TV Shows So Terrible They Became Awesome

Some people like watching trains wreck. Others, they watch awful TV. It's a style choice, really, like deciding which scarf you're going to wear over your sweater vest. And like a style choice, these shows might have started out as good ideas, but somewhere along the way they turned into complete jokes without realizing it. And then, in that odd way fate has of bringing things back in a circle, they became timeless as a result, the kind of horrible experiment you can't look away from at first, but then end up marrying.

Bibleman (1995-)

In 1995, a small production company called Pamplin Entertainment took a long, hard look at all the secular superheros kids were getting into and said, "We can do better." Well ... they didn't. From the Eucharist-laced fever dream of fad-cash and dimly lit church basements crawled Bibleman, a scripture-quoting superhero who uses the power of God (and a store-brand lightsaber) to strike down low-budget sin. Kids loved it the way old people love falling down, or the way puppies love the lonely stretch of highway where they've been abandoned.

In each episode, Bibleman squares off against another alliteration, whether he's Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience or Terminating the Toxic Tonic of Disrespect (those are actual titles). And it's ... God, is it a sin to say it's actually kind of fun to watch? From the horrendous jokes, to fight sequences stiffer than Lazarus, Bibleman is like a bizarre world where one of the Power Rangers fell into a vat of molten Bibles and came out cheesier than ever.

Somehow, Bibleman stayed alive for years. The holy hero has been reincarnated (gasp!) several times, and the series has alternately been called The Bibleman Show, The Bibleman Adventure, and Bibleman: Powersource. Most recently, it's been turned into an animated show called Bibleman: The Animated Adventures. It's safe to say that you'll never have more fun hating something.

South Beach Tow (2011-2015)

It's no secret that a lot of reality TV shows aren't as real as they make themselves out to be, but TruTV's South Beach Tow took its fakeness way too far. South Beach Tow ostensibly follows the workers of Tremont Towing, a business based in Miami. The episodes focus on the team as they attempt to repo vehicles from their unwilling owners, and shenanigans ensue. Plenty of gossip sites have alleged that South Beach Tow was heavily scripted, which ... that's not surprising, is it? This was the show, after all, that once captured Bernice (Tremont Towing's driver) chasing a runaway boat with a JetLev. In another episode, Bernice flips a car over with her bare hands ... just as a bomb goes off in the Tremont Towing office. Then there's the one where she falls off a building and then punches through a car window.

Nobody thinks any of those things just happen to be taking place while the cameras are rolling. The everyday lives of the people at Tremont Towing don't exist in a Jackie Chan movie, so forget about the "reality TV" part of South Beach Tow and think of it as ... well, we don't know what, really. But once you decide to watch it knowing that it's fiction, South Beach Tow is fun as hell.

Japanese Spider-Man (1978-1979)

Yes, this is real. Yes, it's amazing. In 1978, Japanese production house Toei Company put together a Spider-Man TV show for all those Japanese viewers clamoring for more superheroes. What was it like? Take everything good about the old Godzilla films and ... hurl them right in the trash. Fill in the gaps with a guy dressed in a Spider-Man suit, and finally—this part's important—give him a machine gun and a giant robot.

Although the show was called Spider-Man, and although the main character technically was Spider-Man, the similarities stop there. The Japanese Spider-Man's powers were given to him by the survivor of a crashed alien spaceship from Planet Spider. Takuya Yamashiro (Japanese Peter Parker) has a "Spider Bracelet" that holds his suit and shoots webs, and he's tasked with defeating the evil Professor Monster. You're right – It does sound awesome.

Marvel added all 31 original episodes to their website in 2009, but although the page is still up on the Marvel site, you can't watch the episodes anymore. And that might just be the worst thing that's happened in this world since the last mass extinction event.

Cop Rock (1990)

Cop Rock is one of the most ill-fated premises to ever grace the small screen. On one side, it's a gritty cop drama in the same vein as NYPD Blue and Miami Vice. On the other side, it's ... a musical. That's right—Cop Rock follows a squad of hard-as-nails LAPD officers who periodically break out into full-blown Broadway performances, complete with convict backup dancers, all while tracking down dangerous criminals because even the funkiest of cops still got a job to do.

Not surprisingly, nobody knew what to think about Cop Rock. It was so different, so unexpected, that the show ultimately tanked after one season. Despite some surprisingly powerful songs by Randy Newman and cameos from singers like Sheryl Crow, Cop Rock just never seemed to find an audience. If you're one of those people who always thought Law & Order could use more hidden keyboards and maybe a few rousing gospel numbers in the courtroom, then is this the show for you!

Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee (2003)

Sandra Lee's 2003 cooking show, Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee, is the laziest cooking show ever made. Like the name implies, the recipes really are "semi" homemade—they all use prepackaged food. Want to learn how to make a cake? The first thing you do, according to Sandra Lee, is go buy a cake. Hungry for some of Grandma's old-time garlic fries? Don't fret, Sandra Lee whispers in your ear. Sprinkle some garlic powder on that bag of frozen French fries. Grandma's dead, anyway.

But if that was all the show had going for it, it would have fallen through the cracks of the Food Network long ago. The real star here is Sandra Lee, who at various times comes across like she's being controlled by a tiny alien in a malfunctioning Sandra Lee suit, or is just homeless-level drunk. In fact, her drink recipes are where she really shines. Whether Aunt Sandy's making a "cocktail" by pouring Hypnotiq in a glass, "measuring" vodka by filling up an entire tumbler, or adding champagne to her brandy "because it's brunch!," you'll never leave an episode of Semi-Homemade Cooking knowing how to cook.

Bonekickers (2008)

In 2008, shortly after the massive success of The Da Vinci Code, BBC1 aired a short-lived archaeology thriller called Bonekickers. The premise must have fallen on the producers' ears like a rain of sweet milk: Modern-day archaeologists dig up ancient relics in and around London while fighting off bad guys, like Indiana Jones but with a CSI twist. Mystery, intrigue, history—Bonekickers had it all.

At least, it did in theory. Somewhere between pitching the show and airing the first episode, that sweet rain of milk curdled and stank up the fridge. The story lines are ludicrous, and the writing is worse. The dialogue is so bad that the horrible one-liners ("Don't mess with me! I'm an archaeologist!" delivered with a ear-splitting growl that sounds like a bad bout on the toilet combined with seeing your car get repossessed) feel like an improvement over the rest of the script. One of the characters mutters "Another femur..." while uncovering a history-rewriting ancient battle conveniently buried in the topsoil, because even he knows the show has gone too far when they keep tripping over priceless artifacts barely a taxi's ride away from their office.

If it sounds bad, that's because it is. Unequivocally bad. And it's a ton of fun to watch. Unfortunately, Bonekickers ended after its sixth episode, so we'll never get to see Professor Gregory find the Holy Grail duct-taped to the underside of his desk because the writers finally said "screw it" and went out for breakfast martinis.

RoboCop: Prime Directives (2000)

The history of the RoboCop franchise is sort of like the downward climb from the peak of Mount Fuji. The original 1987 RoboCop wasn't the best—it certainly wasn't Everest—but it was a damn good movie with a lot to say. RoboCop 2, which came out three years later, slid a little farther down the slope, but it stayed true to the spirit of the original—violent, swear-laden, and viciously satirical of modern America.

Then RoboCop 3 came out, and that gentle downhill slide went straight off a cliff. There was a short-lived live-action series that ran for one season in the mid '90s—while the franchise was screaming in terror, reaching futilely for the cliff wall rushing past—and then RoboCop hit the unforgiving ground and exploded into a million bloody pieces. They called that one RoboCop: Prime Directives.

Prime Directives was released as a miniseries in 2000, and to this day, nobody can remember why. The show is set 13 years after the first film. Alex Murphy, AKA RoboCop, is older in his human parts and obsolete in his robo-parts. The world has moved on, forgetting the hero who once saved Detroit (now Delta City). What follows is a mash-up of emotional moments and action, each just as bad as the other. In this scene, RoboCop visits a graveyard and realizes that everyone he loves is dead, and yet the most dramatic part of the whole scene is the whir of his shoulder servos. Then there's this scene, where RoboCop and a newer RoboCop model sort of ... stand there. They're shooting each other—there are a lot of bullets—but mostly they just stand there, like someone who just started playing Call of Duty and hasn't figured out how to make their top half and bottom half work simultaneously.

Redeeming factors? Prime Directives is cheesy enough to get plenty of unintentional laughs, but the best part is that this show honestly tried to go back to the ultraviolence of the original, but couldn't seem to figure out how to realistically pull off those death effects. Just check out these cops getting sliced up by lasers. It's mesmerizing, but oh-so-bad.

Mike Rowe on QVC (early 90's)

Everyone's done it at least once — It's late, you're channel surfing, and somehow you end up on QVC for an hour, watching someone try to sell you useless things to put on your mantle or give to your cat. But for a brief time in the early '90s, those late-night home shopping shows were actually fun, because that was when Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs) spent some time as a QVC presenter.

And it was bad. If you wonder how those presenters can keep a straight face while they're shilling that crap, apparently so did Rowe. He made jokes about the products, went off on tangents, and the rest of the time just seemed flabbergasted by what people were actually buying. According to Rowe, he was in a bar with a friend when QVC came on the TV, and his friend bet him he couldn't get the producers to call him back about a job. Rowe went to the audition and nailed the part, then got fired three separate times, presumably because he wouldn't follow the script.

In a recent video on his own YouTube channel, Mike Rowe's comment about his time at QVC was that he was often "somewhere between hungover and exhausted." Really, if most actors were that honest about their work, it'd be a lot easier to laugh at some of the terrible shows on TV.

The Immortal (2000-2001)

As far as Highlander rip-offs go, The Immortal is pretty awful. It's what Supernatural would be if the writers replaced all the humor with swords and nonsense, then killed off the Winchester brothers because they couldn't swordfight and shoot guns at the same time without being likable. Instead, we got Lorenzo Lamas as Raphael Cain, a normal man who swore to rid the world of demons after one killed his wife. That was a couple hundred years ago. Fast-forward to the present, and Raphael Cain is still hunting demons as an immortal. A normal immortal, presumably.

It ... could be cool, maybe, with a budget, competent writers, and a good fight choreographer. Having none of those, The Immortal instead limped along on the sole redeeming factor of Lorenzo Lamas' jawline. To fill in the rest, the showrunners had to lean on every tired action cliché known to man. Drama in a fight scene invariably meant slow motion, and slow motion meant watching the frame rate skitter like a drunken beaver on a frozen pond. To save money on special effects, the moments in between are filled with long, painful monologues (sometimes starring pro wrestlers who clearly can't monologue outside of "I will win at WrestleMania"). It almost hurts to watch, and listen to.

But at the same time, you can't stop. You want to, but you can't. Because The Immortal has one thing going for it that you can't pay for, no matter how large your budget: It has heart. Misplaced heart, maybe. Cardiac-arrest, can't-exercise-or-you'll-die heart, but heart all the same. Someone wanted this show to happen, and whoever that was poured their heart into The Immortal, logic and skills be damned.

CSI: Miami (2002-2012)

We all know the meme. David Caruso takes off/puts on/contemplates his sunglasses and then says a weird one-liner while the theme music starts playing. Based on that alone, Caruso's Horatio Caine has become a cult icon. CSI: Miami ran for a whopping ten seasons and spent most of those seasons killing it in the rankings, but here's the weird thing: It's a terrible show.

CBS launched CSI: Miami after two successful seasons with the more scientific CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (now often called CSI: Las Vegas), and immediately dropped all premise of the scientific accuracy that had made the first show so successful. Instead, CSI: Miami became a caricature of forensics that got buried under the ridiculous plot lines, impossibly bright colors, manic-depressive action scenes, and HYEEAHHHHHHHHHHH. Even the cast members point it out. Emily Procter, who plays Calleigh Duquesne, called it the "fantasy comic book version of the CSI stories." Jonathan Togo, who plays Ryan Wolfe, went even further, saying, "Sometimes you have to suspend belief and understand that you're buying into a hyperreal reality ... it's just like in a comic book."

That actually makes an insane kind of sense. Watch this video montage of the action scenes. Everything from the framing to the dialogue totally feels like something in a comic book. And the colors, holy blindness, Batman! The only things in this world more colorful than CSI: Miami are rainbows and acid trips, and unfortunately they don't have nearly as much commercial value. But the show is undeniably fun. Like Today said, it's "watchable, yet horrible." What do your sunglasses think about that, Horatio?