Over the years, television has provided us with some of the best ensembles, with talented acting and amazing chemistry. In fact, without a solid cast even the most intriguing of premises falls flat. From title characters to one-time guests, these are my personal top ten TV casts. 1) West Wing: One of the Emmy-winningest casts of all time: Bradley Whitford as political genius and social failure Josh Lyman, Rob Lowe as lovable but naive Sam Seaborn, Allison Janney as the amazing (to say the least) CJ Cregg, Richard Schiff as the brilliant but stubborn Toby Zeigler, and of course one of the greatest performances of all television: Martin Sheen as the President. The guests on this show were no slouch either: Tim Matheson as the sleazy but somehow adorable John Hoynes, Gary Cole as the idiotic Bingo Bob, Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda as the great choices for successor, Lily Tomlin, Oliver Platt, mark Harmon, Marlee Matlin, and so many more... and lest we forget, Lord John Marbury. 2) The Practice: Notables: Lara Flynn Boyle as DA Helen Gamble, Camryn Mannheim as the indomitable Eleanor, Marla Sokoloff as the adorable and loudmouthed Lucy, Dylan McDermott as the sticks-to-his-guns main character Bobby Donnell, and of course... James Spader as the terrible yet wonderful Alan Shore. Guests: So many amazing performances: John Larroquette, Marlee Matlin, Sharon Stone, and who can forget the amazing performance by future Ben Linus player Michael Emerson? 3) MASH: Alan Alda heads up a cast that literally defined television for a generation, with people like Jamie Farr (Klinger), McLean Steveson (Blake), Mike Farrell (BJ), Harry Morgan (Potter), Loretta Swit (Houlihan), and a host of others. A truly amazing cast. 4) Arrested Development: Possibly the best cast for a comedy ever: Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Portia di Rossi, David Cross, Alia Shakwat, Tony Hale, and Jessica Walter portrayed a dysfunctional family better than anyone else. A titanic guest list with almost 50 stars, including everyone from Charlize Theron to Amy Poehler to Judge Reinhold to Ben Stiller. 5) Friends: Here is a cast that went beyond acting and actually gave the most belivable impression of friendship ever on television: you believed that Joey, Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, and Phoebe had chemistry. Not only that, but the sheer volume of A-list guests they had was amazing! Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts... so many names. 6) Lost: Notables: Terry O' Quinn as the mysterious John Locke, Michael Emerson as the most mainiacal villain of television: Ben Linus, Matthew Fox as hero Jack Shepherd, Jeremy Davies as the eccentric Daniel Faraday, Elizabeth Mitchell as the tough exterior and vulnerable interior former Other Juliet Burke, Dominic Monaghan as the rock-n-rolling Brit Charlie, and many, many more. 7) Boston Legal: This legal comedy was revolutionary in its genre, but more revolutionary in its casting. While young lawyers came and went, the popular characters on the show (William Shatner, James Spader, and Candice Bergen). Don't forget John Larroquette, Betty White, and that lovable autistic lawyer, Jerry Espenson. 8) Sports Night: A hidden gem, Sports Night didn't star a lot of well-known people (aside from Felicity Huffman), but it was one of the most believable and charming casts ever on television. 9) St. Elsewhere: Not a lot of people remember this show, but the actors and actresses that got their start here went on to do wonderful things. Ed Begley Jr., Helen Hunt, Mark Harmon, Howie Mandel, Bruce Greenwood, Christina Pickles and lest we forget... Denzel Washington. 10) ER: The cast was always changing, but at its height, ER starred George Clooney, Noah Wyle, and Julianna Marguiles. From Anthony Edwards to Angela Bassett and everyone in between, this show wowed audiences.
Here is a little list I cooked up of the 25 Greatest television characters (in my opinion)... at least the characters that make me keep watching television: 1) Ari Gold - Entourage 2) Juliet Burke - LOST 3) Michael Scott - The Office 4) Hawkeye Pierce - MASH 5) Josh Lyman - West Wing 6) Creed Bratton - The Office 7) The Janitor - Scrubs 8) Tobias Funke - Arrested Development 9) Andy Botwin - Weeds 10) Desmond Hume - LOST 11) Sam Seaborn - West Wing 12) Chandler Bing - Friends 13) Perry Cox - Scrubs 14) Charlie Pace - LOST 15) Commander Data - Star Trek: The Next Generation 16) Chuck Bartowski - Chuck 17) Ben Linus - LOST 18) James Wilson - House 19) Michael Bluth - Arrested Development 20) Thomas Magnum - Magnum P.I. 21) George Feeny - Boy Meets World 22) Johnny Drama - Entourage 23) Josiah Bartlett - West Wing 24) David Brent - The Office (UK) 25) Debra Barone - Everybody Loves Raymond
I found myself asking what are the best single episodes in TV, and I came up with this list of the best episodes of television! 1) Season 1 Finale of West Wing 2) Season 4 Finale of The Office 3) Brendan Fraser's Death on Scrubs 4) Lost - Season 1 Finale 5) 20 Hours In America - West Wing 6) Arrested Development - 1st Episode 7) Expose - LOST 8) Season 3 Finale of Weeds 9) Scrubs - My Musical 10) Celestial Navigation - West Wing 11) Curb Your Enthusiasm - Krazee Eyez Killah 12) MASH - Series Finale 13) Entourage - Season 5, Episode 3 14) The Office - Season 3 Finale 15) Friends - The One With Brad Pitt 16) LOST - Walkabout 17) West Wing - Season 6 Finale 18) Justice League Unlimited - 2-Part Series Finale 19) My Lunch - Scrubs 20) House - Season 4 2-Part Finale *Some comments have been removed for including inappropriate content. It's great to have discussions like this as everyone's opinions are different - that's the fun of it! :) So please comment all you like, but keep it clean, appropriate, and be kind to your fellow SideReel members. Thank you!