06 July 2011

Believe It Or Not Television is Not a Complete and Total Wasteland, I Give 50 Examples to Support this Dubious Claim

I'm not exactly sure what the percentage is, maybe 75%, maybe 90 maybe 99%, but surely the overwhelming majority of what is show on TV represents the waste material of our culture. It's not even recyclable.

There is no better example than what is laughingly referred to as reality TV. Whose reality? Certainly no one who lives in the world outside of television. TV is worse than it was 20 years ago or 40 years ago or in its infancy, primarily because there are so many more hours to fill what with hundreds of channels. There's always been junk on TV, now there is an endless variety of it.

I don't know if there are enough ideas out there to fill all the programming time even if the most creative minds in the world were dedicated to it. So we get dozens upon dozens of rip offs, copycats, remakes, rehashes, and never-should-have-beens.

I have just as hard a time to find something good to watch today as I did when I was a kid. And back in my youth (when dinasours roamed the Earth) we had but five TV stations to choose from. Cable TV was a few years away.

I suppose we should all be thankful that there is so very little for the discerning viewer to sit through on the idiot box. Imagine if TV programming was light years better? We'd have so much less time for such activities as reading, exercise and the age old custom of talking.

But if one sifts through television from it's birth until today, it is possible to find good uses for it. That is, shows or offerings that are actually worth the time. You know, not just place holders, something to have on when you're folding laundry or suffering from the flu or are too tired to do your own thinking. Shows to actually watch and be entertained or edified by. Even both. Here are 50 shows or reasons that I do not quite equate TV with staring into a garbage can. Other than the first three, I do not offer them in any particular order.

1. Movies. I refer of course to the unedited kind not interrupted by commercial. Something unavailable when I was a child.

2. Live sports. It's hard to watch your favorite team in action on the radio. Easy with a TV.

3. Monty Python's Flying Circus

4. The Twilight Zone

5. Seinfeld

6. The Sopranos

7. Dick Cavett

8. The Daily Show

9. The Colbert Report

10. The Jack Benny Program

11. You Bet Your Life

12. Live footage of breaking news

13. Late Show with David Letterman

14. The Simpsons

15. The Honeymooners

16. The Black Adder

17. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

18. PBS

19. Bill Moyers

20. The Bob Newhart Show

21. Mary Tyler Moore

22. Foyle's War

23. Comedy Specials

24. Roots

25. Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

26. Documentaries

27. Extras

28. The Andy Griffith Show

29. Doc Martin

30. The Odd Couple

31. Bugs Bunny and other classic cartoons

32. Have Gun Will Travel

33. Fawlty Towers

34. Band of Brothers

35. Taxi

36. Columbo

37. 30 Rock

38. Edward R. Murrow

39. The Larry Sanders Show

40. Saturday Night Live

41. Lonesome Dove

42. Sgt. Bilko

43. That Was The Week That Was

44. Shark Week!

45. Crazy Like a Fox

46. Steve Allen

47. The Rockford Files

48. Burns and Allen

49. The Dick Van Dyke Show

50. Walter Cronkite


Tudor Queen said...

Wonderful list. I'd love to add ten more reasons:

1 Immediate Coverage of historic events
2. I Love Lucy
3. Lost
4. The Amazing Race
5. Angels in America
6. 60 Minutes
7. Julia Child
8. Miami Vice/Crime Story
9. Deadwood
10. The Forsyte Saga (1970s)

Richard Hourula said...

I can't believe I left off Angels in America.

Anonymous said...

The Wire. Hands down the greatest program ever made.

chunpransu said...

Breaking Bad, anyone?!