“M*A*S*H,” a groundbreaking TV series that ran on CBS from 1972 to 1983, is based on Robert Altman’s 1970 black comedy of the same name, which in turn derives from the book “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors” by Richard Hooker. The show is set during the Korean War and follows a group of U.S. Army doctors, nurses, and support staff at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in Korea.
The show was a sensation during its 11 seasons on air. It managed to remain fairly light and entertaining while portraying extreme hardships and tragedies in the small war hospital community. It was notable for giving a human face to war by showing the mental anguish and sensitivities of soldiers and staff. Episodes are standalone but also feed into a larger narrative. (These are the most popular TV episodes from the 1970s.)
The show is known for blending comedy and intense drama, as the staff of the 4077th and their patients use humor to deal with the horrors of war. The series follows several characters and delves into their personal struggles while also examining several important issues of the time. (These are the best TV shows about war and other conflicts.)
Surgeon Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, the show’s lead character, played by Alan Alda, is often the voice of reason during the chaos of war. He was drafted into the war and regularly shows his disdain for the conflict and the military. Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan (Loretta Swit) is the camp’s highest-ranking woman and head nurse. She takes her role seriously and adeptly navigates the camp hierarchy.
The talented cast brought the show to life, and much of the series revolves around how very different personalities dealt with the war. Pierce and Houlihan were the only two main characters to star in all 11 seasons, while several others came and went. A few, like Maxwell Klinger (Jamie Farr) and Father Mulcahy (George Morgan in the pilot, then William Christopher), had recurring roles in earlier seasons and starred in later ones.
To determine the best episodes of M*A*S*H, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience reviews from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. All 256 episode of M*A*S*H were ranked based on average IMDb user rating as of February 2023. In the case of a tie, the episode with the greater number of user votes was ranked higher. Original air dates are also from IMDb.
Click here to read about the best episodes of M*A*S*H, according to data
“M*A*S*H” has endured as an important work of American television. It broke the mold for what a sitcom could be while depicting what military life was like during the “Forgotten War.”
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