Steve Eighinger

Fall is the best season for TV shows

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 3, 2019 12:01 am

Granted, my memory can be a bit fuzzy at times as senior citizenship approaches, but I think it was at some point in the early-to-mid 1960s I began to fully appreciate the arrival of September.

Sure, it meant the birth of a new football season and the stretch run for Major League Baseball teams, but at some point I also began to realize the fall represented a new crop of TV shows. New programs to be discovered and old favorites to be enjoyed.

All of these years later, I still get excited when the fall's new TV programs begin to appear. With all of that in mind, here's a look at this baby boomer's favorites -- by genre -- through the years:

1960s

Drama: "Mission: Impossible" was born, in part, from the popularity of the James Bond movie series, but replaced some of the silliness of the 007 films with a tight, weekly drama that was the highlight of Saturday night viewing.

Comedy: There is a reason why "The Andy Griffith Show" continues to be popular, even today. There's still a place for wholesome entertainment.

Wild card: "The Twilight Zone," which was a thinking man's sci-fi thriller, was about 20 years ahead of its time.

1970s

Drama: "Kojak" was groundbreaking with the street-wise attitude of star Telly Savalas.

Comedy: "All in the Family" opened our eyes to numerous topics that were formerly taboo on television and is regarded by many as the most influential program in TV history. I can't argue that.

Wild card: "Monday Night Football" revolutionized how TV approached prime-time pro sports, and we will always be grateful.

1980s

Drama: "Cagney and Lacey" was highly popular most of the decade, thanks to the female detective chemistry provided by Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly.

Comedy: "Cheers," and there is no discussion.

Wild card: "Knots Landing" made trashy, night-time soap operas highly popular. Long live Donna Mills.

1990s

Drama: "Law and Order: SUV," which strangely enough, remains one of the top dramas on television 21 years after its inception. A revolving (but always top-notch) cast, anchored by Mariska Hargitay, has both entertained us and made us think.

Comedy: There are numerous possibilities for this particular honor, but I give the nod to "Friends." I'm still hoping for a reunion of Chandler, Joey, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe and Ross.

Wild card: "Twin Peaks," which only aired for two seasons on ABC and one season in 2017 on Showtime, but still has a strong, cult following.

2000 and beyond

Drama: "The Walking Dead" has not only changed how we view apocalyptic-themed programming, but TV in general. "The show's brilliance lies in its ability to tap into the human conflict that takes center stage as the world is falling apart," offers writer Troy L. Smith.

Comedy: Sure, the language on "Archer" can get a bit foul, but I dare you to watch almost any episode and not laugh out loud at this animated tribute to inept secret agents.

Wild card: The original "American Idol" was groundbreaking, and remains far and away the best of its genre. My apologies to those staunch fans of "The Voice," but if not for "American Idol" your show would never have existed.