Monday, 20 September 2010

Top Ten TV Shows Blogfest

The day I and many other Alex J. Cavanaugh blog followers have been eagerly awaiting has arrived – the Top Ten TV Shows Blogfest. Alex, I bow my antenna to you.

Before I begin my top ten countdown let me say a couple of things: Firstly, this is a long blog post. I tried to keep it short but I got too excited. Secondly, some of the shows listed are here because in my opinion they are the best. One or two of them are here for more sentimental reasons; they bring back fond memories of childhood, family, and companionship.


10. Murder One (Case 1). First broadcast in 1995, the legal drama Murder One was in many ways a groundbreaker. It was one of, if not the first, TV shows to feature just one case over the entire series run, and in that respect it could be seen as the predecessor to the highly successful 24 series. Both the casting and script were excellent, and the only disappointment for me was the loss of the lead character Ted Hoffman, played by Daniel Benzali, for the second series. My advice - don’t bother with Case 2; it will sorely disappoint.

9. The X-Files. Where to begin? Mulder and Scully. The Smoking Man. Aliens. Conspiracy theories. Cockroaches. Killer insects. Science fiction. Mystery. I want to believe. I could go on and on. Everything about this show was right, from acting to episode plots. So why isn’t it higher on my list? The X-files was one of the most intelligent TV shows ever made and I spent some time debating where it should go in my top ten. The reason I do not rank it higher is that watching it now, it does seem quite dated and unfortunately it doesn’t give the same thrill at hearing the opening credits as it once did.

8. The Thorn Birds. Containing one of the worst lines in TV history, “And there's one thing you've forgotten about your precious roses, Ralph, they've got nasty hooky thorns!”, this was the show that brought my family together and glued to the TV screen every week one year in the 1980’s (I can’t remember the year). It didn’t matter how old you were, or whether you were male or female, it brought out the hopeless romantic in us all. And yes, we all cheered when they finally got it on and cried when Ralph died. So the acting was a little dubious and the script corny; we didn’t care.

7. Frasier. They say you were either a Fraiser or Friends person. Well, I liked Friends, and could watch an episode any time, but I loved Fraiser. Give me a choice between the two and there is no hesitation over which I’d choose. Superbly written, acted, and incredibly funny. If you haven’t watched it, get season one and I promise you’ll be addicted.

6. Wonders of the Solar System. The only factual show on my list for a very good reason – I am absolutely sure that this show has inspired a whole new generation to look at physics and science as something of fascination and wonder, rather than of stuffy old men and slide-rules. Of course it does help that the 42-year-old presenter (Yes, 42), Professor Brian Cox, has a magnetic personality and boyish charm. Also known as the Rock Professor because he was once in a rock band called Dare, he’s brought a big heap of cool to physics.

If you haven’t seen this series, do. Its follow up, Wonders of the Universe, is currently being filmed.

5. House. Being English, watching this show for the first time was a strange experience. To many of my generation Hugh Laurie was one half of the comedic duo Fry and Laurie, and mostly played the bumbling Englishman. Here, in House, he was playing a complicated, acerbic, and some-what sexy American doctor. It took me several episodes to get past the accent change and I very nearly gave up; I’m glad I didn’t. In my opinion, House is one the greatest TV shows ever made. The medical cases are fascinating, but what makes it worth watching is the relationships between the characters. My recommendation – watch it, now!

4. CSI Las Vegas. Not any of the others, just Las Vegas. Off course CSI Miami has the bonus of featuring David Caruso (Ladies, do you remember the naked shower scene in NYPD Blue?), but nothing beats the Las Vegas series. I think it is safe to say that I could now eat whilst watching any number of disgusting things on television because of this show; the autopsy scenes are not for the squeamish. When William Peterson had the idea for CSI, I think the TV producers must have wet their pants with excitement; such was the uniqueness of the show. Now there will be those who might point to Quincy - a show that narrowly missed my top ten – as being the first show to feature a forensic scientist and autopsies (you didn’t quite see them) but CSI has taken it to a whole new level.

3. 24. Whilst this show has, in my opinion, reached it’s sell-by-date, and featured some dubious continuity errors to fit into the 60-minute timeframe, series one was something TV viewers had never seen before – a whole series based on one day. What a risk they must have felt they were taking, but one that paid-off in the biggest way.

I remember series one was broadcast slightly behind America, on Sunday evenings in the UK, and every Monday there was only one topic of conversation at work – Jack Bauer and Nina Myers. I remember having to avoid the daily papers when the final episode aired in the US, so that we wouldn’t know the ending. And there was no temptation to peak; we were devoted. It still amazes me that some people haven’t watched this show, and I get great pleasure from lending them series one and seeing their faces when they beg for series two. Another ‘watch it now’ moment from me.

2. Star Trek. Some of you who know me well will be wondering why Star Trek isn’t my number one; you’ll have to read my number one to find out why.

Star Trek The Original Series was the TV show that started it all – my lifelong fascination with science fiction and space. Every Thursday evening I was allowed to stay up 45 minutes past my bedtime to watch it and how I thank my foster parents for that pleasure. Watching the original series now it seems dated, the acting wooden and dialogue cheesy, but that ongoing mission to explore new life ignited a passion within me that will never burn out. I am Trekkie and proud of it. I have watched all the series but the original and Voyager are in my opinion the best. William Shatner is my favourite actor, with Leonard Nimoy a close second, and my favourite film is The Wrath of Khan. I don’t have a uniform, yet. But I do have a phaser, so watch out!

Now cue the drum roll because here is the show that made it to the top of my list:

1. Battlestar Galactica (the remake). If Star Trek was the show that started my fascination with sci-fi, the original Battlestar Galactica was the show that made me stop, think, and believe I to could write such stories. It had dodgy special effects and somewhat cringe-worthy stories lines, but it was a whole different world, and a world full of humans that were not us. And they had fantastical names like Caprica, Apollo, and Starbuck. And there were robots called Cylons.

Now skip forward to 2003 and the Battlestar Galactica remake hit our screens with a three-hour miniseries, and then continued through five seasons. This remake was nothing like the original series. Yes, there were 12 colonies, Cylons, and a ship called Galactica. There were characters called Admiral Adama, Baltar, Starbuck, and Apollo, but that is where the similarities end. This was a superior TV show in every way. The casting was phenomenal - it was very hard to choose your favourite character (mine was Colonel Sol Tigh). The special effects were on the same level as, if not better, than those of a blockbuster movie. But there was so much more to this series than good casting and effects. BSG was a dark show that drew parallels with many of the issues facing the world today, such as terrorism, and they were not afraid to deal with controversial topics. As Adama said, “The day comes when you can’t hide from the things you’ve done.” Indeed.

I could probably write forever on this topic, so I’m just going to direct you to a clip on Youtube and then say, in true BSG style, if you haven’t watched this TV show, why the frak not?!


  1. The Thorn Birds!! Awwwww! I completely forgot about the Thorn Birds - oooh me and my mum were glued to the telly - wednesdays?!?! LOL!!

    And yes I like Friends but ADORE Frasier!!! Frasier ROCKS!!

    Star Trek - well I have my Lt Uhura uniform and not a phaser LOL!!!

    Brian Cox. I keep thinking of the other Brian Cox - the big burly actor?

    My friend will be most happy that you chose BG as no. 1 cos he keeps giving me BG dvds as pressies in the hope that I'd love it too - I will once I watch them I'm sure!!

    Fab choices!! Yay!

    take care

  2. Oh I did love The Thornbirds. I also loved The Waltons and Dallas. Yes they may have been touching on awfulness, but there was something so compelling about them! My number one would be Fawlty Towers - there is a clip on my latest blog post if you want a laugh!

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with your #1~ BSG is a fantastic show!

  4. You are so right! Frasier any day of the week! I know the show was about Frasier, but Niles almost stoled the show every time. The show was brilliant. I could never get into house, although my wife liked him.

    You are right about CSI. I can eat meatloaf with ketchp topping while the do their thing on a body. What a great show. What a bummer the cast has changed so much. Oh well.

  5. I do miss Frasier. I need funny if I'm watching anything.

  6. I follow Dr. Brian Cox as he is one of the inspirations for my trilogy. So far, looks like X-Files is the most popular.

    Stephen Tremp

  7. Old Kitty - you have a Star Trek uniform! I want one . . .stamping feet. Professor Brian Cox is not big and burly, just charasmatic and sexy. Damn. I hope the LSO doesn't read this!

    Joanne - The Waltons and Dallas! There are too many great TV shows, and Fawlty Towers is a classic.

    Elena - it really was a masterclass in making the perfect TV show.

    Greg - you are so right about Niles! Yes. It is a shame about the cast changes.

    Carolyn - feel-good TV!

    Stephen - it's interesting what you say about Brian Cox being an inspiration for your trilogy, as I'm sorely tempted to model one of my MC's after him! And, of course, there was the rumour that Danny Boyle based Capa from Sunshine after him. However, if you listen to Cox's audio-commentary for the film, he says otherwise.

  8. I was glued to the first series of Murder One.

    DS9 was always my favourite Trek.

    I've seen the initial mini-series of the Battlestar Gallactica remake, but my girlfriend is practically evangelical about BSG, so I'm sure I'll get caught up.

    Dave Wrote This

  9. This is another list with shows that had high critical acclaim, but alas, I missed them all except for the original "Star Trek" which I watched on a regular basis. Good to see your enthusiasm for the fest with such good commentary on the shows.

    Tossing It Out

  10. have you seen Babylon 5, your list suggest to me that you would like Babylon 5. Just give it time in the first season.

  11. Excelent choices! Star Trek and X-Files are at the top of my list. And the first Battlestar Galactica kicked off my fascination with science fiction as well.
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

  12. 24 was the best show ever. I loved that series. You know that CSI is the only one I don't watch LOL Great choices though. I enjoyed the read :)

  13. Dave - did you watch Case 2? I'd love to know what you thought of it, if you did. I did enjoy DS9 but I've never been a huge fan of the Ferengi. Do catch up with BSG - it is worth it!

    arlee bird - thank you! If I had to recommend another Star Trek show for you to watch, it would be Voyager.

    Budd - I haven't seen Babylon 5. Maybe that's one to add to the Christmas list! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Alex - thank you and your welcome. I'm loving every minute of this blogfest!

    Thom - 24 is one of the greatest. Every year I always say, "Jack's back." But no more. Hope the movie is going ahead! Do try CSI; you can pick up the early series on DVD pretty cheaply.

  14. Oh I remember the Thornbirds! You are so right, we watched it as a family, and we cried together!

    I am a Trekkie too and now because of your glowing review of BattleStar Galactica, I will be ordering these post haste. Thank you!

  15. Hugh Laurie visits me nightly when I sleep:) And yay for 24!

  16. It's been so much fun seeing what is on everyone's list. I love the blasts from the past like The Thorn Birds! What a great show!

  17. Nice list. Haven't seen many of those shows. Used to be a huge CSI fan, but now I find it boring. BSG was good though, still needa watch season four.

  18. ELLIE ~
    Six of your choices I've never seen, and I'm not a Sci-Fi fan, but I own on DVD every single episode of FRASIER. Really, it's the funniest and most intelligently written TV show of all time! GRRREAT CHOICE!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  19. "House" is on my list also. I haven't seen a bunch that people have been putting up. goes to show I don't watch much TV but I really liked x-files, but spaced putting it on my list.

  20. I forgot to mention FRASIER in my sitcom list :) It was such an intelligent and charming comedy show!

  21. I've never seen the thornbirds but it looks interesting. Thanks for the list.


  22. house is the house...
    such great choices, so many to choose

  23. I knew three on your list but the ones I didn't know I enjoyed reading about,


  24. Margo - do order BSG, but don't make the mistake we made by ordering season one before the miniseries!

    Candyland - and I thought he only visited me. Still, I'll make do with the Rock Professor ;)

    Jennie - It was! Father Ralph. Poor man.

    Brystearns - you haven't finished BSG?! Frak. I'm shocked. Go immediately to DVD boxset and watch!

    Stephen - Sci-fi isn't everyone's choice, but you can't beat an intelligently written comedy!

    Summer - I'm amazed by all the shows I didn't think of that were brilliant!

    Dezmond - it really was!

    Clarissa - you HAVE to see The Thorn Birds. I promise you'll be crying by the end.

    iZombie - thank you!

    Welcome to my world - thanks. I've learnt about lots of shows I haven't seen during this blogfest. I have the feeling it's going to take me a while to get through all the blog posts. LOL.

  25. I remember Murder One. I'd actually forgotten all about it until this post, but I do remember it. That was a cool concept and led to a miniseries I've been working on.

  26. Holy shite! I loved The Thorn Birds! I was way too young to be watching it but I did! I guess the same could be said about Knots Landing or The Golden Girls with the about of sexy time or sexy talk they had!

    Breakfast Every Hour

  27. Lots of my favorites are in your list. Great choices.


  28. Ooh! I would love Wonders of the Solar System. Gonna have to go check it out!

  29. I'm surprised Battlestar isn't on more lists. Oh and I loved 24 too. Great choices! :)
    W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

  30. frazier! that show was great! i'm surprised it hasn't been on more lists! nice picks!

  31. I've never seen Thornbirds. X-files, Star Trek and House are excellent!

  32. Love your list!! ST and BSG are so amazing!

    I still haven't seen House - it keeps showing up on these lists. I think I should check it out! :)

  33. BSG is so good!! It deserves to be someone's number one! I did not put my list in any particular order. That would have been REALLY hard!

  34. I just finished watching the House premier about thirty minutes ago. LOVE it. Hugh Laurie rocks. We never miss. And the, geez. You're right...glued to the TV every week. Richard Chamberlain was the miniseries king back in the day, and he was a great Father Ralph.

  35. I LOVED William Petersen in CSI. Great choices!

  36. The X Files are big on these lists!!
    Frasier was a good one, too!

  37. I'm the only sci-fi fan I know who has yet to see the whole of the new Battlestar! I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet. When I finally do, I'm fairly certain I'll devour it.

  38. I agree with everything you said about Battlestar Galactica! I only wish I had remembered to put it on my list! ;)

  39. I'd watch Frasier over Friends, too (I know I'm a sinner, but the back and forth between Ross and... well, ya know). I have yet to see 24, though it's been highly recommended. It's on a few lists. I might have to check it out. X-Files is definitely big on the lists, but so far I still think Firefly is winning the 'most listed' title.

  40. An interesting list, Sci Fi, Crime, Fantasy and a little Romance. I notice predominantly American. Did you ever follow the first series of Survivors? Or The Tripods? :O)

  41. How did I totally forget about Murder One? I loved that show! One of very few I absolutely would NOT let myself miss--then it was pre-catch up on the internet and ALL of it built on previous weeks. Great list!

  42. I could probably enjoy all of those - in fact CSI nearly made it onto my list. Though I'm a CSI:NY girl. (And Law & Order and all the rest of those New York cop shows.)

  43. ali - it really is worth watching, not just for the presenter. The science and effects are good too!

    Lynda - thank you!

    aspiring - it just shows hoow different people's tastes are!

    RaShelle - Ooo. . .you must watch The Thorn Birds; a real tear-jerker.

    Jemi - Thank you! Do watch House; you'll addicted in no time.

    Hannah - I think I made more work for myself putting them in order. LOL. BSG should be mandatory!

    Lisa - glad you liked House! Do you remember Richard Chamberlain in Shogun? That was another great series.

    Ishta - thank you!

    Kelly - Yes. I noticed Frasier and X-Files on a lot of list - a sign of true quality!

    Kelly Dexter - Aah. . .well you can't call yourself a true sci-fi fan until you've seen it. LOL. Do get it; you'll be blown away.

    DLCurran - how could you forget?! LOL.

    AngelaM - I think I might need to watch Firefly with all the nominations its got!

    Madeleine - I wonder what that says about British TV?! I've never seen Survivors or Tripods; will have to check them out.

    Hart Johnson - another Murder One fan - yay! Did you ever watch case 2; I watched about four episodes and then gave up.

    MorningAJ - A Gary Sinise fan by any chance?! My dad loves NCIS and Law and Order.

  44. Oops . . .forgot a few!

    Karen Peterson - I'd love to know more about your miniseries!

    AlexOngNYC - I think I was too young as well! Guess it didn't do us any harm. Now where's that priest who lives next door . . .

    Prayer Girl - thank you!

  45. I heard nothing but great things about BG. It's too bad it was overlooked during awards times.

    I've never seen the Thorn Birds, but I read the book many years ago and enjoyed it.

  46. Ellie my comment on yours is late as well and i have many more then 3 left to go :) I haven't seen many of these shows but i do adore the x-files and house! just can't get enough!

  47. thanks for stopping by my blog. nice to meet another Trek fan.

  48. Ohh I do love CSI. I should have added that one to my list...but I already did a top 12!

  49. I forgot Frasier, so witty n' warped, loved it!
    I loved Battlestar Galatica(I need to watch the remake). My sons says I will love it~
    Fun list~

  50. What is your real name? Mine is Ellen, but I'm called Ellie, El, Ella and Lucy, lol!

  51. Some of these (despite the fact I've visited so many other lists) I've never heard of, but they look like great shows! Thanks for commenting on my post. :)

  52. I totally agree with most of your choices but a couple I have not heard of.


  53. Mary McDonald - I wonder why BSG was so overlooked? One day I must read The Thorn Birds to see how different or similar the miniseries is.

    Kelly - thank you! I've still got 25 to go. I'll get there in the end. LOL.

    Michelle - your welcome.

    Jennee - LOL. I think I should have done a bonus choice!

    Ellie - another Ellie. Yay! I was named Eleanor, which I hate. So I've always been called Ellie. Nicknames have been Elna, Ely (pronounced E-lie) and Nell. How did you end up being called Lucy - its nothing like Ellen?

    Golden Eagle - it has been fascinating reading about shows I've never even heard of!

    Journaling Woman - thank you!

  54. Some really nice choices, Ellie. Especially House and The X Files - one of the most entertaining series ever shown on TV! :)

  55. Baygirl32 - thank you!

    Nebular - thank you!

  56. Hi Ellie! I, too, loved Frasier. As the seasons went on, it got even better I thought. And to see Kelsey Grammar on TV, playing someone other than Frasier Crane....ooohhh,,hideous!! I bought Season One and I think Two, about 2 years ago and never get tired of them! I also like House, but not toooo much. I like comedies or dramadies best!

  57. Becky - I agree with you about Kelsey Grammar - he was born to play Frasier Crane!


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