Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SDD's Top 100 Series of All Time: Places #80-71





80) M*A*S*H
CBS, produced 1972-1983

What: Larry Gelbart turned a movie that didn't seem like TV series material into a pretty good TV series that challenged conventions of what a TV sitcom should be and remains one of the biggest syndication successes in history (right up there with I Love Lucy). While not a huge hit at first, M*A*S*H rode its place between All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore on the schedule to become one of the most successful TV series of its time, garnering Emmy after Emmy, many for Alan Alda. It remains a cherished hit, both for its characters and for its blend of comedy and drama.

Why: OK, so I think M*A*S*H is terribly overrated, but it's hard to get away from just how influential it was, so it gets a spot on the list. Truth be told, M*A*S*H was pretty damn great for its first three years (the Trapper John years), when the show managed to capture about as much of the anti-social anarchy of Robert Altman's terrific movie as a TV sitcom possibly could. Larry Gelbart was a big reason for that, as he was able to keep a firm hand on the show and the reasons it worked (namely, its sense that war was hell, but that the characters would attempt to dull that pain through whatever opiates they could find). Gelbart guided the series through three great seasons, then one increasingly middling season. Then he left the show, and it slowly went downhill afterward. The problem with M*A*S*H ultimately is extremely similar to the problem with the show in spot #79 (and that show followed a very similar pattern in its seasons too) -- all of the characters eventually became dewy-eyed liberal optimists, the types of characters who smile kindly at the audience after yet another soldier needlessly dies and remind them, gently, that they are RIGHT to be against war. But the stance of M*A*S*H against war wasn't really brave or anything, as it rigged the deck by making the characters just so darn nice. Gelbart understood that war WAS hell, but that the people who are in it often try to obscure that fact through whatever methods they can find. After he left, the show slowly became more and more saccharine, more of a liberal wankfest ("Don't you feel good for watching this?" it seemed to ask). Look at the progression of Hawkeye Pierce -- an inveterate skirt-chaser who became the world's utmost feminist for no real reason (well, actually because Alan Alda seized more control of the show). None of this should not obscure how influential the show was (though it didn't invent the dramedy -- thanks, Room 222! -- it did popularize it) or how many very, very good episodes it had, but its overall place in television history has been a bit overstated.

Best season:
Season three is the last with Trapper John and Henry Blake, and it's also the best, culminating in the heartbreaking "Abyssinia, Henry." (Plane. Sea of Japan. You know the rest.)

Best episode: Gelbart's last hurrah, "The Interview," had a seismic effect on every show on the air, seemingly, as virtually all of them have done a "documentary" episode. I can see why. It's a great episode, full of the wit and wisdom that Gelbart brought to the show.

Did you know?: Alan Alda remains the only series regular ever to win Emmys for acting, writing and directing in the same series.

Available on DVD?: All 11 seasons are available on DVD, and a complete series set is also available.





79) The West Wing
NBC, produced 1999-2006

What: Aaron Sorkin's displaced 1980s workplace drama went from an enjoyable political soap to a nationwide civics lesson to an Emmy juggernaut to a flailing show, unsure of itself, in record time. At its heart, the show was just another show about passionate public servants, doing what they loved and having time for little else (Hill Street Blues in the White House), but it also held an element of wish fulfillment for Americans (mostly, I'll admit, liberals) increasingly feeling that the Clinton years could have been better and the Bush years held little promise -- though the series worked also as a "Here's how Washington works" primer. Sorkin's vision of the country was politics as soaring opera, but his own politics ended up getting in the way of the show after a while (as well as his inability to get episodes in on time and under budget -- which led to his firing and/or leaving the show, depending on whom you believe). In its final, Sorkin-less seasons, The West Wing was hit and miss, but its fans stuck with it, remembering just how good it had been.

Why: To be perfectly honest, I placed this right next to M*A*S*H on the list because of how shockingly similar their runs were. Both were bracingly different from anything else on the air at the time when they debuted. Both had a brief run of great seasons (three for M*A*S*H; two for West Wing). Both saw their creators sort of deteriorate after that. And both had their creators leave, leaving the shows in disarray. If we're going to get down to brass tacks, Larry Gelbart ALSO followed up his hit by working on Broadway and the movies, then created another show that critics loved the pilot for before hating the series (United States); Sorkin did the same with Studio 60. And the WAYS the shows fell apart were also similar -- just as Larry Gelbart started M*A*S*H down a long path where the old "War is hell" argument never encountered any real resistance, Aaron Sorkin filled The West Wing with conservative strawmen, the better to make his characters look good and the better to make the audience FEEL good for watching. But, like M*A*S*H, West Wing was great at its height, and I loved West Wing at its height slightly more than M*A*S*H at its height. It helped that the show was so brazenly theatrical, willing to do episodes that amounted to stage plays. While West Wing hasn't been all that influential, really, (at its structural heart, the show is just a workplace drama, after all) it still commanded a loyal audience and offered up a romanticized dream of what the U.S. COULD be at its very best. It helped that Martin Sheen's performance was one for the ages, while the rest of the supporting cast was very, very good.

Best season: Out of seasons one and two, I'll take season one, where the show didn't yet seem to sense that it was a civics lesson for America. Sure, it had Moira Kelly, but it also had so many of the series' classic episodes.

Best episode: Sorkin brings a terrific Christmas episode, and season one's "In Excelsis Deo" (which brought the series its only win for writing) is a great Christmas episode, centering around sad-eyed Toby's discovery of a dead homeless veteran. It won Richard Schiff an Emmy, and deservedly so.

Did you know?: Another M*A*S*H connection! Alan Alda, who won an Emmy for playing Senator Vinick on the show, was originally considered for the part of President Bartlet, as were George C. Scott, Sidney Poitier and Jason Robards. At that time, it was thought the president would only show up in a handful of episodes per season, but the show was quickly restructured to make the president the lead character after critics and audiences responded so heartily to Sheen's portrayal.

Available on DVD?: All seven seasons are available on DVD, and a complete series set is also available.





78) Friday Night Lights
NBC, produced 2006-present

What: NBC took a pretty good movie and turned it into a great television series about the fear of being trapped in a small town forever and the tiny things you latch on to to give you hope in such a situation. But the show never overplayed this hand, especially in its nearly perfect first season, as it left almost all of this to subtext. Instead, it was a warm-hearted look at the way that people can rise above their fears to come together as a community -- whether as a family, a football team or an actual town. Dillon, Texas, is a very specific take on a very specific place, but it's also a broader reflection of both small towns and the idealized version of them Hollywood usually feeds us.

Why: After the first season, I probably would have ranked Friday Night Lights somewhere in the 50s. The second season, while not awful, has been disappointing enough to bring the show a bit back to Earth. It really didn't help that season one was one of the best debut seasons in recent history, setting an almost impossible standard for the show to live up to. That said, the second season has tried to create some cheap drama out of various situations and has engaged in needless melodrama in at least one plotline. This might be all right if that's what the show had always been, but the first season, while it had its share of clumsy plotting, never lost sight of what it was at heart -- an achingly real portrayal of what it means to be an often inexpressive teenager living in the middle of nowhere with big dreams and a gift to match them. FNL is great in the ways it blends the good with the bad of life -- the Panthers win a game but lose their star quarterback or they win the state title but lose their head coach -- and it follows the rhythms of the football season as if they were the rhythms of life itself. There's a sense in the show both that this is the best life could be and also that there's much more to come. And it helps that the marriage of Eric and Tami Taylor is one of the most realistic going.

Best season: Have I talked about how great season one is enough yet? Because it's really, really great.

Best episode: Lots of good ones, but "I Think We Should Have Sex" is a perfect example of how the show takes teen show cliches, deconstructs them, then rebuilds them from the ground up. Also, Connie Britton is amazing.

Did you know?: Friday Night Lights is filmed documentary-style, with three cameramen hiding themselves on set to capture the action with lenses zoomed way in. The actors are asked to do one take as written and then gradually whittle away at the dialogue until they're happy. This deeply collaborative atmosphere is almost completely different from the way any other television series is filmed.

Available on DVD?: Season one is. Season two is airing right now.





77) The Waltons
CBS, produced 1972-1981

What: Earl Hamner took stories of growing up poor in the rural South and made them into one of the warmest and most nostalgic shows in television history, which seems odd if you think about how the show was set during the depression. In an interview with me, Robert Thompson, one of the foremost television historians, remarked how when we see a family drama or comedy where everyone loves each other without reservation that's set in the modern day, it can seem corny or even forced. But when we see a family drama or comedy set in the past, even the near past, it will usually seem more palatable. The Waltons understands this, glossing over the past (the hard past) into the world as we might want it to be.

Why: The show can be a bit corny, as can Hamner's scripts, which often try too hard to be poetic. It also never really was the same after John Boy (the Hamner surrogate) left the show because actor Richard Thomas wanted to pursue other things. It also didn't help that the series ran so long that it started to bump into World War II -- the communal nature of fighting that was ended up being at odds with the show's ideas of overcoming harsh poverty through gentle good spirit. Philosophically and politically, there's a lot that's sort of harmful in The Waltons (the family was always too proud to accept much in the way of government aid), to the point where the first George Bush rhapsodized about how the nation could use more families like the Waltons and fewer like the Simpsons. But, darn it all, I want Ralph Waite as my dad and Michael Learned as my mom. And, man, it would be great to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa Walton? The Waltons isn't great art, but it's terrific comfort-food TV.

Best season: The first season was sweet without being cloyingly so, and it was also the one that had the most scripts based on events in Hamner's life.

Best episode: "The Easter Story" is pretty cheesy and unabashedly corny, but damned if it doesn't get me every time. I mean, the Waltons BEAT POLIO. Awesome! "The Thanksgiving Story" is ALSO good.

Did you know?: The show's set was burned down by a serial arsonist.

Available on DVD?: Seasons one through five are on DVD now. Season six will be out in January.





76) Frasier
NBC, produced 1993-2004

What: Perhaps THE most successful spinoff in history (it's pretty much between this and The Jeffersons), Frasier won a record 37 Emmy awards, most of them undeservedly. That shouldn't obscure that the show was often very funny, with more classic episodes than you might remember (go look at the episode guide list. . .go on. . .). It wasn't the world's most sophisticated show, despite its pretensions, but television has never done wacky farce better. Whether or not you like the show will largely hinge on whether you like broad slapstick, slamming doors and webs of lies, but if you do like those things, there's nothing better in the history of TV.

Why: Frasier is a show I was pretty sure wouldn't make the list. I had soured on it after its early seasons, as it won Emmy after Emmy it didn't deserve simply for being about people who were white-collar elitists. But a funny thing happened this summer. I started to watch the show in syndicated reruns, and I was reminded that it was a very, very funny show when it was on its game, which was fairly frequently in the first five seasons. Sure, the later seasons weren't that great (except for the return-to-form final season), but the early seasons were packed with sitcom greatness, and it helped that the cast was great, through and through (that John Mahoney never won an Emmy for this show is incredibly surprising). Also, the show isn't as elitist as its reputation would have you believe, as it often sided with the decidedly anti-elitist Martin in his battles with his sons. Frasier could be strained, and it could be too wacky for its own good, but I think that it's become a little underrated over the years. When you're up late working on a project, a rerun of this show may be just the thing you need.

Best season: Season two runs from strength to strength, including at least two all-time sitcom classics in "The Matchmaker" and "An Affair to Forget."

Best episode: "The Matchmaker" is all it's cracked up to be. I love how carefully the language is chosen in the episode to attain the best possible comedic result.

Did you know?: Frasier Crane wasn't supposed to have a brother in the original conception of the show. When the producers were told about someone who looked shockingly like Kelsey Grammer, though, they met with David Hyde Pierce and wrote the part of Niles for him immediately.

Available on DVD?: All 11 seasons are on DVD.





75) Green Acres
CBS, produced 1965-1971

What: One of the most unfairly derided television shows in history, Green Acres tends to get lumped in with its corn-com siblings The Beverly Hillbillies (not as bad as you think it is, but still not very good) and Petticoat Junction (exactly as awful as you think it is) and written off as a dumb show with nothing to recommend it. Instead, it's one of the most deceptively influential sitcoms in history, making real use of its bizarre premise and the crazy characters in Hooterville. The series all but abandoned the idea set out in its title sequence early on and set up the new premise that Oliver Douglas was the one who couldn't tap into the bizarre world he'd been thrust into, while his wife, Lisa, fit right in. Green Acres is goofy, to be sure, but its post-modern intricacies were one of the biggest influences on none other than Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

Why: Green Acres' influence is the sort of thing you don't immediately notice. At first, it just seems like another dumb sitcom. After you watch a few episodes, it seems like a goofy show that's got a few laughs in it. Give it a few episodes more, and it seems like maybe the first truly surreal sitcom. Watch the entire run, and you'll see that it's perhaps the first post-modern sitcom, where the characters gradually become aware that they're living in a sitcom and comment on the fact from time to time. It helps that one of the main characters is a pig. While Green Acres will never be mistaken for a sophisticated sitcom, it's easily the best of the dumb, high-premise comedies of the 1960s, grounded in a very bizarre sense of wit and one of the crazier settings in the history of television. Eddie Albert's work as Oliver is the sort of thing that millions of other straight men copied, and the wide-ranging ensemble cast is perfect. And to see just how deceptively good Green Acres is, all one has to do is take a look at some of the shows it influenced -- The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Newsradio, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Simpsons. . .the list goes on. Now, it seems almost quaint, but when the characters in Green Acres become aware of the credits rolling over them on the screen and comment on where the words are coming from, well, it must have blown some minds back in the day.

Best season: The show generally got better as it went along, but I'm still partial to season three as the series' high point. That's when the post-modern sensibility and the general weirdness of the show perfectly meshed.

Best episode: "I Didn't Raise My Pig to Be a Soldier" is both a hilariously weird episode and a rather subtle anti-draft statement.

Did you know?: Paul Henning, creator of The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, was offered another half-hour of primetime real estate, which he turned over to his friend Jay Sommers, who based this show on his previous radio comedy Granby's Green Acres. He quickly abandoned the premise of that show when it became obvious Eva Gabor didn't make a very good straightwoman.

Available on DVD?: The first three seasons are available on DVD. There are no plans to release the other three.





74) The Office
NBC, produced 2005-present

What: Largely seen as something that couldn't work in any possible way, this remake of an even better British series has become the next big comedy sensation, even with ratings that are nothing to write home about outside of the 18-49-year-old demo. The series is a dissection of workplace malaise, a satire of the lengths Americans will go to to keep their jobs and a somewhat depressing look at the perils of the corporate world. Also, there's doomed romance, a bad boss and a great (and somewhat underutilized) ensemble cast. The Office has won devotion from its obsessive and cult-like fans by probing not only its characters work lives but their private lives as well.

Why: Here's another series where a recent string of disappointing episodes caused me to rate it lower than I might have a year ago. The back half of season three and the first few episodes of season four were a significant step down from the finely drawn episodes of season two and the first half of season three. Obviously, this could just be a slump (the last episode of the fourth season -- so far -- suggests this could easily be the case), but I'm going to err on the side of caution and hope for the best for the future. What makes the American Office work where other British remakes have failed is in the way that it kept the things about the show that would make sense on our shores while ditching many of the things that wouldn't. The UK's David Brent is much more of a raging asshole than Michael Scott is. In fact, Michael's just more of an ineffectual loser, who just craves people liking him. That almost stands in for the shows themselves too -- the UK version is brilliantly, quietly passive-aggressive, while the U.S. version is full of the desperation people stuck in a job they don't really want but they really need feel. Occasionally, this can boil over and get TOO wacky, but for the most part, the U.S. version walks this tightrope incredibly well. The large ensemble cast (another change from the UK version, which didn't nearly define the others in the office so well) is another benefit for the show, while the Jim and Pam will-they/won't-they relationship was probably the best handling of such a pairing since the late '80s (even if the ultimate denouement was a tad disappointing).

Best season: Season two is the one season where the writers get the balance between zaniness, workplace desperation and character-based satire absolutely right.

Best episode: Everybody says "Casino Night" or "The Job," but for consistent laughs and great character work, I think you have to go with the slyly incredible "Conflict Resolution."

Did you know?: To create the numerous background characters in the show, Greg Daniels (who developed the show) sat in a Starbucks across from an actual office park and watched the sorts of people who would come in from across the street and see how they interacted with each other.

Available on DVD?: The first three seasons are available on DVD. Season four is currently airing.





73) The Phil Silvers Show
CBS, produced 1955-1959

What: It's entirely possible you've never heard of this show. Despite being an early success in syndication, the series has largely disappeared in recent years, even though its premise is classical enough to still sustain interest (it's basically the same premise as Beetle Bailey). One of the few sitcoms from the 50s that's still worth watching today, The Phil Silvers Show (better known as Sgt. Bilko) invented many of the tropes of the workplace sitcom -- indeed, its huge ensemble cast (like The Office) made the show so expensive to produce that it was canceled, just as it was garnering its highest ratings. The show's central performance also has garnered justified acclaim, as the series made Silvers a star.

Why: How many shows are so commonly identified with one, classic character that they simply become named after that character in the eyes of the public? Maybe All in the Family (which family members still call "Archie Bunker"), but The Phil Silvers Show (actually originally titled You'll Never Get Rich) has almost inexorably become called Sgt. Bilko by people who saw it first run or just saw it in syndication. That's how much sway Silvers' performance holds over those who've seen the show. Most sitcoms before this show were family-based ones, playing off of the usual dynamics involved in those sorts of situations. By setting the show in a workplace, creator Nat Hiken opened it up to all sorts of new character dynamics and rather invented a genre in the process. If you watch Silvers, you can see various tropes and ideas being established that would be milked by shows for decades to come. Silvers was also one of the first big successes in syndication, following I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners. It's little seen today, but that's not the fault of the show, which remains sharp.

Best season: The series got better as it went along, and season four is the best of the show's run, as it was the one that most naturally blended all of the extended cast members into the show proper.

Best episode: "The Eating Contest" was perhaps the finest moment in Bilko's attempts to make some easy money, as he tries to convince a man who eats ravenously when depressed that his girlfriend has left him.

Did you know?: Despite the exodus from the East Coast to produce television in Los Angeles, Hiken insisted the show be filmed in New York City. Perhaps that's why CBS scheduled it against Milton Berle, expecting it to fail quickly. Instead, Hiken's ratings eventually became good enough to beat his old boss.

Available on DVD?: There are a handful of DVDs featuring a handful of episodes, but no complete series release is available or planned.





72) Sports Night
ABC, produced 1998-2000

What: One-season wonders are well-known in the annals of television -- shows that were great for a season, but canceled due to low ratings. Perhaps just as important but even less known are two-season wonders -- shows that were great for a season, but had low ratings, only to find themselves renewed by a network desperate for critical cachet. Sports Night, probably the finest television work by Aaron Sorkin, is a perfect example of a two-season wonder. In its first season, ABC had no hits and was desperate for anything that showed promise. In its second season, ABC had Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and could afford to cancel it. Besides, Sorkin was concentrating on West Wing, and the second season wasn't quite as good as season one. But it was their loss. Sports Night was a solid little show about the goings-on at a cable sports news show. It purported to be a comedy, but really, it was a little one-act play every week, usually dealing with a social issue. It was solid stuff, almost a throwback to the days of Playhouse 90 and the other great anthology shows, only with a continuing cast.

Why: Sports Night was mostly written by the good Aaron Sorkin -- the smart one who wrote smart dialogue -- not the bad Aaron Sorkin -- the self-impressed one who spent his whole time tearing in to strawmen. It helped that the show in question was a last-place show, so the characters, self-involved as they might be, were always forced to stay somewhat humble, if not self-deprecating. As you watch Sports Night, you can see the pieces of the Sorkin formula snap into place, from the kindly older man who guides the characters with his sage wisdom (when Robert Guillaume had to leave the show for a time in season one, it was somehow amazing, simply because the show felt centerless without him, and Sorkin wrote to this) to the wisecracking best buddies and their female best friend one of them is secretly in love with. Not all of this was perfect -- Sorkin still felt a little smug from time to time, and he had trouble writing female characters who weren't neurotic messes just looking for the right guy -- but Sports Night hit more right notes than wrong ones, and its reputation is mostly unsullied because it was canceled so swiftly. The show is worth checking out, if only for the amazing run William H. Macy puts in in the second season. In addition, any series that raises Felicity Huffman in the public eye must be doing something right.

Best season: The first season trumps the second season by a hair, largely because Sorkin didn't really have anything else to do while he was writing it.

Best episode: Did I mention Sorkin's way with a Christmas episode? "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee" isn't REALLY a Christmas episode (Christmas only slightly informs it), but the fact that it's set during the holiday season gives it a festive air that plays against the serious business of the A story.

Did you know?: Several cable networks, including HBO, wanted to continue the show after it was canceled by ABC. Sorkin declined them, choosing to focus on The West Wing. Years later, when Arrested Development wanted HBO to pick it up, HBO declined, largely because it was still a bit stung by Sorkin's refusal.

Available on DVD?: The complete series is available on DVD.





71) NYPD Blue
ABC, produced 1993-2005

What: One of the great ensemble dramas, NYPD Blue got its start out of controversy, including several ABC affiliates refusing to air it (the sexuality -- which seems tame today -- was just TOO MUCH). Fortunately, the controversy got a healthy sampling of viewers to the show, which continued for many seasons. Steven Bochco and David Milch joined forces to try to create a show that depicted police life realistically. Even though NYPD Blue wasn't as realistic as some shows (which will appear later on the list), it managed to get the rhythms of a precinct down and nail just how gritty life on the street could be. While one half of the central partnership was a revolving door, Dennis Franz's Andy Sipowicz was a character to be reckoned with.

Why: Unlike many shows, NYPD Blue's long string of disappointing seasons (roughly everything after season six, though parts of season seven are pretty awesome) didn't really hurt the show as a whole. That's largely because the great seasons of Blue were driven by Milch's singular creative vision (he wrote and rewrote scripts endlessly, agitating ABC). Without him, the show lost a singular voice, but it was still a pretty basic cop show. Bad or mediocre Blue is just a cop show. Good or great Blue was Milch's love letter to the things he loved about New York -- the bad neighborhoods and all. Blue loses some points for investing a lot in misery porn (Sipowicz lost seemingly everyone he cared about -- to the point where it became completely unrealistic), but at its best, the show was a cop drama that raised questions about exactly who watches those watchmen.

Best season: The third season was the first to not have to deal with the uncertainty of whether David Caruso would be on the show, as Jimmy Smits was completely integrated into the cast.

Best episode: Later on, Sipowicz's tragedies would become almost laughable, but in the two-part "A Death in the Family" and "Closing Time," Milch wrought quiet grief out of his loss of his son, managing to balance sadness with joy -- a quality he would use to maximum effect in his magnum opus, Deadwood.

Did you know?: ABC refused to pick up NYPD Blue for the 1992-93 season, sure they could not air it without incurring the wrath of the FCC. Bochco and Milch spent that season negotiating with the network about what could and could not be shown. Milch later credited this for saving the show, saying, "The good thing about that delay was that I got to spend an extra year with cops to research and come to understand more about what it meant to be a New York City cop."

Available on DVD?: The first four seasons are available on DVD. No further releases are planned, but the series seems to be trickling out slowly, so they may happen yet.

The list so far:
71) NYPD Blue
72) Sports Night
73) The Phil Silvers Show
74) The Office (US)
75) Green Acres
76) Frasier
77) The Waltons
78) Friday Night Lights
79) The West Wing
80) M*A*S*H
81) The Bob Newhart Show
82) Everybody Loves Raymond
83) Sex and the City
84) The Price is Right
85) Big Love
86) The Amazing Race
87) Futurama
88) Everwood
89) The Cosby Show
90) Beavis and Butthead
91) Firefly
92) Leave it to Beaver
93) Alfred Hitchcock Presents
94) Picket Fences
95) Veronica Mars
96) WKRP in Cincinnati
97) Project Runway
98) How I Met Your Mother
99) The Adventures of Pete and Pete
100) Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Today's Christmas tune: Wikipedia says that, according to legend, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was written to bring a hippo to the Oklahoma City zoo. Supposedly, it worked. Today, Libby wants you to share this bit of Christmas cheer, so we deliver it to you, even if you already have a million versions of the song.

Tomorrow: 10 Foreign Series I like, including the original #2 on the list proper, the only show to nail the live theatre and me cheating with a miniseries.


7 comments:

Libby said...

AND THE HIPPO'S NAME WAS MATILDA!!!

Carrie said...

Ah, Robert Thompson. I went to Syracuse for grad school and took two of his classes. I learned more about the history of TV from him than any other teacher I've ever had, but you know how he kind of talks in soundbites in his interviews? He talks like that in class, too. It's amusing.

Sports Night! How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways. But knowing that Sorkin was inadvertently responsible for ending Arrested Development makes my distaste for the man behind the show grow even more bitter.

Bobby said...

Five bucks says the original #2 was Galactica.

Meggie D. said...

M*A*S*H at 80?!?!? Are you MAD?

Todd, I swear I could rip your heart out for that one. That belongs in the top 10. 20 at worst.

Satan has a special place for you, my friend. Right next to Hitler.

Todd said...

Carrie, he really talks like that? That's awesome!

Bobby: Galactica is a U.S. production. It will appear on the main list if it appears at all.

Meggie: I knew I would catch some flack for not putting M*A*S*H higher, but I just don't like it a whole lot. In fact, I daresay it's the most overrated show of all time.

kend47 said...

TY TY TY!!! Finally somebody has said
what I've said about mash for years.
The show was funny for 3 years, after
that it became a treatise on liberalism.
EVERY character had to grow. Hotlips became
Margaret. Klinger started wearing reg army
gear with a ladies hat. And Major Winchester, well
he was always a pompous ass, UNTIL the time
came when he would show us he really WASN'T
A POMPOUS ASS, and was a kind and caring
individual, eech!!

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