A reminder these are my opinions and thus not written in stone. Many of the shows are on here for a reason (being important in some manner) and might not be a favorite. This isn’t my “Favorite,” list, this is a top 100 list based on things like importance to TV, fan acceptance, and quality (where my opinion comes in). How I feel that importance ranks is again my opinion. However lets get on with it:
The List 91-100: Here
The List 81-90: Here
80. ALLY McBEAL (1997-2002 FOX)
What kind of sissy man lists ALLY McBEAL in his top 100? Me. The genius of this show was that people thought it was aimed at women. While it was, it was also a man’s show. How else can you explain the huge anti-feminism vibe the show gave off? The most powerful figures on the show were actually male in Fish (who was ethically challenged both legally and socially). It had Peter McNichol bagging extremely hot women.
In addition to the crazy personalities were some extremely crazy court cases. Before David E Kelley would go off and create BOSTON PUBLIC you could see glimpes of both Alan and Denny in the crazy antics of usually Jon Cage. The series was entertaining enough to win an Emmy for Best Comedy Series in 1999. The first few seasons also had a well fed Calista Flockhart running around in some seriously short skirts, so for males that was our excuse of watching (not that you need an excuse).
Example Exhibit A: Ally and her short skirts.
79. MR. SHOW (1995-1998 HBO)
It was a toss up of this show or THE BEN STILLER SHOW making the list. The one thing they both have in common is Bob Odenkirk. MR. SHOW actually survived, so it got on the list. MR. SHOW is easily the best variety show in the last 10 years. Better than anything SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE has pulled in 15 years this short lived program starring the previously mentioned Odenkirk and David Cross was top notch guaranteed laughter. We need more Odenkirk.
78. JACKASS (2000-2002 MTV)
The sadistic part of me thought of putting this show number 1 just to screw with people. This show is horrible. It’s entirely irresponsible and no one should ever watch it. It’s just a bunch of idiots doing horrible stunts that hurt and hitting/kicking each other in the balls. It’s juvenile. It’s just inexcusable and never should have been aired. I fully believe that. I also can’t explain why I’ve sat through so many episodes totally immersed by their stupidity. I can’t explain it but it’s a phenomenon. A short lived one, but a fun one to watch.
77. THIRTYSOMETHING (1987-1991 ABC)
A show about some yuppies in their 30s and their different stories. The characters are all tied together by their supposed involvement with the peace movement of the 60s. I remember seeing this show and going “How in the hell could they be in their 30s and be part of the peace movement of the 60s?” I then did the math. 1969-1987 is 18 years, if they were say between 16 and 21 it fit. However it meant that be the final season the show was likely mistitled. Basically the show was just someones take on what a tv show would be like about those types of people after having seen the BIG CHILL. Still it was an engrossing show that NBC is hoping will work again with their upcoming PARENTHOOD.
76. AN AMERICAN FAMILY (1973 PBS)
Before there was reality TV there was this documentary. Supposedly over 300 hours of footage was taken of what was called the “typical american family,” but it was far from it. In the middle of shooting the parents get in a spat that lead to divorce and their son came out of the closet. An extremely interesting take on the psychology of how people act when there are cameras around them. This show was just amazing to watch. It’s somewhat surreal. It easily could be placed anywhere on this list. It’s enthralling to watch. However it’s 12 episodes cut from 300 hours of footage. If we had all 300 hours to watch and disect these peoples lives, I might have it number one! 😉
75. ANGEL (1999-2004 The WB)
How often does a spinoff even really work? How often does it surpass the show it was spun from? In the case of ANGEL as a spinoff of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER it happened. By the time Season 3 of ANGEL came about it was the better program (and more watched). Created by David Greenwalt and Joss Whedon the show followed Angel, the vampire with a soul and his fight against evil in the city of LA.
The show was much darker than the show it was spun from and had a neo-noir theme. The truth is I’m not a fan of Joss Whedon. My first taste of Whedon was this show. I watched a late season episode called SMILE TIME because it was directed by Ben Edlund and written by Ben (although Joss Whedon did help write the story, but not the script). For those wondering Ben Edlund is the creator of THE TICK, and one of Hollywood’s top television writers alive today. So I sat and watched the episode having never seen anything BUFFY or ANGEL before.
I was mesmerized. Get this, the episode has the Vampire detective Angel turned into a MUPPET! You have to see it to believe it. The thing was it worked. I then went and got previous episodes sent to my office. I found a true gem. If you like Noir, this show is much more than a “vampire show.” It also has the works of Jeff Bell, David Fury, Drew Goddard, Tim Minear and Steven S. DeKnight making it easily have one of the best staff of writers ever put together. I was stunned to find out how good it was.
74. MacGyver (1985-1992 ABC)
Angus MacGyver is a secret agent working for The Phoenix Foundation who likes to solve all problems with non-violent means. He doesn’t even carry a gun. He can however make just about anything with duct tape as an ingredient. A great role model on TV who showed us how to make some really cool stuff out of things that were just lying around. The non-violent answer to the popularity at the time of THE A-TEAM. 7 seasons and all still entertaining today.
73. THE WEST WING (1999-2006 NBC)
A TV show about the west wing of the White House where the Oval Office and all the President’s staff’s offices are. An extremely political show run by Aaron Sorkin it was entertaining even if you had problems with the political views being thrust on you (and heavily). From 2000-2003 it won Best Drama Emmy Awards. Martin Sheen played a better President than George W. Bush. It revitalized Rob Lowe’s career and won numerous awards. I wrestled with where to place this show. It could have been a top 10 show, but I realize the politics involved turn off nearly 40% of the country so it can’t be that high. It is a good show despite the politics and not because of them.
72. THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (1961-1966 CBS)
One of the greatest comedies ever created. The first TV show to ever be based on “the industry.” The show revolved around Dick Van Dyke the lead writer for a TV show called “The Alan Brady Show.” Brady was played by series creator Carl Reiner and based on Reiner’s old boss Syd Ceasar. I could write an entire article about this show and the things it did that are still done today. The show was split between a behind the scenes show and a family show. So half the time Dick is at home with his wife and son, the other half dealing with work.
I must add it was also one of the most unrealistic shows ever created. Mary Tyler Moore played his wife (and was she hot, hot, hot back then) and we’re supposed to believe they slept in seperate beds! Yeah, right!
71. KING OF THE HILL (1997-2009 FOX)
This show is about a small medium income family in a small town in Texas. I know people who think it’s one of the most realistic television shows ever created. Mike Judge the creator of the show lives in Austin, Texas and every year he makes his writers fly out and witness life in the smaller towns outlying the area. They witness things and then put them into the show. It’s small town Texas life under a microscope. The humor doesn’t come from the outlandish but mostly from the mundane aspects of life (much like his movie OFFICE SPACE).