This isn't new, but it was new to me when I came across it recently. The chairman of Mensa International apparently chose these ten TV shows as his favorites, or the best ones, or something like that. I reproduce the list and its justifications, holding back all I want to say, except to point out that for good television it is apparently crucial to have "repartee" and "science."
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 that’s 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, it’s high level type of show; it’s 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" – It’s 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 people’s 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" – It’s a personal favorite, I loved the characters and the back and forth. It was very smart.
10. "Jeopardy" – It’s about the only game show that really tries to test people’s intelligence. There’s very little luck involved, and there are few game shows like that. I don’t watch it all that much honestly, but from what I’ve seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too.