Last week, I may or may not have marked my calendar with the start dates of every fall show I watch. Because, apparently, I am obsessed with television.
OK, it’s not a clinical obsession. But over the years, storytelling on TV has gotten so dang good that I can’t help but get excited for more.
After reading Greatest Escapist’s top favorite shows of all time, I decided to shamelessly steal her blog post idea and come up with my top 10 favorite shows of all time. (Sorry ’bout that, Kate. And thank you!!)
10. Orange is the New Black–It has one of the world’s best ensemble casts, a notation often lost to the likes of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. The “girl power!” shouter in me adores that it gives meaty, interesting roles to women otherwise lost in TV land. And I love the invisible line between who is “good” and who is “bad,” a line I’d argue that Caputo walks brilliantly.
Litchfield’s best inmate. I don’t want to talk about it.
9. Roseanne–I watched this show religiously as a kid, and when I find reruns, I’m always amazed at how much it holds up. I mean … just look at that cast. Love her or hate her, Roseanne is a perfect, bitchy, loving mother. John Goodman is John Goodman. Aunt Jackie should have won a frickin’ Tony Award this year. Plus, the family encounters legit, real issues (let’s not talk about that final season, ‘k?) Dan and Roseanne’s constant battle with themselves to merge the crazy kids of their youth with the responsible parents they become is the show’s best conflict. And their Halloween episodes are my absolute favorite themed TV episodes.
Click on the pics to zoom.
8. Friends–Let’s be honest: I’m floored this isn’t higher on the list. It goes to show how much wonderful stories are being told out there. I was the prime age to be a Friends-o-phobe, and I have very distinct memories of it, including freshman year of college, where every single girl on the second floor of Humphrey Hall watched with their doors open, and when we learned that Ross was the father, every single girl on the second floor of Humphrey Hall screamed.
The One Where No One’s Ready, or: The single best episode of Friends. Could I BE wearing any more clothes?
7. Sex and the City–True confession: I hated this show when I first saw it. I didn’t get the appeal. Maybe because I was a virgin, I dunno. But this is one of the few shows on this list I could happily spend an entire evening watching. Each character is too much, but together, they’re all of us (except maybe Charlotte–I don’t think any of those women would actually like her). While I could never be as free with myself as Samantha, I think she’s about the best possible role model: strong but soft, successful, and the very best friend.
6. Game of Thrones–I do not like to judge people for their tastes. We should never be made to feel guilty about what we like. However, there is a contingency out there who refuse to watch this show. To them I say: Stop being stupid. “But I don’t like fantasy.” “It’s too rapey.” “There are too many characters.” Blah, blech, and blarg. GoT is storytelling and suspense at its finest. Nothing happens for no reason. The simple plotting such a detailed storyline requires, it’s completely fascinating. (And if you’ve watched it and don’t like it, two thumbs up. It’s that weird “I’m cool because I’ve never seen an episode of X popular thing” thing I don’t understand.)
Sir Davos, the savior or Westeros. (Or simply … my favorite character in a slew of A+ characters. Anytime he’s in peril, my husband all but smothers me with pillows to get me to stop muttering, “Anyone but Davos, anyone but Davos, anyone but Davos.”)
5. The Big Bang Theory–I love a show that focuses on nerds. I love how much science and physics and math is the draw, and I love how the writers make it all work, even though they know their audience probably has no idea what they’re talking about. I love that Penny unwittingly teaches the nerds how to be social, and I love how that favor is returned, showing her the value is being bright. In a world of sarcasm, BBT theory is sweet and hopeful.
“The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis” ends with one of those scenes that makes me double over laughing, no matter how many times I see it.
4. The Twilight Zone–I start every new year right: On the couch for as long as humanly possible, watching Syfy’s The Twilight Zone marathon. I love the stories. I love the twists. I love how sweet it is, and how creepy it is. I love baby Burgess Meredith in the most unfair situation on the planet and baby William Shatner freaked out by the single worst gremlin costume on the planet.
There are certainly more popular episodes of The Twilight Zone than The Hunt (including the two linked above), but this one is my favorite. If you don’t have a twinkly tear in your eye by the end, you have no heart–and I’m not even much of an animal person.
3. The Cosby Show–Until relatively recently, the Cosby’s held the top spot in my heart. I love this family so hard. It is rare to love every character on a show with so many actors. Cosby anniversary episodes could be a primer in how to do a sitcom right. Plus, it gave so many quoteables, even as a little kid: zerberts, jammin on the one (wtf does that mean?), the mating of the wildebeests (I’ve wanted to go to Nairobi ever since), I brought you in this world, and I’ll take you out.
PETER! Also, that little cutie on the end, in the striped leggins? Totally Alicia Keys.
2. The Walking Dead–Oh man, did I resist this show. I don’t like zombies, and I find zombie pop culture to be completely boring. Oh … you mean The Walking Dead isn’t about zombies? They’re just, like, a plot point? The writing and characters are some of the most fascinating in TV? Ohhhh. Got it. I got pretty into my early Walking Dead love a year and a half ago, if you’re interested. The love, clearly, has only grown from there. Because it is nearly my very favorite show in existence, second only to …
I follow so many Walking Dead actors and producers on social media. The cast seems simply spectacular. Hershel 4eva.
1. Boston Legal–Oh, Alan Shore and Denny Crane, my favoritest fictional relationship in the history of fictional relationships. Like Sex and the City and The Big Bang Theory, I can wake up at 9 a.m., turn on Boston Legal, and watch until 1 a.m., no doubt in my mind. I love how smart it is, I love how silly it is. I love how important its topics are and how silly its topics are. The episode Son of the Defender produces TV magic unlike any I have seen before or since, pulling from William Shatner’s loooooong career of acting. It can make me double over laughing and sob to the point of stopping my breath. Entertainment at its finest.
Runners up: Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, Girls
Potential runners up (as in, I’m mid-binge and loving these each SO SO MUCH, but I haven’t finished them yet so DON’T YOU DARE DISCUSS THEM IN THE COMMENTS): Parenthood, Mad Men. One of these could potentially take my No. 10 spot. Parenthood is dangerously close.