My Top 30 Favorite TV Shows of All Time

UPDATED 12/9/09 (Corrected listing errors)
**All placements are subject to change.**

30. Full House (1987 – 1995)

— Sure, when you watch it now it’s almost painful. Bad scripts and over-the-top acting make me understand why my Dad groaned every time I slid my “Full House” tape in the VCR. With that said, it was a huge part of my childhood. I’ve seen every episode at least 8 times and still occasionally tell people to “pin a rose on your nose.” Plus, that Uncle Jesse still isn’t too bad to look at.

Favorite character: Uncle Jesse

Quality of writing: 2/10
Quality of acting: 3/10
Re-watchability: 4/10
Nostalgia: 10/10
Overall entertainment: 4/10

29. X-Men: The Animated Series (1992 – 1997)

— Yep. I’m a closet geek. My brother, Dave, and my cousins, Sean and Matt, were really into X-Men as little tykes. We not only watched the cartoon, but we also bought the comics and collected the trading cards. I think my brother still has all of them somewhere. Oh, and my cousin Matt actually named his son Logan.. as in Wolverine. Dave and I have both claimed Remy so it’s a race to see who has a son first. (I’m kidding.. but I do think it would be cool for all four of us to have at least one kid named for an X-Men character.)

Favorite characters: Gambit, Rogue

Quality of writing: 5/10
Quality of animation: 3/10
Re-watchability: 5/10
Nostalgia: 9/10
Overall entertainment: 6/10

28. seaQuest DSV/seaQuest 2032 (1993 – 1996)

— Honestly, I don’t know if this show was actually good or not since I haven’t seen it since it originally aired (when I was 10). It was on NBC for 3 seasons, had some decent actors, John Debney did the music and my whole family enjoyed watching it (for the most part), so it’s safe to assume it was at least decent. However, I wasn’t watching it for the storyline, I was watching it for Jonathan Brandis a.k.a. Lucas Wolenzack (Wow.. I spelt Wolenczak correctly without even looking it up). For those of you unfamiliar with Lucas, think Star Trek‘s Wesley Crusher, only underwater. I was absolutely in love with Jon. Matter of fact, when I think of seaQuest, I pretty much only remember one episode called “Photon Bullet” where Lucas Meets up with Seth Green.. Wolfman. (Thank you, Dave, for being the only one who gets that joke.) Based on the memories of that one episode, the show was good enough to land the #28 spot.

Favorite character: Lucas Wolenczak

Quality of writing: 5/10
Quality of acting: 5/10
Re-watchability: 4/10
Nostalgia: 9/10
Overall entertainment: 5/10

27. Saturday Night Live (1975 – Present)

— SNL is a classic, pure and simple. Although I personally don’t think it’s been too remarkable for quite a few years (with the exception of The Lonely Island shorts and a few tidbits from Tina Fey), a staggering amount of household-name comedic actors got their start on SNL. Plus, over the last 34 years, Saturday Night Live has given us such greats as The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, the Coneheads, land shark, Matt Foley – Motivational Speaker, Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey and Toonces the Driving Cat.

Quality of writing: 7/10
Quality of acting: 6/10
Re-watchability: 5/10
Nostalgia: 3/10
Overall entertainment: 6/10

26. The Wonder Years (1988 – 1993)

— I grew up watching Kevin Arnold grow up. Like many sitcoms, the plot revolves around a kid making it through adolescence, but unlike other sitcoms (especially during the late 80s/early 90s), the writers managed to make the characters lovable and the stories interesting without getting too cheesy. Since I was so young when the show aired, a lot of the adult themes went over my head, but I understood the moral lesson of each episode. Watching them now I see that The Wonder Years pulled off an amazing feat being able to relate to adults and children alike while still being relevant 20 years later.

Favorite characters: Kevin Arnold, Paul Pfeiffier

Quality of writing: 7/10
Quality of acting: 5/10
Re-watchability: 6/10
Nostalgia: 7/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

25. Saved by the Bell (1989 – 1993)

— Like Full House, if you were born in the 80s, Saved by the Bell was a part of your childhood. I still find myself stopping, for at least a few minutes, every time I run across a re-run.. not because I find them funny or entertaining, really. I still watch because it takes me back to my childhood. I remember running with my cousins, Sarah and Shelli, through their house after performing Jessie’s “Now she’s a butterfly. Now she has wings. And now, she can fly!” monologue, fighting over who would get to be Kelly and playing the board game. (It was always awesome when you got a note from Zack to meet him at The Max!) I can still sing you all the songs from The Zack Attach and Hot Sundae. Does the show still hold up 20 years after it’s original airing? Not at all, but as long as my generation is around, it’ll have strong life in re-runs and DVD sales.

Favorite character: Zack Morris

Quality of writing: 4/10
Quality of acting: 3/10
Re-watchability: 5/10
Nostalgia: 10/10
Overall entertainment: 5/10

24. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990 – 1996)

— Who can’t rap along with the opening credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? The answer is the complete opposite of the number of people who would’ve guessed that Will Smith would go on to be an Oscar nominated actor. Fresh Prince is yet another show that is a staple of 80s/90s kids childhoods, but what makes it stand out over Full House and Saved by the Bell is the fact that it still manages to get a chuckle out of me on occasion. Oh, and I’m still trying to get “The Clarton” down.. it’s a big hit at parties. Now, everyone sing along.. “I-i-i-i-i-in West Philidelphia, born and raised..”

Favorite characters: Will Smith, Carlton Banks, Geoffrey

Quality of writing: 5/10
Quality of acting: 5/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 8/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

23. The X-Files (1993 – 2002)

The X-Files was all the rage in the 90s for sci-fi nerds and normal people alike. I’m not ashamed to say that I got sucked in to all the hubbub, but I will say that Fox Mulder’s good looks and dry humor had quite a lot to do with that. The stories were interesting and intense and the characters well fleshed out. I can’t speak for the later seasons, as I stopped watching after David left the show, but the seasons I’m familiar with go down on my list as the second best sci-fi show of all time.

Favorite character: Fox Mulder

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 7/10
Re-watchability: 3/10
Nostalgia: 6/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

22. Friends (1994 – 2004)

— I know a lot of you are going to be appalled with the low placement of Friends. I’m not saying it wasn’t a fantastic show.. I love Friends and can trade quote-jokes with the best of ‘em, but I never thought it lived up to the hype. I believe I’ve seen every episode now, but it wasn’t a show that I found myself getting excited about week to week. I’ve seen most of the episodes through re-runs. All that said, Friends had a major pop-cultural impact. I occasionally flip people off by pounding my fists together, run like Phoebe and see if I can make babies laugh by singing “Baby Got Back.” Oh, and I always felt a connection to Joey because of our shared affinity for sandwiches.

Favorite characters: Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 8/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 4/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

21. 21 Jumpstreet (1987 – 1991)

— Yeah, 21 Jumpstreet is #21.. I promise I didn’t do it on purpose. First off, how could a TV show starring Johnny not make my list? Yes, it’s very after school special but it’s also very addicting. I remember one of the reasons I loved going to Grandma Peel’s house is that was the only place I could find 21 Jumpstreet. (I have no idea why.) Watching it as a kid, I remember thinking, “Hey, that Tom Hanson is kinda cute.” Watching it as adult, I thought, “That Tom Hanson is flippin’ hot!” I can’t say that Jumpstreet is for everyone, but if you’re a Johnny fan, I guarantee you’ll love it.. or at least the first four seasons.

Favorite character: Tom Hanson

Quality of writing: 4/10
Quality of acting: 3/10
Re-watchability: 7/10
Nostalgia: 7/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

20. My Name is Earl (2005 – 2009)

— It’s hard to find anything made for adults on TV these days that really has a “feel good” quality to it.. My Name is Earl had that quality. When I first started watching the series with Brandon, I remember we wanted to watch episode after episode just because at the end we “felt good.” On top of that quality, it also was very funny and I fell in love with the characters. If I made a Top TV friendships list, Earl and Crabman would be somewhere near the top. If I made a Top TV Villains list, Joy would be up there. And if I made a Top Lovable “Fat” Guys on TV list, Randy would probably make the top 5. The only reason it’s so low on the list is because as the seasons went by, the episodes became more hit and miss. Regardless, I appreciated that Earl brought some feel good-iness to television and was sad to see that NBC canceled it after the ’09 season.

Favorite characters: Earl Hickey, Darnell “Crabman” Turner, Joy Turner, Randy Hickey

Quality of writing: 7/10
Quality of acting: 7/10
Re-watchability: 7/10
Nostalgia: 2/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

19. Pushing Daisies (2007 – 2009)

Pushing Daisies was one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen on television. It truly is a fairy tale come to life.. The visual design borders on unreal. The script is clever and captivating and the performances are perfect. The story centers around a pie maker named Ned who has the special ability to bring dead things to life after touching them. However, if he does not touch them again (putting them to rest permanently) within a minute, something else will die in its place. The plot is the perfect mix of storybook and reality. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this show. That being the case, why is it down here at #19? Well, I do have something bad to say about ABC canceling it only 2 seasons in..

Favorite character: Ned

Quality of writing: 9/10
Quality of acting: 9/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 0/10
Overall entertainment: 9/10

18. Family Guy (1999 – Present)

— Okay, I know this show crosses lines from time to time, but it’s so funny I’m inclined to overlook it. What makes the humor of this show so appealing to me is that it’s based on cutaway gags and tangential vignettes.. and a lot of them are pop culture related. The whole tone tends to be both clever and juvenile at the same time.. a fine line to walk, but Seth McFarlane pulls it off brilliantly. All that to say, I love this show because fart noises and dirty jokes will never cease to be funny to me.

Favorite characters: Glenn Quagmire. Peter Griffin, Brian

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of animation: 3/10
Re-watchability: 7/10
Nostalgia: 2/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

17. Family Ties (1982 – 1989)

— Unlike most of the older shows on this list, I did not grow up watching Family Ties.. It came on a year before I was born and ended when I was only 6 years old. I just recently made my way through the first five seasons due to the recommendation of my friend, Brandon. (It was his favorite show when he was little.) I was very surprised to see that Family Ties has stood the test of time. Honestly, if the sets and clothes were updated, you would have no idea that the show was on over 25 years ago. I found myself laughing out loud and even getting emotional at times. The Keatons kind of feel like old friends now.

Favorite character: Alex P. Keaton, Steven Keaton

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 6/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 0/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

16. 30 Rock (2006 – Present)

— A show that actually made me like an actress.. Now that’s impressive! 30 Rock is easily one of the best comedies to come out in the past 10 years. That being said, I still think it’s highly overrated by the critics. Matter of fact, the reason it took me so long to even watch the series is because it was sucking up Emmys right and left.. away from other programs that I felt (and still feel) were more deserving. Now for the good stuff: Liz Lemon is one of few female characters on TV that I really enjoy, Jack Donaghy actually makes me like Alec Baldwin, Tracy Jordan is funnier than Tracy Morgan ever was on SNL and I can’t help but smile when I see Kenneth. I would highly recommend 30 Rock to pretty much everyone, but unfortunately, I will always have a small amount of bitterness for it in my heart.

Favorite characters: Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, Kenneth Parcell, Tracy Jordan

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 8/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 0/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

15. Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000)

— Maybe the biggest mistake NBC ever made was canceling Freaks and Geeks after only 18 episodes. (You know what happened to the guy who canceled Freaks and Geeks? HE DIED!) I’ve yet to find one person who has seen this series who hasn’t absolutely loved it. I think the reason for that is because there is a character that every person can relate to. I’ve had a few people who have told me that Freaks and Geeks was pretty much their exact high school experience. Judd Apatow did a brilliant job with the script (as always) and the cast was full of now-household names such as James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogan. I think this show was before it’s time. Since it’s cancellation, F&G has appeared in Time’s (2007) Top 100 Greatest Shows of All Time and ranked #13 in Entertainment Weekly’s (2008) Best TV Series in the past 25 years. Not too shabby for a show that only made it through one season.

Favorite characters: Bill Haverchuck, Lindsay Weir, Sam Weir, Daniel Desario, Harold Weir

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 8/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 0/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

14. Seinfeld (1989 – 1998)

— Yes, the “show about nothing” that worked its way into pop culture history. Where would we be without Seinfeld? Well, we wouldn’t know what constitutes a “soup Nazi,” no one would ever look at a “puffy shirt” and say, “That’s awesome!” and The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not) would just be the theme song for The Greatest American Hero. I still watch Seinfeld re-runs on occasion and have been known to tell people various versions of, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” Why do I love Seinfeld? I can’t exactly put a finger on it. It’s definitely funny but honestly, the characters were awful people. I guess it just proves my theory that if you’re funny, everyone will overlook the fact that you’re also a douchebag.

Favorite characters: Jerry Seinfeld, Cosmo Kramer

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 7/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 3/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

13. Roseanne (1988 – 1997)

— Groan if you want, but I love Roseanne.. Not so much the person, but the series. Granted, after season 6 things went downhill.. and in season 8 when they win the lottery, the series turned into some of the worst garbage I’ve ever seen on TV. However, seasons 1 – 6 are dear to my heart. I still sit down every night and watch Roseanne reruns on TV Land. I love the show because it finally was the average family. They weren’t perfect and didn’t have much, but they loved each other. I often find myself relating the characters in Roseanne to people in my life. Darlene has always reminded me of myself.. and I’ve always wanted to find my own David. (I still love Johnny Galecki!) Dan has always reminded me of a over-the-top version of my Dad. Nowadays, Roseanne and Dan’s relationship is what I imagine Jessica and Sean’s to be in the future. The first 6 seasons of Roseanne to me are what life is all about.. We have hard times and life can really suck, but your family is there to love you and laugh with you through it all.

Favorite characters: Dan Conner, Roseanne Conner, David Healy

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 7/10
Re-watchability: 10/10
Nostalgia: 7/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

12. Scrubs (2001 – Present)

— I admit, I use shows as an escape from reality. Scrubs came along at just the right time. I watched four seasons in the span of about 3 days. I can’t say that I related to any character in particular, but I did fall in love with J.D. Going through that rough patch of my life, Scrubs made me laugh and it continues to do so. Adding to that, it’s full of great one-liners. My only concern is that the writers realize when it’s time to stop as to not ruin the greatness that is Scrubs.

Favorite characters: J.D., Dr. Perry Cox, Christopher Turk, Janitor

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 7/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 1/10
Overall entertainment: 7/10

11. Da Ali G Show (2000 – 2004)

— It took some arm twisting on behalf of Brandon to get me to watch Da Ali G Show. I’d seen little clips here and there, but I didn’t get it. After I watched a couple episodes, I was hooked. Chances are you’ve seen Borat and/or Bruno.. Da Ali G Show is where those characters originated. The reason the show trumps the movies, is that none of the show is scripted. Sometimes it’s painfully awkward to watch, but you can’t look away. Sure, some of the skits are hit and miss, but wait ‘til you see Borat singing, “Throw the Jew Down the Well” at a bar in Arizona. It’s unbelievable.

Favorite character: Borat Sagdiyev

Quality of writing: N/A
Quality of acting: 10/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 5/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

We’re down to serious business now. This is the top 10, people! I’ve decided to mix things up a bit. I’m adding a “quoteables” section.. Which means these are actually phrases I’ve added to my vocabulary, not just famous quotes from the shows. I’ve also decided to add a clip for each show so those of you who haven’t seen them can get a little taste of their awesomeness.
Now, let the list commence!

10. Chappelle’s Show (2003 – 2006)

— Who didn’t watch Chappelle’s Show? This show seemed to come out of nowhere. I had seen Dave’s “Killin’ Them Softly” stand-up (which is one of the most hilarious performances ever) a few times courtesy of Brandon and Terry, but there was no way I would’ve ever guessed Chappelle’s Show would’ve blown up like it did. Dave’s comedy is brilliant because he’s not afraid to say what everyone has thought at some point in their life.. and then go a little further.  Yes, the majority of the comedy is race-related but Dave is an equal opportunity offender. To me, the routine never got stale due to the creative characters and supporting cast. Dave Chappelle gave us blind white supremacist, Clayton Bigsby and The Niggar Family. He made Tiger Woods officially black (“Goodbye fried rice, hello fried chicken!”). He showed us that Wayne Brady doesn’t make Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X and he told us the True Hollywood Stories of Prince and Rick James. In my opinion, Chappelle’s Show is the best sketch comedy of all time.

Favorite (re-occurring) characters:  Dancing Robot Man, Tyrone Biggums, Ashy Larry

Quoteables:
“No, man. He made Thriller. Thriller.”
“Man, f**k you son!”
“Cold-blooded!”
“Yes, they deserve to die.. and I hope they burn in hell!”
“Who the f**k is Renee Zell-wiger?”
“Some people think cucumbers taste better pickled.” “Huh?” “What?”
“This is some good a** cheese! Why didn’t you tell me how good the cheese was?”

Quality of writing: 9/10
Quality of acting: 7/10
Re-watchability: 9/10
Nostalgia: 5/10
Overall entertainment: 9/10

Clip: Prince

9. The Wire (2002 – 2008)

The Wire is a fantastic show.. if you have the patience for it. The story almost moves in real time with themes that span entire seasons, and of course, the main plot of the police vs. drug dealers spanning the entire series. What’s remarkable is its ability to show all sides of that war. I’ve never seen a show with a bigger cast with HBO showing 84 characters under their cast listing for 5 seasons. Combine the enormous cast with the political talk and the street lingo and you’ve really got to commit to The Wire to appreciate the intricacies and brilliance of the writing and acting. I hesitate to recommend The Wire to everyone, but if you’re willing to invest your time into a dramatic series, this is an excellent choice.

Favorite characters: Bubbles, Omar Little, William “Bunk” Moreland, Jimmy McNulty, Stringer Bell, D’Angelo Barksdale, Dennis “Cutty” Wise, Ronald “Prez” Pryzbylewski, Nick Sobotka, Cedric Daniels, Brother Mouzone

Quoteables: “S*iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.”

Quality of writing: 9/10
Quality of acting: 9/10
Re-watchability: 3/10
Nostalgia: 2/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

Clip: SMALL SPOLIER ALERT!
Omar and Brother Mouzone

Sorry. I know the point of the clip is to post it for people who haven’t seen the show, but it’s hard to find a good clip without a spoiler. The spoiler in this clip is minor and there’s a good chance you’ll forget it before you get to this point in the series, but I thought I should still give a heads up.

8. The Mighty Boosh (2004 – Present)

— This entry would’ve seemed much more original before the Boosh started airing on Adult Swim. Truth is, I’ve been watching the Boosh for a couple years now. I was shown The Legend of Old Gregg episode awhile back which sparked my interest in the show. I’m not usually one for British comedy, but Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt have found a balance that makes the humor of the show relatable to all audiences. So what is the Boosh about? Well.. it follows Vince Noir and Howard Moon as they.. umm.. journey through time and space. The surreal format of the show would lead me to believe that it would be an acquired taste, but everyone I’ve shown it to has absolutely loved it. Now that it’s being syndicated in the US, the Boosh seems to be forming a cult following here. Due to the way the BBC filming schedule works, no new episodes have been filmed since 2007, but The Mighty Boosh is still signed for another season.. or a movie. Here’s hoping for both!

Favorite characters: Vince Noir, the Moon, Old Gregg, Howard Moon, Naboo, Bolo

Quoteables:
“Put away those fiery biscuits!”
“Jupiter, I did a song. You ain’t got one. Ooohh!”
“Cheers, Naboo! You’re a diamond!”
“Make an assessment.” “I think you’re a nice, modern gentleman.”
“You’ve seen my downstairs mixup.”
“I’ve got all things that are good.”
“Yes sir. Thank you, sir.”
“That wasn’t really a time, was it? It was more of an.. exposure.”
“Maybe I will deal with it. Maybe I’ll deal with it the same way I dealt with Curley Jefferson!”
“Games? Love games?”
“It’s impossible to be unhappy in a poncho.”
“Captain Cabinets, trapped in cabinets, can he get out? Will he get out? ‘Course he will!”
“I’m a cockney b**ch. I’m a ragamuffin from the streets.” “I’m a chimney sweep.”

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 8/10
Re-watchability: 10/10
Nostalgia: 1/10
Overall entertainment: 9/10

Clip: I’m Old Gregg

7. Boy Meets World (1993 – 2000)

— We all have that show as we’re growing up that’s “our” show. Boy Meets World (or BMW, as I call it) was that show for me. The main characters, Cory and Shawn were right around the same age as my best friend, Beth and I which means that not only did we identify with them (Beth was Cory and I was Shawn), we also thought they were cute.. well at least Shawn.. and Eric.. and eventually Jack. BMW was on back when TGIF aired Friday nights on ABC. Everyone watched TGIF and yet, most people seem to remember BMW being on, but they don’t remember the show itself. That’s a shame. While the storyline is a simple sitcom plot (we watch Cory Matthews grow up, learning life lessons from his family, friends and, of course, Mr. Feeny), the comedy still holds up. The memories I have of my childhood from BMW (throwing the remote when watching the Christmas episode at Beth’s [“Dumped. Dumped. Cheese!”] and coming home during the senior banquet to watch the series finale, just to name a couple) are priceless. I can (and do) still quote almost every line from every episode in the show’s 7 year run. Beth and I even memorized Cory and Shawn’s elaborate handshake and were so proud of ourselves that we performed it in the gym regularly to show off how “cool” we were. (It took forever to get that “doooo” just right.) Boy Meets World was an enormous part of my childhood, even until my junior year of high school when it ended, and it will always be one of my absolute favorites.

Favorite characters: Eric Matthews, Shawn Hunter, Cory Matthews, Mr. Feeny, Jack Hunter

Quoteables:
“What if he gets a 20?”
“Sometimes one button just isn’t enough. You know what I’m sayin’?”
“I wish to make out with thee!”
“So I said to myself, ‘Kyle..’” “Kyle?” “That’s what I call myself.”
“Listen to me, you skinny little breast-feeder, I’ve had it with you and you and.. ICE CREAM MAN!”
“..the enemy of my thighs!”
“That farm house, there.”
“It’s like we have one brain!”
“UNDA-PANTS!”
“Hey! You with the mou-stache! What’s your name?”
“Don’t pop a lobe.”
“I’m chucking to death.”
“Mina-muh-muh-muh. Bleda-bleh-bleh-bleh. Bledheeah!”

Quality of writing: 7/10
Quality of acting: 6/10
Re-watchability: 10/10
Nostalgia: 10/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

Clip: Hey fatty, give me your pizza!

Bonus clip: The elaborate handshake I referred to earlier..
Dooooo!

6. The Office (U.S.) (2005 – Present)

— Out of all the comedies I’ve watched on TV, The Office has given me the biggest laughs. I know some people don’t get it, but what I love about the humor of The Office is that it isn’t forced. It’s not cheap “I got hit in my nuts with a rake” comedy. The jokes are well thought out and clever. Another thing that makes The Office stand out is the amount of character development they’ve accomplished. The writers actually manage to make Michael an offensive but lovable character, as well as making Dwight the guy that you’d punch in real life but is easily one of the best characters in the show. And what girl doesn’t love Jim Halpert? I will admit that The Office used to be much higher on my list, but in the last few years has started to fade. It’s due, in part, to me discovering new, fantastic shows, but also because the writers have begun to have the characters do things that doesn’t make sense with their established personalities. Last season ended with an upswing that I hope they will carry on into next season. Regardless, the first three seasons of The Office have already cemented it as one of my favorite shows of all time.

Favorite characters: Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Jim Halpert, Andy Bernard, Pam Beesly

Quoteables:
“That’s what she said.”
“Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.”
“Entourage!”

Quality of writing: 8/10
Quality of acting: 9/10
Re-watchability: 10/10
Nostalgia: 5/10
Overall entertainment: 8/10

Clip: That’s What She Said

Before we hit the top 5, here are a few shows that just missed the cut:

Alf: I always liked Alf as a kid. I hadn’t really seen it since it originally aired until WalMart put season one on sale and I bought it for Jessica. Jess, her brother, Joey and I sat on the couch one Saturday and watched the whole thing. It wasn’t half bad. Dated and cheesy, yes, but we still laughed a lot.. Mostly at Alf’s tiny little legs running around. I found out that WGN occasionally airs Alf and always stop on it if I run across it, but it just didn’t hold up well enough to make the cut.

Beakman’s World: Beakman > Bill Nye the Science Guy. Yeah. I said it. Beakman was funny and clever. Bill Nye just seemed like a geek. End of story.

The Big Bang Theory: The Big Bang Theory is the first laugh-track sitcom I’ve like in a long time. Its characters really have a lot of heart and, seeing as I’ve been around “nerds” my whole life, find myself relating to it. Plus it has the Johnny Galecki factor. (I really do love him.) I’m glad to see the show is doing so well. Live long and prosper, Big Bang Theory.

In Living Color: In Living Color was SO close to making my list. I loved it! When I watched it as a kid, I remember thinking it was so much edgier than SNL. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. I also went through a small phase of wanting to be a fly girl, but let’s keep that our little secret. Nowadays, I haven’t seen a full episode in about 10 years but I’ve looked up clips and will occasionally tell people, “I wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it goes..” and freak people out by doing my Fire Marshall Bill impression.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Greg and I have been making our way through It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I enjoy it, but it’s a show that does awful things.. Like things you shouldn’t laugh it, but do anyway. All the characters are selfish jerks, but they’re funny selfish jerks and that’s what keeps you coming back.

MacGyver: Come on, you know you all loved MacGyver! It’s another one I watched all the time when I was a kid. My brother and I would sneak out into the living room in the middle of the night to watch it, but Mom always caught us. Oh well, it was worth it to watch a guy make a bomb out of a paperclip and a toothbrush. I haven’t really seen MacGyver in recent years, so I have no idea if it was actually good or not. Who knows, maybe I’ll watch it again and it’ll move back into the top 30.

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose: Admittedly, I remember nothing about the show other than I absolutely loved it. Parker Lewis was played by Corin Nemec, who most of you nerds will know as Jonas Quinn on Stargate-SG1. I thought he was the bee’s knees. I still have his autograph laying around somewhere. They just released season one on DVD so, with Netflix’s help, Parker Lewis may end up on my favorite’s list once again in the near future.

Weeds: I actually had this one in my list originally but it got bumped out while doing my write-up. Truth is, I don’t know if I like Weeds, or if I’m just addicted to it. (No pun intended.) I mean, I watched a season and a half this weekend so I would be all caught up but I still can’t figure out why I care. At the beginning of the series the plot was reasonable.. You know, Mom loses husband and decides to sell pot to support the family’s wealthy lifestyle. Understandable. But now it seems like Nancy has become greedy and slutty and is destroying her family. I guess I’m watching it hoping she’ll redeem herself.. maybe.. I dunno. Plus, I think the storyline has kind of gotten out of control and ridiculous, but it is entertaining. I’ll keep watching and I’ll let you know at the end if it was worth my time.

Here is a list of shows that I’m currently watching, but am waiting to make an assessment on before adding them to the list:

Breaking Bad: I’ve only seen the first episode but it was a great opener! The critics love the show and I think I’ll agree with them.

Californication: I’ve only watched the pilot. It didn’t blow me away, but I can see the potential in it. Showtime knows what they’re doing and I have a weird affection for David Duchvony.. I think I’ll like it.

Mad Men: I’ve watched all of season one and I really enjoyed it, however, it’s another show I have a slight attitude against because of all the Emmy acclaim it got last year. It’s good but over-hyped based on what I’ve seen. I don’t feel like rating it without seeing season two would be doing it justice. Maybe season two will help me get over my bitterness for it. We’ll see.

And last but not least, here are the shows I have yet to watch, but I have a feeling will definitely end up somewhere in the top 30:

Deadwood: HBO never fails.
Heroes: Mixed reviews, but the concept sounds interesting.
House: I’ve caught a few episodes but haven’t given it a fair shot. A lot of my friends like it, I’ll give it a stab.
Oz: So many Sopranos and The Wire actors and HBO, it should be great.
The Shield: Did pretty well with the critics and it’s made it 7 seasons. Can’t be that bad.
Six Feet Under: Michael C. Hall? I’m there.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming:

5. Flight of the Conchords (2007 – ????)

— I know a lot of you had my kiwi friends pegged for the number one position, which is a good guess. I have apparently made my Conchord love so obvious that it would seem only natural for them to be at the top. The truth is that while Bret and Jemaine will always be number one in my heart and I absolutely love the show, compared to the four above it, FotC takes a strong 5th position.
So now the question is, why do I love Flight of the Conchords so much?
One -They’re endearing. While Bret McClegnie and Jemaine Clemaine are loosely based on the real-life Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, McClegnie and Clemaine are considerably more naïve, but still just as loveable.. maybe more lovable. It’s hard to tell where the act ends and the real Bret and Jemaine begin.
Two – They’re funny. Maybe not everyone understands their deadpan humor, but to me they pull it off better than anyone else in the business.
Three – They’re musicians. Yeah, they sing comedic songs but if you break it down, Bret and Jemaine are incredibly talented musicians.. after all, they are Grammy winners.
Four – The supporting cast: Murray, Mel and Dave. Each is uniquely funny. I have no doubt that Rhys, Kristen and Arj all have very promising careers ahead of them.
Five – They’re not bad looking.. not bad at all.
You can disagree with my affection for the comedic duo, but with 4 Emmy nominations for season one and 6 nominations for season two, I’m not the only one showing the boys some love.

Favorite characters: Jemaine, Bret, Murray, Mel, Dave

Quality of writing: 9/10
Quality of acting: 8/10
Re-watchability: 10/10
Nostalgia: 5/10
Overall entertainment: 10/10

Clip: Bret, You’ve Got it Going On

Eye candy:
For the ladies: Bret and Jemaine (Big shocker there.)

For the mens: Sally

4. Entourage (2004 – Present)

— This is another show I had an attitude against for a long time due to it’s Emmy success. I even had a few different people show me clips and I just didn’t get it. Needless to say, I finally broke down and gave it a shot. From episode one, I loved it. The plot itself is full of twists and turns, uproarious humor and rants that would leave Dr. Cox speechless. A lot of the appeal of the show is that these guys get to live a fantasy life.. blowing huge amounts of money on useless crap without giving it a second thought, hanging out with the biggest stars and having beautiful women at their disposal (..if you’re into that kind of thing). Beyond enjoying being a voyeur of the superstar lifestyle, you really start truly caring about all the characters. I love Vince’s positive attitude and his principles. I love E’s loyalty. I love Drama’s ego and constant jabs. I love Turtle’s supportiveness. I love Ari’s aggressiveness and trust in Vince. Really, when you break the show down to the core, it’s about friendship. At the end of the day, when all the money and fame are gone, these guys love each other and will be there through thick and thin. It’s rare to find a comedy that manages to never be cheesy or over the top with this much heart.

Favorite characters: Vincent, Ari, Drama, Turtle, Lloyd, Eric

Quality of writing: 10/10
Quality of acting: 9/10
Re-watchability: 10/10
Nostalgia: 5/10
Overall entertainment: 10/10

Clip: Ari vs. Adam
*Warning: Clip contains strong language.*

Eye candy:
For the ladies: Vincent Chase

For the mens: Sloan McQuewick

3. Dexter (2006 – Present)

SPOILER ALERT!

— Ah, my favorite serial killer. Dexter follows Dexter Morgan – blood spatter analyst by day, serial killer by night.. a serial killer who only kills people guilty of heinous crimes. When CBS decided to air an edited version of the show, the Parents Television Council issued this statement in protest: “The biggest problem with the series is something that no amount of editing can get around: the series compels viewers to empathize with a serial killer, to root for him to prevail, to hope he doesn’t get discovered.” While I don’t agree with PTC’s stance on rebroadcasting Dexter, their statement is 100% correct.. it’s also what makes the show brilliant. The writers have done an amazing job of humanizing a serial killer. We watch him evolve from a child with a “dark passenger” into a man doing his best to play the role of a brother, friend, husband and now father who still cannot shake the monster inside.
You’ll notice that my top 3 shows mainly focus on “villains.” So yes, I have a tendency to root for the bad guy. The difference with Dexter is you have to question whether this guy really is bad. Okay, he’s a serial killer but he’s ridding the world of people who have slipped through the justice system. He doesn’t kill at random; he always follows “the code.” On top of that, he cares for his sister and Rita and has been a great father figure for Astor and Cody. No matter which side of the moral dilemma you’re on, you’ll find yourself addicted to Dexter. I guarantee it.

Favorite characters: Dexter

Quality of writing: 10/10
Quality of acting: 9/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 5/10
Overall entertainment: 10/10

Clip: Dexter’s Morning Routine

Eye candy:
For the ladies: Dexter Morgan

For the mens: Rita Bennet

2. LOST (2004 – 2010)

SPOILER ALERT!
LOST is by far the most intricate show in the history of television. It’s like putting a puzzle together. The problem with making a show like a puzzle is that a lot of people don’t have the patience for it. The average viewer wants answers and they want them now.. or 2 seasons ago. Part of the appeal of the show to me is the fact that it does require patience. Everything means something. If you don’t agree, I’d argue that you’re not really paying attention.
Like The Wire, LOST‘s cast is enormous, but the writers have done such an outstanding job of fleshing them you become emotionally involved with each of them. Whether you like the character or not, you still want to see what happens to them. They’ve also done a great job evolving the characters. Some of the original losties that I loved in the first couple seasons (Jack, Hurley, Locke) have taken the back seat as we’ve been introduced to characters like Desmond Hume, Richard Alpert and Daniel Faraday. Some have grown on me as we’ve seen their stories unfold – Sawyer, Jin, and Sayid.
LOST has also introduced us to perhaps the best villain of all time, Benjamin Linus. From the beginning, Ben has been a mystery to us. Time after time, he’s proven that he “always has a plan.” He’s killed hundreds of people with no regard for anyone but himself and the island. However, as more pieces are given to us, we find that Ben may have just been a puppet with Jacob pulling the strings. There are dozens of mysteries I’m excited to get answers to, but seeing what will become of our unyieldingly evil friend may be what I’m most looking forward to as LOST begins it’s final season next year.
I know a lot of people have lost their trust in LOST, but I still believe that the final season will be one of the greatest in television history. Hey, if J.J. Abrams can make me actually enjoy a Star Trek movie, the guy can do anything.

Favorite characters: Sayid, Ben, Charlie, Desmond, Hurley, Richard Alpert, Jack, Sawyer, Mr. Eko, Daniel Faraday

Quality of writing: 10/10
Quality of acting: 9/10
Re-watchability: 8/10
Nostalgia: 5/10
Overall entertainment: 10/10

Clip: Pilot episode (Part 1)

Eye candy:
For the ladies: Boone Carlyle

For the mens.. especially Brandon: Kate Austen

1. The Sopranos (1999 – 2007)

The Sopranos is to television what The Godfather is to cinema. It’s is commonly regarded as the best TV show of all time. It is the most financially successful cable series of all time as well as being credited with “bringing a greater level of artistry to the television medium and paving the way for many successful drama series that followed.” The series has also been noted for its high level of quality in all aspects of production and has been particularly recognized for its writing and the performances of its lead actors. In its six seasons, The Sopranos won 21 Emmys and 5 Golden Globes. Overrated much? Not at all.
Granted, I like mob stories. I always have. And the story of Soprano family may be the best ever told. The plot is complex with tons of characters and twists, so I’ll try to nutshell it for you the best that I can. Our protagonist, Tony Soprano, starts out as a capo in the DiMeo crime family of New Jersey, but becomes acting boss after Uncle Junior is arrested by the FBI. Prone to panic attacks and depression caused by trying to manage his home life and his criminal life, Tony seeks help from psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi.
Tony Soprano is my favorite TV character of all time. David Chase (the creator of The Sopranos) developed him with a perfect balance of family man and monster. Just as you find yourself growing close enough to Tony to start overlooking his brutal actions, he does something that snaps you back to the reality that he truly is a cold-blooded killer. Tony himself finds his life is a constant balance of protecting his wife and children and fulfilling the duties as a boss to his mob family.
I could ramble on about the show all day, but no amount of verbiage can really do justice to The Sopranos. The writing is incredible and the acting is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Period. I can say with confidence, that The Sopranos will forever be my number one show of all time. Like there will never be another musical icon like Elvis, there will never be another show that achieves the excellence that The Sopranos did.

Favorite characters: Tony, Silvio, Chrissy, Paulie, Bobby

Quality of writing: 10/10
Quality of acting: 10/10
Re-watchability: 9/10
Nostalgia: 7/10
Overall entertainment: 10/10

Clip: Trailer for Season 6

Eye candy:
For the ladies: Jackie Aprile Jr.

For the mens: Meadow Soprano

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4 thoughts on “My Top 30 Favorite TV Shows of All Time

  1. Just out of curiosity, have you ever seen Arrested Development? I’ve been following your blog for quite a while, and I love reading what you have to say about all things pop culture.. If you have seen it, what did you think?

    1. Unfortunately I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Arrested Development. Everyone whose tastes I trust tell me it’s great though. I need to watch it!

      Thanks for your kind words! I’m glad you enjoy my writing. That’s huge compliment! 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading and for the kind words! I hadn’t considered making an updated list, but now that I’m looking at it again, I probably should. My list has changed a lot since I wrote this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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