log in or register to remove this ad

 

The Greatest TV Shows of All Time (Kinda): The Top 10

payn

Hero
And really, it's kind of amazing how many Pantheon-level shows have finished up just in the past 5 years. I'm not as sold on Halt and Catch Fire, but Leftovers, Rectify, and the Americans are all right up there.
I'd argue we are in the golden age of television right now. Tons of good stuff. I did like The Americans, but something about the final season just didn't work for me.

I'd toss in Watchmen and at least and honorable mention for Pillars of the Earth, but for some reason single series are ruled out because of Firefly (n)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
And really, it's kind of amazing how many Pantheon-level shows have finished up just in the past 5 years. I'm not as sold on Halt and Catch Fire, but Leftovers, Rectify, and the Americans are all right up there.

I think the floodgates from the Sopranos are well and truly opened. When you combine the insatiable need for content with the launch of all these streaming services and the remaining legacy cable services ... it's been a deluge. Not to mention so much talent in the area, and the rise of the "showrunner as auteur" and truly distinctive programs.

The idea that you'd have shows as distinctive as Mr. Robot and Legion, and I couldn't find room for them, shows just how crowded the field is. The "great American novel" is no longer a bildungsroman, but a TV series with a limited lifespan.

If you didn't watch Halt and Catch Fire all the way through, give it another shot. Very few shows pivot as smartly as it did, going from the usual "anti-hero" focus to a nuanced depiction on the way people come together, and fall apart. The historical computer stuff is just a bonus! :)
 


Grendel_Khan

Explorer
I'd argue we are in the golden age of television right now. Tons of good stuff. I did like The Americans, but something about the final season just didn't work for me.

I'd toss in Watchmen and at least and honorable mention for Pillars of the Earth, but for some reason single series are ruled out because of Firefly (n)
Damn, totally forgot about Watchmen!

Let's get Buffy or the Shield out of there to make room.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'd toss in Watchmen and at least and honorable mention for Pillars of the Earth, but for some reason single series are ruled out because of Firefly (n)

Not because of Firefly; more because of the sheer number of great miniseries getting pumped out, and the difficulty in comparing them and adding them to the list. Cherenobyl? Watchmen? Alias Grace? Mildred Pierce? Band of Brothers (either)? The Night Of ... or even better, It Takes a Hero? Angels in America? Generation Kill?

Ugh. That's off the top of my head. And those are recent ones. That's not even getting into the older, "event" ones like Roots.
 


Grendel_Khan

Explorer
Not because of Firefly; more because of the sheer number of great miniseries getting pumped out, and the difficulty in comparing them and adding them to the list. Cherenobyl? Watchmen? Alias Grace? Mildred Pierce? Band of Brothers (either)? The Night Of ... or even better, It Takes a Hero? Angels in America? Generation Kill?

Ugh. That's off the top of my head. And those are recent ones. That's not even getting into the older, "event" ones like Roots.
Totally fair. Miniseries are a very different animal.

And it doesn't qualify yet, but I'd bet money that, once it's wrapped up, I'm going to like Better Caul Saul more than Breaking Bad. Both funnier and sadder. And ... Odenkirk is better than Cranston!

(Not that Cranston is bad, at all, but I stand by it)
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Totally fair. Miniseries are a very different animal.

And it doesn't qualify yet, but I'd bet money that, once it's wrapped up, I'm going to like Better Caul Saul more than Breaking Bad. Both funnier and sadder. And ... Odenkirk is better than Cranston!

(Not that Cranston is bad, at all, but I stand by it)

Better Call Saul is really, really good. It's definitely an intense character study. But it will be interesting to see if it ... well ... sticks the landing. I think it's easy to overlook how good Breaking Bad was ... certainly in the sense that it truly paid off.
 

payn

Hero
Not because of Firefly; more because of the sheer number of great miniseries getting pumped out, and the difficulty in comparing them and adding them to the list. Cherenobyl? Watchmen? Alias Grace? Mildred Pierce? Band of Brothers (either)? The Night Of ... or even better, It Takes a Hero? Angels in America? Generation Kill?

Ugh. That's off the top of my head. And those are recent ones. That's not even getting into the older, "event" ones like Roots.
Its true, the critera is helpful so you dont get lists with the Simpsons, Mash, Babylon 5, and Sailor moon.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Its true, the critera is helpful so you dont get lists with the Simpsons, Mash, Babylon 5, and Sailor moon.

I think I was using an internal "no animation" rule, but didn't explicitly list it.

....and it pained me to not include B5, which would be in the top 10 Snarfiest Shows, and may make an appearance when I do the top 10 SciFi.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
Okay, my revised top TV shows:

1) Duck Tales (2017)
2) The Good Place
3) White Christmas (2011, Korea)
 


Grendel_Khan

Explorer
Better Call Saul is really, really good. It's definitely an intense character study. But it will be interesting to see if it ... well ... sticks the landing. I think it's easy to overlook how good Breaking Bad was ... certainly in the sense that it truly paid off.

I truly truly loved Breaking Bad, but the very ending is what kind of killed the buzz for me. Just a little too mad scientist, and way too "Heisenberg is a badass RIGHT FELLAS??!?!!???!!!"

I say that with deep love and affection for so much of it. Best pulp crime noir comedy on TV....until Better Call Saul.

Better Call Saul is just so much more tragic and complex, to me, specifically because of the way it leans into being a prequel. And Jimmy's relationship with Kim, and the way the show earns every one of the twists in that relationship...that aspect of it is operating on such a crazy high level.

Anyway, you're right, at this point it's all about how it sticks the landing. I don't say that for most shows, but it really matters here.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I think I was using an internal "no animation" rule, but didn't explicitly list it.

....and it pained me to not include B5, which would be in the top 10 Snarfiest Shows, and may make an appearance when I do the top 10 SciFi.
Yea, if we exclude animation, we'd also have to exclude Bojack Horseman, which is another pantheon-level recently finished show.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If you didn't watch Halt and Catch Fire all the way through, give it another shot. Very few shows pivot as smartly as it did, going from the usual "anti-hero" focus to a nuanced depiction on the way people come together, and fall apart. The historical computer stuff is just a bonus! :)
I will add it to my multiple page single spaced list of shows that people recommend I watch. :)
 

Odysseus

Explorer
1.Banshee
2.Justified
3.Americans
4.Alias Smith and Jones
5.Supernatural
6.Star gate Atlantis
7.Jessica Jones
8.Travellers
9.Rockford Files
10 Blake Seven
 

payn

Hero
My list with Snarfs criteria (plus one of my own.)
Is complete.
American.
Drama.
Series, at least 2 seasons.
Judged wholly, but bonus for good ending.
No bonus for innovation.
No hipster sneaks.
Thoughtful and good
Seen it.
Not episodic, but serial (Sorry yesterdays episodic dramas are simply outclassed)

The Leftovers Lindelof finally unshackled by ABC network television is allowed to stretch his creative skills. There have have been dozens of supernatural/super science phenomena premise shows in the last 20+ years, but finally somebody gets it right. As an audience we are just as clueless as everyone else and just get to sit back and watch the world melt. No shark jumping explanations or super powered humans, just a heartbreaking story that wraps up in three neat seasons. Another bonus for Lindelof knowing when a story has run its course.

The Sopranos The series that changed it all. Thanks goodness Fox passed on it; amiright? Not the first premo cable series but for sure the first household named series. A whole new look for the ganster flick, the suburbs of New Jersey. Taking the kids to college tours by day, choking out rats by night. Gets a little long in the tooth around 5th season, but I loved the finale, yes even the Journey.

The Wire A great serial with an anthology feel. Not much else to say, great writing, good acting, Tom Waits... I fear its tongue and cheek final season is going to make it slip in lists going forward.

Breaking Bad The Malcom in the middle dad??? This is what Disney is trying to do with their anti-hero princess movies. Show us a good guy gone bad. Funny, clever, and heart touching. Ends at the 5th season before the showrunners could really break it bad.

Ray Donovan Many have tried to make the fixer series, and many have failed. Ray Donovan is the triumphant success story. The writing, the cast, its wicked good. As much as I loathe Jon Voight, he is nothing short of amazing as the family patriarch Mickey Donovan. Its worth watching just for him alone. Fell into the trap that Breaking Bad didn't, went on way too long.

Black Sails Starts out fishy, but ends like a whale. What a concept, take Treasure Island and make an adult prequel out of it. The exposition is amazing and they pull fantastic performances out of little known actors. I so do wish someday they make a Treasure Island movie with the cast (those living).

The Borgias (showtime) History buffs will cry (its not very accurate) but what a palace intrigue story. I mean what better palace than the Vatican? Cut short in three season, I think it could have wrapped perfectly with a fourth. Jeremy Irons is like a fine wine. What more can I say?

Penny Dreadful This series just oozes atmosphere. A whole new spin on monster of the week. Chilling exposition from Eva Green and Rory Kinnear (criminally underrated). Cut short by a season, but what great ride while it lasted.

Nip Tuck Folks may have forgotten this gem, but it really opened up what a cable network series could offer. Also, not another cop show; what a concept! Great character development and twist you don't see coming.

Game of Thrones This series was executed so well, at least for a time. Its really too bad Martin's writing ran out, because when it did, so did the gas in D&Ds tank. Never have I seen someone go deuces wild in the punch bowl like this. Even Disney wants nothing to do with them.

Honorable mentions.
Counterpart; Bringing the cold war spy thriller into the 21st century.

Rectify; Something new in a sea of the same.

A Brave New World; A superb take on social constructs and sexuality. Cut short but not surprising with its 100 mill price tag
 

DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
Skippy - move over Lassie, the roo's got it from here. Iconic.
Home and Away - nothing better than pretty blond people on the beach having drama.
Neighbours - if nothing else it gave the world Kylie Minogue's singing career.
Hollowmen - the Aussie West Wing.
Utopia - the Victorian Hollowmen.
Frontline - the greatest current affairs show of all time.
Farscape - although the the guy with the weird accent was annoying.
Are You Being Served (the Australian version) - yes, this really happened. Starred John Inman too.
Countdown - no, British readers, not that one.
Bluey - a family of blue heelers. For the kids. (And the adults.)
 



An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top