Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Nickelodeon and Disney Channel 2016 Winners and Losers

Yup, it's that time again! If you thought these networks took a beating in 2015, well, 2016 was worse. Gee, I wonder if there's going to be more overall losers than winners this year?

Between the Networks: The Winner of Nickelodeon vs. Disney Channel in 2016: Again, absolutely no one but Nickelodeon still did significantly better than Disney Channel so there you go

Last year I said 2015 was a low point for both networks, but this year proves there's still a lot of low to go down to especially for Disney Channel. I covered in more detail the ratings freefall in my last post but Nickelodeon managed to ride it quite better than Disney Channel, even if their overall ratings are still (slightly) worse compared to the peak overall ratings of 2015 (if that makes sense). 

Best Live-Action TV Show on Both Networks: 100 Things to Do Before High School

It aired exactly one episode in 2016 before getting the axe but hey, it still counts.

Runners Up: Liv and Maddie, , Stuck in the Middle, Best Friends Whenever, Legendary Dudas, The Thundermans, The Other Kingdom

Being a Liv and Maddie fanboy I don't think I need to explain this one. Best Friends Whenever may not have the cachet as Girl Meets World but it proved to be on the balance entertaining with some well-written jokes and managed to have a large fanbase despite being two-and-through. Stuck in the Middle is proving itself to be at least part-charming in episodes despite perhaps the limited production values and dare I say it, in those parts more charming than Girl Meets World. Legendary Dudas turned out to be quite a surprise, a successful execution of the Modern Family formula in middle school format, but alas the six episodes we saw in the summer will be it forever. And yes, I know I'm reaching with The Other Kingdom, but Thundermans aside can you really name a live-action show better on Nickelodeon right now?

No. You can't.

Make it Pop! could've been, but they aired only one episode during the entire calendar year and it absolutely sucked donkey balls.

This pretty much means the same stories for best shows on the individual networks: 100 Things to do Before High School as Best Show on Nickelodeon with Legendary Dudas, Thundermans and The Other Kingdom as Runners-Up with Liv and Maddie the best Disney Channel show with Best Friends Whenever and Stuck in the Middle as Runners-Up

Best Live-Action Show, Disney XD: Kirby Buckets

Yes I'm being completely serious about this one. The first season was very hit-or-miss; but the show found its stride in Season #2 and didn't necessarily find its narrative voice, but rather found itself better as a conduit simply for jokes, gag-plotlines and to let the actors do their thing. And it did so with aplomb, perhaps not unlike a classic Nickelodeon live-action/single-camera show that you might find on The Splat.

Runners Up: Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything, Mech-X4

As with Kirby Buckets, Gamer's Guide succeeds not through its narrative voice (indeed the actual narrative quality of the show outright sucks) but in just being laugh-out-loud funny, even if usually in the most base, juvenile manner allowable on the network. But hey, style points only gets you so far when there's not much to compete against in the first place.

Best New Live-Action Show, Between the Networks: Stuck in the Middle

This is pretty much going to be an award it wins by default because absolutely nearly every premiere was atrocious. Seriously. I'm starting to somewhat warm up to Bizaardvark which at least manages to net it Runner-Up for the network.

Runner-Up: Legendary Dudas, The Other Kingdom

Yes, really. As I mentioned despite its very short run it pulled off the Modern Family-in-Middle School formula very well, and what especially helps especially in The Other Kingdom's case is that School of Rock is utter, steaming garbage.

And needless to say those shows also win those respective positions for Best New Live-Action Show on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Runner-Up for Disney Channel gets to be Bizaardvark as I mentioned. As for Runner-Up for Nickelodeon: None. Nada, zilch. I refuse to recognize a runner-up. School of Rock is a gigantic stinking pile of utter shit and the fandom that has watched this show enough to get it three seasons should have their TV watching privileges permanently revoked, and the writers of this show should never be permitted to hold a pen pencil or be allowed to clack on a keyboard ever, ever again.

Worst Show Between the Networks: School of Rock

I really do mean it when I say I'm flabbergasted as to how this show can be popular enough to warrant three seasons. I've literally seen one - one good episode, and the rest of the episodes I've seen make me actively regret ever having seen them. It isn't just the worst new show I've seen from either network for the '16 calendar year, it's the worst show I've seen from either network in years. Bunk'd is better than this by a country mile. It has juvenile writing that talks down to 8 year olds, equally juvenile dumbed-down jokes and is simply an assault to the intelligence of anyone regardless of actual intellect. 

Runner-Up: Game Shakers

Whatever I said last year applies here. It's also garbage, School of Rock just happens to be even worse garbage.

Needless to say these shows also get the awards for Worst ive-Action Shows of Nickelodoen & Runner-Up and School of Rock gets Worst New Live-Action Show of Nickelodeon (with, due to having exhausted all the live-action premieres has no runner-up).

Worst Live-Action Show, Disney Channel: Bunk'd

Yes it's improved a bit, but it's still easily the worst show on the network. Bizaardvark manages to be better enough such that Bunk'd gets to be alone, all by itself with no runner-up.

Best New Live-Action Show, Disney XD: Mech-X4

An award it wins by absolute default and even then only barely because I don't think it's actually premiered yet on XD, instead being almost exclusively on mainline Disney Channel despite being an "XD Original."

Worst Live-Action Show, Disney XD: Lab Rats: Elite Force

There was a reason why this show suffers the ignominy of being one-and-done. Although it had belly laugh-worthy jokes, the overarching plot and premise were downright incomprehensible at times. Although ostensibly a simple team-up between Lab Rats and Mighty Med, it took some bizarre directions to get there - bizarre directing decisions, bizarre plot direction and for the lion's share of the episode not making use of its basic premise one bit. It could've been more, but a simple lack of narrative skill killed all that potential.

Best Original Movie: The Swap

Not that Adventures in Babysitting was bad, but The Swap felt more like having those elements a classic DCOM has become known for since the HSM era. It was based on strong source material to begin with and didn't stray too far from it - and that's the basic formula to winning Best Original Movie.

Runner-Up: Adventures in Babysitting

Although a huge ratings disappointment (in fact outright disaster) AiB was still a good Original Movie and worthy choice for the 100th DCOM spot, and in many ways managed to improve upon the original.

Since those are the two DCOMs that premiered in '16, there is no award for Worst DCOM

Best Original Nickelodeon Movie: Albert

Shockingly closer to a Pixar classic than I'd anticipated, Albert actually scored very well in character and writing, and is probably the best Nickelodeon Christmas movie since Drake & Josh.

Runner-Up: Rufus

Pretty much by default, yup.

Worst Original Nickelodeon Movie: Legends of the Hidden Temple

Oooooh, How DARE you pick on Legends of the Hidden Temple! Well, too bad, my blog. Besides, it wasn't that bad; but having way too many predictable moments and moments that served strictly as filler, it's still the worst Nickelodeon Original Movie of the year, especially when Albert proved that Nickelodeon can still knock it out of the park, perhaps especially when unburdened by the physical and budgetary restrictions of a live-action movie.

That said, I don't feel like there are any original movies from either network bad enough to be called Worst Original Movie Overall, so officially filling in that spot will be none.

Best Live-Action Single Episode Overall: Girl Meets She Don't Like Me (Girl Meets World)

Hey, I have to throw some bone to Girl Meets World (especially when you read what I have to say about the show a little later) and She Don't Like Me, bad grammar aside, is legitimately my most favorite episode of the whole series so far (probably the whole series period) and my favorite episode of of the '16 calendar year. It was the perfect GMW episode, and if the rest of the series could even be two-thirds this good I think we'd be hearing more talk of a Season 4, and at least it'd make me feel a little better about some of the ill-will with the Girl Meets World fandom (again, wait a little bit for me to explain that one). It had everything: good writing, good character, a good lesson where Riley and Maya don't necessarily automatically win by default (a common problem with this show) but still reach a satisfying conclusion and it just made me feel actually at home with these characters and show for perhaps the only true time in the series' entire history.

Best Live-Action Single Episode Disney Channel, Runner-Up: Viva-La-Rooney (Liv and Maddie)

Choosing a third season episode as opposed to the more controversial fourth season, Viva-La-Rooney had everything you expect from a great Liv and Maddie episode, including a rather well-written (for once) love triangle exploration between Josh and Maddie.

Best Live-Action Single Episode, Nickelodeon: Thundermans Secret Revealed

Pretty much by default, although I suppose you can really pick nearly any Thundermans episode.


Best Live-Action Single Episode, Nickelodeon, Runner-Up: I dunno, choose another episode of The Thunderman for all I care.

Worst Live-Action Single Episode, Overall: Literally, choose ANY episode of School of Rock (aside from the one with Daya in it which is the only decent episode of the show so far) But if I was forced to choose a single episode it would be A Band With No Name which perfectly encapsulates just how shitty this show is, including an inherent smug sense of self-entitlement only Girl Meets World can rival. 

I would buy a copy of the script just so that I could symbolically burn it and post it on YouTube, Vine or Snapchat.

Worst Live-Action Single Episode, Nickelodeon, Runner-Up: Danger and Thunder For pretty much the same reasons as School of Rock: awful treatment of Kira Kosarin, awful writing, awful and nonsensical plotting, and jokes that were funny only in the writer's head.

Worst Live-Action Single Episode, Disney Channel: Girl Meets High School (Girl Meets World) The more I think about it, the more I think I was way too generous with giving this episode a C-grade; indeed, I think it was more deserving a D- if not an outright F. It perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with Girl Meets World - again, an inherent and undeserved smug sense of self-entitlement and superiority (perfectly realized on-screen in having Riley and Maya heartlessly physically crush Fake-Riley and Fake-Maya) and a feel-good lesson that doesn't go anywhere except at the very end where it takes a cheesy 180-degree turn from all logical reason and deep into stupid territory, with the obvious expectation from the show and its writers that we're supposed to have reached a new level of Nirvana at this unbeholden revelation. 

To use a phrase from the decade where 'Meets World should've been left for dead, gag me with a fucking spoon.

Worst Live-Action Single Episode, Disney Channel, Runner-Up: ...I'm having a lot of honest difficulty in coming up with one, and not because there's been such high quality on Disney Channel either. Rather, it's because so few shows are just worth the time watching - certainly not Bunk'd, Bizaardvark and even Girl Meets World has just been such a fucking chore to watch most of the time, and if a show really becomes a chore to watch then it simply isn't worth the time watching, no matter the fanbase (which is why Mike's been taking up most of the reviews, Thanks Mike!) There was a time where I'd obligate myself to watch every single show on Disney Channel because it was pretty reliable in giving you an episode you could at least enjoy. Clearly 2016 wasn't it.

Best Finale, Disney Channel: Gravity Falls by default pretty much Gravity Falls promised an epic series, and its finale at least certainly lived up to that. Not missing a beat, it shows why this series gained so much critical praise and attention during its run. See that's how you do a series that helps build the network instead of just letting people make potshots at it. 

2016 also saw an unusual amount of series finales, the vast majority of them unplanned (in fact only Austin & Ally's was). Lab Rats: Elite Force on XD and Best Friends Whenever being the ones that most come to mind. I feel it'd be kind of unfair to start naming a runner-up or worst finale in this case; Austin & Ally didn't necessarily have a bad finale and neither did Best Friends Whenever (in fact I'd say it's a pretty even dead heat between them). Yeah, sure, the LR: EF "finale" was just a lousy episode overall but again it feels like a cheap shot giving worst finale to a show that ended on a cliffhanger, and did so unintentionally. Maybe I'll give it some consideration with Mike or with you guys in the comments.

Best Finale, Nickelodeon: Bella and the Bulldogs, again pretty much by default Again, another unintentional finale, but one that manage to provide a nice sense of closure (unlike the 100 Things finale, which was pretty much just a regular episode as good as it was).

Best Finale, Nickelodeon, Runner-Up: 100 Things to do Before High School, again pretty much by default Though I'm tempted to name Power Rangers: Super Dino Charge. Yup.

Biggest Fall on Face, Disney Channel: Girl Meets World You can read my essay here to see why.

Biggest Fall on Face, Nickelodeon: I suppose a more honest answer would be Legends of the Hidden Temple but I really want to say School of Rock, so there.

5 comments:

  1. Mech X4 has aired on XD now. I don't much else to say because i agree a lot more on 2016's winners/losers. 2016 was a bad year for everyone. Although there were plenty of bright spots here and there, i guess.

    Lab Rats Elite Force was mostly good, especially in the more dramatic episodes like The List, but the short seson hurt it. Also, some bad flandierzation.

    Kirby Buckets Season 2 was about equal.It had the new worst episode(Weekend with Inga) but the good ones were about as good as before, so there you go. Haven't seen Seson 3 yet, cuz i could not catch up with the rapid fire they aired it recently.

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  2. Wait, Liv and Maddie's fourth season has been controversial? I haven't heard that. How so?

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    1. I guess people feel Lauren Donzis and the California setting are unnecessary, and that the writing overall has declined. Also apologies for answering this...exactly a month later! Yeah....

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  3. I nominate Girl Meets Hollywood for Worst Live-Action Single Episode, Disney Channel.

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So we might be sparse on updates/posts for a while (also Andi Mack mini-review, whatever the hell episode # it is)

I'm taking a month-long summer course as a prerequisite for career advancement, and well I don't know what Mike's doing but if h...