Monday, July 18, 2011

CST's Top Television Programs Thus Far - Part 2

7. THE X-FILES (FOX 1993-2002)

Even to this day, if you want to break the television boredom, pop in a DVD or go onto Netflix and watch this groundbreaking series that introduced the world to Mulder (a true believer) and Scully (the skeptic).  Some episodes were funny, some were very dramatic, some were creepy, and others were down right frightening.  At the time, there were episodes that were even banned from television (Home).  For most of the nine seasons (and 2 blockbuster motion pictures), writer/creator Chris Carter spawned some of the most interesting characters and intriguing story lines ever.  As much action and weirdness that went on, I can remember an episode (Season 3, Quagmire) when Mulder and Scully had a conversation for nearly the entire episode and it was brilliant, humorous, and smart. That is some brave and stellar writing.

This has to be, and I know there are millions who would agree with me, one of the best shows cancelled WAYYYYYYYY too soon.  I discovered it on accident when I typed in dysfunctional families in Netflix and Arrested Development was one of the programs that popped up.  The best one-liners you will ever hear of any comedy on television with one if not the best cast ever assembled.  These people have a dynamic so intense that you really think they could be a real Bluth family. The Bluth family seriously put the fun in dysfunction. 

9.  LAW & ORDER: SVU (NBC 1999 -   )
Twelve years and 272 episodes later and this is still one of the highest rated shows on television and is also the only show on this list still on the air.  Also, it has kept the same cast for 250 of those episodes.  These are facts that are rare, but exceptional in the world of the long running television drama.  However, Christopher Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler) has left the show in the 2011 season finale.  There has hardly been an episode that followed the generic cop show formula.  SVU follows only the formula of shock and awe.  There is nothing here but stellar acting by a stellar cast with story lines that are sometimes surprising to be seen on network television. 

10.  REBA (The WB 2001-2007)

I know this was a show loved by many but I also realize that it may be a surprise to find Reba on a list of top television programs.  Even though it was on for 6 seasons, it's run seemed to fly by.  A family sit-com so true to form, its well, funny.  There were shows like Roseanne who did similar story lines but were considered controversial.  Reba was all in the execution.  The show dealt with some very racy and mature issues, just in the pilot episode alone, but did it with grace, style, and plenty of humor.  In the pilot episode, no, should I say, in the first 5 minutes of the pilot episode, the audience finds the Hart family in a psychiatrist's office because of an altercation with the entire family during a court proceeding.  We then learn that not only is Reba's 17-year old daughter pregnant by the quarterback of the football team but that her husband has knocked up his dental hygienist (who later in the show becomes best friends with Reba) at the same time. If that is not a family sit-com, I don't know what is. 

11. SAVING GRACE (TNT 2007-2010)

Yes, I know, another police drama.  However, Saving Grace had one major twist with several other that made for one of the most compelling dramas on television.  It was on for three very short seasons (cancelled not because of low ratings or critical acclaim, but because of high production costs).  This show was taken off way before its time to really shine.  Holly Hunter portrayed Grace Hanadarko (an award winning performance every week it was on as far as I am concerned), a detective with the major crimes division of the Oklahoma City Police department.  Grace makes every day her bitch with plenty of attitude, sex, and a lot of liquor. She's a hard living woman who brings down the unwashed of OKC with the force equal to the bomb that brought down the federal building, which is a major back story of the show and has affected each character, especially Grace who lost her sister in the bombing.  In the first episode, Grace hits a man while driving her porshe (which is named Connie) drunk one night.  When she finds the man gone, she is then visited an angel named Earl.  Earl is far from conventional.  He's got a Southern twang and spits tobacco in a bottle any chance he gets while wearing very funny t-shirts.  For 46 episodes, Earl guides, at least tries to guide Grace to do right in life since she did get a second chance but finds she is not budging from her hard hitting ways, like sleeping with her married partner.  The audience is taken into some very dark and compelling cases.  This show so deserved to keep going.  I would have loved to see how more evolved the characters would have become.  It did, though, have a final episode which will entail a few tissues.  However, I wish Earl could give this show a second chance.

Well, there is the list thus far.  If you haven't seen any of these shows, I strongly advise to relax on your next day off, go rent or Netflix a season or two and lay up on the couch with some snacks.  I am sure in a few years or so there will be another list.  There may be a Weeds on there, with a little Dexter, maybe some Brothers and Sisters and True Blood. Possibly, a little of The Simpsons there and The Closer here.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

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