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September 07 2007

Buffy Makes TIME Magazine's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". James Poniewozik's list of the top 100 (in no particular order) doesn't contain any other Whedon shows, but Buffy gets a great write-up and clip.

All time? That's pretty darned good.
Awesome about Buffy making the top 100, but least flattering Joss-summed-up-in-a-sentence ever. Man's looking svelte, yo!
...and for those of you who, like me, just wanted to *see the effing list*:,,1651341,00.html
Joss Whedon saw his script for the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer made into a one-joke travesty of a teen comedy.

I think that's unfair on Pee-Wee Herman's death scene, there were at least two jokes in that alone.
To be fair, if they hadn't made the movie, I would not have been tempted to tape the first two episodes of the series, and so would have come very late to the party, if at all.

Missing from his list is Frank's Place.
Awesome about Buffy making the list.

But they could've picked a better clip.


There are more picks on the list that I applaud than I boo, but ones that--in my mind--should not have made the list:

American Idol
The Beavis and Butt-Head Show
The Cosby Show
General Hospital
King of the Hill
Late Night with David Letterman
Leave It to Beaver
Married... with Children
The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Price Is Right
The Real World
Sanford and Son
Sex and the City

Seinfeld's far better than the rest of those I lumped it with, but still not that great in my eyes. C'mon, Angel and Firefly are way better than those choices. And where's The Andy Griffith Show?

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2007-09-07 21:12 ]
UnpluggedCrazy, I'm with you on all of your list, with the possible exception of the Cosby Show. I'm not sure it really gets enough credit for how much good its classic clean family sitcom--with black people--format did to combat racism.

The list compiler gets props from me for including The Prisoner, but there are a lot of shows that really influenced my life, but didn't make the cut:

Babylon 5: I know, this isn't a sci-fi list, but B5 really proved that if you didn't press the 'reset' button at the end of an episode, it could be MORE than OK.

The Electric Company: It's not just Sesame Street part II, it's an amazing take on children's education with an impressively start-studded cast.

Something science-related from PBS/BBC: I would pick Cosmos, but Nova could equally well fit that groove.

VeggieTales: It's religious entertainment, but it's an amazing foray into faith-based television that doesn't suck. Much like many classic cartoons such as Rocky and Bullwinkle, the show works on different levels for kids and adults.

[ edited by jclemens on 2007-09-07 21:43 ]
Not a terrible list, as most of these are, at first glance. Dude has The Wire, Deadwood and The Sopranos on there. Those are the three best TV dramas ever put to film, so, good call on that. I think something like Oz (unless I'm missing it) should be on there, not that it's SZOMG!! brilliant (though, the first three or four seasons are pretty excellent)... It really ushered in HBO's dominance, though. I know a lot of people point to The Sopranos and that is true. Still, If you're factoring in historical significance, you gotta put Oz on there.

Seinfeld's far better than the rest of those I lumped it with, but still not that great in my eyes. C'mon, Angel and Firefly are way better than those choices. And where's The Andy Griffith Show?

Can't agree with all that. It's not unreasonable to argue that Seinfeld is the best sitcom/half hour comedy series in the history of American television. "The Chinese Restaurant", "The Parking Garage" and "The Contest" show how ridiculously smart, funny and innovative Larry David and Seinfeld were as TV writers. I do agree though, that, if you're going to put Buffy on the list... Angel should be on there too. Buffy has the whole female empowerment/metaphor thing going for it, but Angel was better written/directed throughout it's run.

Sex and the City, soap operas and reality shows, though? Meh. Survivor and SportsCenter are significant to TV history, but they both suck. Dude should have limited it to hour long dramas and half hour comedies. Be more fun that way.
No Angel listed. I'm not the least bit surprised as it's constantly overlooked by most TV critics, but I am a little disappointed.
I'm so glad to see that somebody else remembers "Frank's Place". Gone too soon.
Beyond thrilled that BtVS made that list. If there was a ranking, it would ever score the numero uno slot in my book.

Over the fucking MOON, however, that someone was smart enough to recognize my favorite filthy (in every sense) South Dakota camp. ;D

I'm very surprised Scrubs isn't on the list. That is damn good TV. Kind of surprised Doctor Who isn't either. I would have liked to see Alias too, but my other two JJ shows are on there...Felicity and Lost :) One of the best "best ever" list I've ever seen. And I have to give it up for Cosby too. That show was a must watch in my family in the 80's when I was a kid. So good! Maybe one day Friday Night LIghts will be on here?
I think something like Oz (unless I'm missing it) should be on there, not that it's SZOMG!! brilliant (though, the first three or four seasons are pretty excellent)... It really ushered in HBO's dominance, though. I know a lot of people point to The Sopranos and that is true. Still, If you're factoring in historical significance, you gotta put Oz on there.

Definitely agree there. I think that for some people though, Oz was way too graphic. But I still think O'Reilly and Beecher are some of the coolest characters in TV history.

No Angel listed. I'm not the least bit surprised as it's constantly overlooked by most TV critics, but I am a little disappointed.

There were many times while watching both series when I liked Angel much better than Buffy. It was an amazing show, that was constantly engaging (yes, even the fourth season). Unfortunately (and probably because it was a spin-off), not many people will see it that way in the history books.
"Unfortunately (and probably because it was a spin-off), not many people will see it that way in the history books."

For example, Cheers is on the list, but Frasier (just as good if not better IMO) isn't on the list...
I used to love Fraiser when I was a kid. And frankly, I could never really understand the draw behind Cheers.
I gotta stand up for Sex and the City -- it's a show that's like BtVS in that it hides behind the genre tag (romantic comedy shenanigans about women and their mistakes about men and sex) just like BtVS (teen supernatural shenanigans) but both shows when deeper than that. Seriously. I never found it that funny, so it never really worked as a comedy me, but as an exploration of relationships? Very pointed social commentary.

I just love this list because not only is BtVS and the usual suspects on it, they also have WKRP in Cincinnati! Who else loved that show about a bunch of misfits at a '70s radio station? Just me? OK.
Yay, Buffy! Too bad no Firefly love although I wasn't really expecting it from a mainstream pub. But hey, what the heck is wrong with Topo Gigio?!? o.O

Other than that, my only real quibble with the list is The Day After -- that may have been event TV, but it certainly wasn't good TV. Special Bulletin blew it out of the water when it came to nuclear apocalypse TV movies (admittedly a somewhat limited genre).
I don't normally go for lists that are so obviously subjective of one person's opinions, but it's great to see Buffy getting some of the love it should have actually received when it was airing!

Also have to agree with the inclusion of My So Called Life, Monty Python, I Claudius, The Simpsons and BOTH the British and UK versions of The Office.
And I'm quite sure Xander and Willow would be snoopy dancing over the listing of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'!

Now, where's Angel, Little Britain, Heroes, Doctor Who and The Crocodile Hunter?
Good for Buffy. It would be number 1 on my list.
missb, agree with your list, except for Croc Hunter. Just no.

Funny though, never liked his show, thought he was cheesy in the extreme, but now can't watch all those "tribute" shows to him, they make me cry. I think he was a really good person with a really naive and myopic view of the wild. A shame he was killed, though. A big shame. *shakes head*.

Oh yeah, I despise how they're marketing his daughter. "Dance, Bindi, DANCE!!". Her mother should really step, and she ain't.

Aaaanyways. Did like your list, as said. :)
Well, that's an excellent list, IMO. I forgive the omission of Angel because no creator has two shows in there (except for JJ Abrams, but Felicity and Lost are in completely different genres) and instead focus on the general logic behind this compilation. My top 10 shows ever are all in there (Buffy, Deadwood, Wire, Sopranos, Freaks & Geeks, Arrested Development, Shield, West Wing etc) plus some great classic TV.

Furthermore, I applaud the inclusion of stuff like Survivor or American Idol or Super Bowl + ads because they're an essential part of the TV landscape and have been a huge influence on the face of pop culture, for better or for worse. Idol is a phenomenon unlike any in the history of ever, Survivor is arguably the best example of the reality genre. (and how can you compile such a list without including a reality show?) Are they better than Angel or NYPD Blue or, hell, Wolf Lake? Nah. Of course not. (Well, Wolf Lake... probably, yeah.) But Whedon has a (vampire) show in, Milch & Bochco each have a show in (Bochco what is essentially the father of Blue), so I'm not complaining. For Firefly, yeah. Probably.

And my only real complaint is for the exclusion of Doctor Who; it's the longest-running SF series in the world, dammit! (But good call on the appearance of other Brit gems, like Flying Circus, The Office and The Prisoner.)

Otherwise, though... I really liked what I saw, and I rarely say that for such compilations.

[ edited by dark_tyler on 2007-09-08 07:59 ]
missb, I agree with your list, except from Heroes.

I don't think it's a good show, I think it's amazing. (And it's the one show that everyone I've recommended it to that they have all liked.) But I don't think it's been on air long enough to qualify for a list like this.
No Angel in the list, I respect Buffy, but Angel was the better show for me.
First off - thanks, annagranfors, for that direct list link!

While no "the best series ever" list is complete without Firefly and Angel, it is good to see Buffy the Vampire Slayer represented in its rightful place as one of the greatest television programs of all time.

I agree that Angel may have gotten caught in a "no spinoff" trap; many argue that Deep Space Nine is the best of all Star Trek series, but the impact and fame of the original appears to have ensured its spot over DS9 here. Personally, I could do without the reality shows (well, I did find some seasons of The Real World to be compelling viewing), but have no problem with SportsCenter. I don't see the need to specifically separate Dave Letterman's CBS show from the list; and a greatest television list without David E. Kelley seems incomplete (though, I suppose that I could see an argument to be made against the inclusion of each of his series).

Overall, though, James Poniewozik has put together quite a strong list. I was very pleased - and relieved, even - to see Homicide: Life on the Street was not forgotten. Just an excellent, excellent drama, with many great characters. (And possibly part of the reason for Oz's absence, by the way, as the two shows share creators.) And, hey - MST3K! Nice!
The Cosby Show deserves its place. I'm happy to see West Wing, X-Files, Buffy, My So-Called Life, MST3K, and the Daily Show on there. I would add:

The Golden Girls
Northern Exposure
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Andy Griffith Show
The Jeffersons
Good Times

I know little about the production of these, so it's possible some of them violate the one show per creator rule.

I'd add Fraggle Rock, the Muppet Show, and Farscape, myself, but those violate the one show per creator rule with Sesame Street already on the list.

How he chose the list.
Farscape was from Jim Henson productions, but Jim himself died in 1990, long before Farscape was greenlit by his son and successor Brian Henson. Yes, they both featured muppets, but so did... Hmm... Maybe Smile Time got Angel disqualified? ;-)
Nice choices (I was happy to see Buffy, My So Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, and Arrested Development) but seriously, how much TV does this guy watch?
Probably about as much as we do.
I think it's a very, very good list. Given what an impossible task compiling this list really is, I think he's done a very admirable job. He'd never please everyone. Heck, he admits he didn't completely please himself - because he acknowledges there are shows he doesn't like that he had to put on the list to make it more complete.

For me, there's really no glaring omissions. Which is an amazing thing to say, because you'd think I could find one. But I didn't.
Does it seem odd that the creator of one of the greatest TV series of all time can't get respect in Hollywood? That seems very odd to me.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: we need to separate "the suits" from the creative process. The people who make the shows need to sell directly to the people who watch them. We pay for other things we "consume," so why not quality programming? Intead of having a hundred channels with nothing on, I'd rather have one with Whedon shows.

Let's bypass the "reality-TV" network executives, bypass the advertisers, and sell directly to those who want the product. We pay for our entertainment all the time. We should, especially when it's "Whedon quality."

Hey Joss, if you ever return to serialized multimedia stories, remember to hire your friends and share the burden. You complained about being tired all the time. Man, you were working too hard! Delegate and you might find the process easier.

Who am I to tell you what to do? Nobody. I'm a virtual voice in the ether. I'd just rather see you happy, because when you're happy, we (your fans) are also happy. You sounded kinda depressed in that last audio interview I heard, or at least a lot less energetic than usual.
I actually liked the list, largely. I suppose the biggest complaint is the aforementioned tendency to overlook spinoffs that often equal or surpass the quality of the original, such as Angel, Frasier, The Colbert Report, Star Trek: The Next Generation and so on. I am happy that both Office shows made it though, as both are consistently excellent and for entirely different reasons. (Although no way is the American one, terrific as it is, better than the British one).

But yeah. Besides the aforementioned examples, no Andy Griffith, no Fawlty Towers. I know that Firefly deserves mention but I understand excluding it for its ludicrously short running time--I would include it, certainly, in my top ten, but I understand the arguments against it.

I will defend Seinfeld's quality to the grave. It is the most consistently funny and inventive American sitcom, period.

I do think that including both King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-head was a bit much. And The Monkees? I can't comment on some of the shows, like Friends and Sex in the City, which never interested me enough to check them out. The reference to all the reality shows was irksome (even though I think that Survivor's influentiality alone should make it count). But putting in the campy glorification of consumerism The Price is Right over a classier game show like Jeopardy! is almost criminal.

Oh, but major props for Monty Python, The Prisoner, Battlestar Galactica, The Daily Show, Second City, and the Buffster herself as well as other, more expected, but still deserved choices like M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick van Dyke, and so on.

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