The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and ABC are adding an anniversary sheen to this year's 60th annual Emmycast by holding an online poll to determine television's 40 greatest "moments."
The problem with these kind of tallies is that no finite list can do justice to the bazillion hours of television programming that have flown through the air since commercial network television took root in the '47-'48 period.
But even accepting the limitations of these kind of list-y efforts, I gotta say that the selections that ATAS and ABC have come up with -- 20 apiece for comedy and drama -- are a little thin, in my book.
First off, they have the Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" under comedy. Huh? The finale of the first edition of "American Idol"? Huh?
The "All in the Family" where Sammy Davis Jr. kisses Archie -- OK. "The Carol Burnett Show" with the "Gone With the Wind" spoof -- OK. "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" with then-candidate Richard Nixon delivering the "sock it to me" line -- well, OK, though I'd call it more historical curiosity than a comedy moment. But the coming out episode of "Ellen" and a "Mork and Mindy" seg, even with the talents of Jonathan Winters -- c'mon! No "Cheers"? No "WKRP in Cincinnati"? No "Odd Couple"? No "Soap"? No "Barney Miller"? I could go on (and on).
Same beef goes for the drama selections: No room for "I Spy," "St. Elsewhere," "The Wire," "Homicide: Life on the Street," "The Rockford Files," "Adam-12," "Lou Grant," "Hill Street Blues," "Northern Exposure," "NYPD Blue."
But "Little House on the Prairie," "L.A. Law," "Dynasty" and "Moonlighting" make the cut?
Oh well. The top comedy and drama vote-getters will be revealed during the Sept. 21 Emmycast, just before this year's top series winners are announced. From the choices at hand, I'd have to vote for the "To Serve Man" seg of "The Twilight Zone" for drama (pictured top left), and the series finale of "Newhart" on the comedy side (pictured right).