In honor of Breaking Bad closing it down next weekend, the Bud is polling it's contributors to work out the greatest television shows of all-time starting with therealgardale.
So, drum roll please...
therealgardale's TOP 5 GREATEST SHOWS OF ALL TIME!
5. Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues or HSB for those of us with the tattoo was the birth of the modern criminal procedural. Airing from 1981 to '87 the Blues had an all-star cast and gritty real world feel, or at least as real Steven Bochco could get. Bochco later infamously got a musical police drama known as Cop Rock green lit. Looking for a star? Try Bruce Weitz as undercover cop Mick Belker. Always looking the part of the unshaven sewer rat with the attitude to match, Belker was a favorite. Weitz was nominated for best supporting actor all but one season of the show's run. Want an iconic theme and opening credits? BAM!
Does it get much better than Jerry opening his door to reveal his pudgy mail man neighbor Newman or Kramer's weekly barge into Jerry's apartment? Let me answer that, no, no it doesn't. Seinfeld was the original comedy about self absorbed friends who don't feel the need to learn anything. It's smart and real. The best part, it's accurate, Elaine is the same neurotic mess in season one as she is in season whatever, the same with Jerry, Kramer, George, Farfel, or Uncle Leo. It was genius. Totally void of any touchy feely moments, but chock full of funny. Picking a clip is like picking from children, the one's I like, I'll settle on "the see was angry that day my friend."
You want to know how great cheers was? 99% of the show was filmed in the same bar with the same ensemble cast, doing the same things week in and week out, and if you watch it today it holds up. You want to know how great cheers was? The show survived the loss of Shelly Long, who was replaced by Kirstie Alley and the death of barman Nicholas Colasanto who played the iconic "Coach." The show launched the careers of Kelsey Grammer, Woody Harrelson, John Raltzenberger, and George Wendt. Mostly we tuned in to watch Sam Malone score chicks, Carla lose her mind, Norm hold down the corner bar seat, Cliff tell us a little known fact, and Frasier Crane try to analyze it all. It was magical and probably responsible for more grown men cussing at VCR technology than any other television show in history. Greatest ensemble comedy of all time. NORM!
2. Breaking Bad
I'm taking a risk here because the show is building to a finale that will have to deliver at this point or else the show falls flat, but I'm confident enough in Mr. Gilligan to see it through. The final season has already been the greatest of all time. Now just to avoid the cliff. Brian Cranston made us forget Malcolm in the Middle and Aaron Paul made us remember Aaron Paul, not too bad. The death of Hank, errr spoiler alert, had me standing up, holding my head in my hands. That's never happened watching a scripted television show before. It's a tour de force of art, realism, and detail. Let's hope the ride ends well.
1. The Wire
I was late on this one, but I've seen the entire series at least four times. It's the greatest work of television ever, and yes I've seen a couple episodes of How I Met Your Mother. It's the criminal drama equivalent of Seinfeld: no resolution, no happy ending, just a story that keeps you in. Everything matters as David Simon likes to point out, and of course he's right when dealing with urban decay and corruption. Baltimore is the main character. Apparently the city was so upset with its portrayal that they tried to get Simon to move the show. He refused, saying he'd film the show in Philly, but it would still be about Baltimore and the state of Pennsylvania would reap the financial rewards. Baltimore caved. The Wire is institution driven rather than character driven, still the performances are real and compelling. People still talk about Omar as if he's a real person, I can't say for sure that he isn't. As always remember, Lester Freeman is good police. The Kings stays the King (very NSFW).
So there you go, the Top 5. Others that merit consideration:
Mad Men: I jumped ship on MM this season, let's move the plot people.
Arrested Development: The Netflix season killed my buzz.
Sherlock: I assume there are more of these in production, but it's been real good so far, just need more.
The Sopranos: Just outside looking in.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Consistently funny but is it "important?" Now I sound like an a-hole.
Band of Brothers: Is this a TV show or a mini series. If it's a TV show it's a big time contender. Could even knock out a top fiver.
Derek is going to say Friday Night Lights. He's wrong kids, Uncle Gardy won't lead you astray. Remember that.