Friday, September 21, 2012



Two nights ago, ABC aired a special episode of "20/20" where they revealed the results of their (ABCNews and "People" magazine) own polls of the Greatest TV Shows of All-Time. Yes, polls, it wasn't just that one; they actually took polls on almost a dozen different things about television. Best Reality Shows, Best TV Mother, Best TV Father, Best Cop/Legal Drama/Show, Best Comedy, and so-on and so-forth. I had long known about this poll, probably participated in it, although I don't remember now, but it was one of the reasons I began taking my own poll over a month ago. In case you're all wondering, with over one million voting, they named as the Best TV Show of All-Time, "I Love Lucy". There Top 5 was as follows.

1. I Love Lucy
2. M*A*S*H
3. Seinfeld
4. All in the Family
5. Cheers

Now, just so I can get all the possible biasness out of the way, I should point out that four of the five shows actually made my Top 5 list, when I started this poll. I didn't have "Lucy..." in my Top Ten, instead I had "The Dick Van Dyke Show", but the rest were my Top 4. ("I Love Lucy" didn't make my Top Ten Ballot). Now don't confuse that with me, actually approving of this poll, I don't. They show the results, and the results are definitely believable and perfectly fine, but the way this was picked, that's questionable. You see, first things as I said, they didn't just make one poll, they made a bunch. This was the overall, but they also made separate poll for other genre, like drama, comedies, cop/legal shows, game shows, reality shows, etc. You can check out all their lists with a simple of search to see all the results. They then had a group of TV experts come together, and select a short list of TV shows, or characters or whatever they were polling for America to choose from. In actually, there was about fifteen or so comedies that were even eligible to make this list. (I don't remember if every show they pre-selected for every category was eligible for Best Show, but that's how I seem to remember it. If not, that might explain why "The Cosby Show" ranked 4th in Best Comedy, while, it didn't rank in Best TV Show, despite, the Top 5 all being comedies. ["M*A*S*H" was the one show that didn't make the Best Comedies Top 5]) Now, I more than understand the appeal of making all most of these separates lists. How comparable are some shows, really? Take for instance, "Jeopardy!" which got named Best Game Show, and "ER" which got named "Best Drama Series". Other than the fact that they were both on TV, do those shows have anything in common to compare to each other? I can't think of anything, can you? Well, now tell me, which one is better? It's hard to make such a distinction. That's a good reason to make such distinctions between different kinds of shows, but, how many distinctions can you make? This poll had one category for Drama Series, and one category for Cop/Legal Shows. All five of those shows selected, were dramas. Are Cop/Legal Dramas separate from regular dramas, and if they are, what about other kinds of dramas, like the family drama, or the westerns. People forget at one time, there were as many westerns on TV as there were Cop shows. Does Cop/Legal show also mean Private Eyes or Detective? Does "Quincy, M.E." count, or "Murder, She Wrote"? And why are we only talking about Cop/Legal shows as though they're all dramas? What about shows like "Night Court," or "Barney Miller", or "Car 54, Where Are You", or how about "Get Smart"? They found two spots for shows called "Law & Order", they couldn't find one, for a cop comedy? I could've voted for these, or many of these shows, but unfortunately, I only had a short list of about 15 different shows to pick from. I'll bet anybody $5 now, I can ask all my Facebook Friends what the funniest TV comedy is, and I'll get five people who'd say "Arrested Development" before I get one, who would say "I Love Lucy". You see, this is where I believe this constant subgenre-ing is a potentially dangerous road. I also think limiting the choices within those genres are also quite dangerous.  This is one of the reasons I came to the conclusion that the most effective way to come up with such a poll of the Greatest TV Show of All-Time is to not limit the poll to any regulations in terms of what one can pick, and, completely eliminate any discussion of genres.

As of this date, I've gotten a total of five people to so-far participate in my poll, to determine the "Ten Greatest TV Shows of All-Time". Which sucks, but it's also one more than last time, which was about two weeks ago. Well, progress is progress, and I am not either ABCNews or "People" Magazine. I'm not "Sight & Sound," either, but I believe the best way to determine the Ten Greatest TV Shows of All-Time, is simply to use their formula for their once-a-decade poll for find the Ten Best Movies of All-Time, and transfer it for TV.

So, for those who, might not be aware of this poll yet, (Which I hope is most of you, 'cause if it isn't, it means you haven't voted yet!) here are the rules. They're simple, there's only two. Rule one is that you can select anything you want, as long as it is a program that originate on television. Literally pick anything, any genre, cable, broadcast, pay-cable, drama, comedy, talk show, soap opera, sketch comedy, game shows, news and information shows, animated, reality, reality-competition, TV movies, miniseries... if you want to claim a show about learning how to crochet in one of the Greatest TV Shows of All-Time, go ahead. From "I Love Lucy" to "Inside Schwartz" you're absolutely allowed to pick it, anything. (Although I've be very concerned if you were picking "Inside Schwartz", frankly I'm little scared that I even remembered that show.) The only other rule I have is that you have to pick 10. You can't pick 9, you can't pick 11. There's no special jury prizes of any kind, and there's no writing "Community" down ten times. I am looking for Greatest, and not necessarily Favorites, but it's your votes, and I will be printing every ballot that comes, with your name on them, just like "Sight & Sound" does. If you want to pick "Hot Springs Hotel" anyway, go ahead, but I recommend preparing a good argument/explanation, if there is one.

Okay, now for the update. The latest submitted ballot was from my friend Melissa Phoenix, who's both an expert computer hacker, and quite a talented musician and writer. She's done solo work, as well as with her band Shared Delusion. Here's her ballot!

1. Queer as Folk
2. Xena: Warrior Princess
3. Smallville
4. Dr. Who ('05)
5. Friends ('94)
6. Newsradio
7. Happy Days ('74)
8. The Outer Limits (*63)
9. The X-Files
10. Mad About You

Okay, that means, that five ballot have been entered, including my own, and the results are still the same. 2 votes for "M*A*S*H", two votes for "The West Wing", and now 48 other shows, have 1 vote. I said I'd keep doing this until I get to 100, and I mean it. If you want to submit your own ballot, you can comment on my blog, (And btw, hopefully I've made it easier for everyone to do that now, so try that first, but leave a name, I won't count any Anonymous ballots) but you can also contact me on Facebook, or through Twitter, if you can. If you can't message me on twitter, try entering your ballot with the hashtag, #TENGREATESTTVSHOWS. However you can get ahold of me, get ahold of me, and enter your ballots.

Note: I noticed recently that my blog didn't necessarily allow for everyone to comment. I believed I had changed that, but hopefully now, it will be better and easier for everyone to participate and/or comment on any of my blogs.
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