So, what’s the topic on this month’s “40 Years of Favorites?
Well, mysterious announcer person, I’m glad you asked. This month, it’s all about TV. Like most kids in my generation, I grew up watching my fair share. Maybe more than I should, in hindsight. But it was a way to bring the family together. These days, it’s a good way to unwind after a tough day. But there is the age-old problem of finding a show everyone can watch without fighting over the remote. Especially with the content out there now and the numerous ways to watch TV without being in the house.
This month, I’m creating two top ten lists. This week, I’m focusing on live television. Daytime, prime time. It’s fair game. The most important thing is that these shows have me a lot of fond memories in the forty years I’ve spent here. Some of it in front of a screen, which may come back to haunt me when all is said and done.
- The Big Bang Theory. It was the show that made geek culture cool. I believe one of the reasons this show was such a hit was that everyone could relate to Sheldon or Leonard or Penny: brilliant in one area, but lacking in others. I grew up thinking geeks and nerds were a bad thing. Mostly because I was one and was teased for it. But TBBT gave me a sense of confidence I didn’t have in my childhood. And now, my children can see that being a geek can be cool.
- The Price Is Right. “Come on down!” The three most famous words in daytime TV. Over forty years, and this show is still going strong. I watched this show since I was three. I don’t get it to watch it as much since I work. And while I like Drew Carey as host, Bob Barker will always be quintessential star that propelled the show to the success it has gained the last forty years.
- Angel. Granted, this spin-off didn’t last as long as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or not as popular. Still, I like the titular character. An unlikely hero on the road to redemption, fighting evil whilst keeping his dark urges at bay. I also liked how it wasn’t a Buffy clone. There were a few characters that crossed over, but it included some new faces. And the villains the team faced were in a different league than anything Ms. Summers would ever come across.
- General Hospital. A lot of stars got their start on soap operas and General Hospital is no exception. Like Price Is Right, I’m not able to watch this as much. I try to keep up with all the storylines. I have to thank my grandmother for turning me on to soaps, especially this one. I really started paying attention in the middle of the Text Message Killer storyline. I thought I would never find myself rooting for the “bad guys,” and there’s obviously more to characters like Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan than the criminal activity. They’re just so fun to watch.
- House M. D. Between this and Grey’s Anatomy, this was my go-to for medical drama mostly because of the titular character. He’s a genius when it comes to solving the strangest medical mysteries, but his bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired. There are few that can match his intellect and bear his delivery of brutal honesty. Not his boss, Cuddy. Not his best friend, Wilson. And certainly not the revolving members of his team. But the fact that he could truly care less about what you think of him is what makes Dr. House such an endearing character. At some point, we wish we could be him.
- Modern Family. The traditional family nucleus is not what it was; it has evolved with the times. This comedy touches on all those dynamics as it follows the Pritchett family. They’re all degrees of dysfunctional, which is what makes this show a hoot to watch. Out of the three families in the Pritchett household, Mitchell and Cam are the most realistic as a gay couple making their way in a world that’s more open, but still not fully accepting.
- Melrose Place. My mom and I watched this show religiously. We watched 90210, too, but Melrose took the drama of that show and raised it to 11. All the backstabbing, bed-hopping, and explosiveness you could handle, literally and figuratively. It may have been outlandish at times, but it was fun. And even more when Heather Locklear, an Aaron Spelling alum, joined the cast. This is a show that should have been left alone. The updated version was not worth it.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Growing up, there weren’t many shows that highlighted a tight-knit African-American family. This was one of the few exceptions. Granted, Will is a catalyst that disrupts his uncle’s well-to-do family, but they all come around and become better people. I like that show wasn’t afraid to tackle tough issues like parental relations. Most of you reading this know the monologue I speak of. I watched it as many times as that episode aired and felt the same way.
- Family Matters. Another show with a stable African-American family. Much like Fresh Prince, it wasn’t afraid to take on serious stuff. Drugs, race relations, bullying. Issues many families in the eighties and nineties had to discuss. But let’s be honest, the main reason we all watched was because of Steve Urkel. The neighbor that terrorized the Winslow household. And everyone, even me, quoted his catchphrase. But we all grow up…at some point.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation. As a child of the eighties, I didn’t have the privilege of the original shape my love for science fiction. But Next Generation resolved that issue. While Picard may not be the best captain in the franchise, I will say he is the most passionate. And the gallery of alien races in this iteration far surpasses anything the original could ever dream up. Specifically, the iconic Borg and the mischievous Q. And this is why I’m looking forward to the newest series, Picard.