TV is awesome, isn’t it? I quite enjoy it, personally. So when I saw that Becca Dorr wrote this great post a few weeks ago about the 23 Best TV Shows of All Time, I decided I wanted to make my own. Because I agree with a lot of her list, but not all of it. And so I got to writing down some of my favorite shows. And then some more. And then a few more. And I came up with a couple more than 23…
In fact, I think there were over 50 that I could easily have included on this list. So then I made a few cuts. And a few more. And there are a few choices I’m still lamenting and will be questioning after I hit “publish,” but this is my list and I’m sticking to it.
Here is MY list of the Best TV Shows of ALL TIME in alphabetical order, NOT in order of preference:
I was never into that whole Felicity thing, so this was the show that introduced me to the joys of JJ Abrams. And also Bradley Cooper. Plus it was just so darned fun. If you just skip the last season. But even the last season wasn’t, like, the worst. It just wasn’t as awesome as the rest of it had been.
I didn’t start watching this show until right before Netflix released their own season 4, at which point I binged the whole thing and absolutely loved it. It is one of the funniest shows that has EVER been on television. There are a lot of times I find myself wondering how in the heck they managed to get away with some of the jokes they made.
Beverly Hills, 90210
I was OBSESSED with this show in high school. I had a friend who somehow got to be a gopher for them for a season and I was so jealous. But it was also awesome because she was always bringing us autographed stuff. A couple of years ago, I told Ian Ziering that I loved him and I stand by that. Crazy ridiculous drama every week, but I just couldn’t stop watching.
The Big Bang Theory
Chris loathes and despises this show, which makes my geeky heart so sad. I haven’t kept up with it regularly in the past few seasons, but I have enjoyed it from just about the beginning. And I quite frequently understand their geek references, which makes it all the better.
I mean, come on. This show was not just good. It was great. Exceptional. And I honestly can’t think of a single episode in the entire five seasons that was a dud. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it is consistently fantastic and manages a feat I’ve not seen with many shows: it gets better with each episode.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Joss Whedon is a MASTER at witty dialogue and banter. This show was funny and dramatic and thrilling and featured vampires that didn’t sparkle.
I’ve been a big fan of Nathan Fillion since even before I watched Firefly (which I’ll talk about in a minute). He just seems like such a fun and funny person. I was really rooting for him to have a hit show and I’m so glad he’s found success in this sort of Murder She Wrote meets The Closer meets every other procedural detective show. But it’s fun and I love it. And even though a show is never the same once the two leads finally get together, Castle has managed to make that work, too.
The Cosby Show
I debated a LOT about whether or not to include this show on this list because, you know, reasons. But the truth is, this was one of my favorite shows as a kid and I even still would occasionally watch reruns up until they pulled it off the air. It was hilarious. Although I’m in a very small minority when I say that Raven-Symoné’s adorableness got really old really fast.
If you just pretend the last season didn’t happen, Dexter was a great show. Always so intense, well written, well acted. In the black and white world of homicide detectives, Dexter stayed firmly in the gray area, always raising the morally ambiguous point. I loved it. Except for the end. The end sucked.
The Eleventh Doctor was my first and will always be my favorite. He was funny and charming and silly and it was only a month or so ago that I was finally able to bring myself to watch his final episode, which originally aired two years ago when I was in Honduras. But aside from Eleven, Doctor Who in general is just a heck of a lot of fun. It never takes itself too seriously. It just enjoys being the weird and wonderful and wacky little British sci fi show that it is.
It is amazing to me what Downton Abbey manages to do every season with only 6 or 7 episodes each year to tell its story. There is so much wonderful goodness about this show. It isn’t all rosy. In fact, a lot of really bad things happen to good people. But it’s just fascinating. I love the juxtaposition of telling the stories of this big old British manor from the points of view of the wealthy family that live there along with the maids and cooks and butlers and valets that work downstairs. Plus, Dame Maggie Smith has some of the best one-liners in all of television.
Honestly, I thought I was going to like Chicago Hope better when they both premiered on the same night back in 1994, so I chose that one since it was way back in the Stone Age before DVRs. But the next week I decided to check out ER and never looked back. I was hooked. My interest waned a little toward the end of its 15-ish year run, but my love never died.
With only 14 episodes and a major motion picture, Firefly found its way into the hearts of many. It is funny and dramatic and good and just…I love it. I can turn on any episode anytime and just love it all over again. The cancellation of this series was a crime.
Okay, I know I said I wasn’t ranking them, but Friends is my all-time favorite show. I’ve seen every episode many times. I still watch it several times per week. I know the names of quite a few of the episodes (The one above is “The One Where Everyone Finds Out.”). And pretty much everything that happens in life can be related to a scene from Friends.
The Golden Girls
I think it says a LOT when a show about a bunch of old ladies can appeal to a 10-year-old kid, but I seriously LOVED The Golden Girls. It always cracked me up so much. Of course, these days (when I still sometimes watch reruns–thanks TV Land!) I am slightly horrified that my mom used to let me watch that show. But back then I didn’t understand much of anything Blanche Devereaux was talking about, so it was all good.
I wrote my very first fan letter to Kirk Cameron. And also, how can you not love the show that gave us Leonardo DiCaprio?
I Love Lucy
Because, really, what’s not to love?
Law and Order
Okay, so basically this show was completely awesome up until Jerry Orbach left. Then it was never the same and got way too political and preachy and annoying. But for the first 14 years or so? It was the best crime drama on television.
I know the vast majority of viewers were really upset about the way the series ended. I don’t happen to be one of them. But regardless of the ending, this was the first show that had me really, truly guessing every step of the way, always trying to figure out exactly what was going to happen next. It was also the first series that really got a lot of social media attention and used the internet to further bring viewers into the story.
The Office (US Version)
In trying to find a good gif for this one, I fell down a rabbit hole of memories of so many great and hilarious moments from The Office. Great characters, absolutely ridiculous situations, and I can just never get enough. That’s what she said.
One Tree Hill
I tried to leave this one off the list because it’s cheesy and stuff. But the truth is that I always really liked it and I loved Peyton and Lucas and Brooke and Haley and and and. It was over the top dramatic at times, but I didn’t care.
I once wrote a post with the reasons why people should watch Pushing Daisies. I stand by everything I wrote way back then. When it was cancelled, I was really, really sad. It actually still makes me sad to think about sometimes. Oh how I miss the Piemaker and Charlotte “Chuck” Charles and Itty Bitty and Emerson Cod. I keep hearing different rumors about attempts to resurrect the series either on a streaming service or on Broadway or something, but I’ve basically stopped listening because I don’t believe any of that will ever actually happen. Sadly.
Pure hilarity all the time always. I mean, the basic premise is that a total slacker pretends to be a psychic in order to help the local police department solve murders. Instead of using his talents of observation and perception to become an actual detective. But the pop culture references are pure gold, the cases are funny, and it’s just fun.
If I was obsessed with Beverly Hills, 90210 in high school, there are no words for how I felt about this show. I literally cried when I found out it was being cancelled after four seasons. When I was in high school, my mom was taking night classes at a business college. My bedtime was 10pm, but she didn’t get home until at least 10:30, so I always stayed up to watch Quantum Leap. She was awesome and pretended she didn’t know.
Ah, yes, the show that defined the Bro-Mance. I was listening to the radio once several years ago and the host was talking to a doctor who had recently moved to Salt Lake and was feeling lonely. He ended up meeting a few girls as a result of being on the radio. And after many of those girls asked him if being a doctor was just like it is on Grey’s Anatomy, he knew he’d found The One when she asked, “Is being a doctor just like Scrubs?” The show was cancelled and renewed so many times, and there were a few duds here and there, but it was honestly always funniest when they thought they were cancelled because they held nothing back.
This is one of Chris’s very favorite shows. We watch it a lot of evenings too. I know it’s called the show about nothing, and in many ways it was, but that was exactly what made it so great. Everyone could relate to it, at least a little. Although, seriously, who makes out during Schindler’s List?
Star Trek: The Next Generation
While I was a fan of the original Enterprise crew from the movies, the only Star Trek series I’ve ever watched with any consistency was TNG. I loved the cast. I loved the stories and the adventures. I loved Wil Wheaton.
I finally started watching this one at the advice of many of you, dear readers, several years ago, but after the series had already ended. I was instantly hooked, still watch the reruns and went to opening night of the movie on a Friday night by myself. So many great moments, and I love the Nancy Drew-esque story.
The Walking Dead
I was on the fence when I started hearing about this a few months before the premiere. I mean, it looked so good, and yet I am not a fan of zombies. Or, well, I wasn’t a fan of zombies. But then Andrew Lincoln started hanging out at my house every Sunday night in the form of Sheriff Rick Grimes and I love him and I love the show and even though I’m starting to get a *little* immune to major deaths now, I still feel a little sad when a beloved character dies.
The West Wing
This is honestly probably one of the smartest shows I’ve ever watched on a regular basis. The writing was stellar, the acting was always great. The storylines were relevant and engaging. Even as a die hard conservative, I had no problem totally falling in love with this bunch of Democrats running the country.
The Wonder Years
There were so many things to love about this one. It’s funny how it could feel so nostalgic even though it was about a time that I didn’t live through. But maybe, I guess, it was about a time that I sort of longed for? When parents and children had dinner together every night and the whole neighborhood would get excited when someone bought a new car. Plus, Fred Savage was just so cute.
The X Files
Okay, so if people were upset about the way Lost ended, that had NOTHING on the screwed up final season of The X Files. But still. The journey getting there was so awesome and fun and full of creepy, crazy stuff and Fox Mulder. I am beyond unbelievably excited for the new season to start in a couple of weeks.
So…what do you think? What shows do you love?