What is it about lists? Why do we like them so much? I really can't say. I just know I love them. Even while finding them inherently ridiculous.
While lists present us with a nice, orderly presentation of what we feel to be the best or the worst, there's really no logic to them. It's very rare for someone to have a definitive favourite. Getting the shortlist is often easy enough; Ask me to tell you my favourite album, song, book, or movie, and I could get a Top 10 list on your desk within a few hours. It's the ordering them after that which proves trickier. And, to some extent, I'd argue there's little value. You may be able to get them within a few places, but it's the rare exception where you can say, "No, that is in fact my favourite television show, or movie." There's a lot of arbitrary placement within the designations.
Then there's the tricky balance of Best and Favourite. My lists of Favourite Movies and Best Movies are drastically different. Citizen Kane does not appear on my list of 10 Favourites, but it's in the top two or three for Best, as an example. And then there's the designation of Greatest, which takes into account influence and longevity. Best and Greatest often overlap, but there's a fine, fine difference there. I feel like lists don't take enough time to form a strong distinction between those categories.
What do lists tell us, anyway? They give us a sense of the individual's taste, I suppose. And we like making them because they bestow unto we the listers a temporary sense that, yes, our opinions on the subject really do matter. The existence of most blogs, this one not only included but of an exemplary nature, serves to strengthen the point.
Having said all that, I, over the next week or so, will be presenting my Top 10 Favourite Television Shows. Favourite, mind you. Not Best. And not Greatest. And I'll be doing it one entry at a time, just to keep you in suspense. Because I like to tell myself that you care.
The first installment will come tomorrow night.