40. The IT Crowd (2006-present) – 109 points
(7 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Sleepthoughts)
The IT Crowd is kinda like The Big Bang Theory if it was British, smart and funny. Come to think of it, they’re not very alike. Even though the whole show is basically set in a basement office, the show never once feels stifled. It tries different things and gets very inventive, even if it doesn’t always pay off. What is consistent though, are the high-energy troupe that holds the show together. Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Chris O’Dowd (he was the best part of Bridesmaids was he not?) really know how to work off each other. This was one of my favourite recent TV discoveries and I’m glad to see it’s getting some love. It’s hilarious.
39. House M.D. (2004-present) – 110 points
(9 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #6 – Sleepthoughts)
Easily one of the best non-serialized dramas I’ve ever watched. What makes this show better than your average garbage episode of CSI: Whatever is the characters. Dr. House, with his addictions, his intellect and inability to suffer fools is constantly a source for great entertainment and interesting character development. A viewer will become engaged in the medical mysteries of each episode, but what brings me back time and again is the changes each character goes through and the revelations House has as he gradually becomes a real human being. Also some of the best acting on network television season after season courtesy of Hugh Laurie. Best Season: Four.
38. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) – 112 points
(8 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – gahhhhh)
There’s never been anything like Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. Certainly not that 1980s nonsense. There are too many iconic Twilight Zone episodes to list here. Even if you’ve never seen the series I guarantee you know many of the stories from it. The Twilight Zone did what only good science fiction has the ability to do: it offers a small but important twist on our own culture and allows us to examine ourselves from a unique perspective. The premises offered up by the show aren’t appreciated just because they’re super cool (and they are super cool) but because they allow studies and critiques of humanity that other genres don’t. Serling wasn’t merely a sci-fi magician that could wow audiences for an hour a week, he was also a strong moral voice willing to grapple with serious issues in his work. This is why the Twilight Zone succeeds and why it resonates as well now as it did in 1959. The fact that it made the list gives me hope, even if it was beat by How I Met Your Mother.
37. Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974) – 120 points
(10 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Venlae)
Monty Python is the sort of thing that I can’t imagine not being a part of my life. Do you ever meet people whose sense of humour you just don’t get? I usually find the disconnect begins with the fact that one person always likes Monty Python and the other one doesn’t. The impossibly perfect combination of John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle and Terry Jones made some of the most brilliant absurd comedy when, as far as I know, there was none. They pushed the limits of what television and comedy could do and the legacy is obvious.
36. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011) – 121 points
(9 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Alexs90)
Friday Night Lights never obtained a sizable audience. It was a critical success, however, lauded for its realistic portrayal of Middle America and deep personal exploration of its central characters. The show was awarded a Peabody Award, a Humanitas Prize, and a Television Critics Association Award, as well as several technical Primetime Emmy Awards. At the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards the show was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton also scored multiple nominations for the Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress awards for a drama series. Executive producer Jason Katims was also nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Both Chandler and Katims won the Emmy in 2011.
35. Saturday Night Live (1975-present) – 121 points
(8 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Nicholas)
On the air for over 3 decades now, Saturday Night Live or ‘SNL’ is obviously going to have many ups and downs. During its heyday, though, it was an amazing source of late night comedy and sketch based humor. It’s the cast members and frequently brilliant hosts that make the show work when it does. I am glad the dudes from The Lonely Island got their chance to shine by getting hired as writers (Jorma and Akiva) and cast members (Andy Samberg) and often they’ve breathed some fresh air into this show after it’s been faltering the last few years.
34. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) – 124 points
(10 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Jebzaki)
This is without a doubt one of, if not the greatest adaptations of Batman ever made. The series really captured the essence of the character, and I’d still call Mark Hamill’s Joker the greatest villain in any superhero tv/game/movie/whatever (yes, even better than the brilliant portrayal of the same character by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight). The comic book genre works best in serialized format, and even better when there’s recurring characters, themes and storylines. That’s why this show will last the test of time and Kevin Conroy will always be Batman to me.
33. Deadwood (2004-2006) – 126 points
(7 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Mastershake)
I love westerns so much. I love good writing even more. I defy you to find a show that captures a time and place so well, not just in the setting and cinematography but in the way the characters speak. It’s semi-formal, uneducated people speaking in a way that is almost Shakespearean. It’s a joy to just watch the actors talk in this show. The period detail is flawless, the performances are incredible, (especially from Ian McShane as Al Swearengen) and the atmosphere of the old west is always exciting because anyone could end up dead at any minute; as evidenced by the first season. There’s only three seasons of 12 episodes each, so it’s an easy show to catch up on too, if you can handle the excessive cursing.
32. Veronica Mars (2004-2007) – 135 points
(10 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #5 – SLeigher, Alexs90)
In its first season, Veronica Mars found an amazing balance between a detective story and a character piece. It faltered in the next few seasons, leading ultimately to its cancellation, but overall it still maintained the smart writing littered with pop culture references and Whedon-esque dialogue (it was, in fact, one of Joss Whedon’s favorite shows and he even guest starred in the second season). Overall I loved the characters and the main plots/mysteries.
31. How I Met Your Mother (2005-present) – 135 points
(9 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #2 – Jesters, Venlae)
I’ve seen every episode of this long running sitcom, and I’ve had my fair share of complaints to level at it. But underneath the sitcom pitfalls and the contrived “Mother” plot is a show that has so many wonderful things to offer: A cast of characters that are constantly funny and the actors have such great chemistry that sometimes it feels as if the viewer is a fly on the wall at MacLaren’s Pub overhearing a group of old friends talk about life, love and whatever. Neil Patrick Harris as Barney is a comedic genius with impeccable timing and unlimited energy, when the show seems to falter he is constantly there to breathe life back into it. It is a testament to the actors and the writers to have made a show that is still consistently funny after such a long run. Still, the best moments come when the group is at the bar not talking about the plot of the episode, or who’s dating who, or when Ted will find the love of his life, but rather when they’re listening to Barney’s crazy theories, or arguing about which is better: Rabbit or Duck. Best Season: Two.