What Haven’t You Seen Lately?

November 19, 2013

I know that some of you have followed me to Twitter, but the only reader who’s become a regular thorn in my side over there is Marty McKee, author of the estimable Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot blog. Recently – after a quibble over whether another TV critic could still be taken seriously after he admitted he’d never seen The Bob Newhart Show – Marty asked me what major television series I’d never seen.

Now that’s a question that I’ve always loved asking other critics, in part because they hate it. No professional ever really seems eager to admit to the gaps in their knowledge. Especially nowadays, on the internet, any show of weakness is going to get you reamed. One of my college friends, now a respected film critic, was always suspiciously noncommittal whenever I inquired about which Hitchcock films he had under his belt. I also remember an “Ask the Critic” column (apparently no longer online) in which Manohla Dargis, then a lead film critic for the Los Angeles Times, was asked the dreaded question. Reluctantly, she agreed only to fess up to some examples from a single national cinema — Italian — and so we learned that she’d never gotten around to I Vitelloni.

Me, on the other hand, I’m an open book. Well, not really. But Marty asked for five TV shows I’ve never seen at all (apart from a stray clip here or there), and I figure I can admit to that many without completely decimating my credibility. So here goes. Never seen a single episode of any of these — not for lack of interest, just for lack of hours in the day.

1. Maude
2. Lou Grant
3. Taxi
4. thirtysomething
5. Homicide

I can think of a handful of others, but Marty asked for five so that’s all I’m giving up. Now it’s your turn. For all of you fellow expert-level TV maniacs, get your skeletons out of the closet: What are you embarrassed to admit you’ve never seen?

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23 Responses to “What Haven’t You Seen Lately?”

  1. Tom Nawrocki Says:

    “Maude” isn’t that great of a show, but it’s worth seeing just because it’s hard to believe that cultural moment ever happened: A sitcom about a bunch of argumentative middle-aged liberals in Westchester County.

    I’ve never seen a second of “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire.”

  2. Larry Granberry Says:

    1. The Wire
    2. The Good Wife
    3. The Larry Sanders Show
    4. Police Story
    5. 30 Rock

  3. Marty McKee Says:

    Please tell me I’m a benign thorn! I would hate to think I’m genuinely a pest. All my barbs are intended in good fun.

    To prove I’m a good sport, I’ll play. If we’re sticking with classic series (though, honestly, I don’t think there are very many truly great or even very good shows I haven’t seen at least once):

    PEYTON PLACE
    SLATTERY’S PEOPLE
    EAST SIDE/WEST SIDE
    FALCON CREST
    DEAR JOHN

    I know this is a terrible list, but I have seen a lot of great TV at least once (and I stuck to shows that aired in the U.S.). I’ll make it up to you. Here’s another list that you can mock more easily:

    THE WIRE
    DEADWOOD
    BREAKING BAD
    MAD MEN
    THE WALKING DEAD

    • Stephen Bowie Says:

      Well, I was going to agree to the benign part, but … no EAST SIDE/WEST SIDE?!?! And you dare show your face around here?

      Don’t even get me started on your new list (even though I only like two of them).


  4. Stephen, with Homicide and Taxi on your list I’m not so sure you should be casting stones at Marty. Hopefully this post makes me a benign thorn (if there is such a thing) rather than a pest.


  5. Just having fun too.

  6. Stephen Bowie Says:

    As a North Carolinian, I didn’t like Eastbound and Down as much as I’d hoped I would. Although the “Love Will Turn You Around” sequence that climaxes the first season is pretty special.

  7. Adam Says:

    What a fun post. These are just a few.

    Peyton Place
    Slattery’s People (Though I really would love to)
    The Eleventh Hour, 1962 (Again, I’m dying to see this show, the vintage reviews of this show make it seem quite interesting)
    The Odd Couple
    McHale’s Navy

  8. sgspires68 Says:

    I have seen every episode of SuperTrain which I think wipes out the fact that I saw every episode of Hill Street Blues.
    My list:

    1. Family
    2. Our House
    3. Life Goes On
    4. Picket Fences
    5. Manimal

    • Stephen Bowie Says:

      I will have more to say about Picket Fences tomorrow! But in the meantime, get on that.

      • sgspires68 Says:

        Tom Skerritt is a favorite actor of mine. Picket Fences has been on my list, but things just keep getting in the way (star Trek Enterprise is on Blu-Ray now, and why did they have to create “on demand” library choices for DVD?)
        :-)
        PS I learned more about news watching Lou Grant than I did the first 18 months I actually worked in a newsroom. Great show, holds up today.

  9. Stephen Bowie Says:

    Good lists, people. Keep ‘em coming! I have actually spotted a couple more in these lists that I’ve never seen but, again, I am only admitting to five.

  10. Stephen Bowie Says:

    The dispiriting thing about Picket Fences is that the best seasons are the two in the middle, neither of which is on DVD. The first season can be streamed on Hulu Plus (but with commercials, yuck). So basically you’d still be dependent on whatever bootleg you could scrounge up.

  11. Mike from Jersey Says:

    Stephen,
    I may not be Jewish but the idea that you, boychick, have not yet seen Taxi and Homicide,
    Oi! Taxi’s Reverend Jim filling out the form to get a hack license is without doubt one of the funniest moments in tv history.
    Anyway, my list:
    Steve Allen Show
    Adventures in Paradise
    Nichols
    Howdy Doody
    Brady Bunch(when I was a kid,any male in my neighborhood who watched the Bradys would have been a serial victim of atomic wedgies)

  12. Larry Granberry Says:

    Great piece on David E. Kelley, Stephen. Hopefully the A.V. Club will do more pieces singling out the works of individual contributors, not just by show.

  13. Jeffrey Says:

    1) Breaking Bad
    2) Friends
    3) The Waltons
    4) Survivor
    5) NCIS

  14. Robert Says:

    It’s a bit different for me since I focus on short-lived shows the vast majority of people haven’t seen, rather than “major” big-name ones. There are too many to name but here are five widely-regarded-as-classics I’ve never seen:

    1) The Honeymooners (the Classic 39 — I saw one episode of “The Color Honeymooners” on ALN and it was atrocious)
    2) Lou Grant
    3) The Bob Newhart Show
    4) Sanford and Son
    5) The Defenders

    • Stephen Bowie Says:

      Robert, that’s interesting that you chose to skip over some of the classic and head straight for the obscurities. Any special reason why?

      • Robert Says:

        Partly because I’m just more interested in obscurities, but mainly like you said because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to watch everything.


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