This is the next in a series of posts giving my top five of everything: top five authors, movies, books, fonts, colors… anything and everything I can think of. Most of these lists, unless otherwise specified, aren’t in any particular order. Here’s the next list: my top five TV shows.
1. Arrested Development. I know I say that these aren’t in particular order, but I’ll be damned if Arrested Development isn’t the most clever, funniest and smartest show that ever aired on network TV. Every character plays their part to the fullest in every episode, and the complex foreshadowing that only become funny after watching a few times. The funny keeps up enough that watching the same episodes over and over don’t get old, they get better, like a fine wine. Buying the DVDs would not be a huge mistake.
2. Scrubs. Ignoring the current season that’s airing on ABC (mainly because it’s fresh, new and should be treated as a spin-off anyway), Scrubs is one of the few single-camera sitcoms that I could, again, watch over and over again. The story lines are interesting, and the fact that the entire show was taped pretty much in one giant hospital-cum-production lot is the icing on the cake. Coupled with the fact that every episode has at least one song to go and buy from iTunes, Scrubs runs the gamut for entertainment.
3. The Price is Right. Christ, again with the game shows. Yes, yes, it’s a game show, but it is an influential game show. It’s single-handedly shaped the landscape of daytime television. It’s given us catchphrases, a wicked awesome fight scene, numerous Family Guy skits and something to look forward to when you’re home sick from school. Its format hasn’t changed in over twenty years and even though people give Drew Carey a hard time, he’s still a great host for a show that remains an American institution.
4. Law and Order. In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. Law and Order has been the de facto standard for procedural crime shows since its inception in 1990. (Christ, it’s been almost 20 years.) Even though the people change, the times change, and the courts change, the intrigue that the show (and its spin-offs, which are almost as good, if not better, than the original) provides in its hour-long slot leave little to be desired.
5. Chappelle’s Show. Now almost long forgotten, Dave Chappelle’s foray into sketch comedy was another game changer that deserves frequent second looks. As Richard Pryor did in the 70s, Dave Chappelle used racial stereotypes and taboos in order to not just be funny, but for America to take a long hard look on how race is treated in the modern age. Sadly, the show was canceled after the third season due to someone crossing the line, and if Dave Chappelle thought the line was crossed, then the line must have been very crossed. Still, the shows are a humorous and poignant look at race issues in America.