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OPINION | Worst TV of 2017

OpinionSteve Molk

Paired with any list of the best somethings is the inevitable worst somethings. I love television, particularly Australian television. Even after 60 plus years the networks still misstep/get it wrong, sometimes one more than the others.

I know many people invested time in thinking up, pitching, preparing and making these programs so calling them the worst is doing a bunch of these people a disservice. What I'm saying is when I say worst I'm really saying "not best and could have/should have done a lot better". Except in a couple of notable exceptions.

So here they are (in no specific order - because that'd just be too unfair)... what I reckon are the "worst" TV shows of 2017.

 

Wisdom of the Crowd (Ten/CBS)
Jeremy Piven has had a tough time finding a role he is ablee to inhabit as wholly as Entourage's foul-mouthed Ari Gold. Nobody is buying what he's selling because everything else just doesn't measure up including this attempt as Jeffrey Tanner, a concerned billionaire father of a missing teen who creates an app that allows users to help solve crimes. Stepping around the legal issues of the core premise of the show it just loped along with other crimes getting solved conveniently along the way. CBS opted not to extend their initial call of 13 episodes after sexual misconduct allegations arose against Piven.

 

Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story (Seven)
Josh Lawson is a good actor. He's a great comedic actor. He simply does not look like Paul Hogan (he's at least 3 feet taller than him to start with). This was a rare error for Seven as their other biopic mini-series have landed pretty well with audiences - it's just that Hoges has pretty much cashed out all his goodwill with Aussie audiences after living in the US for so long and breaking up with the woman he left his first wife for after Crocodile Dundee (baby boomers have a very long memory). The two-parter was contrived and while entirely based in nostalgia just felt dusty. Sean Keenan dropped a solid performance as a very young Hoges.

 

Cram S01 (Ten)
It felt like an idea that a group of comics came up with in a green room while waiting to perform... but that was all the development it was given before being rushed to our screens. Peter Helliar is a fine enough host; he gets lost behind the desk gabbing at the camera, which is criminally underusing his chops (the man can act and knows how to control a crowd). Virginia Gay and Dilruk Jayasingha both bring a great game as team captains, and the rotating cast of guests has delivered some very funny moments... they've just been too few and far between. Every single person involved is better than this. With S02 coming down the line in 2018 here's hoping the production team have been able to tighten up what could be another "Have You Been Paying Attention?" for them instead of letting it become a "Yasmin's Getting Married".

 

Hell's Kitchen Australia S01 (Seven)
Gordon Ramsay is fierce taskmaster in the US version of this show. He demands perfection and to hell with anything less. The choice to push Marco Pierre White into the host/head chef role with a largely Z-list group of celebrities meant expectations were high and this show had no problem limboing underneath them. MPW took great pride in announcing to the group in the first episode he had no idea who any of them were, and yet by the end of that episode was quoting back to them their imdb.com listing and how they can do better in the kitchen because of it. Additionally there was so little conflict between the "celebs" that we all just lost interest and didn't care who got voted off next. Congratulations to Debra Lawrence who made it all the way to the end.

 

The Biggest Loser Australia: Transformed S11 (Ten)
Diabolical. The brakes failed this series at least seven years ago and it's been careening downhill out of control ever since. Attempting to rebrand the series after two of the drawcard trainers Michelle Bridges and "Commando" Steve Willis left was always going to be a difficult task and one the team didn't succeed with. Original trainer Shannan Ponton and newcomer Libby Babet never delivered a compelling reason for us to keep watching. The series fared so poorly it was dropped from its Sunday night timeslot after three weeks, and a week later it was shunted to the "all-new" time of 1pm to burn the episodes off. A finale of sorts was held merged into Ten's morning program Studio Ten, with most audience members wondering what the hell was going on.

 

Seven Year Switch S02 (Seven)
Here's a great* idea: take four couples who are struggling in their relationships and lay every problem to bare on national television, including getting them paired up with different partners who they'd likely find more attractive and let's see what happens. Contrived challenges and Corn-Flake-packet counselling meant these people in actual pain got to go through a raft of emotions for our enjoyment**. Casting stooped even lower as one couple's relationship appeared to be the real life personification of "The Game". There were no redeeming features to this series except the ratings halved this season compared to last all but ensuring it will never return.

 

House of Bond (Nine)
Ben Mingay struggled through the first of his bombs to air this year as he pretended to know what an Alan Bond was. Even the excellent Rachel Taylor, Adrienne Pickering and Sam Neill couldn't save this stinker from stinking more than Stinktown. Nobody was watching this because they liked Bond, rather they were all looking forward to him getting his comeuppance given he burned so many investors seemingly without penalty across his life. The real Eileen Bond got it very right - this mini-series was appalling.

 

Cannonball (Seven)
Strike two for Ben Mingay, who with Tim Ross and Rachel Finch presided over the destruction of what could have been a fun water-based take on "It's a Knockout". It sat on Seven's shelf for so long (nearly 18 months by time it aired) it had started to grow mould and when we saw it they'd barely wiped any off. Only four episodes made was three too many with a limited crowd to shoot around, zero charisma between the hosts, and contestants who were passengers in every single game. Sank faster than its namesake.

 

Offspring S07 (Ten)
Why Ten chose to resuscitate this series and keep it alive for two seasons past what was a perfect end for S05 is still beyond me (Debra Oswald nailed the season finale that year). The federal funding had run out and it was going to cost more to resign all the cast and yet still they persisted where they really shouldn't have. Barely drawing 500,000 viewers in the timeslot it used to own led to a disenfranchised fanbase that no longer believed their ditzy heroine Nina (Asher Keddie) could tie her shoelaces, let alone be a mum and doctor. If there were ever a more necessary mercy killing in putting Offspring out to pasture we've not met it.

 

Yummy Mummies S01 (Seven)
It was just plain terrible, the women are horrible with no redeeming features, and it's returning for S02 exclusively on 7plus in 2018. Absolutely anything is better than this trash. As quickly as it gave us a new term - "push present" - it made us vomit in our mouths at how privileged these women think they should be. A display of largesse not seen in recent years, with good reason and whatever drugs Maria di Geronimo is taking to maintain her delusion they need to be replaced with something much stronger. (In reminding myself about this show for this article I looked up the wikipedia entry and it included this gem for Lorinska Merrington as her job: "Traffic presenter/apparently a model". PRICELESS.)

 

 

Other contenders:

Common Sense (Lifestyle/Ten)
Screen Time S01 (ABC)
Sisters S01 (Ten)
The Last Resort (Nine)
The Real Housewives of Sydney S01 (Arena)
The Wall S01 (Seven)
The Wrong Girl (Ten)

 

Did I miss anything? Get it all wrong? Let me know the shows you hated and hate-watched and my mistakes in the comments below...

 


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