Good TV Shows, bad episodes

Every great series has a few clunkers.

Some of the ones that stand out to me are from the 90s.

For Quantum Leap, Trilogy takes the list. unlikeable characters, weird setup, and no chemistry between the two leads that they finally decide to give sam a kid with. the entire plot point was a tad wonky too, and didn’t really get explained all that well with the magic lady that can appear in between fire and not get hurt. a very unlikeable set of episodes in a great series.

For Home Improvement, it was the lead up to the series finale. They get rid of Eileen, a great love interest for Al, with no setup and no reason. then they shove this really annoying rich fat lady onto him that they seem to have no charisma with each other. didn’t make much sense then and not much sense now, and the finale falls a bit flat because of it.

any others that come to mind?

Not to open the economy-sized jar of worms that is the “when did The Simpsons go downhill” argument, but the episode “The Principal and the Pauper” is audience-insultingly terrible and unfunny. I never looked at the series in quite the same way after that.

They try to posit that the Principal Skinner that we’ve come to know throughout the show was an impostor, and everything that sprang from that was ridiculous.

Bad ridiculous, not good ridiculous.


There’s a three-part story in the original Law & Order that’s just… pointless. For some reason Briscoe and Curtis have to keep going to Los Angeles. Julia Roberts was in the episodes and it was basically just to exploit the fact that Benjamin Bratt was dating her.

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“A View from the Gallery” from Babylon 5. Follows two maintenance guys doing their rounds as they comment on stuff that happens. Basically, they’re what Statler and Waldorf of the Muppets would be like if they weren’t funny (or if you don’t think S&W are funny, even more unfunny). The subplot with some unidentified aliens attacking the station felt completely out of place. What makes it worse is that the prior episodes told primarily or entirely from an outsider’s POV (“And Now for a Word” and “The Illusion of Truth”) were some of the best episodes of the series.


It takes a lot for a season 5 B5 episode to be worse than Season 5 B5 episodes tend to be, but “A View From The Gallery” somehow managed that.

I find Buffy the Vampire Slayer had its fair share of clunkers, but especially the last season, IMO. I thought the majority of it was terrible.

Star vs. the Forces of Evil was a great series… until the last season, but unlike Buffy, I feel that in this case, it was Disney forcing them to speed through it. It seemed slapdash, left various plot threads, and had a hacky ‘love’ story which I couldn’t stand.

While I love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, it also had its share of episodes I didn’t enjoy, but especially a couple episodes where characters completely forget what they have demonstrated knowing and still get away with not really getting any consequences for their actions at the end… and they’re the heroes.

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I’ll be honest here. I found ST:TNG pretty much wall-to-wall frustration until at least halfway through the series. :smiley: (With the added disclaimer that I’m a dabbler in things Trek at best. I’ve never tried to re-watch the series. Perhaps I should.)

TNG as well as Deep Space 9 have had a few here and there. Original series more than those two, but some of that is related to the time period.

“Mysterious Mare-Do-Well” and “Yakety Sax” are two infamous ones in a different board I go to.


Yeah, Yakety Sax wasn’t great. “Cart Before the Ponies” and “Non Compete Clause” are the ones I was referring to. A lot of episodes could have been solved by communication. Usually they handle the morals well and the characters are charming, but in those two, I found them kinda annoying and the whole no consequences thing…

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Even one of my favorite series, Gravity Falls had a clunker, IMO… but it wasn’t the creators’ fault necessarily, but because the episode wasn’t completed, it was just aired at an awkward time in the series and came off a bit lackluster since so much plot was going on before and after that episode. That said, it’s still a great episode on its own.

The Muppet Show is another near perfect (for me) show, but time has made some episodes …uh… not hold up well. At all.

Adventure Time had some weird guest episodes that were poorly received. Some also may have found episodes to be too strange. I enjoyed most episodes, but two of the guest ones were just too odd for me and out of character, which adds to the problems.

Season 4 of Community, in particular “Intro to Felt Surrogacy.” It’s referred to as “the gas leak year” for a reason, and that was the worst episode of the worst season.


I just watched the 200th episode of CSI: It was a waste of a milestone episode.

If I had to pick one episode from Season 7 to highlight, I’d go with “Get It Done.” Featuring such wonderful scenes as Buffy eulogizing a teenaged suicide victim by insulting her for being “weak” and the entire Slayer legacy being retconned into some sort of demonic rape allegory.

That said, at least “Get It Done” didn’t manage to ruin any ongoing story arcs (because everything in S7 was already ruined just by existing in that season). The real worst episodes of BtVS are the “Smashed”/“Wrecked”/“Gone” episodes from S6. After spending half the series setting up Willow’s gradual corruption by the allure of ever more unethical magical powers, it all comes to a head with… an incredibly heavy-handed drug addiction allegory ripped from an after-school special.

It’s like they didn’t even read their own arc! Willow’s in it for power, not pleasure. Even if the magical drug dealer getting people high off demon summoning wasn’t a ridiculous conceit, it’d still have no place in Willow’s arc. Dark magic never gave her any short-term euphoria before; it gave the ability to rewrite reality to her whims, damn whatever consequences may come.

I’d like to say that the badness is alleviated since those episodes didn’t end that arc permanently… but we all know how it came back, don’t we?


Stargate SG1 had a fair few clunkers (Emancipation, Bane, The Broca Divide, Politics (okay that one is a clip show, but still) among many, many others.)

Stargate Atlantis fared much better is the clunker category (The Real World, The two Lucius episodes just because Lucius was basically a sexual predator played for laughs, The Seed)

The last season of Warehouse 13 is always a hard slog. They get their episode count slashed by more than half and are still expected to put out a good arc. :roll_eyes:

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I also hate the magic=drugs allegory, but I do like her turn at the end of that season. It makes far more sense for the power aspect over the pleasure one, though. The power thing is at the heart of who she is-- even before any power as a hacker. Then, there’s the comics, but Rack was always just a lame one-off to me. Plus, the magic drug thing makes no darn sense in, like, ALL other aspects of Buffy. It’s never mentioned that way before and really not so after. I mean, if you stretch it, sure, but even then, not really.

Magic makes more sense in terms of power or even sex than drugs in that universe.

The enitre jetliner storyline in Breaking Bad was pretty awful. It was just so over the top and distracting for something that essentially added up to a reason to make the audience think Walt’s house got bombed.

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I liked the Inspector Spacetime convention episode. The production crew even included alien tart cards in his little phone booth and that is a brilliant piece of detail to include.


I did enjoy that one the most out of the whole season

X Files - First Person Shooter (Season 7)

Thanks William Gibson. Great work.


Fear Her from season 2 of Nu-Doctor Who.
Seriously, yeah it’s a kids show, but even kids don’t want to watch garbage that feels like “Oh no I have 10 minutes until deadline let’s just jam some stuff in a bucket and call it a show”

Stranger Things “The Lost Sister”
OK, Sure, stop and do a pilot for another show with characters we don’t care about and makes no difference to the plot whatsoever, Great idea!

How I Met Your Mother - Whatever the last episode is called.

Lost - “Stranger In a Strange Land”
Did we really need an origin story for a characters tattoo?