By Cory Barker and Les Chappell
In July, Cory wrote a piece pitching the idea of a newly-constructed television Hall of Fame. If you haven’t read that, please go check it out. Although we here at TWTV aren’t as qualified as veteran TV critics, historians or industry folk, we think this space is a great one to at least toy around some more with the idea of a Hall of Fame. Clearly, we’re aware of all the hang-ups with Halls of Fame, lists, canons, etc.: They’re biased and some would even say pointless, focused on a certain group of acknowledged texts and disregarding too many more. We are aware of this problem and we’re going to try our best to combat it, but honestly, it’s just always there. We also know that doing something like this is just an exercise (especially for people like us, even if we think our opinions are valid). However, the hope is that it will be a fun exercise that you can be involved in.
So, beginning in September, we’re going to spend the first week of every month building up our very own “Hall of Fame.” Because there are only two of us taking on this project at the moment, there won’t be the expansive tier system like Cory suggested in his piece. However, there is a process in place. Each “nomination period” starting out will feature three nominations from whomever is part of that month’s discussion, so with two of us involved for September, there will be a total of six nominations. To follow that post’s lead and avoid certain influences (most notably a bias towards recent or currently airing shows), we’ve incorporated a five-year “retirement” clause, i.e., shows have to have been off the air for five years before they can be nominated. (Sorry, Community. We still love you.)
Moreover, the plan is to build each month around some kind of theme. For September, we’re taking it easy with a basic foundation, which should also help get our first choice picks out of the way. There’ll be three picks each, with one drama nomination, one comedy nomination and one “wildcard” nomination which can be from any genre other than comedy or drama, such as sports programming, reality, game shows, etc. Moving forward, we plan on focusing more tightly on various formats and genres, so our nominations can be as specific as can be. We want the process to be democratic as possible and not just two of us debating in an echo chamber, so we welcome any ideas or themes.
Also to that end, we’re going to conduct this process with the involvement of you fine TWTV readers. Our current plan is that we will provide the nominees at some point at the beginning of the week, along with our “stump speeches” for why our picks should be “inducted” into the TWTV Hall of Fame. We’ll then debate each others’ picks, posture for position and more with the hopes of convincing you to confirm our nominations. After that, we’ll have polls ready for each of the three “races” and it will then be your turn to be heard. Please vote! The votes of the readers will determine who gets in and who does not, because otherwise we could just have an eternal stalemate between the two of us, and nobody wants to see that. The polls will be open for a few days and we’ll bombard you with reminders to rock the vote, or whatever. Winners will be announced, celebrations will commence and losers will cry. (They’ll be able to try again, but in an effort to avoid rehashing the same debates they’ll be excluded from the ballots for at least three months.)
Again, we’re aware that this isn’t a super-serious endeavor, and certainly not the final word on what makes quality TV. Still, we are going to try our best to make it fun but also highlight some television of old that deserves to be recognized. We promise it won’t be all Buffy and Seinfeld and Hill Street Blues up in here. Be here next week when the festivities get off and make sure to vote.