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|09-25-2003, 05:46 PM||#1|
Future NHL Commissioner
Join Date: Jul 20, 2001
Location: Oakville, Ont. Canada
Top 50 Sitcoms Of All Time----Unbiased And Unemotional
A few months ago, I replied to a thread where TV fans were asked to name their top 50 sitcoms of all time, an exercise which I heartily enjoyed. As I looked at what other people picked as their favorites, I noticed some fairly obvious personal biases where everyone was drawn to certain sitcoms by following a specific pattern. Some were drawn to the older classic shows like "I Love Lucy" or "Dick Van Dyke" while others preferred the modern classics like "Cheers" and "Friends", with no 2 people having similar tastes. When I looked at my list again, I wondered how many of my favorites would also show up on similar lists drawn up by TV critics and other so-called 'experts', people whose jobs revolve around watching TV all day and having to write about it for such respected publications like TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly, and Internet web sites like this one or The Futon Critic.
Just to refresh your memory, here are the shows that TV Guide picked:
Now take a good look at that list and count how many of your favorite shows made the cut. I counted 23 out of my own top 50, which was better than I expected.
So then I wondered how I could make a similar Top 50 list without accounting for personal taste, being influenced by my head rather than my heart. So what I did was to go through more than 100 different sitcoms from the 1950s to the present, (the final total was 127) from "Burns and Allen" to "Malcolm In The Middle" and I ranked each one according to certain criteria which I will explain below.
It naturally follows that the longer a sitcom keeps airing in prime time, the better it is. This doesn't quite apply to all cases, but it's a good way to start. I made note of how many seasons each series lasted and how many episodes originally aired and I came up with the following formula:
Number of Seasons X 10 + number of episodes
Example: "Happy Days":11 seasons X 10 + 255 episodes = 365 points
STEP 2---NIELSEN RATINGS
Another assumption that can easily be made is that the more viewers that a sitcom attracts and the more popular it becomes, which is reflected in the weekly and yearly Nielsen ratings, the better it is. This method appears to work better than Step 1 because it accurately measures a sitcom's hold on the viewing public from year to year. I looked through the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1950-2003 and checked off each sitcom that finished in the top 20 for each year and gave them points in reverse order based on order of finish. This means that the #1 show received 20 points, #2 gets 19 points, #3 gets 18 points, and so on up to #20 who ends up with 1 point.
STEP 3---EMMY AWARD WINNERS
Whatever your reservations about the Emmy Awards might be---the telecast is too long, boring, unfunny, etc. and the same shows seem to win every year (all valid points)---there is no denying that winning an Emmy is the highest honor that anyone involved with television can win. Knowing this, I gave each sitcom a big 25 points for every Emmy they've won. If you think that's too high let me know and I can change it to a lower number like 20 or 15, in the interest of maintaining fairness and accuracy.
STEP 4---JUMP THE SHARK
The final step involves a method which would allow me to take away points rather than add any more. This would involve finding a sitcom's weaknesses to balance their strengths, which were evaluated in the first 3 steps. No website does a better job of exploiting these weaknesses than "Jump The Shark". Once again, it is the viewers who decide how good or bad a particular sitcom is and they're never short of opinions either way. With the help of various episode guides, I would look up the precise point at which each show 'jumped' and used that point to reduce the total score. In other words, if a sitcom aired 200 episodes and it was determined to have jumped at around Episode #150, then it would lose 50 points. If a sitcom was a Day 1 jumper, then the total number of episodes would be subtracted from the score. If a sitcom never jumped at all, then no points would be added or subtracted. This greatly benefitted series like "The Simpsons" and "Cheers" and hurt others like Day 1 jumpers "Full House", "Who's The Boss?", and "Ozzie and Harriet", which lost a whopping 435 points, keeping it from a certain spot in the Top 20.
FINAL TOTAL: Step 1 + Step 2 + Step 3 - Step 4
Now that I've explained the process, it's time to salute our winners and here they are:
3. The Simpsons
4. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
5. All In The Family
7. Murphy Brown
8. Make Room For Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show
9. The Dick Van Dyke Show
11. The Golden Girls
13. Everybody Loves Raymond
14. Home Improvement
15. My Three Sons
16. The Andy Griffith Show
18. Mad About You
19. The Cosby Show
20. Night Court
21. I Love Lucy
22. The Jeffersons
23. The Beverly Hillbillies
24. Will and Grace
25. Father Knows Best
26. Family Ties
27. 3rd Rock From The Sun
29. Get Smart
30. The Phil Silvers Show/Sgt. Bilko
31. The Donna Reed Show
32. The Real McCoys
33. The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
34. Happy Days
35. The Drew Carey Show
36. Empty Nest
37. Hogan's Heroes
38. The Lucy Show
40. Barney Miller
41. Three's Company
44. Sanford and Son
45. Laverne and Shirley
47. A Different World
48. Malcolm In the Middle
49. Here's Lucy
50. The Wonder Years
Congratulations to all the winners!
If anyone knows a better way to do this, I'd love to hear about it!
|09-25-2003, 06:25 PM||#2|
Elizabeth B. Malone
Join Date: Feb 16, 2003
Location: Swampland USA
Re: Top 50 Sitcoms Of All Time----Unbiased And Unemotional
I thought it was perfect! hehe I started automatically doing it with Cheers when I started seeing the process you put each show through, and Cheers was coming out on top for me. I don't understand how Seinfeld is number one. Don't get me wrong, it's a great show, but I don't understand why they always give it number one. Cheers didn't deserve to be after the simpsons lol it was number 16 in the tv guide thing.
Strange Fascinations, Fascinating me
|09-25-2003, 07:06 PM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 30, 2003
heres the top 10 of those shows
10-The Jeffersons 9-3rd Rock From The Sun 8-Everybody Loves Raymond 7-Fraiser 6-All In The Family 5-Threes Company 4-Seinfeild 3-Malcom In The Middle 2-Sanford and Son 1- The Simpsons
|09-25-2003, 07:54 PM||#4|
TVAdam No More
Join Date: Sep 11, 2002
Location: Springfield, Ohio
Re: Top 50 Sitcoms Of All Time----Unbiased And Unemotional
Of the shows you listed, here's the ones I LOVE:
Make Room For Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show
My Three Sons
I Love Lucy
The Donna Reed Show
TV Guide's list sucked. I don't see how they can combine all varieties of shows together. They should have "50 Greatest Sitcoms" or "Greatest Dramas".
Besides, I tend to love those shows that aren't Emmy winners, or high rated (NewsRadio, Wings, Andy Richter Controls the Universe). Just because alot of people like certain shows, doesn't make me like them. I really don't like when TV Guide does a list like that. They make it seem like their list is a fact. When really all shows are good to certain people. There is no "The Best Show Ever". There are just good shows to different people.
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The videos are numbered but the early ones aren't as good. #3 is where I really get going.
|09-25-2003, 09:20 PM||#5|
Still Loving Lucy!
Join Date: Sep 23, 2001
Location: In the Wonderful World of Lucy!
I don't agree with this list. How can a cult classic like The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island not be in the Top 50? I find that to be somewhat unbelievable. Plus, some shows that weren't included in the list are popular now such as Full House or I Dream of Jeannie while other shows that were in the top aren't easy recognizable.
|09-25-2003, 09:41 PM||#6|
Join Date: Mar 19, 2001
Location: Sunset Beach, NC
I can't reach 50...but here are some
#01-I Love Lucy
#02-The Golden Girls
#04-The Lucy Show
#07-Laverne & Shirley
#08-Mary Tyler Moore
#09-The Facts of Life
ahhh its too hard
|09-25-2003, 11:51 PM||#7|
Hey, I know you.
Join Date: Dec 03, 2001
Location: New Jersey
I'd like to see what would happen if you lowered the Emmy value to 10 or 15 (I'd prefer 10).
Emmy awards sometime fall into patterns rather than the best work. And you're awarding it for every Emmy, even technical ones?
Anyway, that won't affect the top shows, but I'd like to see who would make the list instead.
|09-27-2003, 02:29 PM||#8|
Join Date: Dec 29, 2001
Location: There beneath the blue suburban skies, in summer, meanwhile back....
Me too- since the Emmy awards are chosen by a select, often biased, small group of people rather than a whole group like in the other criteria. I also wonder how much the list would change if the Emmys weren't counted at all.
(Besides, newer shows get the benefit of more Emmy categories than older ones.)
The largest collection of Bewitched fan fiction on the Net!
|09-27-2003, 02:36 PM||#9|
Join Date: Dec 01, 2000
Location: Between a rock and a hard place.
Re: Re: Top 50 Sitcoms Of All Time----Unbiased And Unemotional
I agree with you there. Also, just because a show wasn't on for a long time doesn't mean it can't be considered a classic. I consider NewsRadio classic television, and that show lasted only for 4 and 1/2 seasons. Friends, on the other hand, I've never understood the appeal of. Everyone has different tastes.
I hate the way magazines like TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly act like their opinions are undisputable facts too.
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