Top 10 TV shows of all time

by DaniGirl on November 19, 2008 · 9 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

I’m a big fan of the eclectic CBC Radio program Q, arts and culture from a Canadian perspective. I was listening yesterday in the van while running errands, and they had a segment on one regular contributor’s top ten TV shows of all time list. I thought he did a pretty good job. Here’s his list and justification for each:

1/ The Simpsons – this shouldn’t be an argument; it will become longest running show in history next season, opened doors for prime time animation, cultural influence is immense. Yes the movie was a letdown, but the show is unmatched.

2/ The Sopranos – watching it again reminds you just how groundbreaking this show was; best writing on tv except for the show above it on this list.

3/ Hill Street Blues – changed tv police dramas forever, still stands up today.

4/ M*A*S*H – most watched series finale in history, show broke tv rules and rewrote them – political and funny, this one also comes in a glorious box set edition.

5/ The Wire – another of the recent cable shows that elevated the entire format, simply amazing.

6/ Saturday Night Live – hugely influential, made sketch comedy subversive and voice for counter culture, launched numerous careers, from Chevy Chase and Bill Murray to Will Ferrell and Tina Fey.

7/ The Twilight Zone – remarkable series that still holds up, challenged conceptions of what tv could be, and set groundwork for later shows from The X-Files to Heroes.

8/ The Muppets/Sesame Street – Jim Henson gets a double shot for his two greatest creations, shows that forever changed the way people see children’s entertainment, he was one of tv’s greatest geniuses.

9/ Law and Order – will become second longest running series next year, updated the police procedural for modern era, there would be no CSI without this show.

10/ The Munsters – because I can – this show kept me company during many sick days when I was a kid – I still love it – way better than The Addams Family.

Okay, so I’m not a fan of the Munsters, and I’ve never seen The Wire, but I’m on board with just about all of these choices in the order he included them. Interesting that there are no medical dramas in here – no ER, no Grey’s. I might find a place for Seinfeld or Friends in my own top ten list, or maybe All in the Family. And the original Star Trek. I’d put an asterisk beside SNL to include SCTV. And I’d like to find a place for Survivor, because it was the granddaddy of all reality television — like it or hate it, there’s no doubt it changed the TV landscape.

Whaddya think?


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mamatulip November 19, 2008 at 9:22 am

I definitely agree w/ your comment about Survivor. I’m totally biased – it’s one of my favourite shows – but above and beyond that, I think it deserves a slot.

Also with you on the inclusion of SCTV. And perhaps Bizarre!

2 Veronica Mitchell November 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

I’d take out Munsters and put in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No matter how nerdy it makes me, I love that show. And yeah, there has to be room for Seinfeld and Star Trek.

3 Don Mills Diva November 19, 2008 at 11:50 am

I’m not a huge TV watcher at all – though I agree with SNL, the Simpsons, Sesame Street and MASH. I’d have to add WKRP in Cincinnati and the Daily Show.

And even though Survivor jumped the Shark long ago I agree it should be in there.

4 cinnamon gurl November 19, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Buffy should be on that list. Oh hey! I’m not the only commenter who thinks so.

5 colleen November 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

I loved the Cosby Show.

6 Reluctant Housewife November 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm

I heard that too! I love his lists. I more of less see why he choose what he did, but I’m not into cop shows and I think there were too many on the list.

7 Jerri Ann November 19, 2008 at 7:25 pm

The only one of these I have ever watched is Law and Order and I switched to CSI, Criminal Minds, The Unit and others about 2 years ago. Prior to that, I lived for holidays and Law and Order Marathons.

My husband and I used to see who could remember the episode the fastest by watching the introductory murder…I usually won, I have a memory of an elephant….much to his dismay most of the time, ehhehehe

8 Holly November 20, 2008 at 1:54 pm

First off, you should definitely watch “The Wire”. It’s gritty and difficult and the characters are really hard to like sometimes but it is one of the most amazing things to have ever been on television. It is definitely more violent than I normally like my TV but it isn’t gratuitous violence; it is an integral part of the story. Your heart breaks with some of the stories on that show. There are only five seasons total and they aren’t full 22 episode seasons. Most are 12 episodes or so.

I couldn’t agree more on Survivor. I heart Jeff Probst!

9 hw November 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Definitely Sex and the City/Six Feet Under. The advent of risque, well written cable series have changed the television landscape forever. These shows, and the ones that have followed after (Sopranos, Dexter, Damages, True Blood, etc), are fantastic dramas that brought hallmarks of film storytelling back to the small screen. Shows like 24, Lost, Heroes and so on wouldn’t have been able to challenge and play with the format of hour-long shows if it were for SATC and Six Feet Under. I’d even stick my neck out to say that TV is now where it’s at more than film. And, shows like those mentioned above have brought fantastic actors back to serials – provided more career shaping opportunities than film.

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