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Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby Buscemi » July 22nd, 2011, 1:09 am

Saturday Night Live has sucked since Tina Fey became head writer (and it's continued after she left). She may get praise now for 30 Rock but the run under her wing was near unwatchable (the low point being the Paris Hilton episode, which Fey seems to defend as she claimed Adrien Brody was worse because he ad-libbed). The only good things were Celebrity Jeopardy and TV Funhouse (except when that went occasionally live-action and became like the rest of the show). Even since Will Ferrell left, there has been no reason to watch.

And Andy Samberg is incredibly unfunny and not the type of person you build your show around. Had they been smart, he would have been let go after Hot Rod bombed and the producers could have rebuilt the entire show with someone like Ricky Gervais.

Anyway,

Day 18: Siskel and Ebert (1981-1999, PBS/syndicated)

Can you think of any critic duo as influencial as Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert? For eighteen seasons (until Siskel passed away), the two would discuss, disect and praise or pan the newest movie reviews. Sometimes we agreed and sometimes we didn't but there was no denying that Siskel and Ebert were masters at the game of film criticism. In fact, watching this show was one of the things that made me interested in film. The later incarnation with Richard Roeper replacing Siskel was decent but Roeper just wasn't Gene.

Siskel and Ebert review RoboCop.

Everything on this post is strictly the opinion and only the opinion of Buscemi.

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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby NSpan » July 22nd, 2011, 1:19 am

Buscemi wrote:And Andy Samberg is incredibly unfunny and not the type of person you build your show around.

Andy's hardly even on the show. He was never featured all that much--and his appearances in live sketches has only declined since his popularity increased. Also, I was mostly refuting W's specific claim that there's no "great performers" on SNL right now. Armisen is a genius, Wiig will be one of the most remembered comedic actresses ever, and I'll literally give any project a chance if Bill Hader is involved.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby Buscemi » July 22nd, 2011, 1:26 am

My question on Armisen: how does this guy not get any sort of controversy for doing blackface? There are better people who can do impressions of President Obama (one of them even auditioned but was the last one cut) but they picked a guy who isn't even black? Also, his impression is considered by most very weak.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby Leestu » July 22nd, 2011, 2:25 am

12. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999)

Great characters and fascinating storylines throughout the whole show’s run. The growth and development of Garak and Julian Bashirs friendship is fantastic long term writing. The whole Bajoran religion was fascinating and the introduction of the all powerful Dominion to an existing long term inter-species feud currently experiencing an uneasy truce set the scene for a great TV show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vtk-bX2 ... re=related


11. Frontline (1994-1997)

A brilliant satire of the TV current affairs shows that are usually on directly after the nightly news. After watching this no one could ever take those shows seriously again. Although this is absolutely hilarious it is also a disturbingly accurate portrayal of the industry, and this show has been incorporated into the syllabi of various upper school and university advanced English and journalism courses. The question is whether it’s used as a “what to do” or a “what not to do”?!?!? . From the people that went on to make the popular Australian movies The Castle, and The Dish.
There weren’t many clips available on youtube (although there were complete episodes) so this clip is from later in the show’s run and sort of sums up some of the points they had been showing over the 3 seasons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwfne1aYA3g&NR=1

Hmmm, embedding doesn't seem to want to work with either of these 2 videos so sorry but links only.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby Shrykespeare » July 22nd, 2011, 3:25 am

Leestu, so happy that you love DS9 too! Are you as big a fan of "In the Pale Moonlight" as I am?
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby NSpan » July 22nd, 2011, 3:36 am

Buscemi wrote:My question on Armisen: how does this guy not get any sort of controversy for doing blackface? There are better people who can do impressions of President Obama (one of them even auditioned but was the last one cut) but they picked a guy who isn't even black? Also, his impression is considered by most very weak.

His heritage is just as mixed as Obama's. According to Wikipedia, he's a Venezuelan/Japanese/German from Mississippi. Meanwhile, Obama is an English/Kenyan born in Hawaii. I don't think the term "black face" applies here.

It's just an impression. In my opinion, a good one. Though Armisen's range spans much more than that one role.


Show #12
NSpan

Family Guy (1999 - 2011, FOX)

http://www.adultswim.com/americaloveslists/fg_meg/

Take everything I said about the merit of Futurama's creative choices in 1999, and throw it out the window. Family Guy may be a controversial choice for my #12 spot... but I think it's got the goods to back it up. Yes, it's a ripoff. And the writing is the epitome of laziness. The art and animation aren't anything special. And the last couple of seasons have been crap. And, no, I won't ever warm up to them. The episode where Brian intends to commit suicide was a Jump-the-Shark point of no return for the series. But, as I've said, every good show comes to a close. Some end gracefully on a high-note, some are canceled before their creative peak, and some just drive themselves into the ground until people just don't care anymore. (I mean, does anyone REALLY watch new episodes of the Simpsons? What is this, now? Its 43rd season?) Family Guy is clearly just one of those shows that will keep going long past its prime. And going, and going. But I don't think that takes away from when it was in its prime. I mean, 5 solid seasons is respectable for ANY show.

There's nothing to explain about the show's premise, characters, or "story." It's just jokes and half-baked sketches mixed in with the occasional musical number. Funny that: where Simpsons took its love of film and paid homage to many of the genre's classics, Family Guy did the same for musicals. And the jokes are all written with a throw-it-all-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks methodology. But when Family Guy is funny, it's FUNNY. It's funny enough for me to shed all pretension (Geezer will like that) and simply admit that I laughed for no reason other than having just witnessed something funny/silly/ridiculous.

To those who claim to hate it: take it for what it is. It's (clearly) not the Simpsons. It's slipshod excuse for a show that just happens to be fucking hilarious.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby Buscemi » July 22nd, 2011, 4:26 am

But Venezuelan (Hispanic) and Japanese (Asian) does not fit African or black AT ALL. It's blackface and downright racist to have a guy who does not have any sort of African or black ancestry to play a man who does. And yet, no one complains.

Lorne Michaels has completely lost his shit and should just give up.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby NSpan » July 22nd, 2011, 4:30 am

Buscemi wrote:But Venezuelan (Hispanic) and Japanese (Asian) does not fit African or black AT ALL. It's blackface and downright racist to have a guy who does not have any sort of African or black ancestry to play a man who does. And yet, no one complains.

Lorne Michaels has completely lost his shit and should just give up.


I don't really see the logic here. But I can agree to disagree. I REALLY don't think anyone who has actually bothered to watch Armisen's impression of Obama would associate the act with "blackface," I mean, he's doing a straight impression of the Obama himself, as a man--not as the ethnicity that he is 50% (or less) of.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby Buscemi » July 22nd, 2011, 4:38 am

But it's putting dark makeup on a man who isn't black to make him look black (or honey or whatever their insistent terminology is). It's blackface and it's wrong.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby W » July 22nd, 2011, 1:48 pm

NSpan wrote:
W wrote:12. Saturday Night Live (1975-present, NBC, Sketch Comedy) - SNL has had some truly high highs and has catapaulted the careers of some of the biggest names in comedy films. Each era (besides this current one IMO) has had some really great performers.

I bet you a million dollars you'll change your mind about that after some time passes. It happens with every era of SNL. The new crop looks like shit at first... and then some stars emerge. Hell, this lineup is incredible compared to a few I can think of. None of the following are notable in your opinion?

Fred Armisen
Bill Hader
Seth Meyers
Andy Samberg
Jason Sudeikis
Kristen Wiig


Andy Samberg is the only one I really like. The others I don't like or could do without. Wiig, in particular, grates me. They used to almost always have a guy that people would watch just for that person (Ferrell, Farley, Murphy, Belushi) and I'd argue that they don't have that guy anymore and only had it briefly when Fey was doing her Palin thing since Will Ferrell left.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby numbersix » July 22nd, 2011, 1:57 pm

Star Trek DS9: Bored me, there were no characters of any interest. And sorry, Shryke, I jumped through that clip, and I foudn the performances ot be wooden as hell!

SNL: Never watched a full episode, I've only seen sketches online. It seems very hit and miss but I do respect an established brand to test jokes and characters on.

Siskel and Ebert: Again, watched clips online but never full episodes. While the premise is interesting, I've no interest in Ebert as a reviewer. He's as shallow as you can get, he offers no insight or illumination into film and prefers to skim on the surface or on his occasional mood.

Frontline: It's like an Aussie version of Drop the Dead Donkey

Family Guy: Liking this show is really a question of whether the best of the random gags actually counters all of the problems of being a 22-min-per-episode TV show, and for me it doesn't. The first 3-4 season were okay, and the rest, as you said, are muck. But even in its highs it is lazy and referential and ultimately, very unsatisfying.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby NSpan » July 22nd, 2011, 2:58 pm

You know, Ebert is a funny case. He really IS a good movie critic--at least with his written reviews. Some of his best work has provided the foundation for what Film Criticism ("criticism" in the academic sense) can, and should, be. My only problem is that I disagree with almost EVERYTHING he happens to have an opinion about. It took a long time, but I've found a way to respect and hate the guy at the same time.

And, Six, you're right about Family Guy. As you said, it really is a trade-off. If the humor is strong enough, it can offset the show's shortcomings. But when the jokes fall flat, the whole production can be a miserable experience. In my opinion, though, they managed to keep the comedy strong enough for several seasons before finally running out of steam.
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby silversurfer19 » July 22nd, 2011, 3:33 pm

11. My So Called Life (1994-1995), ABC

This was a series that while I was growing up dismissed as just another teen melodrama with little to no substance. Indeed I continued to believe that until just a few years ago, when Helena bought the box set for the first (and only) series. I was left astonished, we watched every episode within just a few days, it was so mesmerizing in it's portrayal of a young girl played by Claire Danes and the trials and tribulations she encounters as a teenager and dealing with her friends, parents and school. At first it may sound a little cliche and angsty, and some of the moments in the series are indeed so, but it is easily countered by brilliant performances from the cast and the way the series tackled issues which seemed taboo for the time in such a realistic and sympathetic manner. Dealing with identity, and how both the adults and children in the series deceive themselves of what they want and need out of life, and the struggles the characters go through to reveal their true identity is enlightening and shocking. Despite it's cancellation after just one series, I guess I should celebrate it as a standalone tapestry of interwoven stories which document a year in the life of a teenager rather than let it become too much like the Dawson's Creek's of this world. The writing is so sharp and close to the bone, it truly was one of the greatest depictions of adolescence and parenthood I've ever seen.

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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby undeadmonkey » July 22nd, 2011, 3:50 pm

i've been mean to watch my so called life for a while now, but just haven't been able to get around to it
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Re: Top 25 Favorite TV Shows

Postby numbersix » July 22nd, 2011, 4:02 pm

I disagree about Ebert, NSpan. Ebert is the opposite of what film criticsm should be. Critics should open the world of a film to critical and cultural meaning, linking it to the broader picture of society and art. Ebert is closed off, often finding (admittedly well-written) ways to say "the plot is good", "the acting is good", but never providing anything greater. He reduces film to the mundane, and instead attempts to entertain with witty writing. It's a problem with most film critics these days, so he's not alone. I just think it's a shame there's no critics who aspire to something greater.
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