I love these sorts of things: TIME Magazine’s James Poniewozik has compiled a list of the 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME. It’s possible that I love these things partially because of their subjective nature and the brouhaha they tend to spawn in their wakes, but also because I’m always fascinated to see what sorts of cultural phenomena we can all point to and agree that “Yes, that has to be on the list.”
Leaving no base uncovered, Poniewozik even includes an explanation of how he made his choices, which is pretty interesting in and of itself. The bottom line, of course, is that it’s his list and his rules, but the guiding principles and his overall humor seem sound enough to me:
Those are my rules; I took them seriously, and broke most of them at least once. Ultimately, I also had to realize that this isn’t the Periodic Table of the Elements; it is a freaking top-100 list. It is hopefully well-informed, but it is not inherently more correct than your top-100 list. Lists are meaningless: they sell magazines and give you something to talk about at the bar. Lists are incredibly important: they are how we define what matters to us, what we want entertainment and art to do, what we expect of our culture.
Most of all, lists are about having fun and picking fights. If you have read my list and think I am a moron, that’s all the thanks I need.
(At the very least, he sounds like someone that’d be plenty fun to watch TV with, no?)
Anyway. The most notable surprise to me is the relative paucity of children’s shows on the list; the kiddie favorites included number only four: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Rocky and His Friends, and Sesame Street. (I am counting only these four as truly kid-appropriate shows. Things like The Simpsons and Beavis and Butt-Head I am considering older fare.)
If it was my list (yeah, yeah—I know, it’s his list) and I could include what I consider other kid notables, I’d have to have The Muppet Show on there at a bare minimum. There are others I’d want to include that maybe I couldn’t quite make an airtight argument for (like Super Friends), but c’mon, the Muppets are a no-brainer.
Hit me with your thoughts; what other kiddie classics are missing?