Not all shows can have a name as cool as Game Of Thrones (though, when we think about it, that title does make it sound a bit like Ye Olde Musical Chairs).
Some shows are saddled with super-average titles. Some are hampered even further by titles that aren't just middling, they're actively bad – with some so damaging they arguably killed the shows they were selling.
What follows is a combination of shows that were cancelled, and some that still survive. For those latter programmes all we'll say is this: it's never too late to rebrand.
Back's such a terrible title we had to Google it to remember what it was – and we watched it a couple of days ago.
The tale of the son of a pub landlord (David Mitchell) who has to take over his dad's business after his father dies – a situation that's complicated when a (now adult) former foster child (Robert Webb) of the family comes 'back' (SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?) and it turns out he's a bit of a compulsive liar.
So, no, it's not a show about a chiropractor, or a time traveller, it's a (so far, really good) show about a pub. What would we call it? The Rat and Badger, probably. But this is why we don't name TV shows, we just write features complaining about them.
Put it this way, as names go, it's no Peep Show – which isn't great either, when you think about it, but at least has a clickbaity appeal. Back just means… pfff, what are we talking about again?
Calling Girls 'Girls' is a bit like calling Sex And The City 'Women' – it makes sense, but it's not exactly catchy, is it? According to Lena Dunham, the title came from a conversation with producer Judd Apatow and could have been changed right up to broadcast. We kind of wish it had.
It's not just patronising (though that's sort of the point) – the title completely ignores the boys' contribution to the series (though that's also sort of the point).
But Girls' title's biggest crime is that it's just really, really forgettable and has zero Google juice. Try searching for it and you probably won't find what you're looking for.
Still, great show.
Yeah, yeah – it's a tragedy Firefly got cancelled, blah, blah, blah. It's awesome.
But if Joss Whedon didn't want it to be cancelled maybe – just maybe – he should have called it something, oh, we don't know, exciting?
Yes, we know it's the name of the ship, but it's not like Star Trek was called 'Enterprise' was it? (actually, Enterprise was – and no-one watched that series, either). And come to think of it, it's not even the name of the ship, but the class of ship.
Our preferred title? Captain Mal's Space Smugglers. Look, we've already said we're not very good at this.
The literal approach worked for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though, and anything's better than a name that suggests the show's about an insect with a glowing bum.
4. Happy Endings
One of the most talked about TV shows on launch, Happy Endings was considered the natural successor to Friends (it had a very similar set-up – six pals living in a major US city, swapping New York for Chicago). Critics loved it, it seemed set for total success.
But then the show had an ironically sad ending when it was cancelled after just three seasons.
Part of the problem was the erratic scheduling, but some of the blame can be laid at the feet of the awful title, which made it sound like a weird sex show about people who receive illicit massages, instead of a fairly generic sitcom.
5. Trophy Wife
This one has a title so bad, the lead actress almost turned the project down without reading it.
"I saw the title and said, hell no, I'm not playing that, but when I read what the character was about it made sense," Malin Akerman said. "I thought it was brilliant. It's the complete opposite of a trophy wife."
Unfortunately, audiences had a similar reaction ("Hell no, we're not watching that") and the – sadly rather excellent – show was cancelled after just one season.
We can't blame this one on the showrunners – iZombie is a (very, very loose) adaptation of a comic with the same name. It revolves around a zombie who works at a morgue so she can eat brains without harming anyone. But, plot twist, when she eats people's brains, she gets flashbacks / information on how they died. She uses this info to help solve crimes.
So, yeah, brilliant premise – which has absolutely nothing to do with the title, which makes it sound like a documentary series about that time Steve Jobs designed an undead workforce to make Apple products (which is a show we'd totally watch).
7. Cougar Town
No, it's not a supernatural series about a bunch of big cats who live in suburbia, and it's not about a town full of older women who sleep with younger guys, it's a comedy about a recently divorced woman who gets back into the dating scene.
The name's so bad and misrepresentative that creator Bill Lawrence seriously considered changing it for the second season. The network didn't let him, and instead the writers decided to troll themselves with a bunch of self-referential title cards, which you can see compiled above.
8. Don't Trust The B---- in Apartment 23
Yeaaaaah, it's probably not a good idea to put a swearword into your show's title, especially if your network decides to bleep it out by erasing the offensive word whenever they mention about it.
It's off-putting for prudes, who are intelligent enough to fill in the gap, and annoying for rock-and-rollers who feel like they're being patronised.
Weirdly, it was renamed Apartment 23 before the censorship compromise. We wish someone had been brave enough to go with the original title, or sensible enough to go with the alternate.
The show itself is excellent, with Jessica Jones / Breaking Bad star Krysten Ritter particularly hilarious as the title ch***cter.
9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
With a title that would be fairly offensive even if we weren't living in our current woke times (the "crazy ex-girlfriend" cliché has been pretty consistently misogynistic throughout history), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend sounds like a show that was cancelled in the early '70s.
But the musical comedy, created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, starring Bloom in the lead role, subverts your expectations, gazing at the heart of darkness at the centre of most rom-com set-ups – partly via the deliberately provocative title.
It's warm, witty, dark and brilliant – exploring the tropes of romantic comedies in a similar way to Stranger Things by bringing new life to a whole bunch of tired genre traditions. Just don't let the title put you off.
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