Sometimes even the most super-hyped blockbuster movies fail, and fail hard. One look at this summer’s Rotten Tomatoes assessments and you’ll find that more than half of the top 20 box office films have been declared “rotten” by critics. Independence Day: Resurgence is just the most recent would-be blockbuster that failed to gain traction with critics or general audiences. But for television, the scale of which only continues to get grander as we trip further into the millennium, high-profile failures are becoming increasingly frequent. As part of #PeakTV, there are more series than ever, and therefore, inevitably more series that fail to make a lasting mark.
Most recently, Showtime’s much talked-about Roadies, Cameron Crowe’s heralded return to the world of rock music, has been struggling. (You can read Allison Keene’s unimpressed review here.) Even with J.J. Abrams as EP, a strong ad campaign, and a great cast, the series has taken a bath in the ratings, earning only a few hundred thousand viewers during the night of its premiere. Earlier this year, HBO’s Vinyl was in a similar situation, stuck in a state of irrelevance that resulted in its eventual cancellation.
Whether or not a series is considered as “failed” is, of course, subjective – but in the case of our list, a “failure” is a series that had high initial critical hopes, large network investment, and/or a reliable star presence that still failed to connect with both critics and audiences. It’s unclear whether Roadies will have its television tour cut short, but ahead of its looming fate, we take a look back at some of TV’s most notorious failures of the past decade (or so), in chronological order