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Look back at the things we'd rather forget about last year

Angelique Anest
worst-true-detective.jpg
1 of 25 HBO

​True Detective Season 2

Sure, the expectations for this show's sophomore season were probably too high, but even if you don't compare Nic Pizzolatto's second effort to the first, this was a total mess. The season was built around a story so convoluted and boring that when the finale revealed its killer, we honestly had no idea how it even connected. Worse, we didn't care about any of the characters, who were mostly thin character types that spouted ridiculous dialogue ("Never do anything out of hunger, not even eating") and whose actions were little more than tough-guy posturing. Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams put in decent performances, but even they couldn't overcome the show's crushing bleakness and despair. "We get the world we deserve," Farrell's Ray Velcoro says at one point. We all deserved a better season of True Detective.

2 of 25 David Koskas/Lifetime

​(Dis)Grace of Monaco

Would you believe us if we told you the Lifetime trainwreck was supposed to be an Oscar movie? Because it was. (You can read about its downfall here.) An unmitigated disaster, the Grace Kelly biopic, starring Nicole Kidman as the actress-turned-royalty, is all style, no substance -- trivial, bland, and self-indulgent and self-important in all the worst, face-palming ways. The best part of the slipshod mess was screenwriter Arash Amel live-tweeting the premiere, recounting the behind-the-scenes drama, and dropping massive shade and just outright disses at director Olivier Dahan, whose vision for the film clashed with Amel's and producer Harvey Weinstein's. "In short #GraceofMonaco was my filmmaking Vietnam. I survived it, but I'll never be the same," Amel tweeted. Neither will we.

3 of 25 Hulu

​The Good Wife green screen debacle

What should've been a heartfelt farewell to Archie Panjabi's kickass character Kalinda on The Good Wife instead became a mockery. Not only was the final scene between pals Kalinda and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) so clearly and poorly green-screened -- making it clear that the actresses shot the scene separately -- but then the show's creators had to spend their time defending the scene, and the media focused more on the behind-the-scenes feud. What a sad, ugly send-off for one of television's most vibrant characters!

4 of 25 Everett Collection(2), Getty Images(2)

​Reboot fever

Does anyone in Hollywood have original ideas anymore? It seems like every five minutes a popular franchise you still remember from your childhood is getting an unnecessary reboot. While there are some exceptions (we're definitely stoked to see the all-girl Ghostbusters and Fuller House), everything that was successful 15 or 20 years ago doesn't need to be brought back. Vacation proved that nostalgia doesn't always pay off, while Mr. Robot showed that original ideas can still pull in a major audience. Someone put some ice on this craze before we have to suffer through that Jumanji reboot in the works next year.

5 of 25 Corbis

Donald Trump

If only his hair was his worst attribute. Look, we're all for a healthy debate around a well thought-out political point of view, but that's the thing with Trump: He doesn't have one. What he does have is the cult of personality, a personality that reduces the legitimately appealing "straight shooter" archetype to an arrested juvenile who blurts out the first asinine thing that comes to mind. Trump's nadir in 2015 is hard to pinpoint: Was it being fired from The Apprentice and the Miss Universe pageant after connecting Mexicans with rape and drugs? Tweeting out a patently false infographic about race-based violence? Suggesting that Fox News' Megyn Kelly was emotional because she was menstruating, or mocking a disabled journalist... and then trying to denying both events? Or how about trying to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.? Much like his Saturday Night Live appearance, Trump is not interesting, he's not making sense and he's definitely not funny. The joke, sadly, is on us.

6 of 25 NBC

​Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal inspired widespread scorn in June after the NAACP leader's parents told the media that their daughter had been pretending to be black for years. To make matters worse, Dolezal's multiple allegations of discrimination and hate crimes then surfaced, some of which are highly suspicious. Dolezal eventually admitted to being "born white," though she still said that she identifies as black. Despite all this, Dolezal has one unlikely supporter. Rihanna called Dolezal a "hero" during an interview this fall.

7 of 25 Showtime

​Masters of Sex jumps the gorilla

Forget jumping the shark. Masters of Sex took a running leap over a sexually dysfunctional gorilla in the latter half of its third season. We were happy to follow along with the heavy-handed metaphor -- that deep down, we're all just animals after all -- and were even on board with the head-scratcher of a subplot that found Dr. Masters providing sex therapy to a gorilla named Gil whose interest in mating disappeared after his female zookeeper was fired. But the show lost us with the episode in which Virginia helps Gil get his mojo back by unbuttoning her blouse and allowing him to ogle her bare breasts. Talk about going ape.

8 of 25 HBO, AMC

​TV's fake-out deaths

A character's fake-out death is a tricky thing to pull off nowadays. It feels like the work of a bygone era (e.g. Dallas making Bobby's death all a dream) or weak storytelling. That's why fans were up in arms when two of today's most harrowing dramas -- Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead -- featured the dubious deaths of prominent characters Jon Snow and Glenn, respectively. The Walking Dead has since revived Glenn and everyone fully expects the same for Jon Snow next season. On shows that have proven from the start that characters you love are never safe and will die, these characters' apparent survival undermines those stakes. What a lame way to play with our emotions. We expect better.

9 of 25 NBC

​Brian Williams

What a bummer it was when it turned out one of the faces we've trusted to deliver the world's most important news may not have been keeping it 100. But then, the discovery that NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams was telling tall tales may not have been entirely surprising. After all, Williams seemed to gradually morph into a TV personality over the years, what with his high-profile, smug and self-referential cameos on shows, including 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. As it all unraveled, we learned he'd fibbed about being in a helicopter in Iraq and might've invented a story about seeing a body float past his hotel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Although he got suspended for six months and sent to MSNBC, we got disillusioned about the media and the stories behind the news. Thanks a lot, Brian.

10 of 25 CNN

​Don Lemon

There's no other way to say it: Don Lemon has become an embarrassment to the news team at CNN. From his kowtowing coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., last year to controversial comments he made about the accusations against Bill Cosby and the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol, it's clear that Lemon is, at a minimum, out of touch with his viewership and perhaps out of touch with reality in general. A Change.org petition calling on CNN to fire Lemon even circulated online earlier this year and gathered more than more than 30,000 signatures.

11 of 25 Corbis(3)

​Celebrity sex abusers

After rape allegations against Bill Cosby gained widespread recognition late last year, more women were emboldened to come forward with their stories. More than 50 accusers have now publicly accused the comedian of drugging, assaulting or raping them. Sadly, Cosby is not the only celebrity who was hiding a history of sexual abuse. This year, it was revealed that 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar molested five girls, including four of his sisters. The former Family Research Council employee's two Ashley Madison subscriptions were also exposed during the hack on the affair-facilitating website. Celebrity porn star James Deen was accused by multiple women of rape and assault. Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and receive child pornography and traveling to have sex with a minor. Of all these men accused of sexual assault and abuse, Fogle was the only one who faced any charges.

12 of 25 John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Deflategate

There were no winners in the Deflategate controversy, unless you count the New England Patriots' eventual Super Bowl win -- which is now forever tarnished by allegations that MVP quarterback Tom Brady and members of the team's coaching staff knowingly tampered with footballs in the AFC Championship game to make them easier to handle. Even worse than the scandal itself was the league's handling of the fallout, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seeing his decision to suspend Brady embarrassingly overturned by a federal judge.

13 of 25 Ollie Upton/FX

The Bastard Executioner

Kurt Sutter's highly anticipated follow-up to Sons of Anarchy shot itself in the foot before it even started by doubling down on all the worst indulgences of his previous show. For starters, guessing the running time was like a game each week. But more problematic was how little the show accomplished with that extra time, most often meandering through subplots that failed to truly develop characters. (Everything involving Katey Sagal's mystical witch Annora was utter hooey). Suffering from a less-than-compelling leading man in Lee Jones, the show was forced mostly to rely on its bloody brutality, and when even that couldn't hold an audience, Sutter decided to end the show himself. It was the most merciful killing the show delivered all season.

14 of 25 Mitch Haaseth/ABC

The Castle breakup

There's nothing wrong with trying to add a spark of drama to a flagging procedural -- unless, according to fans, it involves separating your married romantic leads. (In this case, Beckett tried to put distance between herself and Castle so the bad man she was hunting wouldn't target her loved ones.) While the passionate fandom got out their pitchforks, our beef with the decision lies more in execution. Yes, this story added back "the chase" for Castle to return to Beckett's good graces, but it sacrificed character to do it. Not only did the choice make Castle seem weak and clueless, it also made Beckett seem stupid for not believing that her husband could also be in on the con. Overall, it just smacks of a stunt that may, in the long run, do more harm than good.

15 of 25 Corbis

Mayweather-Pacquaio

It was the fight of the century: The two best boxers of this generation were finally going to step into the ring together. Even though it was happening five years too late, the hype machine was working overtime and the entire country seemed to buzz with anticipation. Then the bell rang. The fight itself was a disappointing bore, mostly because Mayweather, despite his brash, out-of-ring antics, is a defensive fighter who, on this night, easily evaded a (injured, he later claimed) Pacquaio who couldn't find the punches he'd become known for. The end result was a bunch of fans who felt cheated for shelling a record-setting $100 for a PPV bout that was more about two athletes getting a huge paycheck rather than putting on the show everyone had waited so long to see.

16 of 25 Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

MLB played to an empty stadium

The death of Freddie Gray while in police custody didn't just cause rioting in Baltimore, a renewed focus on police brutality and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but it also affected America's favorite pastime. In April, all fans were banned from the Major League Baseball game between the Orioles and White Sox as a safety measure while Baltimore rioted. While keeping people from harm is a good thing, it was a sad sight to see the teams playing to an eerily silent and empty stadium.

17 of 25 ABC, Corbis

​Slut-shaming

Bachelorette contestant Kaitlyn Bristowe had the gall to reveal that (gasp!) she had sex with one of the contestants during an early date on the show. The backlash was fierce and ugly, with fans of the show calling her a whore and worse. It's a baffling response since later on in the show, she's expected to sleep with more than one man in the so-called Fantasy Suites to make her final decision anyway. Beyond just the subject of having adult, consensual sex, the culture of slut-shaming is so prevalent that Modern Family star Ariel Winter finally had to say something after getting slammed for posing in a bathing suit with her two nieces. "Who knew that an innocent photo with my nieces would turn into this?" she posted on Instagram. "The height of a girl's skirt or whatever she is wearing for that matter, does not imply what she is asking for. It sickens me to think at 17 years old, a photo of myself with my nieces is suggesting that I'm 'asking for it.'" For shame on the slut-shamers!

18 of 25 Corbis (3)

​Fashion Police dreadlock drama

Zendaya looked great on the Oscars red carpet -- in a gorgeous white gown and cascading dreadlocks -- but was horrified to hear Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic's comments that she must have smelled like patchouli and weed. In response, Zendaya posted on Instagram, "To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or 'weed' is not only a stereotype, but outrageously offensive." Co-host Kelly Osbourne tried to distance herself from the debacle and went so far as to leave the show. New co-host Kathy Griffin also exited less than a month later with some unsavory comments. Months later, Osbourne and Rancic traded insults about each other, just as Rancic decided to leave E! News. The whole ugly controversy was a sad note to end the late Joan Rivers' legacy on the show.

19 of 25 Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images

Raven-Symone

Once upon a time, Raven-Symone was considered a national treasure as the adorable cherub on The Cosby Show and later on That's So Raven. Then she joined The View and everyone found out she's actually kind of crazy, ignorant and pretty racist. You could cut her some slack for saying Africa was a country by saying she was caught up in the moment, but her comments about not hiring people with ethnic names on The View put her over the top. It's 2015, Raven, and you're supposed to be a role model, or at least a positive representation of people of color on TV, and yet you're putting them down. Take a seat, lady. Even your own dad doesn't understand where you're coming from anymore.

20 of 25 Evans Vestal Ward/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

Brooks Ayers fakes having cancer

There's low, and then there's pretending-you-have-cancer low, which is is a new low, even for reality-show low. Somehow, someone found a way to make the wine-throwing, table-flipping, weave-pulling and name-calling of the Real Housewives franchise look aristocratic by comparison, and that dubious honor belongs to Brooks Ayers. Ayers, the boyfriend of Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson, went so far as to fabricate documents to make it look like he was receiving treatment from a cancer center, for reasons that remain unclear. While he came clean and admitted to faking the documents, he's sticking by his claim that he has cancer, which, hey, we're not touching. Because no actual human being would lie about having cancer, right?

21 of 25 HBO

​Game of Thrones' gratuitous violence

Brutal violence is as integral to Game of Thrones as "bazinga" is to The Big Bang Theory. But Season 5 was just too much bazinga, and by bazinga, we mean disturbing violence without enough relevance to plot: Sansa's pointless, horrifying rape (which was wholly created for the show since it wasn't in the books), Stannis burning his daughter alive, and what feels like just a nonstop, ugly parade of evisceration, torture and problematic sexualized violence. It's exhausting.

22 of 25 Walt Disney Pictures

​The Avengers: Age of Ulton

Age of Ultron committed the worst sin a summer blockbuster can commit: being boring. All of the stuff that made the first Avengers movie so much fun is here, but sapped of any vitality. It was just going through the superhero motions. The action scenes were jerkily cut to hide the fact that nothing is really happening -- just cartoons punching robots over and over again. Plus: If you hadn't seen all the previous Marvel movies, you had no idea what was going on. And it was hard to care.

23 of 25 Chuck Zlotnick

​Claire runs from dinosaurs in heels in ­Jurassic World

The top-grossing movie of 2015 (at least until Star Wars bumps it to No. 2) is also one of the stupidest. The movie's brainlessness is most on display when Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) runs away from a T-Rex while wearing six-inch stilettos. Everything about this moment is terrible: It's sexist, it's pointless, and it's not even plausible in the world of the movie, unless making herself as vulnerable to death-by-dino as possible is secretly what she wants. No one expects realism from a popcorn action movie, but Jurassic World could have at least tried to have its characters act like actual people.

24 of 25 Eric McCandless/ABC Family

Pretty Little Liars' A Reveal

Fans have waited six years to find out the identity of the serial stalker/murderer terrorizing Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer. All was revealed in the Season 6 summer finale, but the show opted to pin all of it on a character no one had ever heard of, with a convoluted plot that felt like the show was jumping on a transgender bandwagon rather than doing something innovative. It was Allison's cousin Charles, who transitioned into being Charlotte but never really had a clear reason for torturing the girls for so long? Six seasons in and there's still a lot more questions than answers when it comes to this murder drama.

25 of 25 Jojo Whilden/Netflix

Bennett's exit on Orange Is the New Black

Whether or not you were rooting for Bennett and Daya, their romance was a core pillar of the Netflix series since its debut. That's why it was so jarring when Bennett abruptly left his fiancée and unborn child early in Season 3, never to be heard from again. The drastic, unexpected change in Bennett's character not only enraged fans, but also saddened actor Matt McGorry, who said he hopes to return in a way that would redeem his character. Too bad the damage is already done.