Posted by: Alan | January 9, 2012

The Top 50 TV Shows of All-Time!


10. Futurama (1999-present) – 354 points
(29 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Patrick)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurama

For all its ups and downs, cancellations and reboots, movies and episodes, Futurama is consistent with at least one thing: laughs. There have been many ‘bad’ episodes but at the very least there are plenty of good jokes within these episodes. That said, during its initial run it grew into one of the more mature and heartfelt shows that never failed to make me laugh and even cry (Jurassic Bark, anyone?). Back from the dead again, let’s just hope it doesn’t settle into a Family Guy groove of being consistently mediocre.

-Alan


9. The Office (2005-present) – 402 points
(31 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – Bzlugj)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Office_(U.S._TV_series)

It’s a shame this show has gotten so boring and unfunny, because I really think they have a myriad of talent working on it. But let’s be honest – it should have ended after Michael Scott left. It was a great end for his character, it would have been an even better end for the series. But successful TV shows rarely know when to end, and it’s a sad truth that often times my favorite shows end up becoming awful and the character I love end up becoming caricatures of themselves. Nevertheless, this was a brilliant show during its heyday, seperating itself properly from the UK series that inspired it. Aside from character dynamic similarities (and the pilot being almost the exact same script), this show has a voice of its own and the human side of the terrible boss was built on much more here than David Brent got the chance to.

-Alan


8. South Park (1997-present) – 427 points
(33 of 59 lists. Highest ranking #2 – hhh64, Kyle C.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_park

In 2007, Time magazine included South Park on its list of the “100 Best TV Shows of All Time”, proclaiming it as “America’s best source of rapid-fire satire for [the past] decade”. The same year, Rolling Stone declared it to be the funniest show on television since its debut 10 years prior. In 2008, South Park was named the 12th-greatest TV show of the past 25 years by Entertainment Weekly, while AOL declared it as having the “most astute” characters of any show in history when naming it the 16th-best television comedy series of all time. The character of Cartman ranked 10th on TV Guide’s 2002 list of the “Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters”, 198th on VH1’s “200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons”, 19th on Bravo’s “100 Greatest TV Characters” television special in 2004, and second on MSNBC’s 2005 list of TV’s scariest characters behind Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. In Channel 4’s 2004 Countdown The 100 Greatest Cartoons it was voted third behind Tom and Jerry (2) and The Simpsons (1). In 2006, Comedy Central received a Peabody Award for South Park’s “stringent social commentary” and “undeniably fearless lampooning of all that is self-important and hypocritical in American life”.

-Wikipedia


7. LOST (2004-2010) – 449 points
(28 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 2 #1 Votes – DevoAlmighty, Neil J.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_(TV_series)

Say what you will about LOST, it was one hell of a ride. I don’t know if there will ever be a TV show quite like this, with such a rabid fanbase, a large amount of detractors, and quite the build-up to a fizzle of an ending. The more I think about this show and how disappointed I was with the final season, overall the experience was well worth it. The mythology, characters, and especially the music will always stay with me and I look forward to watching seasons 1-5 again and again. Season 6 can kiss my ass.

-Alan


6. Seinfeld (1989-1998) – 482 points
(29 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 2 #1 Votes – Henryfinlay, Alexs90)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seinfeld

Seinfeld will always be the greatest sitcom ever made. I don’t say ‘comedy’ because a sitcom is a very special breed of comedy that I generally don’t like, but somehow Seinfeld made that format work amazingly. Often times I test new people when I meet them with Seinfeld references and if they catch them/approve of them, they’re immediately a friend. If they don’t, well, they have to work a little harder. At the very least, it’s agreed that no other show has made such a huge impact on our culture to the degree that Seinfeld has.

-Alan


5. The Simpsons (1989-present) – 584 points
(33 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 10 #1 Votes – Hirsby, Spoodles, Jim, David, Jenna, Amd123, Busterbluth91, Jabbid111, Kyle C, Nicholas)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_simpsons

Yet another case of a TV Show lasting much longer than it should, I still call the ‘Golden Years’ of this show some of the greatest writing and comedy you’ll ever see on TV. Homer Simpson was such a perfect every man trying to do right by himself and his family that turning him into a brainless buffoon is one of the greatest crimes ever committed in TV writing history. They have created one of my favorite characters ever in the history of TV as well, in Hank Scorpio, a character appearing in a single episode but making an everlasting impression.

-Alan


4. Community (2009-present) – 609 points
(38 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 1 #1 Vote – SLeigher)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_(TV_series)

In a series that started out as a pretty generic sitcom (group of characters with various backgrounds come together with a romantic plot driving the action) it has quickly become one of the more unique and smartly written shows on TV. With a cult fanbase and no shortage of ‘themed’ episodes, Community continues to push the envelope of what works in a sitcom and what doesn’t (this recent season has had both the best episode of the series and some of the worst). But time and time again it’s the characters that make this show work and not one of them is unlikeable (save maybe Chevy Chase’s Pierce). The fans continue to grow, and as long as NBC continues to let them make the show, I anticipate it becoming regarded as one of the greatest shows ever made.

-Alan


3. The Wire (2002-2008) – 701 points
(33 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 12 #1 Votes – B, Kane, Bluecheese, Walksofar, Lastdukestreetking, Tunacow, Atlastata, Radiochanges, dNatural, Asteroidblues, Fuzzy Dunlop, LAngeDuFoyeur)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_wire

I feel very unqualified to write about The Wire because it’s way smarter than me, and often I would have no idea what the drug dealers were even saying. But I think I’m the only Spotless Mind who’s seen it. The level of realism in the show is daunting, and the slang of the criminals and the casual bureaucratic jargon of the cops is so real, while still loaded with subtext and metaphor it’s almost like watching Shakespeare. On an immediate level though, it painfully shows the futility of trying to enact change in a world where the status quo is so entrenched you can be fired or even killed for trying to do so. This is a real situation and The Wire shows it at its lowest point, making it one of the more scathing social commentaries in recent memory. And still, the incredible writing endears us to some characters and sometimes I did find myself believing that things could get better for these people, even if it was just for the sake of believing it. I wouldn’t say The Wire either rewards or obliterates that belief, it simply tells us that “the game” continues. David Simon’s drama, with all its nuance and complexity only grows with each season to give us a more all-encompassing view of the deep-seeded problems in the heart of Baltimore and remains one of the greatest achievements in modern storytelling.

-James


2. Breaking Bad (2008-present) – 729 points
(38 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 4 #1 Votes – Greg, Blindward, Clevemire, hhhh64)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_Bad

This show will hook you. Hard. After a promising premise and shortened first season (due to that pesky writer’s strike) Breaking Bad came into its own with a vengeance in subsequent seasons, arguably each one better than the last. Bryan Cranston ate up all the awards for his portrayal of Walter White, chemistry teacher and family man turned meth dealer/druglord. The arc of his character from relatable everyman to detestable villain has been a wonder to behold, and if you still haven’t given this show a chance do yourself a favor and start right now because the next season will be the last, and it will then enter the pantheon of greatest TV Shows ever made.

-Alan


1. Arrested Development (2003-2006) – 994 points
(51 of 59 lists. Highest ranking 4 #1 Votes – Jesters, Pennylame, Digifreak, Jen F.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development_(TV_series)

Naysayers, take heed. This is close to a unanimous vote for this show, and it’s hard to imagine why anyone would truly think this show was anything but comedic brilliance. From the series long running gags/jokes, to the multitude of inspired guest stars to the self-referential plot points, there’s very little that didn’t work for this show. While I am leery about the recent announcement of its return (10 episodes and a movie) I can’t help but trust the writers/creators/cast in being able to make the inevitable meta-humour regarding its cancellation work wonders. And Will Arnett needs to be on something good again.

There you have it, the number one TV Show of All time as voted by you.

-Alan

Thanks for participating everyone!

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Responses

  1. MASH?

  2. Very debatable. How is The Shield not on here? Or Rome? Or The Tudors?

  3. why did you only use Wiki’s description for The Sopranos? a personal touch would have been better for a show of its calibur


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