The final installment of my TV Mega Post in five parts is a list of my favorite shows of all-time.
While editing I set up a couple of rules. The most important of these being that no matter how good a show was for how ever many seasons it was good, if it fell off the cliff of excellence into the abyss of what-the-hell-happened-to-my-show, it is not on the list. This eliminated many many good shows.
The second rule is that no one gets to point a gun at me.
You got balls. I’ll give you that much.
Also the list does not contain shows that are still running because… well… who knows if they can keep from going over that cliff. “I’m looking your way Doctor Who.” (Can’t wait until Saturday September 1st though. Woo hoo)
Now to the list.
And NO GUNS!
Top 10 Best TV Shows Ever
#10 Sports Night created by Aaron Sorkin
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I want to work at a job where everyone speaks Sorkin. I love this writer’s dialogue. It is a joy to watch his impossibly smart and extraordinarily witty characters duel with words.
Sports Night was a half hour comedy that took place at a sports network (like ESPN) If you like his new show The Newsroom (and I love that shit) you should check out Sports Night. Before The West Wing he brought us this superb piece of television goodness with the amazing Felicity Huffman and Peter Krause.
This show was ahead of its time. It only lasted 45 episodes over 2 seasons and they still hold up well.
Favorite Episode: Mary Pat Shelby
“Right now, right at this very moment, how much do you love me?”
#9 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles created by Josh Friedman
This short-lived series taken from from the Terminator story showing the lives of Sarah Connor and her son John; the future savior of the human race in our war against the machines, is an action-packed story with great acting, great effects and was greatly under-appreciated.
“You might want to rethink that no gun policy.”
With only 31 episodes, it was never given the chance to develop and was cancelled after 2 seasons but it was consistently good while it was on the air.
Favorite Terminator: Cameron
“I’m sorry. It’s in my programming.”
You can point all the guns you want at me, Summer. You know I still love ya.
#8 Firefly created by Joss Whedon
Firefly only lasted for 14 episodes but they were 14 spectacular episodes. A mix of Trek & Galactica with a little Bebop thrown into a Sergio Leone western.
“I hear you got a thing for guns.”
Enough. No more guns.
An original series that was too good for FOX with an amazingly beautiful cast of great characters. Joss Whedon and his crew of talented writers created a group of characters and a universe that was so attractive I want to go to there.
I have a thing for Kaylee.
It was not given enough time to develop. But with the release of the movie Serenity, Joss Whedon was able to wrap up the story very nicely. And when I include this series on my list of the best shows of all-time, the movie Serenity must also be included as the last episode of the series.
Firefly and the series finale Serenity are an excellent and complete story.
Favorite Episode: Out of Gas
“You all gonna be here when I wake up?”
#7 Cowboy Bebop written by Keiko Nobumoto
The only animated show on the list, Cowboy Bebop is one of the coolest shows ever. In just 26 episodes and a movie it tells the story of a group of intergalactic bounty hunters running away from their respective pasts.
“I’m not real good at following orders.”
Each of the 26 episodes (called Sessions) is named after a famous Jazz, Rock or Blues song in this extremely well-written and gritty space western but there is also an overarching story that is satisfying. The main characters Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and Ein the dog are all enigmas with mysterious and questionable pasts that are revealed over the life of the series.
A sensational show that I try to watch as least once a year. And the soundtrack is outstanding. Especially the opening & closing theme songs which are so fucking cool.
Favorite Song: Tank! Cowboy Bebop Theme
“I think it’s time we blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Okay? 3… 2… 1. Let’s jam.”
#6 Monty Python‘s Flying Circus created by Monty Python
The most Iconic sketch comedy show of all sketch comedy shows that influenced all sketch comedy that came after it.
Six of the funniest men to ever walk the planet just being silly. These are funny people. John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam. If you didn’t know all of the words to at least one Monty Python sketch, when I was growing up, you just weren’t cool enough. The Dead Parrot Sketch, The Spanish Inquisition, The Argument, Spam. Or the The Lumber Jack Song.
And then they moved on to movies and the movies were hysterical as well. The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian etc. But the show will always be the most consistently funny sketch show in television history. I loved Carol Burnett and I loved Kids in the Hall and SNL from the beginning but those shows lost their magic toward the end. Monty Python knew to quit while they were ahead.
Favorite Python: Graham Chapman
#5 Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
The first one will always be my favorite. It only lasted 3 seasons, just 79 episodes, but that was enough to create a rich and interesting universe to tell countless stories. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Bones McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, Chekhov & the beautiful Uhura. These were great characters acting cool and heroic in unusual circumstances. Love this show.
“What if I point this Phaser at you?”
Still love this show. I’m so happy that J.J. Abrams decided to bring these characters back.
And I’ve enjoyed every flavor of the show:
The Next Generation – even though it took several years before I allowed myself to watch it.
Deep Space Nine – which I thought was a great departure from the exploration theme and was more like Casablanca in space.
Voyager – which for me was the best of the spin-offs because of the way they were completely cut-off from the Federation yet kept their chain of command & out-smarted or won-over every enemy they came across.
and Enterprise – the prequel that didn’t know what it wanted to be but was still pretty enjoyable.
However the Original Series was the best.
“And what if we all pointed phasers at you?”
No more guns!
Favorite Episode: The City on the Edge of Forever written by Harlan Ellison
“I could have saved her… do you know what you just did?”
“He knows, Doctor. He knows.”
#4 Buffy the Vampire Slayer created by Joss Whedon
This fun, sexy, hip, funny and fucking-fantastic series from Joss Whedon evolved beautifully over 7 seasons and 144 episodes. It even survived a network change, begat a wonderful spin-off called Angel and brought geekdom such iconic geeks as Seth Green, Felicia Day, Alison Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter, Amber Benson, et al.
Infinitely quotable. Always cool. Always funny. And all to the beat of a kick-ass 90’s Alt. soundtrack that I still have in heavy rotation.
Favorite Episodes: Hush & Once More with Feeling
Two completely different and extraordinarily creative episodes about communication problems suffered by the whole town, written by one of the best dialogue writers on television; Joss Whedon. (His name is a killing word. JOSS!!) Grrr Argh.
#3 The Sopranos created by David Chase
“Woke up this morning. Got yourself a gun.”
Ha. I see what you did there.
One of the best shows in the history of television and one of the most important. This was film quality television. Great cast. Great writing. Fantastic storytelling.
Also one of the best mob tales ever in 6 seasons & 86 episodes. It was the same organized crime story that we all know by now from the films of Scorsese & Coppola but this time concentrating more on the mobster’s family life, humanizing him and showing his frailties thus making his acts of violence all the more shocking.
And say what you will, I really liked the ending.
“Got yourself a gun. (ah ha) Got yourself a gun.”
Favorite Soprano: Meadow Soprano
#2 Battlestar Galactica created by Glen A. Larson and developed by Ronald D. Moore
Deep Space Drama. Post-Apocalyptic Political Intrigue. Inter-Galactic War over 4 seasons and 75 episodes and 2 movies.
With some of the best acting, writing, directing, space battles, beautiful bodies and evil robots on TV.
“This is the last frakking time. I swear.”
A fantastic remake. Fantastic in every way.
#1 The Wire created by David Simon
Over 5 seasons telling a continuous story from 5 different points of view (one for each season) over 60 episodes, about the drug war, drug dealers and the responses to the drug problems in Baltimore’s inner city from users, dealers, distributors, police officers & politicians.
Even though sometimes because of the authenticity and use of real people as performers, the acting suffers slightly, the performances by the professionals and the writing and directing and the realism much more than make up for it.
The Wire is perfect from beginning to end.
Shows that will probably make the list when they’re finished.
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Favorite Episode: Blackwater
Favorite Seasons in Order: 4, 1, 3, 2 Can’t wait to see how they end it in the 5th & final season
Mad Men (AMC)
Favorite Character: Peggy Olson
Doctor Who 2005 (BBCA)
Favorite Episodes: Midnight, Blink, Eleventh Hour, The Doctor’s Wife & A Good Man Goes to War
And that’s the list. I made it through without getting shot. And after 5 mega posts and 50 shows over 3 weeks, if I never see another TV show…
Oh shit I just heard that Joss Whedon is bringing S.H.I.E.L.D to ABC.
“I think his head’s gonna ‘splode.”
Forget everything I was just saying.
Hooray for TV!