Here we go…
More cheating by me. When I made this list I pretty much started off with about 160 shows. I asked a lot of people I know to come up with a list of the 100 greatest shows of all time. There were 160 that were on multiple lists. So I started rating them, and moving them around. The top show was hard, and what it came down to was this:
What is more important? I was able to list some shows and come up with the best in a genre. Which genre was more important… I don’t really know. So here is the list:
THE TOP CHILDREN’S SHOW: SESAME STREET (1969-1970 NET, 1970-???? PBS)
This show taught me to count and my ABCs. Grover taught me near and far. How important is a show that was fundamental learning for so many people?
THE TOP SCI-FI SHOW: THE X-FILES (1993-2002 FOX)
This show along with THE SIMPSONS dragged FOX up from the abyss and gave the station some respect. So many people helped shape this show… however for me it was Kim Manners who kept this show grounded and about important things. The show started without an idea of where it was going, and that always hurt the show. SUPERNATURAL may pass it in my mind if Season 5 is as good as it should be. A phenomenal show held back by just not knowing where exactly it was going. However the stand alone episodes had some truly brilliant pieces. I was always a huge fan of HUMBUG and CLYDE BRUCKMAN’S FINAL REPOSE. Those type of episodes were what had me won over, and not the mythology episodes.
THE TOP NEWS SHOW: 60 MINUTES (1968-???? CBS)
The only quesiton I have is, how long has Andy Rooney been doing his schtick there? 60 MINUTES is a great news program, or was. I haven’t been as impressed in the last 10 years as I was before. I think they lost their bite. They used to run over a dog to get to a story, now I think they care what their owners think.
THE TOP SKETCH COMEDY: MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS (1969-1974 BBC2)
The greatest comedy team of all time: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin.
THE TOP AMERICAN COMEDY: CHEERS (1982-1993 NBC)
Where everyone knows your name. The greatest ensemble comedy show ever. Period. I’ll take Sam, Coach (later Woody), Diane, Norm, Carla, Cliff, Rebecca, Frasier, etc. over any other cast of characters in comedy history.
TOP BRITISH COMEDY: FAWLTY TOWERS (1975-1979 BBC2)
John Cleese and his wife (at the time) Connie Booth of Monty Python fame (Booth was involved with Flying Circus as well) created this show about a husband and wife who run a hotel. It may be the funniest show ever, and while only 12 episodes were made (two 6 episode seasons) it has had a major impact on British TV and even American TV. I believe us yanks have tried on more than occassion to adapt the show for our audience … and failed.
THE TOP POLICE DRAMA: DRAGNET (1951-1959 NBC)
Joe Friday started it all. Just about every police show owes traits to this famous show. What is interesting is that it still holds up decently after all this time.
THE TOP CRIME DRAMA: THE SOPRANOS (1999-2007 HBO)
The last truly great drama on HBO. Maybe the best mob tales ever told. Is it better than the GODFATHER movies? I’ve heard some argue it is. I’ve of course heard others argue differently.
THE TOP LEGAL DRAMA: PERRY MASON (1957-1966 CBS)
Every Legal Drama owes this show something. Mason captivated audiences and would keep doing his thing well into the 90s thanks to made for TV movies that did quite well in ratings. One thing that still amuses me about this show is how they always set the victim up as some rotten bastard or bitch who no one would really care if they were killed anyway. Of course the show is famous for Mason always getting someone to admit they really did it in court.
THE TOP DRAMA: ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (1955-1964, 1964-1965 CBS, NBC)
What happens when the greatest director alive at the time has his own TV series? This. Simply amazing. Go ahead and rent a DVD of it and tell me that it doesn’t still hold up well today. Simply stunning, sure some of it is dated and amusing, but the story arcs and the characters and the twist are still good even by today’s standards. Heck, last summer I watched 4 seasons of this show and realized about 15% of what I saw was better than 95% of TV today.
THE TOP SHOW I LEFT OFF THE LIST: FRASIER (1993-2004 NBC)
FRASIER is a great show and an amazing comedy. I just kept having trouble putting it on the list. It’s such an extension of CHEERS even if unique and a fresh take on the character… I just couldn’t find myself a place to put it and feel good about it.
These 10 shows are amazing in their respective genres. Some like SESAME STREET and 60 MINUTES would likely have not made a top 20 list for me. 60 MINUTES likely not even the top 50. Sketch comedy? Likely top 25. So don’t take this as a real Top 10, take it for the tops in their genre. They all had a major impact. I had a tough time trying to place them, so this is where they end up. Cop out? Sure.
Now I will name THE TOP SHOW OF ALL TIME tomorrow. I did come up with one show that truly stands above the rest and deserves it. I’ll write about it. Then later in the week I’ll write up a summary and why I left some shows like LOST off the list (trust me it will make sense when you read it, and you’ll agree to probably disagree, but I have a good reason).