This has been a weekend devoid of news. Because it was a 4 day trip helping us celebrate our nation’s founding, this shouldn’t be surprising. But for those of us who run a UK website, such period of inactivity can be difficult. So I spent part of the weekend re-watching my favorite all-time television show, only to also realize that it made the Entertainment Weekly List of the Top 100 Shows in Television History. The ranking, which was included in a magazine that also ranked movies, albums and books, is sure to spark debate (and we will deal with the other lists at another time), but generally I thought it was a well-done ranking. Here were the top 10 (THEIR LIST, NOT MINE), with some comments from me:
1. The Wire: Hands down, in my opinion, the best show that has ever been on television. I have watched season 1 completely through six times, the last of which was again this past week. The Wire goes through five seasons, touching on numerous aspects of life in Baltimore. You probably know it for the drug culture (with characters like Stringer Bell, Omar and the Barksdales), but it also hits politics, education, the media, unions, police and much more. There are literally 40 scenes in this show that I can picture vividly and I pick up some new nuance every time I watch. It is the best show ever made, and in my view, nothing is close. Watch it if you have never done so.
2. The Simpsons: Can’t really argue with this one either. While the series isn’t quite what it once was, it is still on television nearly 25 years after it premiered. That is astounding. The show gave us what I would argue is the best comedic character in tv history, Homer, and has over the years had the most consistently clever writing of any show. I admit, I don’t watch it now, but mainly because I forget it is on. But the best episodes (MONORAIL!) can still make me laugh as much as any show ever.
3. Seinfeld: No show with one exception (see below) is better to watch on reruns than Seinfeld. Every episode has funny scenes and no show has ever had more parts that become applicable (and memorable) during your everyday life than this one. Whether it is “Master of your Domain”, “Not that there is anything wrong with that”, “Yada Yada Yada” or “that is one magic loogie”, quotable Seinfeld lines are second only to Caddyshack for consistent everyday usage.
4. Mary Tyler Moore: Before my time so I know little about it. I do know that it was the best portrayal of a working woman ever and my mom loved it. But for me, I have to pass…I am sure it should be here on the list, but I can’t say that I have seen more than a few minutes of any episode.
5. The Sopranos: I am in total agreement with this show’s spot as the #2 drama on the list. The Sopranos changed television forever. It was a show that looked like a movie, with deep character development and all of the standard television storytelling formulas thrown out the window. It was so well done, so real (and yes explicit) that it made all other tv dramas of the era seem like cotton candy. Long live Tony Soprano.
6. All in the Family: Another show not of my era, but one with which I am a bit more familiar. It was the best formulation of a certain era, the 70s culture clash, and it resonates more with those that lives through those generational fights. It was also the last time an absolute bigot would be on a tv series, while also somehow being lovable. Extremely well done.
7. The Andy Griffith Show: What is the genius of Andy Griffith? I could watch it with my most hilarious, sarcastic friends (Turkey Hunter, Drew Franklin, etc), my fellow radio hosts or even my grandmother and all of us would find something about the show funny and watchable. Barney Fife is the best human character in comedy history and his antics paved the way for later versions such as Kramer. I have seen every episode at least five times and would watch them all again in a heartbeat. If you know the response when Goober says hey, then you and I are friends.
8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Never seen one episode and was surprised it was on the list this high. But I guess all we see in movies and tv now is vampires and zombies and this show is probably the modern starting point. But someone will have to explain to me why it is good because no show on the list have I seen less.
9. Mad Men: Another great modern show, with a lead character you hate, envy and find fascinating, all at the same time. Dom Draper is what men wanted to be in the 1960s and the show follows his change during the most tumultuous times of the post-WWII era. It occasionally gets a little to full of itself and trippy (the LSD episode is virtually Greek), but it is also unbelievably well made, looks great and never ceases to give a surprise.
10. Your Show of Shows: Ok the list gets me here. This was on from 1950-1954 and was a variety show. I saw one episode once on Nick at Nite. I am sure Sid Caeser was great, but you will have to ask your grandparents to confirm.
So there you go, the next 10 includes greats like Cosby, The British Office, SNL, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development and Cheers. But that is a discussion for another day. The list however is right there for me, I would go Wire, Andy Griffith, Sopranos, Seinfeld, Simpsons, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm, British Office, Friday Night Lights, Larry Sanders. But I won’t complain about EW’s work either. A good argument for everyone on a Monday morning. Before we move on, a picture from that magazine of George Clooney, circa ER days, balling in some UK shorts:
To the (limited) UK news:
— The big news this week is the most important week (thus far) of 2014 UK basketball recruiting with the Peach Jam. The event in Augusta, Georgia (technically, North Augusta, SC, but I get out of there as quickly as possible) is my favorite of the summer and is the one place that you can find the entirety of the college basketball royalty, coaches, players and media, in one spot. This year, the event takes on a bit of added importance due to Kentucky’s status in 2014 recruiting. It is not that UK is situated poorly, they clearly are not, but they aren’t the certain holders of a fifth straight #1 recruiting class like some would expect. The Scout.com Top 20 Players List is as follows:
1. Jahlil Okafor (C)
2. Tyus Jones (PG)
3. Emmanual Mudiay (PG)
4. Cliff Alexander (F)
5. Trey Lyles (F)
6. Myles Turner (C)
7. Rashad Vaughn (G)
8. Stanley Johnson (F)
9. Karl Towns (C)
10. Justin Jackson (F)
In normal years, UK would have three or four of these guys on lock. But that isn’t quite the case this year. UK still has a commitment from Towns and looks good with others, but there are still questions. Okafor and Jones are going to the same school (at least they say) and most believe that won’t be Kentucky…we shall see. I like where the Cats stand with Mudiay, but they also have another PG target (Josh Perkins…ranked 28) that they like and will decide at the end of August. Can they get both guys for a Bledsoe/Wall thing? Do you take Perkins and hope with Mudiay? There was a time Lyles seemed like a sure thing for UK, but now UL is in the mix. Alexander is either UK or Mich State (most like the Spartans’ odds), while Vaughn/Johnson could both end up in Blue (Johnson announced this weekend that he is visiting Big Blue Madness). Either way, chances are whoever gets the Okafor/Jones pairing gets the #1 class and UK has a bit more uncertainty than is usual at this time. But this week is often a week where things clear up (it was this week last year when Young to UK became very likely and Randle started getting closer to the Cats as well). Hopefully similar news comes this week.
A blast from the KSR past…with news that John Wall is posing nude in the ESPN “Body” Issue, a picture from a couple years back in the KSR “Body” Issue of Rick and his favorite writer
— We may also get news this week about the future of Kyle Wiltjer. As we talked about here on Friday night, there is a lot of speculation that Wiltjer is having serious second thoughts about his decision to leave. Sources told KSR on Friday that Witljer visited Gonzaga with a mindset to potentially commit, but then didn’t on his visit. Could it be lack of facilities, missing his Lexington home or the 2-1 guys to girls ratio on the Zags’ campus? Who knows, but what is clear is that he has had second thoughts. Now Wiltjer has spent this week with his Canada national team, and that includes Gonzaga players, so the tide might turn again. But going into this weekend. Witljer was still undecided. We might find out this week if the WBA member who we thought was already gone, could potentially return again.
Brit Andy Murray (or to be more precise, Scot Andy Murray) ended a 77 year British drought in winning Wimbledon. To celebrate, a UK fan throwing up the goggles in merry old England
— UK may get a #Yahtzee on Tuesday night as WR TV Williams decides between Kentucky and Nebraska. Most of the Texas WR’s comments have seemed to suggest that UK will be the pick and many on the Nebraska side are all but conceding the race. If the Cats get Williams, it will mean that all but a couple of slots on the team for skill players will be taken and the last few commits can be the big hosses on the line and potential stars that break late. The best recruiting class in UK history is assembling and Tuesday night, another piece could come join as well.
There is a LOT going on this week…me, Drew and Tomlin head to the Peach Jam, the KSR Tour is still floating around (LONDON in the morning) and much more. Below you can see the crowd at our last stop in Somerset:
Hope you can join us at either London or Monticello this week or as we head West next week. If you applied to be a KSR writer, those for the Culture/non-UK sports that are finalists should have an email tonight. Those for the regular spots have still not been completely sorted through (we had over 300 applicants!) and hopefully will be this week. Thanks to everyone…it has been a long process, in part because of numbers, but also because of quality. We have a lot of really talented folks out there and even if you aren’t picked for this, make sure and try and get your voices heard or apply again next time. On Tuesday, Doug Gottlieb is coming on the radio to talk about the upcoming college basketball season (be nice…Doug is a good radio guest, even when we disagree). I am sure his insight will be interesting and if you don’t like it, give a better response than the young man below. Have a big Monday!