In recent years television shows have risen to become just as important as film in terms of leading actor roles and the quality of scripts being delivered week after week. Shows explore stereotypes, everyday family occurrences, high school dramas, super heroes and post-apocalyptic elements. They can make you laugh hysterically and alternatively make you sob in hysterics at a season final.
What makes a brilliant show is a concoction of a number of factors. Brilliant script writing, art direction, acting, lighting, sound, cinematography and most importantly, the story and our love for the characters. In our survey we posted early in July, we asked you to name your top ten television shows, whether they be comedies, dramas or sci-fi’s. Out of the 167 people surveyed, what they chose may surprise you.
10. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Produced and set in New York City, Law & Order Special Victims Unit is an American police-drama, following the original format and structure of Law & Order. Christopher Meloni played Detective Elliot Stabler until the end of season 12, due to a disagreement on his contract. Mariska Hargitay (pictured front) still currently portrays detective Olivia Benson.
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Running for almost 9 years, Scrubs became a highly successful American comedy-drama starring Zach Braff as the iconic character J.D. The series originated with medical interns working at a fictional Sacred Heart Teaching Hospital and was centred around Braff’s character.
8. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy The Vampire Slayer ran from 1997-2003 and has been rated as one of the most successful American television shows of all time. Centred around Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her friends at Sunnydale High School, the series involves some vampire slaying and some all around ass-kicking. Of course there’s romance and drama, but Joss Whedon certainly employed excellent script writers and all an round outstanding cast.
7. Modern Family
Debuting in 2009, originally pitched as “My American Family“, Modern Family is structured in a mockumentary style, depicting the lives of what is deemed to be a slightly less normal American family. Winning three Emmy awards for The Most Outstanding Comedy Series, Modern Family has certainly developed into an outstanding American television show.
6. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
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Running for nearly six years, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air starred Will Smith as a teenager from West Philadelphia. The genesis for the show began with Will Smith himself, after he was almost declared bankrupt in the late 80’s, NBC approached him and pitched him the idea of creating a television show about a fictionalised version of Smith. The above clip is a T.V show-remix by Australian remix artist Pogo (aka Nick Bertke).
5. Two & A Half Men
Another sitcom to make it on the list is the infamous Two & A Half Men. Initially airing in 2003, the show has been a long running American television sitcom that has captivated audiences globally due to it’s often crude but simplistic humour and banter between two brothers, a housekeeper and a teenage boy. Originally starring Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones, Ashton Kutcher half replaced Charlie Sheen as the main character in the show, after Sheen was dismissed on March 7 in 2010 due to drug problems. With Charlie Harper leading a hedonistic lifestyle, the episodes often featured various story lines about the success and failures of the brothers relationships and home life.
4. Game Of Thrones
An adaptation of ‘A Song Of Ice And Fire’ by George R. R. Martin, Game Of Thrones is an epic fantasy drama series which premiered on HBO in 2011. With intricately woven plot lines centred around the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos it has established a large international fan base, and has already been renewed for a fourth season. Although the series has caused some controversy regarding nudity and violence, it has received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for all three seasons.
Setting the benchmark for sitcoms, F.R.I.E.N.D.S is a story about love, sex, friendship and lots and lots of pizza. Originally airing on September 22, 1994 and running for ten consecutive seasons until May 6, 2004, it became one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Matt Le Blanc and Lisa Kudrow, the show was based in Manhattan, New York, although most of the principal filming took place in the Warner Bros studios in Los Angeles. The infamous opening scene with the cast frolicking in a water fountain was shot at 4am with heated water and the cast were given a few lines from the now famous “Ill Be There For You” to sing and dance to. If you haven’t seen all 236 episodes then you are truly missing out.
2. How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother or ‘HIMYM’ for short first aired in 2005, with the show coming to an end with its ninth and final season. Following the main character of Ted Mosby, each episode is framed around himself recounting to his kids in the year 2030 about how he met their mother. With Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is centred around the life of Ted Mosby (Radnor) and his friends who live in Manhattan, and the events leading up to the reveal of Ted’s future wife.
1. The Simpsons
The Simpsons. Need I say more? To be honest we were surprised to see this as number one, but nevertheless, here is the low-down. Created by Matt Groening, The Simpsons became a parody of a middle class American family who lives in a middle class American neighbourhood. Set in the fictional town of Springfield it parodies many aspects of the American lifestyle, culture and politics. Since gracing our screens in 1989, it is now the longest running American television sitcom, animated program and prime time television series; and has currently aired 536 episodes. The unique element about The Simpsons is the level of dexterity between the primary and secondary characters. Third tier characters are often voiced by famous actors/musicians/politicians who portray themselves or others. With the odd Halloween episode, the life and lies of Lisa Simpson, the troubles of Bart and the woes of Homer Simpson, the most famous American family I think has a little bit left in them.