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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 10)

Yup, it's been a while. I swear I'm trying to post more regularly but life has a tendency to get in the way.

This week we have 15 through 11. There are some interesting rankings here. One series was incredibly hard for me to rank. You're also going to find that quality (well, what I believe to be quality) can trump subject matter. But first, if you don't know the history of these rankings then you should go here. Now, on with the show:

15. Lost:
Sigh. What can I say about this show? I could write a novel. Did I rank it too high? Probably. Considering how obsessed I was with this show while it was on the air maybe I ranked it too low? All I know is if in the midst of season four you told me that this show wouldn't crack my top five series of all time I would have said they must have really screwed up the ending. Guess what? They really screwed up the ending.
And that's the debate. This show was good on so many levels but the ending was flat out unacceptable. (Actually, I liked the final episode but that was only because I already knew I wasn't going to get the answers I wanted.) My main impetus for watching this show were the mysteries revolving around the island the characters were marooned on. First and foremost, I wanted answers. I didn't get a satisfactory answer to any of the big questions.
At the same time it was one hell of a ride leading up to that disappointment. The acting was superb and Lost had some individual moments that may never be topped by another television series. So while the series as a whole left me feeling unsatisfied it was can't miss television for me while on the air. However, I'm not sure I could ever go back and rewatch Lost. I think I would get to angry.

So, when it comes to ranking this show I was very conflicted. But this is where I put it. Talk to me tomorrow and I may knock it down ten spots.

14. Sex and the City: Yup, THAT Sex and the City. Obviously this show isn't in my wheel house. I like action, science fiction, fantasy, suspense and action. But, there's no substitute for quality. You can make a show that has everything I'd want, but if you don't do it well I'm not going to like it. Check out #61 on this list if you don't believe me. If you make a mediocre show that has elements I like then I may like it more than I should. But, if you make a quality show, even if it's about something I normally wouldn't like, I'll appreciate it. And in my opinion, this show is quality.

Mrs. Dr. Bitz made me watch Sex and the City. I wasn't excited about it but it was early in our relationship so I needed to impress her. Much to my surprise this show was smart, funny, sensitive, interesting, addictive and had boobs. (Well, I knew that last part already but I had to bring it up here because it's always appreciated and important to note.) Soon I found myself caught up in this series and actually looking forward to the next episode. Who would've guessed? Does that make me less of man? Yes...yes it does.
13. Exosquad: Exosquad is a sci-fi cartoon about humans (Homosapiens) (who frequently wear robotic suits) fighting genetically engineered super beings (Neosapiens). It's a children's cartoon but the thing I like about this series is that it's actually really smart.

Exosquad takes place in a future where humans have created genetic super beings to use as a slave race to help terraform and colonize Venus and Mars. 50 years before the series the Neosapiens had risen up against the humans but lost. However, they did gain some more rights.

What sold me on this show was an early episode. The leader of the Neosapiens, Phaeton, visits Earth for a conference while human/neosapien tensions are running high. During his speech a human tries to assassinate him but Phaeton is saved by a human police officer. In private, Phaeton tries to congratulate and thank his human savior. The human refuses any gratitude and says the only reason he saved Phaeton was because it was his duty and if it was up to him he'd have let Phaeton die.

I don't think that incident causes the Neosapien revolt (I believe Phaeton was still planning it anyway). But that scene showed depth of character motivations that's rarely seen in adult television fare. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. When the Neosapiens do revolt it is clear that while the humans are cast as the protagonists they are not completely innocent. This children's cartoon shows that war is rarely as black and white as "good guys vs. bad guys." That's a lesson we could all stand to learn.
12. The Twilight Zone: "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."

C'mon, everyone knows the Twilight Zone. It's a classic. Every episode is a different sci fi/horror story that invariably ends with a twist. What amazes me about The Twilight Zone is that it consistently churned out quality episodes despite them all being unrelated and self contained.

This show has had so many iconic moments that have entered the pop culture zeitgeist it's ridiculous. There's the woman getting surgery to be de-uglified, Bergis Meredith breaking his glasses after the apocalypse, a gremlin on the wing of a plane, the kid wishing people into the cornfield, the monsters are due on Maple Street, I could go on. If you haven't seen some these episodes, you need to.
11. Fullmetal Alchemist:
This show was pretty sweet. The term "alchemy" is used loosely. Alchemy on this show is pretty much magic. However, there is a law that governs this magic. (It's the law of equivalent exchange which is pretty much the law of conservation of mass.) But it's probably best not to think too hard about what they can and can't do.
This show follows two brothers who tried to use alchemy to bring their mother back to life with disastrous results. One lost his arm and leg (they are replaced by mechanical ones) while the other lost his entire body and had his soul fused onto metal armor. They're traveling the world looking for a way to restore their bodies.
Edward, the main character, becomes a State Alchemist in order to have as many resources as possible at his disposal. Naturally, this ends up with him uncovering conspiracies, getting caught up in a war and discovering a threat to the entire world.

This is a really fun series and would rank higher on my list if the ending didn't go off the rails. But it's definitely worth watching.

(Fullmetal Alchemist was essentially rebooted in a new series titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood which I finished watching after making this list. If I did rank Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood it would rank even higher than this series. That show was phenomenal.)

Up next time: We reach the top 10! A Disney cartoon, a kinda, sorta anime series, an honest-to-goodness anime series and a couple of long running series.


  1. Lost. Oh, Lost. I am just as conflicted as you on this show (shocking, I know). When I was watching it, it was easily one of my ten favorite shows of all time, yet they so completely botched the ending that I feel like I can't call it a favorite anymore. Yet there's a part of me that wonders if the enjoyment I had while it was unfolding is great enough to keep it a favorite, even though, like you, it would be very difficult to rewatch it.

    Actually, I liked the final episode but that was only because I already knew I wasn't going to get the answers I wanted.

    Ditto. When I say I don't like the way it ended, I mean as a series, not the specific final episode itself.

    Does that make me less of man? Yes...yes it does.

    At least there were boobs. Even some attractive ones, I'm led to believe.

    I've heard consistently good things about Exxosquad, but I've never seen it. Somehow, I managed to live in complete ignorance of it until well after it was off the air. I'd be up for checking it out if it was on DVD or Netflix.

    Sadly, I don't think I've ever seen the entirety of a Twilight Zone episode (except maybe the Maple Street one, which I think we watched in Communications class in Middle School), yet all those episodes you mentioned (and more) seem so familiar to me because they've become so embedded in the zeitgeist.

    I know Syfy usually does a marathon around Christmas or New Years; I should really record a bunch of the classic eps this year and finally watch them...

    We reach the top 10!

    Exciting! I'm trying to think of your top ten...I think I know which Disney cartoon it is, and I know of at least two anime series you haven't listed yet that absolutely will make the list. Plus, I assume Seinfeld and The Simpsons will appear at some point, but that still leaves five spots (oh, I just thought of another drama that will probably make your list. So four spots left).

  2. @Teebore: I think someone needs a refresher on my rules. Sitcoms weren't included so Seinfeld and The Simpsons are out. I suppose I could do separate rankings, I just always felt trying to compare Star Trek to Friends was just too incongruous.

    Naturally you should check out Exosquad, although the only reason I watched any of it was because it was in Ronin Warriors' time slot.

    I'm not surprised you haven't seen. It's not like it was a big cartoon in the 90's and its main purpose was the same as all cartoons. To sell toys.

    Regarding Twilight Zone, you, of all people, should actually sit down and watch some episodes. They have some of the 60s era TV limitations but most episodes are very good. Even the episodes that didn't become cult classics are still quality.

  3. I think someone needs a refresher on my rules.

    Pfft, your rules can't control me!

  4. ExoSquad! I was "too old" for cartoons (a very mature 11) but got home from school about 45 minutes before my mom and had to watch *something.* Extra t.v. time must not be wasted, after all. I got bored with Mtv and game shows and ended up watching an episode of ExoSquad out of boredom. Lo and behold, I ended up looking forward to it and was very disappointed when it was cancelled. I liked that one Neosapien who fought on the side of the humans.

    @ Teebore,

    Twilight Zone still holds up. The writing and acting were usually good, often great. Stick with the original version (the '80s edition is extremely inconsistent)and avoid the hour-long episodes as they tend to be padded. Otherwise, the series is highly enjoyable.

  5. And that last comment was from me,

    - Mike Loughlin

  6. I know we've had the exo-squad discussion on here before but it's worth repeating that it was excellent and i loved it.

    Full Metal is top notch. There are some wonderful dark moment in that series that i just love and the scene where they actually try to bring back their mother is awesome and terrible all at once. I've only ever seen bits and peices of Brotherhood but i've heard only good things about it.

    I have kinder feelings towards Lost than you or Teebore. I don't know when, but sometime around the middle it became less about the mystery for me and more about the characters. Probably because our Dad wanted all the questions answered immediately and that started to rub against me until i just stopped caring about the mysteries.

    And I am utterly, utterly shocked that teebore has never seen an entire episode of The Twilight Zone. I mean, WTF, dude?

    I'm excited to see what's in your top ten. I think i can guess one of the animes (hmm, how do we pluralize that word?) But i'm not that familiar with your TV history so we shall see...

  7. @Mike - For whatever reason, if you stumble upon a show that captures your attention and ends up being good it seems better than when you walk into a show with already high expectations...even if the show ends up being good.

    I guess it's similar to found money being more exciting and fun than hard earned money? Or something like that.

    @Sarah - If you do watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood I'd suggest not giving up on it too soon.

    It's not that the early episodes are bad, they're just VERY similar to the early episodes of the original Fullmetal Alchemist. But eventually Brotherhood's plot will diverge and it gets really good.

    (I think the original series started after the manga but eventually caught up and passed where the manga was at. So the original series made up the rest of its story. Brotherhood was made after the manga was finished and was designed to more closely follow that storyline. That's why the early episodes of both series are so similar.) sure to keep in mind whatever anime you're thinking of. Because if it's not on the list I either forgot about it (Me? Make a mistake!?) or it's something I should watch.

  8. Okay that makes sense, because i know i've seen a few of the early episodes of Brotherhood and i was confused because they were the same. And then when i've caught later eps, i'm all "wTF?"


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