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May 9, 2021 3:41 pm  #1


The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

I don't agree with a lot of the choices, but the usual suspects are in the Top 10. (By the way, at some point CNN will be airing another documentary series after the History of Late Night called The History of the Sitcom. Many of these shows will likely turn up there.)

(And kudos for including Burns & Allen, my all-time favourite surreal comedy but boos for leaving out my second fave in that category, Green Acres. Any show where the characters see and comment on the opening credits is a hit with me.) 

100 Best Sitcoms of All Time

 

May 9, 2021 5:23 pm  #2


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Back in 2007, Ken Bloom and Frank Vlastnik published a book entitled "SITCOMS: The 101 GreatestTV Comedies of All Time" It is not a ranking as all series are listed alphabetically. Lots of behind the scenes information including original network run and number of episodes produced. You probably didn't know that Johnny Carson was seriously considered for the role of Rob Petrie. What really makes this book stand out is the photos. Particularly the colour shots of series that were filmed in glorious B&W. And yes RA, Green Acres and Burns & Allen are in the book.

 

May 9, 2021 7:40 pm  #3


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Yeah, there are a number of these "what ifs." My two favourites are:

-Mickey Rooney as Archie Bunker. Reportedly when he read the script he warned producers, 'if you do this, they're going to kill you!' They did, he didn't and no one died. If things had worked out differently, Archie's "little goil" would have been played by Penny Marshall, not Sally Struthers. Interesting, because Rob Reiner, who played Mike Stivic, was Marshall's real-life husband.

-Bing Crosby as Lt. Columbo. Hard as it is to imagine, he turned the role down, reportedly because it would interfere too much with his golf game. 

A few others, as outlined in the book "Forbidden Channels:"

-Martin Landau turned down the role of Spock on Star Trek in favour of Mission: Impossible.

-No one can imagine anyone except Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties. But it was originally offered to Matthew Broderick, who didn't want to leave a play he was starring in on Broadway to do the role. 

-Tammy Grimes was picked for the role of Samantha Stevens on Bewitched, but when she demanded script changes, they sought a new actress - and found Elizabeth Montgomery. 

-Russ Tamblyn of West Side Story and then Jerry van Dyke wanted nothing to do with a new comedy that debuted on CBS in the 60s. That's how Bob Denver wound up on Gilligan's Island.

-Fred MacMurray wouldn't have had three sons, let alone one, if he'd agreed to the role of Hamilton Burger on the original Perry Mason. 

-An actress I've never really heard of named Martha Hyer wanted $100,000 for EACH appearance in a new sitcom and it was too rich for the producers' blood. She was out and that's how Eva Gabor wound up living in Hooterville in Green Acres.

-Van Johnson was supposed to be Elliot Ness in The Untouchables instead of Robert Stack. But when his wife called the producers and demanded double the salary, Johnson really did become untouchable! 

-William Shatner decided to take a role in a show called For The People, instead of one he was offered by NBC. That's why we came to know Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare.

-And here's one you would have thought was a no-brainer. The role of Caine in the original Kung Fu went to David Carradine, who was not Asian. Another actor who tried out for the part was perfect - a still then relatively unknown named Bruce Lee, who somehow didn't get it! It was that rejection that led him to the movies that would later make him a star. 

Hard now to imagine anyone but the people we know in those roles, but how would it have changed those shows if the casting had been different? We can only wonder.

     Thread Starter
 

May 9, 2021 9:03 pm  #4


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

RadioActive wrote:

Yeah, there are a number of these "what ifs." My two favourites are:

-Mickey Rooney as Archie Bunker. Reportedly when he read the script he warned producers, 'if you do this, they're going to kill you!' They did, he didn't and no one died. If things had worked out differently, Archie's "little goil" would have been played by Penny Marshall, not Sally Struthers. Interesting, because Rob Reiner, who played Mike Stivic, was Marshall's real-life husband.

-Bing Crosby as Lt. Columbo. Hard as it is to imagine, he turned the role down, reportedly because it would interfere too much with his golf game. 

A few others, as outlined in the book "Forbidden Channels:"

-Martin Landau turned down the role of Spock on Star Trek in favour of Mission: Impossible.

-No one can imagine anyone except Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties. But it was originally offered to Matthew Broderick, who didn't want to leave a play he was starring in on Broadway to do the role. 

-Tammy Grimes was picked for the role of Samantha Stevens on Bewitched, but when she demanded script changes, they sought a new actress - and found Elizabeth Montgomery. 

-Russ Tamblyn of West Side Story and then Jerry van Dyke wanted nothing to do with a new comedy that debuted on CBS in the 60s. That's how Bob Denver wound up on Gilligan's Island.

-Fred MacMurray wouldn't have had three sons, let alone one, if he'd agreed to the role of Hamilton Burger on the original Perry Mason. 

-An actress I've never really heard of named Martha Hyer wanted $100,000 for EACH appearance in a new sitcom and it was too rich for the producers' blood. She was out and that's how Eva Gabor wound up living in Hooterville in Green Acres.

-Van Johnson was supposed to be Elliot Ness in The Untouchables instead of Robert Stack. But when his wife called the producers and demanded double the salary, Johnson really did become untouchable! 

-William Shatner decided to take a role in a show called For The People, instead of one he was offered by NBC. That's why we came to know Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare.

-And here's one you would have thought was a no-brainer. The role of Caine in the original Kung Fu went to David Carradine, who was not Asian. Another actor who tried out for the part was perfect - a still then relatively unknown named Bruce Lee, who somehow didn't get it! It was that rejection that led him to the movies that would later make him a star. 

Hard now to imagine anyone but the people we know in those roles, but how would it have changed those shows if the casting had been different? We can only wonder.

Great trivia RA.

Schitt's Creek should have been much higher on that list. And "New Girl" - which I thought was dreadful - should have been on the bottom 200. "Cheers" ahead of "Seinfeld" makes no sense to me.
 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (May 9, 2021 9:12 pm)


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

May 10, 2021 12:57 pm  #5


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Like most of Rolling Stone’s lists, this one is so totally subjective and off the mark. Ken Levine who wrote for MASH, Cheers, Frasier and other great sitcoms has an excellent review of the list.
 
http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2021/05/top-100-sitcoms-of-all-time-really.html

 

May 10, 2021 3:20 pm  #6


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Surprised that Family Guy didn't make the list, considering the number of other animated shows on the list (The Simpsons, South Park, Bob's Burgers, Rick & Morty, etc.) and how long it has been on the air.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (May 10, 2021 3:20 pm)

 

May 10, 2021 4:32 pm  #7


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Did anyone see the Beverly Hillbillies on the list?  It was in the top ten of the Neilson ratings for 7 straight years and for two of those years sat at #1.


- Not an industry person.  Just a guy with a love of Toronto radio. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.gif
 

May 11, 2021 10:17 am  #8


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Surprised but glad to see Police Squad make the list at #51. All six episodes are on Youtube. It was a parody of the 1957-60 NBC cop show M-Squad. The premiere episode had an almost identical storyline with a very similar script to an M-Squad one.                                                                                                                                                            Disappointed that Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies didn't make the cut.

 

May 11, 2021 10:31 am  #9


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Police Squad was one of the most lamented short-lived shows in TV history. Six episodes and done. But they were absolutely brilliant and surreal, exactly what you'd expect from television's version of "Airplane." Of course, it also spawned the Naked Gun flicks, which continued to star the late Leslie Nielson as Lt. Frank Drebin. 

A terrific and cult-like show with lots of bizarre characters, visual jokes, crazy dialogue and a satire on every detective show ever aired on TV. It was one of those half hours that required your undivided attention when it was on and I wonder if that's one of the reasons it died so quickly. It definitely deserves to be on the list.

     Thread Starter
 

May 11, 2021 10:38 am  #10


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

List like these never please everyone.   Especially since most people skew toward a specific era.

No Hogan's Heroes,
No Green Acres,
No Beverly Hillbillies,
No way.

You can tell what era I most identify with.

But here's a great video with 10 minutes of Green Acres breaking the fourth wall.



 

Last edited by Peter the K (May 11, 2021 10:38 am)

 

May 11, 2021 11:04 am  #11


Re: The 100 Best Sitcoms Of All Time As Chosen By Rolling Stone Magazine

Peter the K wrote:

List like these never please everyone.   Especially since most people skew toward a specific era.

No Hogan's Heroes,
No Green Acres,
No Beverly Hillbillies,
No way.

You can tell what era I most identify with.

But here's a great video with 10 minutes of Green Acres breaking the fourth wall.



 

I've seen that compilation before and it always makes me laugh. What an original and hilarious show. No one has ever done anything like it since. 

     Thread Starter