Nightman Listens To – Charles Mingus – Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (Top 1000 Albums Series)!

Oh man. It wasn’t enough to have a Ray Charles Jazz album last time around, but now we follow it up with what I can only guess is another Jazz album. Most of my knowledge of Charles Mingus comes from his work with and influence on Joni Mitchell, an influence to my mind which turned Joni Mitchell from a unique and wonderful folk performer and writer to just another jazz noise disturbance. I don’t know much about Mingus as an artist, but I’m going to assume this is going to be highly experimental, there’s going to be trumpets, and I’m not going to like it. Open your mind, Nightman, open your mind!

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus - Fonts In Use

What Do I Know About Charles Mingus: He was a jazz guy, experimental, and worked with Joni Mitchell and others.

What Do I Know About The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady: Nada.

Oh man, look at the album cover. Is it a dude parping on a brass? Is he merely kicking back and enjoying a pipe? Is he in prison? In which case, why is he dressed in the blue of a comfortably numb Secondary School English teacher? Is that is hair, or is it one of those Russian hats that movies have told me Russians wear? Wikipedia tells me it’s a forty minute album – so hopefully shouldn’t hurt too much, but it’s a single composition split into four tracks… interesting? Lets just get on with it.

Solo Dancer: Look, I’ll be honest. It’s going to be difficult for me to actually add anything of worth in this review. I’ve listened to the album in full a few times now, but still the best I can do to differentiate each of the four tracks is to say that one is long, one starts with piano, and the other two are a bunch of trumpet waffling. I lack the musical expertise to break down any real differences and I lack the willpower to give a shit about music which feels so empty and bland to my ears.

This is the opening trumpet waffle. Try as I might to get into it, to feel the groove, to enjoy the faffing about, to appreciate the artistry and creative fuel behind it, I just can’t. Jazz is not for me. You could play me a hundred pieces by a hundred geniuses, and they’d all sound like the amateurish ravings of a drunk you picked up a horn for the first time.

Duete Solo Dancers: It’s just so dull. I’m sure the guys playing are having an absolute fucking blast. But this music feels like a relic of another world. A dead world. A world which found newer, better forms of music and passed the fuck on leaving all this muck in the past where it belongs. There’s a wailing bit. There’s a faster bit which also wails and depresses. There’s a slow bit which is worse, and which wails and moans. There’s some amusement to be found near the end where some of the horns sound like a monster trying to speak.

Group Dancers: This one at least feels different. It’s more than just horn parps. It has piano clangs too. It has flute or something. It seems Eastern inspired. It’s the amazing sounds of orgy. It still goes round and round without saying anything. It’s still as vapid and emotion free as the others.

Medley: This one throws in some guitars too. Spanish guitars. That was a nice break from all the trumpets, but none of it is particularly interesting. It’s the sort of thing anyone can play after a few lessons and just bashes out while you’re waiting for the bass player to stop fingering his girlfriend and get back to practice. Elsewhere, it’s more horrible, chaotic, tuneless noise.

What Did I Think: It’s never good when I feel like I need a lie down after a single track. There’s four of those tracks here, and one of them is almost 20 minutes long. There’s barely a note of difference between any of them. Regardless of the inspiration behind it all and how capable the musicians actually are, it’s so empty. There’s nothing interesting, there’s not a melody to be found, and each track is as haphazard and soulless as a talentless jam session. It’s music with absolutely nothing to say and in terms of my personal enjoyment as a listener who admittedly places melody and emotion above all other things, it was a slog to get through once, never mind multiple additional times as I hoped for a revelation. If Jazz is only for cultured types, then oil me up and call me a Love Island watching, chip eating lounge lizard.

Does It Deserve Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Are you insane? It didn’t even deserve to be recorded in the first place. If there was ever an album which did not deserve to be on this list, it’s this one. An abject horror show.

Well, that’s another jazz masterpiece checked off the list and I’ve already forgotten what any of it sounds like beyond the after-trace revulsion I continue to feel whenever I hear a brief snippet of trumpet coming across the airwaves once upon a night sky. I read some of the bewildering five star reviews of the album and can only conclude that everyone is insane apart from me – and I’m this craziest kid this side of camel town.

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1985!

Legend (1985) — The Forgetful Film Critic

Ewoks: Battle For Endor

I quite enjoyed this one when I was young – Jedi was always my favourite Star Wars movie and this was another furry adventure. Watching it as an adult now, it’s pretty bad.

Friday The 13th: A New Beginning

The Friday The 13th series was never my thing growing up – I was more into Elm Street and Halloween. As part of an October marathon a few years ago, I finally went back to watch all the sequels and none of them are especially good. There’s barely a unique idea between them and each boils down to knifey knifey stab time. At least a few of the sequels went for some continuity, including this one which continues the Tommy Jarvis story – the survivor of a previous massacre now in an asylum of some sort. It’s not bad, it’s just by the numbers, cheap slasher fun – worth seeing once and instantly forgetting.

Legend

This is a bit of a cult favourite for many, presumably due to Tim Curry and that crazy make-up. But it doesn’t make a lick of sense, most of the performances are bad, and it seems to be Ridley Scott channelling Michael Mann via Michael Bay. A genuinely poor film all around.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

The weakest of the original trilogy, and of the entire series, Thunderdome feels at once too commercial and too empty. It has that same sense of barrenness as the first film, but there’s no emotional core of genuine weirdness. It’s more like a glossy approximation of weirdness. Still, it has some swinging about inside a big dome, but it’s a huge step down from The Road Warrior. 

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A strange one because it’s both one of the more interesting sequels in the franchise, but also one of the worst. I like what the story tries to do, but it’s very cheap, the acting isn’t of the highest calibre, and it’s as camp as a charred sausage on a five dollar portable bbq. No scares and some of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes ever witnessed in horror.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

I get that this is some sort of American export or hero or whatever, but for those of us who were not weened on such shite, this is barely more than an abomination of Babylon standards. An embarrassment for all involved.

Prizzi’s Honour

A hugely talented director and an impressive cast at the top of their game – somehow come together to make one of the more dull mafia/comedy movies of the era. I’ll be in the minority on this one, but I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Red Sonja

It’s Conan, but not really. It seems, sort of, like a brave move to make a female led sword and fantasy movie in a time when all action movies were highly masculine and muscle-bound affairs. So it’s got that going for it. Sadly, the execution is a failure and the result is on par with Conan The Destroyer as a forgettable slice of sword-swinging nonsense. Arnie and Sandahl Bergman are reunited, but they’re secondary to Brigitte Nielsen in a case of amateur acting and attempts use the English language. That’s fine – what isn’t is the lack of action and mayhem, a very watered down vision of a world where magic and might are supposed to be master.

A Room With A View

I can’t stand any of these Merchant Ivory movies – they’re all equally dreary and overwrought, with the same kinds of stories played out with the same dull tone by the same kinds of actors. Stick with the source material any time you see Merchant or Ivory attached to a film, and avoid at all costs unless you’re a fan of slowly observing your life ebbing away.

Let us know in the comments what your least favourite movies of 1985 are!

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 19 – 28

File:Totp logo 1998.svg - Wikimedia Commons

I know, it’s already been one day and I’ve already missed a post. But my intention was never to post daily on this – it’s just that the groups disappear after every 24 hours and therefore I have to wait for weeks for them to come around again for me to be able to post about them. Therefore, I’m adding the Groups to the post title so that I can easily check which groups I’ve missed.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about – check this link for my first post in the series. Lets see what today has in store.

Group 19

The Verve – Lucky Man: I’ve tried to like this over the years, due to liking other songs by the band, but it’s significantly bland. I don’t dislike it, but it’s meh.

Arnee And The Terminators – I’ll Be Back: Should I know what this is, given the first two Terminator movies are my favourite movies ever? Lets give it a blast on Youtube and see if I remember. No, I can safely say wiped this from my memory banks if I ever heard it at all. It’s a mess of shouty talking in a terrible accent with a throbbing synth, gunshots, laser sirens, and some guy shouting ‘Uzi 9mm’ every few seconds. Horrendous.

Fatboy Slim – Rockerfeller Skank: I mentioned not liking Fatboy Slim before. This is one of the reasons why. Can’t. Stand. This. Montrosity.

Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe: An absolute banger. It’s bad, obviously, but it’s also so good. Arguably the best of the dance oriented one hit wonders of the decade. My group winner.

Group 20

Ginuwine – When Doves Cry: I don’t know who or what this is. Is it a Prince cover? I can’t really remember the Prince song, but I’m guessing this is a cover. In any case, this is mostly poor. Solid beat, but nothing.

Fresh Price & Jazzy Jeff – Summertime: Not a huge fan of this one, but it’s cool. My group winner.

Michelle Gayle – Do You Know: Do you know I’m old enough to remember Michelle Gayle from Eastenders. She had a few big hits in the 90s, but I have no memory of this. Pretty boring.

Damage – Love Guarantee: Never heard of this artist or song. Seems to be another boy band, but they must not have been very big. Sounds like the sort of nonsense they would have as a special guest on Sister Sister. Complete by the numbers Boy Band junk.

Group 21

Kim Syms – Too Blind To See It: Jesus. This is clearly an 80s song dressed up in 90s sheen. Except it’s not even dressed up, the video and the fashion, the editing, everything screams Stock Aitken Waterman badness. Garish. Awful. The girl can sing, but the song is terrible.

Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell: What is this doing here? The album was re-released in the 90s, right. Looks like the single was too. My group winner.

Sinead O Connor – Nothing Compares 2U: Wasn’t this an 80s song? Or was it re-released. In any case, I’ve always despised this song. I hate it so much. Never understood the overwhelming praise it gets.

Bee Gees – For Whom The Bell Tolls: It’s not Metallica, but it’s not bad.

Group 22

N Trance Ft Rod Stewart – Do Ya Think I’m Sexy. The original was bad enough. Give it to some dance act and watch it become much worse. Listening again now, it’s actually not that bad.

Sash – La Primavera – I liked a few Sash tracks. They seemed to be one of the few dance acts who knew the value of melody and could actually make a decent tune. This was never one of my favourites and is quite tame, but it does have a nostalgia factor coupled with the Spanish element which I also enjoy. The horns are laughably cheap and sound like an early 90s MIDI videogame celebration jingle. That thing where I hate Jamaican accents in music, especially when it’s done by an English white guy? It’s the opposite when we’re talking about Spain – I like Spanish elements and vocals in my songs.

Cher – One By One: This doesn’t ring a bell, in name or in sound. Oh, hold on. Ah yes, I do remember this now the vocals have started. Yeah, I quite like this but had forgotten it ever existed, probably because it doesn’t have many peaks or anything interesting going on.

Leann Rimes – How Do I Live: There was no escaping this song in the 90s, and it still gets regular rotation these days. It’s a big powerful ballad, well sung. My group winner. 

Group 23

Bryan Adams – Please Forgive Me: Did I cover this in my Bryan Adams posts? Can’t remember. I’ve always liked this one. My group winner.

S Club 7 – Two In A Million: S Club 7, that boy/girl band hybrid featuring a horrible racist and some other people you can’t remember. They were the next big thing after Spice Girls – battling against Steps for supremacy in the charts. I don’t remember ever hearing this and it’s almost identical to that Damage song up above.

PF Project Ft Ewan McGregor – Choose Life: Look, I love Trainspotting. One of the best movies of the 90s. But the soundtrack has also has been terrible. This song was absolutely everywhere in the 90s – the club clubs, the Indie clubs, and I couldn’t deal with it. Listening now, it’s better than most of the dance hits of the 90s, slightly manic given the McGregor quotes, but it’s repetitive as fuck.

Lolly – Viva La Radio: Now this one could be interesting. I have the slightest gnawing recollection about this, but if you asked me right now to hum a piece of it I couldn’t. I suspect when I listen it’ll come flooding back. I can picture it rather than hear it. Lets see… wait. Did she have another song? This sound somewhat familiar, in the chorus at least, but it’s not what I was expecting. In other news though – how did this get made? Who listened to this person sing and thought ‘there’s a voice the world needs to hear’? It’s very bad, but it’s funny in how shamelessly confidently bad it is is. There’s a lot going on in the song too. What a weird mess.

Group 24

SWV – Right Here: I don’t know what SWV is, or means. Stevie Weigh Vaughn? Ah right, I remember this. I hated this at the time because it does that thing where they take one of the most annoying pieces from a Michael Jackson song and playing it over and over and over and over. Someone did that recently with ABC, right? The rest of the song is pretty badly performed too, going out of tune in many places.

Whigfield – Saturday Night: Another contender for best Dance based One Hit Wonder of the 90s. It’s a bit of a banger, and all us pre-pubescent boys had a thing for her. My group winner.

Garbage – Stupid Girl: This was their biggest hit, right? I like it enough, but I was never wowed by it or them like other people were.

Utah Saints – Believe In Me: The group name is familiar, but I couldn’t tell you what they did. It’s another cheap dance song. I get that the technology was new and basic and that explains how cheap and dated it sounds, but as with much of this ilk it’s all so repetitive that you can listen to any 30 seconds and get the same effect and value as listening to either any other 30 seconds or the entire track. There’s a piano bit in the middle which gives us a break for a few seconds. Great if it was influential like, but lets not pretend it’s any good.

Group 25

Elton & Pavarotti – Live Like Horses: I don’t remember this pair ever being a thing. Listening to it now. Was it for a movie? Was it an original? It sounds like it’s ripped from a bad musical – but then this is Elton John we’re talking about. Pavarotti gives it a different flavour. The song’s somewhat emotive and atmospheric and I’m surprised I’ve never heard it before. I’m no Elton John fan, but this is more enjoyable than most of the stuff I know by him.

Eminem – My Name Is: It took me a while to get on board with Eminem when he first arrived, but by the time this came around I was a minor fan. Then I heard his other stuff and got the Marshall Mathers LP and saw it for the masterpiece it obviously is. This is a fun, silly song, not one of my favourites, but still better than most of what was in the charts back then. My group winner.

Mark Morrison – Horny: I couldn’t have told you another Mark Morrison outside of Return Of The Mack. Listening to this now, I have heard it before, but everything about it is low tier badness. Why does he sing like that? Why do the women in the chorus sing like that? Why do the drums sound so flat and weak, and why have they not improved in music since the 90s? It’s another forgettable song about sex marketed at pre teens. Nice.

2 Unlimited – Tribal Dance: I knew they’d done another song outside of No Limit. This must be it, lets see. Does anyone else want to shout MORTAL KOMBAT after the intro? I do remember this. It doesn’t have the impact of No Limit, but it’s the same sort of thing. The chorus isn’t strong enough, but it’s fine as far as 90s dance music goes.

Group 26

Temptations – My Girl: What’s this doing here? Because of the My Girl movie I assume. I always preferred the Michael Jackson version, but there’s no doubting this is a classic. My Group Winner.

Mariah Carey – Open Arms: Back before Carey was a bin lid she used to make decent songs. This isn’t one of her best, but it’s still good.

Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl: Tori had less impactful hits for me after Little Earthquakes, but this was one of her biggest. I can’t say I was ever the biggest fan of this particular song, especially when the album contains Baker Baker and Past The Mission. But it’s good, and it’s Tori, so it’s win win.

Ali Campbell – That Look In Your Eye: UB40 are maybe the band I hate most. They’ve never made a single song I could tolerate for more than ten seconds, let alone enjoy, and they just would not get off the TV in the 90s. It seems the main guy had a solo career too. I have blotted this from my memory, but I have heard it. There’s a woman in the mix here too. It’s a very weak ballad which is instantly forgettable – it doesn’t highlight the worst of UB40s shtick, but it still has Campbell atrocious vocals. Whoever the woman is – very poor too, with many notes being fumbled, mumbled, and flat. Noticeably poor production too.

Group 27

Boyzone – Coming Home Now: Boyzone were the Irish Take That. Equally bad, yet also worse. Notable for Ronan Keating’s unique warbling, there was also a duck-billed platybus looking dude who sang like a drunk sheep, a guy with tatoos, a guy with a beard, an possibly another guy. Naturally, they’ve sold billions. I don’t remember this one. Listening now – you already now; standard, bland boy band shite, slow, cheap, cookie cutter. Unbelievably bad.

Blur – Boys And Girls: One of their biggest early hits, this was of course a hallmark of Britpop. I wasn’t a huge supporter, but it’s fine. My group winner.

Take That Ft Lulu – Relight My Fire: As much as Take That brought great musical evils into this world, they’ve also had a few decent, maybe even good songs too – which is more than we can say for almost every other boy and girl band. This is one of the better ones. It’s a cover, but they give it a bit of oomph, or what passes for oomph where boy bands are concerned, and Lulu throws her back into it.

Kim Appleby – Don’t Worry: Name doesn’t ring any bells so I’m going to say it’s another one hit wonder. It’s the worst of 80s pop re-packaged as a 90s song. A complete nothing.

Group 28

2Pac Ft Dre – California Love: Just listen to the difference in quality in production of this and, well, every other song on this list. But particularly the British pop stuff. There’s no comparison. This sounds like a song released today. The other stuff sounds like it was recorded by children with a V-tech microphone. This is as good as it ever was, and it was always pretty damn good.

Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right: I could have sworn this was a Noughties song, but there you go. I never liked it and came at the time when Whitney had already jumped the shark. Whitney is undoubtedly one of the greatest singers of all time, but most of her songs were beneath her – this is nowhere near potent enough. Good production but also very weak. This should have been an anthem, so where’s the power? Where’s the RAGE. It’s a song I should fell, but I just don’t.

Blondie – Maria: This was a big thing when it was released – Blondie’s back everyone! It lasted for a few months and Blondie was quickly no more again, but for a brief while suddenly everyone was a Blondie fan. It was weird. It’s a good song – it hasn’t aged too well and sounds less energetic and interesting now than it did then, but still good.

DJ Jean – The Launch: This is dreadful by any measure. I don’t think I’ve heard it before. It’s little more than the same descending double four notes played over and over, with a change in the beat every so often. This is a thing. This exists. Someone thought it was good. Enough people spent money on it that it became a UK top ten hit. Think about that.

Not the greatest batch of songs today, but a few drunken singalongs to be sure. That’s probably going to be the case most days. No standout songs for me today though.

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Part 1

File:Totp logo 1998.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Greetings, Glancers! You may have picked up that I’m a Manic Street Preachers fan, and one of the only reasons I’m still on Facebook is to chuck my vote at one of the Manics fan group polls which does the rounds. It’s always pointless because Faster always wins, but at least I can see how the other fans think about certain songs.

Recently (due to low voting) the group owner, Terry ‘Sensai’ Lawrence, has scrapped the next Manics poll and decided to make a Best Songs Of The 90s poll. Specifically, the song entrants have to have made it into the Top 10 in the UK Singles charts at some point during the 1990s. The Manics will be represented, but Faster will not. Naturally I’ll be using this as a chance to catch up on some songs I either missed or have forgotten, and to vote and talk about it too. Here’s a link to the group if anyone is interested in joining.

Why make a blog post about it? I’ll write about any old shite and may as well use the daily poll format to talk about the songs and the groups. It’s a traditional football knock-out format – groups of four songs will ‘play’ each other in a mini league, with the top two songs from each group going into a cup format, progressing until there is a winner. If you’re curious about the songs, I’m going to list every single one, with my thoughts on each. If you want to play along, you can Spotify the tracks or join the group to vote. It looks like he’s posting 16 matches every day, so I’ll try to post along for as long as possible or until I get bored. I won’t post the specific matches – you’ll get the idea that each song in a group plays every other and can pick your winner yourself – but I’ll post the groups. According to the page, there are over 1600 songs to cover over 407 groups. That’s…. a lot. We start with the first eight:

Group 1

The New Radicals – You Get What You Give: This is one of those songs which immediately takes me back to a time and place. I think it was 1999 and hit big around Spring, so just as I was entering exam time when I was 16. I recorded it off the radio so it was in regular rotation for me for a brief period of time. It’s not that great a song, but it has a chill vibe which always makes me nostalgic.

M People Angel Street: I had to Youtube this one to remind myself. M People are one of my most hated groups. That’s going too far, but they’ve always been an instant ‘turn that crap off’ for me, seemingly remaining popular because the lead singer has a unique voice. Unique doesn’t mean good. They’re also annoyingly jazzy. I must admit I don’t remember this song – the chorus maybe sounds familiar, but that could be because it’s generic. It’s fine, not as grating as most of the songs I’ve heard by M People.

Michael Jackson – Earth Song: Here’s my winner for this group. Obviously I’m a big MJ fan, but this was one of his last, best songs. I don’t expect the song to do very well in what started out as a Manics group.

Stereophonics – Pick A Part That’s New: I was never a huge fan of Stereophonics, but I’ll admit to liking a few of their hits. This one has the same sense of nostalgia I get from You Get What You Give. It came at that tail end peak of Brit pop. I still can’t get on with Kelly’s vocals, but it’s a decent song.

Group 2

Dee Lite – What Is Love: There’s going to be a tonne of songs I can’t stand in this whole enterprise. Dee Lite will have made at least one of those songs, but I admit to not remembering what this was. There was an unbelievable amount of shite, what I class as Dance/Rave music in the 90s. It likely was influential and I still find it hilarious that the US is only now catching on to the awfully labelled EDM now when the UK has been blasting crap for decades with great success. This is typical of 90s Dance – cheap, repetitive, sounds like it was played and recorded on a Gameboy. It’s pretty horrible.

Echobeatz – Mas Que Nada: I didn’t know what this was until I played it. This was a bit of a football related hit for a while. It’s not bad, catchy, but it’s also very cheap. There will be many, many one hit wonders such as this on this poll. This will be one of the least annoying. It also does that thing of having a scantily clad video, which was huge for dance tracks in the 90s and beyond, so if you like boobs – enjoy!

Madonna – Beautiful Stranger: I haven’t got around to finishing my Madonna rarities posts, but this will be on there. I like it, good song. My group winner.

D Mob Ft Nuff Juice – Put Your Hands Together: No clue what this is. Presumably a one hit wonder, but feel free to tell me I’m wrong. I’ve never heard this, but listening now… sure. Dance based Rap. Nothing very exciting, decent pace, trash lyrics.

Group 3

Happy Mondays – Step On: I begrudge voting for Happy Mondays because they’re outrageously overrated, but look at the state of the rest of this group. This is one of their better songs, and by ‘better’, I mean 6 out of 10.

Bitty McClean – Dedicated To The One I Love: I often remember that Bitty McClean was a thing, and laugh my ass off. The UK has this weird fondness for shite reggae – obviously there’s a culture heritage thing going on, which is great. But the music, at least that which made it to the charts, is uniformly terrible. Bitty McClean seemingly made a career out of covers. His covers are frequently the worst versions. This is perfectly pleasant and unnecessary.

Clubhouse Ft Carl – Light My Fire: I’ve no idea who or what Carl, or Clubhouse is. But this is another one hit wonder of the dance variety, and as you would expect it’s repetitive, cheap junk. A shambles.

The Wonderstuff – On The Ropes: I know them from Dizzy. I can’t think of anything else I’ve heard, but playing this it sounds familiar. I know I’ve heard this at some point, but I can’t place it. I mean, I’ve probably heard all of these songs at some point because I watched TOTP every week and listened to the radio most days. Seems like an okay, forgettable song.

Group 4

Phats & Small – Feel Good: One hit wonder. The vocals… there’s something familiar. It doesn’t sound cheap. Fair enough, not my kind of music, but I can feel it.

OMC – How Bizarre: One hit wonder. This was a meme before mems were a thing. Anything strange happened in school? How bizarre. How bizahh how bizzah. It doesn’t quite hit that nostalgic groove as the others mentioned, the video is embarrassing, the vocals are not good, but a chill vibe.

Madonna – I’ll Remember – Madonna is going to be all over this poll. It’s another rarity I’ll cover in that post when I get to it, but it’s a lightweight, average single by the Queen Of Pop.

Spice Girls – Viva Forever: The Spic Girls are going to be all over this poll. One of the better Spice Girls songs. I’ve always had a fondness for it. My group winner.

Group 5

Cast – Walk Away: I had a bit of a love/hate thing going on with Cast back in the day. They seemed to my naive young mind as a cheap Oasis clone, with worse hair and worse songs. But sometimes they had a good song. Listening decades later, this is quite nice but ultimately feels too tame and lacks the emotional impact it seems to give other people.

Janet Jackson – What’ll I Do: As much of a Michael fan as I was, that never extended to the rest of the family. There are very few Janet songs I’ve heard (until now) that I enjoy. This is one of those, though I don’t really remember it. It has a distinct Britpop mixed with Motown vibe, which is cool.

Prodigy – Firestarter: It’s Firestarter. You love it. My group winner.

The Cartoons – Doo Dah: One of those One Hit Wonders which people despise, while loving other objectively or equally worse one hit wonder songs. Many of those are on this list. I have some sort of fondness for this song. It’s no Witch Doctor. It is terrible, but it knows it’s terrible, and therefore is somehow tolerable. You couldn’t listen to it for more than 40 seconds without having a hernia, but still…

Group 6

Embrace – Come Back To What You Know: Embrace was always a Coldplay V0.9, but if pushed I would say I prefer Embrace. They’re not twats about being bland. This was their big hit. It’s fine.

Wet Wet Wet – Don’t Want To Forgive Me Now: The band had a number of hits in the 90s, but on name alone I don’t remember this. They’re generally music for Mummy In Laws, but not usually offensive. Terrible music video. This is cheery, and in the hands of a decent band this could have been turned into something marginally better. There’s a solid core melody, but they cheese the fuck out of it.

The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go: This came out in the 90s? Okay. My group winner.

911 – All I Want Is You: The first boy band entry, of which there are sure to be hundreds. Each group was worse than the one before. This is exactly what you would expect from a boy band – you could write it yourself even if you lacked the power of language and had no concept of music.

Group 7

Fatboy Slim – Right Here Right Now: If there’s one musician I’d happily have removed from the history books, it’s Fatboy Slim. Having said that, I do like this one. Probably the only one I do. My group winner.

Everything But The Girl – Walking Wounded: I never really understood the appeal of Everything But The Girl. This is very weak and I have zero recollection of it.

Garbage – When I Grow Up: I had to check this out because I couldn’t remember the name. I immediately remembered it, of course. I wasn’t the biggest Garbage fan in the world – they passed me by like many of the riot grrrl groups of the 90s. I don’t know if I’d go as far as saying it’s good – not as good as their biggest hits, but it’s fine.

Cliff Richard – Millennium Prayer: Cliff sure loves the baby Jesus. It goes without saying that this is one of the worst musical atrocities of the decade.

Group 8

Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be: One of the dance acts I had any respect for in the 90s. Good tune.

Candy Flip – Strawberry Fields Forever: One hit wonder. Dance. Cheap. Not repetitive because it’s actually a fairly faithful cover, but given that early 90s glazed eyes pill-popping softness. As bad as that sounds.

Notorious BIG – Mo Money Mo Problems: One of the few B.I.G songs I know. That era passed be by for the most part. Good tune. My group winner.

Blur – Tender: I’m not a big Blur fan. This is one of their more wafting and dull songs.

There you go. There will be many, many more of these posts assuming I keep up with them. What are your group winners? Which songs are completely new to you? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Movies Of 1985

10: A View To A Kill (UK)

A generally maligned Bond entry, with many citing Roger Moore’s age and Tanya Roberts’ involvement as significant negatives. Stacey Sutton does screech a lot in the movie and doesn’t come across as the most progressive or three dimensional character, and Moore is clearly getting on a bit, but when you counter that with the character of May Day, the performance of Christopher Walken, the greatness of the theme song, and some of the best action in the Moore era, it more than evens out. It’s always been a personal favourite, but then it’s the Moore era I grew up with.

9: Return To Oz (US/UK)

There’s just something eternally enticing about Return To Oz – I loved it growing up, and now my kids love it too. It’s just creepy and dark enough to be fun and scary without being traumatic (debatable), and I love the idea of showing an Oz in ruins, corrupted, the various psychological angles in the story, the special effects, and the lead performances from the always underrated Fairuza Balk and Jean Marsh.

8: Brewster’s Millions (US)

I go back and forth on what my favourite Wilder/Pryor movie is, and that’s before you factor in their solo efforts. This is my favourite Pryor led movie, a remake directed with trademark bounce by Walter Hill, even if it is a deliberate cash in (pun intended) on both Trading Places and the Wall Street/Reagan/money is awesome vibe of the time. If there has ever been an actor who cold sell complete bewilderment, it’s Richard Pryor, and here he’s the small time loser who finds out he’s the sole hair of a 300 million dollar fortune. There’s a catch; in order to get that lump sum he needs to overcome a challenge – to spend 30 million in 30 days. That seems easy, but there are various rules involved, such as he can’t just give it away. If he succeeds, he gets all the money, but if he loses the money gets absorbed back into the nefarious hands of your typical big business boardroom boys. Alternatively, he can accept 1 million and let the bad boys have the rest.

It’s a fast paced, light-hearted movie with surprisingly plenty to say on the subject of Capitalism, morality, and politics. Plus it stars John Candy as Brewster’s well meaning loser best pal.

7: Rocky IV (US)

The movie which taught real men to cry, even as Rocky III threatened. This time around, Rocky must avenge long time best bud Apollo’s death when he is killed in the middle of an exhibition match between Russia’s latest 0% fat killing machine. Balboa demands a fight against Ivan Drago, but has to but his World Title up for grabs and agree to hold the fight in Russia. Cue montages and power ballads. It’s basically the same movie as the other three, but with the 80sness pumped up to fifteen, and as such may be the best of the bunch.

6: Police Academy 2 (US)

After graduating inexplicably from the Police Academy, Mahoney and his crew are sent to work to help Lassard’s brother’s struggling, crime ridden precinct. Regularly terrorized by roving gangs, and with the threat of the scheming Lieutenant Mowser never far, Brother Lassard now must contend with Hightower, Jones, Fackler, Tackleberry, Hooks, and Mahoney. This is the first time we meet series favourites Zed and Proctor too, and as always we get the usual mixture of vignette silliness and slapstick humour which no-one in their right mind besides me could ever enjoy. It’s great.

5: First Blood Part 2 (US)

It’s in my Top Movies Of The Decade post.

4: Day Of The Dead (US)

It’s in my Top Movies Of The Decade post.

3: The Goonies (US)

It’s in my Top Movies Of The Decade post.

2: Back To The Future (US)

It’s in my Top Movies Of The Decade post.

1:  Commando (US)

It’s in my Top Movies Of The Decade post.

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Movies Of 1986!

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: Highlander (UK/US)

There can only be one! Except they followed it up with a bunch more and a TV series, and probably an 80s animated series that no-one remembers. It’s the Camp special on the list – it even features Queen all through the soundtrack. It also stars Sean Connery at his hammiest, and a French bloke as a kilt-wearing, sheep-bothering Scotsman. Yet somehow it’s cool. It’s the 80s high concept-ness of it all – a race of immortals battle their way through time until there is only one left, the only way they can be killed is via sword beheading for some reason. Queue lots of dubious sword fighting choreography and neon lit shenanigans, with some sort of love story at the heart of it all. There’s interesting lore, from Quickenings to Gatherings, but as a kid it was the idea of immortals sword-fighting which sold it for me – I’ve always loved the idea of someone living through these major historical times, existing from century to century accruing all of this knowledge and wisdom, while whipping out a sword every so often.

9: Stand By Me (US)

A contender for the best Stephen King adaptation and the one best cast, Stand By Me is a gripping drama, a coming of age story like no other, and an all to human story regardless of the time and place in which it is set. River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell, Keifer Sutherland, Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman, John Cusack, and Richard Dreyfuss all star, in another story which looks to the past as four friends embark one long summer day on a mission to see a dead body.

8: A Better Tomorrow (HK)

Hong Kong was knocking it out of the park in the late 80s, making steps away from the straight kung fu movies of the previous decades. It was all guns and gangsters now. A Better Tomorrow is an archetype for this, setting out various tropes which would be copied for years after with John Woo directing Leslie Cheung, Chow Yun Fat, and Ti Lung as three men connected by blood or through their work with the Triad.

Lung is a low level manager type in the business, Fat is his charismatic best friend, while Leung is his younger brother training to be a cop. After a botched job, Lung takes the fall letting a younger Triad member called Shing get away. We flash forward to Lung getting out of prison, only to find his brother cannot forgive his him for his life of crime, and that Shing has become a ruthless leader casting Fat out of the group. It’s typical masculine, violent John Woo stuff, and it’s fantastic. While Woo would further hone his style, this was a huge smash and turned the cast into stars overnight. It still holds up as an action movie today, with plenty of visceral stunts and slow mo, and a plot which you know will lead to one final nail-biting, gun-pointing conclusion.

7: Blue Velvet (US)

David Lynch’s fourth film saw him returning to what he did best – small town stories told through his unique noir-tinged lens. Eraserhead was his nightmarish vision of this model, The Elephant Man was his Oscar bait big league shot, and Dune was his big budget Mr Hollywood show. Blue Velvet is unfiltered Lynch, writing and directing a story the way he wanted to. Starting out innocently enough – a severed human ear being found by an All American Boy returning to his All American Town – it ramps up into an alien crime drama where seedy truths and shocking violence ooze from the ground. Kyle MachLaclan,  Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, Dean Stockwell, and an unhinged Dennis Hopper lead the cast in Lynch’s alluring, horrible fable.

6: Platoon (US)

Arguably Stone’s finest film, and undoubtedly one of the best War movies ever made, Platoon reflects Stone’s own experiences in Vietnam in an uncompromising way, never showering the US troops in the glory they had been used to in prior Cinematic depictions. These soldiers are flawed men in a worthless war, fighting for nothing, and frequently there for nothing more than their own ego or trying simply to survive when death could come at any moment from any side. The war and its fighters are ugly, and as we observe it through Charlie Sheen’s eyes, we are left bruised and battered by the end, having learned or re-learned that old adage of there being no good guys in war, only victims.

5: Police Academy 3 (US)

It’s only on this blog that you can follow a critically revered classic like Platoon with something as worthless as Police Academy 3 – a film I rank higher. You come for the content, and stay for the disbelief. In this entry, the team is tasked with training a batch of new recruits to the Police Academy, knowing that if they fail they’ll be shut down. This leads to the likes of Zed, Fackler’s wife, Sweetchuck, Nogata, and another love interest for Mahoney all signing up and getting into all manner of silly japes. It’s more of the same, and as my comedy brain never matured being the age of 5, it’s perfect.

4: The Fly (US)

David Cronenberg’s crowning achievement, bringing his body horror obsessions to peak grotesque levels in the midst of a steady character based narrative which never feels like it’s slipping out of reach. It would be easy, and unfair, to speak of the visual effects as the star of the show given that Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis both give star-making performances.

3: The Hitcher (US)

The Hitcher, in spite of its remake, remains an underrated film and the very definition of a Cult movie. We get right to the point in the opening minutes, and from there the tension and action doesn’t let up. It’s opaque in its character moments, its story can be taken directly or broken down into complex themes, it has several iconic scenes and set pieces, it has terrific action and a superb performance from Rutger Hauer, and its visual style is as close to what I want a film to look like as it’s possible to be.

2: Big Trouble In Little China (US)

John Carpenter’s ‘All In’ movie. Horror? Sure. Martial arts? Why not? Slapstick comedy? It’d be rude not to. Kurt Russell and a mullet? Obviously. It’s the most successful mish-mash of multiple genres ever committed to screen and one of the most fun movies of the 80s.

1: Aliens (US)

James Cameron knows how to make heart-pumping action, knowing that the key to making us care about the action is to make us care about the characters. We already had an in with Ripley, and we already understood the lore of the universe, so Cameron takes everything else up a notch by pitting Ripley alongside a group of tough-nosed marines who are no match for a colony of Aliens. Cameron has a track record of making perfect sequels – will he keep it up with the new Avatar movie – and Aliens remains a prime example of how to respect an original and take the story to the next level.

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Two

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: One – the winner

The Best TV Shows Of All Time (20 – 1)!

Greetings, Glancers! Today we run down the next batch of Rolling Stone’s 2016 list of the greatest TV shows of all time. Have I seen them? What do I think? What do YOU think? Follow the links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

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20. Cheers

The original US sitcom (not really, but you know) and the show which made every child want to grow up and sit in a bar all day, drinking. Or at the very least own a bar of your own so that your loser mates have somewhere to sit and drink all day. I haven’t watched any of it in years, and while I’m sure some has dated it probably retains its charm.

19. Curb Your Enthusiasm

I haven’t seen any of it and frequently mix this up with Arrested Development

18. Star Trek

Well of course. Can’t say I was ever a fan, but thank goodness it exists.

17. Twin Peaks

If Buffy isn’t the greatest show of all time, then surely Twin Peaks is.

16. MASH

I haven’t seen all of it, episodes here and there, but an important show nonetheless and one with a fantastic cast and a winning mixture of heart, laughs, and smarts.

15. The West Wing

I never got around to finishing The West Wing, but for the time that I did watch it, it somehow made US politics interesting. Tremendous cast and writing.

14. The Larry Sanders Show

It’s another one of these things. You’re right, I haven’t seen any of it.

13. Late Night With David Letterman

And another of these things.

12. Game Of Thrones

It was great for a while, it was over-rated all the way through, and it ended in a complete fuck up like we all knew it would.

11. Freaks And Geeks

A great show, no doubt, but seriously its cult nature in no way means it should be higher than Friends. Certainly not higher than Buffy. I love it, but come now – it’s not that good.

10. The Daily Show

Didn’t we cover this one already?

9. All In The Family

I hear it was influential. Haven’t seen any of it.

8. Saturday Night Live

It’s the daddy of ‘one of those things’.

7. The Twilight Zone

If it’s not Buffy or Twin Peaks, then surely, surely The Twilight Zone is the greatest TV show of all time. Utter perfection.

6. The Simpsons

I was half-expecting this to be #1, but it has lost much of its gleam in the last 20 years. If the show had ended around Season 12, it would still be heralded as the best thing ever. Hell, even Season 1 and much of 2 is tripe. But for a while there, it was one of the greatest reasons to live – to just experience the newest episode, re-watch endlessly, then requote it with friends. It went off such a steep cliff into decline like almost nothing else though, and the show it is now, is frankly embarrassing to the point that it’s disgusting it still carries the same name.

5. Seinfeld

Guess what? As much as I might like this, I haven’t seen a single episode.

4. Mad Men

I imagine this would drop much further back if the same poll were run today. I haven’t seen any of it, but it smells like one of those shows which was great at the time but will be replaced by the next hit.

3. Breaking Bad

If I’m honest, I’m still mystified by how highly regarded this show is. I watched it, I finished it, I moved on (wait a minute, does this mean fucking Hannibal is going to be number 1?). For me, it was always watchable but it was never more than fine. I never felt an urge to stick on the next episode, I wasn’t engaged by any of the characters or the plot. The humour, the darker stuff – all fine, the writing and the performances – all great. But the whole package – it just felt like another random drama to me, worth watching but perfectly forgettable.

2. The Wire

It wouldn’t exist without Buffy. FACT. Oh yeah – I have it, but haven’t watched a single episode. I’m sure it’s great.

  1. The Sopranos

Oh. I thought we’d covered The Sopranos already. Hence all my ‘check my Sopranos’ comments. It’s a show that I have (not sure I have every season, but a few at least) but I have not watched any of it. It passed me by at the time. I’m sure I’d love it and every time I plan on watching it, my wife isn’t interested. I’ll just bite the bullet and watch it myself.

Shows I’m sad to see not included:

I’m not going to list out my favourite show, but the ones I think genuinely should have been here. Mr. Bean – a worldwide phenomenon and just as hilarious now as it ever was. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour the perfect partner to The Twilight Zone. Quantum Leap – arguably the forerunner to The X-Files and later genre TV. Farscape – the next logical leap for Sci-Fi TV, sadly ignored by the masses but an absolute titan of scope, emotional, and wisdom. Fraiser – genuinely surprised this wasn’t included. Rome – I haven’t seen (much of) but I understand it influenced later violent shows. Stargate – any and all of them mix together to create one of, if not the finest TV mixed Universes ever crafted, all while being incredibly entertaining. Any Of Those Scandinavian Dramas – again, I haven’t seen any of them, but I hear they’re very popular and of high quality. The Good Place – maybe it started after 2016. Black Mirror – I haven’t seen a single episode, but I hear it’s good and the sort of thing I should be watching. Band Of Brothers – seriously?

Shows I’m glad to see not included:

Hannibal – has there ever been anything more over-hyped? Prison Break – A TV movie (with worse acting) somehow expanded to multiple seasons. Family Guy – it’s funny for a few minutes, nothing more. Other Random Late Night Talk Show/Standup comedian Oriented sitcom – because we had too many of these already. Dexter – come on, it was never as good as you think it was.

What glaring omissions are there for you? Which shows should I catch up on? Why is Empire’s Top 100 list so much better? Let us know in the comments!

The Best TV Shows Of All Time (40 – 21)!

Greetings, Glancers! Today we run down the next batch of Rolling Stone’s 2016 list of the greatest TV shows of all time. Have I seen them? What do I think? What do YOU think? Follow the links for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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40. The Shield

See my entry for The Sopranos. TL:DR – I haven’t seen anything, it’s on my list.

39. Lost

A show which seems like it was made specifically for me – mystery, monsters, ensemble cast, cinematic scope, action, horror, comedy, adventure, romance, and all about finding a way home. Finding A Way Home stories may be my favourite of all stories. It’s one of the most influential, and best TV shows of the century.

38. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Even with all of the Joss stuff recently, this is not a show about one man with a vision, it’s a show where every cast and crew member went above and beyond to prove that horror and comedy could be smarter than anything else on screen, that protagonists could be deeply flawed, that stories aimed primarily at a teenage audience could pull a devoted fanbase of all ages, that no character was safe, and that long and emotional story arcs could be written with intelligence and planning and encompass years of small beats for maximum pay off. We knew all this already, but Buffy encapsulated it all like nothing else. It’s the best show of all time. Without Buffy, none of the remaining genre based shows on this list would exist in their current form.

37. Orange Is The New Black

This is where I start to get annoyed because I ask if any shows higher ranked than Buffy should be stated as better than Buffy. Orange Is The New Black is objectively not better than Buffy – not even close. The fact that OITNB is a great show only shows how good Buffy is. While the show would become overly preachy and on the nose in later seasons, its heart remained in the right place. Characters would increasingly behave not like themselves purely to solve the plot, but it succeeds in making Prison Dramas enjoyable by focusing on snark and humour even as it struggles to avoid the beat by beat tropes inherent in the genre.

36. Law And Order

I don’t think I’ve seen a single episode – it always seemed too procedural, too episodic, and although I’m unaware if there are any long-character or story arcs, from my extremely limited outsider knowledge I never believed there were.

35. My So Called Life

I mean, is it better than Buffy? It’s certainly too short lived to be so high on the list so nostalgie is playing a major factor in how high on the list this is. But it’s a great show, even now, and I loved it back then too. It deserved better, who knows what it could have become?

34. 30 Rock

I watched the first season. It managed to get a few chuckles out of me. Most of the humour fell flat and it was too self-aware to really be meaningful. I’m sure I’d get a few chuckles out of later seasons, but Top 40 shows ever? Not when you know shows like Shooting Stars, The League Of Gentlemen, Look Around You, and Bottom won’t be here.

33. South Park

It long ago overtook The Simpsons as the finest Animated show on TV – you can argue which show had the highest highs till the cows are anal probed, but both have given me hours of cramps from laughing too hard. The fact this still exists, or even exists at all, is an endless source of delight and wonder.

32. I Love Lucy

Inevitable. I’ve only seen bits here and there, but it was one of those shows which made TV worth watching.

31. Sesame Street

A rite of passage like few others.

30. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Man, you yanks really love your late night Talk Shows.

29. Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Of course – we all love it. It’s a bit of a shame that many of the British shows it influenced and which arguably bettered it, are entirely unknown by most.

28. The X Files

The daddy of them all. While it too got bogged down by complexity (I was always more of a fan of the episodic stories), it was one of the first must see shows from start to finish of my life. As a kid with an obsession with all things scary, this was not a gateway as much as a loving party invitation to me – to know that there were other weirdos out there who loved monsters, mysteries, conspiracies and telling those kinds of stories, made me feel less of a loner.

27. Arrested Development

I haven’t seen any of it, but it always seemed like the sort of show I would enjoy.

26. Friends

Few shows become a cultural phenomenon quite like Friends. That alone secures its place on a list like this forever, but it’s also genuinely great too. Sure it also fell into being too self-aware and self-obsessed later, but it always managed to turn it around and more than anything it always managed to be funny.

25. Veep

Another political satire I believe. I haven’t seen a single second of it.

24. Friday Night Lights

I believe I ‘acquired’ a few seasons of this, but I haven’t watched any of it.

23. Deadwood

See The Sopranos

22. Louie

I’ve never even heard of this. Now I see it’s another sort of sitcom/stand-up vehicle.

21. The Office (UK)

Fuck all the way off. Shamelessly steels from other, better shows and criminally makes something worse from a format so pure.

Let me know in the comments which of the above shows you enjoy, and which I should give a chance!

The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time (60 – 41)!

Greetings, Glancers! Today we run down the next batch of Rolling Stone’s 2016 list of the greatest TV shows of all time. Have I seen them? What do I think? What do YOU think? Follow the links for Part 1 and Part 2.

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60. Beavis And Butthead

They added Ren And Stimpy, so they had to have Beavis And Butthead too, and have it higher on the list. In some ways I’m surprised it’s here – it was a seminal snapshot moment in time, the peak of 90s counter culture, but it’s never talked about these days and hasn’t gained that nostalgic power which shows of the same time or later have achieved. Still, the slacker humour, the satire, the juvenile spirit, the metal, and the mayhem ensured that it was and remains one of my all time favourite shows.

59. Hill Street Blues

Cop dramas were never my thing, but there was something more appealing about Hill Street Blues. I never saw more than a few scenes, but it at least felt like something I could half-watch.

58. Roots

Roots was a show I knew about long before I ever saw it. An older brother of a school friend had a poster of it, that iconic image of Kunta Kinte in chains. I had no idea what it was, but I loved the poster. It wasn’t until well over a decade later that I actually watched it for myself, and it (and its sequel) is one of the greatest pieces of television ever. Not ony because of its subject matter and cast, but because of its cinematic treatment. It wasn’t some cheap piece of fluff, it was loaded with stars, was well acted, written, directed, it was smart, cultured, epic in scope yet brilliantly handled, and it marked a turning point in Television while revealing to millions one of the nation’s most horrible truths.

57. Fawlty Towers

Interesting, because I’m sceptical that many in the US have actually seen it, or that it would translate well now, or back when it was made. It’s a very English sitcom – naturally it’s another personal favourite, but it’s certainly not Universal. If there are going to be any British comedy shows to make this list, you would put money on this, Monty Python, and Little Britain to be the ones. Maybe Mr Bean, Blackadder, and The Office. 

56. 24

That’s the Kiefer Sutherland show, 24, not just another random number. You know, I haven’t seen a single second of this either. It was always on my radar, I’ve always loved Kiefer, just for unknown reasons I never got around to it. Who knows, maybe some day.

55. Six Feet Under

There’s a fine line somewhere in humour, between sophistication and pissing me off snobbery/knowing snark. This to me always felt closer to the latter. A diehard fan put on an episode for me once to hopefully get me to join the fan club, but I was off my face and the touch of his living room carpet was much more interesting. I haven’t seen another second of it.

54. The Muppet Show

I’m just going to group all the various Muppet incarnations into one here, because I was too young for the original run but absolutely loved some of the later editions. It’s just a bizarrely human thing – to have a bunch of puppets telling stories, doing sketches, and roping in the legitimately biggest stars on the planet for it – and it actually being funny. I could of course do with less of the show tunes, but the mixture of legendary guests being shown up by the even more legendary muppets means this is a classic.

53. The Bob Newhart Show

Was this another talk show or a stand up show, or Newhart’s own variety comedy kind of thing? I never saw it.

52. The Colbert Report

I’ve seen snippets on Youtube which always seem to pop up into my feed, no idea why. Seems okay.

51. Fargo

I like the movie – don’t love it. But then I don’t love the Coens as much as I like them. Were they even involved in the show? I watched about half of the first season, but my wife wasn’t into it and we stopped there. I thought it was fine, but have never felt the urge to return to it. I’m sure I’d like it.

50. ER

If I’m not a fan of Police dramas, then Hospital dramas are an extra step down the ladder. Whatever was so interesting about ER – presumably the hot actors – was lost on me and I could not have cared less.

49. Taxi

What a cast. This is more my speed of sitcom – a weird idea on paper, propped up by some of the best American comics ever. More than a smidge of British humour in its ideas too.

48. The Office

It’s the US version. I haven’t seen a single episode, nor have I watched the English one. Not properly, again it’s been on in the background at house parties and such, and the pieces I’ve seen – while everyone else was roaring with laughter – had me doing the whole Principal Skinner ‘no, it’s the children who are wrong’ shtick.

47. The Rockford Files

While I’m no fan of Cop Dramas, the PI TV shows are something different. Something about the lone wolf out on his own, struggling to keep his head above water but still being better than the regular detectives… that dynamic made all the difference. Plus, James Garner was always cool as fuck. I never watched much of this, but out of all the PI shows from the 70s onwards, this is one I had an affinity for.

46. The Mary Tyler Moore Show

See The Bob Newhart Show

45. Battlestar Galactica

I loved the original show, and was sceptical about this when it was announced. I never loved it as much as others – my brother is obsessed with both – and I never watched the whole thing, but it’s a good show. Outside of all the annoying sudden camera zooms into spacecraft which was all the rage at the time – I hate that. The original was… more pure? Less complex? It felt more like The Odyssey – one of my favourite stories and a template I always enjoy seeing revamped.

44. Columbo

Another PI show, though arguably the most iconic. It’s one I dipped into if there was nothing else on and while I’d never call myself a fan, I would always get sucked in to whatever the crime of the week was and enjoy Falk outsmartarsing everyone.

43. The Americans

Seems high. Never seen it. My mum watches it.

42. NYPD Blue

One of the only cop dramas I did watch and enjoy. I liked the cast, I liked the characters, and it felt more real than other shows. Plus it was always on late at night so it felt like the sort of thing I wasn’t supposed to be watching.

41. The Honeymooners

I know of it, never seen it. Way beyond my time and I don’t recall it ever being shown over here in syndication. No desire to see it beyond a general desire to see EVERYTHING.

Getting close to the top now – which shows above would you recommend I give a try? Which are your favourites? Let us know in the comments!

The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time (80 – 61)!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today we run down the next batch of Rolling Stone’s 2016 list of the greatest TV shows of all time. Have I seen them? What do I think? What do YOU think? Click here for part 1.

80. The Fugitive

Never seen it. Seen the movie. I’m surprised the show ran for as long as it did, considering shows back then were episodic rather than arc-based.

79. In Living Color

feel like I’ve seen parts of this, but I have no real memory of it. It’s a 90s sketch show, which is good, but it’s a US based sketch show which may not be so good. FOR ME.

78. Thirtysomethings

I don’t know what this is, but I can guess from the name.

77. The Walking Dead

Considering this list was published in 2016, I’m surprised The Walking Dead is so low on the list, but it was beginning to drop out of popularity around that time. I loved it, I still watch it now, but Fear The Walking Dead is now the superior show. It has definitely lost its way and lacks a decent set of characters we really care about any more, but still – zombies, blood, headshots.

76. Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

Sure.

75. American Crime Story – The People Vs OJ Simpson

Wasn’t this something already done in the 90s? I haven’t seen it, feels like something which would not be in the list if it were done again today.

74. The Ren And Stimpy Show

I’ll be pissed if this is here but Beavis & Butthead isn’t. Look, I watched it, I chuckled the odd time, but I never really enjoyed it – the animation style never sat well with me and it wasn’t really that funny.

73. Transparent

Never heard of it.

72. Girls

I’ve heard of it – never seemed like anything I would be interested in.

71. Mr Show.

I don’t think I’ve heard of this, but there’s a slight niggling deep in my brain meat saying ‘yeah, but you have heard of it because one of your mates in the 90s mentioned liking it one day’.

70. Roseanne

Naturally. One of the few US sitcoms of the era which actually translated well to both the UK and me personally. I watched this every week for a few years at least, before either giving up on it or it being moved to a different timeslot.

69. The Ed Sullivan Show

Of course. We’ve all seen the clips.

68. The State

This is a weird one because it sounds like something I should remember, and should have watched given it was peak ‘me watching MTV’ time, but I don’t have any memory of it.

67. The Odd Couple

I know the music better than I know the show. I’ve seen parts, I may have seen a complete episode, but can’t say I ever truly watched it.

66. Downton Abbey

If you read my Oscars posts, you know I’m not one for Costume Dramas. Or shows about aristocrats. This is both. My wife loved it. Her mum loves it. Other people’s mums love it. They don’t love Robocop. I love Robocop. Maggie Smith is made of birds.

65. Happy Days

This kind of translated in the UK, but more as a cultural statement than a thing people enjoyed. We know the music, the setting, the Fonz, the shark-jumping. I tried to enjoy it, and I think for a while I did, but unfortunately it started out for me as one of those Sunday morning shows which simply makes me think of horrible stuff like being forced to go to Sunday School/Church etc, and getting ready for actual school the next day.

64. Chapelle’s Show

Never seen it.

63. The Wonder Years

Now this one was popular over here, but again it was more of a cultural touchstone than something people actually enjoyed. I couldn’t get into it. It was too… soft? Not the humour I wanted as a kid, but it was never intended to be a full blown comedy. I think I’d enjoy it more now, but once again it was hindered by being a Sunday show.

62. Sex And The City

I watched this when it first made its way over here – I watched it for the boobs, of course, not for the incessant mewling of the hardcore fans and their ‘ARE YOU A CHARLOTTE OMG YOU’RE SUCH A CARRIE’. Too much focus on shoes and clothes which only grew in the terrible movies, but the show was funny and did make us care about the characters and their love lives, and New York was for a while a vibrant character all of its own, until it became watered down self aware muck.

61. Your Show Of Shows

I’ve never heard of this, but it sounds incredibly influential and interesting.

Over to you – what are your thoughts on these shows. Do you think they deserve a spot on this list? Am I too harsh on any, and which of the ones I haven’t seen would you recommend? Stay tuned for Part 3!