EW's Top Ten TV Ensembles List Misses a Few Gems
If you're too lazy to click the link above and go through EW's photo gallery, here are the 10 shows that made it onto their list of best ensembles: "Lost," "Veronica Mars," Friday Night Lights," "The West Wing," "Sports Night," "Hill Street Blues," "Mad Men," "Battlestar Galactica," "Arrested Development" and "The Shield."
So, without repeating those already picked, we'll offer you a few more shows each that belong on this list.
Working in Korea never seemed so appealing -- and this was well before Bill Clinton could come rescue you if you happened to get thrown into jail -- as it did for the doctors and nurses of the M*A*S*H 4077th. A true cast of quirky but lovable characters -- well, lovable except for Major Frank Burns (Larry Linville) -- they worked in tandem to keep this dark comedy relevant even today.
Trying to explain who's who in "The Wire" is next to impossible. The endless list of characters are so embedded into the plots, so integral to the bigger picture, that it's almost easier to speed through its five brilliant seasons than wait for us to come up with a primer. A true ensemble cast is one where a main character like Det. Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) can take a back seat during a season and never disrupt the flow of the show.
OK, so the ensembles tended to change over the years, but the show remained grounded in the variety and diversity of characters that walked the halls of Cook County General Hospital. George Clooney or no George Clooney, the cast and crew of this show weathered the departures and arrivals of many new faces without ever skipping a beat. Best of all, the plot felt continuous until the very last episode.
Popular culture will sustain Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George for all of eternity, we imagine, but "Seinfeld" wasn't just about them. A host of smaller, but equally important secondary characters like Uncle Leo, Frank Costanza, Newman, Susan Ross and Jackie Chiles combined with some of the greatest guest appearances made this show a true group effort. After all, what's "Seinfeld" without the Soup Nazi, Bania, Puddy or J. Peterman? Just another show about friends in New York City. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.
--Malavika Jagannathan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Go ahead and be like Mr. Thomas Rozwadowski and get your "Pssh, I knew you would say that" out right now. But it's true. "Friends" deserves a place on this list. If for no other reason than because it took six relatively -- and in some cases, complete -- no-namers and put them on Hollywood's "It List" in a matter of only a couple of years. Admittedly, it took some time for these misfits to feel comfortable on screen and really get into their characters, but once they did, it was a TV ensemble made in heaven.
"Flight of the Conchords"
Let's be honest, if you remove any cast member from this beautiful equation, it just doesn't work. As much as you need Bret and Jemaine, you have to have Mel and Dave. And if you have Mel, you have to have Doug and when you have a personality like Dave, you have to have Murray. I'd even go as far as saying characters like Greg and Eugene are essential. There's truly not a weak link in the bunch.
Here's a case where a bunch of semi-successful actors and actresses find their true home and rocket off the charts. The writing of "30 Rock" took people like Tracy Morgan (who was commonly referred to as "the other black guy" on SNL) and Jane Krakowski (previously known as that one chick from "Ally McBeal") and turned them into superstars. And can we talk about Kenneth the Page for a second? Talk about a diamond in the rough. Still not convinced? I think the show's record-setting 22 Emmy noms may help clue you in.
OK, say what you will, but who can deny the power this group of richy-rich teens has had on the nation, nay the wooorrllld! When you have an ensemble of beautiful people who go out on the weekends and get their little love dramas smeared across the pages of US Weekly, there's simply nowhere to go but up. On the show, they truly have the freedom to play dating musical chairs as much as they want, and really, people will tune in. Whether it's off-again, on-again Serena and Dan or finally-together Chuck and Blair, it matters not. These characters are a delight to watch, not to mention a trendsetter of style for the ages.
--Sara Boyd, email@example.com