So I recently found myself perusing a several months old Rolling Stone magazine that purported to list the 100 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time. Because I would rather write about literally anything besides politics right now, here are some thoughts on a four month old magazine article:

  1. They got number one right.
  2. I’m happy they didn’t Balkanize the list into top dramas, comedies, etc. Though it is apples and oranges to compare American Idol to Mad Men, just go the Ebert route of “did it accomplish what it wanted to” and leave it at that.
  3. I’m also happy that they included active shows. It probably hurt the AFI’s initial list that it had so few recent films (and, for some reason, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?, which always was awful and not very progressive, even for the times), but film has a longer history than TV and probably until two decades ago was by far the better-crafted, more deliberate, more arty medium, meaning that more of it stood the test of time. For a variety of reasons TV is always going to be more current, though by extension this list ten years from now is not going to have most of the current shows it has on it now. It will still have Larry Sanders and Deadwood though. I give Game Of Thrones 50-50 odds of making that list.
  4. I’m not a conspiracy theorist generally, but I do think something must be going on for so many people to pretend that the US House Of Cards is actually a good show. Smart people generally seemed to agree that Sons Of Anarchy was a cheesy, over-the-top guilty pleasure, but oddly many of them seem determined to make a case for an even sillier (and less well written) show as legitimately great. Not since Mystic River has the name of the person behind the project and relentless self-seriousness (well past the point of camp) so turned the heads of the smart set.
  5. The second season of Fargo is basically a high school homework novel. Sorry folks, it just is, and there are better ways to re-experience that.

Semi-relatedly, I oversaw someone in a Starbucks recently watching that Aaron Sorkin master class thing. I don’t really have much else to say other than that he has gone full Santorum (at least sartorially) and embraced the sweater vest:

Also, when you do an image search for Aaron Sorkin, a fair amount of Val Kilmer pictures pop up. I can’t imagine he’s happy about this. I wouldn’t be.

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