Talking point: top television shows

Everyone loves lists. Fairfax Media recently compiled a list of the top 25 shows of the past 25 years. Writing such an ambitious and subjective article is guaranteed to divide the audience, provoking lively debate. Let’s not focus on the omissions.

Amongst the inclusions (their top 25 plus ‘the rest’) are some exquisite gems, reproduced below within each genre. This writer nods approvingly.

Drama

BREAKING BAD
American series featuring an innovative scenario. Bryan Cranston plays a ‘family man’ turned drug distributor.

BRIDES OF CHRIST
Australian mini-series focussing on catholic nuns. Be sure to revisit this on DVD.

ER (EMERGENCY ROOM)
American hospital drama from the late author (John) Michael Crichton. Ground breaking for the medical realism and portrayal of emergency specialists.

MAD MEN
American series set in the sixties focussing on advertising exec Don Draper. Featuring bottled-redhead Christina Hendricks (above). Magnificently shot.

SEACHANGE
Australian drama focussing on the concept of ‘leaving suburbia behind’. Innovative.

SECRET LIFE OF US, THE
Australian drama/comedy featuring twenty-somethings. Mandatory viewing ‘back in the day’.

SLAP, THE
Australian drama inspired by Christos Tsiolkas’ novel. Featuring Melissa George (above). Very worthwhile to revisit this on DVD. Nominated for an International Emmy award.

TWIN PEAKS
American Gothic series from David Lynch. ‘Must have’ DVD for the collection.

WEST WING
American political series from Aaron Sorkin. Fascinating and fast paced.


Action/Crime/Science Fiction

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
American series from Joss Whedon. The premise sounds like a joke! Whedon turned a forgettable movie into a cult small screen hit.

SOPRANOS, THE
American series focussing on violent gangland player Tony Soprano. Dangerously addictive because of the depth of characterization.

UNDERBELLY
Australian drama. The first season was inspired by Melbourne’s gangland wars. ‘Boganized’ to uncomfortable levels. Unmissable.

X-FILES
American series from Chris Carter. Launched David Duchovny (above) into a multiple Golden Globe award-winning superstar. Addictive? This is actually a habit-forming drug, not entertainment!

Live Comedy

CHASER’S WAR ON EVERYTHING
Australian live comedy featuring twenty-something ‘university student satire’. Pushed Australian audiences to the boundary of their tolerance levels. ‘Gutsy’.

DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART
American live comedy. One of the originals (and the best) of the political genre.

LATE SHOW
Australian live comedy featuring D-Generation members. Honestly, this blogger must borrow a friend’s copy of this on DVD.

PANEL, THE
Australian live comedy, often featuring D-Generation members. One of the highest calibre discussion shows, rarely replicated since.

Situational Comedy

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
American series focussing on wealthy family members. Quirky and crazy.

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
American improv from Seinfeld’s Larry David (below). To be honest, this is probably the author’s favourite on this entire list!

FRASIER
American series focussing on Doctor Frasier Crane, a fictional character from the Cheers sitcom. Dull and pretentious characters push the audience to uncomfortable levels. Hilarious.

FRONTLINE
Australian fake ‘reality’ journalism series featuring D-Generation/Late Show members. This ‘gutsy’ concept reaped critical acclaim for its writers.

LARRY SANDERS SHOW
American fake ‘late night show’ from Garry Shandling. Ground breaking at the time.

MR BEAN
British sitcom featuring Rowan Atkinson. There is good reason that every episode has been watched a dozen times! Holds appeal across multiple generations.

OFFICE, THE
British fake ‘reality’ workplace series from Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant (below). Uncomfortable to watch for all the right reasons!

SEINFELD
American sitcom formulated by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Probably the ‘gold standard’ for sitcoms. Vastly different from Friends, a sitcom set in the same city.

SIMPSONS, THE
American cartoon from Matt Groening. Ground breaking at the time. Likely the ‘gold standard’ for the animated genre.

WONDER YEARS
American sitcom focussing on teenage years. Just like with Mad Men, Paper Giants & Howzat! our domestic television viewers love their historical dramas.

Probably the laziest entry ever penned but so much fun!

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