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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 5)

More rankings! This week I'm revealing numbers 40 through 36. As you'll soon find out, two more anime series appear in this section. It got me to thinking about the fact that, without counting, there's a lot of anime on my list.

The reason is two fold. One, I like anime. Two, anime is usually much shorter of a series than American television series. This enables me to watch more of them. And while I don't necessarily need to see an entire series to rank it, I do like to see a majority of a series so I can get a good feel for a show. That's much easier to do when your series is 26 episodes long instead of 180 episodes. So the relatively small amount of episodes gives anime the advantage in terms of bulk number on my list.

However, I also feel that anime has an advantage to make it higher on my list. That's because it's easier to make every installment of a 26 episode series higher quality and it's easier to give the entire series a cohesive narrative.

If you're a long running television show you are definitely going to have some poor episodes and, hell, even poor seasons. And if your show has no definitive end date then it's damn near impossible to have an overarching narrative for the entire series.

Basically, this is a long winded way of saying that, for my tastes, relatively short series with a predetermined end date have all the advantages.

On to the rankings. As always, if you're unfamiliar with these posts, check out the introduction here.

40. No Ordinary Family: This show is my kryptonite. I think I'm the only person who liked it. It's ranked here, though, because I still recognize its flaws.

The show had plot holes and characters acting stupidly (or doing seemingly dumb things simply to add to the dramatic tension). This show would set up plot points but then resolve them too soon and with too few of consequences. Almost everything involving the kids fell flat.

However, this show had potential. For the most part it was about people with powers who actually enjoyed using them. And while the kid stuff was pretty lame, I saw the intent. If they did it right it definitely could have had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel to it with the extraordinary challenges the teens face being symbolic of the more mundane, every day challenges real teens face. This show was also setting up a greater mythology without going so deep into the mysteries and foreshadowing that they boxed themselves.

Long story short, I felt the show had potential and would have loved to have seen it try and find itself in its second season. But, at the same time, I'm not really surprised it got cancelled and can't blame the networks for doing so.

39. Dual: Fun anime if not rather shallow and forgettable. Two mirror universes divergent from a single point in time. One kid is an anomaly who can see into the alternate universe. Naturally this all ends with giant robots fighting.

In refreshing myself on this series I realized that it's the perfect fantasy for any teen male geek (aka what I was). A lonely, isolated teen finds out how he's special and must save the world by piloting a giant robot while numerous beautiful women vie for his affection. Sign me up!

38. The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.: This show was ahead of my time. When it aired I just don't think I was ready for a mashup of a western and sci fi show with comedy sprinkled in. The fact that all the advertisements for the show before the premier made it appear as a straight comedy didn't help either. All in all, my pre-teen mind just wasn't equipped to handle this genre-defying show. Maybe if I watched it again now this series would rank higher on my list...but I still think I'd find the stuff with the mystical alien orb kinda weird.

37. The Flash: I watched this when I was fairly young so my memory is a bit foggy. What I do remember is that this was one of the first super hero shows I remember taking a more realistic, serious approach. (Which, of course, blew my mind at the time.) The idea that they'd try to apply some sort of pseudo-science to it all enthralled me. I liked the small details like the fact that the Flash had a super fast metabolism so he was eating all the time.

It probably wasn't as good as I remember. But it was fun if a bit forgettable. Fun and forgettable seems to adequately describe a lot of the shows in this range of ranks.

36. The Last Exile: This is a series about two young sky couriers (postal workers who pilot a steam punk-esque open air two seated flying machine). Like every other fictional story about a courier ever, these two young couriers are tasked with transporting a...wait for it...human being!

The girl they're transporting ends up being the princess of a rival nation and the couriers get caught up in war and global politics.

While this series certainly isn't bad it does get a bit confusing. It certainly isn't Evangelion weird. It just gets bogged down in medieval-esque politics and a bit of a convoluted story of the first space ship to colonize their planet and how to activate said ship. However, I am confident that if I watched it once or twice more being doubly attentive it'd make more sense. But I've never had the drive to do so. Which probably tells you all you need to know. It's interesting but confusing but it's not interesting enough to want to clarify the confusion.

Next time: Some Brits, another more famous super hero, some fantasy and some horror.


  1. I've seen maybe one episode of Brisco and i think we've seen the first 2 episodes of the last exile and that is it on this chunk of your list.

    Though i guess i would say that Naruto is an incredibly long running anime that stays pretty true to an overall story arc

  2. Sarah said what i was gonna say.
    i remember we wanted to check out No Ordinary Family, but missed the first ep and then we heard it wasn't very good, so didn't bother trying to pick it up

  3. @Dr. Bitz: Basically, this is a long winded way of saying that, for my tastes, relatively short series with a predetermined end date have all the advantages.

    I generally agree, though not necessarily in the case of comedies. But that's not what you're talking about here anyway.

    I think I'm the only person who liked it.

    Nah, I liked it too. Your analysis is spot on: it had its flaws, but it also had some good points, and lots of potential. And it definitely seemed like a show that could grow into its potential. Some of those later episodes were especially good, and I even started to like the relationship between the daughter and her "loser" boyfriend.

    I too think I was turned off by the odd cross genre elements of Briscoe County Jr., but even moreso than you: I don't think I ever watched anything more than commercials for it. I'd be interested in going back and watching it now sometime.

    What I do remember is that this was one of the first super hero shows I remember taking a more realistic, serious approach. (Which, of course, blew my mind at the time.)

    Ditto. Though it has been many, many years since I last watched this too, I remember just being so thrilled with having a superhero show on TV, and to see it presented so realistically. Definitely one of those shows that added to my then-budding appreciation for superheroes and comic books.


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