Viewers' Verdict: 10 Highly Rated TV Shows That Just Don't Live Up To Their Hype
These shows, despite their high ratings and fanfare, just didn't quite hit the mark.
1. "Game of Thrones" (2011-2019)
Let's start with the elephant in the room. Or should I say, the dragon? "Game of Thrones" ruled the television landscape for nearly a decade. However, even with a hefty Rotten Tomatoes rating of 88%, it didn't escape criticism. The show initially lured viewers in with its intricate political plotlines, vast world-building, and its 'anyone-can-die' approach to characters. However, as the seasons advanced, many viewers felt the quality started slipping. Pacing issues, character arcs abruptly changing or ending, and an overall sense of rushing towards the conclusion disappointed fans worldwide. Reddit was aflame with criticism, and, well, who wouldn't? The series finale left many fans disgruntled, tarnishing the series' overall legacy. Despite a slew of Emmy wins, the controversy surrounding the show's end left many fans bitter and disappointed.
2. "The Big Bang Theory " (2007-2019)
"The Big Bang Theory" is a show that's almost as divisive as splitting an atom. With a rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, it's certainly popular. However, despite its high ratings and numerous Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, the show has faced its fair share of criticism. One might think a sitcom centered around four geeky scientists (and their non-scientist neighbor) would be a refreshing change. Still, over its 12 seasons, many viewers felt the humor often boiled down to cliched nerd stereotypes and repetitive catchphrases. The show's problematic portrayal of women and their relationships with the nerdy male leads also faced criticism. While some might find comfort in the show's predictability, others were left yearning for a little more 'big bang' in their comedy.
3. "Friends" (1994-2004)
Yes, you read that right. "Friends," one of the most successful sitcoms in history with an impressive 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, isn't exempt from criticism. It seems implausible, considering its enduring popularity and successful Netflix revival, but bear with us. While its funny, relatable characters and hilarious one-liners have left a lasting imprint on pop culture, the show isn't without its flaws. Many modern viewers point out the lack of diversity, the fat-shaming storyline revolving around 'Fat Monica,' and the sometimes problematic humor. "Ross' 'I'm fine' was hilarious, but his constant jealousy wasn't," noted Redditor "CentralPerkAddict". The star-studded cast and their obvious chemistry kept viewers hooked, but let's be honest, beneath the surface, "Friends" had more issues than Joey has sisters.
4. "The Walking Dead " (2010-2022)
The initial success of "The Walking Dead" was staggering. Its strong start and riveting storylines quickly attracted a massive fanbase, earning an 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, as seasons passed, viewers began feeling like the show was as aimless as its walkers. The constant grim atmosphere, combined with beloved characters being killed off, left many fans feeling fatigued. On top of that, behind-the-scenes drama such as Frank Darabont's dismissal, and complaints about pay from the cast, cast a shadow over the series. Negan's arrival split the fandom and prompted many viewers ditch the series entirely, with one of the fans pretty much perfectly summarizing the show's problem on Reddit: "It's like they're killing off characters just for shock value now. Glenn deserved better."
5. "Stranger Things " (2016-Present)
Who doesn't love a bit of 80s nostalgia, right? Well, "Stranger Things," despite its high Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%, proves there might be such a thing as too much. The show began with a compelling mix of sci-fi horror, a lovable group of kids, and a heap of 80s references, winning hearts across the globe. However, as the seasons progressed, some fans felt the show relied too heavily on nostalgia and fan service, neglecting character development and story progression, adding too many new characters and thus sidelining fan-favorites. The often sidelined yet fan-favorite character Dustin has been a particular point of contention for Redditors. Despite its multiple Emmy nominations, the show's inability to grow beyond its 80s bubble has left some fans as cold as the Upside Down.
6. "House of Cards" (2013-2018)
At the outset, "House of Cards" was hailed as a game-changer, with its riveting political drama, Kevin Spacey's captivating performance, and its distinction as Netflix's first original series. However, with an 77% Rotten Tomatoes rating, it has seen its share of turbulence. The series started strong but began to falter in its later seasons, with many fans citing convoluted plotlines and a lack of character development. The scandal surrounding Spacey's departure created a significant upheaval, resulting in an abrupt final season that left fans unsatisfied. As one of the fans summed it up on Reddit, "They built a House of Cards alright, and it came tumbling down in the end." Despite Golden Globe and Emmy wins, the series finale was widely regarded as an unceremonious end to an otherwise compelling political drama.
7. "Grey's Anatomy" (2005-Present)
Is there a doctor in the house? Because "Grey's Anatomy" might need some resuscitation. Despite a solid 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this long-standing medical drama hasn't been immune to criticism. The show initially drew viewers in with its mix of medical cases, character-driven plots, and steamy romances. However, with 19 seasons and counting, some viewers feel the show has overstayed its welcome. The frequent cast changes and melodramatic plot twists (bomb threats, plane crashes, surprise siblings) have left some viewers exhausted, wondering just how many tragic love stories can one hospital have. While the series boasts numerous awards, including Golden Globe and Emmy wins, many viewers argue that the show might need to hang up its scrubs finally – especially now, when even its main star Ellen Pompeo left the series.
8. "Westworld " (2016-Present)
"Westworld" burst onto the scene with its unique blend of western and sci-fi elements. The show, based on Michael Crichton's 1973 film, boasts a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 80% and has received critical acclaim. However, many fans feel that the series, despite its intriguing premise, has gotten lost in its complex narrative. The timeline hopping, philosophical musings, and convoluted character arcs have left viewers scratching their heads. The constant plot twists have left some viewers feeling more disoriented than a newcomer in Westworld.
9. "13 Reasons Why" (2017-2020)
This show began with a tragically intriguing premise – a high school student receiving a series of tapes explaining why his classmate committed suicide. "13 Reasons Why," with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 35%, drew both heavy criticism and commendation for its depiction of sensitive topics. The first season was lauded for shedding light on teen suicide, but later seasons were critiqued for sensationalizing trauma and including graphic scenes of sexual assault, suicide, and violence. The series' handling of such sensitive subjects led to significant backlash, with Redditor "TapeReviewer" stating, "Instead of providing answers or support, it's just shock value at this point." Despite the controversy, it managed to rack up a few award nominations but left audiences divided.
10. "Lost" (2004-2010)
And finally, we land on the infamous island of "Lost." Initially lauded for its character development, mysterious plot, and narrative structure, it has an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score of 86%. However, the series finale left fans... well, lost. The confusing plotlines, numerous unanswered questions, and a finale that felt disconnected from the rest of the series led to widespread disappointment. The series' fall from grace was disheartening for many loyal fans who had followed the complex narrative for six seasons. Despite winning the Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Drama, "Lost" may be remembered more for its confusing end than its gripping start.