Small Screen Scoop

Small Screen Scoop

This is the inaugural post at Small Screen Scoop, the new TV blog for the Gravy Train network of blogs, which also includes Hollywood Hills, Snark Food and the Big Brother Network. If you Tweet, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

Before I jump right in to posting gossip, news, reviews and recaps, I’d like to share with you my Top 10 Television Programs of all time.

The only rule for the list is that I had to watch the show as it was airing. For example, M*A*S*H was a great show but I am, alas, too young to have seen it in its original heyday. Other than that, anything goes.

10. South Park
I was dragged against my will to see the South Park movie. I had never watched the TV show and thought I was in for two hours of total crap. What I found instead was a brilliant and hilarious piece of cinema all wrapped up into a musical package. It got me watching the show, which has evolved with the changing American landscape to constantly provide biting commentary and cringingly funny episodes.

9. Scrubs
My doctor friends have told me it’s the most true-to-life medical show on television. For me, it’s the perfect balance between funny, poignant, absurd and human. It won’t be the same after this past season.

8. Friends
This show was instrumental to my adolescence, as I was 12 when it debuted and 22 when it went off the air. I’ve gone back and watched it again as an adult and it is remarkable how the early seasons speak to me in a totally different way than they did in junior high. The humor was brilliant and original and the Chandler-Monica relationship is one of the most underrated relationships to grace the small screen. Ross and Rachel got old, but Chandler and Monica were nuanced and real.

7. Battlestar Galactica
Laugh all you want at how much of a nerd I am. This show is amazing. The fact that it is Sci-Fi is secondary. The writing and acting is top-notch and if you missed it as it aired the first time, start watching it in reruns or on DVD. You won’t be disappointed.

6. Lost
A couple of seasons ago, this wouldn’t have made my list. Season 1 was unbelievable, but seasons 2 and 3 really dropped off. However, seasons 4 and 5 have been crazy good and actually make you think the writers have known what they were doing the entire time.

5. The Office
My personal favorite comedy of all time. Steve Carrell hits all the right notes, knowing just when to rein it in. All the supporting characters are brilliant, particularly Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute. And it probably goes without saying, but Pam and Jim’s relationship arc is masterful.

4. Twin Peaks
I did actually watch this as a youngster and yes, it did scare the pants off me at times. The quiet community that David Lynch created in his mind, then brought to life in the Pacific Northwest just shone with character and heart. The original mystery of “Who killed Laura Palmer” was an incredible hook for a show. Finally, even though season 2 went a little off-the-rails, the ending is still one of the creepiest scenes I’ve ever seen on TV. Hats off to Kyle MacLachlan.

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Hilarious, well-written and well-acted, touching and scary, Buffy had a lot more going on than met the eye. If you thought it was a fluffy show about a Valley Girl hunting Vampires, you were not paying attention.

2. Veronica Mars
Just like Buffy wasn’t a Valley Girl Vampire Hunter, Veronica was not a Valley Girl Private Eye. Vmars took the Buffy formula and brought it into the 21st century. No TV moment has drawn a bigger squeal out of me than the Logan-Veronica kiss at the Camelot Motel. It was tragically cancelled after just three seasons.

Cast of the West Wing

Cast of the West Wing

1. The West Wing
The first four seasons of this show are as close to perfect as TV gets. Drama, humor, and the show was incredibly, ridiculously smart. It didn’t pander to the lowest common denominator of viewers, it didn’t explain everything. It trusted that you would either understand or you’d find out on your own. Even seasons five through seven, while not nearly as good as one through four, were still the smartest thing on TV.

So there you have it, gang. My personal Top 10 list. Feel free to leave agreements, disagreements and your own lists in the comments.