Earlier tonight, in a response to lurkerbynature's post on "At What Point Do You Turn In Your Fan Card?", I tried to think of things (writers, artists, musical acts, franchises, etc.) that were consistently great and didn't have any glaringly bad works to their names. Off the top of my head, I could only think of three things in particular, my argument being that the less there was of something, generally the easier it was to like unconditionally. What I came up with were the following:
- Tolkien's Middle Earth books (discounting The Silmarillion and all posthumously published works)
- The Beatles
- Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes
Obviously this is an incomplete and not even very impressive list, but I was just throwing out the first things that came to mind. (And while I like all of them, they're not even my favorites, per se, just things that generally avoided being crappy, barring Tom Bombadil and "Revolution #9".) I almost mentioned Stanley Kubrick, but if we're getting into directors that's kind of complicated. And no, I have not seen all of The Wire yet. I borrowed the first season on DVD from a friend years ago, and watched half of it, and it was really, really good, but haven't gotten around to the rest of it. One of these days.
But what would go on your list of mostly great things? Keep in mind, this doesn't refer to things with periods of greatness, like The Simpsons or Prince or Doctor Who or Saturday Night Live or Uncanny X-Men, but something that was consistently if not uniformly good-to-amazingly great.
Photographic still of Tom Scharpling and "Vance" from The Best Show on WFMU, which would go on the shortlist, because hey, it's in the title.