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Editor at Large

The best-ever shows on television

Get Smart lead character Maxwell Smart, portrayed by the late Don Adams, with his shoe-phone. TV trivia: Adams also was the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo, a 1960s Saturday-morning cartoon.
Get Smart lead character Maxwell Smart, portrayed by the late Don Adams, with his shoe-phone. TV trivia: Adams also was the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo, a 1960s Saturday-morning cartoon.

A MacGyver reboot premieres tonight on CBS, and critics are saying the new show compares to the original like a Kia stacks up to a Ferrari.

The original MacGyver, which ran 1985-92, featured one of the most resourceful and enterprising characters in television history, Angus MacGyver. It was always a pleasure to see how he used a piece of lint, for example, to disable assassins, serial killers and computers gone amok.

Yes, they don’t make TV like they used to. Well, actually, they do (see Mad Men, for example).

And by any standard, the first MacGyver must rank as one of the most creative shows in TV history.

As for the best shows in television history, here are some of them:

-- Get Smart: Bumbling title character Maxwell Smart somehow always got his man and might have been the inspiration for Lt. Frank Drebin of the Police Squad and Naked Gun.

-- Columbo: No one played dumb better than Lt. Columbo, and his parrying with the villain was priceless. Catch the reruns Sunday nights on MeTV.

-- Rockford Files: Funny and charming James Rockford always had the right hunch to get the bad guy. Recurring character Angel Martin was both conniving and amusing, a difficult double to achieve.

-- Mad Men: Love seeing the cars and clothes in period pieces, and this one also had all the decadence of the 1960s on Madison Avenue.

-- The Sopranos: Down and dirty on what it’s really like to be a mobster. In some ways, they are like all of us with their everyday foibles and troubles.

-- The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny had a comforting demeanor, and you either laughed with him or at him. Either way, the first half-hour of his show was can’t miss-TV.

-- Green Acres: Strength of this comedy was its supporting characters, including the farmhand Eb, the stupidest character ever on network television, dingbat farm agent Hank Kimball, who was not far behind, and the devious salesman Mr. Haney.

-- Monday Night Football in the 1970s-1980s: Gave us something to look forward to on a Monday, the worst day of the week. Today, though, it's kind of an afterthought.

PREDICTIONS

Michigan 34, Penn State 17 – Lions might have a chance if the game were at home, but it’s in the Big House.

Steelers 27, Eagles 23 – We’ll find out if the Eagles’ defense really is that good.

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