The head of genius organization Mensa has picked the 10 Smartest TV Shows of All Time —sparking debate in the blogosphere, especially over the inclusion of the 1990s sitcom "Mad About You."
Jim Werdell, chairman of Mensa International, selected the shows after being posed the question by Fancast.com.
“They weren’t pure comedy, mystery or action,” Werdell said. “They tended to be shows that dealt with issues in the world, and from my perspective that’s considered smart. Some sitcoms reach a higher level of intellect than others, and you can say the same about some of the dramas. The stories may be cliché, but the characters and dialogue are smarter.”
Here's the list with Werdell's comments:
1. "M*A*S*H" – It had smart repartee and was so much more than a comedy.
2. "Cosmos" (with Carl Sagan) – Sagan was able to communicate something extremely complicated to the layman and do it well, and that’s unusual for a scientist at his level.
3. "CSI" — The way they use science to solve their programs is intriguing to viewers.
4. "House" – Again, it’s high level type of show; it’s the personality that makes it a winner, plus it deals with science.
5. "West Wing" – You had to pay attention to stay up with it. The repartee was fast and furious and you needed a fairly high level intelligence to keep up with it.
6. "Boston Legal" – It’s primarily because of the characters. The story lines are okay, but the characters are incredible and the writers give them great dialogue.
7. "All in the Family" – The show dealt with social issues before its time and was on the forefront of trying to show people’s feelings, beliefs and the complexities of personality, in both a serious and comedic way.
8. "Frasier" – The repartee was sensational; the main characters were very good. Even though they portrayed people who were likely of high intelligence, they also showed their weaknesses.
9. "Mad About You" – It’s a personal favorite, I loved the characters and the back and forth. It was very smart.
10. "Jeopardy" – It’s about the only game show that really tries to test people’s intelligence. There’s very little luck involved, and there are few game shows like that. I don’t watch it all that much honestly, but from what I’ve seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too.
Fans have been responding on various blogs, arguing over the lack of recognition for "The Twilight Zone," "Gilmore Girls," "Battlestar Galactica," "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and others.