My Ten Favourite TV Shows of All-Time (Updated)

TVAbout six years ago, I listed my ten favourite TV shows of all-time. I thought it was due for an update.

Here is my current top ten:

  1. The Wire
  2. Six Feet Under
  3. The Simpsons
  4. Breaking Bad
  5. Mad Men
  6. The Sopranos
  7. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  8. Seinfeld
  9. Oz
  10. Arrested Development

The Larry Sanders Show and Kids in the Hall were near-misses. Now it's your turn... what are your favourite shows of all-time?


Share this entry

Comments (36 - click here to join in!)

519 Rob

In no particular order
-Cheers
-Mad Men
-Weeds
-The Simpsons
-Rescue Me
-Law & Order
-Seinfeld
-SCTV
and 2 current shows that are can't miss
-Louie
-Person of Interest

August 30, 2012 @ 3:14 PM

Argie

What? No Cdn shows???

August 30, 2012 @ 3:22 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@519 Rob

Used to watch Cheers, Weeds and Law and Order. I really enjoyed those early seasons of Law and Order with Mike Logan.

I watch Louie now and love it... so dark and hilarious.

August 30, 2012 @ 3:23 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

Kids in the Hall is Canadian... it got an honourary mention. I also dug SCTV, but outside of skit comedies, no Canadian show comes close, unfortunately.

August 30, 2012 @ 3:24 PM

Cbab

Ah nice one.

In no order:

- Seinfeld
- The Simpsons
- Mad Men
- Star Trek: TNG
- The Sopranos
- House
- In Living Color
- The Cosby Show

and a couple from my childhood:

- Sesame Street
- Square One TV

August 30, 2012 @ 3:50 PM

Rosie

This is one of my favourite exercises.

1. The Sopranos
2. Mad Men
3. Seinfeld
4. Sex and the City
5. Absolutely Fabulous
6. Girls
7. Will & Grace
8. The Office (British version)
9. Big Love
10. Nurse Jackie

No particular order. Just missed: The Newsroom, Weeds & Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Soon will decide if Boardwalk Empire cracks the list. No spoilers please.

August 30, 2012 @ 4:13 PM

519 Rob

I can't believe I forgot Corner Gas!

August 30, 2012 @ 4:44 PM

Pete McPhedran

Interesting that I have only seen 3 of the shows in your top 10 and one of them only a few episodes.

My top 10 in no order:

How It's Made
Big Bang Theory
Stargate SG-1
Stargate Universe
Millenium
Auction Hunters
X-Files
According to Jim
This Old House
Hometime

Never cared for the police/drama type shows that seem to be so popular according to these lists. I'm torn between Auction Hunters and Barter Kings right now.

--Pete

August 30, 2012 @ 4:55 PM

Rob

Tough...

1. Freaks and Geeks - Only one season but it my favourite show of all time. Every time I recommend it to friends they can't get past the first few episodes. While they're not terrible episodes, there is a sense of clique high school nerd/freaks story to them. That being said, the story evolves and the characters become multidimensional. The show manages to show the lives of what makes the socially awkward teens tick without being overdramatic or exploitive.

2. The Wire - As someone who has a degree in Justice...this show is the best criminal justice education witnessing it firsthand. One of the most complex shows that illustrates how cities are a symbiotic being and the drug dealers, police, politicians, working class, media...everyone in the city all feed each other and off of each other.

3. Friday Night Lights - This show manages to have five great seasons, almost using a completely different cast by the end. Outside of the second season, this show creates some of the best characters on televisions and illustrates how small town football impacts their lives. Some of the strongest female characters ever on televisions, the best portrayal of a marriage on television and lastly the best series finale on television. Hope I didn't over hype this one :)

4. Deadwood - The only western I've ever enjoyed.

5. Rome - It manages to be edge your seat entertaining without showing any actual battles.

6. Breaking Bad - While still a good show, it has seemed to slip a bit the last two seasons. That being said the first three stand next to any other television show. The conclusion of season 3 and the acting by Bryan Cranston could very well being my favourite 50 minutes of television.

7. Curb your Enthusiasm - No other show makes me laugh this consistently on television outside of this and Seinfeld.

8. Seinfeld - Read above.

9. Veronica Mars - A good mystery show to me is one that doesn't pull answers out of thin air for shock value, instead all the clues are there and once the reveal happens the pieces that were all presented to you become much clearer. This show is the female Sherlock that does the above while being a whole lot of fun.

10. The Sopranos - While many shows have surpassed this classic, many of the above would never have existed without it. The first season is still among my all time favourites and watching the episodes as they aired on Sunday night was enjoyable until the end.


Honorable Mentions: Firefly, Community, Mad Men, Flight of the Conchords, Mad Men, the Simpsons, Sherlock (BBC), Boardwalk Empire, Carnival, Game of Thrones and Archer.
If miniseries count Band of Brothers would be in the top ten.

Shows that had great moments or seasons but eventually went to crap: Lost, Dexter, Battlestar Galactica,.

Show that were never good: The Office.

Now that university is over... no more television for me :(

August 30, 2012 @ 5:32 PM

Il Duce

Okay I get it, you put out this list so your followers will think your cool.

The real Mike really wanted to put BattleStar Galactica with Lorne Greene and Star Trek with William Shatner, Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter... am I missing anything?

No list can be taken seriously if it doesn't have Soprano's at number one. Sorry start over.

August 30, 2012 @ 5:34 PM

Gump

Man, this was wayyyyy harder that I first thought it would be. I had no trouble listing 10 shows but then I remembered that I've been watching TV for 35+ years, and that is a lot of TV (where has my life gone and where is my PhD?).
My criteria was (and still is) - what shows did I schedule my life around instead of the other way around. Appointment TV as they say - mind you that concept is not obsolete with all the ways we can consume media now at anytime/anyplace.
Additionally, the TV show/series had to sustain my interest for more than a season or two - therefore no Freaks and Geeks.
Another deciding factor would be - did it change how I viewed television and what a show can be. For instance, Oz opened my eyes up to 'cable TV' beyond the safe choices of ABC/CBS/NBC for the 1st time.
For comedies - does it still make me laugh even if I know the jokes.
For dramas - did it make me cry (damn you Mr. Collins from The Wonder Years - it still gets me every time).
Finally, they had to be so good, that I would stop and watch if I saw them when channel surfing and/or I would even consider buying the series.
Therefore (in no particular order) :

Arrested Development (hahahahaha)
The Wonder Years (tearing up now just thinking about it)
St.Elsewhere (best series ending ever! it blew my mind for years)
ER (griping drama for years)
The Prisoner (reruns on PBS)
Twilight Zone (reruns)
Friends (solid solid show)
Seinfeld (amazing)
The Simpsons (not every season but so good for so long)
Sex and The City (guilty pleasure)
Six Feet Under
Oz (wow)
The Office

Yeah, I couldn't reduce it from 11. Sue me.
Just missing the cut :
Friday Night Lights
Star Trek : TNG
X-Files
30 Rock
M.A.S.H.


August 30, 2012 @ 5:36 PM

dale

The Honeymooners
All in the Family
The Flip Wilson Show
Rowan & Martin's Laugh In
Home Improvement (with Tim Allen)
Carol Burnett Show
Hockey Night In Canada
Family Ties
Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
Criminal Minds

I guess I'm dating myself, but most TV today is absolute crap & have watched some of the mentioned with other but I'm not interested.

August 30, 2012 @ 6:29 PM

J9

In no particular order:

Fawlty Towers (this is my #1. No one is funnier than Basil and crew)
Battlestar Gallactica (from this millenia)
Firefly
The Wire
Friends
Cheers
Star Trek Next Generation
Malcolm in the Middle
Degrassi
Rescue Me

Honourable mention: Sons of Anarchy, The Prisoner (Patrick McGoohan's).

August 30, 2012 @ 7:06 PM

CQ

Although I was born in the late 1960s, here are my Black and White era top 10 picks:

Twilight Zone
Follow that Man (aka Man Against Crime)
Meet Corliss Archer, or Leave it to Beaver
Federal Men, Racket Squad, or Dragnet*
The Fugitive
Stagecoach West, or The Rifleman
Naked City, or Route 66 (both filmed on location)
Combat
The Lawless Years
The Beverly Hillbillies, I Married Joan, or I Love Lucy,
11) The Rebel, Northwest Passage, or Iron Horse (in colour).

The above still includes an extra 10 as alternates.
* Dragnet 1967 - 1969 (in colour) is way better.

August 30, 2012 @ 7:08 PM

dale

@CQ
I did forget a few on my list.

I Love Lucy (Lucy & Ricky & Fred & Ethel)
The Fugitive (with David Jannson)
Gomer Pyle USMC
Andy Griffith (with Opie,Deputy Barney & especially Aunt B who was always baking)
Original Dragnet.

Again too bad you younger generation didn't have the TV shows we had in the past as it was a time for a Family to get together & watch a TV program. How many families with Mom, Dad & kids watch the SAME show with ALL watching. We used to do it constantly.

Most stuff today is reality TV which is to me is a JOKE, be it with NO entertainment value.


August 30, 2012 @ 8:03 PM

Rosie

I can't believe I left off The Tudors! This bumps Nurse Jackie off the list.

August 30, 2012 @ 8:25 PM

Rosie

And Il Duce is correct. While I said my list is in no particular order, I meant in no particular order after number one, which is the Sopranos. Best show ever.

August 30, 2012 @ 8:28 PM

Corey

1)Star Trek - original series
2)Magnum PI
3)Hill Street Blues
4)Simpsons (seasons 1-5 were brilliant, 6-7 were ok, and I completely gave up on it after by season 8)
5)The Larry Sanders Show
6)Seinfeld
7)The Office - original Ricky Gervais ONLY.
8)Extras
9)Deadwood
10)Arrested Development

The first three bring up strong feelings of nostalgia. Even though there was only 70-some episodes made, they've been a constant presence ever since I became aware of TV. Through every stage of my life it's been on somewhere, sometime, and I never turn it off, to this day if I come across it.
I still remember as a 16 year-old, our Thursday night TV night was Magnum @ 8:00, Simon & Simon @ 9:00, and Hill Street Blues @ 10:00.

August 30, 2012 @ 9:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Anyone who says The Sopranos is the best show ever has never watched The Wire.

August 30, 2012 @ 9:33 PM

Gary

Random Order....

Star Trek (TOS)
Star Trek TNG
Dexter
X-Files
Twilight Zone (original)
Nowhere Man (most under-rated show ever)
Coronet Blue
The Prisoner
Firefly
Battlestar Galactica
Star Trek Voyager
All in the Family

August 30, 2012 @ 9:54 PM

Digger02

I can't believe no one has mentioned the Walking Dead?

1. The Walking Dead
2. Police Squad
3. The Good Wife
4. The Office
5. WKRP
6. The West Wing
7. Twin Peaks
8. X-Files
9. Fringe
10. Mary Tyler Moore
11. Carol Burnette
12. Monty Python
13. SNL

August 30, 2012 @ 10:38 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Digger02

Fun Fact: I watched the pilot of the Walking Dead and never felt compelled to watch episode 2.

Fun Fact 2: As a kid, I loved WKRP and it made me want to be a DJ ever so badly.

August 30, 2012 @ 11:03 PM

Argie

No particular order:

Seinfeld
Family Guy
Simpsons (the early to mid years)
Extras
St Elsewhere (thanks to an earlier poster for reminding me of that one)
Get Smart
Sopranos (haven't seen the Wire)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (better than Seinfeld)
Early Law & Order
The Office

August 31, 2012 @ 8:51 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

I like your list... a lot. Although I didn't see much of St Elsewhere or Get Smart.

August 31, 2012 @ 8:53 AM

Il Duce

@T.O. Mike

I've seen The Wire

August 31, 2012 @ 9:15 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Il Duce

Firstly, I've watched every episode of The Sopranos. I loved that show, and even grew to truly admire the series finale. Heck, I've written more about The Sopranos over the years than The Wire: http://www.torontomike.com/the_sopranos/

So I love The Sopranos... you see it here in my top 5. But if you would remove your well-celebrated Italian bias for a moment, you would see that The Wire is a better written, more complete masterpiece.

Although both shows are fantastic, Il Duce the Lasagna King is favouring a show about an Italian American family for obvious reasons.

August 31, 2012 @ 9:20 AM

Argie

Mike,

For what its worth, a buddy a work said to me "I used to think The Wire was the best show ever on TV, until I saw Breaking Bad."

When I get the time, I'll be watching some BB.

August 31, 2012 @ 9:48 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

I kid with Il Duce, because the music and movies and shows you love are completely subjective.

For me, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad are great shows I watch, but The Wire is operating on a completely different frequency. Just my opinion... having watched all three show over the past decade.

August 31, 2012 @ 9:49 AM

519 Rob

One show I did not add to my list was Pushing Daisies. Had it lasted more than two seasons (they were fantastic seasons, mind you), it may have had a chance of getting in to my top10.
Anyone else watch Pushing Daisies?

August 31, 2012 @ 12:10 PM

Anon&on

MASH (first 3 seasons)
Gilligan's Island
Leave It To Beaver
Weeds (first 3 seasons)
Trailer Park Boys
Fernwood 2 Night
Second City TV /SCTV
The Newsroom
Seinfeld
Kolchak: The Night Stalker


September 1, 2012 @ 1:40 AM

Jason from Sudbury

In no particular order

South Park
The Simpsons
Family Guy
Trailer Park Boys
The Sopranos
Hockey Night In Canada
House
Storage Wars
Ice Road Truckers
Curb Your Enthusiasm (definitely better than Seinfeld)

Honorable Mentions:
Puppets Who Kill, You Bet Your Ass, Distraction, and Barter Kings

September 1, 2012 @ 8:56 AM

Il Duce

@ T.O. Mike

Remember that without 'The Soprano's' there is no 'The Wire' etc.

The Soprano's was ground breaking for it's time and opened the door for most of the other 'authentic' dramas that now make your list and those of your other commenters.

September 4, 2012 @ 1:59 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Il Duce

Much love for The Sopranos... love that show.

September 4, 2012 @ 2:12 PM

Joe Jackson

Obviously late with this, but really, "Hill Street Blues" not on anyone's list?

Oh, sorry. Corey has it, but it would be my #1.

September 4, 2012 @ 8:48 PM

Fawn

Top ten TV shows of all time...(10) The Ed Sullivan Show...He Brought us the world every Sunday...(9)The Saint...Roger Moore was the dashing cat burglar/detective Simon Templar that always got the girl..but don't be fooled by the halo...he persuaded people with his fists as well as his charm...(8)Supernatural...Two brothers team up and dedicate their lives to hunting Evil...(7)The Wonder Years...Who can ever forget Kevin,Paul and Winnie growing up in small town USA..."those years of Wonder"...(6)Big Bang Theory...Great cast,hilarious, and a classic for all time...(5)Seinfeld...What' to be said...Perfection....(4)The Carol Burnett Show...Legends of comedy, Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway...to this day some of the funniest skits ever done...(3)The Walking Dead...Ground breaking television...powerful, intense..unsurpassed...(2) Get Smart...Max,99,Chief,The cone of Silence,the shoe phone,Control and Kaos...Best comedy of all time( I asked you not to tell me that)...(1) STAR TREK-(TOS)...Gene Roddenberry's vision that was light years ahead of it's time( pun intended) has touched us all in some way or another..with iconic characters like Kirk,Spock,McCoy,Scotty,Sulu,Uhura,Chekov,Ns.Chapel and Yeoman Rand the series is the best ever done and will be playing on television forever...

May 31, 2013 @ 7:38 AM

Rob J

No particular order: Curb, Simpsons, Seinfeld, AD, Larry Sanders, British Office, Extras, Seeing Things, Modern Fam, All in The Family. (Cheers, Newhart, SCTV, early Law and Order, 30 Rock get honourable mention)

May 14, 2016 @ 6:08 PM

Leave a comment


Only 36 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!


« My Daughter Leaves Me iPod-Request Notes... RL Solutions Open House »