Since AdWeek just saw fit to name their 100 most influential TV shows in history, I thought I'd cull from their favorites to tell you the five programs that have had the greatest impact, positive, negative, or otherwise on me.
They are (in chronological order):
1) "Leave it to Beaver" (CBS and ABC. Original air date: October 4, 1957). Wally and the Beav ran for six or seven seasons, long enough for me to become positively addicted to the cool ways in which Beav always got in trouble, Wally always got the girls and evil Eddie Haskell cheated and scammed his way through Mayfield High. I also developed my first, serious crush on Beav's second grade teacher, Ms. Landers.
2.) "The Twilight Zone" (CBS. Original air date: October 2, 1959). Submitted for your approval, TTZ was unlike any other show on TV. It simultaneously scared, mystified and intrigued me. I still watch the re-runs. Favorite episode of all? 'Willoughby', which featured a harried, Ed Moed-type ad executive whose regular Metro North commuter train somehow becomes a time machine that enables him to escape to a fictional Victorian town named, you guessed it, Willoughby.
3.) "All in the Family" (CBS. Original air date: January 12, 1971). The first, real counter-culture sitcom, AITF featured the quintessential racist, Archie Bunker, his 'dingbat' wife, Edith, 'meathead' son-in-law Mike Stivic and Mike's wife/Archie's daughter, Gloria, whom Archie always called 'Little Girl.' (Note: That's what I've always called my Catharine. Talk about influence).
4.) "Seinfeld" (NBC. Original air date: May 31, 1990). Hands down, the most influential show in this blogger's life. I often find myself copying Jerry's mannerisms and speech, and constantly referring to previous episodes in my everyday business life. Just yesterday, for example, Peppercom's Teddy Birkhahn scared the bejesus out of me when he sidled up silently behind me. I stuck a tin of Altoids in his pocket to prevent any such future ambushes.
5.) "The Sopranos" (HBO. Original air date: May 31, 2000). Incredible show with an incredible cast. Mediocre final episode, but such is life. My world stopped every Sunday evening at 9pm when T, Carm, AJ, Meadow, et al, took center stage. Favorite episode: the botched murder of a Russian mobster in the New Jersey Pinelands.
Honorable mention: "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men." I adore both AMC series (note: neither made Ad Week's list).
So, how about you? What TV show(s) had the most influence on you and why? Inquiring bloggers want to know.