Terrible TV Shows We Can't Stop Watching

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Bad TV shows that are fun to watch for the wrong reasons include Tiger King and Keeping up with the Kardashians.

By Phillip Moyer | Published


There’s no shortage of great TV out there these days, with shows like Netflix’s Wednesday and HBO’s The Last of Us gaining raving reviews from fans and critics alike. And for good reason… nobody wants to waste their time watching bad TV shows… but some shows are so abysmally bad that they are worth witnessing for their horrible qualities alone. These “so bad it’s good” shows will get nothing but flack from the people who watch them, but they won’t be able to peel their eyes away.

5. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999, 2017-2018)

This series is the lowest on this list of bad TV shows, not because it’s unfun to watch, but because being “so bad it’s good” is the entire point of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 franchise. The show started its life at a local Minneapolis TV station as a low-budget show mocking low-budget movies like The Mole People. It then took off in popularity, continuing its life on Comedy Central as… a low-budget show mocking low-budget sci-fi movies.

The show’s premise is simple: a human test subject is stuck in a spacecraft and forced to watch terrible movies as his only form of entertainment. The majority of the show lets viewers watch these terrible movies alongside this human test subject and his sentient robot buddies as they skewer the film with snide remarks. Mystery Science Theater 3000 still remains the only tolerable way to watch terrible movies from the dustbin of film history.

4. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness (2020)

tiger king 2 trailer

There’s just something irresistibly bad about trashy reality TV shows, and there’s not much that’s trashier than a show ending with the real-life arrest of one of its stars for trying to get another star murdered. The absurdly popular Tiger King is special in that regard — many of the onscreen personalities are, without a doubt, some of the worst human beings to ever be given the spotlight, and it’s impossible to avert your eyes from the complete trainwreck that results. 

It might have been irresponsible to give the meth-addled, tiger-exploiting stars of the show a day in the limelight. But nobody can deny that it resulted in one of the most entertaining bad TV shows in existence.

3. Keeping Up With The Kardashians (2007-2021)

Ask the average person what they think about Kim Kardashian and her famous-for-being-famous family. Chances are, they’ll tell you how much they dislike them, how bad of a TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians is, and how none of its stars deserve their fame. And yet, the show starring a nigh-universally-disliked cast managed to last for 20 seasons, and Hulu picked up the family for the follow-up show, The Kardashians, the year after their original show ended.

While there are (apparently) people who genuinely respect the Kardashian family, the show’s success seems to be based on people’s dislike of Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, Kylie, and Kris, the Momager. There’s something strangely satisfying about watching people you dislike. It lets you feel superior to them as they rack up millions and millions of dollars from your hate-watching.

2) Dance Moms (2011-2019)

It’s almost depressing watching Dance Moms as you see trashy narcissistic personalities clash against each other under the guise of teaching children to become successful dancers. But, unlike bad TV shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, you can watch the show with some deserved self-satisfaction since things ultimately have not turned out well for Abby Lee Miller, the toxic founder of the Abby Lee Dance Company around whom the show centers. 

The show’s seventh season ends with many of the kids outright abandoning Miller to form their own dance company. Soon after, Miller faced many fraud-based legal issues, many of which resulted in her facing hefty fines. 

1. Riverdale (2017-Present)

If you enjoyed Riverdale‘s first teen-drama-focused season, you probably are disappointed in what the show has become. If teen drama isn’t your thing, well… there’s a good chance you’ll appreciate the spiral of absolute madness into which the CW show has descended. Riverdale is the king of bad TV shows — one that has abandoned all pretense of making sense as it just throws everything at a wall without caring whether it sticks.

Season 1 of Riverdale follows a grounded plot about a community’s response to the tragic death of Jason Blossom. The plots of the later seasons involve serial killers, ritualistic cults, human sacrifice, aliens, and fighting against a bear. While the latter plots aren’t exactly high quality in their execution, they certainly are fun to watch in their own absurdist way.

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