TIM WILDMON: ‘Top 10’ of television spans decades and, er, space

Tim Wildmon

Tim Wildmon

Over dinner with some friends over 50 years of age, we got into a conversation about our favorite television shows. Invariably it led to the “they don’t make them like they used to” discussion. Which is completely subjective but that is what makes it fun. But it’s true, entertainment television was much better before “reality TV” took over. This got me to thinking about my favorite shows of all time. With apologies to David Letterman, here is my Top 10:

10. “The Waltons” It ran on CBS from 1972-81. We watched it every week. Each episode emphasized the strong values that an intact family can survive on even it very difficult economic times. Wonderful characters.

9. “Newhart” Not to be confused with “The Bob Newhart Show” which had Bob Newhart as a psychiatrist and, like Newhart, was also very funny. But “Newhart” centered around Bob and his wife running a bed and breakfast in rural Vermont. The eccentric cast of characters mixed with Newhart’s dry wit gave the program excellent comedic appeal. It ran from 1982-90 on CBS. I laugh just looking at Bob Newhart.

8. “Gilligan’s Island” “… Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip that started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship…” This show added absolutely nothing to the intellectual development of the American people and had an absolutely ridiculous premise…but many people loved it anyway. It played on CBS for just three seasons from 1964-67.

7. “The Andy Griffith Show” Arguably the best overall show in television history. But again, this list is one person’s opinion. Loved this show. Start whistling the theme song and someone will start talking about their favorite episode.

6. “The King of Queens” This show in my guilty pleasure. No redeeming value whatsoever, but Kevin James and Jerry Stiller were hilarious together on CBS from 1998-2007.

5. “Star Trek” I loved watching this show when I came home from school in the 70s. It wasn’t for everyone, but everyone knew where the expression, “Beam me up, Scotty,” came from. It aired on NBC from 1966-69 and stared William Shatner as the iconic Captain Kirk, the most decisive man in the history of the future world if you can have a “history” of the “future world.”

4. “The Carol Burnett Show” If you are old enough to remember this classic skit-comedy you are smiling just thinking about it. If you want to cry laughing, do an Internet search with the words “Tim Conway dentist” and watch one of the funniest moments in television history. The show ran on CBS from 1967-78. I’m so glad we had this time together…

3. “24” If you want to become a worthless human being until noon each day, start watching Jack Bauer starting with season one every night on DVD. “24” is the most addictive show in the history of television. It ran on Fox from 2001-2010.

2. “The Cosby Show” This was a huge hit on NBC from 1984-92. Funny, funny, funny, with great family values starring legendary comedian Bill Cosby.

Drum roll please…

1. “Colombo” I watched this show with my dad most every week. God put actor Peter Falk on earth to play detective Colombo which aired on NBC from 1968-78. The irony of this show is that you already knew “who done it” before the coy, disheveled, cigar-toting detective arrived on the scene. Colombo is the gold standard for detective shows.

So, there you have it. I know, I know. You can’t believe I ranked “Gilligan’s Island” and left out “Gunsmoke,” or “Dragnet,” or “Mission Impossible,” or…hey, give Gilligan his due. The boy tried to get them off the island, he did. He just happened to have Attention Deficit Disorder before we knew what it was …

Community columnist TIM WILDMON is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at twildmon@afa.net.