As the last season of Mad Men starts up again I am full of both excitement at what is to come and sorrow that it soon to be over. You see, I am a TV Geek. And Mad Men for me is one of the best things ever on TV. EVER.
Like many from my generation I spent a large chunk of my childhood sitting in from of a TV. If you are anywhere near my age or older, you will remember that the choices were very limited in those early days. There were just three network channels and one independent channel in Fort Wayne, Indiana where I grow up in the 1970’s. I remember when the independent channel went on the air, suddenly adding daytime watching options other than the standard game shows and soap operas. Then the golden age of TV watching began: Cable TV came to town! Of course, it was nothing back then like it is today. Kids today would not believe that we had to live with only one ESPN channel and only one HBO. And that HBO channel was NOT on for 24 hours a day! Through those early years my viewing focus moved between HBO, MTV and ESPN as those networks grow and matured.
There are certain shows and watching experiences that stand out over the years. When I think back they are somewhat woven into my life story.
The summer of 1984 brings back memories of watching the Chicago Cubs’ first National League East division champion team on WGN Chicago. They did not win it all that year but it is still very special team to me and many other Cub Fans who watched and listened to Harry Carey and Steve Stone call the games.
That same summer we had my most memorable Olympics: Bobby Knight, Michael Jordon and Steve Alford, three of my all-time greats, lead the Basketball team to gold. I watched it all from cycling to synchronized swimming.
Late night with David Letterman was a constant for me in the 80’s. When I could not watch I would record it on the VCR to watch later. For me, Dave is the ultimate talk show host – truly the best of all time!
Jerry Seinfeld was always great on Letterman so I was happy to hear that he was getting his own show. There is not a day that goes by without reference to Seinfeld which I consider the greatest comedy of all time. My dog’s name is Seven. (If you are a Seinfeld fan you should get that.)
There are some other TV shows that I should list here as standing out and leaving a lasting mark: Twin Peaks, the X-files, Cheers and Lost (I choose to forget that last season) were all important to me and hold a place in my TV-loving heart.
So those are some of my favorites, but there is a short list of the extra special shows that can be considered my all-time favorites. Here is my personal ranking:
5. The Shield
4. Breaking Bad
3. The Sopranos
2. Mad Men
1. The Wire
I have to admit, that the order of this list does change depending on what I watched most recently. The Shield is the most dated of these shows but it is still worth watching if you have not. Breaking Bad just ended last year with a great deal of acclaim. The Sopranos is becoming the forgotten one. As time goes on it seem to be less appreciated. The Wire for me can’t be touched -t entertains and educates with its cast of well-rounded realistic human characters.
As for Mad Men, I have high hope for the last half of the final season. Mad Men has not been as popular as many of the other shows of the last few years. It has not seen its ratings increase the way that Breaking Bad did in its last season. I’m not sure why more people are not watching this masterpiece. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a great watch. Maybe after I watch the last show it will move up on my list. At least until I watch The Wire again.