Top 10 TV Shows of All Time

Here is my list of my ten all time favorite TV shows, in no particular order. These are the shows

that I could watch at anytime. I’ll try to keep it fun by telling you what I didn’t like about

them and their characters, some great lines from the shows, maybe some interesting things you

didn’t know, and more – anything but just the usual top ten list.

1. The Rockford Files

Cool theme song. Cool car (gold Firebird, which crashed innumerable times). Great cast with

Rocky, Angel & others. Cool trailer on Malibu beach with a handy bar for rendezvous and drops,

etc. Great cases, mostlly believable. Lots of good guest stars, like Lyndsey Wagner at her most

beautiful. I’ve said all this without even mentioning the lead: James Garner, the consummate cool


Gimmicks and or quirks, etc.:
Now-dated answering machine from which we hear something amusing before the theme song kicks in.

James Garner’s brother Jack in cameo roles as, often, a bailiff, a bartender and the like.

Great line:
Angel: “Just do (kill) Jimmy, and I’ll spread the word (tell what might happen to others should

they doublecross these thugs like Jimmy did).”

2. Gunsmoke

What a great cast, with Matt, Doc, Kitty, Chester, Festus, Sam and others. This show began as

thirty minutes but was expanded to an hour. Some of the early shows were tightly scripted and

regular works of art. Ran twenty years (1955-75).

Gimmicks and or quirks, etc.:
Early on, old Doc was often drunk as a skunk, but he sobered up as the years passed. The Bull’s

Head saloon as a rougher alternative to Miss Kitty’s Longbranch. The house near the pond, which

was often used in scenes set out of town.

Great line:
“Becasue we’re gonna bushwhack em,” as said by a very early and very un-Matt Matt, to Chester,

when Chester asked him why they were hiding out in a cabin with some thugs nearby.

3. The Andy Griffith Show

This show has always been very therapeutic for me to watch . . . just something about it I can’t

put my finger on; let’s just say that if it’s an episode I’ve already seen, I don’t care, I’ll

watch it again, because I just want to be in Mayberry, and it doesn’t matter to me what they’re

doing there.

Gimmicks and or quirks, etc.:
Drunk Otis having access to the keys as he’s locked up weekly for being lit up. Andy being a lot

more “countrified” in the earlier episodes, his pants sometimes stuck clumsilly down his nerdy

boots. Barber Floyd being nearly mad . . . as in crazy. Goober saying “Yo.” Gomer saying “Tell

‘em Gomer says hey.” Very fake downtown Mayberry drawn as background mural outside the courthouse

door. Different love interests for Andy: Elinor Donahue, Joanne Moore (Tatum O’Neal’s mom), Julie

Adams, Anita Whatever who played Helen for a long run. (I was more of a Thelma Lou fan; she

looked remarkably like Olivia De Havilland.)

Memorable lines:
Goober: “Judy, Judy, Judy.”
Gomer: “Shazam!”

4. M*A*S*H

Great ensemble cast. We’ve all seen it, so let me just blurb about the characters:

Hawkeye: Great except for when there was too much Hawkeye, like when he was trying to stay awake

by babbling to this Korean family unfortunate enough to be housing him. Don’t get me wrong – I

love the role.

Annoying to me, a bit too precious with the raised eyebrows and shoulder shrugs.


Better before he got the mustache, after which, he seemd to have a chip on his shoulder as

if unsure of his manhood should anyone get beneath the cheese of the mustache.

Better before he became “Christianized” – I think you know what I mean if you’ve watched; just a

tad too nice, a bit too eager to please.

Hot Lips:
I surrender. Lead me to Margaret in her tight sweater and tight britches, especially when her

hair was parted in the middle, and before she got too thin and lost most of the Hot Lipsishness.

There is, however, a nasty scene with her, when she and Charles were eating some canned bird and

they became sick because of it – her teeth were quite yellow and she looked kind of gross gorging

herself on it.

Father Mulcahey:
The excitement level dropped a foot when he was given a line. Sorry.

Charles E. Winchester:
Great role; very noble at times … but justy barely, as when he admitted some general molested

Hot Lips and not the other way around.

The Zen and Taoist center of the cast, always trying to hide his poor deformed left hand, often

behind a clipboard, as if any of us would think anything of it. (Pat Hingle, who guested as

General Daniel Webster Tucker, was missing a pinky and didn’t try to hide it.)

Henry Blake:
Laugh riot; could have cried when he was killed off.

Colonel Sherman T. Potter:
One of the most annoying roles ever, one of those old grumps who thinks he’s a natural treasure

and that people want him to be regurgitating arid cliches. Pretty much played the same dumb role

in Dragnet (see below).

5. Alias Smith & Jones

Great show because of the charming leads, Pete Duel & Ben Murphy. Pete, who committed suicide

during the run of the show, was replaced by Roger Davis, who did the original narration of the

lead-in theme. Mr. Davis wasn’t nearly as likeable as Mr. Duel, though he was adequate in the

role. There were some great guests, like Burl Ives, and some beauties like Michelle Lee, Claudine

Longet, Susan Strasberg & Sally Fields. The show is said to be a takeoff on the popularity of the

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid film.

Gimmicks and or quirks, etc.:
The promise of amnesty for their crimes always being just on the horizon but somehow always

beyond reach; the recurring Devil’s Hole gang.

6. Law & Order

We all know this show that has run for years and has the most twisting and interesting plots, so

let’s get down to the good stuff: the rating of the female ADAs as to their attractiveness. (The

list below shows the best as being #1.)

1. Angie Harmon – that voice, the withering looks with which she could emasculate any male perp,

her model looks, & heck, she comes from Texas!
2. Carey Lowell – the word adorable was created for this fresh-faced, earnest Bond girl; if she’s

good enough for Richard Gere, she’s good enough for you.
3. Jill Hennessey – another model-quality gal with a husky voice, the exqusite bobbed hair; oh,

how brutally they killed her off!
4. Annie Parisse – maybe the most beautiful of all, but her run seemed brief to me; related by

marriage to Sam Waterston in real life, I believe; another of them killed off, she choking on her

own vomit.
5. Alana de la Garza – haven’t seen that much of this girl, but she’s a stunner with sculpted

6. Elisabeth R?hm – oh, dear, this girl was nice and pretty enough but, whereas she was

attractive, the other girls mentioned above were absolutely magnetic; it’s probably the blond

hair, and she looks to me pretty much like every other blond.

7. Dragnet

This cop show was so earnest and corny, it was wonderful, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I

only had much exposure to the later (reborn) color issue of it beginning in the sixties. I think

producer and star Jack Webb was trying to do the LAPD a big favor with this show, back in that

crazy era, in trying to show that cops weren’t so bad; but it was often pretty heavy-handed

stuff, with the hippies being pretty much evil and the bad cop being as rare as platinum. Lots of

square and cornball drug use allusions. Be warned, the grating Harry Morgan (who just turned 94!)

was his sidekick (see M*A*S*H note above).

Gimmicks and or quirks, etc.:
Jack Webb barely moving his arms as he walked stiff as a board. “Just the facts,” “Howzat?” Watch

for Kent McCord as officer Jim Reed, without Martin Milner, of Adam 12. Watch for Bobby Troup (as

a bartender, perp, etc.), who penned song classic “Route 66″ and was married to Jack Webb’s ex-

wife Julie London, with whom Bobby later starred in Emergency.

8. The Waltons

This show was born from the excellent and now classic Christmas movie The Homecoming. Seven kids

living in 1930s-40s Virginia with their parents and paternal grandparents. Lots of heartwarming

episodes. Slow episodes always concerned a moody Olivia. I had a big crush on Erin! My favorite

episode was about a class reunion of John’s (Ralph Waite’s) high school class, in which several

of his old classmates gave the warmest tributes to John; John was my favorite character.

Gimmicks and or quirks, etc.:
The old family truck, which seemed to be held together with chewing gum and chicken wire. Daddy’s

(Ralph Waite’s) old longjohns looked like they might stand up by themselves if he ever took them

off and stood them in a corner. The woodenness of the replacement John Boy when Richard Thomas

left the show. Did you know that Mama (Michael Learned) wasn’t really old enough to be John Boy’s

(Richard Thomas’s) mother in real life, because there were only twelve years’ difference in their


9. Dallas

This wasn’t just a show around my house on Friday nights, it was an event! We would pop popcorn

and all gather around the set. Let me just blurb about some of the characters:

J.R.: Who shot this guy? As evil as a lead came, but he had a deep sense of family . . . unless,

of course, that family member stood in his way of something he wanted. Someone please set him up

with a quenching bourban and branch, please.

Jock: This patriarch always seemed to be way too rugged for the sissy settings, like breakfasting

around the pool; one would rather expect to see him sniffing out an oil well or busting a bronco.

He died too young, taking some of the heart of the show with him.

Bobby: The pretty boy. Too nice until he learned to get right down in the dirt with J.R. Got to

do love scenes with a youthful and exquisite Victoria Principle as Pam. Aside: My family and I

sat next to his table at a Louise Mandrell concert, and she pointed him out in the audience and

had him take the stage and do a number with her; and he obliged her, good sport that he was. His

Buddhism helped him cope with the brutal, real-life murder of his parents.

Pam: Tons of sex appeal but needy and moody.

Sue Ellen: Beautiful ex Miss Texas. Drunk. Would hook up with Cliff Barnes & Dusty Farlow to get

back at a cheating J.R. I thought shows with her battling the bottle were snoozers. Had sexy

May/September fling with Chris Atkins (as Peter).

Miss Ellie: Boring character. You will wonder what Jock and Digger Barnes . . . or anybody, for

that matter, ever saw in her. Could kill the excitment level of any episode with one of her

audible sighs.

Lucy: Sex kitten deluxe. Drove the much older Ray Krebs wild in the early days of the show, by

seducing him in his truck as he drove her to high school, which led to their locating the nearest

hayloft. She was built like a brick dollhouse and she knew it. Scenes she was in seemed to have

a potential for fireworks, because she might say something that could be embarrassing to just

about anyone.

10. The Situation Room

I better list a news program before you know I’m a complete idiot. The hard-working Wolf Blitzer

hosts this show. Grouchy Jack Cafferty is always amusing.

Do drop in at the author’s homepage just to say hello.

I am a lecturer & online entrepreneur. I love reading, writing, travel (particularly in Paris, throughout England, Amsterdam), gardening (which mostly amounts to weeding, I’m afraid), karate, Ebay, Internet, Asian philosophies and religions, marketing, and much more.

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