OK, it should be noted that the following list is my personal worst shows of the year.
I define "worst" as shows I had some sort of excitement for that profoundly disappointed me. Otherwise, the list would be made up of various reality shows that feature Snooki or a Kardashian, and those targets are just too easy.
Funny enough, some of these picks will make some people's "Best of..." lists, which is fine. It's all a matter of taste. A couple of these shows I knew would be bad from the start, but most of these series I had some sort of expectation for, which fell far short.
10. "Boardwalk Empire," HBO: I tried liking this show -- I really did. I made it through the first season and only started watching Season 2 because I was keeping HBO for some of its other series. But between the plodding pace and miscast Steve Buscemi, I quit about halfway through the second season. I couldn't buy Michael Pitt as Buscemi's rival, and I hated every second Paz de la Huerta was onscreen. It's a shame, because there were some good perfomances, especially Kelly MacDonald and Jack Huston.
9. "Charlie's Angels," ABC: Enough with the reboots already. You'd think a show about three hot chicks fighting crime would be an easy enough sell, but this series lacked any sort of charm or intelligence. There should be a rule: if you are rebooting a show from the 1970s, you need to put an original spin on it, a' la "Battlestar Galactica."
8. "The Paul Reiser Show," NBC: Since it was yanked after two episodes, this barely qualified as a blip. But given that I enjoyed Reiser so much on "Mad About You" and in other projects, I did have a modicum of hope for this until I watched it for about five minutes. It was just awful.
7. "Dexter," Showtime: I won't say "Dexter" has quite jumped the shark as of yet, and certainly, the final scene from this season makes me want to tune in next year to see what happens. But the subplots of Quinn becoming a drunk and Deb finding out that she secretly has been in love with her adopted brother all these years were beyond awful, and even the subplot of La Guerta replacing Matthews you could see from a mile away. Also, the subtext used to be a lot more subtle in past seasons; this year, it was like a sledgehammer, thanks to all of the religious undertones.
6. "Torchwood: Miracle Day," STARZ: I'm a huge "Torchwood" fan and the previous miniseries, "Children of Earth," I think is one of the finest miniseries ever done on TV in any genre. So imagine my disappointment as Jack and Gwen took a backseat to newcomers Rex and Esther, two irritating characters who were unworthy of the spotlight. Throw in "24"-style plot twists designed to keep the story going rather than actually tell the story, and wasting a talented group of guest stars, and this was one big disappointment for me.
5. "Hell on Wheels," AMC: Speaking of big disappointments, I'm struggling to get through the rest of the season on AMC's newest show. The dialogue is stilted, the characters are two-dimensional, and I'm still not sure what the story is supposed to be about -- is it the main character's quest for vengeance or the building of the railroad? Don't know, and really, don't care.
4. Whitney Cummings x 2, CBS and NBC: I'm pretty convinced that comedienne Whitney Cummings made a deal with the devil along the way of getting two lousy sitcoms on the air -- "Two Broke Girls" on CBS, which she produces; and "Whitney" on NBC, which she produces and stars in the title role. Most people acknowledge the latter to be pretty god-awful, yet NBC keeps it around and in a plum timeslot (though not for much longer). "Girls" got a lot of positive buzz from the critics early on, but I made it through the first two and a half episodes without managing a single laugh. It too benefits from a cushy timeslot for its solid ratings as opposed to bringing the funny.
3. "Glee," Fox: I admit I was a full-fledged "gleek" during Season 1, but there are sophomore slumps and then there is the second season of "Glee," which managed to kill any love I had for what was once a subversively clever series. Established characters became screeching bores, and new characters added little, at least for me. When "Glee" got serious, it was mostly stuff that was emotionally manipulative rather than organic and heartfelt, such as the episode dealing with the death of Sue's sister. The music wasn't nearly as good or inspired as the first season. At the end of the second season, I dropped it permanently, and apparently, I wasn't alone, as ratings for the S3 premiere were down about 25 percent.
2. "Shameless," Showtime: I almost considered putting this at No. 1, considering how much I loathed this disgusting, unfunny "comedy." Based on a British series, I figured a cast that included William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum might have something going for it, but the three or four episodes I managed to make it through were just loathsome.
1. "The Killing," AMC: Wow, could a series contain more useless, red-herring plot points? More heavy-handed symbolism from the constant rain? (Yeah, we get it -- everyone is sad and wounded. Got it.) More disappointment by revealing the killer, only to find out he's not the killer? Considering the slap to the face to the fans producer Veena Sud gave to the fans by not giving us a conclusion to the mystery (even an unsatisfying one would have done by the end), it was idiotic on her part to then berate the fans for being upset for not getting a conclusion at all. The red herrings were on a ridiculous scale that surpassed even "24," and they themselves were only surpassed by the stupid contrivances designed to keep lead detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) in Seattle so that she missed her own wedding were just insulting. Throw in her unlikeable partner, complete jerk of a son (the episode he went "missing" may have been the worst hour of TV this year) and the world's most depressing family in the surviving Larsens, and you feel like murder victim Rosie Larsen somehow got the better end of the deal by not having to endure going through the season. Will I tune in to Season 2 to find out who killed Rosie, finally? Nope -- couldn't care less, and I suspect I'm not the only viewer to feel that way.
WEDNESDAY'S BEST BET: More nada for anything new, with the exception of part four of BBC America's "State of Play" at 10 p.m.
Also, you can go to Showtime's website and take a sneak peak at the first episode of the new Don Cheadle series, "House of Lies," a dark comedy set in the world of crisis management. It's heavily edited for sex and language in the online version.