The head of genius organization Mensa has picked the 10 smartest TV shows of all time — sparking debate in the blogosphere, especially over the inclusion of the 1990s sitcom "Mad About You."
Jim Werdell, chairman of Mensa International, selected the shows after being posed the question by Fancast.com (while his head bandages were being changed).
“They weren’t pure comedy, mystery or action,” Werdell said. “They tended to be shows that dealt with issues in the world, and from my perspective that’s considered smart. Some sitcoms reach a higher level of intellect than others, and you can say the same about some of the dramas. The stories may be cliché, but the characters and dialogue are smarter. (I'm glad he cleared that up for us.)
1. M*A*S*H – "It had smart repartee and was so much more than a comedy." (True. It was an overrated comedy with one small problem: it wasn't funny. At all. I hate M*A*S*H.)
2. Cosmos (with Carl Sagan) – "Sagan was able to communicate something extremely complicated to the layman (i.e. morons like me) and do it well, and that’s unusual for a scientist at his level."
3. CSI — "The way they use science to solve their programs is intriguing to viewers. My pants itch."
4. House – "Again, it’s high level type of show; it’s the personality that makes it a winner, plus it deals with science." (Medical shows usually do.)
5. West Wing – "You had to pay attention to stay up with it. The repartee was fast and furious and you needed a fairly high level intelligence to keep up with it. So I watched 'According To Jim' instead."
6. Boston Legal – "It’s primarily because of the characters. The story lines are okay, but the characters are incredible and the writers give them great dialogue. I just made a poopy."
7. All in the Family – "The show dealt with social issues before its time and was on the forefront of trying to show people’s feelings, beliefs and the complexities of personality, in both a serious and comedic way."
8. Frasier – "The repartee (Jim just learned the word repartee) was sensational; the main characters were very good. Even though they portrayed people who were likely of high intelligence, they also showed their weaknesses."
9. Mad About You – "It’s a personal favorite. (No shit? Why else would it be here?) I loved the characters and the back and forth. It was very smart."
10. Jeopardy – "It’s about the only game show that really tries to test people’s intelligence. There’s very little luck involved, and there are few game shows like that. I don’t watch it all that much, honestly (so I'm talking out of my ass here), but from what I’ve seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too."