A flying nun, a talking car, tone deaf cops, a man turned animal, and those singing and dancing Bradys. These fiascos — The Flying Nun, My Mother the Car, Cop Rock, Manimal and that first Brady Bunch spin-off — have rightly earned their reputations as some of the most idiotic shows in the history of television.

Then there was the sketch comedy Turn-On that was turned off in the middle of the first episode. And, let’s face it, beloved Gilligan’s Island was not so brilliant either. But there are many more awful series worth remembering. My goal is to enlighten you (or make you scratch your head in wonder) with a sampling of 10 other really bizarre — or just plain bad — TV shows. 

Here are my findings, ranked by date. Please chime in with your picks on the Considerable Facebook page.

1. Me and the Chimp (CBS): 1972

The season before she landed on fictional Waltons mountain smack in the middle of the Depression on family drama The Waltons, little Kami Cotler was monkeying around with a chimp named Buttons on sitcom Me and the Chimp.

Buttons, you see, was a washout from a space program that found a home with the Reynolds family (including former That Girl star Ted Bessell). And it was constant chaos thanks to that cute-as-a-button Buttons, mixed with a laugh track that made you wonder who the heck would even laugh at this.

Did You Know?

Ted Bessell was featured in two additional short-lived sitcoms after Me and the Chimp: NBC’s Good Time Harry in 1980 and Hail to the Chief on ABC in 1985. Both lasted for just seven episodes.

How to Watch Me and the Chimp today: one episode is available on YouTube

2. The Super (ABC): 1972

Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

Three years before we met Pat Harrington, Jr. as beloved Dwayne Schneider on the original One Day at a Time, the role of a building superintendent came in the form of an overweight, sluggish, nasty man named Joe Girelli (Richard Castellano) in failed ABC comedy The Super

The location was a lower-class neighborhood in New York City, the tenants were of mixed ethnic backgrounds, Joe’s children had no respect for dear old Dad, and the jokes were an endless barrage of racially themed banter about anything — and everything — objectionable. Let it be a lesson: you should never show your main character removing dog poo from his shoe in the opening credits. 

Did You Know?

Bruno Kirby, who played Joe’s son Anthony in The Super, shared the role of Pete Clemenza with Richard Castellano in The Godfather movies. Castellano was featured in the role in The Godfather in 1972 and Kirby as the younger version in The Godfather Part II in 1974. 

How to Watch The Super today: not available

3. Supertrain (NBC): 1979

Ron Tom/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

I admit it. I have seen most of the episodes of The Love Boat, which for a teenager in the 1970s meant I didn’t have a date on Saturday. Gulp! But, let me boldly proclaim I did not see all the installments of Supertrain, which was its clone on wheels. Then again, Supertrain only lasted for nine episodes.  

Set on a nuclear-powered bullet train of the future equipped with all the luxuries of a cruise ship (including a swimming pool!), guest stars like Steve Lawrence, Vicki Lawrence, Larry Linville and Rue McClanahan would board this train troubled with some nonsense and miraculously exit without a care in the world.

While Alan Alda was a “S*M*A*S*H at the time on CBS, his poor father Robert was featured here as a doctor named Dan Lewis (along with Edward Andrews and Harrison Page). And, midway through its abysmal season came a retooling with Ilene Graff (pre-Mr. Belvedere) as the social director. If only the Long Island Railroad would hire a social director maybe every trip would not be pure hell.

Did You Know?

Supertain was the replacement in the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour for a short-lived variety hour called Dick Clark’s Live Wednesday.

How to Watch Supertrain today: not available

4. Small Wonder (syndication): 1985-89

Most TV show fiascos do not last for four seasons. But for 96 goofy episodes, the focus was on “Vicki,” an android in the shape of a 10-year-old girl built by Ted Lawson (Dick Christie), an engineer/inventor for United Robotronics who brings Vicki (Tiffany Brissette) home to mature within a family environment.

There she meets 10-year old son Jamie (Jerry Supiran) and little redheaded Harriet Brindle (Emily Schulman), the nosy neighbors’ obnoxious daughter who has a crush on Jamie. Every time Harriet appeared the producers had to crank up the laugh track (viewers weren’t buying it).

Did You Know?

Before she headed to ABC’s Full House as D.J. Tanner, Candace Bure auditioned for the role of Vicki on Small Wonder. Heather O’Rourke, known from theatrical Poltergeist, also auditioned. Tragically, she died at age 12 in February 1988.

How to Watch Small Wonder today: DVD

5. She’s the Sheriff (syndication): 1987-89

Six years after being axed from Three’s Company, Suzanne Somers made her sitcom comeback as Hildy Granger, a young wife suddenly widowed living near Lake Tahoe with two children to support.

The premise of Hildy being appointed sheriff, the job held by her husband until his untimely death, was as believable as cutesy Sally Field flying around as Sister Bertrille. After two painful seasons, Somers ultimately moved on to a more successful run as spokesperson for Thighmaster. 

Did You Know?

The actress originally cast in She’s the Sheriff was Priscilla Barnes, who ultimately replaced Suzanne Somers (following temporary replacement Jenilee Harrison) on Three’s Company.

How to Watch She’s the Sheriff today: not available

6. The Bradys (CBS): 1990

Let’s see if I have this straight. “Fake” Marcia (Leah Ayres) is an alcoholic; Greg (Barry Williams) and Peter (Christopher Knight) have a fistfight dressed as Bavarian waiters at a catering event; Thindy (I mean Cindy – Susan Olsen) is suddenly a morning radio DJ; and Jan (Eve Plumb) is still married to that intellectual dud Philip (Ron Kuhlman). Oh, and Bobby (Mike Lookinland) is paralyzed from the waist down while racing a car, but manages to stand at the end of the griping episode. Praise the writers!

Did I also mention that Ann B. Davis as beloved Alice is still dressed in that blue polyester uniform cooking and cleaning for the Bradys even through she does not work for them anymore? The moral of this story: Maybe earlier spin-offs The Brady Bunch Hour and The Brady Brides were not so bad after all!

Did You Know?

Jonathan Taylor Thomas played Greg and Nora’s son Kevin before his long-run gig as Randy Taylor on Home Improvement.

How to Watch The Bradys today: possibly DVD

7. Scorch (CBS): 1992

CBS/Getty Images

Then home to top 10 shows like Murphy Brown, Designing Woman and Major Dad, CBS decided it was time for a comedy about a 1,300-year-old dragon who is struck by lightning and crash lands in front of the apartment of an unassuming man named Brian Stevens (Jonathan Walker) and his young daughter (Rhea Silver-Smith). No…I do not make this stuff up!

Miraculously, Brian lands a job as a TV weatherman the next day at a Hartford TV station by pretending he is a ventriloquist and Scorch is his puppet. But only Brian and his daughter know that Scorch is a real dragon. After six episodes, Scorch was scorched by the network.

Did You Know?

Before he landed his classic recurring role as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, John O’Hurley was featured on this dud.

How to Watch Scorch today: not available

8. Baywatch Nights (syndication): 1995-97

Getty Images

Considering the pedigree of its parent series, Baywatch, no one was expecting much brilliance in the spin-off. But just how did lifeguard extraordinaire Mitch Buchanan (David Hasselhoff) suddenly become a detective? And what the heck was he suddenly doing battling supernatural forces in season two? If the producers were smart, Hasselhoff’s Mitch would have realized it was all a bad dream as he was sitting in KITT on Knight Rider

Did You Know?

David Hasselhoff’s first regularly scheduled TV series was an ABC sitcom in 1980 called Semi-Tough, based on the Burt Reynolds movie of the same name. It was not so tough after all and lasted just four episodes.

How to Watch Baywatch Nights today: DVD

9. Caveman (ABC): 2007

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Here’s an idea. Let’s take one of those adorable Geico commercials that works so well in a 30-second format and expand it into a half-hour buddy sitcom about three friends who share a condo. These three wild and crazy single guys who just want to have fun just happen to be…um…cavemen.

Masked with mountains of facial hair that might have been more appropriate for a Planet of the Apes reboot, Cavemen was put out of its misery after seven episodes. And, thankfully, no one ever picked up a comedy about that Taco Bell chihuahua. 

Did You Know?

Cavemen led into another failed new ABC series called Carpoolers, which told the unfunny tale of four male suburbanites (Fred Goss, Jerry Minor, Tim Peper and Jerry O’Connell) who ride together to and from work.  

How to Watch Cavemen today: not available

10. Work It (ABC): 2012

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Yes, I know…Bosom Buddies on ABC with Tom Hanks (pre-his two Oscars) and Peter Scolari (pre-Newhart) is a cult favorite. But the comedy was based within the likability of the characters, not the dresses. And that leads me to clone Work It, the tale of two men who dress as women in order to keep a job in a bad economy. 

After a unanimous round of horrific reviews, not to mention concerns from LGBTQ groups about how the show trivialized the obstacles faced by transgender people in the workplace, Work It was yanked after just two telecasts. The remaining 11 installments have never aired.

Did You Know?

Work It replaced another failed ABC comedy called Man Up!, which revolved around the lives of three modern men who try to get in touch with their inner “tough guys” and redefine what it means to be a “real man.” We’ll save this entry for Bad TV, part 2!

Honorable Mentions:

$#*! My Dad Says (CBS), AfterMASH (CBS), The Bailey’s of Balboa (CBS), Captain Nice (ABC), Checking In (CBS), Co-Ed Fever (CBS), Hogan’s Heroes (CBS), Holmes & Yoyo (ABC), Homeboys in Outer Space (UPN), I Feel Bad (NBC), I Wanna Marry Harry (Fox), Joanie Loves Chachi (ABC), Mr. T and Tina (ABC), The Osbournes Reloaded (Fox), Pink Lady and Jeff (NBC), The Pruitts of Southampton (ABC), The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer (UPN), The Ugliest Girl in Town (ABC), Viva Laughlin (CBS)

Marc Berman is the founder and Editor-in-Chief for Programming Insider. He also covers the broadcasting landscape, at present, for Forbes.com, Watch!, Newspro and C21 Media in London. His prior pieces have appeared in Campaign US, The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times and Emmy Magazine, among other outlets.

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