Barb and I were almost home the other night when a familiar tune came on the car radio. “In my opinion, that’s the BEST TV SHOW EVER,” I said. And that got me thinking. What were my favorite TV shows of all time? So here, from #10 to #1 is my list. The only rule for selection is that there are no rules. It is my list, I get to say what goes on it. Feel free to disagree. I am sure you will!
#10-#7 My Early Years
10. The Dick Van Dyke Show: The classic work life-home life sitcom. Barb can still crack me up with an “Oh, Rob” or put me in my place with a “You’re no Albert Schweitzer.” I was young, Mary Tyler Moore was adorable, and Ritchie was getting attacked by birds. What was there not to like?
9. What’s My Line?: You thought Jeopardy! would be my favorite game show? Wrong again, reader. Another classic from my youth, no moderator was ever as smooth and urbane as John Charles Daley. And when the host has 3 names, I knew the celebrity panel had to be classy too, even if I had never heard of Bennett Cerf or Arlene Francis. And Dorothy Kilgallen was sort of hot to my 7-year-old eyes.
8. Saturday Night Blackhawks Hockey: Only a few Blackhawks games were televised in the ’60s. But every Saturday night during the season, I would knock on my next-door neighbor Jeff’s door at 6:30. We would play a game of table hockey (he had a great set with 3D plastic players and a ball-bearing puck) and then settle in to watch the Hawks play another “Original Six” opponent. The TV set was black and white, but there was no problem picking out the Golden Jet, as Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Glenn Hall did their best to bring Chicago a winner.
7. Ray Raynor and Friends and The Dick Tracy Show: Ray Raynor, playing the jumpsuited host during the morning in the former and Officer Pettibone during the afternoon in the latter, had my full attention. White Sox (and Cubs) scores, Chelveston the Duck and some decent cartoons kept me entertained.
6. Breaking Bad: After starting to watch the family drama Parenthood in its 4th season, Barb and I decided to go back and watch the earlier seasons–our first binge-watch. Our next binge-watch: Breaking Bad, a very different family drama. Mr. White and Jessie had special chemistry together, and not just the crystal-meth kind. We did not watch El Camino, the recent sequel. Heard it wasn’t all that good!
5. Hill Street Blues: The greatest show of the ’80s, it was the cop show that stood above all other cop shows, before and after. FOMAE (fear of missing an episode) led us to buy our first VCR. VHS of course–we didn’t want no stinkin’ BetaMax.
4. Veep: Laugh out loud funny and bitingly mean and all-around magnificent. Julia Louis Dreyfuss and the whole ensemble cast made Washington D.C. seem as miserable as it truly must be. I loved it even before there was a real dramedy in the White House.
3. Game of Thrones: Maybe I would have ranked it higher before the final season, but come on, #3 isn’t all that bad. Love and hate. Red Weddings and Walks of Shame. And battles. Lots of battles. So why isn’t Arya Stark starring in a sequel?
2. Seinfeld: Yada, Yada, Yada. And Julia Louis Dreyfuss too.
1. The music I heard in the car that day was Alabama 3 talking and singing their way through “Woke Up This Morning.” I cannot hear that song without seeing James Gandolfini, cigar smoke swirling around his head, driving past the Meadowlands and Satriale’s Pork Store. Tony Soprano on the move, inviting us to New Jersey and The Sopranos, the greatest TV series ever made.
You agree with me on all of these, right? If not, let me hear about it.
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