Monday, July 23, 2007

Top 5 TV Shows, 1990-1999

Defined however you wish--you can include dramas if you want, but, meh on this end. I'm going with shows that had their prominent run in the 90s--so, though The Simpsons debuted in the 80s, it was 90s show. By that same token, I don't consider Cheers a 90s show, but you may disagree.

Ryan's Top 5:

1. The Simpsons - The greatest TV show ever made, bar none.

2. Seinfeld - The early seasons were a bit sketchy, but you accept it because after season 2 the series was perfection.

3. The Critic - I wish the series were longer than it is, but it's still excellent. Really the only non-kid-centric animated show that has truly achieved what every show aspires to: a funny show that is similar to, but not a complete ripoff of, The Simpsons.

4. Frasier - Excellent writing and a cast that gelled. David Hyde Pierce is hilarious. (If you don't believe me, rent Wet Hot American Summer. Or, you know, Frasier.)

5. Friends - I'm not sure how comfortable I feel putting this here, because I like 1-4 a lot more, but it really was better than most TV shows. Unless I'm forgetting something obvious.

5. Saturday Night Live, 1990-1996 - OK, maybe I'm breaking my rules here a bit. SNL has become so bad that it's easy to forget a time when it had some of the best comedy on TV. There were occasional funny moments after 1996, but I figure that's the season where it ceased being better than most other shows on TV. From 91-95, SNL was the TV event I most looked forward to week to week, aside from Seinfeld and Simpsons.

Honorable mentions: The Wonder Years (I count it an 80s show), Northern Exposure, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Doug, Pete & Pete. If I'm going solely for personal favorites I'd put Doug at about #2-3, but, you know. Occasionally I try to be objective.

Dan's Top 5:

I should note that my list, if I were truly being accurate, would be a carbon copy of Ryan's. Well, with possible exception of #5, as I didn't really like "Friends" too much, though it probably belongs there just out of sheer cultural relevance. With that in mind, I am going to refrain from using any of his shows in my list for the sake of diversity. Now that that's out of the way...

1. The X-Files - I should say that I never watched this show regularly, but it always interested me. Obviously it interested a lot of people, as they released a movie before the series was even over. Another fairly unique concept, though - a paranormal mystery show. If you really think about it, the success of this show really coincided with the anti-government sentiment and conspiracy theory mentality of the time. A real zeitgeist show. My first encounter with the show was season 2, episode 2 - "The Host," which is apparently a classic.

2. The Wonder Years - I love the concept: a middle-to-high-school comedy/drama set twenty years prior and not in front of a studio audience. The show was accessible to all while still addressing the events and issues of the time depicted. Also features Daniel stern in his only respectable role as the protagonist narrator.

3. Dinosaurs - The show that everyone forgets about. Another sitcom, this one was remarkable in that it was made with a cast of nothing but Jim Henson creatures. When you look back at it, it really was a fairly good parody of modern human society, with a number of topical issues arising, as in every good sitcom. Nonetheless, it was pretty fun to watch.

4. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? - I would watch this religiously every afternoon, and really, this show, when coupled with the Carmen Sandiego board game I had, is responsible for 90% of my knowledge of geography. Also features probably the best damn theme song ever, and is the second-longest-running kid's game show on record (Double Dare being the longest).

5. Family Matters - Probably one of the better sitcoms of the decade. For better or worse, this was the show responsible for the Steve Urkel sensation, which got annoying after a while, especially as the series became more and more dependent on the character. By the end, it was a comedy not about an African-American family's daily life, but about a mad scientist teenager's latest invention. Nonetheless, it comes in second only to The Jeffersons as one of the longest-running sitcoms with a predominantly black cast.

Tory's Top 5:

1. Frasier - This is my personal favorite. Everything about this show is perfect.

2. The Simpsons - Number 1 and 2 are so hard to differentiate between. They're almost neck and neck, but I just love Frasier.

3. Seinfeld - Though I am not the biggest fan of this how, I understand its brilliance.

4. Everybody Loves Raymond - Every single show was a hit. There were no misses.

5. Boy Meets World - I think this show gets overlooked because of its beginning seasons that weren't quite as good as its latter years. People seem to see it as a younger more family oriented show in the vein of Full House, where it is actually surprisingly smart.

Honorable mentions: The Critic, it's bad when you haven't seen all of the episodes of a show with 20-something episodes; Friends; 3rd Rock from the sun, which seems commonly forgotten about.

Tim's Top 5:
1) The Simpsons - No argument with Ryan here, as much as I may love the others on the list, this was great for an entire decade, and I'm learning as they release more DVD seasons that it's hard to not be wistful even for mediocre things like Season 11, just because it's been so long since I've seen them.

2) Mystery Science Theater 3000 - This was really revolutionarily awesome and got me into movies, comedy, and lack of a social life -- three passions I continue to this day.

3) Seinfeld - It took me a couple years to get into it, but every season is essential owning.

4) Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist - Yeah, it turns out that my habit of watching only two channels is not so new after all.

5) NewsRadio - Ok, forget the post-Phil Hartman stuff, yes, Andy Dick is annoying, but NewsRadio was a really high-quality show.

Honorable mention: Picket Fences, The Critic (its greatness has been partly ruined by the fact that I saw every episode 40 times during its reruns on Comedy Central), SportsCenter, The Awful Truth (half the show was in 2000, but half the show wasn't very much).


Vulpes Ryanis said...

Man, I didn't realize that show lasted longer than The Cosby Show.


The Monkey said...

You know, I was about to put Boy Meets World on my list, but I felt that Family Matters had a greater influence on me personally. Don't tell my friends, though, because they all quote Boy Meets World incessantly.