The Greatest (but not obvious) TV Shows of all Time
Buzzmachine is asking for the Top Ten Greatest (but not obvious) TV Shows of All Time so I'm in. You know, there are few things I like better than a good top ten list. Here's mine (with the usual added Big Ten bonus):
11. My So Called Life: I suspect that if I had seen more episodes of "Freaks and Geeks" that it would be here instead. Nevertheless, "My So Called Life" was a wonderful slice of teenage girl life. Too often, teenage girls are depicted as airheads. It was nice to see a character like Angela. Sure, she could be whiny and moody, but she was also smart.
10. Star Trek: The Next Generation: In general, I’m not a big science fiction fan. As a little kid, shows like “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits” scared the crap out of me. But, as an adult, I came to appreciate how intelligent and well-made this series was. Unlike the original series, it never descended into camp. Individual episodes could stand on their own, but the show (and hell, the entire Star Trek series) reached its zenith with the Borg story arc. Finally, the show must be good because it performed the minor miracle of making me like Whoopi Goldberg.
9. The Simpsons: Is this still an obvious choice? Because the show has slipped a bit I think people are forgetting how brilliant it was for the first 4 or 5 seasons. Now I think it relies on parody too much. At its best, “The Simpsons” had a brilliant, twisted take on everyday family life.
8. Brisco County, Jr.: Bruce Campbell is just one reason why this show was so great. The minor characters like Socrates, John Bly and Lord Bowler were intriguing too. The show was full of clever, tongue in cheek humor. One of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV was the episode where Terry Bradshaw guest-starred as a colonel who gave orders to his men football-style. I don't understand why good shows like this don't click with the public. My theory, in this particular case, was that people were turned off because they thought it was "just" a western.
7. Ned and Stacey: I loved Thomas Hayden Church long before he hit the big time with "Sideways". I even liked Debra Messing before she became a star (and annoying) on "Will and Grace". It's all because of "Ned and Stacey". I appreciate a show where the characters are allowed to just be strange, as Ned was with his "fake wife" and loganberry obsession. Sure, it all went downhill when Ned and Stacey started falling for each other, but before that the show was weird and wonderful.
6. The Young Ones: I'm only going to say two things about this show and those of you who have seen it will get it: "Jester Balowski's Medieval Torture Hour" and "Rick with a silent P". Heh. Go watch the whole thing.
5. Hercules: I love Greek mythology, so naturally I loved “Hercules'” "fractured fairy tale" take on it. The show was much less successful when it strayed from the Greek oeuvre. I never understood that. Greek mythology is full of fascinating characters and stories. With a source that rich, why stray? When it was all Greek, to me "Hercules" was one of the best shows on television. I loved the take on the Greek gods: Aphrodite as surfer chick, Ares as a heavy metal dude, Hades as a misunderstood romantic.
4. WKRP in Cincinnati: Everyone remembers the classic Thanksgiving Day episode (”With God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”), but nearly every episode was just as funny. And, the characters were all so unique and richly drawn. There has never been anyone on TV like Les Nessman and Herb Tarlock is an hilarious, if slightly tragic, take on a salesman. To this day, I can never look at a white belt without thinking of him.
3. Seinfeld: It’s obvious. But, in this case it’s obvious because it’s true. I remember reading something about how the writings made a point to make sure that the characters never learned anything from their adventures. They never grew and so the show never descended into sappiness. Thank God for that.
2. Futurama: I’ve seen “Futurama” on a lot of lists. I wonder how big of a hit it could have been if Fox hadn’t made it nearly impossible to figure out when it would air. The main characters aren’t that great, but I loved recurring characters like the Captain Kirkesque Zapp Brannigan and the evil Santa Bot. Heh. I just giggle thinking about the XMAS (yes, it’s called “XMAS” in the future) episodes.
1. The Amazing Race: Hands down the best show on television. It has it all: heroes (Jill), villains (Team Guido), comic relief (Brian & Greg), human drama, action, adventure, romance and incredible scenery. You can catch reruns on the Game Show Network this summer every night at 9 pm eastern time and a brand new season starts up this fall on CBS.
So that's my list. I'd be interested to see what other people are into.
Posted by at August 10, 2005 11:45 AM
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|# August 10th, 2005 11:47 AM Dana|
|I totally agree about WKRP. Just thinking about the show gets me laughing out loud. Definitely a classic. |
|# August 10th, 2005 12:59 PM BVBigBro|
|ABC is bringing back The Nightstalker this fall. When I was a kid, this was mine and Pat's favorite show. |
|# August 10th, 2005 3:40 PM james|
|night court was awesome.
i wish it was on in reruns
|# August 10th, 2005 3:57 PM kris|
|I forgot about Sports Night. That should have made my list. |
|# August 10th, 2005 4:22 PM james|
|true, sports night is a quality show.
i would also nominate
penn & teller's bullshit
win ben stein's money
star trek TOS
law and order
i think that barbeque university is one of the best shows ever, but probably not for this list. also good are ask this old house, mythbusters, best week ever, x-files...
|# August 10th, 2005 4:39 PM BVBigBro|
|Add MacGyver and China Beach. The Critic had its' moments. |
|# August 10th, 2005 4:43 PM Laura|
|Soap. That was one of the funniest shows I've ever seen.
Can't believe I nearly forgot this - probably because I have it on video - Monty Python's Flying Circus.
|# August 10th, 2005 4:45 PM BVBigBro|
|It's the Benny Hill Show! |
|# August 10th, 2005 4:47 PM Laura|
|Other Brit contributions:
Are You Being Served?
and of course, Fawlty Towers
And back here at home: The Carol Burnett Show.
(edited again... I love these shows, but the original question was which shows qualify for Greatest TV Shows of All Time... these are classics but maybe not quite to that standard.)
|# August 10th, 2005 4:49 PM BVBigBro|
|The Carol Burnett Show was awesome. |
|# August 10th, 2005 11:42 PM TheUnabrewer|
|American Gothic, Northern Exposure. I'm a big Brisco fan, too. |
|# August 12th, 2005 2:08 AM Daddy|
King of the Hill and Malcolm in the Middle. Both are good on so many levels...
|# August 12th, 2005 3:52 PM RedStateRon|
|How about these two?
Tales from the Darkside