On a + note

Live long and prosper. #32: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on September 26, 2011


There have been a slew of “best of” lists lately: the best places to read a mystery, the best records of all time, the best place to live, etc. As I walked the dog and raked a few leaves last Sunday, I began to think about what my list of all-time great television shows would include.

Here is my list (so far…):

10. The Super Bowl. Since 1967, it has been a showcase for new and innovative commercials and is a lightning rod for advertising trends. In fact, I use it with my Marketing students in a class called “What can we learn in library land from corporate America?”

9. I love Lucy. In just six years (1951-1957), this sitcom became a small screen classic and brought female comedians and a multicultural cast into the mainstream. Every time I see a box of chocolates, I think of Lucy and Ethel!   

8. Star Trek. For a million reasons, I love the classic line “live long and prosper.” Why? Watch this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2CCmKLYYFQ.

7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Having aired from 1970 to 1977, it was the first comedy series lead by a single, independent career woman. It was also one of the most acclaimed television programs ever produced and received three consecutive Emmy Awards. I bet you can hum the theme song!

6. Sesame Street. Jim Henson and the Children’s Television Workshop pioneered quality educational television for kids and threw in something their parents, who they knew were watching. This model was embraced by Disney, and you know how that worked out.

5. Happy Day’s Marion Cunningham, The Cosby Show’s Claire Huxtable, Leave It to Beaver’s June Cleaver, and yes, even Saskatchewan’s Shannon Tweed from Gene Simmons Family Jewels. They are all time great TV moms.

4. M*A*S*H. From 1972 to 1983, this series was the classic combination of comedy and drama and made us laugh and gasp at the same time. Who knew war had a humorous side?  Of course, we can hum the theme song as Radar yelled “Incoming choppers!”

3. NCIS. The criminal investigation series revolving around a team of special agents and stars Mark Harmon, the Man from U.N.C.L.E.’s David McCallum, and my personal favorite, author and animal activist Pauley Perrette.  I like NCIS, because the actors are not of Hollywood, but of the real world. In 2011, the show was renewed by CBS for a ninth season and voted America’s favorite television show. You go, Abby!

2. The Big Bang Theory. The geeky series, in its fourth year, is the most-watched sitcom in Canada and second only to Friends in the U.S. Big Bang embraces geeks and makes learning and education cool…sort of! And, of course, there is the catchy theme song by Canada’s own Barenaked Ladies.

1. Lassie. As a kid, Sunday nights were devoted to the rough-coated collie. One of the longest running series on television, it won two Emmys in its first year on the small screen. The phrase “Is Timmy down the well?” has become a classic phrase in my house when Diefenbaker is barking. Whenever I see a collie, it’s not a collie; it’s a Lassie dog!

What does this have to do with libraries? Well, all of these lists speak to favourites and trends, what is popular, and what we hold up as classics. For public libraries, they are a peek at what we collect and why we collect it. More than that, I challenge you to make your own list; you will be amazed at what an interesting conversation it is!

Have a great week; fall is in the air here in Ontario!


P.S. Shows that almost made my list include Friends, Cheers, Corner Gas, Law and Order, and the CBC comedy The Rick Mercer Report.


Kitty Pope                                                                                          #32 September 2011 kpope@library.guelph.on.ca


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