My Favourite TV Programmes
This page updated 10th August 2018
For episode guides to most series of importance go to:
|Below is a
list of my all-time favourites (in rough alphabetical order):
The Avengers, Batman, Bewitched, Blakes 7, Butterflies, Cheers, Chocky, Clown White, Dad's Army, Dallas, Danger Man, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Doctor Who, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Family Guy, Fireball XL5, For The Love of Ada, The Goodies, Hill Street Blues, I Spy, It's Your Move, L A Law, The Likely Lads/Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, Lost In Space, Man In A Suitcase, M*A*S*H, Monk, The Monkees, Only Fools and Horses, The Outer Limits, The Phil Silvers Show, The Prisoner, Robinson Crusoe, Randall and Hopkirk, The Selfish Giant, Shoestring, Sons and Daughters, Space Patrol, Star Trek (The original), Steptoe and Son, Still Game,Thunderbirds, The Tomorrow People, The Twilight Zone, Worzel Gummidge
Overall favourites (in order of preference):
Doctor Who, The Avengers / The Prisoner, Star Trek / M*A*S*H / Dallas, Bilko
Tim Harris, Sunday 1st January 2017
|See also: Rose-Tinted Spectacles|
(in order of preference, top being the highest)
|Killed By My Debt||A horrifying true story of a young man suffering a crushing debt and unable to get out of his situation with the saddest of conclusions. Aside from the reality that there are many people suffering the same pressures you feel an overwhelming sense that the world has gone mad when you watch this. That 3 traffic fines can rise to over £1700 (from memory) for not being paid on time thereby compounding, pressuring and terrifying a hard-working young person to the point of suicide is simply staggering. What a merciless unkind cruel planet this has become. This is a desperately sad programme to watch but it is 100% perfectly put together. The cast and writing are perfectly matched and I'll never forgot this one.|
|Brooklyn Nine Nine (Series 5)||For a series that got axed then saved within 24 hours I can only say good on ya; it's still one of the best, most underrated shows on TV at the moment. Why??? A great cast, great characters, great scripts. Here's to series 6.|
|Our Shirley Valentine Summer (Series 1)||A lovely feel-good series featuring 8 celebrity women 47 years and older staying on the Greek island of Naxos for 4 weeks. I loved this, it was just nice. I'd have liked a longer series and was actually sad when it finished. Not my usual type of series but this one worked for me.|
|The Scales of Justice||I finished watching this series in July 2018 and overall I loved this a lot. It follows on from Scotland Yard which was also introduced by Edgar Lustgarten and episode 12 of the 13, Infamous Conduct, had me wanting to know what happened next to the two lead characters. A heck of a lot happens in that episode and it's quite brilliant. Episode 5, The Undesirable Neighbour is also a favourite as is episode 13, Payment In Kind. A pity only 13 of these were made.|
|Family Guy (Season 16)||This series was a return to form over the last two series, it felt fresh and funny once more. I loved most episodes and at least enjoyed all of them. Been a while since I last thought that.|
|Judge Judy||There was a point where once I was home from work I didn't feel like watching much TV and channel hopping led me back to this series. Over 6000 have been made and I've watched it in patches on and off over the last decade or so. This year I've watched loads, weekends as well as during the week. I watched it every day for a while, now not so much. But I love it. It's highly addictive and great fun. It certainly got me through quitting my job of 32 years and selling my house of 52 years. That's good enough for me. I got into The Big Bang Theory after my dad died as I struggled to watch much TV and especially anything we had watched together so TV can still be a release for me, it's just choosing the right programmes at the right time.|
|The Big Bang Theory (Series 11)||I enjoyed this series more than the last few, yes, not bad.|
|Still Game (Series 8)||Still on form and still great fun. Sad to hear there will only be one more series after this one but it's had a great run.|
|Mum (Series 2)||Perhaps not quite as fresh as the first series but some great moments throughout.|
Others of note
|The Walking Dead (Series 8B) - Spoilers included||
Things were wrapped up way too quickly, way too simply in the last episode
of 8B. The production team also seemed to back off from much visible
violence this time round, Simon's death was flimsily produced, and the gun
battles were utterly unconvincing or interesting. This series has been
losing its way for some time now, the time-playing antics are just dull
now, it's become an action series over and above horror and I'd like to go
back to a storyline plotting an A to B route. I'd like there to be less
characters, less gun battles between humans, more zombie threats, as it
once was. Karl's death episode was plain dull, couldn't he have had a more
exciting finish than that? The on-screen violence has been tamed and the
series is suffering as a result.
Companion series Fear The Walking Dead Series 4 very much took the series in a different direction and with Nick now being dead (a crap death), along with the added time-playing nonsense I'm really being driven away from this series. For a series that started out very slowly it's very quickly caught up with the time-line of The Walking Dead. Yeesh.
(in order of preference, top being the highest)
|The Prisoner||Still brilliant 50 years after it was first shown. That incredible last episode is just one of the greatest episodes ever it's just a riot of ideas and imagery. I always feel slightly sad when I get to the end of that episode because there'll never be anything like that again. It's at once uplifting (the good guy has made friends with former bad guys to defeat their now common enemy) and downbeat (they're not free, they'll never be free) and it's just amazing. 10/10 for this series.|
|Doctor Who Season 10||Overall this felt a fresh series and Bill Potts was an excellent addition. This was a step up even from the previous series, and the brief return of Alpha Centauri, as well as the apocryphal episode The Doctor Falls put this series high up in my enjoyment and estimation. The last episode Twice Upon A Time was bit dull though and slightly missing a plot.|
|Twin Peaks Series 3||I almost universally enjoyed this once I got used to the idea that Cooper wasn't to going to appear as quite himself in it much. Loved 'Duggie'. Not so fond of the cliff-hanger ending.|
|Brooklyn Nine Nine Series 4||Still incredibly great fun. How is this series so under-watched?|
|The Moorside||Excellent acting from the lead actors.|
|Monk Series 1 - 3||I'd seen the odd episode of three of this over the years and had liked what I saw without following it. I got in the mood to start watching Monk in earnest this year and it's been a great experience. It's quite light but has some intelligence backing it up along with a loveable cast and some outrageously wonderful plots. I'm glad I've discovered this late because there's eight series to see and I've liked every episode I've seen so far. I's the kind of series I can watch after a heavy day at work or on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. A divine series.|
|Taboo Series 1||Gripping stuff.|
|Hospital People Series 1||Ivan Brackenberry is such a good character. More!|
|Scotland Yard||Introduced by Edgar Lustgarten, I hadn't heard of this series until it turned up on the excellent Talking Pictures TV channel. Wasn't that fussed about watching it, then watched an episode when tired of channel hopping. Liked what I saw but didn't rush to watch more. Then happened to catch the end of one episode where a man is sat alone on a train and just the way it was shot made me want to watch that episode in full. Once I did I was hooked and eventually watched all 39 episodes.. It got to a point where I would cheer out "Duggannn!" when a title caption came up with "Russell Napier as Duggan". Duggan appeared in 13 episodes (I think) out of 39 and he is brilliant. Napier's a great actor in this role and I've been searching out one or two of the films he appeared in as a result of watching this series. I've also watched most of the sister series Scales of Justice and whilst that deals with non-murder cases I've enjoyed that too.|
|The Apprentice||Still managed to enjoy this even though it's pretty much the same thing every year. I wasn't surprised at both finalists becoming winner as there are unlikely to be any surprises left after this amount of time. I guess I'll watch the next series though.|
|Broadchurch Series 3||Never quite easy to fathom which way it would go though I'd guessed at the identity of the felon by the end of episode 1 so it wasn't much of a surprise. Still a good series though.|
|Versailles Series 2||Not as captivating as the first series though I loved the addition of Monsieur's wife but the series seemed to just consist of poisoning after poisoning. History is sometimes dull and although this series covered a number of years, I felt it could have been covered in half the screen time that was given to it. Yet, and yet I really look forward to series three. I love the cast, I love the characters.|
Others of note
|Game of Thrones (Series 7)||With the deaths of so many characters in series 6 this series felt a bit flat but there were still some great moments.|
|The Walking Dead Series 7b||Negan is a great addition to the series but there's now a lack of Rick and a lack of zombies and I feel my interest over all is decreasing. Lots of gun battles and bullets with not many hitting a target.|
|The Big Bang Theory Series 10||The whole science project plot was dull and the series as a whole didn't make me laugh much this time. A great last episode though.|
|Ice Road Truckers Series 10||Took me a little time to get around to watching series 10, it was okay I guess, there was a new trucker (Steph) who was as likeable as the others, dear Art is just brilliant, Alex is still wonderful (but not shown very often now), Lisa is fun and Darrell is going to be a great loss for the future. I enjoyed the last three episodes of the series more than the previous seven so I guess I'll be back for the 11th series.|
|Family Guy Season 15||I don't remember laughing once this series. Perhaps it's time for this one to take another rest for a few years.|
(in order of preference, top being the highest)
|Game of Thrones (Series 5 & 6)||It all kicked up an even higher gear for these two series, with series 6 proving to be an especial delight. It's building up to a final fantastic series albeit there's actually two final series to come with 13 episodes spread over those last two series. An amazing experience watching these series and for once I believe it's a series that deserves the hype.|
|The Royle Family: The Queen of Sheba||Although this is from 2006 and I'd seen it at least twice before, this particular episode was shown near Christmas this year and it remains one of the finest hours of TV I've ever seen. Humour, drama and pathos magically combine together and it is very much near the top of my list of all-time great episodes of anything.|
|Mum (Series 1)||Wasn't overly aware of what the series was about before watching it, missed the first one, caught the second one and fell in love with it almost instantly. Lisa McGrillis as the girlfriend of the Mum's son was just brilliant, hilarious, delightful, adorable and just bonkersly wonderful. The relationship between the mum and Kelly is simply fantastic, with Kelly adoring the woman because she's nice to her. Add in unrequited love from a male friend and annoying relatives this is simply a divine series.|
|Peter Pan Goes Wrong (Mischief Theatre)||Well this was a nice surprise! I'd heard of it but not seen it, and it was incredibly good fun when it turned up on New Year's Eve. The appearance of the Tellytubby was just brilliant and I hope we see more of this kind of thing. This would have been perfect viewing for Christmas Day just after The Queen's Speech, and that's likely when I'll watch it again. An absolutely wonderfully daft, clever, genius hour of fun.|
|Versailles (Series 1)||This was a series that caught my attention just from the trailer, whoever edited it did a mighty fine job because I could so easily have skipped it. Loved the series, it's not often I watch historical dramas but this one was a step above a lot of others. Great casting (the King's brother is brilliant) and very good scripts along with masterful production values, can't wait for series two.|
|Westworld (Series 1)||
Wasn't sure what to make of it for the first few episodes though the odd twist here and there kept me watching. By the end of episode five I was hooked and looked forward to each must-see episode. Fantastic twists along the way: the whole thing about William caught me by surprise, and not knowing if Hopkins' character was good or not made it very interesting. My only real question is how do guests know who is human and who is a robot? Anyway roll on series two.
|The Walking Dead (Series 6B & 7A)||More or less a return to form, it's not really about zombies anymore though is it. Humans versus humans, with Rick sidelined in favour of the new main character Neegan in series 7A. Having said that Neegan is simply fascinating to watch, the evil evil character that he is. He's going to be around for some time I should think, and it has taken the series into a very dark direction. Fascinating stuff. Fear The Walking Dead I still find a bit of a chore, I've still got 7 episodes of series 2 left to watch and whilst it is a contrast form the main series, it's not as captivating, and hence not in my top programmes of either 2015 or 2016.|
|The Saint (Roger Moore B/W episodes)||Other series such as The Avengers with Patrick Macnee or Doctor Who have heroes whose lives we might not-so-secretly wish to live, but it's the life of Simon Templar that appeals to me most. A fun-loving playboy who sticks up for the underdog while making money along the way from grateful people (amongst other ways), it's this character I like most. He's not working for an agency, he's not alien, he's a human being who wanders through Europe helping people he comes across. He's my favourite hero and the black and white episodes have had me hooked for several years. I only watched a few episodes each year and only finished them in November 2016 but I find this series highly entertaining and addictive.|
|Brooklyn Nine Nine (Series 3)||The more I watch this the more I love it, I think the characters bond well and it manages to feel fresh. It's such a joy. A perfect cast, excellent characters, great scripts.|
|American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson||One of those series I was either going to like or hate. I liked it, the casting was interesting and I particularly grew to like John Travolta's performance which at first seems odd but eventually seems more oddly enjoyable. It was a good drama and it kept me interested all the way.|
|Spooks (Series 1 & 2)||Never really watched this when it was on originally, finally started watching it properly this year. It's mostly very good, I did tire towards the end of series 2 though and I haven't rushed onto series 3 yet.|
|Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio||The only new episode this year not counting the 3 minute introduction to new companion Billie. I enjoyed it, it was fun and easy to follow. Some pathos too and nice to see Matt Lucas back as Nardole.|
|The Big Bang Theory (Series 9)||A series that still manages to stand up well even after this amount of time. I definitely am not as drawn to it as I was for earlier series and I now enjoy Brooklyn Nine Nine more, but that tends to be the case after a series has been on so long. I still enjoy it.|
|Mrs Brown's Boys (Live Show, Christmas Show)||The live edition shown early in the year was great and I liked this year's Christmas Day episode more than I'd enjoyed the last few years worth.|
|Love, Nina||The excellent Faye Marsay as Nina was great, she was also good in Game of Thrones series 6 and excellent in 2014's Doctor Who: Last Christmas. I certainly hope we see more of Faye and Nina as this was an enchanting series.|
|The Fall (Series 3)||This was one heck of an anti-climax for a series. With the bad guy feigning memory loss for most of this series it came to a complete standstill. The final episode then ran at a much faster pace and I have no idea why the bad guy did the things he did in that episode. An unsatisfactory ending to a story began three years earlier. Having said that, I came back for every episode and I'd still like to see more of Gibson. I'd like to see another version of series 3 where the bad guy doesn't feign memory loss and which provides an exciting end to the series with a stupendous court case.|
|The Apprentice||I watched it, enjoyed it but wasn't fussed who won, suggesting I'm probably losing overall interest in a series that's been on for over 10 years now. I'm wondering if I'll be that bothered with the next series.|
|Still Game (Series 7)||Nice to have this series back, wasn't quite as sharp as series 2 to 6 but it's good to have them back after a lengthy gap.|
|Family Guy (Series 14)||Another series that seems to be running out of steam. It doesn't help having gaps between episodes but they're never gonna listen to that advice so hey ho. Sensing that it's getting a bit stale, I wouldn't be too upset if the series took a break for a year or two and came back refreshed. Maybe I'll give it a break anyway.|
|Ice Road Truckers (Series 8 & 9)||
The law of diminishing
returns also applies to this once wonderful series. A sense of 'seen it
all before' was particularly felt by me when watching series 9. Using the
exact same drivers each series tends to make them all the same, there's
less drivers now anyway and some drivers tend to get more air time than
others. Also the competition element is now missing from the series and
this has greatly diminished my interest in it.
I've started watching series 10 and once again it mostly comprises the same drivers yet again with one new one. The early series' were simply more enjoyable than these later ones.
(in order of preference, top being the highest)
|Game of Thrones (Series 3 & 4)||Tyrian has got to be one of the greatest fictional characters ever and the perfect casting of the role is unparalleled. Series 3 had an amazing episode 9 that caught me by surprise. Brilliant.|
|Brooklyn Nine Nine (Series 2)||What surprises me most about this rewarding series is that the viewing figures don't appear impressive, yet this is a greatly entertaining series.|
|Doctor Who (Season 9)||A much better series than the previous one.|
|The Apprentice||Still manages to keep me watching even if it's all been done many times before.|
|The Big Bang Theory (Series 8)||I liked this a great deal, I'm not sure the many gaps in broadcast helped general audiences though. When you can see episodes from previous series' every day of the week, waiting weeks to see a new episode is surely destructive. However, this is one series that, for me, somehow manages to survive the broadcaster's irritating scheduling.|
|Batman (Adam West) (Series 1)||I'd got bored of watching this series back in the late '80s so had avoided it until 2015 when I finally got in the mood to watch it again. I loved it, that first series is highly entertaining. It remains a high budget series throughout that first year and stands up incredibly well. I haven't rushed to watch the second series though, you can have too much of a good thing.|
|The Beverly Hillbillies (Series 1)||It's from the '60s,it's in black and white and is simply marvellous. Perfect cast, storylines that run through several episodes, occasional flashes of pathos, just wonderful. As with Batman, I haven't rushed to watch series 2, I suspect that at some point this series must start to feel 'samey'.|
|Ice Road Truckers (Series 7)||I started off with some disinterest in this particular series as I'd enjoyed series 6 so much and this one had a few changes in truckers. It didn't seem familiar but by the middle of the series I'd warmed to it and enjoyed the rest of the series.|
|Family Guy (Series 13)||Some clever episodes that I really enjoyed.|
|The Walking Dead (Series 5 & 6A)||I didn't enjoy series 5 as much as the previous 4 series': too much chit chat and not enough tension. I liked series 6A though.|
|Broadchurch (Series 1 & 2)||Watchable, with excellent performances by David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. Couldn't work out what the hype was about though. I liked series 2 more than series 1 overall.|
My Top Programmes of 2013
(in order of preference)
An Adventure In Space and Time (outstanding)
The Big Bang Theory (Series 1 to 6)
Lizard Lick Towing (Series 1 to 4)
Pinky and the Brain* (Series 1 to 4)
Dallas (Revived Series 2)
Family Guy (Series 1 to 10)
Derek (Series 1)
The Great Train Robbery (2-part BBC drama)
The Five-ish Doctors (reboot)
The Walking Dead (Series 1)
Lucan (2-part ITV drama)
Doctor Who (Season 7B)
The Fall (Series 1)
* I only got into this during 2013 although the series was made in the '90s.
My Top Programmes of 2014
(in order of preference)
The Walking Dead (Series 2 to 4)
The Best of Men (shown in 2012, I watched it for the first time this year)
For The Love of Ada (Series 1 to 4 and Christmas Special)
The Big Bang Theory (Series 7)
Brooklyn Nine Nine (Series 1)
Lizard Lick Towing (series 5 & 6)
Game of Thrones (Series 1 and 2)
Family Guy (Series 11 and 12)
Derek (Series 2 and Special)
Space Patrol (1960's puppet series)
Bert and Dickie (One-off BBC drama)
The Apprentice (10th anniversary series)
Sherlock (Series 3)
Spartacus (Blood and Sand, Gods of the Arena)
The Fall (Series 2)
Ice Road Truckers (Series 6)
Doctor Who (Season 8)
Dallas (Revived Series 3)
Honor Blackman's my favourite Avengers girl.
A very way-out series that evolved throughout each of its series. No two series are quite the same and it's one of the greatest achievements in television history. It has a charm that's very appealing.
Steed himself is different in the sries that were shot on film, he's less brash, less manipulating, but Patrick Macnee plays him with a steely poise throughout the series' run.
Favourite episodes include 'Traitor In Zebra', 'The Hour That Never Was', 'Man-Eater of Surrey Green', 'The House That Jack Built', 'The Living Dead', 'The Forget Me Knot', 'The Morning After', 'Fog', 'Bizarre'.
Right: Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman's no. 1 single!
This is the Adam West / Burt Ward series from the 1960s that I refer to here, have enjoyed this since I was a kid, I tired of it during the late 80's and came back to it in 2015. It stand up well and remains great fun.
Elizabeth Montgomery was born to play Samantha, Dick York was born to play Darrin, as was Dick Sargent. A very light series to watch but very entertaining.
With its easy mix of fun, mischief and fantasy 'Bewitched' is almost certainly the most accessible programme for any mix of people of any age.
Montgomery's character Samantha is well known for her nose twitching ability but Montgomery is visually very expressive all the time, her face can convey a wonderful mix of emotions and expressions.
She is simply one of the finest actors to ever grace a screen, large or small and her untimely death in 1995 was a sad blow to her many fans.
Dick York is also extremely expressive in facial matters and, after many years, I have also warmed very strongly to Dick Sargent's subsequent portrayal of Darrin. In some ways Sargent's Darrin is more accepting of Samantha's powers and is all the bestter for it. Except for the last episode which is a bad throwback to the early days of their marriage: they'd been through too much together by that time to go back to an earlier point.
My two favourite episodes are: 'A Is For Aadvark' (series 1) and 'A Bum Raps' (series 2).
In the first one Samantha gives Darrin powers and it goes to his head. Ultimately he regrets having the powers and the scene where he asks Samantha to take the powers away is fantastic. Montgomery is superb and realistically emotional when she realises that Darrin is happy to be, well, just Darrin. Brilliantly acted. Just before they start speaking Dick York's face tells the whole truth of his unhappiness and it is his best moment in the series.
In the second one a case of mistaken identity causes Samantha and Darrin to take in a tramp who is in fact happily thinking of robbing them. All turns out well in the end and the tramp is a good guy at heart. In one scene he sings a touching version of 'When You Were Sweet Sixteen' to their daughter Tabatha and it is a lovely moment in the series.
All 8 series are out on DVD and is highly recommended viewing, these series are very relaxing to watch after a hard day at work.
Above: Elizabeth Montgomery as everybody's favourite witch.
In 1995 Montgomery was diagnosed with a form of cancer and she sadly died within a couple of months.
One of the most watched actors in television history, Montgomery endeared herself to audiences all over the world. One of the best actors ever, it is likely that Bewitched will still be entertaining many more generations to come.
I recently watched the last episode again along with the DVD extras for Season 4. That last episode still packs a very powerful punch and perhaps second only to the last ever M*A*S*H episode as greatest series ending ever. I've watched Blake so many times and it remains brilliant.
There was a time I was hooked on this series and I watched the first five series in particular many times. Now I find it hard to watch, I find Frasier more entertaining, and I struggle to watch it. I include it here as it certainly kept me entertained many times back in the 1980s.
Based on John Wyndham's book, I did not like this series when it first aired in 1984 but watched it when it was released on DVD. I was hooked on it and I liked the two sequels too, 'Chocky's Children' and 'Chocky's Challenge'.
See my Chocky page
A one-off 50 minute Canadian drama about an unhappy deaf boy who does not make friends easily and does not know how to communicate his frustraions other than by misbehaving. He meets a mime artist and his whole world changes.
Another series that I have watched so many times that I find it difficult to watch again, and even less so since my father died as I used to enjoy watching this with him. It is a wonderful series though and I remain fond of both the characters and the cast who played them.
The mini series, series 1 and 2 are brilliant, and the rest are good, bad and terrible. The series now known as series 11 on DVD almost killed my interest dead on original transmission but thankfully the series after that contained humour and I liked the series once more. I find it addictive to watch, and was pleased to see the series return in 2012. I liked the first two new series very much but struggled with the first half of series 3 as it was a repetition of plots from the original run. The 2nd half was better so was mildly disappointed to hear the series had been axed once more. I'd hoped it would come back for a rejuvenated 4th series but it wasn't to be.
Patrick McGoohan stars as John Drake, secret agent for Nato. It's a very finely crafted series, it has a look of expense which is rare in this kind of series and McGoohan himself is such a good actor it's hard to believe he hasn't been fully acknowledged for this.
Dick Van Dyke Show
Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore are well cast together as husband and wife in a very amiable, witty series.
My favourite series of all, watched throughout my entire life and enjoyed immeasurably.
|The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin|
For The Love of Ada
I've always loved the film that was made in 1972 but it took to 1993 / 4 to see (most of) the 4 series that preceded it. I liked the series and was disappointed that UK Gold didn't show all of them (due to low ratings from what they said on their now defunct teletext service).
Finally the 4 series were released on DVD and I finally got to see all of them. The series is magnificent, with four incredibly good leads and a series brimming with pathos and adorable characters.
Imaginative wackiness. Why the bloody hell hasn't this been released properly on DVD? Update: It's finally coming out properly on DVD soon. Hooray!
Still the best police series ever.
Stylish, very intelligent and the two leads are very cool.
A very funny US sitcom about a scheming teenager, Matthew, ably played by Jason Bateman, who constantly fools his mother, played by the fabulous Caren Kaye. Tricia Cast plays daughter Julie who tries to wise her mum to what her brother is really like, whilst David Garrison (of 'Married With Children' fame) plays Matthew's arch rival. A series that should have run for years but sadly only lasted one. This is a series I'd love to see released on DVD.
The TV equivalent of a caffeine buzz achieved from drinking a gallon of coffee.
|The Likely Lads/Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?|
Amazingly effective series which still endears itself to me due to it's dedicated cast.
Mean, moody McGill is soooo cool.
I rarely think of this as a comedy series, it's much more than that. Comedy drama doesn't even seem to cover it adequately. It's a series that didn't need a fake laugh track, and thanks go to The BBC for asking for episodes without that fake laugh track. Thank 20th Century Fox for releasing the DVDs with both sound tracks. I'd rather the episodes had been in production order but never mind, can't have it all. The DVD extras were entertaining and I only wish the documentary Making M*A*S*H had been included.
It took me to the 5th series to really get into the series on its original run, my dad and brother had been into it right from the start but I had found it too weird, too morbid and was set during a war I had no knowledge about. But their persistence in watching it eventually paid off and I started watching properly during series 5. I loved Frank Burns and his character helped me stick with the series. I also liked all the other characters, but had not known Henry Blake or Trapper John.
I met the arrival of Charles Winchester III with a grimace as he was to me no Frank Burns, I missed Frank and Charles just seemed too snobby to be true. However, many years later and two viewings later, I have warmed to him and like him as much as the others.
I's have liked Radar to have remained with the series until the end, Gary Burghoff's portrayal of the clerk who effectively runs the unit is simply brilliant. It would have been nice to have seen him leave with the others. Never mind.
The last episode of the last series is simply the best ending to a series ever and has replaced Star Trek's City On The Edge of Forever as best episode of anything ever in my affections. Third is Blake's 7's last episode Blake.
My next favourite episode of M*A*S*H also comes from the last series and is titled Hey, Look Me Over. Kellye Nacahara's portrayal of Nurse Kellye is fabulous, touching and real such that we come to see Kellye as special at the same time Alan Alda's Hawkeye sees her for who she is. A beautiful episode that I've watched many times as a standalone episode. Kellye appeared many times in the series but this episode particularly grabbed me upon first viewing back in 1982.
Thanks to the BBC repeating (most of) the series as of 1986, I was able to catch up on Henry Blake and Trapper John. What surprised me was how much comedy there was in the earlier series', but there were seeds of what was to come. Sometimes You Hear The Bullet from series one is a stand-out moment, and a few in series 3 certainly showed signs that the series was beginning to mature. It took me a while to warm to Henry (I think he's excellent now) as he is so different from Colonel Potter but what a brilliant actor Maclean Stevenson was. His last episode is one I've watched many times, it's so affecting and powerful. The salute between Henry and Radar is so touching (and ad-libbed so I believe) that Henry's death soon after is even more devastating.
Trapper always seemed to play second fiddle to Hawkeye, I've never understood why the production team did this; the one episode in his 3 series, from series 3, in which he finally gets the spotlight is another highlight so why hadn't they done this before. It certainly foreshadows the arrival of B.J. who would get a good share of the spotlight. Should have happened with Trapper.
I like those first three series a lot, I've now watched them 3 times and there's a lot to like. I perhaps prefer series 4, 5 and 11 the most though, there were real attempts to show the audience different aspects to characters and with some very affecting episodes.
Fast forward to 2012 and I finally got to see a few episodes of sequel series After M*AS*H and I can see why it has been rarely seen, it seems old-fashioned humour and doesn't hold up to close scrutiny. The W*A*L*T*E*R pilot was also disappointing (almost slapstick comedy) but the master series remains one of the greatest achievements in television history. Just stop televising it with that darn fake laugh track.
Series 2 especially, although as a kid I'd preferred series 1.
Fools and Horses
Over-watched and I doubt I'll watch it again for many more years.
|The Outer Limits|
Phil Silvers Show
Possibly the funniest comedy of them all.
The only series I can honestly say contains no bad episodes. They are all classics.
Update 9th May 2014: actually, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling does seem to forget that our anti-hero has escaped the Village at least twice before and wasn't that fussed about dealing with an un-finished mission. Not so keen on this episode these days.
Seen a hundred times, a black and white classic, thankfully released on DVD.
and Hopkirk (20th Century)
A fondly remembered series with a likeable cast.
and Hopkirk (21st Century)
A likeable cast in remake of a fondly remembered series.
|The Scales of Justice|
The Selfish Giant
Reader's Digest animated version of Oscar Wilde's charming story. Two other animated features in the series were The Happy Prince and The Little Mermaid.
Sons and Daughters
Excellent Australian soap featuring the Palmers and Hamilton families.
Roberta Leigh's puppet masterpiece that I remember waching as a child and then consequently getting mixed up with Fireball XL5 for many years. It was only when I re-watched Space Patrol a while ago that I realised that some of the memories I though belonged to XL5 actually belonged to this one. I think I likely prefer SP to XL5 but I love both anyway.
Trek (The original)
Second favourite episode of anything ever: City On The Edge Of Forever (absolute favourite is the last episode of M*A*S*H). This is a brilliant episode, with superb characterisation and with Joan Collins in excellent form as Edith Keeler.
|Steptoe and Son|
I started watching from series 6, I'd noticed when series 5 was on but hadn't rushed to watch it at that point. What drew me to series 6 was the description of episode 1, that it was about pensioners in competition with each other to get the best seat in a park. I loved that episode and I was immediately hooked. I got my dad into watching the series and within 3 weeks had ordered the series 1-5 box set. At the time I thought series 6 was only series 2 so was surprised to see a series 1-5 box set. Surprised and very happy. What a brilliant series. I soon got into Chewin' The Fat a sketch show which had also featured Jack, Victor and Winston, once again I was highly impressed and found all four series very entertaining.
I can't remember when I first saw this series, way back when I was a child I'd think. I saw it a lot of the times it was broadcast on ATV and Central but sometimes I'd watch a few then go onto something else. I'm not sure I've ever seen a complete run within the space of a year or two but overwhelmingly I feel it deserves a place in my favourites list as I have affection for it. The kickstart production of 3 episodes made from 1960s mini album recordings are also brilliant highly authentic creations and I include those along with the original episodes as being just wonderful.
The Tomorrow People
Cheap, oh so cheap, sci-fi series that got cheaper-looking over eight series. The first three series are my favourites.
See my Tomorrow People page.
The early episodes in particular give the appearance of being expertly made short movies. I even like the 1980's version.