“Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20

We believe that we have been called to use the gifts God has given us to reach unbelievers for Him and to encourage, and build up His Church.

All Time Best TV Shows

For what it's worth, I drove into work today and my mind wandered. I ended up making up this list:

Best family based comedy. Everybody Loves Raymond. 

Yeah, I know there have probably been thousands that fit this genre, but Raymond is head and shoulders above the rest.  Sure, All in the Family was ground breaking, but it definitely did not age well. Meanwhile, Raymond is perfectly cast: Ray's parents, played by Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts,  are among the best TV characters ever created. Even supporting characters, like Amy's brother, Peter, and Ray's friend, Gianni, are excellent. Every episode of Everybody Loves Raymond is laugh out loud funny; something that can rarely be said of TV sitcoms.

Best family based drama:  American Dreams

Set in the turbulent 1960's, this show follows the Pryor family as they deal with a rapidly changing America. Their teenaged daughter, Meg, is a dancer on American Bandstand, and a variety of contemporary stars did guest appearances as pop stars of the 1960's. JoJo appeared as Linda Ronstadt, John Legend played Stvie Wonder, and Brad Paisley played Ricky Nelson.  Another family, the Walkers, are an African American family dealing with the some of the same issues, and some unique to them.  And Vanessa Vengries as Meg's loyal and naughty best friend Roxanne was perfect.

Best work place sitcom:  Newhart

Conventional wisdom would place the Mary Tyler Moore Show here, but I have always loved Newhart.  Playing the part of innkeeper Dick Loudon, Bob Newhart was every bit as perfect with his comic timing as would be expected of this comedy legend.  As he and his wife ran the Stratford Inn, they had to deal with bumpkin handyman George Utley, heiress turned maid Stephanie Van der Kellen, and a variety of oddball guests and townsfolk.  Newhart did something oh so rare in TV history: it got consistently better over time.  Replacing Kirk and Leslie with Michael and Stephanie was a hugely positive move, and they had the greatest final episode in sitcom history.

Best period piece drama (tie):  Murdoch Mysteries

This Canadian show set in Toronto during the late Elizabethian era has been a world wide hit for 15 seasons.  The mysteries are intriguing, the history pretty authentic, and the famous Canadians and Brits who happen through station house four are well protrayed: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Alexander Graham Bell, Winston Churchill, and Arthur Conan Doyle, to name a few.  And Constable George Crabtree offers a satisfying amount of comic relief.  There's also just enough tongue in cheek references to the future  For example, when Officer Higgins is trying to figure out a secret code using moveable letters, George comments that it would make a great game; "We could call it Scramble!" But the humor never overrides the drama of the crime Murdoch and his team need to solve.

Best period piece drama (tie):  the Waltons

At least the first five seasons.  This show sort of imploded after the grandparents died and mom Olivia was written out of the show by placing the character in a sanatarium.  They even brought in a different actor to play John Boy.  That said, the first five seasons, set during the Great Depression,  were brilliant.  Folk music legend Will Geer was perfect as Grandpa Zeb Walton.  The fact that Erin Walton was the same age as me when it was origiinally being aired allowed for my cruch on her to seem almost attainable in my 11 year old brain, but now I realize that the best character on the show was John Walton Sr. whose determination, commitment and love of family make him the best TV dad ever.

Best period piece comedy:  That 70's Show

Might be a surprise choice, especially on a Christian ministry's website.  Stoner humor might not be the most appropriate, but the show is hysterical, and, as a child of the 70's, I can testify that it's pretty accurate, if hyperbolic.  But that's what makes it funny.  And it's always laugh-out-loud funny whenever Red Forman, played by Kirkwood Smith, threatens to kick his son Eric's ass.

Best medical show: MASH

Was it a comedy? A darma? A dramady? Historical fiction?  All of the above?  It doesn't matter, this show did the nearly impossible: it remained well written and acted for 11 seasons and never got old.   Even harder, it survived several cast changes to come back even stronger.  Replacement characters Colonel Potter, BJ Honeycutt and Dr. Charles Winchester all made the show better when they arrived at the 4077.  TV Guide named it the 8th best show in TV history. At times Hawkeye could be annoying with his righteous anger and sarcastic puns and comebacks, but we all know that person, too.  Besides, clearly the real hero of the show MASH was Radar O'Reilly.

Best law drama:  Law and Order:

This show was both a cop show and a lawyer show.  The first half hour led up to the arrest of the suspect, and the second half was the trial.  That's the part I watched it for.  Michael Moriarity was great as the original lead counsel, but it really took off when Jack McCoy (played by the legendary Sam Waterston) took over as lead counsel.  The episode "Under the Influence" is one of the greatest single TV episodes in history.  In this one, Jack tries to get the death penalty for a drunk driver, knowing full well he was out of line.  I don't want to post any spoilers for those who are just starting watching this, but it is incredibly well written and acted.

Best police drama:  Cold Case

There have been countless cops shows, and this list already includes a couple under other categories, so it was not  an easy choice.  However, the way Cold Case episodes are constructed is consistently brilliant.  The use of flashbacks, period music and plenty of red herrings keep the viewer fixated until the end.  The unsolved homicide team has solved cases from a year or two ago as fae back as the roaring 20's.  Katheryn Morris as lead detective Lily Rush is consistently brilliant, with a perfect balance of toughness and vulnerability.

Best variety / talk show:  The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson

Oprah who?  Ellen what's-her-name?  David Letter-something... None can compare with the master.  Period


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