8. The Office

Network: NBC
Stars: Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, James Spader, B.J. Novak, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Melora Hardin, Brian Baumgartner, Leslie David Baker, Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nunez

Stupidly, we actually thought that The Office could maintain its consistent hilarity without Steve Carell. Even though his Michael Scott anchored the NBC sitcom in wonderful aloofness and uproarious idiocy, The Office has always been a magnificent ensemble comedy, so losing only one piece of the funny puzzle should’ve done little to ruin any of the other actors’ strengths. Or so we thought. As upsetting as it is to say, the show’s problematic eighth season has been mediocre at best.

The disenchantment began almost immediately, when it was revealed that Ed Helms’ Andy Bernard would take over as Dunder-Mifflin’s new boss; well-intentioned but ultimately bland, Helms’ middling character is a lazy, status quo choice. The better move would’ve been to give James Spader the job, since his Robert California has been one of Season Eight’s few highpoints. Mostly because he’s not riddled with a meandering love subplot like Andy’s dragging romance with Erin (Ellie Kemper, who deserves better from the writers), which is clearly the producers’ attempt to recapture that old Jim-and-Pam magic.

If there’s one thing that Season Eight has made abundantly clear, it’s this: As long as The Office remains on the air, we’ll tune in, though not without an underlying sense of apathy.