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And as a Presley-like pop archetype of failed potential, very rock and roll. The two boards really, really hated each other. John unquestionably is a pop-rocker not a rocker.

He was flamboyant, but he was also someone you could take home to mother. He fairly bravely came out in the mids. His melodrama never goes overboard and his pop instincts were always natural and flowing. Diana Ross has now been a star for nearly 60 years, floating on a magical projected personality and a dulcet voice. I know the other Supremes had spectacular voices as well, but the rules are different for a superstar, which is what Ross is. The trio with a lot of help from Berry Gordy, the stable of songwriters and the Motown production teams radiated a sophistication and a glamour that never clashed with the urgent emotions and happy stories they sang out.

Very early exemplars of the potent emotional beauty the music was capable of conveying, spurred by the cosmic fraternal mix of their voices. Among other things, the perfect showcase for the songs of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Smith is an interesting figure, a bit too hippieish and too accepting of shamanism and religiosity for my taste. But albums one and three — Horses, Easter — were sprawling and daring, more daring than anything else at the time. She also reinjected Van Morrisonian levels of exaltation and ecstasy to the music, which then lived on in the work of R.

Meanwhile, back at the hall: I asked Conforth for an example of how the Cleveland—New York division manifested itself. He said that one day shortly after he started work he was abruptly summoned to meet with Wenner, so he dutifully boarded a plane to New York. I was allowed to enter the inner sanctum. There is something irresistible about Eddie Cochran. Presley always seemed a bit Olympian; Cochran was rough and ready, but never distant. But this is another tragic rock story: Cochran was killed at 21 in a car crash while on tour in the U.

With lots of help from producer Rick Rubin, they made their mark with extreme brattiness married to highly artful and meaningful samples. Smart enough, too, to formally distance themselves from early anti-women behavior.

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A viscerally exciting performer with a mighty voice and a magnanimous and supple mind. She was the first female rock star; among nonblack artists, you could argue that she had been the most persecuted, and endured the most humiliations for her art, having grown up creative, gay, and odd in Texas. I have to bow to the blues experts on this. He is a lovable character and a friendly, articulate guitarist; he is considered by all to be a, if not the , quintessential bluesman but to me lacks something.

She fought hard to emerge from a Eurodisco ghetto and became, for a time, a glamorous pop-disco superstar whose thick and luscious gatefold albums penetrated deep into the consciousness of suburban America, culminating in Bad Girls , a rock-disco triumph of no little power. Some people like them, of course. With the Airplane, the Dead defined the San Francisco psychedelic sound, such as it was, and over time came to embody a chaotic independence, in their latter days providing a comfy hippie vibe for stadia of slumming yuppies.

Note that he lineup of the band inducted into the hall includes several highly inessential members, ranging from the dubious Constanten, Mydland to the risible Welnick, formerly of [ checks notes ] the Tubes. Garcia was supposedly on his way but never made it to the ceremony. I asked Wenner who decides such things. Turner had an unmistakable and infectious voice and used it, irresistibly, to turn blithe not-quite-blues, not-quite-rock songs into highly enjoyable romps.

More about this under Ruth Brown, below. This makes no sense. Deservedly, the first of the girl groups to be inducted. I find McCartney refreshingly one-dimensional and dependable, save for this one thing: He is both industrious and lazy. There are great songs strewn throughout his albums from this period, and slighter, highly enjoyable ones, too, but way too many throwaways.

He still likes you. In their own way, subtle. Then they became MTV stars. And the youngest had a lot of potential. Later recorded as the Jacksons. Is the hall of fame voting process rigged? And no one had any idea how the votes from the voters at large were tabulated. The story about Wenner clinging to a penultimate vote count to sneak Grandmaster Flash into the hall in front of the Dave Clark Five surprised me in this way: Having read Sticky Fingers I had no expectations at all that any sort of count was kept in the first place.

For the record, Peresman says that, today, ballots come in and are tabulated each day, and that Wenner has nothing to do with the counting. This manic white-blues outfit, with the Stones, were the commercial face of the move from white-bluesmen wannabes to rock stars. They have lots better work than that. One of the difficulties the hall has grappled with is how it should take into account popularity; Madonna was, after all, one of the very biggest pop stars of all time. There is an argument for excellence that gets overlooked in all sorts of artistic endeavors, so let me make it clear: Being popular gets you a lot of things.

Fuck off! The Moody Blues are a great example. They pioneered a sort of orchestrated, lush, and it must be said ambitious rock but have never quite been taken seriously. What to do? The hall has been schizophrenic. Tamarkin recalls he was asked if he was an enthusiastic supporter of the band. The meeting moved on. The Moonglows got in, eventually, in ; the Moodys in In fairness, the long delay in inducting some of these bands, like the Moodies and Chicago, to some extent points to their second-tier status.

Still, I think the hall should push back on this point, and insist on the primacy of artistic value, but it will be difficult after the induction of bands like ABBA. As for Tamarkin, he said his stay on the nominating committee came to an end after he published an editorial in Billboard criticizing the hall.

Unlike a lot of people on this list, he was a true star. Definitely a tragic figure shot to death in , a sometimes-principled lyricist, and fluid, not-too-show-offy rapper who tried to expand the music even as he kept one foot in its least estimable parts. I wish this smart man had been smart enough not to run with Suge Knight.

Could he have become the man his biggest fans say he could have been? Again, back to Cleveland. Conforth, the curator, is a highly entertaining interview. He turned out not to be a good fit for the hall. One mistake he made, he allows, is requesting to work in Cleveland, which he thought made sense at the time but led to many of his decisions being overruled from New York. Even two decades later he remains amused at his tenure.

Their Latino-psychedelic fusion was distinctive. All of their early albums are worth hearing today; they are immensely varied and persuasive without being chaotic or unfocused. No argument here. These guys are molten, as good as soul got in the s. The epitome of southern rock, with an unexpected rolling jazz undertow. And probably the only rock band that should have two drummers. Is Seger different? He plays to this day in the same T-shirt and jeans he always did. All respect. Nelson was part of the first two years of inductions into the hall, which I find bizarre.

To be fair, he was a very big star in his heyday. It was, ironically enough, a somewhat petulant response to fans uninterested in his new sounds. The life of a teen idol is a real bitch. He died in a plane crash, which might have had the original hall of fame nominators in a nostalgic mood. How versatile? Like ZZ Top, possessors of a signature guitar sound that goes beyond the primal.

They pursued a unique sound at a time when no one could have been expected to like it, and kept fucking doing it. The real problem is with the nominating committee. Over the years, it has tended to grow large and then go through a sudden purge; those purged speak darkly about the removal of older people from the group. This happened in and again in Besides that, the committee is heavily New York centric. The critics on the committee lean heavily to the Rolling Stone crowd, a group whose critical discrimination atrophied years ago, and in any case over the years have, of course, learned to be highly aware of the wants of their boss.

These were New Wave poseurs hiding a conventional bent, but it turned out they had an even more unconventional one: a spare, skittery, reggae sensibility. Leader Sting has since become a real menace. An austere artist, to be sure. And his albums from the classic period up to Rhythm of the Saints sound sensational without being overproduced.

Checker once took out a full-page ad in Billboard , complaining about his lack of recognition by the hall, and also the Nobel Prize committee. Like James Taylor, Browne never apologized for his straightforward, confessional songwriting. He then marshaled up his art for two very strong song cycles, The Pretender and Running on Empty. After which things went quickly to hell. Heavy soul hitter in the s — a lot of his songs display writing, singing, and production chops of the first order.

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They were getting better, too — until Van Zandt and guitarist Steve Gaines perished in a plane crash. Preternaturally proficient folkies — they were together as teens with a released single and a record contract. A gigantic talent, in both senses of the word. King made everything he played looks easy, and was a staple at the innovative cross-genre shows at the heyday of the Fillmore. Besides that, she has a story — marshaling the talent to break out of the rut of her early albums and, more importantly, away from her benighted family and finding the collaborators she needed in Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

She ultimately made a few years of the era her own, against some significant competition, including Prince, Springsteen, Madonna, and — who am I forgetting? Power rock from the American heartland — probably the most effective power trio since the Who. Leader and songwriter Nielsen does crazy things on the guitar and makes it all look easy. Absolutely killer live, to this day. Zappa did a lot of things no one really cared about. An early electric blues guitarist and top-flight melodist and innovator much favored by the likes of Keith Richards and other white bluesheads in the s.

They backed everyone from Otis Redding to Wilson Pickett and had a couple hits on their own, led by the pulsing organ of Jones. Motown session bassist James Jamerson was inducted in the subcategory that year. Of all the instrumentalists in rock, he gets an award? A Canadian folk poet whose stature has grown immensely over the years. His early stentorian songs all of his songs are stentorian, actually can sometimes cut to the bone, and even at their most flighty capture a mood.

His latter-day concerts were wild, mysterious affairs. She had a sound and a voice and was probably the sassiest of the early female rockers. Labels either claimed they were still recouping production costs or were just keeping the money. The fan turned out to be a canny lawyer. A weird group on paper. A kid from a military family who wanted to be in the Monkees, a clown from the Byrds, and an effete English guy. Their performance at Woodstock, remember, was their second live appearance.

Light, sure, but a huge percentage of their early work sounds great, and still gets played on the radio. And Stills is not a bad guitarist. Hard to argue with a star in an evanescent business still standing plus years later. Accident or not, it makes his stature plain after 40 years of reliable, ever-more-inessential rock.

Gladys Knight has a voice of enormous warmth and emotion; her career stretches back to the early s, finally resolving satisfactorily in a strong of massive pop hits in the s, giving her icon status in the years since. Classic Chicago blues from the purest blues voice on Chess Records. Rock and roll could also encompass the songs of an East Bay kid who pretended he was from down on the bayou. John Fogerty took elemental chords and a ringing guitar and fashioned something that at least sounded backwoodsy, and occasionally wrote something profound.

And he had a voice. They kept at it and the world came to them and they ended up global superstars. In their favor: They were around British punk when it was created, and quickly emerged as among the first post-punk bands. And at a time when a lot of traditional rock bands were still putting on old-school shows, Cure concerts were sonic and visual extravaganzas. A visionary singer possessed of dulcet voice and a sparkling persona.

He eventually became the heart of the Impressions, who were inducted eight years earlier. The Impressions! Curtis Mayfield! A really interesting band. They were deep soul, definitely, but with rockist pretentions — and yet they produced several of the blithest pop singles of the era, songs that still crackle when they come on the radio today. In their lives and art they embody the promise of the music as much as anyone on this list. An early guitar experimentalist, artisan of a primal guitar sound, note by individual note.

He came in and delivered a stirring plea, which the nominating committee duly acquiesced to. They were New Wave from New York, which is to say, plainspoken and more than a bit arch, with a pretty formidable lead presence in Harry. Lots of good songs, too. As they matured they melded New Wave with disco with the help of a British pop super-producer and the genial side of hip-hop and even reggae, all of that resulting in some big pop fun. Docked ten notches because Harry and Stein, irritated by litigation from older members of the band, kept them from playing at the ceremony, causing Infante to deliver an outburst from the podium.

But Bill the Grumpy Critic notes that again this is a second-tier person with an amen corner among the Boomers on the nominating committee while more important and influential bands are ignored. The cacophony still somehow made sense. Some of the time, anyway. Baker was a highly committed drummer. The result was some stalwart classic-rock hits.


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He is rarely not worth listening to. On the other hand, his words are seldom profound and the band is often boring. How many artists on this list can you say that about? Knopfler and his brother David were nowhere to be seen. I could hear Wenner audibly shrug when I asked him about it. Which has happened before. Haley looked like a dork, with a spit curl pasted over his something moonface. But Taylor is not slight. He grew up fairly privileged but dealt with things institutionalization and heroin addiction, for starters that no teenager should have to.

This gave his early art a slightly darkened cast, and lingering credibility as he grew older and ever more lighter. Still writes a good song every once in a while. A progressive-rock group flecked with jazz, boasting the immense talents of Winwood, and Mason, too. Why is, say, Jeff Beck in the hall but not him? His solos back then seemed fiery, almost unbridled; when he began to grow inward, moments of roiling beauty became his calling card. He is in the hall three times for the Yardbirds, Cream, and as a solo artist , which seems excessive.

If I had to make the argument against one of them, it would be this one. And too many of even their nice-sounding songs seem to turn on evil women. But look at the Eagles for what they were — a rock corporation — and you see that Henley and Frey were highly competent co-CEOs. They kept product in the pipeline, maintained quality, invested where they needed to like bringing Joe Walsh onboard. In a way, they deserve a J. Power Award or something rather than a hall of fame induction.

But they of course turned into a serious operation with a fine live attack and a fearless if overserious lead singer. In time the group got its act together and produced some good songs amid the self-importance. Lead singer Stubbs had a titanic voice. Slightly indistinct but, as I said, hardy. Ann Wilson has quite a voice. They barely put out listenable albums. But they were there when the counterculture created itself and at the center of one of the most vibrant and influential scenes of the day, and provided, for good and ill, an appropriate soundtrack for the time, which the band saw up close and personal.

Slick refused to come to the ceremony. A ferocious act at the time, with big-voiced Eric Burdon bellowing anthems of independence. The World Is a Ghetto was the best-selling album of Why are the nimrods of Journey in the hall and not those guys? A lot of bright hits, a groovy sound, much favored by folks like Steve Van Zandt.

I think they have no depth. Then a guy from the Buggles joined. Barry Gibb was a fairly big star in the s, one of the biggest of the s, and a successful songwriter and occasional hitmaker for a decade or two after. We all love Joanie. She was the first folk superstar and had some nice hits. Still, we all love Joanie. A big, expansive blues-rock presence; more hits than you would expect.

All 221 Artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ranked From Best to Worst

The argument for them is that they were responsible for the devolved! She was an able song interpreter on some obvious covers and once in a while did something unexpected. A sturdy Motown act, which is saying something. They are fine, but also but another example of how the hall makes deep, deep dives into some genres at the expense of others. Simone was a distinctive talent who dealt with difficulties her entire life, some of them brought on by herself.

Vincent was injured in the same car crash that killed Eddie Cochran in The rest of his career ranged from the uneven to the sad, and he died at Now, that said, one conversation I had puts some of the philosophical constructs the hall is facing into perspective. I enjoyed talking to Jim Bessman, a longtime writer for Billboard and Variety , former member of the nominating committee, and current voting committee member.

I asked him whom he had voted for that year. That to me is as rock and roll as you get. My point: Gore is arguable, but all I see in his list are five footnotes to the history of rock and roll, not hall of fame inductees. It reminded me that every critic of the hall has his or her own slate of artists, and that Bessman probably would think my list of oversights is a mess as well.

In time I felt they had a point. They were speaking after experiencing years, even decades, of an endless stream of people keening at them about the perceived oversights of the hall. Here are my top three must-avoids, in ascending order of horror. Geils Band. I was surprised to read that he had actually made the short list several times. One final thing. Once in a while, an artist disses the hall publicly. Radiohead had been particularly unsparing, and one past nominating committee member I spoke to said that he had heard secondhand that this had tamped a movement for them on the nominating committee.

Does sniping at the hall affect nominations? I asked Wenner. Dion and the Belmonts had a lot of hits, and DiMucci himself has a winning personality. Some of his stuff is schmaltzy and a lot of it is somewhat deracinated covers of better black renditions. A sui generis blues boogie stomper, often slowed down to barbiturate levels.

I like Hooker, but why is his oddball shtick lauded while those of so many others ignored? The greatest purveyor of space pop-soul; every place it could go in the s EWF went, led by White. These guys were phenomenally successful for a few years, but the hits fell off pretty quick after the Beatles showed up. Like the Dave Clark Five, the result is enjoyable stompy pop, nothing more. A great American story! But then Geffen, which saw a valuable brand lying moribund, cleaned them up and, most importantly, hooked them up with outside songwriters.

With Desmond Child and Diane Warren! Bon Jovi. They might have been better served by the new Hall of Fame Single category. One of the first Hispanic rockers, too. He lived not-that-fast, died young, and left behind a decent greatest-hits album. These guys were weirdly bombastic and leader Jeff Lynne is an uncertain talent. A sweet-sounding quartet with an old soul in Mama Cass, soi disant royalty in John Phillips, and a secret weapon in Denny Doherty. More sentimental Boomer memories. Another Rock and Roll Single candidate. Sometimes in unexpected places; you can find a Lane cover on the first Golden Smog album.

Marriott went off to rock very hard in Humble Pie. Rod Stewart joined and the band went on as the Faces. Then Stewart got distracted by his solo career. Unquestionably talented and possessed of a sprightly voice, she was really a country-pop star who history has largely forgotten 48 weeks of the year. Carole King is in with her songwriter husband, Gerry Goffin, but not as a solo artist — even though she recorded what was for a time probably the biggest-selling record of all time, Tapestry.

Carly Simon deserves to be considered. But this is another example of the hall looking around for things to honor and avoiding bigger and more important questions, and closing off other sections of the tent in the process. Again, the hall is digging down into the second tier of one genre while leaving out top-tier people in others. Compare that to the Hollies, who recorded 15 or 20 albums and had hits for more than a decade.

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This is a minor band. Van Halen was a big band with a very big, almost hysterical sound courtesy of guitar hero Eddie Van Halen attached to nothing much more than a cartoon of a lead singer. Fair enough. But the idea of Hagar — who came in after the Van Halen brothers had had enough of Roth — having anything to do with a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame outside of sweeping the parking lot is comical in an entirely different way.

Because of various drug problems and infighting, bassist Anthony and Hagar were the only two members who made it to the ceremony.

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Nicely done, boys! But he was on Atlantic. At their best they were too good to ignore, but for the record they should also be in the bozo hall of fame. Then they got disorganized. A real close call. Note that Steven Adler, who played only on the first Gunners album, is in the hall, whereas the guy from Pearl Jam, who played on Vs. No one will be surprised to hear that Rose, after much drama, opted out of the ceremony via a pompously written legalese-filled billet-doux.

These guys sold a lot of records in the s — the ultimate surf-rock band, marked by the killer guitar runs of Bob Bogle. This dreary band has been reflexively treated with respect for half a century. The hall should have a formula that deducts credit when a reputable band becomes a refutation of its former self.

Genesis devolved — into a trio of middle-aged frumps who mastered the art of playing fools for MTV kids in the s. At this point, it felt like the hall was just randomly feeding their nostalgia. All the malevolence and mayhem they wrote about was pretty toothless in the end. These days they show up at all the industry events, swaggering around and looking tough. Like I said: Knuckleheads. Note the name Robert Trujillo above. He joined the band 10 or 15 years ago, long after any Metallica album worth remembering. I can understand the politics involved when a big act you want to induct and to bring paying fans to your big annual induction ceremony insists on including some unimportant latter-day member.

But that just means that the hall should have been doubly careful to achieve consistency in other acts, like by including Gram Parsons with the Byrds. I like the Springfield but were they really a major band? He had one convincing early album and several more convincing hard-rock-pop hits, or at least as convincing as a hard-rock-pop hit can be.

He then even more convincingly played the part of a genial showman, disguising an infantile set of interests and an aesthetic incoherence exemplified both by his enthusiastic appearances on The Hollywood Squares and his longtime Phoenix restaurant, Cooperstown, a brightly lit sports bar … with a goth-rock overlay.

A happy warrior and another openhearted soul singer. But there are literally dozens of more important artists who are not yet in the hall. Yeah, I know she can play guitar, but again, rock and roll would not sound any different had she never recorded. These guys are fine. Doo-wop, a touch of blues, recorded for decades. But boy, there are only one or two better-than-okay songs in their kit bag and the lead singer is kind of anonymous. He had a string of big albums and some hits, and gets lumped in a lot with people like Elton John and McCartney and Wonder, but is by far the least of them.

Dumb enough to have lost all his money by not keeping his eye on his manager, and smart enough to keep giving fans the hits in big-ticket tours. This well-meaning, likeable, and in his own way humble artist is a perfect example of the double standard of the hall. But still: How rock and roll is that? And again, I like him. Deep Space Nine and Voyager had their moments. Jean Luc Picard. The holodeck. The Borg. Starring Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, the show is the story of an awful two-man band from New Zealand who have an incompetent manager the wonderful Rhys Darby as Murray Hewitt and literally one fan the hilarious, obsessive Kristen Schaal as they try to make it big in New York.

Rhymoceros are two terrific examples of the latter. This is a show that you sink into, and that sweeps you along in its own relaxed rhythms, dispensing the sort of calm, surprising laughs that feels almost therapeutic. The special effects may have gotten marginally better, but the camp has stayed the same. With Russell T. Davies at the helm and David Tennant playing the 10th doctor, the show was never better. This was especially true for writers, because we really love movies and shows about writers.

Shannon M. At the end of its four-season run, Catastrophe is as sharp, as biting, as witty as ever. Few shows have the luxury of going out on such a creative high. TV and cinema have proffered plenty of variations on the theme of whip-smart women struggling with emotional crises while also making questionable romantic and sexual decisions. Over these half-dozen half-hours, the titular Fleabag finds her steely exterior roughly chipped away as her relationships start to crumble around her, revealing just how lonely she really is.

Fleabag strikes every note with poise and self-possession, never getting too maudlin or too clownish and trusting in an incredibly strong cast particularly Bill Paterson and Olivia Colman as her withering father and evil stepmother, and Sian Clifford as her tightly-wound sister to maintain that equilibrium. The steady hand at the wheel is Waller-Bridge herself, in a dazzling, nuanced dual performance as the writer and star of each episode, resulting in gaspingly hilarious, achingly human television.

Robert Ham. Most of us who watched could not relate to the very specific demographic of women who were showcased. And, for a series whose beating heart was NYC, the show did not do well in its presentation of gay characters or characters of color whenever they showed up. Hell, even the main character was problematic and difficult to root for at times, Carrie Bradshaw Sarah Jessica Parker , the not-so-eloquent writer who was better at choosing a pair of Manolo Blahniks than making decisions in her love life Team Aiden.

And if Samantha was too much for you, Charlotte York Kristin Davis and Miranda Hobbes Cynthia Nixon offered up their own unique perspectives, giving the foursome an original, entertaining, and important balance of personalities and feminist or anti-feminist outlooks. Whatever class issues, or race issues, or gender and sexuality issues Sex and the City might have swept under the rug or addressed in a problematic way , it still functioned as a loud, oft-obscene call for agency among the marginalized. Are network dramas supposed to be this good?

Julianna Margulies stars as the title character Alicia Florrick. The scandal thrusts Alicia back into the workforce and she goes to work for her very sexy old law school friend Will Gardner Josh Charles. The brilliance of the series is that it deftly blends multiple and equally engaging storylines. Each episode is an exciting combination of political intrigue, inner-office jockeying, family strife, sizzling romance and intriguing legal cases. And witness the transformative performance Alan Cummings gives as the cunning Eli Gold.

Many shows start to fade as they age, but The Good Wife , for the most part, finished strong. Veep satirizes the political world by distilling it down to what the public likes to watch most: the screw-ups. From foot-in-mouth moments to mis-sent documents to squeaky shoes, everything Selina Meyer Julia Louis Dreyfus does is scrutinized, turned into an offense, and spit back at her through the distorted prism of Twitter and never-ending public opinion polling.

Because the main thing Veep stays true to is shining a light on the people more desperate to be near power than to make any real social impact.

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Dreyfus may be the funniest person on TV right now. Erica Lies. Parks and Recreation. Parks and Recreation started its run as a fairly typical mirror of The Office , but in its third season, the student became the master. The show flourished this year with some of the most unique and interesting characters in comedy today. With one of the greatest writing staffs of any show, Parks and Recreation is only got better with time. Ross Bonaime. Friday Night Lights.

Heart-rending, infuriating, and rife with shattering setbacks and grand triumphs— Friday Night Lights is all of these, and in those ways it resembles the game around which the tiny town of Dillon, Texas, revolves. Full of heart but hardly saccharine, shot beautifully but hyper-realistically, and featuring a talented cast among which the teenagers and parents are—blessedly—clearly defined, the show manages to convince episode after episode that, yes, football somehow really is life. Rachael Maddux.

In the process, she endows each character and plot development with the proper dramatic weight, without ever sacrificing a sense of levity. Hear that? These risks came in the form of among other things sealing the protagonist in jail for a third of the run, killing off a major character, and ending the season with what I can only describe as the visual equivalent of a mic drop. Even in its weaker moments, the show always offered something memorable, whether it be an impressive visual, or an intense dialogue exchange.

Unlike the Fox program, however, the stories of Roseanne and Dan Conner Roseanne Barr and John Goodman and their rambunctious kids were almost always rooted in heart. In a landscape filled with pretty people and their petty problems, Roseanne chose to tackle the realities of a blue-collar family struggling to get by.

Besides highlighting a side of America not seen since the heyday of Norman Lear, the show also used its primetime platform to discuss controversial issues of birth control, drug abuse and homosexuality. Now almost three decades after its premiere, with the world is economic and political upheaval, ABC is rebooting the show. Catch up before it returns but, pro tip, you can skip the final season. Seems like ABC smartly plans to act like it never happened. Mark Rozeman and Amy Amatangelo. NYPD Blue. Detective Andy Sipowicz. The landmark series may be remembered for pushing the boundaries of network television hello, naked behinds!

While watching, we felt immersed in the 15th Precinct. Gritty, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and, at times, hilarious, the series set the bar high for all cop dramas that would follow. I still get chills thinking about it. These are the real concerns that make Deadwood a masterpiece. David Milch created a sprawling, fastidiously detailed world in which to stage his gritty morality plays and with it has come as close as anyone to creating a novel on-screen.

Six Feet Under is a television show that attempts to find reason and order in death, but then, in every episode, totally fails. And yet, somehow Six Feet Under is never morbid, instead concerned with celebrating the lives of its ensemble however they happen to play out, sensitive to the fact that though they run a funeral home, they have as little insight into the meaning of life as anyone else navigating modernity at the turn of the century.

Dom Sinacola. With its sunny, colorful visual palate masking an undeniable undercurrent of melancholy, the show was certainly never afraid to wear its heart painfully on its sleeve. At its heart, Twin Peaks was a detective story, with Dale Cooper Kyle Maclachan , a stalwart, by-the-book FBI agent, descending upon a small logging town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of a young woman.

But since this was a TV series conceived using the weird and wonderful visions of David Lynch , it wound up being so much more. Like its nearest antecedent, Blue Velvet , it explores the weirdness that lies beneath the surface of Anytown U. The horror of the show came in with the supernatural underpinnings of this storyline, with the killer of Laura Palmer Sheryl Lee potentially being an otherworldly force that goes by the name of Bob.

And it only made those moments when things did go sour feel that much worse. The final years of Cheers were when all these characters got to shine, especially Rhea Perlman as Carla and Kelsey Grammer, who joined the cast full-time before spinning off into Frasier.

The finale episode received mixed reactions at the time, but nostalgia has pushed it into favorable territory, especially given the happy endings that most characters receive.

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Sam decides not to get married and stays with the bar. It is, of course, his one true love. Over the course its six-season run, The Americans completed a remarkable evolution , beginning and ending as a blisteringly suspenseful spy drama. The audience is dropped in media res as Janet Tyler lies hospitalized with gauze wrapped around her head. The slow unwrapping of the gauze is possibly the most tense moment in the entire series, and the surprise that follows has left an indelible mark on television and audiences alike.

Darren Orf. The Sopranos brilliantly and believably explored this dynamic, turning the crime-drama on its head and taking dysfunction to the extreme in the process. As unfathomable as their world was, the characters of this tragic, beautifully arcing modern epic were so real that they became like family to us, too. Steve LaBate. Everyone is conflicted and compromised. But no other cultural enterprise and certainly no television show has shown us precisely how the infrastructure has collapsed, forcing us to consider the impossible decisions required for repair.

Amidst the rubble of a failed city, Simon created an engrossing human drama about the eternal struggle between aspiration and desperation, ambition and resignation;in other words, the fight for the American Dream. Nick Marino. Share Tweet Submit Pin. Here are the 50 best TV shows on Amazon right now: Josh Jackson Tags amazon amazon prime tv what to watch.