Every new television season ushers in a wave of shows that carry with them high expectations, from both the audiences and the networks eager to promote them.
Although the shows may star huge names, revive old franchises, or become critical favorites, they ultimately have to win over the viewers.
It’s tough to live up to the hype, and in today’s TV landscape, there’s very little forgiveness for shows that aren’t bringing in the ratings.
Now that we’re entering the time of year when networks are making the big decisions on what will stay and what will go, Business Insider looked at the 2015-2016 season’s crop of TV shows that held promise and then fizzled.
From “Angel From Hell” to “Wicked City,” here are the 12 most disappointing new shows of the past TV year:
“Minority Report” (Fox)
- Katie Yu / Fox
In the flurry of reboots, revivals, and remakes, Fox’s “Minority Report” TV sequel seemed like a really good move. Tom Cruise’s 2002 movie was a hit, and this show would answer the question of what happened to the precogs whose mental powers helped authorities capture criminals before a crime was committed.
“Wicked City” (ABC)
The post-“Dexter” TV world hasn’t been friendly to serial-killer shows. NBC finally succumbed to the numbers and canceled “Hannibal” last year. And ABC’s “Wicked City” got the dubious honor of being the first canceled new show of the TV season.
There was some excitement around the show’s formidable cast, with “Gossip Girl” alum Ed Westwick playing a serial killer, and “Six Feet Under” alum Jeremy Sisto and “American Horror Story’s” Taissa Farmiga as the detective and reporter, respectively, tailing him.
“Of Kings and Prophets” (ABC)
Based on the Bible’s books of Samuel, “Of Kings and Prophets” was ABC’s grab at the recent success of series based on the Bible and on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
“The Player” (NBC)
- Gregory Peters/NBC
Two words to describe why this show was hyped: Wesley Snipes.
Taking advantage of the recent migration of stars from movies to TV, NBC nabbed the “Blade” star for “The Player.” The problem was that if you tuned in for Snipes, you would find that, 1. he’s not the action hero here, and 2. he’s pretty sidelined.
It also failed to convince critics that the story had legs. Ratings were terrible, but certainly not the worst NBC had seen. Nevertheless, NBC effectively killed “The Player” when it cut its episode order.
“Flesh and Bone” (Starz)
With “Breaking Bad” writer/producer Moira Walley-Beckett as its creator, naturally expectations were high for “Flesh and Bone.” There is much to appreciate here: great casting, the beautiful ballet numbers, gorgeous art direction, and impeccable styling.
It’s just too bad that they had to recite those lines and act out those heavy, predictable, and sensational storylines. Starz may have seen it all coming when, in mid-production, it abruptly downgraded the show to a one-season limited series.
“The Family” (ABC)
- ABC/Giovanni Rufino
Having had a good TV run so far with “The Killing” and “Luck,” Golden Globe winner Joan Allen probably deserved to lead a better show than ABC’s “The Family.”
“The Muppets” (ABC)
- ABC/Eric McCandless
ABC was so excited about bringing back the “Muppets” franchise that it gave the series the green light on just a short pitch video. The company thought that by combining the iconic variety show with mockumentary elements of “Modern Family” and “The Office,” it had found a new way to package the Muppets for a young audience, but also keep their nostalgic parents watching.
Instead, the show steadily fell in the ratings. ABC hoped a new show runner and creative tinkering would make the difference, but few people stuck around to see the results.
It’s probably time to pull the curtain on this production.
“The Bastard Executioner” (FX)
After the glorious end to “Sons of Anarchy,” creator Kurt Sutter quickly jumped back into TV with the poorly envisioned “The Bastard Executioner.”
FX may have wanted a piece of the “Game of Thrones” action with this period series, but viewers weren’t biting. No one was surprised when Sutter and FX jointly canceled the low-rated series viastrategically placed ads.
“Heroes Reborn” (NBC)
Another stab at rebooting an old franchise, “Heroes Reborn” earned a lot of chatter in the media. Promising some returning stars mixed with new characters, the Tim Kring-created series just floated ratings-wise in the middle of NBC’s scripted show pack. And virtually no one spoke of it.
“Angel from Hell” (CBS)
- Darren Michaels/CBS
After playing one of TV’s greatest characters in Sue Sylvester on “Glee,” Golden Globe winner Jane Lynch as a quirky guardian angel probably seemed like a slam dunk for CBS.
“Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” (NBC)
Neil Patrick Harris won over Hollywood again years after “Doogie Howser MD” by hosting every award show possible, strutting his stuff on Broadway, and becoming a gay role model.
So who else to host a new live variety show on NBC? The problem was the show seemed absolutely random, moved at a pace that would cause even the most high-strung person to ask for a breather, and seemed utterly without soul. NBCcanceled the showsoon after it wrapped its run.
HBO was sure it had a hit on its hands. With names like Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter, and Mick Jagger attached, we don’t blame the network. It was so sure of the series’ success that it reportedly spent $30 million on the two-hour pilot and then renewed it for a second season after just one episode.
Then the reality of the situation hit. The premiere was viewed by less than a million live viewers, and things went downhill from there. What’s worse, for HBO specifically, is that “Vinyl” failed to inspire that kind of water-cooler talk the network is used to getting.
Now show runner Terence Winter (whose relationship with the network dates back to “The Sopranos”) is out over creative differences as HBO tries to figure out how to make people care about the second season of “Vinyl.”