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These will be the worst movies and TV shows of 2019

While TV shows are usually only an hour at most and movies clock in at around two hours, it still takes months of preparation to get those projects off the ground. Casting, set-building, filming, editing, and promotion can take up the better part of the year. Entertainment industry trade magazines breathlessly report the progress of most every movie and TV show, which also serves as a kind of free publicity to let the general populace know what's on the way. For example, many high-profile films and TV series of 2019 have already scheduled their debuts, and even released trailers to the public at large. That can drum up support and build anticipation... for can't-miss blockbusters and prestige dramas, that is. 

On the other hand, while some of this stuff looks very promising, there's no ignoring the pre-release footage and promotional materials for projects that just look awful and are probably destined to flop. You heard it here first — these are fated to be the worst movies and television programs of 2019.

Cats

All of the most popular stage musicals eventually get adapted into films — they're well-known enough for studios to take a chance on them, they almost always score some Oscar nominations, and it gives musical fans who don't live in New York a chance to enjoy them. (Among the recent stage-turned-film song-and-dance fests: Into the Woods, Les Miserables, and Mamma Mia!) In 2019, another well-known musical will hit movie screens. Unfortunately it's not Hamilton, a pop culture sensation... it's Cats. Debuting on Broadway in 1982, it's a loosely plotted show — based on a book of T.S. Eliot poetry — about, well, cats. Singing, dancing, frolicking, homeless cats. It ends with one of them dying and ascending to cat heaven. Really. Cats's original run ended in 2000, and Hollywood finally figured out a way to do this show, and it's not with animation — it seems as if stars like Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson, and James Corden are going to dress up in cat costumes. Does this have a prayer of being the next award-winning musical hit film? Not meow, not ever.

UglyDolls

A toy line is never the best pedigree for a movie — the film winds up feeling like a commercial for the toys, a cynical attempt to get money from kids and their parents before they go spend more money on the toys. A most recent example of this fad: the cotton-candy-colored (and painfully, grotesquely sweet) Trolls. Well, if that popular toy line could spawn a movie (featuring the voice talents of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, no less), then other, slightly less popular dolls are going to be movies now too, like UglyDolls. 

Launched in 2001, this is a series of fluffy stuffed toys that look like messed up dogs, robots, and monsters (but cuddly). They kind of resemble the Minions, only more grotesque and with pointy teeth, which explains how Illumination Entertainment, the animation studio that foisted the Minions upon the world, bought up the rights to make an UglyDoll movie. Plot details are scant, but producers have assembled an impressive and diverse cast comprised primarily of singers, including Nick Jonas, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, and Pitbull. That means UglyDolls will definitely feature a song as inescapable and kid-beloved as Timberlake's Trolls song "Can't Stop the Feeling," right?

Cold Pursuit

It wouldn't be a new year without another "Angry Liam Neeson tracks and kills bad guys who did him wrong" flick. In the vein of the three Taken movies, Run All Night, The Commuter — and various other examples of a tried-and-true formula — comes Cold Pursuit. This time, Neeson shows off his very particular set of skills as a mild-mannered Rocky Mountains snowplow driver named Nelson (not Neeson) forced into action — murdering anonymously evil bad guys, of course — when his son is killed by a drug cartel. (See, it's like a hot pursuit, but since he's a snowplow driver, it's a Cold Pursuit.

Neeson has done this movie so many times that it's starting to get a little embarrassing and even verging on self-parody — after all, Cold Pursuit feels like Taken meets the "Mr. Plow" episode of The Simpsons. One thing in Cold Pursuit's favor: It's based on a pretty good Norwegian dark comedy called In Order of Disappearance. Not going for it: It seems to have had all the humor drained out of it. 

The Rhythm Section

It would seem that Hollywood is now making Liam Neeson revenge movies, but with other people, probably because Liam Neeson only has so much time and energy, and he wouldn't want to saturate the market with his particular brand. But the demand for "regular people exacting furious and violent vengeance on those who killed family members" is apparently strong enough for a movie like The Rhythm Section, only this time it's a regular woman instead of a regular guy who digs deeps down to find the inner strength to kill scumbags. 

In other words, The Rhythm Section is exactly like Peppermint, the 2018 Taken variant starring Jennifer Garner that did so-so box office, only it stars Gossip Girl veteran Blake Lively. As the generically named Stephanie Patrick in this movie (which could be the first in a franchise, because it's based on a book series), Lively slowly and methodically tracks down a bunch of bad guys because she just knows they're responsible for the plane crash that killed her family. Nothing against Lively in an action thriller — she was just fine in The Shallows — but it's hard to get too worked up about the prospect of watching her busting caps in bad guys' behinds.

The Masked Singer

American Idol debuted in 2002, went off the air in 2016, and returned to network TV in 2018. One would think that this long life cycle would have meant an end to all the clones the show spawned, but no, Fox has another singing show in the works for 2019, and it sounds utterly ridiculous. Based on a South Korean series, it's your typical televised talent contest where unknown but extremely talented singers compete... except they're quite literally unknown, because they wear elaborate, identity-concealing costumes on stage so the judges can't go on anything but their voice. (It makes the "backs turned to singers" gimmick on The Voice look downright quaint and sophisticated.) Eventually their identities will be revealed. (Okay.)

Making this show even more unnecessary is that unlike the panels on American Idol and The Voice, the judges aren't even all singers, nor are some of them exactly relevant in the year 2019. The panel consists of faded singing stars Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls and Robin Thicke, alongside comedian Ken Jeong and Jenny McCarthy. Prediction: no matter who takes first prize here, there will be no winners — on the stage or in the audience.

The Hills: New Beginnings

Remember the rich and alternately snotty and completely boring cast members of the "reality soap" The Hills? People like Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge, Heidi Montag, and Spencer Pratt did things like eat lunch, drive places, barely work at their jobs, and mumble about their superficial thoughts, and audiences ate it up for reasons we still don't quite understand. Well, MTV is apparently feeling nostalgic for the 2000s, because it's bringing back The Hills. (New title: the oh-so-clever The Hills: New Beginnings.

It's only been off the air since 2010, but many of its cast members aren't up to much, so MTV was able to get them on board for this rehash of a show that was one of the prototypes for other reality series about wealthy Californians going about their day, creating a whole new genre alongside Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the various Real Housewives shows. Fluff TV is fine, but this one always lacked the campiness and fun of its competitors, and it just feels too dated to bring back. (Plus the star, Lauren Conrad, isn't returning, which would be like remaking ALF without a wisecracking alien puppet.)

The New Pope

In 2017, HBO debuted The Young Pope, a miniseries written and directed by famed Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino. Previews indicated the show would be a lushly photographed and psychologically incisive look at modern religion told through the eyes of the youngest pope in history — and the first American to hold the position — portrayed by the usually compelling Jude Law. It turned out to be a melodramatic, humor- and profanity-laden soap opera with a tongue-in-cheek performance (and terrible New York accent) from Law. It was not for everyone, in other words, but it was designed to have a limited run, so it faded from consciousness pretty fast. 

Well, Sorrentino is back with the sequel, titled, of course, The New Pope. It will likely address the former series' cliffhanger ending — Law's pope suffered a potentially fatal medical event and had a religious vision all at once. Sorrentino hasn't revealed much about the plot, but considering that John Malkovich has joined the cast in a prominent role, it's a safe bet that he'll play some kind of over-emoting, over-enunciating, over-the-top character, as Malkovich often does... perhaps a new pope, even. What he probably won't do is add enough of that quintessential Malkovichian charm to make The New Pope a worthwhile follow-up. We'll be skipping services, thanks.

The World's Best

A post-Super Bowl debut is probably the best time slot any show can get. More than 100 million people watch that annual popular sports contest, and plenty of them stick around for whatever's on after. Family Guy, Undercover Boss, and The Wonder Years all launched in this way, and in 2019, another show will join that club: The World's Best. Yet another TV talent show in the crowded field that's also brought us The Voice and America's Got Talent, this is much the same as those increasingly stale shows. 

Like The Voice, it's got familiar and likable celebrity judges, in this case, Faith Hill, RuPaul, and Drew Barrymore (it's a CBS show, so the network's late-night golden boy James Corden will host). Similar to America's Got Talent, all kinds of performers are welcome to take the stage. Unlike those shows, The World's Best is a little complicated. In addition to judges, performers will be graded by as many as 50 experts from around the world representing various forms of entertainment. Ultimately, all the different singers, comedians, magicians, and whatever will compete against each other to be named "The World's Best"... something. So yeah, it's like The Voice and America's Got Talent, only needlessly convoluted and overly competitive.

What Men Want

Continuing the representation-minded if lazy trend of taking well-known movies and gender-flipping the plots (such as the recent Ghostbusters) comes What Men Want, a remake/reboot of the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy What Women Want. 

In that film, Gibson played a macho guy who acquires the power to hear women's thoughts. Over the course of the movie, he discovers that, basically, women are human beings with rich inner lives. It's a fairly sexist idea for a movie, but now we're getting the other side of the story with What Men Want. In this one, it's Empire's Taraji P. Henson who can hear men's thoughts, and we can guess that the movie will show that guys think about stereotypical dude stuff, like beer, food, and disgusting things about women. Hooray for progress?

Sextuplets

It's been a long time since we've had a good old-fashioned, extra-silly, high-concept Marlon Wayans comedy. Surely, the world needs to laugh in troubled times, but does it need a movie that would follow the tradition set forth by Little Man (in which Wayans played a man pretending to be a baby) and White Chicks (where Wayans played Paris Hilton, more or less)? In the upcoming, straight-to-Netflix film Sextuplets, Wayans plays, well, sextuplets — six identical or near-identical siblings. Surely there will be some impressive special effects at play to make believable the very crowded scenes of Wayans playing off five versions of himself, but the idea wasn't executed all that well when Michael Keaton tried it with Multiplicity. Also, this seems like a missed opportunity — after all, Wayans is from a legendary Hollywood family, and it feels selfish for him to play all the roles instead of extending offers to Shawn, Damon, and Keenan Ivory Wayans.

The Beach Bum

In The Beach Bum, the always cool and chill Matthew McConaughey (who was once arrested for possible marijuana intoxication while playing bongos in the nude) plays a beach-loving stoner named Moondog — a movie that somehow does not already exist. A perusal of IMDb reveals that a pre-Oscar-winning and True Detective-starring McConaughey did star in a movie called Surfer, Dude, so that's probably the source of any confusion.

While the title and details make it sound like a straight-to-video, National Lampoon-branded boorish comedy from the '90s, it's actually an indie movie... but it's directed by Harmony Korine, known for deeply unsettling if not disgusting projects like Kids and Gummo. At least the cast is disparate and full of likable people, albeit ones who must act while burdened with embarrassing character names. Zac Efron plays a dude named "Flicker," Snoop Dogg portrays someone actually named "Lingerie," and Martin Lawrence makes an appearance as "Captain Wack."

Rambo 5

The Rambo movies may hold claim to the film franchise that veered the furthest from its original intent. The first entry in the series, First Blood, was a serious, harrowing, and deeply sad story of a PTSD-stricken Vietnam War veteran. Sylvester Stallone starred as that ex-soldier, John Rambo, in what was probably his finest and most nuanced work since the original Rocky in 1976. But the jingoistic political climate of the 1980s fueled an explosion of action movies that celebrated America and violence, and in the subsequent First Blood sequels (Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, and Rambo), the broken man that was Rambo became a muscle-bound, machine-gun wielding, one-man army who shot up whole villages full of terrorists and other bad guys.

His career reinvigorated in recent years by the success of old-school action franchise The Expendables and an Oscar nomination for reprising the role of Rocky Ballboa in Creed, Stallone seems to be taking a victory lap, and he's gone and made the totally unnecessary Rambo 5. This time, Rambo faces off against a drug cartel. Odds are, he'll win, even though both Stallone and his character are well over 70 years old.

The Kid Who Would Be King

Every few years, Hollywood tries to re-invent the King Arthur legends for a new generation of filmgoers. It's not a bad idea by any means — the centuries-old tales of Arthur, Lancelot, Excalibur, and Knights of the Round Table make up an influential cornerstone of fantasy and storytelling in the Western world. But the real reason Hollywood loves to make movies like Excalibur (1981), First Knight (1995) and King Arthur (2004) is because the stories are in the public domain — studios don't have to pay a dime for the rights. (That's probably also why there's perpetually a Robin Hood movie in the works.)

It's been done many times, in other words, and done well, and done in so many different ways, that a rehash is maddeningly unnecessary. Still, in 2019, filmgoers will get the opportunity to watch the excruciatingly titled The Kid Who Would Be King. In this one, the mighty sword in the stone is extracted by, get this, a kid! And he's played by Andy Serkis' son, who may or may not be the result of CGI and Andy Serkis in a motion-capture suit.

Mr. Mom

More than 30 years after the writer-director's prime, history has sorted John Hughes movies into two tiers. There's the top level of clever, thoughtful teen fare like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. And then there are the other, lesser works: stuff about obnoxious adults trying to navigate life, such as Uncle Buck, She's Having a Baby, and Mr. Mom. The number of women in the workforce had been on the rise for decades, but Mr. Mom treated the idea like a brand-new novelty: Teri Garr plays a mother of three who goes off to work each day while Michael Keaton's character stays home with the kids... even though he is a man, if you can even believe it.

Nowadays lots more men watch the kids and perform the bulk of household duties while their wives or partners work outside the home. It makes something like Mr. Mom from 1983 seem extremely antiquated. But hey, it's a known property with a memorably alliterative title, so some people in the present day are remaking this sitcom-esque movie as an actual sitcom. Those people work for Walmart, who will launch an original Mr. Mom series on its Vudu streaming video platform in 2019.

Blood & Treasure

Less people watch TV in the summer than they do in other seasons — they're presumably outside because it stays light out until 9PM, swimming, camping, and tossing the ball around. But the broadcast networks still have to put something on the air, so they program cheap-to-produce shows, low-profile shows, reality shows, and remaining episodes of shows that got canceled during the regular TV season. In other words, junk. 

If a network announces that it's picked up a show and simultaneously says that it plans to air it in the traditional dumping ground of summer, that's a strong indicator that the show is straight-up terrible. That's the case with the upcoming Blood & Treasure, which CBS ordered in November 2017 with a debut date in mind of summer 2019. (That's a nearly two-year wait: If the Eye Network thought this was a good show, wouldn't they want to get it on the air as soon as possible, instead of planning for it to be filler?) The show itself sounds like an '80s throwback to something like Remington Steele or Hart to Hart. It's about an expert antiques appraiser (Matt Barr) who teams up with a wily art thief (Sofia Pernas) to catch a second art thief who is also a terrorist. 

After Life

Ricky Gervais co-created and starred in an unassailable classic: the original British version of The Office. He followed that with the near-classic Hollywood satire Extras and got a movie career going with smart and interesting comedies like Ghost Town (he plays a guy who can communicate with spirits) and The Invention of Lying (his character uh, invents lying). But more recently, Gervais is more known for being obnoxious and what he thinks is edgy, telling tame jokes in stand-up specials and as host of the Golden Globes, and then lashing out at unimpressed audiences who he thinks just can't handle his realness. That, coupled with recent TV misfires like the cloying melodrama Derek and the kid-oriented game show Child Support, has left Gervais in a bit of a hole. Will After Life dig him out? Not likely, because it seems like it's less Office and more angry, self-congratulatory Gervais. On this exclusive-to-Netflix series, Gervais portrays a guy who decides to punish the people around him by being brutally honest. In other words, he's a mean guy.

Sex Education

Film and TV fans who grew up in the '80s might have fond memories of the "sex comedies" of the era, best represented by the Porky's series, but nobody is going to petition the Academy Awards to give those movies a retroactive Oscar. They're not good, in other words, but at least they're fun in small doses, where it's also easy to overlook the abundant cliches. 

Netflix has a show in this vein coming up in 2019. In Sex Ed, Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Miss Peregerine's Home for Peculiar Children) will play a high school kid named Otis, who, of course, is both shy and a virgin. It's not for a lack of knowledge, however — he decides to put himself out there (and give this show its aggressively titillating premise) by starting a sex therapy clinic at his school. He inherited his knowledge from his mother, a professional sex therapist who doesn't mind openly discussing biological urges with her boy. In addition to the nerd and the bawdy mom, there are bound to be other stereotypes at play here.

The Witcher

Video games so notoriously make for terrible movies and shows that it's a wonder why anyone still bothers. After all, fans of a game could just plop down in front of their TV or laptop and play that very game rather than flip over to Netflix and be disappointed by a show that follows not-so-illustrious predecessors such as The Super Mario Super Show, Mortal Kombat, or Silent Hill. 

But Netflix doesn't care about history, and went all in on an eight-episode series based on The Witcher, a game series that in turn is based on a series of novels. Big-screen Superman Henry Cavill will play silver-haired hero Geralt, just one of the characters with suitably fantastical names, such as Ciri and Yennefer. The plot will likely follow that of the games — the adventures of mystical, supernaturally powered monster hunters as they travel a vaguely medieval wildness. In other words, it's a warmed-over Game of Thrones.