Day 313 – My Idiot Box

53 – 101 Best-Written Shows Ever

I like television. Perhaps a bit too much. Out of the 101 shows in today’s link, I have seen 53. And a little voice in the back of my mind was singling out a further 28 as I was counting that it’d really like to see, thankyouverymuch.

I was an almost indiscriminate watcher of TV of dubious quality.

I’m much more of a snob these days. I think the 10-12 episode season is the greatest invention since sliced bread; give me my drug in a more concentrated, higher-quality dose, thanks. I’m a double-shot coffee kinda guy as well.

I used to watch CSI Miami, and enjoy the corny-ness of it. Today-Jerry would never in a million years put up with Miami. It’s all empty calories leaving me feel hollow inside after Horatio utters his last witty remark. Even good middle-of-the-road shows like The Good Wife barely rise above “watch while I’m working” level of interest.

The list of top writing credits also irks me though.

The people who put it together clearly do not know good writing when it hits them over the head.

I’ve not yet seen The Sopranos, so I’m ready to accept it might be #1. There is however no way on this planet that Seinfeld is better-written than The West Wing. There is no way that Mad Men is better written than Breaking Bad. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mad Men dearly, but it just cannot touch Walter White,… and if it did, Walter would have it killed.

Don’t even get me started on 24; that show should not even be allowed on this list. It was conceptually great, and incredibly well executed. The first time. But the writing never was anything above “average”. The fact 24 is allowed on this list is an insult to the writing of all the other shows on it.

And don’t suggest Star Trek (TOS) should be off as well, because it might look dated, and seasons 2 and 3 get ever more mainstream… Season 1 of the original Star Trek explores some incredibly deep and philosophical concepts. Yes… feel free to laugh at me. Then go watch. Then I’ll gladly accept your apology.

My personal top-10 would look as follows:

  1. Fawlty Towers
    …for perfect economy of humour and writing
  2. The West Wing
    …for four seasons of genius writing, and three more of merely good-to-exceptional writing
  3. Breaking Bad
    …for a perfectly judged arc, and some of the most memorable villains
  4. Modern Family
    …for making me cry with laughter uncontrollably more than once
  5. Star Trek – The Next Generation
    …just for The Inner Light alone, and then so much more
  6. Battlestar Galactica
    …despite a very average conclusion, for not feeling the obsessive need to explain everything
  7. The Newsroom
    …for imagining what a world with a proper fourth estate might look like
  8. Frasier
    …for being perfectly witty and sharp; Niles is my hero
  9. Game of Thrones
    …Daenerys, Arya, Tyrion, oh, and you never know who will live or die
  10. Mad Men
    …for making me feel anything is possible when Don Draper does a pitch

If these were the only 10 shows I could ever watch from now on, I think I could cope with that. Just looking at the titles of The West Wing episodes fills me with the near-irresistible urge to put a disk in the player and get lost for hours.

3 thoughts on “Day 313 – My Idiot Box”

  1. Try Lilyhammer, and Rake. Very funny black humour. Neither from the US, but technically very slick.

  2. I have been feeling the urge to West Wing it again… You know, just if you were interested.

    We need to try and find some Aussie shows that might interest you too. Perhaps we need an ABC challenge?

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