Just for the exercise then, I thought I would try to compile the best ten television shows/series ever! The last decade or two has seen an all new appreciation for great television as well as some real garbage. While celebrating the cutting edge of The Sopranos invading my TV lounge every Friday night like an escaped convict at the same time I truly despaired at the very existence of the soporific yet vomit-inducing Sex and the City in the same way a parent might do when discovering their teenage daughter had gotten a tattoo. I also yearned for the nostalgic TV of my youth.
I realise this list is purely subjective (although I am right about the choices here) and that you will all have different opinions (although mine is the definitive one) and so anyway, before we get to the list, which is in no particular order (even I'm not that pedantic!) we need a few ground rules for inclusion.
The first criteria for being in the list are nothing that ended up "Jumping the shark" can be in there. Therefore anything, no matter how good it may have originally been that outstayed its welcome and carried on for years after half of the cast members died is legitimate for inclusion. Reality shows are not encumbered by this as they have less control over 'scripting'.
I'm also not listing comedies as they deserve their own awards. (Watch this space...)
Budget and the use of A list Movie star talent is acceptable provided the end result justifies the expense.
Anyway, let's begin;
1, THE SINGING DETECTIVE. An ancient classic, this really was the beginning of truly great TV written by a man who cared not a jot for the viewers appreciation yet also clearly did not underestimate the collective intelligence of his audience.
2, TRUE DETECTIVE. Jumping straight to current time then with a truly brilliant show in a world where 'brilliant' is far too casually tossed around, this is THE number one TV show in the World right now-bar none! I don't know what makes this piece of work so exceptional in a medium already saturated in crime drama's but if I did know how it is so brilliantly written I'd be writing it, damn it!
3, THE SOPRANOS
This was the beginning of the cultural change that saw television being as good as, (and in some cases better than) real cinema productions. This show was fearlessly violent with its study of underworld subculture and yet still unpredictable and vividly endearing. A televisual feast that at that time was unequalled.
4, Wallander. A remake of yet another detective series that proved superior to its Swedish original mainly due to the critical casting of Kenneth Branagh. His portrayal of the tired policeman was faultless and has inspired many poor imitators.
5, Hannibal. Mads Mikkelsen has made Hannibal Lecter his own in this stunning series that is equal to the incredible movies. It goes from strength to strength.
6, The Jerry Springer Show. Like it or not this show changed everything. Prior to 1991 every show like Friends or Seinfeld featured upper middle class white people and nothing addressed the people featured here even though their moral dilemmas were really not much different from the other 'upper class' side of life they were not educated enough to conceal them in the same way! 20 odd other talk shows were around before this one and all of them were trying to be just like Oprah-along comes Jerry!
7, HOUSE. Dr Greg House became the most watched character on the planet and the makers knew just when to end a good thing.
8, NURSE JACKIE. The first true female anti-hero, Jackie does drugs and is an adulterer but has a heart of gold on some levels dishing out her own brand of genuine kindness to the needy and rough justice to those who cross her.
9, THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Created by the late Rod Serling the Zone was a "dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind" This anthology of fantastic stories bridged the worlds of sci-fi and horror with an incredible whimsy that gave flight to the imagination yet kept an abiding faith in humanity. Clearly belonging to another era it will never quite be equaled in its originality and retro innocence.
10, STAR TREK. Was this voyage intended to be a five-year mission? Nearly 50 years later, Gene Roddenberry's groundbreaking creation continues to boldly go where no science-¬fiction franchise had gone before, launching five more TV series and a dozen movies including a fantastic reboot of the original characters. This was/is truly the king of the Sci-Fi series and the original inspiration to a multitude of mimics.
Honorable Mention must be made of the following;
BOARDWALK EMPIRE, BBC's THE STREET and FARGO.