Monday, January 2, 2017

TV (The Book) by Alan Sepinwall & Matt Zoller Seitz

  • THE BOOK
    • TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time by Alan Sepinwall & Matt Zoller Seitz
    • Published September 6, 2016
    • Other works by authors:
      • Sepinwall, a TV critic on Hitfix, has also written The Revolution was televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever (I read it in 2013)
      • Seitz, also a TV critic, has written Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, The Oliver Stone Experience, and The Wes Anderson Collection, among others.

  • THE PREMISE
    • The top 100 American TV shows according to the authors.
    • There are accompanying essays on each show written by one of the authors or both.
    • A long introduction has them debating which show should place at #1 position.
      • SPOILER: They decide on "The Simpsons" over "The Sopranos", "The Wire", "Cheers" and "Breaking Bad".

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • Anyone's list of the best ever TV shows would naturally be subjective but these authors, TV critics for at least 20 years and TV watchers from birth, would have a leg up, having watched many more shows than the average consumer.
    • They lay out their rules: no foreign shows, no shows still currently in production (say, "Game of Thrones" or "Veep" or "Better Call Saul"), scripted shows only (but no variety or sketch shows).
    • They also had a list of several criteria, assigning each possible show a point score on each item, including innovation, cultural impact, and the like. The tabulations are included in the back of the book.
    • They also cover shows still in progress and miniseries in a section in the back of the book.
    • Here's the list:
      • The Simpsons
      • The Sopranos
      • The Wire
      • Cheers
      • Breaking Bad
      • Mad Men
      • Seinfeld
      • I Love Lucy
      • Deadwood
      • All in the Family
      • M.A.S.H.
      • Hill Street Blues
      • The Shield
      • The Twilight Zone
      • Arrested Development
      • The Larry Sanders Show
      • The Honeymooners
      • Louie
      • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
      • The X-Files
      • Curb Your Enthusiasm
      • SpongeBob SquarePants
      • Twin Peaks
      • Lost
      • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
      • Freaks and Geeks
      • My So-Called Life
      • Oz
      • The Dick Van Dyke Show
      • Friday Night Lights
      • NYPD Blue
      • Frasier
      • Homicide
      • Battlestar Galactica
      • In Treatment
      • South Park
      • The West Wing
      • Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
      • The Andy Griffith Show
      • The Cosby Show
      • Moonlighting
      • Taxi
      • East Side/West Side
      • Hannibal
      • ER
      • Parks and Recreation
      • Roseanne
      • 30 Rock
      • The Bob Newhart Show
      • Malcolm in the Middle
      • Miami Vice
      • The Office
      • St. Elsewhere
      • Community
      • The Golden Girls
      • Police Squad!
      • 24
      • The Defenders
      • Gunsmoke
      • Sex and the City
      • Star Trek
      • Firefly
      • Law & Order
      • Maude
      • The Rockford Files
      • China Beach
      • Enlightened
      • Everybody Loves Raymond
      • The Wonder Years
      • Barney Miller
      • Frank's Place
      • It's Garry Shandling's Show
      • The Jack Benny Program
      • Justified
      • The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show
      • thirtysomething
      • Columbo
      • Friends
      • Futurama
      • The Outer Limits
      • Northern Exposure
      • Batman (1966 series)
      • King of the Hill
      • Veronica Mars
      • Cagney & Lacey
      • EZ Streets
      • Gilmore Girls
      • Six Feet Under
      • Sports Night
      • Wiseguy
      • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
      • Batman: The Animated Series
      • Boardwalk Empire
      • NewsRadio
      • Picket Fences
      • Scrubs
      • WKRP in Cincinnati
      • How I Met Your Mother
      • Soap
      • Terriers
        •  I have watched 46 of them and seen a handful of episodes from a few more.
    • The essays are the real meat of the book and they were interesting, especially for the shows I had watched. A few of the essays about shows I haven't watched made me want to watch them but life is short. If I get to them I will; if not, oh well.
    • About a quarter of the shows are from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
    • I had never heard of EZ Streets or Terriers. But both were one season shows of 9 and 13 episodes, respectively. There are a handful of other one season shows on the list too: 
      • The Honeymooners, East Side/West Side, Police Squad!, Freaks and Geeks, Frank's Place and My So-Called Life.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is on the list so that legitimizes it for me!
    • I enjoyed the book and it is a quick read. Recommended for those who love TV shows and lists.

1 comment:

  1. I was happy to see that my two all-time favorites made the list, The Rockford Files and Parks and Recreation.

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