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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

TV's most influential show ever? Color it "Blue"

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,,,and it's not "NYPD Blue".

Critics and media professors tell CNN that the tube's most influential show EVER is..."Hill Street Blues".


The panel lauds it's diverse cast and gritty view of inner city crime, among other things, for the distinction.   What I remember about "Blues" is that it was one of the first of it's era to have continuing, week-to-week story lines.   Many dramas wrapped up neatly in 60 minutes--sure, the same characters were there each episode with the same backgrounds but there was a new problem to deal with, a new bad guy to catch each night.   Not so with "Blues".   It left you hanging when the credits rolled, and it brought you back the next week.

"NYPD Blue", for all the hubub it created with it's language, nudity, and grittiness, didn't make the list.   

What else did?

"I Love Lucy" and "The Sopranos" tied for number two.   "Lucy" is hailed as the prototype for the three-camera sitcom that we still feast upon today.  "Sopranos", say the experts, was the first drama to make it's main character not only unsympathetic "but evil", a device that's very, very common today (think "Sons Of Anarchy").

Next comes "The Tonight Show", often imitated but never duplicated when Johnny Carson sat behind the desk.   "All In The Family" ties for fifth with "Survivor".   Archie Bunker brought edge to the sitcom.   "Survivor" made reality TV a prime time staple, for better or worse."

Cracking the top ten is "American Idol" which the critics laud for showing the potential of the tried and true "talent show" which dates back to the days of "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour".    Yes, no one would confuse Mr. Mack with Ryan Seacrest.

Additions?  Subtractions?  I think "The Dick Van Dyke Show" should be on the list for taking the sitcom to another, more brainy level, not to mention for the sheer genius of having the foresight to put Mary Tyler Moore in the forefront as a major character (not to mention her Capri pants--they left a mark on this impressionable kid).

What would you add or subtract?   Fire away.



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