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The Biggest TV Flops Of 2017

With this year's television lineup going down as one of the worst in recent memory, you can bet that 2017 has seen more than its fair share of shows failing to live up to the hype. Still, not all bad shows are created equal, and some flopped a lot harder than others. Here are the most disappointing of the bunch.

Imaginary Mary

Starring Jenna Elfman as a woman who's newly reacquainted with her childhood imaginary friend, voiced by Rachel Dratch, this live-action/CGI hybrid initially looked like a show with some serious standout potential.

Adam F. Goldberg's Imaginary Mary stopped looking promising after the series' episode order was cut down from 13 to 9 before it premiered. When the downsized show went live in March, it debuted with an underwhelming 1.4 rating and 5.4 million viewers and dropped more than 30 percent in both categories the following week. The ratings and reviews never picked up, so it's safe to say no one imagined the possibility of a second season.


How could one possibly ruin a DC Comics-backed sitcom starring Danny Pudi, Alan Tudyk, and Christina Kirk as Wayne Security employees creating gadgets to protect average citizens from superheroes' collateral damage?

Answer: fill it to the brim with sub-par writing, weak characters, lame jokes, and every tired sitcom trope. The characters in Powerless fail to make any sort of meaningful impression outside of appearing as tried-and-true sitcom types. The one-liners fall flat, and the occasional reminders that the show actually takes place in a superhero universe feel forced. The quality of the show, as a whole, seems downright amateur and garnered mediocre reviews. The series saw its last three episodes pulled as NBC cut the power.

Emerald City

MGM's 1939 technicolor triumph The Wizard of Oz is widely considered to be one of the greatest works in the history of film. Matthew Arnold and Josh Friedman's reimagining of the famous story is not.

NBC's Emerald City falls as flat as the show's color palette. The visual makeup of the series is bland and uninteresting, perhaps because it's filmed in the very real-world location of Park Güell in Barcelona, which does little to preserve the fantasy. Loaded imagery with no real symbolic meaning litters the show's over-the-top production, and too many characters are given too little screen time to make any of them particularly memorable.

The series never gained any real traction and received bad reviews, prompting the network to pave over Emerald City's yellow brick road with the permanent cement of cancellation.

24: Legacy

Tick, tock, tick, tock... time's up for 24: Legacy.

A spin-off of the popular and long-running espionage-thriller 24, Legacy enjoyed an impressive debut thanks to a post-Super Bowl time slot. However, the series failed to captivate a large audience, earned lackluster critical reviews, and ended with an unimpressive 3.4 million viewers and a flop-tastic series-low 0.8 demo rating.

The Walking Dead's Corey Hawkins did an admirable job playing military war hero Eric Carter in 24: Legacy, but Kiefer Sutherland — who is enjoying a similar role in the well-reviewed Designated Survivor series — left boots that were simply too big to fill. As Fox CEO Dana Walden said, "replacing Jack Bauer was no easy feat." 

That said, 24 fans need not worry. We probably haven't seen the end of the famous series. The show's parent network is reportedly in talks with its producers over the creation of an anthology series.


High-tech procedural police drama APB had a lot of potential. Sadly, some faulty plot lines and poor reviews marked this series as just another forgettable, one-and-done flop.

David Slack attempted to reinvent the cop genre by throwing in some high-tech drones, bullet-proof Cadillacs, super tasers, and fancy new smartphone apps. However, while preoccupied with high-tech gadgetry, the show's creators apparently forgot to include the most fundamental makings of good television—namely, good writing, character depth, and an interesting plot. Though executive producers praised their own show as "character driven, action-packed and thought-provoking...the police show for the 21st century," those not involved with the series' production disagreed. APB debuted to a decent 6.101 million viewers, but its numbers dropped week after week, ending with 2.722 million viewers—the series' lowest point.

If you need your modern police drama fix, just stick to Southland.

Wisdom of the Crowd

Numerous sexual assault allegations against lead actor Jeremy Piven led to the cancellation of procedural drama Wisdom of the Crowd–but this show was shaping up to be a bona fide flop regardless. The unimaginative series premiered in October to 8.8 million total viewers and a 1.3 rating, but it averaged only 7.4 million viewers and a 1.0 demo rating by the end of November — making it one of the lowest-rated dramas on CBS.

Despite featuring Entourage-star Piven, there are virtually no redeeming qualities about Wisdom of the Crowd. The show's attempts at being serious wind up being hilarious, while poorly-delivered hipster jokes turn out to be anything but. Worse yet, it feels like very little thought was put into the show's premise of mining public opinion on social media for the sake of criminal justice. The overall effect is just...meh.

Judging by the show's ratings, nobody will miss this axed disaster.


Based on the film which shares its name, American-British television series Snatch debuted on Crackle in March. Alas, it's not as good as the original.

Snatch certainly tries to impress. In fact, it tries too hard. As noted by The Guardian, the series appears to be madly in love with the original film's director, Guy Ritchie, who was himself "desperately in thrall to [Quentin] Tarantino," which creates an end product resembling a copied "Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox." In addition to the incessant freeze frames and heavily filtered slow-motion shots, the characters' accents are all over the place. Almost every actor seems to be desperately trying to portray someone with a distinctly different dialect than their own, and the actual context of the lines they're trying to deliver isn't much better.

Despite receiving unanimously poor critical reviews, the show will give it another go with a second season.

Marvel's Iron Fist

Lead actor Finn Jones blamed Iron Fist's negative reception on Donald Trump. "I'm playing a white American billionaire superhero, at a time when the white American billionaire archetype is public enemy number one, especially in the US," Jones told Radio Times. "We filmed the show way before Trump's election, and I think it's very interesting to see how that perception, now that Trump's in power, how it makes it very difficult to root for someone coming from white privilege," he said. 

More accurately, it's difficult to root for a show that simply isn't very good. Unlike sister series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, Netflix's attempt at bringing Iron Fist to the small screen is, well, boring. After binge-watching the series (not-recommended,) you'd be hard-pressed to recall one exciting action sequence, one memorable piece of dialogue, or one moment in which you found yourself appreciating Jones' acting.

There's simply no other way to spin it: Iron Fist barely punches with the force of an elementary school yellow belt. Despite all that, however, Netflix and Marvel are bringing Jones and Iron Fist back for at least another season.

Training Day

Following up on the award-winning 2001 crime thriller of the same name, Training Day failed its rookie season.

The CBS series went down as one of the network's least-watched shows, rapidly dropping from 4 million viewers to 0.7. The show was bumped from its Thursday night time slot to the far-less-favorable Saturday spot, and overwhelmingly negative critical reviews ensured a second season was not in the cards. Actor Bill Paxton's untimely death following heart surgery also gave the show little reason to continue.

Marvel's Inhumans

The word "flop" doesn't do justice to just how awful Marvel's Inhumans really is. In fact, it might just be the worst small-screen Marvel adaptation ever made.

The show's set pieces might have been impressive 40 years ago, and the story couldn't be worse if a preschooler penned it—at least then it would have some creativity. Inhumans slogs on through a special-effects ridden sea of nothingness. The costumes look like bad cosplay (no offense to cosplayers) that match the one-dimensional aspects of each and every character–except the dog.

You know how some shows are so bad, they're actually satisfying to watch? This isn't one of those. If you missed it the first time around, don't even think about wasting your precious time on this disaster of a TV series. As of this writing, it's not clear whether or not the show's been renewed–but chances are it hasn't.


Netflix's original series Girlboss certainly didn't lack behind-the-scenes star power. It's written and executive produced by Pitch Perfect's Kay Cannon, directed by Christian Ditter, and backed by Charlize Theron's Denver & Delilah Productions. Unfortunately for all involved, the show is still off-key.

Girlboss' biggest problem was its handling of an unlikeable protagonist — Britt Robertson's anarchist millennial Sophia Amoruso. Instead of providing moments in which we realize that Amoruso might not actually be a terrible person, the show repeatedly reinforces that fact that she is. Instead of a statement of feminist independence, we're left with rude arrogance. Instead of having goals even remotely admirable, Amoruso's self-centered "success" stems almost entirely from conning, thieving, and ripping off those less knowledgeable than herself. It's not enjoyable to watch or well-executed, which is why the show was panned by critics.

Though Girlboss won't be missed, its cancellation also illustrates Netflix's emerging reliance on ratings and viewership. "A big expensive show for a huge audience is great," said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. "A big, expensive show for a tiny audience is hard even in our model to make that work very long."