Take MacGyver, for example – a show in which a cowboy displayed rudimentary engineering skills that would confound MIT graduates. Or Alf – the opening sequence of which shows him spying on a woman in the shower, hassling a teenage girl and getting all touchy-feely with a little boy? 'Friendly alien'? Fucking pervert, more like.
Some things do manage to stand the test of time, however. Like cult show to end all cult shows The X Files.
Just don't expect Gillian Anderson to agree with that.
Anderson – who spent about a million years starring as Agent Dana Scully, forced contractually to stay with the series even when it became awful and no-one watched it anymore – has recently been reflecting with Stella magazine on her time in Spooky Mulder's basement:
"I couldn't get out of it. I didn't have a choice. I had to sign a contract for five-and-a-half-years before I even went to my first audition – when I didn't know if I'd got the part. Back then I was all innocent and I thought, 'Wow that sounds wonderful.' But then, when I started, I realised I'd be in a Canadian wood working 16 hours a day for nine months a year. And the reason I stayed so long was because the only way I could get more money was to commit myself to doing it for another couple of years."
So… she was skint, then. Well, that kind of explains why she stuck with a once-fantastic show once it hit its seventh season downfall and teamed her up with the T-1000 and that woman from Mystic Pizza.
The experience has actually left Gillian a touch bitter:
"My God, I don't even watch television. I don't like television. I never have liked it. The whole concept of sitting down in front of a TV feels like one of the things that's destroying society, as far as I'm concerned."
A fair assessment. Oh – apart from The Wire, of course. And The Sopranos. And South Park. And Deadwood. And Tom Goes To The Mayor. And 24. And Entourage. And Drive. And Lost. And Heroes.
And – most importantly – upcoming HBO series Hecklerspray Shoots Russell Brand In The Face Several Times Over.
Although, to be fair … we're still trying to work out what happens beyond the pilot.