Monday, September 12, 2016

TV-THE BOOK, Sepinwall and Zoller Sietz

I am enjoying this book a lot. I just don't have the attention right now for anything more. They start out by choosing what they consider the best TV show of all time. With THE SOPRANOS and THE WIRE runners up, they choose THE SIMPSONS. They acknowledge only the first ten seasons were consistently excellent. I have never seen an episode of THE SIMPSONS.

What TV show would you choose? I would pick MAD MEN. I gave consideration to THE WIRE and BREAKING BAD but for sheer enjoyment and for what it said about America, MAD MEN wins for me.

23 comments:

Walker Martin said...

I agree that the shows you mention are exceptional. But I think we have to pick by category like best comedy, crime drama, western, horror, SF, etc. For instance I dislike practically all situation comedies but I think Seinfeld and I Love Lucy to be great shows. For crime drama I would pick Homicide: Life on the Streets. Justified was great also.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I know you and George loved MAD MEN but I couldn't watch it.

Charles Gramlich said...

I used to watch the Simpsons all the time. Especially liked their Halloween tree of horror stuff

Gerard said...

It's like picking the best book, isn't it? How do you decide on one show? I cannot think of one show that rises above the rest anyway.

I've been watching a lot of TV over the best couple months by using Hulu and Amazon Prime to work my way through several series. I'm half an episode from finishing SOUTHLAND.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am not sure why they organized it like they did. Their pieces on each show are good though and I can't argue with them as I have never seen the winner. I think you could choose the best 30 minute show and the best 60 minute show. Seinfeld would be my choice for 30 minute. SOUTHLAND was very good but it leaned heavily on earlier shows for its format and style HILL STREET BLUES especially.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Hard to narrow it down to one .The Sopranos, Homicide, The Wire, Seinfield and Breaking Bad would all be up for consideration. Also fond of The Simpsons, Southland and Justified.
Never got into Mad Men-probably due to my aversion to Elizabeth Moss-just find her creepy. And she is a scientoligist besides.
But how do you compare Seinfield to The Wire? Two different genres.

George said...

I'm with you on MAD MEN. Love the final episode! Very clever ending!

Cap'n Bob said...

Dragnet.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dragnet Wow. Don't think I ever saw an episode.

Anonymous said...

Certain episodes of Lost in Space, My So-Called Life, and Thunderbirds still have an incredible and indescribable magic to them that has never been equalled.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Are we only talking about American TV shows Patti? Because with mini-series, anthologies and so on, making a choice can be really hard. I would certainly want to include the likes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE (the first 2 seasons anyway) or the first three seasons of HOMICIDE. But also THE SINGING DETECTIVE (mino-series) and THE PRISONER from the UK.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the writers--it's THE SIMPSONS. True, the earlier years were consistently brilliant compared to the merely competently funny ones of recent vintage, but then they throw in an episode like "The Book Job" (a riff on Ocean's Eleven along with a satire on book publishing, not to mention guest voice Neil Gaiman) and you understand why the show is the juggernaut it is.

--Deb

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, Sergio. They only included US shows.
I must somehow sit down and watch THE SIMPSONS. My grandson would be very happy.

Todd said...

US television series:
1. ONCE AND AGAIN. Quite aside from any crush I might've had on Sela Ward (her participation couldn't get me to watch CSI: NEW YORK regularly, though HOUSE), simply the most deft drama about artsy upper middle class life of our time. If DOWNTON ABBEY or THE AFFAIR were half as good, they would be considerably better than they are or were.
2. HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS. The network pushed them around a little too much, but even the attempt to make it THE FRANK PEMBLETON SHOW didn't derail the series.
3. THE WIRE. Not quite better than HOMICIDE on balance...a few too many hokey bits such as the shyster who was apparently not simply pretending to be but actually was nonplussed by the assassin Omar suggesting that they were both working in their own self-interest.
4. ST. ELSEWHERE: The first season, which was run by the creators and featured David Birney, was as annoying anything Brand and Falsey and Birney are involved with, but the series given to actually talented people for the balance of the seasons improved it markedly.
5. WKRP IN CINCINNATI barely edges out THE BOB NEWHART SHOW; had it run longer, FRANK'S PLACE probably would've been even better than both. The wonderful PBS sitcom anthology series TRYING TIMES is also a contender here.

Todd said...

That should read, "though HOUSE was never better than when she was on it."

Todd said...

As everyone else notes, THE SIMPSONS has been uneven, but not nearly so much as SEINFELD was (I found it nearly unwatchable by the last seasons, though I did agree with what I think Larry David was doing with the finale...David's leaving the show is probably what put it off the rails).

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, the last few years of SEINFELD were not as good. TRYING TIMES is new to me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Although watching CURB just now. Most of the episodes borrow heavily from his writing on SEINFELD. I laugh but a lot of it is mixed with a cringe.

Todd said...

Writers often do have certain patterns...CURB was good, but certainly repetitive, within its own run as well as echoing his work on SEINFELD.

Todd said...

TRYING TIMES had pretty brilliant episodes written by and starring Steven Wright, Catherine O'Hara, Spalding Gray, Teri Garr and others...I was happy, a half hour ago, to find on YouTube the Rosanna Arquette episode, directed by Jonathan Demme, which I'd never seen before (and I like Arquette a lot)...and it's really not good. Demme deserves much of the blame, though the script, co-authored by Beth Henley, shares responsibility...turns out it was the pilot. The series had two short seasons. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-10-16/features/8703180567_1_30th-six-part-pbs-series-first-rate The TRIBUNE reviewer bends over backwards to be nice to the pilot...

For the episode, in three parts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kJ01xg6DLM

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Cap'n Bob-Dragnet? You are kidding right. When I was laid up last winter I watched a bunch of Dragnets. Esp. loved the anti counter culture episodes with 30 something guys with bad wigs going around and saying peace and groovy all the time.
Forgot about Curb-love that show.Also Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren.

Cap'n Bob said...

I do not kid. My close second would be Leave It to Beaver.

pattinase (abbott) said...

One of the best written shows ever!!