Now it’s time for a new list, and the idea for this one comes from Extreme John, who wrote this post about his top 10 favorite TV shows, and asked people to tell him what they were on his blog. I decided to do it here instead and link back to him, giving him credit for the idea, mainly because it allows me to talk about why I liked these shows, as he did, possibly add a short video, and of course add an affiliate link to each of them, just in case you loved the shows also and I spark enough nostalgia in you that you just have to go and buy it. No, it didn’t work for the movies, but one never stops trying, right?
I have to admit that this one is tougher than the movies were. The rules have to change somewhat, since, as you’ll see, some of these kind of have the same title. But they were different shows, so it doesn’t count. Here we go.
10. Family Guy – The first time I saw this show, I laughed like there was no tomorrow. When they took it off, I thought someone was the biggest moron I’d never heard of. When they brought it back, it told me that someone was paying attention to the fact that they had an irreverent hit on their hands, not typical fare, and people liked it. How many other shows went off the air for 3 years, then came back as a hit; oh yeah, none!
9. Flip Wilson – This was the first black hosted variety show that lasted for longer than 15 minutes, which is about how long Nat King Cole’s show lasted back in the 50’s. Flip Wilson’s show was something much different, and for four seasons, he ruled Thursday nights. Something about NBC and great Thursday night shows over history.
8. Bugs Bunny Show – This one might not count, but I’m putting it here because I just couldn’t wait for Saturday mornings so I could watch this baby. For those of you much younger, we used to only have 3 channels in the days before PBS, and, for me, CBS ruled because they had Bugs Bunny. Man, when I finally got to see them in my own home in color,… I almost burst! They shut down the embed for this one, but you can check it out here.
7. Simpsons – We owe a lot to Tracy Ullman for having these short cartoons throughout her weekly TV show. This show is now in it’s, what, 12th year, and every show is still something totally brand new and offbeat. How many Simpson characters can you name in one sitting? Can you think of any other cartoon that has so many characters in an episodic setting that you know how each one is supposed to act, let alone sound?
6. Law and Order – I was late to this show, but once I started watching it, I was hooked. I love the formula, where we establish the crime, solve the crime, then try to prosecute the crime because sometimes we didn’t quite solve the right crime and the right criminal. It’s formulaic, but it’s comfortable, and you never quite know the outcome.
5. Sanford and Son – You couldn’t get away with this type of show in today’s world, but the world was ready for a break down and laugh out loud show starring a black actor. In this case it was Redd Foxx, who had previously been known for what were then known as “party records,” or raunchy comedy records. Bill Cosby and Diahann Carroll may have come first, but those two shows were muted by comparison. White folks at the time weren’t ready for this show, but black people were; especially this clip, which they won’t show on TV anymore.
4. Star Trek – This was the show that started it all for me. This was the more serious show, at least most of the time, to its outer space counterpart at the time, Lost In Space. I have to tell you folks that I kind of owe my life to the concepts of logic and Mr. Spock, but Captain Kirk has given my the most endearing line of my entire life, something I will always live by and, I believe, others need to live by also: “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.” Okay, that’s from the second movie, but still,… Take that, Kobiyashi Maru! What Star Trek fan hasn’t at some time found themselves humming this tune?
3. X-Files – If you can imagine a single guy looking to go out on Friday nights but having to stay in and watch a TV show first, that’s what X-Files did to me. For eight seasons this was the show that I just couldn’t miss, and man, I really wanted Scully to finally see those aliens. The science on the show was just plausible enough to pass the muster, and as a thriller it was unsurpassed as far as TV fare went, and that was good enough for me.
2. Star Trek – Next Generation – Okay, you’re probably wondering why this show ranks higher than the original Star Trek. It’s mainly because I felt like this cast was a part of my family, whereas I felt like the original Star Trek cast were people I needed to look up to and respect, more like, well, parents. Most of this cast was close to my age except Captain Picard, and tell me has there ever been a cooler short, bald man? Except for Data, and possibly the captain, these people were folks I could have hung out with, even if I didn’t understand every word they were saying. I almost cried on the last episode; now that’s dedication.
1. Muppet Show – Okay, like y’all didn’t know this one was coming, with all the Muppet clips I post on this blog. Oddly enough, not counting sports, this was the only TV show I watched while I was in college. There was just something about Kermit and his goofy friends that resonated with me, and of course the guest stars were something else. My favorite episode ever was the one with Harry Belafonte, but since I’ve already posted that video, here’s another classic that I’ve always liked, that I’ve never shared before.
And there you are, my top 10 TV shows. Go ahead, comment, share yours if you wish, and have fun with it.