It's a well known truism that television viewing will rot your brain. So one must wonder how much smarter Chairman Jim Werdell of MENSA International, the planetary club for people with IQs in the top 2% of the population, was before he started watching or listening to TV 10 hours a day. That's like a gazillion times more than the 2 hrs. 49 mins. the average TV viewer zones with the idiot box.
Werdell was asked by Fancast which telvision shows were the 10 smartest ever. He said, "It was difficult. There were programs that were good in their time, but the way shows are made today has improved." Werdell continued, "I was a Star Trek fan. It was on the original list. It was groundbreaking, no question. But the follow-up, Next Generation, were better programs than the original, in my opinion, and smarter."
Of the criteria for picking the 10 Smartest TV Shows of All Time, Werdell says, "They weren’t pure comedy, mystery or action. 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."
In no particular order with Werdell's comments:
1. M*A*S*H – It had smart repartee and was so much more than a comedy.But that was then, what smart guy shows does Mensa Chairman Werdell watch now? The top smart guy watches "CSI: New York, Law & Order: SVU, House, Stargate SG-1, NCIS, and Numb3rs." Well, I feel smart! I watch those same TV shows, except Law & Order - it's way too predictable now.
2. Cosmos (with Carl Sagan) – Sagan was able to communicate something extremely complicated to the layman 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.
4. House – Again, it’s high level type of show; it’s the personality that makes it a winner, plus it deals with science.
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.
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.
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 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, 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, but from what I’ve seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too.
It's ironic that Get Smart isn't on the list.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.