty much the same perky and agreeable personality. Beckett likes to do things her own way, and Boimlier is a long-term thinker.

The motivations of Tendi and Rutherford are still a blank and the same blank at that. Also, these two are adults who are clearly into each other. So get on with it.

Captain Strand – 9-1-1: Lone Star (Fox)

A Bad Move by T.K. - 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1 Episode 1

Owen is one of those characters who are so one-dimensional, and it gets old quickly.

Despite offering little to progress the narrative or entertainment, the character has so much screen time.

How much longer can we watch him try to capture his youth despite his age? His obsession with hair and women is tiring to watch.

The focus on Owen comes at the expense of interesting characters like Carlos, Mateo, and Marjan. It is time he got reinvented or written off entirely.

Conrad/BIllie/Cade Love Triangle – The Resident (Fox)

Romancing Kincaid-tall - The Resident Season 6 Episode 5

The love triangle shone a light on what’s wrong with the show now compared to its earlier seasons. The inherent problem with these three is that neither Billie nor Cade was fully developed in their own right before becoming romantic fodder.

Billie’s arc was built around the damage a man did to her and the son she gave up for adoption. Cade’s was built around her messed up youth because of her father and her resulting commitment issues, which kept her on the move and in fear of building a life.

That their next story revolved around Conrad did nothing for the characters and even less for the triangle. None of it was earned, and all three characters and their actors deserved better.

The Resident was built around strong, self-sufficient women who didn’t need men to exist but chose to include them in their lives. All of that has gone, and the show is suffering.

Helen Sharpe’s Departure – New Amsterdam (NBC)

Dr. Helen Sharpe - New Amsterdam

The character assassination of Helen is one of the year’s most egregious offenses and cast a shadow over the final season of this formerly great series.

It is unfathomable to any fan of the character that she’d abandon both Max and Luna and flee the country.

Freema Agyeman’s departure was unavoidable, but the writers gleefully burning years’ worth of character development and the primary ship to the ground and repeatedly stomping on them is just unforgivable.

Even with the tease of her return, there’s little faith they’ll handle it well.

Carina and Maya’s Fertility/Marriage Issues – Station 19 (ABC)

Marina Happiness  - Station 19 Season 5 Episode 18

Carina and Maya are one of the most beloved couples and few remaining WLW relationships.

Unfortunately, they are routinely bogged down with frustrating arcs.

Their fertility journey got derailed with the puzzling decision to insert Jack and push a questionable narrative about sperm donors vs. fathers.

Now, Maya’s grueling and draining arc about her mental health and demotion woes are unbearable.

Halstead’s Departure – Chicago PD (NBC)

Halstead's Ready - Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 2

Fans were stunned at the news that Jesse Lee Soffer was exiting the series. Halstead and Upton had gotten married, and he was on track to be the unit’s successor.

His exit felt out of nowhere, and sadly, it was — and poorly handled.

Halstead’s conscience caught up to him after another questionable situation with Hailey and Voight, and he fled to South America on some military assignment without saying goodbye to most of the unit.

He hasn’t been heard from since.

The Boys Season 3 Episode 6 – “Herogasm” (Prime Video)

Herogasm - The Boys

This is what happens when you’re trying harder to make viewers’ eyes pop than develop characters and plot.

It was like they were trying to see how disgusting and out there they could be, and they achieved it mightily. Sure, it was an attention grabber, but to what purpose?

Sometimes, less is more, and this would have been one of those times.

It cast a pall on the series as a whole, sucking some of the fun out of it (pun intended).

Warner Media/Discovery HBO cancellations

Evolving - Westworld

Back in April 2022, Warner Media (parent company of HBO Max) merged with Discovery.

The fallout meant the cancellation and removal of dozens of HBO and Cartoon Network shows from their platform.

Previous seasons of some shows, such as Westworld and Raised by Wolves, will still exist on third-party streaming services. However, others, like Minx and Made For Love, still have uncertain fates.

It’s chilling that in this digital age, the decline of physical media can mean that some shows will effectively “cease to exist.”

Do you agree with our gripes, Fanatics?

Are we off-base or out of line?

Did we miss anything that got you upset this year?

Vent your TV-related frustrations in the comments!

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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