AOL’s Inside TV has announced its choices for the “50 Best TV Dramas Ever.” Which would you choose?
From “House” at #50 to “The Sopranos” at #1, the popular blog scoured the decades and actually accomplished a rare task, in that they included many great shows from way back. Most lists are tilted towards the present.
They missed a few, though, recognizing “Star Trek: The Next Generation” but omitting the original, and lauding “Columbo” but not its Mystery Movie partner “Banacek.” They also left out ABC’s Friday Night Line-up that so many of us grew up on (“The Brady Bunch,” “Nanny and the Professor,” “The Partridge Family,” “Room 222,” “The Odd Couple,” and “Love American Style”) but perhaps these were classified as comedies.
You may or may not agree with me on the five most overrated and underrated from the list, but you’ll be inspired by remembering the years of great drama that made it into our homes through the small screen.
The ones they got right:
“The Fugitive” at #18. Back in the time when good guys wore white, bad guys wore black and the world was simple, this original drama tread new ground and signified the move away from the age of reason. It’s still one of the most original concepts ever on TV, though most of today’s crowd only saw the movie.
“The West Wing” at #8. Our nation became more D.C.-literate, nationally aware and potentially involved as Aaron Sorkin brought the culture of White House behind-the-scenes work into everyday lingo. Like a Disney flick, there was drama and humor for all age groups, and we all wanted to be a little more purposeful and ethical the next day because of the show.
“Hill Street Blues” at #9. Yes that’s a high ranking, but never before had a soap opera been cool for guys! This wasn’t actually a soap, of course, but the good guys had hang-ups, the bad guys were compelling, the endings weren’t contrived and we learned to root for our neighborhood policeman, hoping they’d “be careful out there.”
“24 at #42.” There is no way “24” should be that low on the list, especially coming in after such neo-classics as “Cagney and Lacey,” “Six Feet Under” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It’s a genre all its own and has audiences purchasing the prior seasons as they get turned onto the show, so thick with detail it’s like a novel being poured out on TV.
“Little House on the Prairie” at #49. Long, long a go in a place far, far away, families would gather around the television without iPods, laptops, Facebook, and their PDAs. They’d actually watch the same show together, and talk about it. By putting family themes in the country, “Little House” helped everyone take a closer look at themselves without feeling belittled or politicized.
“The Sopranos” at #1. It was good, but not the best, and anything on pay cable should be disqualified from the Top Ten anyway!
“Friday Night Lights” at #10. This obviously got the teen vote, but 20 years from now it won’t be remembered as the other high ones on the list.
“Mad Men” at #25. It’s had a nice run, but it’s too young and new to be here. Remember when Ken Griffey made the list of the greatest ballplayers of all time as a young player. He wasn’t even one of the best in the league within a few years.
“Battlestar Galactica” at #12. Twelfth of all-time? Are you kidding? The gal who wrote the story must have grown up on it, or her dad worked on it. Can’t figure why else it’s there…
Let me know what your favorites are in the comments section below.