Here’s how it works!
Our staff and our readers were asked to send me a list of their 25 favorite TV Shows of All-Time. 59 ballots were received, and the shows were ranked on a point system allowing 25 points for a #1 choice, 24 for a #2, and all the way down to 1 point for #25. The points were added up, and what follows are the selections.
Tiebreakers work like such: If two shows have equal pointage (and neither got a number 1 vote), I went with whichever ranked highest on the individual lists. An show that was someone’s #4 beats another person’s #6, for example. If they were still tied, then whichever had more votes ranks higher. And then if they still were tied I just picked one so shut up.
We will be posting 10 shows a day for the entire week, culminating in the top 10 being revealed on Friday.
The countdown begins now!
50. Extras (2005-2007) – 91 points
(8 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #7 – Mally)
Watching Andy Milman’s ego slowly destroy him is a hard thing to watch, and while it’s painfully funny, it’s still very painful. It’s when Gervais and Merchant offer the smallest bit of redemption for these characters that we cling to it like an oxygen mask of humanity. The series finale of Extras is one of the finest pieces of television I have ever witnessed, and I dare anyone to not be utterly destroyed by Andy’s monologue towards the end of the show. One thing I love about Extras is the stuff with Darren Lamb, letting Gervais and Merchant just play off each other, giving us something of a break from Andy’s tragic comedy. Submitted for your approval:
49. Planet Earth (2006) – 91 points
(7 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #3 – HenryFinlay)
My God the British really know how to film our world. This fascinating documentary of out planet never ceases to amaze. Many of the images are completely breathtaking, the environments and the creatures that live in them really make this world seem big and almost alien especially when dealing with the underwater episodes. Favourite episode: Caves! Scary and awesome. Check it out.
48. Spaced (1999-2001) – 95 points
(10 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #9 – Pennylame)
Imagine that the guys who made Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead had a television show. Now I’m going to tell you that not only is this real, but it’s every bit as good as you’d hope it to be. The show is about a bunch of misfits living in a drab London flat, but the worlds THEY live in are hyper-stylized pop culture landscapes. It’s the interplay between the mundane but meaningful drama of everyday life and the loving combination of references, homages and styles that gives Spaced its unforgettable charm. Too bad the show never got the third season it deserved. SKIP TO THE END: It’s great. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
47. The Venture Bros. (2003-present) – 98 points
(7 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Jebzaki)
Adult Swim has been pretty hit or miss, but if there is one show that came out of that block worth your time it’s The Venture Bros. This satirical take on the Jonny Quest-type adventure shows has been said to be all about failure. It features some brilliant writing and some of the most inspired visual gags I’ve seen in a cartoon, as well as a cavalcade of memorable characters. The Monarch is still one of my favorite ‘villains’ of all-time (it’s in quotes because, well, just watch the show and you’ll understand).
46. Modern Family (2009-present) – 99 points
(8 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Jill, Venlae)
From breakout star Ty Burrell to renewed interest in ‘Married with Children’ Ed O’Neil, Modern Family was the little sitcom that became the next big thing in just a few episodes. Winning multiple awards and critical praise, the show uses the tried-and-true mockumentary style format to showcase a wide array of interesting characters and situations. The best thing about the show is the fact that it wears its heart on its sleeve. You grow to care for these characters beyond finding them funny and that’s the mark of a truly great sitcom.
45. Party Down (2009-2010) – 100 points
(12 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #7 – TraverseTown)
I’m kind of surprised this show made it as long as it did before getting canceled. Not that it’s a bad show (I think it’s great), but its premise, ‘sardonic show biz rejects learn sad life lessons while catering’ seems like it would appeal to a very small audience. Happily though, I am in this very small audience, and I enjoy a show with as many groans as laughs. It also stands as a testament to its writing that I could watch these characters be, at times, depraved, degrading, embarrassing and untalented, and still hope that they will succeed. Not to mention it has a great cast of under-appreciated comedy actors and ex-Veronica Mars faces. Are we having fun yet?
44. Archer (2009-present) – 102 points
(11 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #5 – Jebzaki)
A twisted take on the spy genre, this is perhaps one of the better comedies to emerge in the past few years. It has a very unique main character – Archer is not bumbling, or bad at his job, and he has no issue getting romance – but he’s still a low status character. Perhaps a lot of that comes from his voice actor, Jon Benjamin (who is getting more love these days thanks to this and Bob’s Burgers but can always use more) who has this dry manner of speaking that makes just about everything he says hilarious. On top of that, it features many Arrested Development crossovers/references for all the fans of that show.
43. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999) – 105 points
(7 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #2 – Jenna)
You know that thing you do with your friends, where you watch a bad movie on purpose in order to make fun of it throughout? That’s what MST3000 was doing for years. It has been met with critical acclaim and numerous awards, as well as a dedicated cult following. It has since spawned a slew of imitators, most notably ‘Rifftrax’ which is a similar concept but done to more modern films and using just audio (rather than the silhouetted characters in this show).
42. Band of Brothers (2001) – 107 points
(9 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Neil J.)
If you’re looking for brilliantly done stories centered around WW2, look no further than Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan being the other example of this). The human element is what makes these stories so fascinating, and Band of Brothers follows the real-life stories of ‘Easy Company,’ based off research and interviews with the surviving members of said company. In addition to wonderfully paced storytelling, the fact that we get a glimpse into the real-life versions of these characters (interviews are peppered throughout) makes it all the more compelling.
41. 24 (2001-2010) – 107 points
(9 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Jomskylark)
When watching 24 it’s important to keep three things in mind in order to fully enjoy the show
1. Jack Bauer does not pee, if he does, he does so during commercials
2. Jack Bauer can handle ANYTHING the world throws at him, and the world will throw EVERYTHING at him no matter how implausible it may be. So just deal with it
3. There will ALWAYS be a mole who betrays EVERYONE. Try and guess who in the first episode of each season.
This show is incredibly intense, visceral and completely unrealistic in every way save for its depiction of violence. It is insanely addictive and lots of fun. Best season: Five.