Mt. Rushmore of TV Dramas

Whoever designed Mt. Rushmore had their favorites.

It’s obvious enough isn’t it?

Quick, off the top of your head can you name the four people etched into the side of the mountain?

(Jeopardy theme playing)

Answer: (from left to right) Mt. Rushmore features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt & Abraham Lincoln.

The sculptor of Mt. Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, definitely had his four favorite presidents in mind when he took on the project and it’s in his honor that I present today’s post to you.

The following is my Mt. Rushmore of TV Dramas all time:

4. Mad Men

Don Draper, along with the other lead characters on the list may be one of the most complex characters ever written for television.

Are you supposed to love him or hate him? Root for him or against him?

I guess that’s what makes him and this show so great.

Great writing and acting performances help as well, but Mad Men certainly deserves to be on my list.

3. The Sopranos

All the things I wrote about Don Draper apply to Tony Soprano.

This show is captivating. Most of the time you try your best to believe its not real, but every now and again you see something and you’re certain the mafia is alive and well in your town.

Whenever I watch this show I start craving Italian food.

Yes, It is violent and harsh, but at times it’s very tender and thoughtful.

On my Mt. Rushmore James Gandolfini’s face is clearly visible.

2. The Wire

Raw. Gritty. Dirty. Cruel. Seedy.

The Wire is such a well written show I kept forgetting it was a story and thought of it more as a documentary.

Season by season you’re led through crime and corruption throughout the city of Baltimore.

It’s really tough to tell who the bad guys and good guys are. Corruption is not reserved for the drug dealers only.

The police, politicians, school and legal systems are all participants.

It’s a social commentary as much as it is an award winning drama.

1. Breaking Bad

I understand there’s no real number one on Mt. Rushmore and it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite TV drama, but if I had to Breaking Bad would be the winner.

This show blurs the lines of morality. I’m not sure which character to even root for any more.

The show’s final episode this week much to my wife’s delight.

She is quoted as saying, “Breaking Bad is the only show I’ve ever loathed.”

Even the theme music makes her leave the room.

Walter White’s transformation from sympathetic cancer patient to drug tycoon is mesmerizing.

His face is on my Mt. Rushmore, heck I’m half temped to throw Saul Goodman face up there too.


So what about you?

What TV dramas make it on your Mt. Rushmore?

Breaking Bad, Church & Change

Say what you will about Breaking Bad…

It’s ground breaking.

It’s dark.

It’s violent.

One thing it is NOT is boring.

The award winning drama about a high school teacher turned drug kingpin ends officially this Sunday night and millions will tune it to watch and see what happens to Walter White and Jesse.

I love the show. I’ve watched the whole drama unfold.

The show features phenomenal story telling and acting, yet, what fascinates me is the most is the premise from which the show’s creator has worked.

“Television is really good at protecting the franchise. It’s good at keeping the Korean War going for 11 seasons, like M*A*S*H. It’s good at keeping Marshal Dillon policing his little town for 20 years. By their very nature TV shows are open-ended. So I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to have a show that takes the protagonist and transforms him into the antagonist?” -Vince Gilligan, Creator of Breaking Bad.

He was working to see if he could answer this question: “How can I do a show in which the fundamental drive is toward change?”

The church could learn a thing or two from Mr. Gilligan.

He wasn’t going to be happy making just another show with a static Hollywood storyline.

His show is all about change.

Dark, shocking, and violent change.

I’m not proposing more darkness or violence, but it seems to me that shocking deserves a place in the church.

After all we are celebrating and promoting God’s Grace.

Grace allows, even compels life change as a result.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5.17)

So often in the church we struggle with change.

I get it.

We want to keep our standards. We know what is bad and what is good. We can easily identify what’s black and what’s white.

But think about this for a moment.

Jesus showed up on the scene and turned man’s system of getting to God on its head.

He irritated the religious leaders of his day.


Because Jesus brought about change.

He touched and healed people who were once untouchable.

He talked and ate with those nobody had before.

It’s amazing when you think about it. Hebrews 13.8 says “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Yep, our sure and steady Jesus keeps bringing grace and change.

Because of Jesus, the lame will walk and the blind will see.

The church must get comfortable with change. Radical, shocking, and supernatural change.

God won’t leave people stuck and we can’t afford to either.

While it’s easier to paint people as bad or good, it’s actually not very Jesus-like.

Everything belongs to God. Psalm 24 makes this declaration: “The earth and everything on it belong to the Lord. The world and its people belong to him.”

Too many times I’ve been guilty of holding a person’s past against them.

Grace, healing, transformation and progress struggle to thrive when we act and think this way.

Let’s allow people room to grow and change.

Let’s make our churches places where Grace, healing and change aren’t just occasional, but the norm.

To say it another way, let’s make life change the fundamental drive of our churches.