It's pretty rare for any TV fandom to reach a consensus, but every so often, an episode comes along that we can all agree is a classic.
But if there's one thing that unites fans even more strongly than a shared appreciation for a classic, it's a shared disdain for an absolute clunker.
These are the episodes of otherwise great shows that even hardcore aficionados struggle to defend. (And this isn't our opinion: the following are the lowest-ranked episodes of each show by votes over at IMDb.)
1| Game of Thrones, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
Yes, it's the one where Ramsay rapes Sansa—still a hugely controversial plot point and one which has ended up condemning the sixth episode from GoT's fifth season to the bottom of the fan rankings.
Still, even as the lowest scoring episode from the show's seven-year run, it's managed a rating of 8.1 out of 10. The numbers would suggest that even an ill-considered episode like this is better than most other things on television.
2| Stranger Things, "The Lost Girl"
No surprise here. This hugely divisive episode from Stranger Things' second season—which cuts away from the action in Hawkins for an awkward cutaway introducing Eleven's new 'family' of painfully '80s punks—is the show's worst-ever outing according to fans.
And by quite some margin. "The Lost Girl" scores just 6.2 out of 10, significantly less than the next lowest-ranked episode, season two opener 'MADMAX' (which managed an 8.5).
3| The Big Bang Theory, "The Cognition Regeneration"
It's the biggest sitcom in the world right now, but Big Bang Theory fans just can't get on board with season 10, episode 22. "The Cognition Regeneration" saw Leonard get jealous as Penny reconnected with an ex-boyfriend, and featured a sub-plot about an evil ventriloquist's dummy. No, seriously.
It ranks just 6.8 out of 10—and for once, the critics and the fans agreed on something. "If you think jokes about getting splinters from sex with ventriloquist dolls are funny, then boy does The Big Bang Theory have an episode for you!" sniped Vulture, noting how the show continued to "limp to its tenth-season finale."
4| The Walking Dead, "Swear"
It's no coincidence that The Walking Dead has returned to an ensemble set-up this year, with its entire cast of good guys united in the All Out War against Negan.
Last season's approach of splitting up the group, with a string of standalone episodes focusing on just one or two characters each week, proved hugely controversial, and no outing was more underwhelming than 7.6, "Swear."
Tara's solo adventure has a score of just 5.7 out of 10, quite a bit lower than the next lowest-ranked, the season 6 finale 'Last Day on Earth', with a 6.3 (and that probably only scores so poorly because of its irksome 'Who did Negan kill?' cliffhanger ending).
5| Friends, "The One with the Invitation"
Friends fans DO NOT LIKE clip shows: all five of the show's recycled episodes land at the bottom of the rankings, with 4.21, "The One with the Invitation" voted the worst ever with a score of 7.4 out of 10.
It's followed by 6.20, "The One with Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.," 7.21 "The One with the Vows," 8.19, "The One with Joey's Interview," and 9.10 "The One With Christmas In Tulsa."
The lowest scoring "regular" episode is 9.22, "The One with the Donor"—which came at the height of the controversial Rachel/Joey romance, so no surprise there.
6| The Flash, "Girls Night Out"
So this is kinda awkward—it appears that the new, frothier tone adopted by The Flash this season isn't going down all that well with fans.
With just 5.5 out of 10, season 4, episode 6, "Girls Night Out," in which the female members of Team Flash, plus Arrow's Felicity, go it alone to tackle a metahuman menace, currently ranks as the show's least popular episode ever.
What's more, four of the five remaining episodes to have aired this season also languish in the bottom 10, with only 4.5, 'Elongated Journey Into Night', doing anything to impress (with a respectable 8.6 out of 10).
Still, better than Justice League.
7| The X-Files, "Teso dos Bichos"
Mulder and Scully's season 3 run-in with...erm...a pack of feral cats is officially the worst episode of The X-Files ever (with a score of just 6 out of 10). And it's not just the fans who think so...
"Teso Dos Bichos" director Kim Manners has called the episode's final act, which saw the FBI agents pursued by manic moggies, "a disaster" and later made T-shirts for the cast and crew that read "Teso Dos Bichos Survivor".
Cripes. Makes the mixed reception to last year's season 10 seem tame as a pussycat in comparison.
8| Black Mirror, "The Waldo Moment"
Digital Spy bashed "The Waldo Moment"—about a cartoon bear who becomes a legitimate political figure—when it first aired back in 2013: "Charlie Brooker's usually pin-sharp satirical eye wanders here and the end result is disappointing. 'The Waldo Moment' is unfocused and, like its title character, takes pot-shots at multiple targets without saying anything particularly meaningful itself."
Fans of Brooker's chilling anthology agree, with a 7/10 landing this outing bottom of the rankings, while even the man himself has admitted he'd go back and do the episode differently now given the chance.
Though if the technology existed for us to go back and correct past mistakes, no doubt the whole thing would end up having terrible consequences. So probably best to leave well alone.
From: Digital Spy
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.