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For whatever reason.. these series fell apart over the seasons until all that I was hoping for was for them to be put out of their misery (and me, mine).
Normally, I throw bad series on the trash heap of history with a quickness. But these series were once -- GOOD! After I've invested myself in the characters/story and have enjoyed what I've seen.. I remain a loyal viewer and hope for a turn-around -- which rarely ever (re:never) happens.
By the time they are canceled, I'm relieved!
There are many omissions that may seem odd: Cosby Show, 24, Miami Vice, Prison Break, Murphy Brown, Ally McBeal, Arli$$, The Larry Sanders Show, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, etc.. This would be because I didn't (or sporadically) watch many of the these series (especially those from the 80s).
They either didn't appeal to me or conflicted with my schedule.
Lastly, I'd just like to comment on the fact that 4 of my top 10 and 6 of the top 12 are all PBS' series (currently, or once aired there).
This is the greatness of PBS' programming: It is one thing to be greatly entertained, it is another to be greatly entertained AND to expand your knowledge! That... is the most important and fulfilling entertainment of all.
UPDATE: In the years since I started this list I've noticed a pattern of series starting off well and ending badly, sometimes VERY badly. Of course I'd noticed this before, but never realized just how prevalent it was.
Writers get bored, complacent... they get fired or leave... they lose interest in the story or just run out of ideas... for whatever reason most series usually begin to suffer from bad writing the longer they go on. I expect that... but I don't expect series to FALL INTO THE FREAKIN' ABYSS OF ABJECT RIDICUOSITY (yea, I made that word up)... but this happens more and more.. ahem... "Big Love", "Entourage", "Mad Men", "Dexter"
These are my favorite television dramas since the dawn of the new millennium.
In my opinion, this is truly the golden age of television dramas. While there are untold depths of GARBAGE on the airways these days, the proliferation of television networks and streaming services has allowed for some exceptional drama series to make a big splash and find an audience.
For the most part, Network TV is DEAD! How many more "reality" series, Law & Order, CSI, Dancing with the Stars, Big Brother, NCIS, Bachelor/Bachelorette BULL$H!T can these brain dead programmers shove down our throats!?
Thank goodness for HBO, SHO, CINEMAX, Starz and now Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and even Audience Network! Not to mention several other cable networks like Sundance, A&E, etc.. for taking chances and coming up with ....something.... entertaining!
The biggest problem with today's mega-corporate controlled networks is that everything... EVERYTHING.. is a bottom-line concern. No long view.. just a fiscal quarter by quarter review. If it ain't a hit immediately -- GET RID OF IT!
Well.. few of the really great series are ever immediate hits! Some of the biggest hits of the last 30 years: "Cheers", "Seinfeld", "Hill Street Blues" (come immediately to mind).. struggled to find an audience. Took two or more years before they went on to become legendary.
None, NOT ONE, of those series would make it in today's network tv. All of them would've been canceled!
The problem with creating a list like this is that many of the "canceled too soon series" from decades past have slipped from my mind...
A list of my favorite foreign films (simply meaning that they were not made by the American movie industry -- as opposed to being in a foreign language... that being anything other than English in my case).
Some of these are great films ("City of God", "Amores Perros", "Revolver", "Old Boy"...) some aren't... but all are, at the least, very entertaining.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017)
A Very Good series.. well worth your time..
tl;dr version: If you're a Trekkie, this may not be for you. If you like sci-fi and good SPX and, so far, better than avg acting for a ST series... You shld give this series a try.
I'm no Trekkie... but..
I watched every eps of the original Star Trek series beginning in 1972. Was so disappointed in the pilot of TNG, when it was released, that I didn't watch the series for 4 years. Then rediscovered TNG and became a huge fan. I never watched DS9. Watched many Voyager eps, but wasn't a big fan. I saw the first two eps of Enterprise and never watched it again. I've seen most of the movies.
I mention all that to say that I know of the many plot lines/story arcs/mythology that make up the Star Trek franchise and I'm a fan.
But I don't speak Klingon phrases nor know all the franchise's intersecting time-lines and frankly... blah blah blah blah!
If they make a mistake in a story timeline or introduce technology in this prequel that "couldn't have existed at that time" because the story line from S03E07 of DS9 gave a different history... BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH... I don't care!
I watch these series/stories and base my decisions on how good they are on their own... NOT as a part of some greater whole mythological story line and how these series fit into that structure.
I know that people do that and I understand that if you're really into this franchise... a True Trekkie... than those things maybe very important to you.
I'm reading people angrily commenting that #1 couldn't be blast thru a corridor of space but they got no problem with instantaneous movement of a ship?!? LOL See... that's kinda crazy... it's SCI-FI.. and it's a better chance the former could be done and NO chance that the latter would work.
If you're NOT that kind of fan... Star Trek: Discovery is really a VERY GOOD story in its own right. After 4 eps, I find it to be a darker series than the previous series I've seen... no funny/joking moments in this one and that works just fine for me.
I'm enjoying the series and it's the first ST series I've seen that I've enjoyed from the first eps.
I like it.. I hope they don't get canceled.
Could I be watching...
...one of the best dramas currently airing on television? It sure feels like it.
It's only been two eps, so far, so I hate to jump the broom & risk being married to a soon to be flop but.... This feels like the real deal!
I'm immersed... captured by this tale, right from the beginning. Kelsey Grammar shows his acting chops as he's nvr shown bfr (but I always knew it was thr.)
He plays the mayor of the greatest city in America with great feeling, complexity & depth.. and a menacing streak that takes him far from "Frasier". The eps have, so far,, been well written, smart & intense.
Can't wait to see what happens next.
Falling Skies (2011)
Considering that the producers involved have previously created "Band of Brothers", "The Pacific", "Battle Star Galactica", and even "Taken" (not the greatest series, but good sci-fi); not to mention Robert Rodat who also wrote the screenplay for "Saving Private Ryan"... the first two eps of "Falling Skies" was utterly disappointing.
Noah Wyle, as usual, sleep walks through with his normal bad acting. Seems he should have hung it up after "ER". The story and writing are completely clichéd and amateurish, devoid of anything new or exciting. The latest incarnation of "V" has better writing (say it ain't so!).
Can't believe that these producers, who have created some of the all-time greatest sci-fi, could cough up this fur ball and expect viewers to waste their time swallowing it.
I could go on but why bother, this will be off the air soon and frankly, good riddance.
The Chicago Code (2011)
Wow, so unbelievable it's almost comic..
OK, it's the first eps and it's fictional drama. But it's trying to be a hard hitting drama set on the streets of Chicago (my home town, so I'm more than a bit bias).
Good cast, esp. Lindo & Clarke (not impressed w/ Beals). But the supt of CPD is out chasing down bad guys and meeting w/ Gang leaders on EL platforms? Man, I laughed so hard I saw stars.. how stupid is that! This is Chicago, after all... hell, the police supt makes more than the mayor and sure as hell isn't running around the streets chasing down criminals! That alone makes this a comedy, but it doesn't stop there... yea, it's the Irish mob in Chicago that you have to worry about?! LOL Oh, man.. the laughs just keep on coming! I could name a few more, but really, what's the point.
The storyline has some good points that could prove interesting, maybe they'll kill off the supt. and get down to some real business. But as long as Beals is running around like some run-amok, rouge cop instead of the Supt. of Police of the 3rd largest city in America, they whole plot just becomes more comic by the second.
I'll keep watching it for now, 'cause it's my town and Lindo & Clarke deserve respect --they may be able to overcome the crapola until someone wises up gets some writers who know how to write a storyline that isn't such a joke.
Just a music fan..
I only watch 'Glee' for one reason... I love music! The fact is they could throw out all the story lines and just sing and I would like the show much more. But as the story lines are geared to introducing the varied musical styles/songs, I endure.
There have been several episodes over the past two seasons that have really stood out, musically, for me. Most notably, "Home" from season one with Kristin Chenoweth ("Pushing Daisies".. and a superb singing voice) and Matthew Morrison ("Will Shuster") performing a mash-up duet of Burt Bacharach's "One Less Bell to Answer" and Luther Vandross' styled cover of "A House is Not a Home". Brilliant performance!
The more I watch the show, the more impressed I am with Lea Michele's ("Rachael") voice. Watching her sing last season I kept comparing her to a young Barbra Streisand and in a few performances she blew me away with her Streisand'esquire singing style and range.
In this episode she performs a wonderful duet with Chris Colfer ("Kurt") of "Happy Days Are Here Again" and pays homage to Streisand in voice and in dress. A Great Performance!
The duets by "Kurt" & "Rachael" and "Mercedes" & "Santana" duet of Ike & Tina Turner's classic "River Deep - Mountain High" are the two superb musical standouts of this episode.
An essential and powerful human truth at the heart of this movie..
I just finished watching this movie and I was completely blown away by the screenplay!! IT IS BRILLIANT! Throughout my life I've been confronted by the phrases, the quotes, the ideas behind this movie and it's only in seeing it displayed in this movie that the truthfulness of the idea has been crystallized before my eyes-- into a very real reality.
Sometime around the 1/2 way mark.. I could see it... the quotes, the words, the true meaning and I was just astounded! It is a truth that you may never realize, but it is as real as the world we live in. And within yourself, you know it to be true even if you're not conscious of it.
This is genius and, IMO, the best thing he's ever written! He has crystallized the very essence of one of the most powerful human deficiencies -- one that is at the heart of Napoleon Hill's famous treatise "Think and Grow Rich".
Kudos to Richie for using this truth in such forceful writing and visualizations to get the idea into the mind of the audience. I can only speculate, but IMO, if you didn't get the idea (whether or not you like the movie), you're not ready to get it... yet. But hopefully, one day, the truth here will be crystal clear.
I grew up in the era of Basil Rathbone as "Sherlock Holmes" but was much too young to appreciate it and never grew fond of it. I became a fan of "Holmes" when Jeremy Brett played the role in the early 80s (when I was a teen) and I never believed that anyone could top Brett's interpretation.
But, I'm really surprised to find that I like this modern/updated version of "Sherlock Holmes" and Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal.
I hope to be treated to many of years of these performances, but alas, that certainly won't be the case -- "Elementary my dear, Watson".
I just hope to get a dozen or so eps. That would be fine indeed!
One of Glee's best episodes...
... in regards to the musical selection.
This is probably my favorite eps, to date, with the best musical selection I've heard on the show (IMO). The cast sang several classic songs and Kristin Chenoweth ("Pushing Daisies") gave the best singing performance in the series' brief history! She should be added to the cast IMMEDIATELY! Each time I see her perform she impresses me more -- a beautiful singing voice.
I will have to watch this eps again, very soon, especially the mash-up of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "One Less Bell to Answer" and "A House is Not A Home" (using the cover version of Luther Vandross).
Musically... this was one of the best eps yet.
Not impressed at all...
It took me a long time to give BSG a try.. I'm old enough to remember the original series from '79-'80 and frankly it sucked so bad that I didn't even think to give the remake a try. I only relented because I kept seeing BSG at the top of 'best of lists..' from so many people. So last year I took a leap of faith and was completely rewarded by what I consider to be one of the best sci-fi series ever produced.
I started watching the first eps of BSG at the same time the series was airing its final few eps. A few weeks later I'd seen all of the series and was blown away.
I've watched Caprica from the start and I keep waiting for something... anything... to happen! I was hoping for brilliant sci-fi and what I have is mediocre soap opera.
I'm gonna stick with it.. sometimes the best series start off slow as molasses and end up being some of the best series ever (think "The Wire"). I'm starting to lose hope for Caprica, but maybe my time invested will begin to pay off soon.
This has to improve drastically before a good part of their audience is lost..
Doctor Who (2005)
30+ Years of Never Watching "Dr. Who" will now end.
In the mid to late 70s, during my 'tween and early 'teen years, I remember seeing the incessant promos for 'Dr. Who' on the local PBS station in Chicago. I tried watching it a few times, but by that time the series was about as old as I was and I just could not get into it. My (slightly) younger brother, on the other hand, developed a great love of the series and he and his best friend would talk about each episode with a joy I simply did not understand.
In all these years I have never watched an entire episode and here I sit tonight, some 30 years later, watching my first complete episode of 'Dr. Who' (well, I actually missed the first 10 mins or so and didn't even realize it was 'Dr. Who' until I had watched 30+ mins of it! LOL). And.. and.. I really enjoyed it.
This is the 'new' Dr. Who series begun in 2005, and while I don't quite know if this is a re-telling of the original storyline begun in 1963 or if this is a continuation of the storyline from the series finale of 1989 -- I'm sure a bit of research will answer this question.
When I finally realized that I was watching 'Dr. Who' a flood of memories came rushing back... mostly of my brother (who, coincidentally, died a few months after the final episode of the original 'Dr. Who' series aired) and his best friend (who I haven't seen or heard from in 8 yrs or so) and their long talks and excited recitations of 'Who' dialog.
Now I have small sons myself, and while they are too young to watch 'Dr. Who', I wonder if they will come to love it as their uncle did. For me, I think I will find the first 4 seasons of this 'new' series and give it a shot. If it's as entertaining as tonight's episode I may become a 'Who' fan after-all.
Better late than never, eh?
I've really enjoyed this first season..
I think the series is pretty good... a guilty pleasure. I'm not going to categorize it as 'great' TV, but it's entertaining. I love the music, the era, and Chicago is my hometown. I don't know what direction the series can/will take, but I'm willing to tag along for the ride... it looks like fun.
I was a kid growing up in the 70s (from Kindergarten to H.S.) but it is probably the decade that had the most influence on me... that core decade that leads from innocence to a shattering of childhood beliefs to a glimpse of the possibilities of adulthood.
The music, the dress, the look of 'Swingtown' brings that decade back to mind... the culture of America.. the "Spirit of '76" and the post-Nixon, pre-Reagan, 'Archie Bunker' era.
Having lived through the 70s and having fully conscious memories of it and a real connection to it may make 'Swingtown' a bit easier to digest. The nostalgia helps it all go down. The 'swinging' only adds a minor plot device and works more to bring the cultural era to life than as titillation.
IF the writers can keep it interesting, it could become a nice diversion, a nostalgia antidote. But they will be walking a fine-line and I don't really think they'll be able to keep 'Swingtown' from devolving (more) into a simplistic soap opera...
...but I'm hoping for more.
btw.. It just occurred to me that the young boy/son in 'Swingtown' is about the same age I was in '76.
A New Leaf (1971)
a great comedy...
I first saw this movie in the 70s when I was a kid and I laughed my head off. The great Walter Matthau played this role to the hilt and his portrayal is perfect. I've watched this movie many times over the years and it still makes me laugh out loud.
Someone mentioned that the mark of a great comedy is that you can watch it more than once and still laugh at it even though you know what's coming. I couldn't agree more.
"A New Leaf", as others have stated, is a completely underrated gem! The performances are great and Elaine May's writing and directing is inspired. It's a shame that more people don't know of this great movie. As someone stated, it deserves "cult" status.
If this is ever released on DVD, I'll certainly add it to my collection. A gem not to be missed.
I just love this movie...
There are certain movies that leave you dazed when you walk out of the theater. For me, "Bird" was such a movie.
On a nice evening in 1988 I decided to take in a movie on the spur of the moment. I walked to the nearest theater (Fine Arts, Downtown Chicago) and looked to see what was playing. I had never heard of Charlie Parker nor his music, but I was developing a love of jazz and the movie being directed by Clint Eastwood didn't hurt.
I went in, found a seat and had no way of knowing that, in a couple of hours, my life would be different.
The music penetrated my soul in ways I could never express. I was in awe and filled with emotion as the music carried me away while the visions of Charlie Parker's life flashed in front of my face. When the final credits scrolled up the screen, I could not move. I was frozen to my seat, dazed, overwhelmed, completely awed. I couldn't get the music out of my head, songs were playing back as if I'd listened to them a thousand times. My mind felt as if it were orbiting the sun.. spinning round and round, bathed in this warmth of beauty.
I didn't walk out of the the theater so much as stagger. I walked around for miles just playing over and over in my mind what I'd seen and heard and finally, hours after the movie ended I found myself in front of an all night music store where I bought the soundtrack and raced home to listen to it.
No matter that I had to get up in the morning for work... no matter that the movie had ended before 10pm but I didn't find my way home until after 2am. No matter that I was dead tired from walking dazed miles in a haze of thought.
I played that CD until I fell asleep then took it to work and played it all day... I played it constantly for weeks and then I started to buy other Charlie Parker CDs and reading everything I could about him. Charlie Parker is my favorite musician of all time, to this day, nearly 20 years later... and it began with this movie.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
waste of time
If you've read the book.. this movie is a total and complete waste of your time! I had high hopes for this movie. I hoped, but didn't expect it would be as good as the book. And though I didn't agree with the casting of Tom Hanks (I thought Clive Owen was a better choice), I couldn't argue that Hanks is a great actor (his last few pictures notwithstanding). Seemed a pairing of Ron Howard & Hanks would deliver an excellent film.
This certainly was not the case. The movie drags even when it's in high gear. So much of the book is just glossed over that there is no soul to the movie. Hanks' Langdon is walking through the movie as if what's happening is an everyday occurrence... where's the fear, awe and incredulity?? Such a great book and story completely wasted in this movie.
As I've said; if you've read the book, this movie is a waste. If you've never read the book.. you should and forget this mess. If you have no intentions of reading the book, then who knows you might actually think the movie isn't that bad.
Read the book.. forget this movie.
I read "Communion" about 16 years ago and the feeling of terror was palpable so I waited with great expectations for this movie to see if Whitley Strieber's vision could be captured on-screen. Unfortunately, this is just a bad film built on a bad screen play.
Ilker Yucel's review was interesting to read but I'm not sure how much of his insights bare witness to the truth.... but I enjoyed reading it, Ilker.
It would be such a change of pace if the movie, based on a book, could actually match the brilliance of the written word. It is accomplished so rarely.
Stuck on You (2003)
A shameful waste of a good idea.
Someone said this is the best Farrelly's movie since "There's Something About Mary". Fact is the Farrelly's haven't done much since ".. About Mary" except for "Shallow Hal" which at least had a decent story and good acting. And while "Shallow Hal" won't go down as a classic, it was certainly better than "Stuck On You" - which, quite simply, it shouldn't have been. "Stuck on You" had the POTENTIAL to be an above average comedy, with an original hook (siamese twins) and two excellent actors in Damon and Kinnear. And while there are glimpses of excellent comedy writing, it seems obvious the writer couldn't come up with enough of them to fill out a movie and reverted to standard, cliché'd comedy bits to fill the rest. What a shame. So much promise lost in mediocrity.
This movie isn't worth seeing.