Monday, June 11, 2007

5 Best TV Shows Ever

There is, of course, no debating this list. These are unarguably the 5 best TV shows ever:

5. Saturday Night Live

As much as this show has had its ups and downs, and whole seasons when I haven't watched a single episode, it must be admitted that it has been a perpetual laugh-maker, humour-former, culture-feeder, and televesion mainstay for several generations. I loved the Farley/Hartman years and have a plethora of skits from this show forever ingrained in my psyche. This show was the single greatest bond of my high school friendships and has been the fodder for many, many laughs.

4. M*A*S*H*

Even though I'm sure a lot of the political edginess wore off by the time I watched it, this show still made some of the most poignant statements about life and war that I've ever seen on television and it managed to be heartwarming and funny as well. Very funny actually. I must have laughed out loud between ever commercial break. Even if I teared up at some of them too. What an amazing show.

3. NYPD Blue

Yeah, I saw more rear ends than I would have liked to, but this show got a bit of a bad rap for all the publicity that was made of its edginess. After the first couple seasons this show really settled into its own and I got quite attached to its characters. I thought it depicted reality in a very touching and truthful way. Interestingly enough, the show lasted long enough to be an essential part of my life when I still lived under my parent's roof, watching with my brother, and then under my own roof, watching the last two seasons with my wife. Sipowicz is possibly the greatest character ever on television.

2. Seinfeld

For all that might be said about this show's legacy (turning the trivial into the important and the important into the trivial), it was supposed to be a comedy, not a worldview former! And as a comedy it hit the mark like no show ever has. Unlike the Simpsons, it bowed out before it got repetitive and boring. It was always, always, always, very, very, very funny.

1. West Wing

I don't know where to start with this show. The best and smartest writing, acting, and story-lines I've seen on any screen. It was funny. It was intelligent. It was timely. It was gripping. It was moving. It was a fine peice of work. It is sorely missed. I don't know why its viewership slipped. I hardly watch TV any more since this went off the air.


Knotter said...

So, no debating your list? Can we question your sanity?

Jon, Angie, Elijah & Brady said...

csi lovers may not question my sanity. all others may

Colin Toffelmire said...

Though it is indeed absurd to suggest any of the 65 CSI series currently on the air as "the best" of anything, there are two significant problems with your list. First of all it contains SNL. I don't think that SNL can be considered a single series in the same way as Seinfeld or MASH because not only have the actors changed over the years but so have the writers, directors, producers and, for all I know, gophers, grips and best boys. Now if you want to suggest an era of SNL for the list, this perhaps can be a matter of discussion.

The second problem is that your list draws only from the three major American networks (ABC, CBS, NBC). These days a list like this must at least make mention of HBO and Showtime programing. What about The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Rome, and most importantly (I think) Dead Like Me. If I were to revise your list it would come out like this:

4. Seinfeld
3. X-Files (discounting the last 2 seasons)
2. Dead Like Me
1. The Greatest Television Program of All Time (aka The West Wing...which I'm watching right now).

NYPD Blue got bumped because I never watched it, it may indeed deserve it's spot. Good list man.

Jeff Coutts said...

How about Twin Peaks for greatest television series of all time? I've only scene the pilot but it's well on it's way. I definitely agree with Seinfeld. Scrubs would be on my list. And Arrested Development and the Office (British) are hilarious. I've never been much into TV drama though so it's mostly comedies for me.

Jon, Angie, Elijah & Brady said...

fair enough on the snl comment. i'd replace it with survivor though, and i'm sure that would get me more boos. i have never had satellite TV so HBO is out for me. i've never heard of Dead Like Me. X-Files was good, but got old, for me anyway.

it is true that office, scrubs, and arrested are amazing comedies but i've never watched a full season of any so can't claim to love them with the same devotion as the above 5. FUnny that Twin Peaks would be the best show and yet you've only seen the pilot jeff.

Colin Toffelmire said...

Ya, a lot of people have never heard of or seen Dead Like Me. Here's a little challenge for you. Go rent it (or some of it at least) and watch it and see if it doesn't make your list. It takes a few episodes to get into, but it really is one of the wittiest and most enjoyable dark comedies out there. Just make sure the kids aren't around, there's some pretty serious language in it (hey, it was a Showtime show after all).

Oh, and as for Twin Peaks that was another brilliant show that just rode right off the tracks by the end. Hey, what about Northern Exposure? Am I alone in loving that show?


Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Great list Jon.

If mini-series were permitted I would definitely put Ingmar Bergman's sublime 'Fanny and Alexander' at the peak of my top five. Nothing else on TV can even touch it (not even the glorious West Wing).

mini-series aside, here's my list of favourites:

4. The Daily Show (I once heard a committed TV-hater say, "I would drink Jon Stewart's bathwater.")
3. Curb Your Enthusiasm (sometimes I think this show is even funnier than Seinfeld)
2. Seinfeld: seasons 3-9
1. The West Wing (especially seasons 1-4; but 5-7 are great too)

I haven't seen 'Twin Peaks,' but I like David Lynch, and I've only ever heard great things.

We're really in a golden age of television.