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The Five: Worst show titles

by Brett Love, posted Sep 18th 2006 12:24PM
The 5I've long had a theory that a poor title for a show can sink it. Not all on it's own mind you. But a crappy title can do enough damage to push a struggling enterprise right into the television dustbin. It's happened before, and I'm sure we'll see it happen again.

So, when I saw one of the upcoming shows for our new fall season move from a great title to a bad one, I thought it was time to make a list. These are the five worst titles for TV shows that came to mind for me. I look forward to seeing suggestions for those that I overlooked. Feel free to submit your favorite bad titles in the comments. And remember, there are no wrong answers, just wrong titles.

Shasta McNasty1. Shasta McNasty - I'm an unapologetic Shasta McNasty fan. Unfortunately, it only lasted one season. I think that part of the reason for that has to be the fact that it has the worst title for a show, ever. Shasta McNasty? If you don't know what that is, and you aren't looking for it, why would you ever turn to that channel? It's too bad, because behind the stupid name, they actually had a really funny sit-com.

The Shasta McNasty in the title came from the name of the rock/rap band the three main characters, Scott, Dennis, and Randy, were members of. The show followed them as they struggled with their music career, and got into other hijinks along the way. Those hijinks often involved their across the hall neighbor Diana. The McNasty team also had a knack for getting the most out of their guest stars. Appearances by both Vern Troyer and Eric Estrada were outstanding.

In the end, they couldn't overcome the damage the name did to the already struggling show. Even a midseason attempt to change the title to Shasta didn't help. While still not great, it was certainly an improvement. Although, it makes me think of Mt. Shasta. It could be the sit-com version of The-N's Whistler.

Portia de Rossi2. Too Something - Chances are you missed Eric Schaeffer's 1993 movie My Life's In Turnaround. Not to worry, you are with the majority on that score. And the fact that almost nobody saw the movie makes it very curious that someone would comission a series which is more or less a reworking of the movie, but that's just what they did with the horribly named Too Something.

The show centers on roomates Eric and Donny. Eric considers himself a writer, but doesn't really write anything. And Donny is a photographer, but refuses to show his work to the public. They struggle making their way through life as they refuse to give up on their dreams, yet do almost nothing to work toward achieving them. The show is also notable for featuring the pre Arrested Development, pre Ally McBeal Portia de Rossi. She played the lovely Maria. Maria was Eric's girlfriend, she just didn't know it.

It was crazy, often silly, and sometimes downright hilarious. There was an attempt to rename the show mid stream. I think it was even a viewer contest. All twelve of us wrote in, and the winner was New York Daze. An improvement, but the damage was done.

Ivan Sergei3. Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) - Poor Ivan Sergei. Good looking guy, decent actor, but he can't keep a show on the air to save his life. Ivan followed the cancellation of Jack & Jill with this short lived and poorly named sit-com. That was then parlayed into an 8 episode and out run for Hawaii. Although, he really should have seen it coming with Hawaii when Eric Balfour showed up on the call sheet.

Really, when you get John Cleese, Ed Begley Jr, and Ivan Sergei together for a show, how can you possibly miss? Well, giving it a stupid name that makes no sense is a good place to start. Wednesday 9:30 was the story of David, a likable young guy struggling to get along in the crazy world of network TV. Heh, now that I think about it, doing a behind the scenes of television show is a good way to get yourself cancelled too. There have been a lot of those.

The show is also sometimes referred to as My Adventures In Television, but I don't recall whether ABC ever actually tried to sell us on that title.

Homeboys In Outer Space4. Homeboys In Outer Space - They called their show Homeboys In Outer Space... Do we really need to analyze that one? Do you imagine Ma and Pa middle America pulling out the TV Guide to see what's on and thinking, 'We gotta see us some of that.'? Of course not.

Homeboys was the story of ... well.. homeboys Ty and Morris. They spent their days traveling the galaxies in the Space Hoopty looking for odd jobs or alien babes. The show also featured the sarcastic Hoopty shipboard computer Loquatia and mechanic Carl. And believe it or not, they got George Takei as a guest star. That guy is everywhere.

In the end, I think Homeboys was mostly cancelled because it was a bad concept that wasn't executed all that well. That said, the name sure didn't do it any favors.

Knights of Prosperity5. The Knights of Prosperity - This is the new show I spoke of in the intro. Let's Rob Mick Jagger is a great title. Let's Rob... isn't as good, but still not bad. The Knights of Prosperity? What does that mean? The way this is going I would expect the next title to be Crap on a stick...Yum!

The show tells the story of Eugene. He has always dreamed of owning a bar, but he can't afford it. So he puts together a gang of misfits with the plan being to rob a celebrity to fund the bar project. It's kind of the bizarro world Smith.

As that show hasn't premiered yet, look for it October 17th, it remains to be seen what will happen with it. Based on what I have seen about it, I have high hopes. Donal Logue cracks me up. If you are curious, have a look at Joel's post on the premiere party. It certainly has a shot at success, but that title...

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Lis

Bay City Blues?

September 18 2006 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Love

Kerry, M.Y.O.B is a great addition to the list. It seems that they actually aired 4 episodes, of 8 produced, but man, bad title.

September 18 2006 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kerry

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who felt "It's like . . . you know" deserved a spot on this list. I also put in for M.Y.O.B. (Mind Your Own Business), because it bugged the bejeezus out of me, even if that was Lauren Graham in it. It only lasted about 2 pre-season episodes!

September 18 2006 at 6:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz

I honestly had to be made to watch "Gilmore Girls," simply because I couldn't get over the "Golden Girls" association and believe that the show was actually good, and not stuffy and for old people.

September 18 2006 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Emily

I think the title "Firefly" may have been partially to blame for that series' early demise. I forced my husband to watch it on Netflix and he is hooked and heartbroken that cancelled way before its time. We both agree that we probably never watched it while it was on TV because of the misleading name. Same goes for the movie. The touchy-feely-girlie name just doesn't fit with the space-western-action-dramedy.

September 18 2006 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

Not only did "Homeboys from Outer Space" have a guest appearance from George Takei, but James Doohan himself was a regular cast member, playing the barfly ex-engineer Pippen who had lines like "you wiggle those pointed ears at me one more time and I'll beam you where the sun don't shine." I wonder who he could have been referring to?

September 18 2006 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liza

I LOVED Grounded for Life. but then they changed the kids and something with the grandpa? ah and then i never knew when it was on. didn't it change networks? gosh i don't remember, but it was funny as hell, i loved the crazy daughter Lily, and the brother Eddie!

September 18 2006 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jefferson Burns

And don't forget my favorite...

"My Mother the Car."

September 18 2006 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marvelite2000

I love the show very much and mourned it passing and it had a succesful run but the title Buffy The Vampire Slayer must have cost quite a lot of potential viewership. I imagined a lot of people read the title and just ignore what was one the best show on tv. Would it be much bigger if titled say; Sunnydale or Hellmouth or just The Slayer.

September 18 2006 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gus Jenkins

One of the original shows on the now defunct UPN network.

Platypus Man

With titles like that, no wonder they are gone.

September 18 2006 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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