On one level, “Mare of Easttown” was a smashing success.
The Pennsylvania-set crime series starring Kate Winslet inspired numerous memes, truckloads of media coverage and even a “Saturday Night Live” parody after it debuted on HBO in April.
More importantly, thanks to its head-fake mysteries and town with more secrets than beer bottles, the show quadrupled its audience between its premiere and its finale. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that its audience began modestly enough that even with all that growth, the finale was watched by only 4 million people over Memorial Day weekend. For all its buzzy enthusiasm and hardcore fan interest, the “Mare” finale was not seen that weekend by nearly 99 percent of Americans.
The television hit — the most abiding of entertainment traditions — appears to be dying. That isn’t to say shows don’t have fans; they do, and some of them are more passionate than ever. But according to its long-standing definition — a universally recognized show that gathers a large, verifiable audience and becomes unavoidable in all the places people talk about television and endures well beyond its run — the TV hit is vanishing.
From family stories to band-of-misfits hangouts, classic rom-coms to workplace mockumentaries, cringe comedies to antihero showcases, and some shows that defy definition, these are the hundred series that have made us laugh, think, occasionally cry, and laugh all over again.
For more than eight decades, the sitcom has both marked the times and provided a balm against them.
From Rob Petrie tripping over his ottoman on The Dick Van Dyke Show to Ilana face-planting on a Broad City subway car; from The Honeymooners’ Ralph Kramden barely containing his frustration with Ed Norton to Atlanta’s Paper Boi doing the same with his cousin Earn; from Lucy Ricardo getting drunk on Vitameatavegamin to Fleabag enjoying Gin in a Tin with the hot priest, the genre’s most beloved characters have been by our sides.
To choose the 100 greatest sitcoms ever, we first had to decide how to define the term. Sketch comedies were out, from the explicit, like Saturday Night Live and The Muppet Show, to the more ambiguous, such as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Ditto comedy-drama hybrids that ran around an hour — Freaks and Geeks, say, or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Half-hour dramedies presented a blurrier picture; we took those on a case-by-case basis, applying our own version of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” Where Enlightened and The Wonder Years seemed to fall just too far over the drama side of the line, for example, Atlantaand Better Things had enough comedy to qualify. This list is also composed entirely of English-language comedies, primarily American ones, with a handful of British and Canadian shows making the cut.
With the amount of new shows to choose from reaching overwhelming levels, increasingly audiences are choosing to rewatch their favourite series instead. David Renshaw explores why.
By David Renshaw, 27th April 2021
Over the past year, when staying at home has been government mandated in many parts of the world, it has fortunately never been easier to find something new to watch on TV.
Whether it is a talking-point reality series, a beloved and twisty crime thriller, or whatever new comedy or drama Netflix and Amazon with their multi-billion dollar budgets have added to the content abyss, viewers are spoiled for choice on the small screen.
There are entire websites to help you navigate what’s on all the different streaming platforms, while social media can often be indecipherable to those who haven’t caught the latest episode of their favourite show.
The Crawleys know just what you want for Christmas this year: a Downton Abbey sequel.
On Monday, Focus Features announced that Downton Abbey 2 will waltz into theaters on December 22, 2021. The film will once more reunite the principal cast of the beloved BBC series and also add new cast members Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and The Crown’s reported future Prince Charles, Dominic West.
The follow-up to the 2019 Downton Abbey film will feature a script from Oscar-winning Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and will be directed by Simon Curtis. Emmy-winning producers Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge have returned to produce the film, which reportedly began production last week.