The 2011-2012 TV season is drawing to a close in a few weeks, and looking back on it, I’ve noticed that it has produced a few gems (e.g. Homeland on the drama side, New Girl on the comedy side), but for the most part, the season’s new shows have been absolute rubbish. Some of the awful new series came from the big networks, like Fox’s expensive misfire of a dino show, Terra Nova, and CBS’s boring, poorly-acted procedural, Person of Interest. But cable networks also debuted their fair share of crap, with Showtime delivering two of the worst series I have ever laid my eyes on. So, which five new shows were the worst, the shittiest of the shit? Read on to find out.

5. Smash (NBC)
If there were an award for most wasted potential, Smash would be the winner. The pilot episode held the promise of a nuanced musical drama full of backstage Broadway intrigue. Instead, within a few episodes, Smash had devolved into unintentional self-parody, complete with over-the-top dream sequences and plot lines that strained credulity. And those were the “fun” parts. The rest of the show was a boring, leaden slog, focusing way too much on the characters’ personal lives and not enough on the musical they were producing. Not helping matters was the miscasting of Megan Hilty, who instead of singing normally during the musical numbers, tried to speak-sing seductively. It wasn’t sexy; it was just creepy and kind of pathetic. Unfortunately, this was one of NBC’s only hits of the season, so it has been renewed. Expect more embarrassingly terrible musical melodrama next season.

4. Work It (ABC)
You know that 2011-2012 was a bad season of television when a show about two men who get jobs as pharmaceutical reps by cross-dressing comes in at number 4 on this list. Notorious for earning IGN’s first 0/10 score since the N64 game Olympic Hockey Nagano ’98, Work It was offensive to men, women, and everyone with any degree of higher brain function. As a result of the overwhelmingly negative response to the show, ABC pulled it from the schedule after only two episodes. Good riddance.

3. House of Lies (Showtime)
While Work It was simultaneously misogynist and misandrist, House of Lies was just plain misanthropic. Watching just five minutes of it would engender in anyone with a shred of dignity the desire to take a long, skin-peelingly hot shower. What many viewers thought would be a satirical take on corporate greed and profligacy turned out to be an unironic celebration of decadence, pure lifestyle porn for the average Joe. Did I mention that none of this was funny? The show’s attempts at humour were cringeworthy and often borderline offensive. And that’s not to mention the show’s total lack of logical plotting or its inability to make the cases of the week seem compelling. Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell deserved better than this steaming pile of shit. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to scrub my skin off. With sandpaper. And lye.

2. Suburgatory (ABC)
My hatred for Suburgatory is well-documented, so I’ll keep this brief. This show sucks. Jane Levy can’t act. Neither can Jeremy Sisto. New York isn’t California. And the suburbs aren’t a fucking cartoon.

1. Web Therapy (Showtime)
For the worst show of the 2011-2012 season, we have to go all the way back to the end of July 2011, when Web Therapy debuted on Showtime. I say this with no irony or exaggeration: Web Therapy is possibly one of the worst TV series of all time. There was not a single moment during its half-hour debut when I wasn’t cringing or yelling profanities at my TV screen. While I’m not a huge fan of the comedy of discomfort, this show took it to new lows, putting all its weight on a one-joke premise: Lisa Kudrow’s character is a terrible therapist. Literally, that was the show’s only joke. And it wasn’t even a funny one. In fact, Kudrow seemed bored by the whole affair, not even putting any effort into the role beyond the bare minimum required to stay in character. There is absolutely nothing to recommend about this show, and there is only one positive thing I can say about it: hopefully, it taught Showtime execs a couple of lessons. Firstly, the presence of a talented star – in this case, the usually awesome Lisa Kudrow – is not a guarantor of quality. Secondly, adapting a popular web series for television can backfire horribly. With any luck, the folks who work at Showtime will take these lessons to heart and we’ll never be subjected to a show this odious ever again.

(Dis)honourable mentions: Charlie’s Angels (ABC); Free Agents (NBC); Man Up! (ABC); Once Upon a Time (ABC); Person of Interest (CBS); The Playboy Club (NBC); Ringer (CW); Terra Nova (Fox); Whitney (NBC)

I purposely omitted a few shows – 2 Broke Girls (CBS); Pan Am (ABC); Missing (ABC); Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC) – because they were simply mediocre, not outright terrible. Also, I didn’t include HBO’s Girls because I see the potential for it to improve, and it’ll take a few more episodes for me to judge if that improvement is happening. But aside from that, this list pretty accurately represents what I thought were the worst new shows of the 2011-2012 season. May our children never be forced to watch them.

What did you think were the worst new shows of the season? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

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