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22.9.14 0725
The W - Movies & TV - Mensa's "Smartest TV Shows"
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Sobriquet
Bauerwurst








Since: 25.7.04
From: Canada

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#1 Posted on
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,331175,00.html

Or more appropriately, Jim Werdell, chairman of Mensa International, selected the shows after being posed the question by Fancast.com.

I hope it's, y'know, ok to cut n' paste the summary of Werdell's thoughts below. I find it rather lacklustre, in particular the inclusion of CSI -- fine acting and great production value, but as my PhD-candidate biochemist partner likes to remind me, the "science" in that show is laughable at best. I think it was more an off-the-cuff list rather than something he gave any real consideration to. Anyway:

1. "M*A*S*H" It had smart repartee and was so much more than a comedy.
2. "Cosmos" (with Carl Sagan) Sagan was able to communicate something extremely complicated to the layman and do it well, and thats 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, its high level type of show; its 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" Its 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 peoples 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" Its a personal favorite, I loved the characters and the back and forth. It was very smart.
10. "Jeopardy" Its about the only game show that really tries to test peoples intelligence. Theres very little luck involved, and there are few game shows like that. I dont watch it all that much honestly, but from what Ive seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too.



(edited by Sobriquet on 21.2.08 1738)
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geemoney
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Since: 26.1.03
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.35
You mentioned how the science on CSI is not all that....there's a site that examines the medicine used on House and how accurate it is. It's an interesting read to go hand-in-hand with the episode:

http://www.politedissent.com/house_pd.html
emma
Cherries > Peaches








Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.22
Why do I have the impression that this is the list of "the smartest shows that are still manageable by the *average* viewer"? This list feels really condescending.
tarnish
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Since: 13.2.02
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00

Interesting that he only selected one real "science" show (Cosmos), but if they're fair game, Nova should be there, shouldn't it?

My list would also include:
QI (bbc.co.uk) - Highbrow, lowbrow, and hilarious; I just wish more different folks appeared on it.

The Nature of Things (cbc.ca) - Preachy as hell much of the time, but so well done I generally don't care.

James Burke's 3 series of Connections (en.wikipedia.org) and The Day the Universe Changed (en.wikipedia.org) - probably the best television I have ever watched.

I'm right on side with him on M*A*S*H, CSI (Las Vegas and New York, anyway), House, West Wing, All in the Family, and Frasier. I'd probably add Oz and Six Feet Under and the better episodes of the X-Files to that list.

Cerebus
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Since: 17.11.02

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.48
MAD ABOUT YOU? Is that a joke?

That fucking show made me feel retarded anytime I was too lazy to change the channel. There wasn't anything 'Smart' about it.



Forget it Josh... it's Cerebustown.
Cheesehead
Mettwurst








Since: 24.10.03
From: WI, now in the land of the Vikings...*shudder*

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#6 Posted on
    Originally posted by tarnish
    QI (bbc.co.uk) - Highbrow, lowbrow, and hilarious; I just wish more different folks appeared on it.


Thank you--that is the exact show I thought of when I saw that list. I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one :-) QI is threatening to overcome House as my favorite show!



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PeterStork
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Since: 25.1.02
From: Chicagoland with Hoosiers, or "The Region"

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.60
    Originally posted by Cerebus
    MAD ABOUT YOU? Is that a joke?

    That fucking show made me feel retarded anytime I was too lazy to change the channel. There wasn't anything 'Smart' about it.


During the second and third seasons it was one of the best comedies on television. "Bing Bang Boom" and "Our Fifteen Minutes" are just fabulous half-hours of television.

That said, the first and fourth seasons were just your average good sitcom and the last three seasons were utter crap.



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Chourico








Since: 27.6.04

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#8 Posted on
I always found Win Ben Stein's Money a tad more challenging than Jeopardy.
blackdragon
Bauerwurst








Since: 8.12.06
From: Georgia

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.00
Plus Ben Stein was awesome. Alex is great, but Ben Stein is awesome. I loved watching that show.



Cena can't be beat because he's some unholy genetic recombinate of superstars past. I mean, you might as well call him John "Realest of the Real, Sargent Rock - Cold - A - Mania" Cena.
dMr
Andouille








Since: 2.11.02
From: Edinburgh, Scotland

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.20
    Originally posted by geemoney
    You mentioned how the science on CSI is not all that....there's a site that examines the medicine used on House and how accurate it is. It's an interesting read to go hand-in-hand with the episode:

    http://www.politedissent.com/house_pd.html


Thanks. That's a pretty cool site. Big fan of House and always wondered how the medicine stacked up.

I'd third the mentioning of QI. It's repeated almost ad nauseum on one of the channels over here, but I still love it.

For completely different reasons I'd maybe find a place for The Wire. Not 'bookish/scientific' clever, but it's brilliantly written, and one of the few shows out there that doesn't smack you across the face with the writers' black and white view of morality, instead relying on the intelligence and maturity of the viewer to make up their own mind.

I guess a case could be made for University challenge (BBC) but the questions on that are so insanely difficult I find it unwatchable. Either that or I'm just too criminally stupid to know the answers, but I prefer to blame the questions.
Cheesehead
Mettwurst








Since: 24.10.03
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#11 Posted on
    Originally posted by dMr
    I'd third the mentioning of QI. It's repeated almost ad nauseum on one of the channels over here, but I still love it.


Color me jealous, dMr! I wish they simply SHOWED it over here in the States! *keeps fingers crossed and shoots glares at BBC America*



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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
    Originally posted by Cheesehead
      Originally posted by dMr
      I'd third the mentioning of QI. It's repeated almost ad nauseum on one of the channels over here, but I still love it.


    Color me jealous, dMr! I wish they simply SHOWED it over here in the States! *keeps fingers crossed and shoots glares at BBC America*
BBC America wouldn't be able to show it without covering half the screen with bugs.



Cheesehead
Mettwurst








Since: 24.10.03
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#13 Posted on
    Originally posted by CRZ
    BBC America wouldn't be able to show it without covering half the screen with bugs.


Yes, *sigh* believe me I have thought of that. I guess maybe we could hope it was run on a different channel a la some of the other British shows, but if they made it American I am not sure I could stomach it. Especially if they took away Fry and Davies.



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The Thrill
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Since: 16.4.02
From: Green Bay, WI

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.25
Welcome home, men of the 2nd Bn, 127th Inf, 32d "Red Arrow" Brigade, WI Army Nat'l Guard! Good luck to those down south.

Speaking of "CSI," I've heard prosecutors b*tching about that whole franchise...people watching all that whiz-bang wrap-it-up-neatly-in-an-hour science are also potential jurors.

So when those folks are on a real jury, and actual forensic evidence is presented...and it turns out not to be a slam-dunk like on the pretty TV show, and they actually have to draw their own conclusions, they sometimes find for the defense...because the prosecutors' evidence wasn't CSI-level oh-wow pretty.

Interesting effect of TV on real life, n'est pas?

(Sources: USA Today, CBS News, Yale Law Journal)

(edited by The Thrill on 26.2.08 1546)



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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
    Originally posted by The Thrill
    Speaking of "CSI," I've heard prosecutors b*tching about that whole franchise...people watching all that whiz-bang wrap-it-up-neatly-in-an-hour science are also potential jurors.

    So when those folks are on a real jury, and actual forensic evidence is presented...and it turns out not to be a slam-dunk like on the pretty TV show, and they actually have to draw their own conclusions, they sometimes find for the defense...because the prosecutors' evidence wasn't CSI-level oh-wow pretty.

    Interesting effect of TV on real life, n'est pas?

    (Sources: USA Today, CBS News, Yale Law Journal)

    (edited by The Thrill on 26.2.08 1546)
Your sources are 2-4 years old, as is this news.

And this thread kinda wrapped up four days ago.

Also, I think it's "n'est-ce pas?" actually.

Other than that... <makes "magnifique" air kiss>

(edited by CRZ on 26.2.08 1600)


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I'll agree on this point. It may not be the best film (I'll definitely take the original over this one, having seen them both), but it's WORLDS better than the travesty that was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.
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