It’s basically the summer, which, as everyone knows, is the most trying time for the avid TV watcher. Not just because all the good shows are on break, but because this is the season when we are most chastised by our peers for choosing to sit indoors, absorbing the crud crapped out by the networks to keep us occupied for the next four months. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t had an actual summer “break” since college. You’re still supposed to spend the months between June and September off the couch “enjoying the outdoors,” whatever that means.
For those of us with lifestyles more sedentary than most, justifying our television-watching habits around this time of year becomes especially difficult. Conventional wisdom says that if you’re going to sacrifice wakeboarding or tree climbing or whatever it is people do when they leave the comfort of their own homes and hang out in front of the box, it better be something good. I argue the opposite. Sure, a few “legitimate” shows, such as Dexter, The Newsroom and True Blood (and Breaking Bad, but that’s completely its own animal), are returning soon. But this is when the networks roll out truly, uniquely awful products — of such horrid quality that they must be viewed live, as they happen, before being quickly tossed into the trash compactor of history and forgotten by the fall. Glancing at the schedule, here are the shows that look terrible enough to be worth our precious time this season.
Upon seeing the commercial for this new crime-solving reality competition series during the NBA Finals, a friend of mine quipped, “I wonder if they actually kill someone.” If only. Apparently, some exec at ABC thought it’d be a good idea to stretch one of those lame murder-mystery dinner parties your friends drag you to into a full-season TV show. It’s destined to fail — but then, we all like Clue, right?
Normally, The Bachelorette is a snooze compared to The Bachelor, because when you get a bunch of guys in a room and ask them to compete for the same woman, a backslapping bro-down is bound to occur, and there’s nothing more boring to watch. But this season already paid off by the second episode, with the current pack of meatheads getting forced to film a “rap video” orchestrated by Soulja Boy. It’s only going to go downhill from there.
I actually had no idea Man vs. Wild was no longer a thing, which is probably why it got canceled. I also didn’t realize I’d miss Bear Grylls drinking his own urine out of a hollowed-out rattlesnake so much. This is a team competition series, so I presume it’s going to involve contestants surviving in the wild by drinking Grylls’ urine. I hope, anyway.
Speaking of surviving in the wild, this is a Hunger Games-inspired reality show in which teams are dropped into the middle of nowhere and made to literally hunt their competition. Hey, maybe this is the year we’ll cross that societal plateau into real onscreen murder! You don’t want to tell your kids you missed that because you were out, like, paddle boarding or something?
i Need Media is a biweekly media column by Matthew Singer. Follow him on Twitter@mpsinger.