From December 11 and 18, 2018, Programming Insider‘s Douglas Pucci was a guest on Northern Iowa’s Y100.1 FM with deejay Scott Nolte to discuss the best and worst TV offered in 2018.
First, we’ll focus on the top five worst shows of 2018 in our opinion.
Douglas’ #5 — I Feel Bad (NBC)
It’s the comedy – and I say that loosely – that airs Thursday nights after “Will & Grace”. It stars an Indian actress named Saraya Blue. She’s a mom and a wife, trying to balance handling her work life with coworkers a lot younger than her, and her home life with her crazy kids, her parents and her husband. You’ve got to credit NBC to try to add diversity to its network slate having an Indian star leading one of their shows but the series tries too hard to be normal and nondescript. There’s nothing provocative there. And worse, it’s not even that funny.
Douglas’ #4 — New Amsterdam (NBC)
The worst new drama of the fall season wants to be like “This Is Us” in a hospital setting. But from the very first episode, it wanted to be so many things at once, and yet somewhat fails in all respects.
Douglas’ #3 — Take Two (ABC)
We enter the summer era of the network offerings and certainly it was a dumping ground for some shows. And one of them was this a show about a burnt-out actress who tries to make a comeback teaming up with a private investigator. It starred Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibrian. The show was already in trouble 15 minutes into the very first episode where the actress (Bilson) immediately takes over the private investigator’s new case. Of course, this off-the-wall setup was the basis for the show, but couldn’t they have let her ease into the new job first to make it more plausible? Not helping were the bad jokes, the lame banter, and most of all, the not-so-great acting. Negatives all around.
Douglas’ #2 — Happy Together (CBS)
This “comedy” is what CBS gets when providing a favor to a buddy. That buddy was James Corden’s ‘Late Late Show’ executive producer Ben Winston. He had this idea to create ‘Happy Together’, because, for a brief time, his friend and former One Direction singer Harry Styles resided with him and his wife. As a result, they turned that situation into this poorly contrived, non-laughs comedy. Not even the presence of Damon Wayans Jr. could salvage this. It’s not long for CBS and not long on the airwaves, I imagine.
And my number one worst show of 2018…
Douglas’ #1 — The Proposal (ABC)
From back in the summer on ABC, it’s from the producers of “The Bachelor” and hosted by former Giants quarterback, Jesse Palmer. It’s for fans of “The Bachelor” who could care less about following an entire season and want it in just a 60-minute timeframe in a game show/pageant format! It often got very creepy, having the suitors – many of whom were the most idiotic contestants on TV – perform personal talents while half naked.
Scott Nolte’s Worst of 2018
#5 — Murphy Brown (2018) (CBS)
#4 — Rel (Fox)
#3 — Take Two (ABC)
#2 — The Alec Baldwin Show (ABC)
#1 — TKO (CBS)
And now, Douglas’ best shows of 2018:
#5 — 9-1-1 (Fox)
This is a series that debuted at the start of the year from the production of current hit-show maker Ryan Murphy. “9-1-1” follows a likable ensemble that includes a group of firefighters, a police woman, and a 9-1-1 dispatcher, as they tackle the outlandish, over-the-top crazy instances people face every day. An interesting new twist on a venerable, reliable procedural format on network television.
#4 — Superstore (NBC)
The first 90 minutes of NBC Thursdays in prime time has been such a joy this season. And my favorite of them this year was “Superstore” which has a wide array of interesting, and often hilarious, characters. This past year, the show has hit a groove with its witty dialogue and intriguing plot lines.
#3 — The Americans (FX)
The spy drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Russian spies portraying themselves as an American couple with two kids came to an end back in the spring after six seasons. An understated show for most of its run – less spy drama than family drama overall – but its final season was thoroughly action-packed. It all came together, with a surprising yet fitting conclusion to this great series.
#2 — Better Call Saul (AMC)
This was the season for the prequel to “Breaking Bad” where it concludes with Jimmy McGill finally switching to his moniker of Saul Goodman for his new law practice. His journey getting there began about a year prior when his now-deceased brother Chuck got him banned by the Bar Association for doing previously underhanded things. But of course, the irony being Saul’s future clients will be even shadier than Saul is (e.g. Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, Mike Ehrmantraut). And where the ambivalent Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) fits in the new world of Jimmy/Saul will be a primary outlook on what’s to come for the series, as it approaches closer to the events that occur on “Breaking Bad.”
#1 (tie) — Big Brother 20 (CBS) and Survivor: David vs. Goliath (CBS)
The two shows I thoroughly enjoyed most this year: “Big Brother 20” in the summer and “Survivor: David vs. Goliath” this past fall. It was the best Big Brother season since at least a decade.
The original “Survivor” season would have easily topped my list of best TV shows of the year in 2000. 18 years later, the series still strongly resonates. David vs. Goliath ranks as one of the series’ best seasons of all time.
Both shows featured compelling casts of contestants and highly competitive gameplay, making for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining viewing experience in 2018.
Scott Nolte’s Best of 2018
#5 — The Cool Kids (Fox)
#4 (tie) — Big Brother 20 (CBS) and Survivor: David vs. Goliath (CBS)
#3 — Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
#2 — A Million Little Things (ABC)
#1 — 9-1-1 (Fox)