So without wasting too much space lets get to it:
60. GENERAL HOSPITAL (1963-???? ABC)
The longest running show on daytime TV. The show that was watched by 35 million Americans one day in the early 80s. The show that had Elizabeth Taylor guest star. The show that lead to Dynasty. Yeah, that show. The infamous 35 million viewer day was the “Luke and Laura” wedding. What made that wedding so absurd except in soap opera land is that Laura was once raped by Luke. Crazy you say? What about a villain whose plan is to put the whole world back into an ice age while holding the earth for ransom? Straight out of a Bond film you say? Nope. Soap opera. GH as it’s called. For something like a decade it was the most watched daytime soap year after year. While it never would regain that crown it would remain the 2nd to 3rd most watched soap for the vast majority of the time. Meanwhile no soap has ever matched the hold it had in the early 80s when it seemed to be watched by just about everyone.
59. THE KIDS IN THE HALL (1988-1994 CBC)
Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McColloch, Scott Thompson, and Mark McKinney made up the comedy troupe: The Kids In The Hall. Formed in the mid-80s the group would end up with their own television program in Canada in 1988. What was interesting was that the show almost never came to be because Mark and Bruce had been stolen by Lorne Michaels to write on SNL. However Lorne got to see the troupe perform and decided their own show would be a money maker. So in 1988 it premiered on the CBC and later was sold to HBO and then again later CBS.
It was more in line with MONTY PYTHON than SNL as it was an all male troupe and thus members would have to dress in drag whenever the skits called for a female character. Also of note is that Norm Hiscock (I wonder how his dad snuck that by his wife, lets name him Norman!) was a member of the group as a writer. Of course Norm would go on to help shape another Top 100 show: KING OF THE HILL.
The show was murdered for American audiences generally having some skits cut entirely. However what did air would make it’s way into pop culture fame. How many people have seen someone using their thumb and forefinger to crush someone’s head? However for me my favorite characters were Foley’s Axe Murderer, who while covered in blood would politely ask people for favors with a large bloody axe near him, and McCulloch’s Gavin an incredibly annoying kid who would just keep rambling “I could eat a Bible,” “Can I do that?” “So how much does a job like this pay?”
The good news: A new show is coming from the troupe this year.
58. SIX FEET UNDER (2001-2005 HBO)
Alan Ball, the writer of AMERICAN BEAUTY, brought to HBO a powerful show. A show that likely should have been rated higher by me if it was just about quality. The show was amazing, it dealt with mortality and what lies beneath inside everyone on the show. The story was about a son who had to come back to his hometown and help run a funeral home after his father’s unexpected death. It would end with ironically the death of the son and how everyone deals with that unexpected death. Amazing show. I could keep writing about it all day, but I’ll spare you all.
57. WILL & GRACE (1998-2006 NBC)
The most successful TV Series of all time with the primary characters being gay and openly gay. While considered progressive, it actually really wasn’t all that progressive. It took a basic sit-com format and just threw in “the main guy in this relationship is gay!” So in many cases it wasn’t the huge risk that many claimed NBC was making. It was still in its most true form a modern day remake of THE ODD COUPLE. However that show didn’t have Jack and Karen which is why this is rated higher, plus it definitely was somewhat of a risk.
56. THE PRACTICE (1997-2004 ABC)
While David E Kelley provided humor in ALLY McBEAL, he provided rather serious stories on the alphabet network in the form of the TV Series THE PRACTICE. Two time winner of Best Drama Series Emmy awards. The show revolved around the law firm of Robert Donnell & Associates. Later many of the Associates would become partners and the name of the firm would change. However it was a show that dealt with the cases in front of every one of the members of the firm.
I had a few problems with the show like how an ADA (Assistant District Attorney) would remain so close to the firm after always losing to them, but it was definitely entertaining and pushed legal dramas for awhile. ABC would step in and force the firing of the lead and many other main characters. So the final season the firm lost 3 lawyers (including the founder) and replaced the 3 with Alan Shore (James Spader) an extremely unethical lawyer who was fired from his previous firm for embezzlement. Shore would end up bringing in top high dollar clients but his ways would upset the firm. When they fired him and gave him a $15K settlement (after he brought in something like $10M) he hired Denny Crane (William Shatner) to sue the firm. So the final episodes of the show were a kickstart for the spinoff BOSTON LEGAL which would star Shatner and Spader. Of course Denny Crane is one of the greatest characters ever created for TV, so those episodes were the highlight of the 8th and worst season.
55. SEX & THE CITY (1998-2004 HBO)
I admit: I don’t get it. I thought the lead character was a horrible person and thus impossible for me to relate to. I thought all the main women were generally unlikable bitches. However I know women who adore the show and the women, and as long as they don’t act like them I’m fine with it. For anyone who thought the show wasn’t a massive success the recent movie proved them all wrong. I do applaud HBO for not forcing the series to keep going though. So this show gets props for going out before it wasn’t wanted anymore. PS: Don’t attack me for not liking the women of the show. I’m not a misogynistic pig or anything else you can think of, I just didn’t like those women. I understand they had sides that remind you of you or your girlfriend. I’m not saying they are 100% bad, but the parts that I didn’t like were just too strong for my tastes.
54. MIAMI VICE (1984-1989 NBC)
Before Michael Mann would become one of Hollywood’s biggest known directors of feature films he created a little show called MIAMI VICE which would shake up the buddy cop TV landscape. A show about 2 undercover police officers the show is one of the most influential of all time. Extremely stylish and extremely tied to the New Wave movement of the 80s. Famous for PEOPLE magazine once stating that it was the first “new looking” tv program since the invention of color tv!
53. XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (syndicated 1995-2001)
A spin-off of a show that barely missed the list: HERCULES THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS is a show created by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert. At the time the boys from Michigan were most famous for their EVIL DEAD movies, but they made a decision to try out syndicated first run TV thinking it would be more profitable for them than the normal broadcast route. They were right. HERCULES was a financial success and it provided the backbone to the entire New Zealand film industry (without HERCULES and XENA there wouldn’t have been a LORD OF THE RINGS). Xena was a character on HERCULES that was devoted a 3 episode story arc. In the process Rob Taper became enamored with the actress Lucy Lawless and would demand that she get a spin off (he was so enamored they’d end up getting hitched and last I checked were still happily married). The show would be the first modern movement of a powerful female lead role and the success of the show would spark the producers of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER to start that TV Series.
The series would also co-star Ted Raimi, who was able to create a character both loved and hated by the masses: Joxer. In addition Bruce Campbell, the chin himself, would co-star in many episodes of the series reprising a role he created for HERCULES that was originally going to get the spinoff treatment. However many factors lead to the idea of XENA being the spin-off instead. One of the rare cases where a spin-off was better than the original.
52. DAWSON’S CREEK (1998-2003 The WB)
Kevin Williamson was on a roll. He had a super mega hit in SCREAM and then he landed DAWSON’S CREEK on The WB. At the time The WB was struggling, but it would have life breathed into it by BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and DAWSON’S CREEK. The show revolved around the story of Dawson who like lived by a creek. A TV Show where kids spoke in ways that no kids I remember ever spoke. In fact I’d bet that the education system in that town had to be vastly superior to the rest of the States. Pure kid’s soap. Based on believable characters. The series started with “the new girl,” who was “the bad girl,” forced to live with her grandmother and how Dawson & his friends dealt with this new 4th to their group. Right now The CW is praying that Williamson still has the magic for VAMPIRE DIARIES. Good luck with that.
51. THE PRISONER (1967-1968 ITV)
The people behind DANGER MAN would come up with an idea of a spy trapped in a prison that is actually a small society. A society with people who have had their memory erased. One of the most surreal TV shows ever created this SCI-FI masterpiece helped make sure that there was a demand for such programs as LOST and X-FILES. The series is only 17 episodes long and I suggest people rent it if they haven’t seen it. It’s a gripping tale and has crazy scary white balloons that can’t really be described. In the 60s the British were pushing TV far better than us Americans and THE PRISONER is one of their true gems. Look past the SCI-FI and surreal aspects and what you have is one of the best psychological thrillers of all time.