In the 20 years since Netflix was founded, the company has gone from an innovative DVD rental system to a producer of original content that is rivalling (and sometimes exceeding) the popularity and quality of mainstream television. In the past few years, the number of original television series that Netflix has released has grown like crazy, and the company seems to be willing to take some unusual risks and produce diverse content that you really wouldn’t see on mainstream television. There is a Netflix series for everyone, and you can pretty much always find a new TV series to binge watch.
But for every killer project Netflix involves itself in there is usually a dud, and much like the average television network, they sometimes don’t know when to let a formerly successful show ride off into the sunset. And when it comes to fat that Netflix can cut to make room for some better shows, there is a whole lot to choose from.
15. Iron Fist
Out of all of the TV shows Netflix might boot, this one actually seems like one of the easiest choices. It’s not the worst show on Netflix and it’s not the worst performer, either. But once The Punisher is released, Netflix is going to have six Marvel shows, and those all have to compete alongside the other Marvel and DC TV shows that are already airing or coming up soon. One of the biggest strengths of Netflix original content is its diversity, and it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to oversaturate one niche of content with a bunch of shows that are presumably some of their most expensive. And of their Marvel shows, Iron Fist is the weakest. The first season of the show wasn’t very interesting, and in comparison to the other lead characters in Netflix’s Marvel franchise, Danny Rand just isn’t as interesting. He doesn’t feel like a character who can carry his own show, so why not narrow down the workload a bit and stick Danny into one of the other Marvel shows, or just cut him all together.
14. Real Rob
So Rob Schneider has a sitcom on Netflix called Real Rob. Rob Schneider plays Rob Schneider on it, and his wife Patricia and daughter Miranda play his wife Patricia and his daughter Miranda. This is a sitcom, not a reality TV show. Now I know that Netflix goes for some diverse content and they’re generally more willing to take risks than a standard television network, but I can’t even believe that this show got beyond the pitch. I mean, how did Rob Schneider actually sell this to someone? What did he say was his target audience? Nobody even cares about Rob Schneider’s actual day-to-day life; why would anyone want to watch a fictionalized version of his life? I mean, apparently there’s someone out there who’s watching it. Its second season just premiered, but if someone had told me that in about 20 years Deuce Bigalow would have a multi-season show about himself, I wouldn’t have believed it.
It’s a real bummer that this show isn’t worthwhile, because Kathy Bates should always be in worthwhile projects, as she’s a fantastic actress. And honestly, the concept of a lady running her own marijuana dispensary in California is one that could definitely work, especially with such a strong lead to carry the show. But then… there’s Chuck Lorre. Chuck Lorre is one of the most successful sitcom producers in the business, and most of the biggest hits on TV today are shows that he has created and produced. But I don’t think that anyone at any point in time ever thought, “Hey, what if that guy who created Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory wrote a show about weed?” He’s definitely a producer that people associate with success, but if there’s one thing they definitely don’t associate him with, it’s edginess. And edginess is something a show needs when covering this kind of material.
“Gypsy” is not the preferred nomenclature for the Romani people, and is considered by most to be an ethnic slur in reference to their culture. Except the show Gypsy is not about Romani people. It in fact doesn’t even seem to be related to gypsies or anything that could even be considered gypsy-like, despite the title and that its theme song is Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy.” The show is actually about a therapist who is bored with her life, and instead of doing something like taking a trip to Italy or taking up snowboarding, this woman who is a literal expert on psychology and appropriate human behavior decides to mess with her patients to spice things up. Because sure, if you want to mess with someone’s head for fun, why not do that with people you know for a fact are mentally or emotionally unstable. It’s mystifying how this show even got off the ground, but it will be even more baffling if it gets another season.
11. Fuller House
We are certainly living in the era of reboots and remakes, and apparently nostalgia is a really great selling point in entertainment. And sometimes revisiting things from the past can yield some really good results. But of all the sitcoms in the world to resurrect, why would you choose Full House? I don’t know many people who would rate it among one of the best sitcoms in TV history. Hell, I don’t know many people who would rate it among one of the best sitcoms on TGIF. But for those of you who were wondering what the Tanner family had been up to since Full House ended its original run, finally you’ve gotten your answer. The grown up Tanner kids are doing literally exactly what their father and uncles were doing in the original series. The original Full House ran for 8 years, and has aired in syndication non-stop since. So if Netflix really wanted to shell out the money for a Full House reunion, they should have at least come up with something that the audience hasn’t been seeing since 1987.
10. The Ranch
So Danny Masterson and Ashton Kutcher, a.k.a. Hyde and Kelso from That ’70s Show, are the two leads on this show. In theory, the show is about a kooky family running their failing family ranch. It seems like the actual selling point is supposed to be Hyde and Kelso going country. Now, I don’t personally think of Masterson or Kutcher as particularly strong actors, but the idea of two thirty-something brothers who can’t (or don’t want to) really grow up seems like it’s a little too close to real life for comfort, and makes the concept of the show itself seem a little more sad than funny. There’s just nothing that’s really special about it, and the fact that Kutcher and Masterson seem to want to use it as an excuse for a reunion of (the much better) That ’70s Show punctuates its mediocrity even more. And for God’s sake, their characters names are Colt and Rooster.
9. The Defenders
Netflix definitely features a wide variety of shows, but since they’ve brokered a deal with Marvel to adapt some of their comic characters to television shows, it has felt a bit like a Marvel bonanza (especially considering how much they promote their Marvel shows). If it’s a formula that is popular and makes money for the company, then there’s really no reason to mess with success, but it’s also always good to leave the audience wanting a little more. But The Defenders feels like WAY more. Having an entire universe of characters and stories to play with is fine, but after launching four shows focusing on single heroes with a fifth on the way, trying to cram them all into one show and storyline just feels like overkill. Most of their characters are actually pretty strong, but creating a series with four leads that each carry their own series kind of forces the writers to diminish them.
8. Wet Hot American Summer
The original Wet Hot American Summer movie is summer camp satire comedy film that developed a bit of a cult following over the years, and that has an ensemble cast including a lot of actors that went on to much bigger successes. But aside from reuniting this famous cast (and adding some new famous faces to it) 16 years after making this little movie, what exactly is the point? The show isn’t terrible, but it’s also the kind of show that you’re only really going to fall in love with if you’ve already fallen in love with the original movie. And the original movie was a commercial and critical failure that went on to be moderately well known for a cult favorite. It’s always awesome when fans get rewarded for their years of fandom, but creating a show that only the fans will fully get just isn’t a good idea.
7. The Crown
The Crown is really a top notch show on every level. It’s well-written, the cast is wonderful, and the cinematography, costuming, and set design are all gorgeous. With that said, it also looks like it must be expensive as hell. And there’s nothing wrong with putting a significant investment into a product in order for it to be really high quality, but the subject matter just doesn’t seem to justify all of the work that Netflix is putting into it. Historical dramas can be great, but The Crown covers a portion of history that is relatively recent and that the audience might already be very familiar with. English history is one of the most commonly dramatized periods in television and film, ever, and The Crown isn’t covering some yet uncovered nook or cranny that hasn’t been committed to film before. It’s always great to see a well-executed period piece, but I think it would have been a lot better to see something no audience has seen before.
6. 13 Reasons Why
Making a TV show about teenage suic*de is a bit of a confounding choice, especially when the storyline of that show plays to every impulsive teenage fantasy to off yourself just to make everyone you hate feel bad about it. But putting aside the fact that it’s one of the worst life (or death) lessons imaginable, it’s just not the kind of show that needs a second season. The story that’s told is very clearly a standalone story, and considering that the female lead is already dead and has already literally told every bit of story she has to tell, I don’t know how the writers will be able to create a second season that’s remotely compelling or that makes sense in relation to the first season. The show was wildly popular so it’s expected that Netflix would want it to continue, but there’s not really anything driving the show forward aside from that.
5. House Of Cards
House of Cards is a complex and nuanced political drama about the ruthlessness and manipulations in American government. And well-written political drama almost always makes for interesting television, except at this point in American politics, it just seems a little absurd. Watching a bunch of nearly sociopathic power-grabbers play a never-ending chess game to achieve their goals could not clash more with the current political climate that looks more like Earnest Goes to Washington than The West Wing. Watching a dark political show while living in a dark political reality just isn’t very much fun. When you add in the fact that House of Cards is one of Netflix’s longest running shows, it seems like like it might be the right time to put it to bed. Plus, once both of your leads have been president, what else can you really do with your political plotting?
4. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
When it comes to lead characters, Kimmy Schmidt is kind of a one-trick pony. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a sitcom that very much so wants to be culturally relevant, and for the most part it succeeds. But Kimmy herself doesn’t have a lot of dimension as a character, and the eternally, unreasonably sunshine-y victim concept can become very grating very quickly. The plot kind of naturally loses its steam too. I mean, the idea of a character who is essentially discovering a whole new world is one that has a lot of things to explore right off the bat, but is also really front-loaded. Once Kimmy is in the world she needs to learn about the world, so either she has to assimilate somewhat or the narrative just has to pretend that she’s implausibly stupid. But if the whole selling point of the lead character is supposed to be this newfound wonder, then the show can’t really allow her to evolve that much either. It’s a catch-22 that is built into the show, and it’s already catching up to it.
3. Orange Is The New Black
Orange Is the New Black is Netflix’s most watched original series, and it’s also a ground breaker and an award winner. It has also shined a light on a lot of issues related to incarceration that haven’t really been covered in mainstream media before, and has presented characters that are unique in television. But it’s also already five seasons old, and looks like it’s already hitting the skids that a lot of shows start to see once they hit that four-year mark. The fifth season was generally well-received by critics and the audience, but in comparison to the reaction towards the previous four seasons season five was considerably less popular. I doubt that Netflix will be ditching the show any time soon, but it’s always a shame when a genuinely groundbreaking TV show collapses into mediocrity, and it’s generally way more preferable to go out on a high instead.
This Netflix anthology series is a show that just kind of does what it wants without really doing anything or going anywhere. Some of the best TV shows in history have been anthology shows, but as a format it’s an incredibly difficult style to maintain while still writing stories that are consistently interesting. And unfortunately for Easy, the show has already started off as a bit of a hit-or-miss series. Aside from covering a different story with different tangentially characters for each episode, there just isn’t a whole lot of story to watch either. Meandering ideas about art and relationships are a tough sell on their own and I don’t know that Easy is thoughtful enough to make that compelling, but without even having characters to be interested in, it’s the kind of show that is just incredibly easy to drop the minute you lose interest, and it’s the kind of show that makes it easy for you to lose interest.
1. Grace And Frankie
Grace and Frankie has a fantastic cast, but at this point that’s really the biggest, and maybe only, thing the show has going for it. The writers have been good about covering storylines that haven’t really been put on center stage in television before, but it also plays into some TV conventions that feel incredibly worn out. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play off each other well, but the whole enemies-to-friends and occasionally back-to-enemies-for-a-minute is a female relationship trope that will apparently never die, and the the gags about old people being old really don’t mix well with the boundary-pushing that the show tries to do. It’s not an awful show, and there are certainly much worse offerings on Netflix, but a show just not being crappy doesn’t seem like a very solid justification to keep it going, either.