Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Thursday Thirteen #349

 The 13 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. A wholly subjective list of the 100 best shows appeared in Variety last year. Here are the top 13. I don't agree with many of the rankings, but what the hell. It's all good fun.

13. Succession. HBO, 2018-2023. I watched the beginning of the first episode twice but just couldn't get into it. Every character was so unlikable! But a lot people love it.

12. Sesame Street. PBS. 1969 to present. I was too old for the show myself, but I watched it with my kid sister, and then with her children. I appreciate the artistry, the sterling intentions, and all the good it's done in the world.

11. Cheers. NBC. 1982-1993. The bar where everybody knows your name. I like the show, but I wouldn't rate it this high. Ted Danson appeared in every episode as Sam Malone and I think he's the best thing about it. I don't always like Sam, but he's always good company.

10. Roots. ABC. 1977. I admit I never saw it. This was before VCRs, DVRs and streaming, I was 19, and simply too busy being 19 to commit to watching a mini-series. However its power is undeniable. I never saw the miniseries or read the book, yet I know the bare bones of Kunta Kinte's story. It was everywhere, like air.

9. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. CBS. 1970-77. This show had a massive impact on me in real time. Mary Richards had a tiny apartment, money woes, a fabulous wardrobe and a work family. My first apartment was a studio, I was barely getting by, I spent too much on clothes, and my closest friends and confidantes were the people I met at work (at that point I was a secretary at Sears Tower). After Mary herself died in 2017, our associate minister remembered how reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show inspired and comforted her through her loneliest days away at college. A nice legacy for the lady to leave.

8. Seinfeld. NBC. 1989-98. I hate this show. No, really. I loathe it. It's worse than just not funny. It's hostile. I know that humor is subjective, and if you like Seinfeld, enjoy the reruns. But truly, I'd rather have dental work that endure 5 minutes of it.

7. The Wire. HBO. 2002-08. Never saw it. Maybe I'd enjoy it. After all, I love Law & Order and this sounds very similar.

6. Sex and the City. HBO. 1998-2004. My girls! I loved that Carrie was a writer who was bad with money but great with her girlfriends. Plus, she loved living in the city and brooked no criticism of it. Just as Mary Richards made me feel understood in the 1970s, SATC took me into the new millennium.

5. Breaking Bad. AMC. 2008-13. I tried, I really did. But after a couple episodes, I realized I just didn't give a shit about these characters.

4. The Simpsons. Fox. 1989 to present. I've only seen it once or twice. I know this must sound unAmerican, but I just never cared about this show one way or the other.

3. The Sopranos. HBO. 1999-2007. I watched the first season and then gave up on it. It's not that Mafia dramas turn me off; I've seen The Godfather so often I can recite it. I just never got into this one. Maybe, now that it's streaming, I should give it another shot.

2. Mad Men. AMC. 2007-15. Trust me, this is a docudrama. I spent 43 years in advertising and I know these characters and these situations. Like Peggy, I started as a secretary and worked my way up. Like Peggy, I only knew men from the office and slept with the wrong ones. Like Peggy, I became a creative director and won awards. There were weeks I simply couldn't watch Mad Men. It reflected what was going on in my life so closely that it didn't feel like entertainment. That's how good it is.

1. I Love Lucy. CBS. 1951-57. No argument from me. It premiered before I was born and it still makes me laugh. I think Lucy Ricardo appealed to me when I was little because she acted and responded just like I would, if only I was able to cross the street by myself. Then I came to have crazy respect for Desi Arnaz. A refugee from Cuba, he came to America with nothing and built an empire. Above all, there's Lucille Ball. She was beautiful, tough, ambitious and steadfast. Insanely talented and oh, how she loved Desi!

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.