Friday, January 19, 2007

"The Definitive Top 20 TV Shows from the 80s"

A disgusted friend recently forwarded a link to this list to me, because he knew I would be equally disgusted. "The Definitive Top 20 TV Shows from the 80s?" I beg to differ.

Its creators call their list "unarguable." I maintain that any such list that includes ALF, Perfect Strangers, and Mr. Belvedere over Hill Street Blues, The Facts of Life, and Cagney and Lacey is, in fact, more aptly classified as "unthinking" or maybe just "unsmart." (Of course, the "unsmart" is also supported by the fact that the listmaker grudgingly added M*A*S*H to the list at No. 4, even though he "didn’t catch too many episodes because I hate Koreans and I hate war.")

My best guess (and my hope) is that these guys were just too little during the 80s to know better. Perhaps they were born in the very late 70s, so that lame, inane television shows starring bad muppets with acronyms for names and an aversion to salad seemed clever or even entertaining.

Perhaps there was something comforting to them about Mr. Belevedere, and so the fact that the show is drivel escaped them. Their choices imply a penchant for shows that were on before their mommies enforced an early bedtime, and shows that didn't include much probing dialogue or penetrating plot lines or character development. Who killed J.R.? "Who cares," they'd say. "Who's the Boss is on."

You can see the list (with video clips) in question here, but I will also summarize below.

Their list:

20. Mr. Belvedere
19. The Dukes of Hazzard
18. Knight Rider
17. Night Court
16. ALF
15. Perfect Strangers
14. Golden Girls
13. Growing Pains
12. Married...With Children
11. Who's the Boss?
10. Magnum P.I.
9. Doogie Howser, M.D.
8. The Cosby Show
7. The A-Team
6. Miami Vice
5. The Wonder Years
4. M*A*S*H
3. MacGuyver
2. Cheers
1. Star Trek: The Next Generation

It seems they would have been better served to simply say, "these are our favorite shows from the 80s. We're idiots. Live with it." Rather than to attempt to present them as the "definitive" top 20. Had they simply expressed a preference, one could leave it alone...but since they didn't, one must present an alternative.

Top 20 Shows That Are Better Than Half their List:
(in no particular order)
[Honorable Mention: The Smurfs (1981-1990)]
20. :20 Minute Workout (1982)
19. One Day At a Time (1975-1984)*
18. Real People (1979-1984)
17. St. Elsewhere (1982-1988)
16. Family Ties (1982-1989)
15. Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986)
14. Hill Street Blues (1981-1987)
13. Bosom Buddies (1980-1982)
12. The Facts of Life (1979-1988)
11. That's Incredible! (1980-1984)
10. Fraggle Rock (1983-1987)
9. Mork and Mindy (1978-1982)*
8. thirtysomething (1987-1991)
7. L.A. Law (1986-1994)
6. Designing Women (1986-1993)
5. Square Pegs (1982-1983)
4. The White Shadow (1978-1981)*
3. 21 Jump Street (1987-1991)
2. Dallas (1978-1991)
1. Cagney and Lacey (1982-1988)

*best classified as a 70s show, but still running in the 80s and better than ALF for chrissakes.

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eric said...

you forgot Manimal.

2:59 PM  
Naomi said...

Uh...I didn't "forget" Manimal. Let's just leave it at that. :-)

3:00 PM  

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