Monday, August 31, 2015

The Final Top Ten List: Ten Television Shows I Miss

I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I feel as if I watch far less television than I used to. Not only fewer hours of television, but far fewer shows. I'm sure some of it is due to no longer subscribing to cable, but I think some of it is also due to what's being offered as well as my own changing taste. A great many shows I liked are gone, or they degenerated into a big mess, or they simply wandered off into the vagaries and obscurity of The Capricious Television Schedule, which I can't, for the life of me figure out anymore.

For my last List Of Ten Things to celebrate my tenth anniversary of writing here at the Dept. here's my

Ten Television Shows I Miss, For Whatever Reason

1. House
2. Mad Men
3. thirtysomething
4. Downton Abbey
5. The West Wing
6. NYPD Blue
7. Two And A Half Men
8. St. Elsewhere
9. ER
10. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

It's a certainty that there are scads of others, but let's deal with these before I concur with your choices in Comments.

1. I miss seeing Hugh Laurie. In any incarnation, and every single day. House got terrible there at the end, but again, worth it to see Hugh Laurie. Where in the hell is he? Won't someone put him in something that I can go and see? Immediately?

2. Netflix is on my Smack List since they did that stupid thing of breaking up the final season of Mad Men into two 6-episode segments and forcing its subscribers to wait for it. SO DON'T MENTION ANY SPOILERS; I AM WAITING. And then, when it is over, I will miss it even more terribly.

3. This show was on such a long time ago, but I still remember thirtysomething and its characters vividly. It was talky and real to me, even though some critics said it was all "yuppie whining."  I didn't feel that way at all.  It naturally declined in its final seasons, but it was still terrific. Hey! Is it on Netflix?

4. I know Downton Abbey isn't over yet, but this year is its final season, and I am already In Mourning. It's the best highbrow soap opera around, and so sumptuous to look at.

5. Rick and I watched The West Wing in its entirety the moment Jared shared his Netflix with us. It was wonderful. So smart and so much talent on that show. Surprisingly, it does not seem dated at all, and you can do worse than to look at Jimmy Smits and Rob Lowe, not to mention the lovely women in the cast.

6. Speaking of Jimmy Smits, he was in NYPD Blue also, but I always enjoyed the character of Andy Sipowicz, played by Dennis Franz, the most. He was so endearing and so human. The dialog in that show was tremendous and tough. I still use the phrase "get out in front of it" all the time to mean "admit something at the outset."

7. When the comedy Two and a Half Men first aired, I loved it. It was funny, fresh, and original. After the second season, it became tawdry and awful and relied solely on sexual innuendo and then outright sex for its comedy. I'm no prude, but I need something more intelligent. So sad, an opportunity and cast wasted.

8. St. Elswhere was another very human drama with comedic moments and a hugely talented cast which included, if you recall, Howie Mandel, among the others like Denzel Washington, Mark Harmon, and Christina Pickles. (He was really very good.)   Another one to look for on The Netflix!

9. ER was stocked with breakout stars like George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, William H Macy, and Goran Visnjic, oh, too many to name. I cried so many times while watching this show. And laughed. And got angry. It was just that good.

10. The absurd and hilarious soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was one of the funniest things I ever saw in my life. I was only 17 when it first aired, and I can remember my father laughing and laughing while he watched it.  Mary Kay Place was incredible in that cast.

Which shows do you miss and why?  Let's reminisce in Comments.

Thanks for celebrating Ten Years of My Blog with me.  I hope we'll celebrate Ten More.  And I hope you'll continue chatting away on this and other posts in the series.



  1. As soon as I saw the title of this post, I thought of thirty something! I loved that show too and would love to rewatch it, so do tell if you find it somewhere!

    1. Rose--Wasn't it good? The Ellyn character got on my nerves something awful, but I liked everyone else.

  2. We rewatched Thirtysomething a few years ago, but I don't remember how...maybe it was on Netflix for awhile? It's not anymore, at least not for instant view. Maybe the DVDs. If you still have an old school DVD rental place, they might have it. You can view it on Amazon streaming, though it's not free with Prime, it's kinda pricey. There were issues with music licening or something stupid, so it didn't get released on DVD even until 2010. But you could pay a bunch and buy the DVDs if you're determined.

    I miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, and Mad Men. I will miss Downton Abbey as well.

    1. J@jj--I can imagine that music licensing could trip up releasing a series. I'll be patient and wait for it to come out on something I can get for free or almost free.

      I never did get onto Buffy VS or Battlestar although my brother-in-law was a huge fan of the latter. I once bought him a goofy little handheld video game of it for Christmas.

      I hope Downton Abbey's last season is one that makes us all really, really miss it. It has been such a satisfying series.

    2. The music issue is why they haven't released Cold Case. Every episode included flashbacks to a diffferent time period with music from that time and I guess licensing has been a nightmare.

  3. I rarely watched TV, but the series I miss is "Dallas", the original one with Larry Hagman and Linda Gray.

    1. phoebes--I just barely remember Dallas. I didn't watch it, but my mother did at first. I do remember how "Who shot J.R.?" got to be such a huge deal. I even remember the actress who played the character who actually shot him. Charlene Tilton. But as to her character's name or why she shot idea! That show created a lot of brief careers.

    2. Sorry, Nance, but I must gently correct you. Charlene Tilton - with the big blonde 80's hair - played Lucy Ewing, the niece of JR. (Her father was the loser-brother, Gary, who was cast off to Southern California with a TV spin-off "Knots Landing, while Lucy stayed with Uncle JR)

      The real shooter - though not killer - was Kristin Shepard (JR's wife, Suellen's sister, with whom JR was having an affair). She was played by Mary Crosby, daughter of Bing.

      There was much speculation about "Who Shot JR" but I figured it out really early when I read that Mary Crosby had only been signed for the first four or five shows in the new season.

      Got it now?

    3. phoebes--Hee hee. I stand corrected. As you can see, I was NOT a Regular Watcher of the series. Now I recall the character of Kristin and remember the whole thing. Sigh. I also remember seeing a gag reel of each character shooting JR, too, so that no one in the cast knew who really did it. They even filmed JR shooting JR, as a laugh. Now THAT, I remember.

  4. Startrek, the original. Yeah, I am that old.

    1. Mary G--I used to tease my Uncle Jul, a huge Star Trek fan. I still can't believe he, a tough Hungarian guy who was a drinker and a real Typical Guy, was a Trekkie. When I was a kid, I used to write silly poems about Star Trek for him.

      I was never much for SciFi--the show "Fringe" was as close as I got, and I stopped watching that when they got too far gone into the parallel world--so I wasn't much for Star Trek. I did like "Lost in Space" as a kid, though.

  5. We were just talking about Soap the other night. It was from the same era as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (which I only vaguely remember). At the time I thought that Soap was the most delightfully cynical TV show I'd ever seen.

    Other shows that I miss are: Firefly (sci-fi), The Bob Newhart Show [either one] & Roseanne.

    1. Ally Bean--Rick was a huge fan of Soap, which starred Billy Crystal, among others. I wasn't among its fans, but I was in the minority on that one. I think my dad watched something else in that time slot, and he was the TV Boss in that era before multiple household TVs.

      I loved Bob Newhart in all of its configurations. Larry, Darryl, and his Other Brother Darryl never failed to make me laugh, and Bob Newhart's delivery was always flawless. He was great guest-starring on The Big Bang Theory most recentlly.

      I like Roseanne quite a bit early on, and then it lost me as all sitcoms usually do. The aplomb with which they dealt with the two Beckys was pretty funny, though.

  6. I miss Buffy & Firefly - but even if they were still on we probably wouldn't watch them. Every now & then we'll watch a movie, but we just don't watch TV shows anymore. Mike isn't interested & I actually kind of like the quiet - ha! I do miss our Atlanta Braves. Oh, there's a team called the Braves that's still playing, but they're just playing the Braves on TV...

    Every time I shave I think about Thirtysomething & how Elliott?? & Whatsername were separated & he came over & they had sex, but then he made a snarky comment about how she hadn't shaved. Grrr... Although I loved his red hair. Ha!

    1. Bug--Elliott was the redheaded guy. I don't recall that scene, but apparently you do! I loved the scene when Michael took the fiction writing class and stole the real-life moment of one of his friends (a woman) wearing her husband's watch during a time they made love. He read the story out loud, and she was infuriated. She said that now, when she remembers the moment, he will be there with them. Just a really neat scene.

      Never saw either of the shows you mentioned. But they both had huge followings, I know.

    2. The woman he was taking the class with was Nancy, and her husband was Elliott the redheaded guy. That was indeed a great episode. The scene Bug references is before they broke up, I think..they were seeing a therpist. She was trying to put the spark back in their relationship, and he was pushing her away. Very painful. What a good show.

      We watched Soap and Mary Hartman. Both very good and funny. :)

  7. West Wing. I'm binge watching on Netflix for the second time. Love love love that show.

    1. Becky Hill--Hello, and welcome to the Dept! Bless your heart for a second Go-Round on TWW. I don't know if I'd do that again, but I never say never anymore. The acting is so good and the dialog so smart, I might have to one day. Thanks for commenting; I hope you do it again!

  8. Newsroom. Definitely Newsroom. I would love to live in a nation created by Aaron Sorkin.

    1. NCmountainwoman--Hey there! Welcome to the Dept. and thanks for commenting.

      You know, I keep waiting and waiting for this to come to The Netflix. Sigh. Still NOT.

      I love Aaron Sorkin's creativity. He does such good stuff: TWW, Moneyball, Newsroom, and Sports Night, which I also wish for on The Netflix and also...NOT.

      I think The Netflix and I are having some Serious Relationship Issues.


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