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TELEVISION is arguably better than it has ever been. And, if you don't agree, well it's easy to catch re-runs of your old favourites anyway. BILL WATT certainly has his favourites ... and, as usual, he wants you to know what they are.

No. 10

LOST IN SPACE (The original series)

Danger Will Robinson! This classic from the 1960s was a childhood delight for me, although I remember getting in big trouble once for telling a group of mums in our loungeroom to shoosh so I could hear what was going on with Robot and a whole host of mini clones (God knows what that episode was about). No boy back then could resist imagining he was Will Robinson, stranded aboard the Jupiter 2 flying saucer in deep space with his family, a small band of hangers-on and a sometimes emotional robot. I still remember clearly the episode when the morally questionable Dr Smith falls for the Green Girl (yes, I know I was watching in B&W but the name of the episode was The Girl From The Green Dimension. Plus, I've since watched it in colour!) But, let's face it, there were so many other great episodes as well. Even the opening and closing credits are awesome.

No. 9


Another step back into my childhood. I loved ancient history in high school, and this show helped cement that passion. It tells the strange tale of the life of one of ancient Rome's less-than-magnificent emperors, the stuttering Claudius. Derek Jacobi as Claudius is brilliant as the sometimes manipulated, sometimes manipulative struggler who inadvertently ascends to the imperial throne, dealing all the time with his murderous, ambitious imperial family.

No. 8


This gritty and gory zombie series sets the standard for dystopian horror/sci-fi television. I was taken from the first episode I watched, mid-season in its premiere year. Now in the middle of its 11th and final season I still can't miss an episode. We have lost plenty of characters along the way, including (mysteriously) the show's original hero, former cop Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) but the new and surviving cast members continue to intrigue as they try to build a life in the zombie plagued world of the near future. As much as I love it though, closure at the end of the 11th season will be welcome. There's only so many zombie heads you can watch being eviscerated in one lifetime!

No. 7


Wow. If you haven't watched this series, please do so. It essentially documents the lives of two Roman soldiers as they navigate the crises that confronted the Roman republic during the rise of Julius Caesar and the wars that followed his assassination in 44BC. It is bold, bloody and, at times, endearingly erotic. What can I say, Lyndsey Marshal as the Egyptian queen Cleopatra who entrances both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony is stunning. Rome wasn't built in a day, the saying goes. Unfortunately Rome the TV series only lasted two seasons, despite plans to do five, as the cost of such an epic retelling was beyond the makers at that stage (2007). Pity!

No. 6


The funniest TV series I have watched. It was on before the news (5.30pm if I remember correctly) back in the days when there was only four TV channels to watch. Every episode was hilarious. Don Adams is the hapless and hopeless "superspy" Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) battling the evil forces of KAOS. He is supported by his smart offsider Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) and the Chief (Edward Platt). Baby Boomers all over the world still continuously quote (and misquote) Get Smart while trying to get a laugh in their ordinary lives - a testament to how good this show is. If you hear any old Boomer coming out with the following lines it's a sure sign they were a fan: "Sorry about that Chief"; "Missed it by that much"; "Good thinking Max"; "Aaah, it's the old (such and such) trick"; "Well, would you believe (with an exaggerated American accent); "We'll need the cone of silence with this"; and "That's the second time I've fallen for that this month". Classics!

No. 5


This British series really got me back into TV drama for adults, after years of watching children's telly with my kids, and light relief shows (Seinfeld, Friends etc) with my wife after we had both had overly busy days at work. It was searing and funny at the same time. The plot involves a Manchester police officer, Sam Tyler (played by John Simm) who, after a car crash, finds himself flung from 2006 into a similar role as a detective in 1973. In 1973 he is under the command of Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), a sexist, bigoted policing dinosaur (with a some good points). Another star of the show is Hunt's Ford Cortina TC Mark III GXL. The brilliantly conceived and acted show is bolstered by one of the best soundtracks in TV history. Think Bowie, Deep Purple, Cream, Lou Reed, Thin Lizzy etc.

No. 4


Game Of Thrones is probably the world's best known TV drama. For the years it was running it was consistently the most-watched, most loved, most talked about TV show around ... except for that last season. The eighth and last season was perhaps the most criticised TV show in history. And, it is the slight disappointment of the final season that has bumped it down a notch or two in my ranking. But, who can forget the myriad of characters who wove a brilliant byzantine tapestry of life in Westeros and beyond? From the depraved to the heroic, all human frailties and qualities were exposed and turned inside out over eight seasons. And what about the battle scenes, dragons, white walkers and the Wall. And, has any other show killed off quite as many of its stars over such a short period? Can't think of one.

No. 3


Dr Who is the only show that I was fascinated by in my childhood and then again as an adult, so it gets it's high ranking from longevity as well as quality storytelling. It still continues to grab my interest today and I am really looking forward to seeing Rwandan/Scot Ncuti Gatwa take over as The Doctor in the next series to be made. The show, which centres on a smartarse but caring superhero time lord from the planet Galiffrey and his various sidekicks, has been running on the small screen since 1963 and I've watched it on and off since Jon Pertwee was The Doctor in the early 1970s. It never failed to deliver with its cutesy sci-fi production but entered a more stellar level of filming following its reboot in 2006 with Christopher Eccleston as The Doc. My two favourite Doctors are David Tennant (2005-2010) and Tom Baker (1974-1981). Down the ages villains and monsters have become quasi-stars alongside The Doctor and his sidekicks. The Daleks, Cybermen and weeping angels have no-doubt invaded many a child's nightmares (and some adults') over the years.

No. 2


This show caught me completely by surprise. I hadn't really heard of it when I first started watching, and by the end of episode one, season one, I was bitten. I loved it all the way to the magnificent final episode (in stark contrast to GoT). Set in the Cold War period of the 1980s, it tells the tale of two ruthless KGB agents masquerading in US suburbia as an average American mom & dad, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), with their all-American (and unknowing) kids Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati). They do all the dirty deeds Russian spies are meant to in thrillers but we still end up feeling sympathetic and fearing their exposure. Philip's best friend and neighbour is Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), an FBI counter-intelligence agent. See where this is heading? But no more spoilers ... just watch it!

No. 1


I can't even describe how good this show is. It's close to TV perfection. From Nick Cave's theme tune at the start to the conclusion of every episode, it is a tour de force of relationships, family values (or lack thereof),violence, sex and criminality. Each scene is an artform and over an episode you will subtly be exposed to a Pandora's box of cinema tricks. It is basically the family saga of a crime clan operating out of Birmingham in England's north after normal society has been shattered by the bloodletting of World War I. The gang's trademark is their caps which have razor blades sewn and are used as a bloody weapon in street fights. The show follows the transformation of trench war survivor Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) into a cunning and ruthless crime lord. The final season of this epic has already started in the UK and I can't wait until it lands Down Under sometime in July.

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Hi Bill. If i did a top 25 all these would be in. However, my top 10 and yours are very different.


Let’s see a list then!

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