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The 100 All-Time Greatest TV Shows

I've saved the best for last. As we wind up our discussion of Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 All-Time Greatest Everything, we turn our attention to what brought us to Doux Reviews in the first place. From the comments in the other lists, the list of Television Shows is the one that we have all been waiting for. So, without further ado:

100: The Brady Bunch
99: Alias
-- I was so glad to see this show on the list, that I forgave the editors for putting one of my favorites at the bottom.
98: Bewitched
97: The Comeback
96: Malcolm in the Middle
95: Grey's Anatomy
-- I loved this show for many years, but finally gave up on it. It did, however, pave the way for Scandal which is one of the great guilty pleasures of all time.
94: Project Runway
-- My brother, who is genuinely the smartest person I know, has seen every season of this show. I roll my eyes when we discuss it; he calmly tells me to shut up as I don't know what I'm talking about. Ah, siblings.
93: The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
92: Sanford and Son
91: Star Trek
-- I have only seen about fifteen minutes of one episode of this show, but for a show so iconic and one that, arguably, spawned sci-fi on television, it should probably be a bit higher up the list.

90: Felicity
89: Mystery Science Theater 3000
88: Perry Mason
-- I blame this show for the reason I became a lawyer. When I was a child, there was only one television station in our part of the world. That station aired this show late in the afternoon and I watched it over and over again. I knew I wanted to be that person righting wrongs and exposing the guilty parties.
87: South Park
86: 24
-- My love for this show cannot be overstated. Every year, I would avoid it when it aired and then devour the DVDs in a single weekend marathon session. I am very excited that we are getting another installment next year.
85: Little House on the Prairie
84: Family Ties
83: Oz
82: Good Times
81: In Living Color

80: The Office (US)
79: Everybody Loves Raymond
78: Dawson's Creek
-- Although a bit higher up the list than it should be, I loved this show.
77: Ally McBeal
76: Game of Thrones
75: Beverly Hills, 90210
74: Homeland
-- I have never seen a show take over the collective consciousness like the first season of this show. When it was airing in the UK, absolutely everyone I knew was watching it and talking about it.
73: Six Feet Under
-- The best series finale ever.
72: Battlestar Galactica
71: Beavis and Butt-head

70: Will & Grace
-- Although, let's be honest here, the reason most of us watched this show every week was for Jack and Karen, two of the funniest characters ever portrayed on television.
69: Star Trek: The Next Generation
68: Family
67: The Prisoner
66: Chappelle's Show
65: Doctor Who
64: Modern Family
63: Absolutely Fabulous
62: Homicide: Life on the Street
61: Dallas

60: Deadwood
59: Freaks and Geeks
58: Sex and the City
57: The Shield
56: 30 Rock
55: thirtysomething
54: NYPD Blue
53: American Idol
-- God help us when any form of show like this makes the all-time greatest list. I hate these things.
52: Soap
51: The West Wing
-- I would have put this show much higher up the list, but it certainly dipped in the middle seasons, so maybe it's where it belongs.

50: Survivor
-- Really?
49: The Muppet Show
48: Friday Night Lights
-- Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose! The best show that too few have seen.
47: The Rockford Files
-- Jim Rockford is just awesome. One of my very early crushes that has never completely died out.
46: The Rifleman
45: Gilmore Girls
44: Frasier
-- Before The Big Bang Theory, this was my favorite sitcom of all time. Brilliantly written and acted, it belongs higher up the list than some of the ones that are.
43: St. Elsewhere
42: Taxi
-- "What does a yellow light mean?" is the single funniest sketch every put on film. I have watched it hundreds of times and still roar with laughter through it.
41: Twin Peaks

40: The Real World
39: The Fugitive
38: The Bob Newhart Show
37: Columbo
36: Maude
35: Hill Street Blues
34: The Larry Sanders Show
33: The Carol Burnett Show
32: The Golden Girls
31: M*A*S*H
-- Another one of my favorite shows of all time. I would argue that few other shows have mixed comedy and drama as well as this one did.

30: ER
29: The X-Files
Yes, the mythology got a bit dense and absurd there at the end, but this show is one of the greats. Not to mention, it had the greatest couple of all time, giving us the verb 'to ship.'
28: The Abbott and Costello Show
-- If you've never seen Who's on First, rush over to YouTube and watch it right now. Truly inspired comedy.
27: Monty Python's Flying Circus
-- I know I am repeating myself, but if you've never seen the Dead Parrot sketch, rush over to YouTube and watch it right now. Truly inspired comedy.
26: Prime Suspect (UK)
25: Alfred Hitchcock Presents
24: Lost
Love it or hate it, this show changed television. Every season since, we have at least one show that markets itself as "the new Lost."
23: Law & Order
22: My So-Called Life
21: Friends
-- For any of us who have a family of friends, this one hits home.

20: The Honeymooners
19: Arrested Development
18: Breaking Bad
17: Roseanne
16: The Cosby Show
15: Cheers
-- Sometimes, you wanna go where everybody knows your name.
14: The Office (UK)
-- One of the greats, with a finale that made me cry and cheer all at the same time.
13: The Twilight Zone
12: Saturday Night Live
11: I Love Lucy

10: Your Show of Shows
9: Mad Men
8: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
-- I am impressed that this show is so high up the list.
7: The Andy Griffith Show
6: All in the Family
5: The Sopranos
-- The ultimate antihero, Tony Soprano is one for the ages.
4: The Mary Tyler Moore Show
-- Mary showed many women back in the day that being single and successful was a valid and rewarding choice. And, she did it by making us laugh.
3: Seinfeld
-- I know that many people think this is the greatest sitcom ever produced. While I thought it was all right, it never spoke to me all that strongly.
2: The Simpsons
-- Again, I have friends who watch this show by the hour. I can't stand it.
1: The Wire
-- I agree. This show is the best thing that has ever been produced. We've just begun to cover it so, if you've never seen it, watch along with us now.

I know that some of you will jump up and down on my head, but I think this list got more right than wrong. Many of my favorites are included, although not necessarily in the position I would have placed them. What about you? Let us know in the comments.

The Top 100 All-Time Greatest Lists:


  1. Project Runway does not belong on this list. Guilty pleasure of mine or no..
    Yay for the number one for The Wire. Yay for Buffy and Homicide..and Alias and the Shield and Oz. Missing according to me: Cracker, The singing detective and a few others. What the frakk is Everybody Loves Raymond doing there?

  2. Although this list didn't piss me off as some of the others (yay for The Wire!), there is still much about it that bothers me.

    Star Trek should be much higher. #91 is way too low for what is the most influential sci-fi series of all time.

    With the exception of a few reality series (all of them terrible IMHO), the is list is mainly geared towards dramas and sitcoms, leaving documentaries shut out. I don't know about anyone else, but I know I'd rather watch David Attenborough talk about beetles in Africa than teenagers butchering classic songs while overpaid celebrity pretend that they're listening.

    Mini-series were also shunned, meaning no Brideshead Revisited, I Claudius, Band of Brothers, House of Cards or State of Play.

    And I'm surprised that The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was snubbed because pretty much every talk show everywhere owes a huge debt to Carson.

  3. Alias and 24 Are way too far down the list.

    Dark Angel only ran for two seasons but it remains one of the best depictions of an apocalyptic distopian future i have seen o screen.

    No love for Angel either. Best spinoff of all time.

    Prison break. On the basis of season 1 alone should be on this list.

  4. Step 1: Check for Buffy. Top 10? YES!

    I also agree we might've left reality shows out completely. But, since we didn't, why American Idol but no Amazing Race? Isn't that the one that wins all the Emmys (I know, collective groan at there being a reality show Emmy category).

    Honestly, all of my quibbles are pretty minor: Firefly really ought to be on here, I Love Lucy should be higher, but at least it's up there, M*A*S*H should be far higher than 31, and I'm not sure Mad Men needs to be up that high. Still, they got all my deserving favorites (at least the ones that are occurring to me at 7:00 am). It's not a perfect list, but in comparison with their others, it's a bit of a relief.

  5. I agree that this one isn't so bad. Star Trek should be a lot higher, and so should M*A*S*H, but hey, Buffy is in the top ten! When Buffy originally aired, it got so little respect.

    Let's hope that in ten years when they do another version of this list, Supernatural and Justified will be on it.

  6. I completely disagree with the remarks on reality shows, especially American Idol and Survivor. I don't watch them, but a huge number of people did. More importantly, those two shows had a huge effect on culture in general.

    Very, very few shows do that. Both those shows should be much higher than they are.

    I do think this list skews too much to modern television. Star Trek should be higher.

    Also, no love for Gilligan's Island?

  7. My biggest gripe is placing Star Trek TNG ahead of Trek Classic. By any realistic measure, the latter is more influential and a necessary condition for the former. But at least two Treks made the list.

  8. I'm mostly okay with the mix of shows on this list --- I'm pretty happy to see Homicide and Friday Night Lights on there --- but think some of the rankings are fairly bizarre. Yea for The Wire at #1, but M*A*S*H, Deadwood, and Star Trek should be much higher.

    I agree with Rohan that both American Idol and Survivor belong on the list, because they had the most formative impact on reality programming in the more modern era. And I agree with Mark that Carson's The Tonight Show should have been included.

    And on that note ... since some of these picks clearly seem to reflect cultural impact, I think The Walking Dead should be on there. If you are going to have newer entries like Game of Thrones and Homeland (which reportedly went downhill in S2), then I think the show that completely blew the doors off of what kind of audience basic cable could attract should be on there. It was the highest rated scripted program on all of television last year, and has continued to draw increasingly large numbers over its three seasons, in an era when ratings are mostly declining all over the board. If there's room for Project Runway (which I confess I used to watch), The Comeback (how many people have really heard of that show?), and Dawson's Creek, then there's room for The Walking Dead.

    Also, where are the classic westerns? Gunsmoke and Bonanza? Gunsmoke was one of the longest running shows of all time!

  9. Alo, Chris.

    Is my mouse and eyes playing at me again or there really is no Fringe in the list?

    I really don't believe in lists like this.


    Still, have a great weekend, Chris. :)

  10. I'm supposing that BSG is Ron Moore's, right?! No way it could be the original...

    Very happy to see some of my favourite shows there! And I am one of those who believes TNG is better that TOS so I'm happy to see the arrangement! But I do agree that TOS should be higher up.

    Buffy in the top 10?! Woah!!! Bravo to whoever made that list, must be a fan 'cause I don't think someone who hasn't seen it would do that...

    No Fringe? *sniff*

    Yay for Friday Night Lights and Alias and Game of Thrones.

    I don't get the Simpsons love either. I can only deal with them in small doses.

    I really wonder what criteria people use to put these kinds of lists together... comparing some of these shows is like comparing apples and oranges!

  11. You really do need to watch Classic "Star Trek" - It is actually a story of unconditional love & respect among seven people, and three in particular: Captain James Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy...In its "alias" as sci-fi, it tackled the social issues of the day: Vietnam, racism, culture clashes, moral & sexual roles and women's liberation...And a lot of the technology that was only dreamed of in 1967 is with us now: computers, cell phones, medical scanners...
    My other favorites of all time are "ALIAS," "The Avengers" (Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel!!) and currently, "White Collar"...

  12. I'm not Dr. Who fan myself, but I think a show that is still on after 50 years should really be in the top 50. Also, how about 60 Minutes? Sesame Street?

    I'll shed a little tear about no love for Supernatural. Then I'll go to another Supernatural con. And go to Hall H at ComicCon. And get a demon protection tattoo. But this show isn't influential at all. Nope.

    Congratulations, Buffyfans!

  13. Firstly, I fully agree that Supernatural deserves to be at least in the first dozen shows. Secondly, can't see what Voice and other reality shows are doing in the list. People watch football matches and other sport events on TV, or live rock concerts, so? Thirdly, Doctor Who is great, but it's British. There're plenty of brilliant European shows, and in other countries too, who will be an expert enough to choose among them? Lastly, let's not forget that La Femme Nikita and Highlander had really good episodes and even seasons. Just a thought.

  14. Apart from the revolting inclusion of "reality" shows, this list is skewed way too heavily toward recent shows in general. (On a personal note, I find Seinfeld to be horribly unfunny - an unattractive and unappealing cast with no comic timing slogging through anemic scripts with no panache or flair whatsoever - so I honestly don't understand how it always gets rated above the literally hundreds of funnier sitcoms. But whatever.)

  15. How the heck did Alias and Lost make this list, but Fringe was completely snubbed???


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