If you’re addicted to Pretty Little Liars or still love to binge-watch The O.C., then summer TV is doing something right — something horribly, horribly right. TV executives plan to seduce viewers with some of the worst premieres networks have to offer.
Brock Williams, director and producer for Columbia’s Boxcar Films, has worked on more than a dozen fiction and documentary short films. But before his indie flicks, he played production assistant for two reality TV shows: CMT’s Home Blitz and The Style Network’s Married Away. He breaks down the shows you’ll love to hate. Whether it’s the soundtrack, plot twists or cliché-ridden dialogue that hooks you, these crude creations will be the season’s greatest failures, er, achievements.
Best use of a laugh track to force humor into bad dialogue: Young & Hungry
ABC Family starves out sitcoms. Former Hannah Montana sidekick Emily Osment plays Debbie, a newly hired cook who can’t resist her boss. Double entendres abound, and recorded laughter masks the characters’ not-so-promising prose. “So many shows are going without a laugh track these days that I’m concerned that some day no one will know what’s funny anymore,” Williams says.
Young & Hungry, Wednesdays, 8 p.m., ABC Family, premieres June 25
Most likely to use medieval maces for promotional advertising: The Quest
Wait, ogre fights are cool now? Feudal-role-playing contest The Quest charges competitors with tasks that are only a few hobbits away from a Lord of the Rings installment. “I don’t know if advertisers are interested in targeting 13-year-old me as a demographic, but I guess ABC is determined to find out,” Williams says. Our Dungeons & Dragons nights just got a little more rambunctious.
The Quest, Thursdays, 7 p.m., ABC, premieres June 19
Best throwback to the velour tracksuit: CeeLo Green’s The Good Life
This Keeping up with the Kardashians-esque reality series promises lots of shots of CeeLo in sunglasses, CeeLo speaking directly to the camera and CeeLo laughing. “I think I can speak for all of us when I say, ‘Thank God CeeLo Green finally has his own TV show,’” Williams says. CeeLo hypes up CeeLo pretty well, too.
CeeLo Green’s The Good Life, Mondays, 9:30 p.m.,TBS, premieres June 23
Best curator of couples who later make up how-we-met stories: Dating Naked
If you’re lamenting your dating pool, try the beach. Naked. VH1’s Dating Naked is a Tinder-meets-St. Barts reality series that sets up clothing-free outings. “I would imagine that every episode just begins and ends with one person saying, ‘Oh … nevermind,’” Williams says.
Dating Naked, Thursdays, 8 p.m., VH1, premieres July 17
Most successful love-on-location sequel: Bachelor in Paradise
When The Bachelor began in 2002, few people predicted its staying power. With a cast pulled from past Bachelor seasons, Bachelor in Paradise, the third offshoot of the series, is overkill incarnate. “It kind of reminds me of those Nintendo game spinoffs,” Williams says. “It’s like Mario Party 7.”
Bachelor in Paradise, Mondays, 7 p.m., ABC, premieres Aug. 4
Best apocalyptic storyline we’ve already seen in theaters: The Last Ship
The Last Ship’s Tom Chandler, played by former Grey’s Anatomy doc Eric Dane, faces a mankind-threatening virus that only I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, Contagion, et. al, could have predicted. TNT teaches an important lesson through Dane’s blaring dialogue: Temper tantrums rarely solve problems, let alone global pandemics. “The trailer has 2.7 million views on YouTube,” Williams says. “Maybe I’m in the wrong field.”
The Last Ship, Sundays, 8 p.m., TNT, premieres June 22