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October 23 2009

"10 TV Shows You Have to Watch to Understand the World". BtVS comes in at #1.

This is a impressive list, with the exception of Sex in the City. lt's one show that's easy to forget. l like the idea of BTVS being #1 because after all these years it continues to be quite a phenomenon.
I'd say SatC deserves to be on there. It's had a tremendous pop-cultural influence, probably a lot more than Buffy ever had (although Buffy certainly takes the cake in certain, more cultish, circles its widespread cultural influence was notable, but not as notable as that of SatC).

The one that's truly puzzling to me is the original Melrose Place. Really? Is anyone still talking about that? If so, it has managed to completely bypass me.

Missing, I'd say, are Seinfeld, Friends and The Sopranos, although that last one might be a bit too recent.

ETA some [enter]s for readability ;)

[ edited by GVH on 2009-10-23 15:30 ]
GVH, what is SatC? Is that an abbreviation for something? If not, I've never heard of it (which would surprise me).

I'd agree with your other additions though. Particularly Seinfeld, which I still hear people refer to all the time.

[ edited by JossIzBoss on 2009-10-23 15:53 ]
^^ Sex and the city
I'm also puzzled by 'Melrose Place' being on there when e.g. 'Friends' was (from my perspective) much bigger culturally. Still, anything that was a big success at a certain time is going to inform vocabulary, pop culture references etc.

For me the biggest omission by far is 'The Simpsons' though I guess that may not qualify since it's not an "old" (in the sense of not on anymore) or particularly "sexy" show (Playboy shoots aside ;).
Ah, Sex and the City. I've never watched it so I guess I wasn't familiar with the abbreviation. Thanks :).
So, all the shows necessary to understand the world are of U.S. origin? That explains a lot. Clearly the rest of the world is just not up on their shows. Maybe we should think about shipping DVD's with our foreign aid...
I just assumed that where she says "The master lineup of iconic shows that shaped our pop-culture landscape. " the 'our' was "America's". That said, American pop culture does have a big effect on the rest of the western world (certainly the English speaking part of it anyway).

(if I was doing one for myself for instance then 4 or 5 of those shows would still be on the list, filled out by shows many Americans may not even have heard of. But it doesn't work the other way around i.e. most Brits/Australians/English speaking Europeans will have at least heard of most/all of those shows i'd wager)
Oh dear, only seen two of those (Buffy and SaTC)! Now everything that's wrong about my life makes sense!
Seinfeld and The Simpsons definitely belong, I think. Also, even though I never liked it, 90210. It basically ushered in this era of teen shows that's still going on today (hell, teen networks. The CW anyone? MTV was there first for but not for scripted TV. They followed with My So Called Life, if I'm remembering right.)

And I think Buffy's influence is bigger than even the article says. Buffy's biggest contribution might be Buffyspeak. It changed the way people write dialogue.
"The master lineup of iconic shows that shaped our pop-culture landscape."

Yeah, the problem with that title is that it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and sorta serious at the same time. If you take it a little bit seriously... since it's the "master lineup" and all, it feels to me like there are some components missing.

Now I grant you, there aren't a lot of shows from say... Sweden or India that have shaped current American pop culture. But I think leaving out Japan and China is impossible (if it weren't for it being a darn t.v. list) because they are crucial to understanding it. Stuff from those countries has permeated all facets our pop culture, in some ways so deep that the average consumer isn't aware of it. I don't think that their influence can be removed and still have it remain the same.

Unfortunately... this is a list of t.v. shows, and I'm not sure if I can name a seminal one from Japan that I can point to and say: "This one." (Speed racer? Gatchaman? Anime counts, right? --but probably not those examples.) Or one from China.

So,I'm left in this weird loop:
"What's missing from this list?"
"Japan. China."
"And what are their influential t.v. shows on our culture?"

But it's about understanding the pop culture world, right? You can't explain/understand what is happening in fashion, comic books, and "The Matrix" without taking into account those countries' influence. Therefore, the list just feels inadequate to me.

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