National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

Parents Council Rates TV’s Best and Worst

BY Jim Cosgrove

August 29 - September 4, 1999 Issue | Posted 8/29/99 at 2:00 PM

 

The Parents Television Council has rated the 10 most and 10 least family-friendly shows currently being aired by major networks. Here are the lists, with comments provided by the Washington, D.C.-based organization:

10 Best on Network TV

1) 7th Heaven. Singled out this year at the TV Guide Awards as “The Best Show You're not Watching,” its lead character is a dedicated minister and loving parent who offers wisdom and assistance to his family and flock in coming to grips with everyday difficulties.

2) Touched by an Angel. This is one of TV's most watched programs. It centers on a group of angels who appear in human form. Strong pro-family message while addressing such themes as love and forgiveness, death, abandonment, illness and addiction. Throughout, the promise of God's unconditional love is delivered with the hope of redemption for lost souls.

3) Promised Land. This family-centered drama is one of the few on TV with a strong father figure who demonstrates a genuine love for his family. Characters put a premium on integrity and virtue.

4) Early Edition. Based on a man who always gets the news a day early and spends himself trying to prevent accidents, it promotes determination, kindness, courage and self-sacrifice.

5) Smart Guy. Portrays a strong father who recognizes the need for guidance and boundaries in raising children. Heavy emphasis on family, education and respect for authority.

6) Cosby. More adult-oriented, its lead character nevertheless takes an uncynical view of life, responding to its concerns with common-sense wisdom and humor.

7) Sabrina. Suitable for the many teens who watch it, it contains no dark themes or undercurrents and rarely if ever contains material that parents might find objectionable.

8) Moesha. Struggles with friends and family relationships often drive this show. Strong emphasis on honesty and morality.

9) Sister Sister. Centering on the lives of twin sisters separated at birth but later rejoined, it emphasizes a reliance on parents for guidance and advice despite the fact that the girls live away from home at college.

10) Boy Meets World. Though it contains some sexually suggestive material, this is one of the few shows on television promoting premarital abstinence.

10 Most Offensive Shows on Network TV

1) Dawson's Creek. This is the crudest of prime-time shows aimed at kids. It shows an almost obsessive focus and promotion of pre-marital sexual activity, homosexuality and masturbation.

2) Melrose Place. One of the raunchiest shows on TV, it contains steamy bedroom scenes, backstabbing, virtual nudity and multiple adulterous affairs.

3) Will & Grace. This series about a homosexual man and his female roommate offers a sentimental presentation of homosexuality. Vulgar and explicit language are commonplace.

4) Ally McBeal. The whimsical tome of this show may distract viewers from how raunchy the show really is. It also contains anti-religious elements, including, in one episode, denigration of the sacrament of penance.

5) Spin City. Crass and vulgar language abound, while casual sex and the homosexual lifestyle are enthusiastically condoned.

6) The Drew Carey Show. Features a dissatisfied department store middle manager and his buddies who continue to play at irresponsible drunkenness, foul language and lascivious sexual behavior for laughs. Masturbation is a favorite topic, and a transvestite has made some cameo appearances on the show.

7) Friends. Affairs supply most of this show's humor. Conversation almost always centers around sex. No topic is off-limits.

8) Millennium. Presents a disturbing view of mankind and the future, and dark images of religion are also a staple.

9) Suddenly Susan. Two interoffice relationships and another character's short-lived marriage fuel much of the frequently racy humor on this show.

10) That 70's Show. Another show aimed at children, this series features plots fueled by drugs, teen angst and sex.