Stuart’s Top 50 Television Dramas of All Time – Part Four (#35 – #31)

#35 – Diagnosis Murder

People seem to be embarrassed to admit they like Diagnosis Murder. diagnosis

I have no such problem.

A murder mystery drama starring Dick van Dyke as Dr Mark Sloan, and his real life son Barry as Homicide Detective Steve Sloan, it was must-see lunchtime viewing for any student in the late 90s and early 00s.

And you know, it was also very good.

Sure, the level of acting from some of the guest stars was sometimes ropey, but mostly it was fine and the plots – with their mixture of drama and comedy – were often great as well.

Who could forget the episode with Mark’s Crime Lord doppelgänger, or the one where they meet a Vampire (and not a fake one, but a real one, incredibly enough)?

As the show developed, it maybe focussed too much on involving van Dyke’s grandchildren in random parts but it was still worth a watch.

And for people who might scoff at its inclusion, I ask you one question? Do you like Castle? Because it’s the same premise really.

#34 – Californication

Though there’s an argument that this is more of a comedy than a drama, I believe its more suited for inclusion in this list than my sitcom one.Californication_logo-714335

Californication isn’t plays for laughs, but the situations the likes of Hank Moody and Charlie Runkle find themselves in are often more than a little humorous.

I had read people saying they felt the show was running out of steam, but having only recently discovered it, I think the quality has been consistent throughout, and indeed I was pleased to see the back of that awful girl from the supposedly better early seasons.

On the whole it’s an easy show to get into and one that I’d recommend.

#33 – House of Cards (US)

A different kettle of fish from the UK version, but this is a series – available exclusively on NetFlix – that I enjoyed immensely. house of cards

Kevin Spacey is excellent as Francis Underwood, although as I said in my review, as good a political drama as this is, his talking to the viewer to make us his co-conspirators doesn’t work quite as well as when Ian Richardson did it, purely because his character doesn’t seem to have a good side.

I’m interested to find out where this particular series goes in the future.

When it does finish, I imagine it might find a spot higher on the list.

#32 – Neighbours

I don’t really watch Neighbours any more, as the quality began to dip in a major way in about 2011.Neighbours_Logo

I did watch an episode the other day though, as it happened to be on TV, and was stunned to find they’d recast Brad Willis and brought him back with his family to the street where a recast Lauren Carpenter also lives with her family. That just seemed bizarre. Why not just write new characters if they can’t get the original actors?

Also, what have they done to the theme tune?!

Anyway, as much as people criticise Neighbours, the fact is that I watched it almost every day for 25 years – making it the show I’ve probably watched more than any other – before I started to lose interest.

For that reason alone, it deserves to be included here.

And maybe, just maybe, with new characters and better writing I might one day find myself back in Erinsborough.

#31 – Crime Traveller

What’s that? You’ve never heard of Crime Traveller?crmetr

Shame on you.

Made in the 1990s – the era where science fiction shows were about as popular as paedophiles on UK TV – this was a show about a policeman who could travel back in time for 24 hours to investigate crimes as they happened, thanks to a time machine invented by the father of his sidekick.

It sounds about as stupid as a show like Early Edition (and what a great show that was, by the way) but it was really good, and seems to have been mysteriously lost to the British consciousness in the same way as the brilliant sitcom, Dad.

Starring Michael French (David Wicks off Eastenders) and Chloë Annett (Kristine Kochanski in Red Dwarf), this was  must-see Saturday night TV for me.

It’s a pity that it couldn’t co-exist with Jonathan Creek, rather than be replaced by it.

And One That Doesn’t Make It…

Sons of Anarchy

I tried twice to get into Sons of Anarchy and couldn’t do it, but when I was struck down ill with food poisoning earlier this year, I really had nothing better to do than give it another shot on NetFlix.soa

And though I got through to the end of Season One, the synopsis for Season Two – another set of episodes about dealing with the Irish and sorting out weapons – just did nothing to bring me back for more.

I know lots of people love SOA, but I’m just not one of them. The dreary setting and unpleasant characters do nothing for me.


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