Someone asked Ken Levine, who wrote for the TV sitcoms Cheers, Frasier, MASH and several other shows: “What’s your dream three-hour night of television, including any shows from any decade, including now.” He explained: “I’m going to cheat. I’m just going to concentrate on comedies. Dramas take up two slots. So here are my all-time favorite sitcoms.”

8:00 THE HONEYMOONERS
8:30 THE BILKO SHOW
9:00 THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW
9:30 THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW
10:00 MASH
10:30 CHEERS

Keeping that in mind, I picked:
The Simpsons – OK I haven’t watched more than thrice in the last decade, but those first years are strong enough
The Dick van Dyke Show – compare and contrast the family dynamic of these first two shows
The Mary Tyler Moore Show – and back-to-back MTM
Barney Miller – one of those perennially underrated shows
MASH – even though it should have ended when Radar went home early in season 8, rather than dragging on a couple more years
Twilight Zone Hey, I have this (and Van Dyke) on DVD

But his respondents had some great cheats. One wrote: “My 10 o’clock hour would be a rotating mix like Four in One (1970-71) or its successor the NBC Mystery Movie, but would involve the hour-long MTM shows: Lou Grant, The White Shadow, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, etc.” I rather like that, even that short-lived James Earl Jones show called Paris. And indeed, if I could do the same with the comedies, all the better; Mary Tyler Moore would share the slot with Newhart, WKRP in Cincinnati, even The Tony Randall Show, in which he played a judge.

Also, in my mind Frasier was just an odd continuation of Cheers. With that cheat:

The Dick van Dyke Show
The MTM sitcoms
Cheers/Frasier
Twilight Zone
The MTM dramas

What would YOU pick?
***
A production number from the 1986 Emmy Awards. “It’s a mess of TV stars singing snatches of — or merely walking on to — their shows’ theme songs.”

2 Responses to “Dream three-hour night of television”

  • Chris Honeycutt says:

    Dream 3 hours:

    Futurama
    Highlander
    Old National Geographic (I think National G took a serious turn for the worse starting around 1998)
    Cosmos
    X Files

    I’m over 3 hours, but I couldn’t pick which to remove.

  • Instead of watching TV I’d rather read Roger’s blog.

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