Netflix has opened up our eyes in the last few years with some incredible original TV shows. Not only have they stepped up their game in terms of content, but they’ve helped change the way we watch TV shows. By releasing an entire series in one go and having fans binge-watch it all in a few sittings (or one for the grizzled veterans), Netflix has transformed the TV experience into something closer to a film experience. We no longer have to stew and digest an episode’s content for a week or longer. This has both benefits and disadvantages, but it’s all new. Yet, with all the fans Netflix has and all the good it’s done, there were bound to be some misses along the way. We never expected them to bat 1.000 and they didn’t. It’s the misses that we’re most curious about.
Stranger Things, House of Cards, The Crown—these are the series that have been on the tips of everyone’s tongues for years now. These are just a few of the titles that have brought Netflix the respect it deserves as a content provider. These shows and those like them make us forget or turn a blind eye to the trash that’s been put out. So we’re going to count down the 15 worst TV series put out by Netflix so far. Some of these have mixed reviews, but most are so bad that they’ve united people in their dislike. After all, that’s what Netflix is all about, bringing people together.
Here is a list we’re calling, Netflix Originals: 15 Of The Worst Shows So Far.
15. The OA
It’s a bit unfair that The OA makes this list. There’s a lot to like about the show. It’s addictive and compelling and the acting is excellent at times. However, the payoff is not worth the lead-up. That alone is the reason why it’s here. Most negative reviewers of The OA found that it was also a lesser version of Stranger Things, not as strange and not as interesting. The show often takes itself too seriously and the pace can be frustrating, but this is how many TV shows have made a living. Look at Walking Dead, millions tune in each week to get about 5 minutes of plot advancement. When you’re binge-watching, a slow pace like this can be overlooked, which is why The OA has a respectable following. It’s not a bad show at all, but compared to the shows on Netflix’s roster, it’s one of the worst.
Sense8 might be the most frustrating show ever made. Yeah, fans who stuck it out and followed along like obedient students generally liked it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great show. There’s a resistance to anything straightforward in this show from the Wachowskis. They refuse to give easy answers and often delay them to the point of madness. The show starts off about as slow as one can manage. At its best, Sense8 is very, very good. At its worst, it’s near to being unwatchable. To us, the bad outweighs the great too much. Great show can’t have such low lows.
Netflix wanted to dip their toes into the late-night talk show pool, so they picked up Chelsea Handler and tried to reinvent the wheel. They promised it would be totally different than anything we’ve seen and, in some ways, Chelsea is different. It’s different but it’s also the same. Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense but how else can we put it? She says she won’t be doing opening monologues but then she delivers opening monologues. It’s a late-night talk show and no amount of telling us otherwise will change that. In the end, the decision of whether you like it or not comes down to whether you like Chelsea Handler or not. She can be funny and at times, she can be so ignorant it’s almost bothersome. You’ll get plenty of both on this show and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
12. The Ranch
Ugh! The Ranch. There are people out there who actually like this show. That boggles our brains. This is just another show that seems to have been written by a robot, a story that checks off all the boxes of a DIY sitcom. There’s nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing good about it at all. Some point to the performances and applaud them, but we feel that this feels every bit a stage drama without any strong stage presences. The laugh track is offensive and the plot is more predictable than anything else on television. There’s an argument to be made that those that live on a ranch and drive a pickup truck might appreciate this show more than the average bear, but we’re speaking to and from the average bears here.
With season two around the corner, Flaked has been blessed with another kick at the can. The first season was nothing but weak. This is a show that is so self-absorbed that it doesn’t seem to care if anyone is even watching. The characters and everything about them are pure irony and metaphor. There is no real humanity in them. They’re just meant to be clever symbols, giving the writers a reason to high-five each other after each episode. The setting and the storylines involved with the Los Angeles backdrop are only effective for those in the know. Everyone else, prepare yourself for a slew of supposed in-jokes that probably would only generate a chuckle if you were born from the sand of Venice Beach. Flaked looks and feels like a Will Arnett pet project that was supported by Netflix because of the money that the actor has made them. It will almost certainly shake the trust they have in him. If it doesn’t, it should.
10. Iron Fist
From jump street, Iron Fist was up against it. The casting of Finn Jones was criticized at a number of levels before the show even began, which could have been forgotten if Jones didn’t feel awkward in the part. Sadly, when a show is part of something larger like Iron Fist is with The Defenders, it’s impossible not to compare it to its siblings. Each of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage were miles better than Iron Fist. Miles! Where they were progressive, Iron Fist was like your racist grandmother. Like many origin stories, Iron Fist is painfully slow and much of the plot is confused and choppy. Though the show does pick up in the later episodes, it wasted so much time and abused the viewers so much so that it was unredeemable.
9. The Characters
Sometimes the best ideas are not appreciated. Sometimes they seem great on paper but aren’t executed in the way they were imagined. Who really knows where the disconnect is with The Characters, but it’s disconnected. Sketch comedies used to be enormous. Then they faded. Now they’re back. Netflix wanted a piece of this pie, so they gave a group of comedians free rein to create a 30-minute segment based on their ideas. Some of these are great and some are horrible. The differences between each episode make it difficult to remain consistent and this can be off-putting for an audience. Even though we like originality and being surprised, having one segment appeal to one sense of humor and the very next segment to an entirely different sense of humor means that not one person is ever totally satisfied. We’re all just kind of satisfied. That’s what The Characters is in the end—kind of satisfying.
8. Hemlock Grove
Considering that Hemlock Grove got three seasons on Netflix and even some Emmy consideration, it might be a shock to some that it’s on this list. However, if you’re shocked, you clearly haven’t seen the show. We’re big fans of Eli Roth, so we were expecting some big things from the show when his name was attached to the project. But the show is inexcusable. The pace is painfully slow, not Walking Dead slow but close, and the acting is something unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Some of the clunky dialogue and ridiculous acting can be dressed up as camp, but that only goes so far. In the end, the show’s concept is there but nothing ever comes together. Hemlock Grove tries too hard and is too confusing for its own good. The only benefit it gains from binge-watching is that it’s over quicker.
Technically, the TV series Between is a co-production between City and Netflix, but we’ll treat is as a straight Netflix original production. Young inhabitants within a quarantined area set to rule for themselves, we’ve seen this story before and Between brings nothing new or exciting to the table. Add in some pretty lackluster performances by the bulk of the cast and you’ve got yourself a bad show. On top of that, the co-produced show aired weekly on Netflix, so it didn’t allow people to rip through it quickly, leading to many tuning out before the first season even ended.
6. Richie Rich
There isn’t a whole lot to like about Netflix’s Richie Rich, but it’s unlikely that anyone even knew this show existed. It got two seasons and that was more than enough to know what the show was—garbage. Richie Rich (Jake Brennan) is an a*s of a kid who apparently earned all his money by turning the vegetables he didn’t eat into clean energy. Now he just buys whatever he wants and surrounds himself with people who think like him and like spending his money. He hates his sister because she rips on him for being so materialistic and his dad is too stupid to even care. Seriously, his dad is on a whole ‘nother level of stupid. This one is for kids, so maybe the team at Netflix thought they could get away with cheesy jokes combined with a laugh track and low budget sets, but TV has changed. Even kid’s shows now have to be well-thought out or kids will find another show that is.
5. Real Rob
The Netflix show Real Rob looks at Rob Schneider‘s “real life” and splices in comedy routines of his. It makes sense that Netflix would want to make a show based on the life of actor Schneider because of his immense popularity. After all, look how successful Seinfeld and Louie were. So, Netflix set out to copy these shows, replacing those iconic comedian leads with Schneider. Wait? Rob Schneider? The guy from Hot Chick? The Adam Sandler, “You can do it” guy? Oh, that’s a terrible choice. Schneider has been in more critical failures than any other actor in the past 20 years. You want to know what the last film he did that was well-received? Muppets in Space. And that was in 1999. What the hell was Netflix thinking? One of the catches to the shows like Real Rob was that the comedian’s routines were integrated into the show. Sometimes, the overlap between the bit and the show is loose-fitting, but this keeps it feeling fresh and never forced. Real Rob just jams in some unfunny routines with forced and unfunny “real life” scenarios. Where Seinfeld and Louie were relatable and clever, Real Rob is degrading and embarrassing.
4. Marco Polo
This is a show that looked so promising but landed wildly off its mark. When you consider the film structure, many movies are able to float a somewhat sluggish second act because the first and third acts are full of action. Netflix seemed to anticipate that binge-watching fans would accept this type of structure in a show because they’ll watch it all together. That didn’t work. The vast majority of season one was so slow and languid that it felt like it was all the second act of a boring movie. Aside from the spectacular set and production design and some nice action sequences, the rest of the show was basic. The dialogue bounced between overly complex and incredibly silly and the plot focused much too heavily on historical intricacies that have no allure for the average TV fan. The second season was better, but it wasn’t enough to drag back all the fans it had lost.
3. Fuller House
In the original series, Full House, the character of Michelle (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) gradually grew into one of the stars of the show. When the concept of a Full House revival was being tossed around, the big draw was in seeing the Olsen twins return, the true megastars. As soon as this was turned down (the Olsens refused to come back), the idea should have been canned. Obviously, it wasn’t. The show was made and it was a massive success. Well, kind of. The show was seen by many but loved by only a few. Nostalgia is a lot of fun, but it has its limits. If we wanted to watch Full House, we could do so on Netflix. Sadly, the revival has no shame in just redoing what the original already did, from concept to jokes. The acting is more painful than ever before and the canned laughter is enough to make your eyes bleed. The best thing about this show is that you don’t have to bother yourself with watching it because you already saw it back in the early 90’s.
2. Haters Back Off
The fans of Haters Back Off and the whole Miranda Sings shtick will argue that there’s a critique of society and the YouTube culture under the surface here, but that’s baloney. This is a Napoleon Dynamite remake with a female Napoleon Dynamite and YouTube videos. Even on the short video format of Miranda Sings’ YouTube channel, it can be difficult to sit through a whole song. The first time she sings something awful, we may chuckle, but after two verses and a few choruses of the same thing, it becomes unbearable. In TV show format, we find ourselves fidgeting and aching for it to go away. Much of the strength of the YouTube videos is that we don’t have to imagine Miranda when the camera isn’t on her. We can pretend that this is really who she is and we can rationalize her existence. When we see her existence played out on screen, it becomes less of a comedy and more of a sad story.
1. Amy Schumer: The Leather Special
Amy Schumer has received a lot of hate on the internet over the past few years. We won’t get into the Netflix ratings on this comedy special because it’s unclear how internet haters impacted the results. Still, this is not a good comedy special. Is it one star bad? Probably not, but it’s obscene as much of Schumer’s comedy is, and it’s tired. It’s tired because Schumer hasn’t yet figured out how to be famous and funny. Her bits seem to be largely recycled from when she wasn’t famous and lived a low-key lifestyle. Now that she’s rich and famous, she hasn’t been able to find relatable material without looking back on her life. That’s all fine to a point, but she needs to find some middle ground.