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Showstoppers

Sixteen million viewers tuned in last week to bid farewell to one of the most loved drama series in television history.

Written by Pooja Pillai |
April 13, 2009 3:33:47 am

TV shows come and go,but we won’t get tired of these never-ending sagas

Sixteen million viewers tuned in last week to bid farewell to one of the most loved drama series in television history. ER was the launch pad for many actors — notably George Clooney and Thandie Newton. It ran for 15 years and paved the way for future medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and House MD. As viewers get used to not having a window into the emergency room of the fictional County General Hospital,we list our favourite long-running TV series.

WWE Raw and Smackdown
WWE Raw and its zanier cousin Smackdown enthralled many schoolboys with its crazy costumes and surreal side-plots. “Everybody knows the fights are staged,but they’re so realistic — some people even end up getting bloodied,” says architect Girish Naidu,who claims he’s been watching it since he was a teenager. “But the key element of WWE is the superstars. Batches of them come and go and when people like the Rock and Hulk Hogan go away,it takes time for someone else to fill in their shoes and that’s where many lose interest. But that’s nothing to worry about as a fresh batch of fans is brewed with newer stars.”

CSI
The acclaimed CSI series,populated with deliciously gruesome murders has spawned two other versions —CSI New York and CSI Miami. The show which stars Laurence Fishburne is now its ninth season and still going strong. Although criticised for its unrealistic depiction of police investigations,the show has some diehard fans like 27-year-old journalist Meera Kapoor. “The great thing about the show is that while there are meaty crimes,there’s also always a parallel track about the investigators’ lives for people who like softer stories. Also,the episodic format works brilliantly because it’s like watching a different thriller every week.”

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General Hospital
Making a show run for 46 years is no joke; staying popular with viewers is even more difficult. But legendary daytime soap General Hospital,which started in the era of black-and-white images,has managed to keep viewers hooked to the tumultuous lives at the fictitious General Hospital in Port Charles. Homemaker Joan Lewis,who’s been watching the show since it started airing in India 15 years ago,says that while the show uses predictable plot devices like murder plots and kidnappings to keep viewers involved,it wins over other daytime soaps like The Bold and The Beautiful. “The characters on General Hospital are more realistic,unlike B&B,where everyone leads a glamorous life. Also,they don’t use generation leaps. People actually age on the show and you feel like you’ve grown and have lived with them.”

The Simpsons
Homer,Marge,Bart,Lisa and Maggie are family to the millions of viewers who tune into their whacky world of Springfield. The Simpsons,20-seasons old,is the longest running animated show on television. Fan Shailesh Prabhu says the show’s appeal lies in its close attention to detail,which is evident in the fully-rounded characters. “By that I don’t just mean the family themselves but all the supporting characters of the town of Springfield,like Comic Book Guy or Moe.” However Prabhu admits that the long run has a few drawbacks. “The series is not as good as it once was,but every few episodes you’ll find one that’ll be very much like the old ones.”

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