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!

Celebrating Neighbours – Memories Of RamsAI Street!

FEMAIL tracks down Neighbours characters who called Ramsay St home | Daily Mail Online
Fucking Taj

This week, one of the longest running loves of my life comes to an end. Neighbours has been selling me the ups and downs of Australia’s favourite suburb since I was the size of a shoe, and while I remember very little of those early episodes, once we reached the late 80s it was a regular daily fixture in my life as I fell for the antics of its buxom, sun-kissed stars.

While Neighbours has regularly traded in nostalgia, bringing back old characters, constantly referencing Miss Mangle, or holding one off celebratory episodes with many knowing nods to the past, these past few years have felt like a drawn out, bittersweet goodbye; a summation of everything which came before, careening towards an end nobody seems to want. From the return of Dee Bliss to various original stars making their ways back into the main cast, and into this final week of celebrations, us fans have been reminiscing. We’ve been looking back with misty eyes, we’ve been excitedly trawling the web for rumours on which big stars would be making a comeback and how the stories could possibly wrap up, and we’ve been wondering what the hell we’re going to do with this extra 30 minutes in our schedule. The dream for an eccentric billionaire fan to come in and save the show has failed. I still firmly believe that the show will return in a few years time, with a new and sexy lick of paint, one which will piss off old fans and not engage new viewers and inevitably fail. Until then, in my own childish fashion, I’ve been remembering the good times, those moments we’ll never forget, in AI form.

HARRROOOLLLLLD!

Remember when Harold and Madge went for a walk and Harold fell into the sea? Remember Madge’s gravelly wailing? Remember Harold being off our screens for years, only to return as the Salvation Army’s premier Amnesiac? This should jog your memory.

It’s more artistic than I remember

CODY WILLIS GETS SHOT

Everyone remembers when Kerry Mangle got shot while playing Duck Hunt on the Australian version of the Nintendo Entertainment System. As everyone knows, Australia is more dangerous than everywhere else and the Australian version involved running through a swamp being rifled down by the Oz equivalent of the Tory Party. Or something, I don’t remember it much. I do remember Cody Willis being shot in her own home though. I remember because she was my favourite character at the time. It was sad. I was sad. Trigger warning for any other Cody fans. Actually, the app seems to be somewhat confused by who Cody Willis is. Or what Neighbours is.

Who’s this spiggin huffter?

SCOTT AND CHARLENE’S WEDDING

Arguably the most famous moment in the history of the show, it was one of those rare soap weddings where everything went right; nobody ran screaming from the altar, a jilted ex didn’t show up to say they’d been having an affair with one of the betrothed, nobody was exploded by a barbeque. The only tears were of happiness, and below’s image will surely make you shed a few more of those, even though the bride has apparently lost a hand and is posing alongside a fan with a deformed peanut for a head.

Jim?

TOADIE AND DEE DRIVING OFF A CLIFF

Toadie and Dee’s blossoming relationship and nuptials was one of the stories I was deeply invested in back in the day. Toadie was everyone’s favourite loser turned hero even back then, and seeing him winning the attention of the hottest woman on the street was something the rest of us nerds could get behind. Unfortunately, inevitably, reality would strike and Toadie and Dee went soaring off the side of a cliff into the ocean, leaving Toadie a widower (for the first time) and the fans bereaved of one of our favourite couples. Relive those traumatic events below.

To be honest, it looks like fun

HELEN DIES IN HER SLEEP

Even more than Miss Mangle and Madge, Helen Daniels was the first and last true matriarch of the street, the legendary Anne Haddy struggling with real life health issues as she filmed her final scenes. I don’t want to suggest that it was living with Julie and Debbie Martin which finished Helen off, but few could survive more than a few weeks of that pair without lasting scars. Even Hannah cut her hair afterwards in an attempt to reinvent herself. She was one of the few characters to get her own special end credits. Will the AI be respectful in honouring her memory?

No

SUSAN SLAPS KARL

It was the slap which chilled the testicles of every hot-blooded male across the land, a slap that said ‘if I catch you with your pants down I’ll make sure you won’t feel your jaw till the next ice age’. Karl and Susan have had more affairs over the years than I’ve had Blog views, but this was the one which garnered the most attention, with Karl bending over backwards to avoid being caught for bending Sarah over forwards. The AI app has deigned to present some Anne Robinson lookalikes and a selection of random shots of random other soaps.

You are the weakest lookalike, goodbye

DREW CRASHES CAR

Keeping it Kennedy (kind of) for now, Drew and Libby were another favourite couple of mine. Libby was my favourite Neighbours character and, lets be honest, nobody was going to be good enough for her, but Drew came pretty damn close. He was handsome, stalwart, true, and good with his hands (matron), which meant he liked to tinker with cars. Because he liked tinkering with cars, he liked to drive and race cars, and this unfortunately led to one of the more amusing stunts in the show’s history as Drew’s car sailed skyward. He survived, no worries, mate. As much as I have Googled for this event, I can’t find anything about it, so maybe it never even happened. Here’s how it looks in my dreams.

They never had the biggest visual effects budget

DREW FALLS OFF HORSE

Not happy with one near death experience, Mr Kirk needed to finish the deed. And so, he and Libby headed off to Oakey (read: The Wild West) and within seconds Drew was flung from a horse in one of the more amusing, least impressive stunts in the show’s history. What looked like it would have tickled a toddler in fact did catastrophic damage to Drew’s innards, and he succumbed to his injury’s shortly after. It’s like football – the most innocuous tackles always lead to season-long injuries. Here’s a picture of their fateful meeting.

But why is it Billy?

DREW IS A ZOMBIE

Neighbours rarely took itself too seriously over the years, and frequently featured cast members coming back from the dead as ghosts, long lost twins, or Christmas decorations. They went one further and had an entire spin-off online series called Neighbours Vs Zombies in which many old and new favourites were gobbled by hordes of the undead (read West Waratah residents). Drew was one of the characters to be resurrected, and the poor fella didn’t even know he’d been dead.

To Boldly Go

STINGRAY STEALS A BABY

Stingray was a breath of fresh air in a time of transition for the show, a time when old families were being written out. He was the new burst of comedy and action the show needed, bringing a monkey sack of new and inexplicable catchphrases to Erinsborough. After a series of tragedies he became dependent on booze and everything came to a head when he kidnapped his Ex’s baby, the new Kerry Mangle/Bishop/Timmins. He’s what our AI bot made of it all.

They got over it quickly

THE FULL MONTY

Not happy with simply having pretty ladies for the blokes to fawn over, the show has had its fair share of male goodness over the years, from Silver foxes like Lou Carpenter to rugged Dingo charmers like Joe Scully. Nothing could prepare the nether regions of the female populace for Drew, Toadie, Billy, Joel, and Karl whipped out the wee lads. For the sake of our eyes, I’m only posting the clean version of the AI’s artwork below.

A random shot of the cast from the first episode, for some reason

RAMSEY STREET SIGN

We wrap up this post, and a huge chapter in our lives with the most icomic shot of them all. That of the Ramsey street sign. Roxy may have nicked it recently when she headed off with Kyle for her happy ending, but the sign lives on in our hearts. Here is is, for one last time, accurately drawn up by our soon to be AI Overlords. Thanks Neighbours. Theighbours.

The Perfect Blend

Neighbours cast say farewell on TV soap's last day of filming - BBC News

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!

The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time (100 – 81)

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Greetings, Glancers! It has been some time since I’ve made a cheap, click-bait list oriented post such as this, but I recently received a Spike in my viewership due to people discovering my Britain’s Top 50 Songs Of The 1980s post. That was a fun post to watch, and a more savvy blogger than I would know to capitalize on this momentum and try to push more similar content. I’m neither savvy, nor a blogger, nor anything really, but I do like reading lists, writing lists, and talking about them, so here we are.

It’s not music this time – as the title suggests I’m going to take a look at Rolling Stone’s Greatest TV Shows Of All Time thing from a few years ago, comment on each entry, and add my own feeble thoughts. If you’re into that, pull up a chaise-longue, recline like a Dandy, and cast a care-free or critical eye over my rantings. It should be stated that this particular list was published by Rolling Stone in 2016, and we’ve had a great many great shows since then. It’s a Top 100 in ascending (descending?) order so certain shows, great, cult, shite, and personal favourite are obviously going to be missed. Also, this isn’t just the work and opinion of one person – Rolling Stone did their due diligence and pulled results from a wide array of industry insiders and out peers and betters. It will likely be inherently US biased. Lets do this.

100. Eastbound And Down

I’ve heard of this, but never seen it and don’t know anything about it. Not a great start. Aparently it’s a Danny McBride thing. I like him. To a point.

99. Oz

I ‘have’ it, but have never watched it. Prison stuff rarely does anything for me as they follow a strict story formula with the same group of characters and situations. I’ve seen parts of it and plenty of my mates swore by it at the time. I’ll get to it eventually.

98. The Golden Girls

Yeeaaah, no. I’m sure I’d appreciate it more if I watched it now instead of when I was exposed to it as a child, but it holds zero draw for me.

97. Portlandia.

Never heard of it, don’t know what it is, seems like something which will immediately drop out of a list like this once something new comes along.

96. Gunsmoke.

One of the many, many Western oriented shows of the 1950s onwards. This shtick was a staple of US TV back then, I think I’ve seen bits of episodes here and there, but I wouldn’t know how to differentiate this from any of the other shows or suggest how it deserves a place on the list over any of the others? Was it the first? The best?

95. Key And Peele

I’ve heard of this one at least, never seen it. I know Jordan has gone on to big Hollywood business – Get Out and Us were both hit and miss for me, enjoyable but not as perfect as the wilsly positive feedback would have you suggest. I think this is a sketch comedy show, but also showed their love for horror. Humour can be hit and miss for me too, though usually sketch comedy works well.

94. Jeopardy.

Ahh, so they’re doing gameshows too? I love gameshows. Anything with questions, a novel idea, and even better some sort of physical action or hook to latch on to and make the thing more interactive or demanding. Jeopardy had a number of hooks – the whole answer backwards thing and losing your money thing. We have our own UK version of it – I don’t know how popular it was, but I watched it the odd time. It wasn’t the most exciting show – no hefty prizes or visual quirks or physical stuff. American versions of gameshows I know from other Countries almost never work for me – not sure why, something about the hosts and the comedy doesn’t seem to translate well.

93. Mystery Science Theater 3000. 

I’ve never seen it, but I know what it is and we had similar versions over here.

92. American Idol.

Oh, fuck off. There’s no doubting how hugely influential the show was (was this first or Pop Idol or X Factor? They’re all the same) and how many millions have watched it. I’ve been forced to watch it. It’s an easy format to get into, but as someone who actually cares about music at as deep a level as I possibly can – I listen, I write and talk about music, I think about music every day, I have written, recorded, performed my own (even if too an extremely limited degree). Music is and always has been a huge part of my life. The majority of the music and the opinions of this show and its ilk, are bad. It’s mass produced, image-oriented, business man music. That’s perfectly fine for some and it makes the world go round. Hell, I even enjoy some of it. But it’s not the music I go for. It ignores the talents of the creator (s) and reduces it to the single person on stage, or even worse to the people judging the person, who are often not the greatest judges of musical quality. It’s so reductive, there’s such an aura of disposability around it and the people it churns out, and at its core it is not a show about talent – it’s a show about abuse and exploitation.

91. Broad City

Never heard of it, or if I have I don’t remember.

90. The Dick Van Dyke Show.

I’ve never been a fan of Mr Van Dyke. I can’t say I’ve seen this show, but I’m sure it entertained the boomers, or something.

89. Homeland

I’ve seen the whole thing. It’s an engaging show – I love Claire Danes and the supporting cast the show built is very strong. There were a few plot mis-steps along the way. While most people were interested in the whole love triangle and mystery of the opening seasons, I got more hooked on the mid- show Pakistan terrorism ark. It lost its way, certain stories were dragged out too long, things I was more keen on were dismissed or wrapped up too quickly, and many ideas were recycled to the point of nonsense. But it continued to hold its own and was always entertaining even when it became increasingly silly.

88. Party Down

Never heard of it.

87. Doctor Who

If this were a British list I would suspect the show would be much higher. Doctor Who has always gone through peaks of popularity – after the boom of shows like Buffy, Doctor Who was given a sexy modern revamp and saw the show soar outside of the UK. I’ve never really watched it. I watched as a kid in the 80s and was scared like everyone else, but outside of McCoy and the odd episode here and there from other eras, it’s not something I’ve ever felt the desire to watch.

86. Good Times

I don’t think I’ve heard of this one, but there were so many 70s-80s sitcoms that they get a little mixed up in my mind. This is probably the era of American sitcoms I have the most nostalgia for, and I usually enjoy them, but the 90s era was the peak for my own personal enjoyment.

85. The Real World

The really Daddy of Reality TV has a lot to answer for. I never cared for any reality TV because I find reality and other people, and myself, mostly incredibly dull, self-centred, and I don’t want to spend any time with them. I prefer fiction. Nevertheless, I caught the odd episode of this when it was first popular, because the older teens were all watching it and I would get roped in to pretending to like it too.

84. Real Time With Bill Maher

This is some sort of talk show, right? We have plenty of those over here. When I was young, it was boring, shouty old men talking about news. When I was older, I had a tonne of actually interesting shows to discover and catch up on. Now, these shows are just another version of reality TV when I do as much as I can to ignore reality seen through the lens of others. I’ve seen bits of Bill, no idea if its from this show or anything else.

83. House Of Cards

Not a fan of Politics or Political shows, or US Politics (The West Wing is the single exception), and I’ve never been a fan of Kevin Spacey, even back before people realised what a fucking scumbag he is. I’m sure this is well made and all, but I have zero interest in it. Was Neve Campbell in it for a while?

82. The Jeffersons.

It’s another one of those 70s-80s US Sitcoms I never saw. I’m at least aware of this one, but frequently, inexplicably, mix it up with The Jetsons.

81. Dallas

I was too young to watch it or care at its peak, but I did catch episodes here and there when my mum watched it in the 80s. She was more of a Knott’s Landing fan though. There’s no doubting its success and cultural impact so of course its going to be on this list.

Join me again soon for Part 1, but for now are there any shows above you think I should give a chance? Which ones do you enjoy, and which ones do you think should be nowhere near such a list as this?

Tokyo Vampire Hotel

Review: Tokyo Vampire Hotel

What the balls!? I feel like I could begin any post about Sion Sono with that time-honoured phrase, and I could probably just end the review right there. That wouldn’t be fair to the madcap artistry of Sono, or his fans, or anyone who stumbled upon this very odd Amazon Prime show from the Japanese master. Having been a fan of Sono’s work since the late 90s or early 2000s, a part of me wants to get all of these posts out of the way so that once his first US movie is released – the upcoming Prisoners Of The Ghostland In starring Nic Cage – people will have a nice spot to find reviews of his other work. And party because everyone Tom, Harry, and Dickhead who has never watched a foreign movie in their life is going to jump on the bandwagon, assuming Prisoners is going to be as wacky and successful as I’m hoping. 

A very brief intro to the dude if you’re new here, or to Sion Sono; he’s a Japanese movie and TV director, and he also writes. He is one of a batch of very interesting and unique Japanese filmmakers whose work divides opinion and is frequently controversial, bewildering, and critically acclaimed. If there’s one aspect which sets him apart from his peers, I would offer that it’s his use of music and editing – songs and recurring score motifs feature heavily in his work, and he frequently breaks rules and fourth walls with his editing and directing techniques. Most people will know of his work either by name or by notoriety – Suicide Club (famous for its opening shot of school girls leaping to their deaths in front of a train), Tag (already meme bait thanks to its wacky intro where a bus of school kids and teachers are sliced in half by an invisible force), and Tokyo Tribe (an unusual Japanese hip hop musical). He started out in the 80s as a director of ‘Pink Movies’ and has tried his hand (successfully) in most genres you can think of – straight supernatural horror with Exte, poignant drama in The Land Of Hope, thrillers with Cold Fish and Himizu, fantasy courtesy of Love and Peace, and of course whatever the hell Love Exposure (arguably the best film of the last twenty years) is. While he recently did a show with Netflix – the unsurprisingly controversial (and good) The Forest Of Love – he worked with Amazon Studios first on his 9 part series of whatthefuckery known as Tokyo Vampire Hotel.

The title tells you the basics – there’s a hotel in Tokyo used by vampires – but within minutes (and throughout the entire running time) the plot becomes grossly overcomplicated, confusing, and increasingly bizarre. But don’t worry – it’s purposefully silly, it has one fanged tongue firmly in the corner of its mouth, and it’s ridiculously violent and perverse; in short, it’s wonderful. It will be difficult to write about any of this without getting into spoiler territory, but I’ll do my best to summarize the premise without giving too much away – it’s enough to simply say that there are tonnes of characters whose significance wax and wane drastically, and that certain story elements and twists are introduced which may be important and others which seem important but aren’t. A. Lot. Happens.

We begin with a young girl called Minami who is out with her friends one night. Out of nowhere, a violent gang enters the restaurant she’s in and murders everybody. They apparently let Minami live. Then a rival gang comes and there’s a huge shoot-out – everybody wants this girl. Turns out the gangs are from rival vampire clans and a prophecy foretold the importance of Minami, sort of explaining why they are fighting over her. Meanwhile, there’s a fancy pants party going on in an exuberant hotel. It’s an Invitation only affair, and while some of the guests seem to know one another, most are strangers who think they are being selected for some sort of game or dating show. Our host – Yamada – is a charismatic vampire of some respected standing and he informs the guests that they have been purposely selected because of their hyperactive libidos, and that in a few hours time an apocalyptic event is going to end all life on the planet. The sex fiends will be the last surviving people on the world and it will be their job to shag as much as possible and have as many delicious babies as possible so that the vampires have a never-ending food supply. That’s about the gist of everything, but a succession of new plot reveals and characters lets us know that there’s a hell of a lot more going on under the surface – literally.

It is a confusing show and I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who bows out early. Anyone already a fan of Sono should stick around, and anyone who becomes curiously invested in any of what’s going on – the story, the characters, the punk tone, the gorgeous and zany look and feel of the things – will be rewarded with layer after layer of bonkers goodness. Everything about the show is wildly over the top – the acting, the violence, the seedy nature, the secrets. Sometimes in a show like this you need an anchor to keep you grounded – maybe you find that in Minami, maybe you find it in the vampire K, maybe it’s your need to find out what the hell the point of any of it is – for me it was simply to enjoy living inside Sono’s brilliant, demented mind for another few hours. The story has plenty of moments of intrigue and the characters who come and go at a moment’s notice all have their charm, but it’s how Sono squishes all of these aspects together in an apparent middle finger to form and expectation which kept me watching until the end. If you’re looking for a satisfying story with a beginning, middle, and end which follows the outlined premise you’ll probably be disappointed, but if you’re after a big pile of wacky stuff to laugh at and tell your mates about all punctuated by moments of sublime cinematic beauty, then Tokyo Vampire Hotel may be for you. There’s nothing like it on the market now – I’m not sure if there has ever been anything like it – and there’s no-one quiet like Sion Sono.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Tokyo Vampire Hotel!

The Walking Dead – Unpublished Screenplay 8

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INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY

MICHONNE: I’m every woman, it’s all in me!

RICK GRIMES: Hello, sweetheart, what are you up to?

MICHONNE: Oh! You startled me! I was just, um, practising my sword skills.

RICK GRIMES: Really? Because it looked like you were singing Whitney Houston’s greatest hits.

MICHONNE: No, that was me thinking of something witty to say for when I finally kill The Governor.

RICK GRIMES: I see. You know, Whitney Houston’s probably a zombie now.

Someone’s Watching Me

For years I’ve been trying to find a movie that I caught bits of once when I was in holiday in Spain. Helpfully, I can’t remember if the film was in English or any of the actors. It wasn’t subtitled, but that doesn’t help either. The film seemed to be set in an apartment block, though it could have been offices, and appeared to be about a woman being chased by a killer. Lots of stairwells. Perpetual night. I remember it having a distinct vibe, like it was a late 70s movie, though it could just as well have been 80s or 90s. What can I say – I was young, I wasn’t, or couldn’t pay much attention, and I only saw a few minutes. Actually, it could have been a TV episode too, but it didn’t feel that way. When I first read the synopsis for Someone’s Watching Me I thought this could be the one, and the more I thought about it, the more I remember the film feeling like something Carpenter would have made. Spoiler alert – this is not the same movie, and my search continues.

Someone’s Watching Me is loosely based on a true event which occurred in the 1970s involving a woman living in an apartment block, and a stalker watching her every move. John Carpenter at this time had directed a couple of movies to varying degrees of success and was writing and selling scripts – this is before Halloween. After writing the script it was decided to make it as a TV movie which afforded Carpenter an essence of control and freedom, and it was through these experiences he was able to hone the techniques which would turn him into the Master Of Horror.

The film follows a woman played by Lauren Hutton who has moved to LA looking for work. Shortly after she moves into an apartment, she begins receiving strange repeated phone calls and gifts from an unknown person or persons. Feeling unsafe and watched, she goes to the police but as there is no specific threat or immediate danger, they send her on her way. Things continue to escalate, and with the help of her co-workers she plots to turn the tables on her stalker and get to the bottom of the mystery.

The film has various obvious nods to Hitchcock, in theme, tone, stylistically, and it is an efficient thriller for its time. Watching now it feels more like a curio given what we know Carpenter would unleash afterwards and there won’t be anything a modern viewer hasn’t seen countless times. Back in the late 70s, the idea of stalkers and being watched was still fresh enough that stay at home mums, housewives, and working single gals would have been suitably freaked out if they caught the movie. Hutton puts in a vigorous performance and her character is a precursor to many of the final girls who would come along after. She is backed by a number of Carpenter regulars – namely Charles Cyphers and Adrienne Barbeau – and while the film doesn’t have many of the Carpenter trademarks – soundtrack, mood, and a tighter control of the tension, there is enough on display to suggest he was a talent on the rise.

Someone’s Watching Me is a brisk, taut, well-acted piece of late 70s thrills focusing on a steady build rather than gore or outlandish surprises, and it’s a must for any Carpenter fan who has not yet taken the plunge. Let us know in the comments what you think of the movie!

Sh*t I Watch – Wolf Creek Season 1 and 2

Greetings, Glancers! I know it feels like I keep saying this recently, but we’re back with another entry from one of my long-standing series. Wolf Creek was a film I liked to a certain extent when it was first released, though my opinion on it was probably soured by the horror community’s over abundant love for it. At the time it just felt like a perfectly watchable addition to the ‘trip gone wrong, oops here’s a psycho’ sub-genre. It didn’t bring anything new but the main character of Mick was refreshingly smug. With the sequel, Wolf Creek 2, it explained more of Mick’s character and presented another group of hapless travelers in Australia with a series of bloody endings. Both films were torture porn with a self-mocking smirk, a fun time but nothing out of the ordinary beyond a charismatic lead villain. My wife enjoyed them too, but since that time she has moved away from a lot of the horror stuff we used to watch. It’s almost like she was just putting up with them until I put a ring on it.

Jump forwards a few years and Greg McLean decided to return to the outback and good old Mick, not with a third movie, but with a small screen outing. Wolf Creek Season 1 is a spin off from the films, and while it does loosely mention events and characters from the series, it’s its own thing. You don’t need to have seen the films to see the series, and vice versa. Within the opening scenes of the pilot episode, you know pretty much all you need to know about Mick, and about the show, and while the series as a whole does try to fill in his backstory and possibly explain his murderous intentions, it is more simply a female driven, wonderfully no holds barred, revenge story.

We open with an All American family on some sort of camping trip in the outback. They seem like your typical family – a bit of arguing, but clearly nothing out of the ordinary – Mom, Dad, athletic underachieving daughter, and cute son. Enter John Jarratt’s infamous Mick, the sly killer always ready with a racist quip, and a variety of guns and blades. Mick has this was of being charming and dangerous at the same time – lulling his audience with his Oz ways but simultaneously making you wary. You know there’s something wrong with this guy, but you cant honestly believe it. It’s not a spoiler to say that, in the middle of sharing the family’s food for the evening, he snaps and kills them. Pleasingly for a TV show, there is no shying away from the violence – mid conversation he slams a knife into Daddy’s leg before opening up his throat (in front of wife and child, naturally), then as mummy and son hold hands he throws another knife straight through mummy’s face. Son tries to run, but gets a bullet in his spine. When he goes stalking after daughter Eve (singing as he goes), the brutality finally hits home. Before going further, let me just say that Lucy Fry is a fucking beast. Her performance here, and in the series as a whole, is deserving of all the nominations and plaudits, and if she doesn’t become a superstar in the future it will be a damning slight for the human race.

Without giving away too many other spoilers, the rest of Season 1 sees Lucy, in classic Hitchcock style, trying to track down Mick to kill him while at the same time avoiding the cops. She learns more of his history as she goes, there are numerous side-plots about the cop who has been working Mick’s case for years, various locals with their own criminal or heroic pasts, and Mick himself who quickly realises that someone is following him for a change, and tries to turn the tables. The first season is only six episodes long, but this feels right. It never reaches the point of feeling bloated or unnecessarily stretched, but the various interweaving stories in the end are side dressing for the main event. While we end up caring about some of the others involved, in the end all we want to see is Eve and Mick standing off. Eve shows herself to be quick-witted and resourceful, a horror heroine in the vein of Ripley, Sarah Conor, or Sydney, and she plays the long game instead of rushing in. Fry and Jarrett have great chemistry, even though she don’t appear together too often, and on their own each is addictive and entertaining.

Credit should go to the writers and directors for continually thinking up great one-liners or speeches for Mick to chew on, and for shooting Australia in all its gorgeous, barren beauty. You’ve probably heard me talk about my love for sunrises and sunsets and twilight in movies, and Season 1 and 2 smash this look and atmosphere head on. Both series are among the prettiest I’ve seen in recent years – all the more so because there is little or no CG or false trickery going on – what you see is what the actors saw and felt.

Season 2 then concerns a new group. It isn’t readily apparent at what point in the Wolf Creek timeline any of this takes place, but again it’s not overly important. In classic sequel tradition, we up the ante by increasing the cast numbers – think Aliens or The Hills Have Eyes 2. We follow a group of people from various countries and of various ages going on a coach trip. We have a German couple and their daughter, a Canadian couple trying to salvage their marriage, a couple of tourists suffering from unrequited love, a psychologist, an ex soldier, a gay couple, a party boy, a bus – whatever the bus equivalent of a train spotter is. Through the six episodes we get to know this group, love them or hate them, and watch them get picked off by you know who. Yes, thanks to an unintended insult at a roadside cafe, Mick is back – this time taking charge of the coach and everyone inside. If there’s one thing Mick hates, it’s foreigners, and after driving his prey into the middle of nowhere he begins dispatching them with remorseless glee.

If I have any criticisms about Season 2, it’s that they have turned Mick too much into an unstoppable killing machine like Jason Voorhees. There are a number of teams he should quite easily have been killed, or at least slowed considerably, but there he is moments later back and badder than ever. Couple that with a few silly and unlikely decisions by our protagonists or others they meet along they way, and we have something which feels more contrived and cartoonish that the first Season. That being said, it’s still great stuff. Most of the cast are good and the time is taken to get to know their strengths and flaws. There is still a lot of up close and personal violence, with gruesome practical effects, and Mick is as rewarding and funny as ever. The story sometimes hints at a wider or future plot, but whether or not a third entry in the show or movie series will be made remains to be seen. With lead actor Jarrett accused of some serious crimes from a few decades ago, I can’t say much being done until is name is cleared (if it is). Would Wolf Creek work without him? It’s hard to see it happening, as Jarrett completely embodies the character, and all of his ticks, smirks, his voice, his stature, and of course that laugh – without those you would have a very different prospect on your hands.

Who’s it all for then? Fans of the movies should feel right at home, and anyone with a love for horror should get on board. If you like your horror violent and without holding back, then you’ll get a kick out of this, but it’s also funny, beautifully shot, and well acted and written, even if things do get a little silly the further down the line we get. My wife loved it too, and she has been avoiding the horror scene for a while now, unless it’s a creature feature. Horror is making a splash on the small screen in recent years, but it feels like this show flew a little under the radar. If you like horror, then you have no excuse not to seek this out and enjoy a bloody good time.

Let us know what you thought of the series in the comments below!