Other: The Ten, er, Best?
Of course, there's bound to be a great deal of dreck along with the good material, again this could be a factor of volume as much as talent. As you may (or, blissfully, may not) recall, Manimal, A-Team and Misfits of Science were all on the air at the same time Newhart was showing.
The point is this: here are two lists provided by the Parents Television Council ("because our children are watching"), and I'd like you to consider from which group you would consider more worth the effort to watch. Ready?
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
The Ghost Whisperer
Everybody Hates Chris
Dancing With the Stars
The War at Home
The Family Guy
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Two and a Half Men
That 70's Show
I'm sure you can tell which list the Council approves of and which it shuns, but there is one ringing endorsement of their choices: talent is irrelevant, whether in writing (Arrested Development/The Ghost Whisperer) acting (CSI/Bernie Mac) or production values (The O.C./Dancing With the Stars).
Oh, if you can't figure out which is which, here's a hint: they couldn't bring themselves to endorse 10 programs this year.
Now there are some overlaps on these lists, I will admit. Any show featuring Chris Rock's writing has a good chance of winning my favour, and much as I dislike The O.C., if I ever accidentally stumble upon Two and a Half Men again I'll need to buy a new tv because the old one will have died in a horrible firey gardening accident.
Glurge rules the approved shows, with either 20 weepy minutes in reality television or 15 of them in fiction; while sex and violence (of course) are killers in their personal rating systems. Though why the desperate grasp for fame that is American Idol gets a free pass is frankly beyond me.
I suppose I should be grateful we as a society have finally put Touched by an Angel behind us.