Time recently released their list of the 100 best TV shows of all time. You can check out their list here, and it is quite varied and extensive. The problem is that they don’t rank them. If you are going to make a Top 100 list, what’s the point in just lumping them all together. I can see it for maybe a Top 10, but the quality difference between the hundredth best show and best show of all time would seem to be enough to warrant some rankage.
Anyhow, as response to their listing… er… clumping these shows, I will now rank my favorite 41 TV Shows of all time, with an asterisk next to the ones that Time also liked and a little bit of commentary on my Top 10.
* on Time’s list as well
- Dick Van Dyke Show* – If you don’t have DVD on DVD you need it now. This show was amazing and way ahead of it’s time. The Walnut episode goes in the pantheon of best TV episodes ever. I never thought black and white could be so modern and funny until I witnessed the genius of Mr. Van Dyke’s show firsthand.
- LOST* – Strikes the perfect balance of mystery and sci-fi with relationships and human drama. These are some of the most well drawn characters in the history of TV. All you have to do is say the names Hurley, Charlie, Locke, Kate, Echo, or Sawyer and a fan of the show will immediately have emotional reactions to each. It’s a testament to great writing and one of the most intriguing plots of all time.
- The X-Files* – Could possibly be number 1 if not for the train wreck of seasons 6+. A lesson learned for LOST, when you are done, go home. If The X-Files had wrapped up in Season 5 (like Chris Carter wanted to) we would still be going to X-Files movies ever other year, and this show would have gone down in history as an all time great.
- Survivor* – Only 6 shows in the history of TV have been ranked in the Top Ten viewers for their entire run. This is one of them. Started the reality craze as one of the most exquisitely crafted hours on TV. Mark Burnett should give lessons on establishing story and mood. One of my favorite parts of each week still involves Probst and a giant candle snuffer.
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents* – Ok, so I’m a Hitchcock nut. But this show was off the charts brilliant. If you get a chance pick up the set of shows directed by the master himself you will see some of the best TV ever.
- The Cosby Show* – Best family sitcom of all time. It’s hard to explain to someone who wasn’t around then just how much of an event Thursday’s were when The Huxtables were on. It’s what TV should be.
- Firefly – Yes, this show was that good. Possibly the most mishandled show of all time, with a little more trust in the creator and better marketing this show could be in it’s 7th glorious season by now. Sigh.
- The Amazing Race – The classiest of all Reality TV, this show takes the inherent drama of a race and combines it with amazing locations and interesting people and relationships. People often forget that this is the only Reality show where it’s not every man for himself and this team aspect gives it an extra level of beauty.
- The Simpsons* – Probably should be higher for a show that has managed to stay on the air for 18 stinkin’ seasons. But the last few have seemed a bit run of the mill, still when this show was in its prime (seasons 3-8) it managed to be both poignant and absurdest. Quite a feat and quite a show.
- Quantum Leap – One of the best TV concepts ever, allowing the hero to be anybody in any situation can keep a show fresh forever. The execution wasn’t always spot on, but this show is ton o fun to watch.
- Family Ties
- Freaks and Geeks*
- Arrested Development*
- Star Trek*
- Malcolm in the Middle
- I Love Lucy*
- The Monkees*
- The Twilight Zone*
- The Mole
- The Brady Bunch
- Get Smart
- Everybody Loves Raymond
- Home Improvement
- American Idol*
- Gilligan’s Island
- Star Trek:TNG
- Leave it to Beaver*
- Extreme Home Makeover
- Fresh Prince of Bel Air
- King of the Hill*
- The Practice
All in all 19 of my 41 made his Top 100, meaning 22 (or more than half) of my favorite shows of all time don’t even rank in his Top 100. It appears as if my tastes run a bit more mainstream than his. How can you deny classics like Gilligan, The Bradys and The Fresh Prince? The most glaring omission on his part has to be CSI, which (like Survivor) spawned an entirely new genre (the crime procedural) and still finds both mainstream and critical praise today.
Any shows we both missed?