Thursday, December 1, 2011

What's on Television...

Alright, below is another top 10 list. These are what I believe to be the top 10 best television shows/series of all time. This is quite a difficult feat to accomplish,considering that I've liked so many different shows at different times in my life, and the fact that I haven't had cable television for the last 10 years has made it difficult to keep up shows regularly. However, I think this list is comprehensive, spans decades, and still includes some truly great contemporary classics. While I'd like to put G.I. Joe and He-Man on the list, I've also omitted any children's shows - though I will admit that some of them are wonderful.

Here we go; and, as always, this is in no particular order.

1. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Is it bold to call this show one of the best ever? Probably. I understand that the show's comedy is very esoteric (get the connection), and therefore not necessarily appealing to a broad audience; but I personally have always been much more attracted to a show's whose comedy is a bit more nuanced, than those stupid Everybody Loves Raymond, laugh-track type, bullshit shows.

2. The Wire
HBO does it right. I think their marketing over the last several years has been perfect, calling themselves a character-driven network. The characters on this show are incredibly complex and give the show a sense of realism that is lacking on so many other cop shows. Not to mention the pace of this show, due to it's one hour run time, giving a season somewhere around 12 - 13 hours of total runtime, as opposed to a network show that has a total season runtime of about 7 - 8 hours, allows the writers to create much more realistic timelines for drama to unfold, as opposed to the short episodic nature of the network cop shows that have to wrap everything up in half an hour.

3. Party Down
This show was lucky to ever get made, and still remains unknown or at least unwatched by most people. But this show truly brings it. The humor in this show is all about the character interactions; and the mix of actors that they brought together worked perfectly together.

4. Seinfeld
This is bar none my favorite show of all time. The great thing about this show is exactly the opposite of what makes The Wire a great show. They get in, get out, and the everything is wrapped up nicely in every episode. There are comedic themes and threads that run throughout several shows, or even the entire series, but overall the show is just a bunch of assholes who act rotten toward one and other, and the world writ large, and because of this sometimes find themselves in funny or awkward positions.

5. Curb Your Enthusiasm
I love this show for one of the reasons that I love Seinfeld. The fact that Larry is such an asshole to everyone, and because he is constantly messing things up, he often finds himself in hilarious (and what some people think are annoying or unbelievable) situations. The ways he manages to mess things up and piss people off can only come from autobiographically similar situations in the life of this brilliant jackass.

6. The Wonder Years
Going back a few years, but a true classic. It's funny that this show is such a hit with my generation, when it really seems as though it was more geared toward my parents' generations, who actually lived through the Vietnam War. But I think what I connected to as a young person watching the show was the sense of angst in a society that was focused on other things; and slowly trying to figure out what was really important in life, and how to bring my life growing up into the reality of the greater world.

7. Saved by the Bell
This show must be on the list. I've probably seen every episode of this show at least 10 times. I think I was still watching this show occasionally on syndication up until a couple of years ago (you can probably still find episodes on several stations, every now and then). I think the reason I liked this show so much is because the kids in the show were pretty much the exact same age as I was. Sure, the situations were ridiculous. Sure, the characters were stereotypes and completely unbelievable. But none of that mattered, it was funny, dramatic, sometimes witty, sometimes heartwarming, and always entertaining.

8. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
I can say basically the same thing about the Fresh Prince that I can say about SBTB, except that instead of a bunch of kids in a school, it was just young Will Smith getting himself into a whole bunch of shenanigans.

9. Growing Pains
Mike Seaver was a badass (before all that Left Behind stuff). Forget the fact that he tormented Tracy Gold to the point that she actually developed an eating disorder. Or the fact that Kirk Cameron got a character kicked of the show because she had posed nude in Playboy, which went against his puritanical Christian moral beliefs. Just focus on the fact that it was a great family-oriented show, that attempted to focus its episodes on different characters on different nights, but always managed to bring everyone along for a great story, that sometimes even had a great message to boot.

10. The Cosby Show
Brilliant show from the mind of a truly brilliant man, and wonderful comedian. Bill Cosby led this show, and his comedy was muted, but always witty, but the other cast of characters, and the situations that the show confronted were what made it great. This show was REAL. It dealt with tough situations in a real way, and showed characters that had to deal with the consequences of their actions. The situations occasionally got wrapped up in a bow too nicely for reality, but I think that the show was interesting in showing an upper-middle to upper class family, living in Brooklyn Heights in the 80s, and the issues that they dealt with trying to raise their kids. Not to mention the fact that the show led to a great spinoff - A Different World.

Let me know what you think of mine, and tell me yours.


Griffin said...


1. I agree - but this season has lost a lot of steam.

2. Of course. And this probably goes to the top if it's a true ranking.

3. Thank you for turning me on to this show. Underappreciated, underwatched, and extraordinarily hilarious.

4. As much as I love Curb, I never was a fanatic about this show.

5. The best part of this show is how easily you can relate to the people, the situations, and the mannerisms that Larry perfects. This is the best comedy ever. Period. End.

6. We were lucky to grow up with this show. Being reared vicariously by the Arnolds was a real blessing.

7. If it's part of a commencement ceremony - it's on the top 10.

8. Meh. I mean, good show, but there are much better.

9. I still remember being 10 or 11 and watching the last scene of the finale...that was a finale that hurt. And between Kirk's off-screen proselytizing, Tracy's off-screen self-induced vomiting, and Alan's off-screen coke-feuled, hooker-laden crime sprees, they managed to assemble a damn good familial program.

10. Bill Cosby is a jerk.

Griffin said...


1. The Wire

2. Saved by the Bell

3. The Wonder Years

4. Full House

5. Breaking Bad

6. Dexter

7. Who's the Boss

8. Hey Dude/Salute Your Shorts/Double Dare/Doug (Any Nickelodeon show)

9. Game of Thrones

10. Doogie Howser, M.D.

Honorable Mentions: Pacific Blue, Party of Five, LOST, Charles in Charge, My Secret Identity, Harry and the Hendersons (TV version)

mpm210 said...

Dude, you're going to call the Fresh Prince 'good', and then give a nod to Who's the Boss and Doogie Howser, M.D. I mean, don't get me wrong, those are solid shows, but they certainly don't deserve mention above Will and Jazz.

mpm210 said...

Charles in Charge was VERY good. Mostly because it brought back the comedic genius of Willie Aames, first highlighted in th brilliant film Zapped!

Griffin said...

I just don't think the Fresh Prince is all that now that I know that Will Smith molests young boys, the whole "boyish charm" thing that encapsulates his entire character is rather creepy. Uncle Phil would throw him behind bars.

Also, it's bold of me to forget Alf considering he's my avatar. Great show that brings back fond memories.

mpm210 said...

Dude, don't go spreading slander against Will Smith. You may not like the dude, but don't paint him with that brush.

Griffin said...

Dude he diddles kids - google it.