Guilty pleasures. We all have them. We love them. In secret, of course. Famed TV scriptwriter of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, Shonda Rhimes hates them. That term, actually. In an interview, Shonda said that, “calling a show a guilty pleasure is like saying, ‘I’m embarrassed to say I watch it but I can’t stop.'” Do you agree? Is it an insult or just a way to try to fit into the social groups we surround ourselves with? For instance, if you have a somewhat judgmental but otherwise sweet Nana who is into classical music and a couple of Frasier episodes, and this is as wild as she gets TV-wise, you may err on the side of caution when it comes to claiming your love of Netflix’s Fuller House if the topic of television comes up. It doesn’t mean you think it’s a bad show. If you’re around some co-workers who love the show, you’re all too happy to talk about the revival of D.J. Tanner.
This dilemma is nothing new. People have been dealing with TV shows they’re too embarrassed to admit watching for generations. Just like your grandmother felt too ashamed to admit to her soap opera addiction and your parents are too flustered to concede that they watch Who The Bleep Did I Marry?, here are 15 TV shows you’re too embarrassed to admit you watch. And even if you are one who has judged these shows in the past, you may find your curiosity piqued after reading this list and want to take a second look at some of these.
15. We’re Secretly Proud To Be A Fan Of The Flash Although Some May Find It Cliché
*Groan* “Not yet another corny superhero TV show”, you hear your co-worker say at lunch while flipping through a magazine and you quickly clam up with that witty remark you were about to make about your new favorite show, The Flash. Drawn into the show at first were the ones who were already fans of The Flash, the ones who were willing to give a TV show a shot with their beloved superhero, that is. Some thought that it was too grandiose and strange at first, judging by reviews but the likable cast soon won watchers over. Now the superhero show boasts a healthy 94% rating on the critical review site, Rotten Tomatoes. Nothing to sneeze at. People that make up for those pleased ratings like the show for its impressive special effects and visuals as well as the action and bits of humor woven into the character dynamics. I guess there’s a bit of Sheldon Cooper in many of us… even if we refuse to admit it.
14. The 100 Seems Stereotypical But Its Suspense Draws Us In
Oh geez. Something else about an apocalypse. Something else about a small (relatively speaking, of course) group of people forced to exist together and start a community of sorts. Something else that’s an experiment being overseen by some sort of government-type organization. And certainly, they all have to be teens. Plot seem familiar? Definitely. Which is probably why many people roll their eyes when they hear the mention of the show, The 100. But some of those eye-rollers very much may be the ones giving the show the popular ratings that it has today. Fans love the thrilling situations that the characters find themselves in as well as the suspenseful environment created on the show. This show is much loved which is maybe why the popular plot formula seems to be working so well! With that being said, you can tell why hardcore The 100 fans may not necessarily want to shout their love for the show from the mountains tops. It seems like it’s too much of a stereotype… until you watch it.
13. Despite Its Seemingly Cheesy Plot Lines, Smallville Steals Our Hearts With Its Sweet Nostalgia
The young man with the S on his chest is the star of Smallville which backtracks (backtracked to be accurate but thanks to Netflix DVD and YouTube, you can feel free to relive it whenever you wish!) to Clark and Lana’s tender teen years, showing glimpses of their childhoods as well at times. The overall consensus of this show by those who don’t understand how great it
is was seems to be that it was merely an attempt at grabbing ratings from classic Superman fans. But true fans, even if they might blush when they admit their love for the show, know that the blend of teen angst with strong well-developed characters and plot lines that aren’t really so cheesy if you give the show a chance. As mentioned earlier, you still can at any time!
12. The Vampire Diaries Wins Us Over, Proving It’s Not Just Another Teenage Vampire Love Story… Sort Of
“Oh gosh, it’s Twilight all over again!” your significant other sighs as they furiously jam their thumb into the remote to change the channel as fast as they can to get away from The Vampire Diaries. Sure, you can understand why your SO is completely over the whole teenage vampires in love saga thing with Twi-fever having exploded as it did but you know better since you’re a secret fan of the show. Even if you’ve kissed your teenage years goodbye a little (or long) while ago, you can still relate to the drama on the show and love its fierce romantic plot lines and the little bit of suspense tossed in, too. Some say that the show uses vampirism as a metaphor for woes that teenagers face with all of the desires, dreams and fears that come with being a teenager. What do you, super fan, think?
11. The Silliness Of Glee Is Easily Overlooked By Its Marvelous Mashups
The hit TV show, Glee, may be off the air but the mark that its run from 2009-2015 has left on our hearts will last for many moons… even if that mark on your heart is in secret only! Not for musical lovers (and there are plenty of those), Glee no doubt annoyed the heck out of anyone who shuns Broadway hits and shudders at the thought of being forced to watch their niece perform in the local school production of Oklahoma! but real Gleeks don’t care because they’re too busy dancing and singing along in their car while driving solo to work in the morning with a Glee soundtrack blasting through their speakers. But when their car pulls up to a stoplight, they just might turn the volume down or at least roll the window up a little bit.
10. We Love Teen Wolf For Everything It Is, Remake Or Not
There are basically two camps when it comes to MTV’s Teen Wolf when it comes to why some people might think it’s not worth a watch. There are the hardcore cult classic 1985 Michael J. Fox fans who think that the words “teen” and “wolf” belong to him and only to him. Then there are those who are sick and tired of hearing about shows, movies and books about teenagers facing mythological challenges. But fans love it dearly and it doesn’t hurt that its creator is Jeff Davis, the man behind Criminal Minds.
Fun fact: Did you know that the main heartthrob-type character, Tyler Posey is the son of John Posey, who was slated to play Danny Tanner from Full House until that pesky Bob Saget came along and ruined everything for Posey? Full House just happens to be another show that many people consider to be a guilty pleasure so you see, this has come full circle!
9. Once Upon A Time Is Not A One-Hit Wonder But We’re Still Embarrassed To Admit We Love Fairytales As Adults
When this show first aired back in October of 2011, professional cable show reviewers thought that it was a fun fantastical escape but they didn’t think that the show had what it takes to last long and bring the kind of following that it would need to make it off the chopping block list. Fans clearly disagreed. They fell in love with the concept and thought that Once Upon A Time was exciting and addicting, putting a fresh modern spin on reintroducing the classics that they loved as kids. If you’re sporting a Y chromosome and you (secretly) love this show, feel no shame. You are not alone. Many men find this show fun and adventurous. I’m sure the fact that the show has a good-looking rotating cast doesn’t hurt too much either.
8. Arrow Is Ridiculously Overly Dramatic But Beautiful All The Same
Perhaps Starling City’s most dashing billionaire playboy is the reason behind archery making such a big comeback in popularity with kids these days? Whatever the case may be, the show has received mostly positive professional reviews and is still going strong since 2012. Even so, it doesn’t seem that too many people care to advertise the fact that they are loyal watchers of the show. Fans, yes, fans have raved/complained (new word invention to explain fan talk of guilty pleasure shows: ravplained) about the show, saying that the plot lines are overly dramatic and the actors’ delivery of the melodramatic lines is equally dramatic. One especially guilty fan noted of Paul Blackthorne who plays Detective Quentin Lance on a review website, “… every line out of his mouth is delivered like he just walked in on his wife sleeping with his best friend.” So we know why we’re embarrassed to watch it but why keep watching it in the first place? It’s all about visual instant gratification and sweet, sweet irresistible drama. It doesn’t hurt that the cast is jam-packed with a bunch of hotties to please anyone’s eye. The sets are usually equally gorgeous and there’s something about watching the drama of other’s people’s lives unfolding that we can’t say no to.
7. Lucifer Is New And Exciting To Us Fans But Critics Call It Boring
Devil, thy name is Lucifer. And he’s quite a smooth charmer with a cool accent no less. The devil gets tired of the goings on in the hot underworld of H – E – double hockey sticks and decides to see if the grass is greener in Los Angeles. So just like that he moves on up and walks among us, mostly to live a party boy Hugh Hefner sort of lifestyle. Life is good, right? But then the most horrible thing happens to change his life for all eternity — he develops human emotions. Now contending with a conscience and moral dilemmas, the handsome horned creature works with a partner to deliver swift justice to those deserving of it. The main consensus of the show, which is brand new having just aired last year in 2016, is that fans love it but professional critics are harshly skeptical. “A cop procedural snooze,” one critic said. It’s still early to tell but maybe soon this show will come into its own and you fans out there can then proudly declare yourselves Lucifer worshippers.
6. Supernatural Has The Fans And Staying Power To Prove It Isn’t Just Heartthrobs Playing X-Files As Critics Say
Potential for hurt feelings ahead, Supernatural fans. Professional critics have called it “Ghostbusters’ Creek” — a little jab implying the show is nothing more than a rehash of 90s teen drama, Dawson’s Creek (for you youngins out there) with some supernatural elements. They’ve said the show is about as original as its title and the New York Daily News called it, “leaden, predictable and at times, unintentionally funny.” Ouch. A lot of the heat seems to come from the actors who look like clean-cut, fresh-faced girl audience bait. But the show is doing something right. It’s been on since 2005 and shows no signs of slowing. Spin-offs from the popular show include a couple of animation series and the show currently holds a Tomatometer rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. So take that, critics. Sure, you may be embarrassed to admit that you watch the ghost show with the heartthrob from Gilmore Girls, Jared Padalecki, but take heart— you’re certainly not alone.
5. iZombie Provides A Fresh Take On Zombies Despite Criticism From An Overly-Zombied Audience
If you love Dexter and you love zombies, you’re probably already a fan of iZombie. No relation to Nickelodeon’s iCarly just in case you were wondering. Our main character/heroine/Zombie in question, Liv, is able to function as a normal human being for the most part. As long as she gets her fix of human brains. Facing an ethical dilemma and being an ethical kind of girl, Liv heads on down to the local morgue for an application so that she can feast on dead human brains and get paid for it!
The reason that iZombie is able to stand out in the crowd in a world of zombie-mania is Liv’s ability to connect with the dead after she consumes their brain matter. If she eats the brain of a murder victim, she’ll be able to solve the murder, for example. It’s an interesting concept but it’s also understandable why someone might want to keep on channel surfing when they see a show with the word “zombie” in the title. We’ve been hit with an onslaught of zombie shows and movies to last until the end of time. But iZombie fans know this one’s a little special.
4. We Love Stranger Things Despite The Snickers From Its Critics
It’s not very easy to describe Stranger Things. An 80s throwback with a creative blend of mystery, crime, action, supernatural drama and a bit of humor perhaps? People have gone crazy for this show. The iconic outfit for the 12-year-old female character, “Eleven” on the show was one of the most commonly worn costumes by men and women for Halloween 2016. Fans love the 80s vibe, the stellar cast, the twists and turns in the storyline and the action-packed scenes that Stranger Things offers. Still, you can’t please everyone and there are those who say that the show is a regurgitation of E.T. and other classic 80s movies that deal with the supernatural. The good folks at Stranger Things don’t seem to be too worried about those critics, thanks to a massive and loyal following. After its first season, the show is already well on its way to becoming a cult classic.
3. Legends Of Tomorrow Gets So-So Reviews But We’re Holding On Tight To This Dream Team
It’s a spin-off of two of the shows we saw earlier on this list, Arrow and The Flash, both with huge, loyal followings so it would seem that fans of both shows would go bananas for this show seeing as how the big audiences of the earlier-mentioned shows was practically like asking the CW to make this mash-up, catch-all superhero TV show. Surprisingly, it received not-so-great reviews at first from fans who didn’t seem to buy the emotions behind the characters in this time-traveling action superhero series. They didn’t like the script writing, the acting, and they weren’t even buying the chemistry between the characters. Even though the show got off to a rocky start, now it seems to have found its footing and a loyal following of its own. Love it or hate it, it looks like Legends of Tomorrow is here to stay for a while.
2. Supergirl Has Super Fans In Us Despite Classic Fans Who Don’t Appreciate The Remake
Supergirl has barely been on for two years and already has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In the show, Superman’s lovable younger cousin (well, technically older, but it’s complicated) takes over the super role and the fate of the city and its innocent citizens turned victims are in Kara’s capable young hands. Fans love her, calling her smart and sassy. She’s also modest, having hid her powers for more than a decade until she was forced to bring them out in order to save her sister. She has a scientist mother on Earth and a judge for a mother on Krypton; whose twin sister is connected to a suspicious and devious plot on Earth. Kara certainly has lots of things going on in her life for fans to talk about. Drama. Action. Family dynamics. Romance. It’s all here. Bonus for those who crushed hard on Dean Cain in the 90s — he’s baaack!
1. Gotham Brings Thrills To Mystery Show Lovers, Batman Fans Or Not
Gotham is set in the city of the same name before Batman was a grown-up and in full Bat force. The show focuses on mysteries in the city and what’s unfortunate is that people who are not fans of superhero and comic book franchises but are mystery lovers may miss out on this great mystery/crime show. There’s also a good amount of action for action lovers. But of course Gotham fans already know all of this. Fans rave that the show is packed with tons of stuff that holds their interest but complain that it does sometimes vary from classic Batman plot lines. So if you’re one of those who can’t stand when someone messes with your superhero classic storylines, maybe do yourself a favor and skip this one. But if you’re a mystery or action lover, check this out even if you’re not a typical fan of the superhero genre.