30. Twin Peaks (1990-1991) – 138 points
(13 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – TraverseTown)
Twin Peaks is an American television serial drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. It became one of 1990’s top-rated shows, a critical success both nationally and internationally. Reflecting its devoted cult fan base, the series became a part of popular culture, referenced in other television shows, commercials, comic books, video games, films and song lyrics. In 1997, the pilot episode was ranked #25 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, the series was ranked #45 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2007, it was listed as one of Time magazine’s “Best TV Shows of All-TIME.”
29. The Daily Show (1996-present) – 141 points
(11 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #2 – Lastdukestreetking)
When I was in high school this show was how I learned about social studies and the state of the world. For about 15 years Jon Stewart and his cohorts have been bringing the news to us and always highlighting the sheer absurdity of the world. This is easily the best fake news show of all time, with a perfect blend of satire, goofiness and frustrated rage it continues to reach out to the masses and tell us all that our society is stupid, divided and dysfunctional, but that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at it, otherwise we’ll cry. And now your moment of zen:
28. Friends (1994-2004) – 142 points
(13 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Jill)
Friends received positive reviews throughout its run, becoming one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. The series won many awards and was nominated for 63 Primetime Emmy Awards. The series, an instant hit from its debut, was also very successful in the ratings, consistently ranking in the top ten in the final primetime ratings. Many critics now regard it as one of the finest shows in television history, including TV Guide, which ranked it #21 on their list of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time. In 1997, the episode “The One with the Prom Video” was ranked #100 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. The series made a large cultural impact, which continues today. The Central Perk coffee house that was featured prominently in the series has inspired various imitations throughout the world. The series continues in syndication worldwide.
27. Doctor Who (1963-present) – 158 points
(10 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – BrryanN)
This revived series has received recognition from critics and the public, across various awards ceremonies. It won five BAFTA TV Awards, including Best Drama Series, the highest-profile and most prestigious British television award for which the series has ever been nominated. It was very popular at the BAFTA Cymru Awards, with 25 wins overall including Best Drama Series (twice), Best Screenplay/Screenwriter (thrice) and Best Actor. It was also nominated for 7 Saturn Awards, winning the only Best International Series in the ceremony’s history. In 2009, Doctor Who was voted the 3rd greatest show of the noughties by Channel 4, behind Top Gear and The Apprentice. The episode “Vincent and the Doctor” was shortlisted for a Mind Award at the 2010 Mind Mental Health Media Awards for its “touching” portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh.
26. Battlestar Galactica (2006-2011) – 181 points
(12 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #3 – DevoAlmighty)
The 2004 re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica was A) one of the best written and B) least appreciated series on television. It’s that old science fiction stigma. What began as a corny space adventure in the 70s was eventually turned into a tense, intelligent allegory for the US’s War on Terror and ensuing shenanigans. Every episode of BSG was a complex character drama where one wrong decision could mean the end of humanity. It was about the necessary moral compromises needed for survival during war, but also the value of human/civil rights in all circumstances. “It’s not enough to survive. One has to be worthy of survival”. Though the show’s eventual conclusion may have been disappointing, it should not diminish the power and ambition of this great television show. SO SAY WE ALL!
25. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) – 192 points
(14 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Realneil)
This show has quite possibly the greatest impact on my adolescence than just about any other piece of pop culture. I grew up watching this show every week, one of the few shows I’ve legit watched every episode on TV as it aired (save a few episodes in Season 5 when I started losing interest). The first season is fun, cheesy, campy and yet still has some hints of great things to come. It really hits its stride in season 2, and introduces one of my favorite villains ever. From then on it’s a hit-or-miss series (mostly hit) that I can watch over and over every year and still love almost every single character on the show (except fucking Dawn).
24. Louie (2010-present) – 199 points
(14 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Alan)
Louis C.K. had a way of slowly burning into my mind and staying there. I remember watching his first sitcom, Lucky Louie, and finding it a pretty generic sitcom with some unique jokes every so often. Then I slowly heard bits and pieces of his stand-up, and saw his guest role on Parks and Recreation – and eventually decided to watch an entire stand-up special of his. From then on I have been an unabashed Louis C.K. fan, paying attention to just about anything he does with his career. When this show first premiered I had no idea what to expect – people were likening it to Seinfeld – but went in very excited to see what he would do with complete creative control. What ended up happening was the creation of perhaps the most unique television show I’ve ever seen, and any comparisons to Seinfeld or other TV shows are minimal. Having just wrapped its second season – I’m excited to see where it goes because the honesty and humor mixture is a delicate balance but Louie has been able to do it perfectly so far.
23. Scrubs (2001-2010) – 202 points
(17 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #2 -Blindward, Sleepthoughts)
This show jumps between absurdist hilarity and touching poignancy with such ease it is mind boggling. The jokes are often visual which is quite odd for a sitcom, but the creators and writers really use the hospital setting to its fullest potential at all times. The earnest friendships between the characters and Zach Braff’s quirky likability are what power nearly every episode. Unless John C. McGinley’s Dr. Cox is on screen then he owns everyone with his machine gun speed delivery of the incessantly clever dialogue. This is another example of a show that ran long past its prime, but when it was good it was soooo good. Favourite season: Season 3, Favourite Episode: The Pilot – “My Story.”
22. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-present) – 230 points
(15 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Judgejoebrownsstache)
Larry David is my hero. Not because I ever want to be like him – in fact he’s one of the most callous and rude people in fictional television. But his candor and self-identification as a ‘social assassin’ is what keeps me watching his antics. In his defense, most of the individuals he gets in confrontations with on the show are just as rude and awful as he is – which makes for hilarious television – but the altercations always escalate to ridiculous levels that often make Larry off as the bad guy. In addition there’s a fantastic supporting cast – Jeff and Susie, Leon in later seasons, and the multiple celebrity guest stars who play ridiculous versions of themselves.
21. Six Feet Under (2005-present) – 272 points
(15 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 3 #1 Votes – Rae912, Sleepthoughts, James)
This is one of the rare shows that made me actively forget I was watching television. Six Feet Under pulls you in to Fisher and Sons Funeral Home, housed in suburban California, and doesn’t let go for five seasons. The whole show revolves around the creation of life and the inevitability of death. Such a simple premise is constructed into a ground-breaking show that deserves to be viewed by everyone. We see the perfectly crafted characters at their most beautiful and at their absolute worst. They aren’t just characters in a show – these are people you know. You care for these people, and their pain becomes your own. Six Feet Under is a complex show, and its willingness to stretch the boundaries creates a world that is completely special and wholly unique.
The final episode also showcases the most heart-breaking series finale I have ever witnessed on screen. Alan and I have discussed at length that whenever a good cry is needed, the combination of Sia’s “Breathe Me” and the closing scene of Six Feet Under never ceases to do the trick.