Tag Archives: Curb Your Enthusiasm

20 Greatest Comedies of All Time.

This was meant to be the 10 greatest comedies of all time but I ended up with about 18 on the shortlist and thought it would be easier to just round it up to a list of 20, and it also allows for me to recognise more shows that I do really like.  So let’s get going.

20.    King of Queens Image

It was a tough one to decide who would come in at no. 20 and it was close between King of Queens and Friends, in the end I thought that if I were to watch one just now, what would I rather watch? and the answer was King of Queens.

Anyway King of Queens is basically a vehicle for Kevin James to get on TV.  All the other characters are fine and add something to the show but really the show is carried by Doug.  He is just such a likable guy that you can’t help but smile when he does something stupid or puts himself in an awkward position involving his wife or father in law.  It is also because of his wife and father in law that you just feel sorry for Doug; he is so nice and yet they are so crazy it doesn’t seem fair.

It is a basic format and King of Queens is really just a catalyst for Kevin James to get on TV but it was also a really good show.

19.      Only Fools and Horses                                                                   Image

There is a good chance that if you don’t live in Britain you won’t have seen Only fools and Horses, but it is a bit of a British institution.  I don’t really know if people outside of Britain (not including Australia and the like) would get Only Fools but it is really good.

Basically it is a show about cockney traders who get up to no good (so just Cockney traders).  It is pretty simple in its execution and executes it well.  Only Fools is a bit like Shamelesss (but better) before Shameless.

Del Boy is the lovable rogue along with his plonker brother Rodney and their Grandpa/ Uncle.  It really is very well casted and is very well acted as well (you could walk through a market anywhere and you will get several people like Del Boy).

That is part of what makes Only Fools just so good, you know that you shouldn’t like the Trotter’s because essentially they are breaking the law on a regular basis but you can’t help but love these lovable rogues and that is why Only Fools is a British classic.

18.      Scrubs

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If only Scrubs had lasted 5 seasons instead of 8 we could be sitting here marvelling over a legendary doctor comedy that was just brilliant.  Instead sadly we are sitting here not talking about that because they made 3 seasons too many, but at least the last episode was a credit to the series as a whole.  What is that they decided to make a 9th season but with half the original cast and basically ruining what they did in the last episode……ugh.

Another American show that didn’t know when to stop making their show (this is a theme throughout).  It is sad to concentrate on how bad Scrubs became but it was just so bad towards the end that it really is impossible to ignore.

Scrubs began as a really funny show, with good well written characters and an interesting twist as you followed the inner thoughts and imagination of John Dorian.  Sadly the writers ran out of ideas and instead followed the same old tired pattern again and again.

I mean do people in hospitals not work in shifts?  Someone should have told the writers of Scrubs.

17.     The Fresh Prince of Bel Air                                                  Image

I thought about just writing the theme tune out as why this show is great (it really is a good theme tune, BEST EVA!!!) but it really would be a disservice to what the Fresh Prince achieved.

Stick a street wise kid into a family full of rich snobby people and you have what sounds like a great idea for a reality TV show, you also have a great idea for a comedy series.

I always have considered Fresh Prince a kids show (was on kids networks in Britain), and maybe it is but it really did tackle more adult themes like civil rights, social issues and sex.  It really kick started the career of Will Smith (but nobody else oddly enough) and deservedly so, and who doesn’t love Will Smith?

If you watch an episode of Fresh Prince today it still feel fresh (not a pun), maybe it is because (unlike many other shows in the 90’s) they did not shy away from serious issues that a family encounters and it is a credit to the show that 20 years on it is still in many ways relevant.

16.      Family Guy                                Image

I like Family Guy, although I have complained in the past that I feel the quality has dropped off considerably in recent years from Seth MacFarlane spreading himself too thin/ running out of ideas, and Family Guy does deserve these criticisms.

There is nothing smart about Family Guy; it isn’t really trying to be smart, Family Guy is random comedy and it is clear to anyone who has watched more than one episode.  The formula is generally the same, a character does something wacky (usually Peter) and the episode carries on from there and by the time of the next episode everything is forgotten about.

It sounds like I don’t like the show but I do it can still be funny, but just not as often as it used to be.  Still if you like cultural references about pretty much anything and totally random comedy then just ‘remember the time’ and you’ll be there.

15.     Spongebob SquarepantsImage

It does seem odd that you would put any kids TV show on a list of top anything (that isn’t kids TV obviously) but Spongebob really is a very funny show.

A lot of people will dismiss Spongebob as being just a stupid kid’s show, which it is, but in being a stupid kid’s show it does tell a lot of adult based jokes that are not aimed at the kids.  It runs in an episodic sketch format similar to that of Louie (but with actual parts where you laugh and enjoy the episode).

There is nothing particularly complicated about Spongebob (it is a kid’s show after all) yet what it does it does very well and really is very good.  How can a show about a sponge living in a pineapple under the sea not be funny?  Don’t feel ashamed people above the age of 10 give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.

14.      Futurama

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Just in case you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in the 31st century look no further than Futurama, the (probably) realistic outcome of the world in years to come.

Like most cartoons Futurama follows the silly story-line, parodies and satirical comedy formula.  What sets Futurama apart from its competitors is it is set in the future, this allows for Futurama to have sillier story-lines than anyone else and it doesn’t look like its being forced.  I mean look at the best characters, for me it’s Dr. Zoidberg and Bender, characters that couldn’t really work in any other show without it being a stretch.

Sadly Fox cancelled Futurama after 4 seasons and although it came back from a 5 year hiatus it hasn’t quite caught the chemistry that the original run had, still a great show though.

13.        Modern Family

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I have written in the past that I think that Modern Family is currently the best comedy on TV.  There are comedies that are still currently airing that are above Modern Family on this list, however all of those comedies are past their best whereas Modern Family is currently at its peak.

It is easy to describe what makes Modern Family great, it has an excellent cast.  Each episode is well constructed and each episode stands on its own.

If there is a criticism of the show it would be that there is very little season plot and at times it goes in a circle with its storylines (this isn’t a surprise considering they have done almost 100 episodes, some of them will be similar).  Nonetheless this is very much the best current comedy on TV and also the best show produced by American network channels.

12.      Blackadder

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Imagine a show in which you use broadly the same characters but every season you change the premises of the show.  Crazy right and still this is exactly what Blackadder did.

When you talk about Blackadder you naturally ignore the totally naff first series and concentrate on the vastly superior final three series.  Blackadder transforms from a blubbering idiot into a sophisticated, charismatic and snarky anti-hero in the second series and the real Blackadder begins.

The changing of the setting and era from series to series allows Blackadder to re-create itself and also allows for the writers to make historical jokes and episodes based on the time period with which they are based.

Blackadder is at its best in the final scene of Blackadder Goes Forth (set WW1); the classic moment when the cast are finally going over the top, the whistles blow and the beloved characters pile over and their outcome is left unknown, Blackadder at its best.

11.     Frasier                                                                                                                                          Image

The only spin-off on the list (I don’t consider Futurama a spin-off cause it is a totally different show) making it the greatest spin-off ever in my opinion.  Frasier also has the unusual distinction of being better than the original show that it was a spin-off of (although I don’t know if it is fair of me to judge that because I haven’t really watched Cheers very much, this is going off consensus).

Frasier a smart comedy about smart people, on paper it just does not look like a success, who wants to watch a comedy about a snobby psychiatrist?  Yet Frasier just works.

Maybe it is the inclusion of the down to earth characters, maybe it’s because it is just really well written or maybe it’s both.  Personally I think it is both, not only was casting spot on (Kelsey Grammer is perfect as Frasier) the writers were also able to consistently produce solid episodes (which isn’t easy in a 20+ season).

Like most American shows it probably ran too long but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Frasier was a stroke of genius.

10.       30 Rock

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The TV show about making a TV show, pretty simple concept and it works so well.  30 Rock does it all (parodies, word play, silly actor things) and it does it all very well.

The best comparison I can come up with for 30 Rock is that of a live action Simpsons/ South Park/ Family Guy.  It is funny to watch the first couple of seasons of 30 Rock is almost like watching a completely different TV show to what happens in the later seasons.  This isn’t really a criticism more of an observation of how 30 Rock progressed across the years.

It is a shame that despite all the deserved critical success that 30 Rock received that it couldn’t transform that into viewing figures.  It is sad to see a quality progressive TV show struggle whilst lesser regressive TV shows prosper (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory and so many more).

Maybe in the long run people will look back and think it was probably a good thing that 30 Rock got cancelled when it did.  I think that 30 Rock will go down as a cult classic, and who knows in 5 years or so we might be re-visiting 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

9.       Peep Show

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It is really hard to describe exactly what Peep Show does because there is nothing quite like it anywhere else on TV.  Sure other shows have done the total opposites best friends and the talking in head to yourself stuff but no show has used a POV system in the way that Peep Show has.

To just talk about how Peep Show is filmed is unfair to how good of a show it is.  Peep Show utilises its inner monologue style perfectly allowing us to peer into the cynical and sarcastic world of Jez and Mark.

Peep Show follows the classic British comedy formula, social awkwardness + sarcasm = funny.  However it also sadly follows the American formula of going about 2 seasons too long.

8.       Father Ted

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“I have a great idea for a TV show.  Let’s make a show that is about three catholic priests living on an island in Ireland.  That will be hilarious.”  When you look at the premise of Father Ted it sounds shit, instead you have the foundations of one of the greatest comedies of all time.

Like many British comedies Father Ted plays on the socially awkwardness of its main character as he is thrown into the odd social situations created by the wacky inhabitants of Craggy Island.  Ted along with Dougal and Father Jack create an odd family concoction, but god damn it works so well.

The Catholic Church has taken a bashing lately for a lot of sordid behaviour, if only they showed a video of Father Ted in priest training camp (I imagine it is a camp, all single beds obviously…..).  If you like quirky comedies about priests in Ireland then Father Ted is for you and let’s be honest who doesn’t?

7.        The Inbetweeners

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The Inbetweeners is the show with which I personally can most relate to.  When I watch the Inbetweeners I honestly think ‘huh I could see myself in that situation and react to it in a similar matter’.  If you watch shows like 90210, the OC or Gossip Girl you think that all teens are cool, composed, witty, good looking, can dress well, have good haircuts and are usually rich.

Now I don’t know about the teen life people who are reading this had, but based on my own teen life (and most of the people I know) I had none of these qualities.  This is where the Inbetweeners just falls in perfectly to the picture.

The four main characters have none of these qualities; they live very regular lives and quite frankly are losers.  Think about it honestly, have you seen any teens recently?  There is nothing glamorous about it, and the Inbetweeners catches the tone of what it is like to be a teen and not be a cool kid so well, that it almost feels like a story about my own school life.

Add all of what I have just said to the fact that it is a really funny show and is very well constructed and you get the outcome of easily the best ever school based show (sorry Saved by the Bell).

6.       The Simpsons

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Everyone knows and loves the Simpsons, a show that has been on longer than I have been alive with over 500 episodes.  Ok we all know that the shows quality has dropped off drastically from the early years, but it really is hard to keep up that level of quality.

That is why the Simpsons is no.6 on this list, for the early episodes, the good years.  Not the years where we receive endless pointless celebrity cameos or pointless trips to foreign lands (why would you leave Springfield it’s great).

The Simpsons has such a rich vein of characters within and out with the main cast, ask someone who their favourite Simpsons character is and you could receive about 20 different answers.  From Homer to Grandpa Simpson from Chief Wiggum to Wullie, the list goes on, and that rich array of well-loved characters should be the envy of most TV shows.

What I love about the Simpsons the most though is that a 5 year old, 14 year old and an 80 year old can watch the Simpsons and get it and like it.  The Simpsons has such great appeal across the board it is a true testament to the writing.

The sad part however, is the question of if the Simpsons finished 10 years ago would it be higher up the list?  And the sad answer is yes.

5.        Seinfeld                                             Image

What a show.  Seinfeld is an incredibly well written show with each episode culminating in a usually satisfying conclusion. However more importantly is the story arc that the writers create for each season (or across a handful of episodes), this is part of the formula which makes Seinfeld great. It shows great forward planning from the writers and creates very few throw away episodes.

The unique quartet of characters in Seinfeld plays perfectly into the storylines with Jerry (the comedian that the audience can relate to), his friend George (Jerry’s socially awkward and neurotic best friend [in my opinion the 2nd greatest TV character of all time]), Kramer (Jerry’s crazy neighbour) and Elaine (Jerry’s friend/ex-girlfriend).

Elaine is a particularly well written character, usually male writers fall into the trap when writing for females of making them nothing but eye candy with no real substance and with at best very little character development.  Elaine is the complete opposite of the standard female in a comedy stereotype.

Over 20 years since Seinfeld first aired on our television screens it is still one of the best comedies around even to this day, a massive credit to the shows quality writing and its lasting legacy.

4.       The Office                        Image

The Office (the British one of course not the ‘meh’ American re-make) is the greatest British made comedy ever in my opinion.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant revolutionised comedy in ways in which many other writers and TV shows have tried (US Office, Parks and Recreation).  Show the Office to someone who has never seen or heard of it (unlikely but maybe somewhere in the Amazon or something) and they will struggle to tell if this is a spoof or an actual documentary.

The writing is what makes the Office so great, not only have Gervais and Merchant perfectly captured the inner workings of an office but also perfectly captured real life documentary based TV.

Everyone knows a David Brent, a loser that loves his work too much, thinks he’s best mates with his staff and thinks he’s hilariously funny but is nothing but a pain in the arse.

Gervais and Merchant have shown that they are very talented writers with a string of other shows (Extras, Derek, Ricky Gervais Show) but probably their greatest stroke of genius is that they only made 15 episodes of the Office.  When people would have been throwing money at them to create more episodes, they decided instead to keep the legacy of the Office strong a lesson that American TV shows should really be paying attention to.

3.        South Park

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It seems incredible that South Park has been on our television screens since 1997, since then we’ve seen 237 episodes, a movie and a host of computer games centring around 4 small boys (who have barely aged) from Colorado and the dysfunctional town of South Park.

What makes South Park great?  South Park is quite simply a ridiculous comedy that puts kids into stupid situations that are so totally unrealistic that it could only happen in South Park.  There is nothing quite like South Park on television even to this day, and although the quality has dropped off significantly since around season 10 Parker and Stone still can produce episodes that have you remembering what it was like in the good old days.

A lot of people don’t watch South Park because it is a cartoon or its comedy is vulgar and these people are missing a treat, a comedy that has the cutting edge and relevance that The Simpsons wished it had.

South Park is not about fancy drawings (in fact the lack of graphic quality adds to its charm) it’s about the jokes and the storylines (as ridiculous as they may be), and this is part of what makes South Park a great show.

2.        Arrested Development

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The Bluth’s are my favourite comedy family of all time.  If you have watched an episode of Arrested Development it really isn’t hard to understand that statement. The Bluth’s are the perfect mix of wacky and well….wacky people, from Michael to Maeby or from Lucille to Franklin every Bluth has their hang-ups, each differentiates them from the other Bluth’s.

The chemistry the cast of AD possess with each other is a rare thing, allowing for their stories to interchange with perfect synergy.  Couple this together with seamless and funny storylines; it is no surprise that AD has placed second in my list of all time comedies.

The word play in AD is nothing but genius, manipulating the English language to hilarious extremes never seen before (Tobias anyone).

The only negative about AD is the meagre 53 (original) episodes.  However maybe the lack of AD could be considered a positive, as over exposure of TV shows like Scrubs, Family Guy and others have damaged their legacy, in comparison AD’s legacy lives on strongly and has led to the rejuvenation of everyone’s favourite family (thanks Netflix). Long live the Bluth’s! (and the Funke’s but mainly the Bluth’s!).

1.     Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Best comedy of all time?  I think it is.  Best comedy character of all time?  I think Larry David is.

Every season stands by itself, and each season has its own story arc which develops with every episode until the inevitable conclusion.  Larry David is in one word amazing.  Larry’s hi-jinks, social ineptitude and his defiance towards pretty much anyone or anything allow the audience to instantly connect as Larry says and does things that make you wish that you also had the audacity to say without the concern of whether or not it is socially acceptable.

Include on top of this a great cast of characters like Jeff (Larry’s fat best friend/agent), Susie (Jeff’s bitch wife), Leon (Larry’s black guy friend that lived with Larry because of Katrina and pretty much never left) and Funkhouser (with his deep sexy voice….), add that Curb is a mainly unscripted comedy, and you receive the formula that creates in my opinion the ultimate comedy and the greatest comedy ever.

 

 

So there you go the Greatest 20 Comedies of all time!  It was a bitch to write.  So what do you think?  Are there any slaps in the face?  Are there any shows that just don’t belong?  Or have I got it spot on?  Let me know what you think, all comments are appreciated.

Shows you missed and should really be watching.

Moone Boy                                                        Moone Boy; Series 1

Moone Boy is the semi-autobiographical show from Chris O’Dowd (of IT Crowd and Bridesmaids fame) centred around a small boy from Ireland who has an imaginary friend (stay with me).

It sounds shit, let’s be honest it really does but it is not, it is actually really good.  Like many TV shows of this kind it is really quirky.  Lazy evaluations would compare it to Father Ted in terms, but really other than being Irish there is no major comparison.

They so far have only produced one season and have made a second one to be shown later this year.  The problem with Moone Boy is simple, it is shown on Sky One (and not at all in America as far as I can see) and the audience availability just isn’t as good as on network TV.

Moone Boy is definitely worth a watch and with only 6 episodes currently available it makes a nice little taste in case you don’t want the full meal.

 

Breaking Bad

breaking bad

If you read my previous post about the top 5 current TV shows (which based on views not many people have, thanks mum) you will know that I think that this is not only the best show currently on TV but also potentially the greatest show ever.

So why is this on your TV shows you may have missed? I hear you scream.  Well the simple fact of the matter is that in the UK Breaking Bad is no longer even on a channel and you have to watch it on Netflix.  In the USA the viewing figures have been average despite the fact that Breaking Bad has had huge critical acclaim.

You really are missing a trick if you do not watch this TV show, it really is that damn good.

 

Episodes

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Epsiodes stars Friends legend Matt Le Blanc as the struggling actor Matt Le Blanc (funny how art imitates life) who gets thrown into a role that he is totally unsuitable for, much to the dismay of the husband and wife writing team (two Britishy people you may know from Britishy things).

Episodes basically is based on the events that many writers suffer from when they create an idea (or in this case have created an idea and have it converted for American TV because for some reason American’s can’t just take the foreign version of the show so have to make a brand new American version of the show which let’s be honest is never ever as good) and the networks basically destroy it and make it into another generic TV show, much to their horror.

It’s shown on Showtime in the USA and yet somehow still has really poor viewing figures despite critical acclaim and the fact Matt Le Blanc is in it (and also really good in it as the past it actor).  The British viewing figures are better but still not great considering it is on BBC2.

This is a gem of a show which has went about its business without much noise and really does give a sort of inside look into the world of TV production from a writers and actors standpoint.

 

Bob’s Burgers

bobs burgers

Bob’s Burgers is a weird choice for the list for me because it is a show that I haven’t really watched. (What?).

I think I have maybe seen about half the episodes which I hadn’t realised until I seen that they had made like 3 seasons (which is 1 season more than I thought).  Honestly I just don’t really know when it is on in the UK, I know it’s on E4 but somehow I must have missed it by accident.

Nonetheless regardless of my babbling at the lack of my awareness for shows I like, Bob’s Burgers is really good.  It looks a bit shit (graphically), but much like old episodes of South Park it has a charm to it and carries the graphics along with good funny stories and good characters.

Although it is part of the Fox animated comedy line-up, it doesn’t get the same viewing figures as a Family Guy or an American Dad even though the quality of Bob’s Burgers is much higher.  I have already listed my dismay at Bob’s Burgers position on British TV and just feel like people are missing out on what is in my opinion currently the best animated TV show available.

 

Curb Your Enthusiasm

curb your enthusiasm

Much like Breaking Bad Curb is one of my favourite shows ever.  Yet somehow it does not get the recognition it deserves for just being so damn good.

Curb is a stalwart of HBO and the 8th season seen it’s viewings more than double and yet still not enough people have seen this piece of comedic genius.  It’s buried away on More 4 in the UK and has recently been re-shown on Sky Atlantic.

Larry David is a comedy God and how one man can make such an amazing show after being half of the genius that brought us Seinfeld is beyond me.  If you are a fan of Seinfeld then you will also be a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  It’s almost like a George Costanza spin off show but with no George Costanza (except when Jason Alexander shows up).

Season 7’s Seinfeld reunion theme makes it a must see if for all Seinfeld fans and every other season is a must see for anyone who considers themselves a comedy fan.

 

 

So what do you think?  Have I missed a gem myself?  Do you feel some of these shows really don’t belong in here?  All comments are appreciated and welcome.

Top 5 shows currently on TV.

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This review will naturally contain some spoilers, those which do say *spoilers* next to them.  So don’t get bitchy if you are stupid enough to read them and ruin a show for yourself.

 

Honourable mentions

Curb Your Enthusiasm

In life there are many questions, however one question stands above all others in importance.  What would Larry David do?  To people who have never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm, you have missed the best (see how it’s underlined for emphasis, so I really mean the best) comedy of its generation, and one of the best comedies ever.

The show is mainly unscripted and follows the hilariously brilliant Larry David playing a fictionalised version of himself (which incidentally is one of the greatest TV characters around) as he falls into awkward and crazy social situations which have a tendency to end in hilarious consequences, usually because of Larry’s own ineptitudes (which you find yourself agreeing with far too often, damn shmohawks).

What makes this show unbelievably excellent (other than Larry) is the way that each season has its own story progress.  Whether it’s preparing for a stage show or making a Seinfeld reunion to get his wife back, each season has its own persona where every episode adds to the overall plot of that season.

In many ways Curb is similar to Seinfeld in the way the seasons are produced, it’s a bit like Seinfeld but more edgy and with swearing.  Curb/Seinfeld should be the basis for all comedy shows to base how to write a proper well-structured season.

So why is it getting and honourable mention I hear you scream?  Well the incredible season 8 was shown in 2011, we’re now in 2013 and so far there is no indication of whether or not there will be another season.  So for me that is not a current TV show, even if it has not officially concluded.  Nonetheless, if you have not seen Curb Your Enthusiasm as of yet, you are missing one of the greatest shows of all time.

Boardwalk Empire                            *spoilers*

I swithered about putting this in the top 5, but when I looked at my other nominees I kind of felt that there was a lack of diversity.  However I don’t believe there is much between Boardwalk and No. 4 and 5.

Anyway this is a really good show and if I had made this list last year there is no doubt in my mind that this would have been top 5 no problem, but season 3 (which I did enjoy) was the weakest the show has produced so far.  It felt like after they killed Jimmy at the end of season 2, they just didn’t really know where to go with themselves.  I can understand that it is difficult to move on after you have killed off you second main character but the show just had a taste of another over exposed American TV show.

Gyp Rosetti was a great character and Bobby Cannavale (who played Gyp) was awesome, but Boardwalk fell into that classic TV hole where they introduce a new antagonist in the first episode and then boom he is dead by the last episode.  It is a hole where it becomes obvious where seasons begin and end and it takes away the tension of anything this character does because you always feel that in the end the good guy is going to win regardless of how horrific the bad guy is (I’m looking at you Dexter).

Nonetheless Steve Buscemi is still epic in the role as Nucky and because they based the show on true events it allows for several passages for future seasons to go down.  The potential for Boardwalk is almost endless (with notable characters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, among others), hopefully season 4 is more along the lines of seasons 1 and 2, to get this great TV show back on track.

Right onto the real list.

5.    Modern Family

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Currently this is the best comedy on television.  There is a reason that the cast of Modern Family tend to dominate the comedy nominations at the Emmy’s.  Who is the main character is Modern Family?  Is there one?  Not really.  Modern Family is very much a cast comedy, a show that does not rely on just one performance to carry the show ala Two and a Half Men with and without Charlie Sheen (is that show still on?…..really?……Jesus……).

Don’t get me wrong there are a number of standout performances from Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrel, Sofia Vergara, Rico Rodriguez and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (who’s like 5 and is a better performer than Ashton Kutcher (damn Two and a Half Men sucks…….why is that show still on?).

Each episode is well constructed and each episode stands on its own.  If there is a criticism of the show it would be that there is very little season plot and at times it goes in a circle with its storylines (this isn’t a surprise considering they have done almost 100 episodes, some of them will be similar).  Nonetheless this is very much the best current comedy on TV and also the best show produced by American network channels.

4.     The Walking Dead            *spoilers*

walking dead big silly

It was a tight decision between TWD and Boardwalk to which would make the top 5, but TWD just edged it slightly.  I like TWD; it’s a high action you don’t know what’s round the corner show that has a tendency to kill off its major characters without a second thought.  Although loosely (and I mean loosely) based upon the comic book series of the same name, it has a tendency to go along its own line of progression which allows for more flexibility on popular characters or the loss of actors from the series.

It’s hard to make a zombie based show stand out, because it is such an over saturated genre, but TWD is easily the best.  They tend to look at the emotional side of people as much as they look at the killing zombie side, and they do it well, which is why it is a cut above.  The acting is generally good and the progression of the storyline tends to keep going but the show can be a bit inconsistent.  On one hand you get incredible episodes such as the first four episodes of season 3, where stalwarts of the show are knocked off like they’re bit characters (Merle, Shane, Laurie among others) and the show is incredibly exciting and emotional.

On the other hand you get a lot of episodes where quite frankly nothing happens or they’re anti-climactic such as the season 3 finale or episode 9 from season 3.  The second half of season 3 was not nearly as good as the first half of season 3, partially because they set such high expectations for the show but also because they clearly changed their minds on the governor (keeping him on for another season rather than killing him off).  There have been introductions of new major characters throughout the show (Maggie and Hershel in season 2 and Tyreese in season 3) and it allows for the show to feel fresh.  There are issues such as occasional plot holes and the tendency for the show to knock off their black characters just as they introduce new ones (T-Dog nooooooooo).

TV shows which do too many plot twists and OMG moments desensitise the viewer from what is going on, so something major happens and you’re like meh (cough*Homeland season 2*cough), and this is an area that the TWD really has to try and avoid falling into, who knows by season 5 it will just be Rick left with his split personalities, that could be a laugh maybe……

Anyway TWD is a good show and is well worth catching if for some reason you haven’t, but expect highs and lows in terms of your emotional state and your frustration as TWD manages to pull both at the same time.  When The Walking Dead is good it is easily one of the best shows on TV, however it has too many low episodes too really compete against the top 3.

3.     Mad Men

esq-9-don-draper-sunglasses-101510-lg(We here at BM23TVReviews do not condone smoking but God damn that guy is cool)

Just a great show.  Don Draper is one of the greatest characters of all time.  He’s everything.  He is cool, a ladies man, successful, rich, handsome (oh god he is handsome), the guy has everything yet he is a depressed alcoholic who likes cheating on his wife on a regular basis.  Regardless of all of this who doesn’t want to be Don Draper?

Don is by far the best character on the show and he is the focal point but to say he is the only character is a disservice to the rest of a very good cast.  Roger is amazing as the useless lazy past his prime rich playboy, almost like a richer less successful or talented version of Don.  Pete Campbell is a right dick, nough said.  There is a host of other great characters like Joan, Peggy and Harry Crane to name a few in a show that is carried by its strong characters as much as by the style and nostalgia of the era it is set in.

Not much really happens in Mad Men yet that is ok, because you tune in to watch the characters as much as the actual show, and although quite often stories sort of repeat themselves (generally Don’s indiscretions) Mad Men still plods along quite nicely, always making you want more.

2.       Game of Thrones

game-of-mad-men-game-of-thrones-mad-men-meme-lol-funny-pictures-john-hamm(Make it happen George!)

This show is excellent and if it weren’t for the greatness of no. 1 this would easily be the best show on television.  People have commented that GOT is like a grownups Lord of the Rings but it is more than that.  As great as LOTR is (and oh god it is great), GOT is only comparable in the fact that they are both fantasy.

Similarish (a word I have invented btw) to LOTR, GOT has a vast cast of characters each with a differing story progression that occasionally will interlink with each other in an intelligent manner, but GOT just does it better.  A large part of this is the format in which the books have been written but more so because GOT is a 10 part series compared to LOTR being a 3 hour movie, it allows for GOT to go into incredibly great details of all its characters.  Part of the greatness of GOT is that unlike some shows it does not rely solely on action scenes to sell the show to viewers.

The politics played in GOT is unbelievable, as characters posture themselves into positions to receive leverage and avoid betrayal from so called friends.  Everyone is in it for themselves; add this together with the brilliant action scenes, incredible plot twists and very good acting from one of the largest casts on TV.

Season 3 which has just concluded covers the first part of the third book and there is already the structure set down for a further 3 seasons plus more once George R.R.Martin gets his finger out.  Game of Thrones is a piece of television masterpiece and is not only one of the best current TV shows but will also probably go down as one of the greatest shows of all time.

1.      Breaking Bad

walter white

If GOT is excellent then Breaking Bad is a masterpiece.

With the second half of season 5 (the concluding season) coming later this year, we will truly be able to judge if BB belongs in the pantheon of amazing shows such as the Wire and The Sopranos.  Who would have thought that a TV show about an under performing chemistry teacher who gets cancer and decides one day that cooking crystal meth is a good way to leave money for his family after he is dead.  It sounds sort of silly but the reality of it is that it is pure genius.

Walter White knocks the door to becoming one of the greatest characters of all time, and who would have thought that Hal from Malcolm in the Middle could reinvent himself so well.  Jesse Pinkman as his gangsta (loose use of the phrase) sidekick/meth assistant is a great character to play off the apparent by the book ways of Walter White.  The father son relationship that is created between the two is so well designed as Walter yearns to help save Jesse from his demons.

BB is not about cooking meth and dealing drugs.  BB is about the relationship of a man as he strives to do what he perceives to be the correct decisions for his family and himself before he dies and how he struggles with these decisions and how they affect those around him.

What makes BB a cut above every other show is that you could watch all 54 episodes in a row and struggle to distinguish when each season begins and ends.  I doubt from the start the writers knew where they would be by the fifth season but you honestly couldn’t tell the writing is that good.  When watching BB you don’t question the moral decisions Walter makes, you understand them and you understand the way that each character evolves as the show progresses.

Breaking Bad has very few down moments in the series as a whole, it really is the best show on television.  Depending on how season 5 concludes later this year, we could be talking about potentially the greatest show of all time.

There you go, the top 5 TV shows currently on television.  What do you think?  Have I missed a blatantly obvious show without realising it?  Or have I got it spot on?  Leave a comment and show your opinion it would be greatly appreciated.