0001: My Favorite Television Programs

  • 1. Moonlighting
  • 2. Homicide: Life on the Streets
  • 3. Mad Men
  • 4. The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • 5. The Prisoner
  • 6. I Love Lucy (Fred Mertz is the greatest male sitcom character ever..)
  • 7. The Fugitive (the original, obviously...)
  • 8. Murder One (at least the innovative, riveting first season...)
  • 9. China Beach
  • 10 Cheers
  • 11. Absolutely Fabulous (Patsy Stone is the greatest female sitcom character ever...)
  • 12. Max Headroom
  • 13. WKRP in Cincinnati
  • 14. Most of 70s-80s Masterpiece Theatre
  • 15. Fawlty Towers
  • 16. Monty Python's Flying Circus
  • 17. Twin Peaks (If the entire show was up to the great first season, this would be much higher)
  • 18. M*A*S*H
  • 19. NewsRadio (Tons better before Max joined up)
  • 20. The Simpsons
  • 21. The Bob Newhart Show
  • 22. Fernwood 2Night
  • 23. Northern Exposure (Again, would be higher if it ended in its prime)

The exclusion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is quite perplexing...sniff, sniff

Sorry, Johnny (Welcome back, by the way!). I have seen episodes of Buffy I liked, and I have seen episodes I didn't like, so it pretty much rounds out to even in my book.

My biggest problem with Buffy is that it is too often, INMO, anticlimatic. What looks to be a promising premise is wrapped up too quickly (and often implausibly), and I am left wondering why that character wasn't expanded, or why this plot wasn't a story arc instead of one episode with a rushed ending, or why the ending couldn't be half as intriguing as the idea itself (such as the mute episode).

On the plus side, I love spotting the thick stuntperson with the terrible wig who stands in for Buffy during fights!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

My friend that is a lot of tv watching

Stretched over many years. I'm a partial insomniac, so I used to record programs during high school and watch them when my eyes were too tired to read. I also have seen a lot of late-night Nick at Night, or at least before they started filling that time period up with the foul refuse of the seventies kid shows (Happy Days, Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch, and other terrible, terrible shows even fellow gen-Xers should be ashamed to watch).

Oddly, the twist here is that I hardly watch any television any more (excepting, of course, films on TCM and other channels)! Sure, occasionally I catch a Will & Grace or some other shows (sniff, goodbye Freaks and Geeks), but in the last four weeks, I bet I haven't seen an entire television show excepting AbFab reruns on BBC America.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I also miss Freaks and Geeks. I loved that program. It will be missed.

Well Les, some of these I agree with and some I dont. Go figure, we are different people, huh? I see no Barney Miller or All In The Family. Also, I loved Barnaby Jones and Columbo. What do you think of these four shows I liked?

I always (incorrectly) think of Columbo as a series of made-for-TV films rather than a television show, which is why it is missing above. I may have to think a bit and to make room for it and Barney Miller, which simply slipped my mind.

All in the Family is important but over-rated, and to be honest, I have never seen an episode of Barnaby Jones. Do they even still show this on TV? If so, I'll have to try and catch a show or two.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I endorsed you based on this list.

Lucy rules. China Beach kicked ass. Twin Peaks change TV forever and for the better. AbFab rocks. Newhart can do no wrong.

Thanks, Jimmy. I don't find too many people who actually watched China Beach. Man, I love that show. I remember being devastated when Nurse Cherry died. Remember that great episode?

I also really loved how the last season shifted back in forth in time between Nam, the present, and all points in between.

One of my required watchings in high school.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Boy, I really need to edge Absolutely Fabulous higher up this list. New episodes in November!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

When you make the switch, you could use the "numbered list" feature to automatically handle the numbering for you.

Oooh, digitalbits.com is reporting that the first season of Murder One (up there with Homicide: Life on the Street, AbFab, and NewsRadio as one the best show of the 90s) will street February. For those who missed it (and the ratings say that was nearly all of you), the first season told one story over the course of a season; it was not real time, but it was somewhat of a proto-24. That story was a doozy, too.

TV DVD addicts should certainly consider a rental...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

With the upcoming release of the Moonlighting DVDs, I was wondering if you'd be up to the task of posting a review of the show. I'd really like to know what you love about it.

Excellent idea! We'll see what I can work up...


Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I finally started watching Moonlighting. (Thanks mostly to your praise of it here).

What a brilliant show! Clever and engaging, but most of all, witty as hell. The Cybill Shepherd/Bruce Willis dynamic is pitch-perfect. Thanks for the (indirect) recommendation!

I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Just wait until season/series three... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I eagerly await it. I've heard that it jumps the shark late in the run though - do you agree?

Yeah. :(

Season four wouldn't have been too bad if the two leads actually had been in more of the episodes together! The writing is still good, but the chemistry vanishes since the two are largely not in the same scenes most of the time.

The fifth is substandard Moonlighting (the show's creator and genius, Glenn Gordon Caron, left), which means it was still better than many shows on the air, but no, not nearly as good as seasons 1-3...

So enjoy those first three seasons! :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I just finished the last episode of season five a few minutes ago.

Seasons one and two were my favourite. They were just insanely witty. The chemistry between Shepherd and Willis was unbelievable.

I loved season three too. Especially the four-parter. It didn't have many of the traditional mystery stories, but I did love the likes of "Big Man on Mulberry Street" though, so that's not really a complaint.

Seasons four and five were definitely a step down. You're right about S4; there were only maybe two episodes out of fourteen that were old-school "Maddy-and-David-investigate". There were still some good episodes, but not as consistently as in S1-3. I was glad to see Viola get a regular role; I didn't think much of him when he started to appear in S3 but I grew to like him a lot as the show went on.

S5 was good but it had definitely lost some of its spark. I guess that's partially down to Glenn leaving, as you mention. I quite liked the ending to the final episode, though.

Overall, it's one for my top 20, although if all five seasons had been the same quality as S1-3 it would probably be in my top 10. Still, seeing as I spend far too much time watching television, that's quite an achievement. And thanks for praising it so much here, as I might never have checked it out otherwise.

A review of the show wouldn't be complete without a DiPesto-style rhyme:

Five seasons of Moonlighting, it's been a blast,
Partially down to the wonderful cast.
Though also due credit is its marvellous wit,
Which was ever-present even when it got.. weaker.
It's safe to say I'll miss the folk at Blue Moon,
But I'm sure I'll be re-watching it sometime soon.

I love the rhyming recap!

Season three gets the edge from me, but really, I just love the first three so much. It was unique in the 80s; you never knew when you tuned in if you were getting a typical, funny detective episode, a musical (my, I love that Big Man on Mulberry Street episode), a suprisingly moving drama (The Son Also Rises, Big Man), a Shakespeare goof, a film noir tribute, or who knows what else. I was watching the series when I first dove into screwball comedies from the 30s and 40s, so that was a great time in my life! :)

It really is a shame season four had so many problems, and the creator leaving hurt beyond healing, but I was still very sad when they took this off the air.

I'm glad you had the chance to watch it!

Have you ever seen Fernwood Tonight? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had a clip from it, and I was rushed with fond memories of the show. I think you might like it. It is one of the last great TV cult comedies waiting to be rediscovered...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I've never seen Fernwood Tonight, no. I just looked it up and it sounds good, but it looks like it hasn't had an official DVD release, which is a shame. Maybe I'll see if it can be acquired through (ahem) alternative means..

Haven't been able to get into the Wire or the Sopranos?

Both glorious, poetic masterpieces.

I've never had HBO. I am only just now watching the first season of The Sopranos and working through The Wire. I'm loving both so far...


Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs