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Whats the best TV series ever made?


Pthigrivi
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I'm not really someone who watches a lot of TV, so I know the selection of shows I've watched through and through is limited.

Out of the ones I've watched, I'd say:

excrementst's Creek  funny and has heart, but somewhat of an acquired taste, and doesn't over stay its welcome.
The Office - even though the latest seasons aren't that great once Michael leaves, but its the sorta show that still is popular simply because its so relatable, and still has a good story at its core. I'm actually re-watching this since I gained access to it thru its streaming service haha.

Avatar the Last Airbender - not the god-awful live-action movie, but the original cartoon. I personally don't like anime, but even as a kid, I realized this show was something specialIt's not every day a kid-cartoon really goes above and beyond  and elevates itself into something that completely stands the test of time.

You just have to admire the amount of care, thought and execution put into every aspect of the show. From the lore, themes, art, design, music, characters, and overall story, it's all top-notch and bundled up and shipped as a "kids cartoon". 

Sure there is silliness and "kids having fun" (especially in the earlier episodes), but stuff like Iroh singing a lullaby to his dead son to celebrate his birthday will make grown men cry like a baby:

(Iroh's voice actor died after giving this performance, which makes things even more heavy in the feels department)

I recently re-watched it after it got released back on Netflix and I was a little surprised the show held my attention so well after all these years because again, its a kids show.

If you never watched this show, or think its for "little kids" I recommend watching the following episode to get an idea of it, and its core elements and why its easily one of the greatest shows of all time. Or at least the greatest kids show of all time.

Watch Zuko Alone: https://avatar.fandom.com/wiki/Zuko_Alone

Its an episode that can stand alone, provides enough lore to give you a decent background understanding of whats going on, and focuses on easily one of the most compelling and well written characters ever made. 

 

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2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

Humbly submitted: The Wire

Definitely up there. Like many it was really good, then maybe less so.

The Expanse is up there as well.

I liked The Americans. I was expecting to hate it (assumed it would be a love story to the CCCP), but it was pretty good, even if every episode had things that while realistic would have happened to 10 agents over a decade ;) .

I liked Dark, and Babylon Berlin. Hard to pick "best."

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19 minutes ago, tater said:

Definitely up there. Like many it was really good, then maybe less so.

To be clear, I meant early seasons, then middle, and later seasons. Many start meh, get awesome, then tank (I'm looking at you, Game of Thrones, and Babylon 5).

Edited by tater
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m*a*s*h gets my vote. 

5 hours ago, tater said:

Definitely up there. Like many it was really good, then maybe less so.

The Expanse is up there as well.

I liked The Americans. I was expecting to hate it (assumed it would be a love story to the CCCP), but it was pretty good, even if every episode had things that while realistic would have happened to 10 agents over a decade ;) .

I liked Dark, and Babylon Berlin. Hard to pick "best."

had this been "the best scifi series ever made" i think id have to give it to the expanse. 

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15 hours ago, tater said:

Definitely up there. Like many it was really good, then maybe less so.

The Expanse is up there as well.

I liked The Americans. I was expecting to hate it (assumed it would be a love story to the CCCP), but it was pretty good, even if every episode had things that while realistic would have happened to 10 agents over a decade ;) .

I liked Dark, and Babylon Berlin. Hard to pick "best."

For any who like The Wire, you might check out Fauda.  I can't remember if it is on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  Basically an anti-terrorism squad in Israel and the show doesn't dodge tough questions.  Extremely well plotted and acted

Edited by darthgently
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16 hours ago, tater said:

I meant early seasons, then middle, and later seasons. Many start meh, get awesome, then tank

The actors are finding their characters, then the writers and actors jell and hit their stride, then the writers start scraping the bottom of the barrel. The best shows end before the writers start scraping up wood pulp. The worst don't even realize when they scraped a hole right through the bottom of the barrel.

Of course, some shows (one-season wonders) start with only a baggie full of ideas that quickly ends up as shreds...

E And some shows have an ocean of ideas, but chase up a blind tributary. Yes, looking at you, X-Files, the conspiracy/alien  arcs were fun for a bit but I also enjoyed the freak of the week standalone episodes too, which were abandoned in favor of the conspiracy storyline.

Edited by StrandedonEarth
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the x-files is a show that i never really could get into, even though i tried watching it when it originally aired. probibly watched a third of the episodes, and the movies, and tried watching it when they tried to bring it back and didn't care when they killed it again. 

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16 minutes ago, Nuke said:

the x-files is a show that i never really could get into, even though i tried watching it when it originally aired. probibly watched a third of the episodes, and the movies, and tried watching it when they tried to bring it back and didn't care when they killed it again. 

Me either. I have a friend who calls X-Files his favorite show ever, but I was never able to get more than a couple of episodes in. But that same guy says the same thing about Babylon 5, so, there's that.

And, I think that kinda sums up my attitude towards the subject matter of the thread as well. I've basically given up on trying to define "The Best" of anything related to media: movies, TV shows, books, etc. Everyone is different, and everyone is going to have different criteria that define what makes a show or movie come out on top for them. I prefer to define things in terms of "My Favorite". This was a show/movie/book that stood out for me and here is why. Even for me, it's difficult to nail down one show that is the top one. They all have different appeals in different areas.

Take Babylon 5 for example. I think we tend to judge it through the lens of today. But 30 years ago, nobody had even tried to do anything like that on television. It was a five-season novel on television, where characters changed and grew and had story arcs. Back then that was not how you did television, especially science fiction television. It was groundbreaking. Joe Straczynski was lucky to get it made at all. It was a weekly event for us when it was in first run, we all gathered at my friend's boss's house, since he had the 80" Sony projection TV. We just sat on his couches with our mouths agape most weeks. B5 was probably one of the first things in my life I could probably say I was an actual fan of. So, it's one of my favorites. We're actually rewatching it as a family right now on DVD. (Because of course I have the DVDs...) Halfway through the second season right now and the kids are hooked.

I would say another top favorite of mine (that may not be on everyone's list) is Lost. Fantastic show. It took the same idea as B5, a novel for television, and really polished it. It was all about the character development. The people who hated the show because they got all caught up in the mythology and the secrets and the stuff that didn't get explained totally missed the point. 

I like a lot of the others listed above. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (The Body is still, I think, one of the best hours of television ever made. But you have to watch the entire show to that point to really appreciate it.)  M.A.S.H. Firefly. I'd like to make a couple other honorable mentions:

Six Feet Under is one of the smartest shows I've ever watched. Probably the best series finale ever. I think it should be required viewing these days, considering the events of the last two years.

Futurama is one of the most consistently funny shows ever made. And it never tried to pretend that it was anything else. I liked that.

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14 minutes ago, TheSaint said:

Six Feet Under is one of the smartest shows I've ever watched. Probably the best series finale ever. I think it should be required viewing these days, considering the events of the last two years.

Fantastic show, I second that.


MASH was one of the best mixes of social commentary and comedy ever. And not the stupid, facepalm, “Dumb and Dumberer” brand of comedy that is so prevalent that’s days; it was intelligent comedy that usually made a statement. 

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26 minutes ago, TheSaint said:

I would say another top favorite of mine (that may not be on everyone's list) is Lost. Fantastic show. It took the same idea as B5, a novel for television, and really polished it. It was all about the character development. The people who hated the show because they got all caught up in the mythology and the secrets and the stuff that didn't get explained totally missed the point. 

Lost is one of my favorites, yes, but...  To say they had a plan with the story lines is a bit of a stretch.   They didn't expect more than a couple few seasons, and had real no story line planned out, Hence why the 4th season really wanders.   Then that lack of planning is what got it cancelled in the 5th season (with plenty of warning, they were told they weren't getting renewed after 5 during 4).  You can see the rushed wrap up in the 5th season and they try to round out the story lines.    It's like JJ Star Trek vs JJ Star Wars.   He planned out Star Trek to the letter, while Star Wars was just an abomination of a cash grab. 

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I have a few of them. MASH, Babylon 5, Star Trek: The Original Series (not the goofy episodes, but the more serious ones), Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise (except the last episode), Star Trek: Next Generation (most of the first season doesn't count), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, House, Hill Street Blues, and believe it or not, the old Emergency! and even the early years of ER. I'll leave off the Netflix and Amazon streaming shows since the OP asked specifically about television shows... :) 

The thing about it is I enjoy good, strong character development. For me, there's something about good character development and the ability to tell a good story that wins every time. I think that's missing in a lot of shows both in the past and in modern shows. Special effects are nice, to an extent, but the "wow :o" factor can only last so long. A lot of modern television shows rely on crude humor and "adult situations" for supposedly good drama - and maybe I will just go with the old line of "to each their own" and let that suffice.

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12 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

the old Emergency!

This was required viewing for noobs in the station house when I just started as an EMT.   Those two actors are still keynote speakers at the various EMS conventions. 

Little back story to the show, I'll get the details a little fuzzy, but the general idea is what matters. 

Before the time of this show, Ambulances were basically body trucks that would pick up injured/sick people and drop them off at hospitals.  You were luck if you had somebody ride in the back with you.   There was no treatment aside from bandages.   You just had to hold on and be lucky. 

LA County in California had started up a pilot program where they took the smartest firefighters around (Those are hard to find :P) and gave them some medical training.  These guys were doing a lot of the things we see today, Cardiac monitoring, IV drugs, etc.  They had far less autonomy that medics today, as they had to call the hospital for orders for just about everything, and the doctor in the ER was the only one allowed to read an EKG, but the medicine was out in the field, and pre-hospital survival rates were sky rocketing. 

Then there was a car crash that involved a famous Hollywood TV producer.  He was amazed at the job these guys were doing and wanted to showcase it in a new TV show.   Hence, Emergency! was born.  The rest of the country then got to see this amazing system LA had in place, and they started asking why their city didn't have paramedics.   It's estimated that the show Emergency! advanced the rollout of pre-hospital medicine by 30-50 years in less than a decade, as normally it would take a long time for the results of their program to proliferate through the industry.   

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Knight Rider, Airwolf, The Sentinel, seaQuest DSV, Space Above and Beyond, Babylon 5, Star Treks: The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Lucifer, CHiPs (the tv series not the movie a few years ago) Avatar The Last Air Bender (the film version The Last Air Bender was a huge insult to ATLAB) M.A.S.K , Thundercats, Centurions, HE-MAN (1980s cartoon)  I could go on but wont.

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Edited by AlamoVampire
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On 3/26/2022 at 10:46 PM, MKI said:

Sure there is silliness and "kids having fun" (especially in the earlier episodes), but stuff like Iroh singing a lullaby to his dead son to celebrate his birthday will make grown men cry like a baby:

Totally agree!!!  
But if we're including cartoons, then I've got a submission that was my absolute favorite growing up. 
The original and iconic Jonny Quest
 

 

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6 hours ago, AlamoVampire said:

Knight Rider, Airwolf, The Sentinel, seaQuest DSV, Space Above and Beyond, Babylon 5, Star Treks: The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Lucifer, CHiPs (the tv series not the movie a few years ago) Avatar The Last Air Bender (the film version The Last Air Bender was a huge insult to ATLAB) M.A.S.K , Thundercats, Centurions, HE-MAN (1980s cartoon)  I could go on but wont.

133503282022

140903282022

brownie points for mentioning seaquest.

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7 hours ago, Gargamel said:

Lost is one of my favorites, yes, but...  To say they had a plan with the story lines is a bit of a stretch.   They didn't expect more than a couple few seasons, and had real no story line planned out, Hence why the 4th season really wanders.   Then that lack of planning is what got it cancelled in the 5th season (with plenty of warning, they were told they weren't getting renewed after 5 during 4).  You can see the rushed wrap up in the 5th season and they try to round out the story lines.    It's like JJ Star Trek vs JJ Star Wars.   He planned out Star Trek to the letter, while Star Wars was just an abomination of a cash grab. 

Well, what actually happened is that when Abrams and Lindelof wrote the initial outline for the show, they were planning on four seasons. But the show was a smash hit, it (and Desperate Housewives, to be fair) brought ABC to the top of the ratings heap. So ABC kept coming back to Bad Robot, tipping dump trucks full of money on their doorstep, and saying, "We need another season." So they had to keep stretching what they had. Abrams wrote the initial story bible and kibitzed on set for the first season, but then he left for other projects and let Lindelof be the showrunner. But when it became apparent that the show was going to keep running way past four seasons, he came back in the third season and helped Lindelof rewrite the bible to extend the storylines. That's the main reason why the later seasons are weaker than the earlier ones. They had to stretch out the meat of the storylines and fill in with whatever they could come up with to make a season and a half worth of story fill out three full seasons.

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10 minutes ago, TheSaint said:

They had to stretch out the meat of the...

That explains the sawdust and bread crumbs....

 

7 hours ago, AlamoVampire said:

Knight Rider, Airwolf, CHiPs

Now those are a blast from the past I enjoyed.

8 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

and believe it or not, the old Emergency!

"Rampart, this is Squad 51..." still comes through loud and clear on my memory circuits. I loved that show as a kid; during summer holidays I'd stay up past test-pattern time to catch the late-night reruns.

8 hours ago, Gargamel said:

This was required viewing for noobs in the station house when I just started as an EMT.   Those two actors are still keynote speakers at the various EMS conventions. 

Little back story to the show, I'll get the details a little fuzzy, but the general idea is what matters. 

Thanks for that info; I was not aware of that. But I do seem to recall an episode (unless I'm mixing it up with CHiPs, which made the Defender! arcade game famous) where they were pushing the idea of the ambulance going farther to a proper trauma center which is equipped and trained to deal with the grievous injuries common in accidents, rather than stopping at a closer hospital which may not be properly equipped to handle the injuries.

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10 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Thanks for that info; I was not aware of that. But I do seem to recall an episode (unless I'm mixing it up with CHiPs, which made the Defender! arcade game famous) where they were pushing the idea of the ambulance going farther to a proper trauma center which is equipped and trained to deal with the grievous injuries common in accidents, rather than stopping at a closer hospital which may not be properly equipped to handle the injuries.

That debate still rages in the back of squads to this day.   

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