Random Top Ten!!
Random Top Ten!
Inspired by a top five list at Pop Culture Is My Curse. Note--I am not implying that these are the best series of all time. I have never seen, for example, an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, so it would be clearly silly of me to pretend to do so. On top of that, there are series that I have seen a healthy piece of, like All in the Family, that I would say are better than some on my list--but they just don't hit my happy button as well as the ten below. So--these are my favorites.
10. Seinfeld--Possibly the most consistently funny sitcom I've ever seen. And a good decade in, it's holding up marvelously.
9. Scrubs--Just finished the second season, and the show's ability to meld absolute, off-the-chart's goofiness (dozens of people doing the Rerun dance in Rerun garb--with Rerun?) and real, powerful emotional drama is astonishing. It flat out shouldn't work.
8. Chicago Hope--That first Mandy-riffic season was brilliant--mixing a remarkable performance of a man slowly losing his mind over an entire season with compelling medical stories. I love the everyday reality of ER, but setting Chicago Hope in an elite hospital, and making its lead character the nation's most brilliant surgeon, opened up whole storytelling avenues. The single show I am most hoping for on DVD.
7. Roseanne--The first sitcom to completely nail what family life is like for lower-middle class people in America. And John Goodman puts in what I'd say is one of the top ten all-time performances as Dan.
6. The Sopranos--A show that showed us what heights (and depths) television could go to with the shackles of network standards removed. A wonderful use of the long-term format series television can provide to really give us a complex, detailed, and epic story about a criminal and his family.
5. Gilmore Girls--The oft-discussed fast-talk is really just a stellar stylistic device--like the singing in musicals. It's not supposed to be "real," it's supposed to be a convention that tells us things about the characters we mightn't otherwise know.
4. Lost--I've been hooked like I've almost never been hooked before. The structure (the use of extended flashbacks in each episode, the slow movement of time) is brilliant, especially in hindsight. A show that at first blushed seemed destined for a short run could run for years. And the mix of human drama, teasing mysteries, and unpredictability is gold. A great, great show.
3. Once and Again--See here. The best family TV drama, and the best filmed treatment of divorce, I've ever seen.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer--An inspired mix of teen drama, soapiness, superhero tropes, horror tropes, and long-form structure. I never saw the show on TV but have seen the whole run on DVD--and am itching to start all over again.
1. The Simpsons--The pinnacle. Built to last forever (and it just might) the single source of more laughs than any other piece of entertainment I've ever been exposed to.