TV Guide’s Top 60 TV Shows
TV Guide Magazine has compiled a list of the 60 best television series of all time and like all lists of its nature, it is sure to inspire a good amount of protests and light outrage from passionate television fans. Here are the top ten choices with their respective reasons why they rank:
- The Sopranos A family saga like no other and a Mafia drama that whacked us repeatedly
with its psychological riches and gallows humor, David Chase's groundbreaking masterpiece asked us to empathize with the most human of mobsters (and monsters): Tony, played by the great James Gandolfini. He and his gang haunt us still.
- Seinfeld The hilarious spirits of the masters of their domains echo in shows like Veep and cocreator Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, but Seinfeld set the bar for lovable outrageousness with memorable shtick that shocked and awed. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
- I Love Lucy No 'splaining necessary. We've loved zany Lucy, hotheaded Ricky and the loyal Mertzes for as long as we can remember. Whether in the candy factory, stomping grapes or cavorting with Harpo Marx, Lucille Ball showed generations of funny ladies and gents how it's done.
- All in the Family Norman Lear brought domestic television comedy into the real world with the Bunkers, whose '70s culture clashing hit home with an unflinching pungency but also a surplus of heart. And then came Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times and more: an empire of meaningful humor.
- The Twilight Zone Even 3-D pales next to the endlessly inventive "dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind" created by Rod Serling, TV's multifaceted Dickens. His anthology of fantastic stories bridged the worlds of sci-fi and horror with whimsy and an abiding faith in humanity.
- The Wire Hot-button issues — the war on drugs, political corruption, the failures of the education system — deeply resonated in David Simon's unvarnished journey into the heart of Baltimore's urban darkness. The result was so vérité, it often felt more like a documentary than a drama.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show America's sweetheart turned the world on with her smile, a toss of the hat and a plucky spunk that radiated throughout her TV-newsroom office. A gallery of lovable characters would earn their own spots in the pantheon — Rhoda, Phyllis and Lou Grant among them.
- M*A*S*H Laughing in the face of death, Hawkeye, Trapper John, B.J., Hot Lips and the other cutups of the 4077th made war a little less hellish. M*A*S*H wore its Purple Heart on its bloody sleeve, and we cared deeply for these reluctant heroes on the front lines of daring satire.
- Breaking Bad From the first tragicomic escapade to the blistering finale, Vince Gilligan's immorality tale was as addictive as the blue meth that made Walter White into a criminal legend. Bryan Cranston's transformative performance is one for the ages.
- The Simpsons After more than two decades and 500 episodes of whip-smart parody that made sacred cows an endangered species, we're still drawn to Springfield and its colorfully warped denizens.
Check out the full list here
. It is hard to argue with the shows placed in the top ten or the whole list itself (though it does have its share of puzzlers, The Waltons, American Idol), but some of the placements are a bit weird. Mad Men
all the way at 21 following entries like The Oprah Winfrey Show
and Masterpiece Classic
(its classification as a series is questionable)? Outrageous, but that’s just me. Breaking Bad
’s high position seems to be fueled by its recent status as a pop culture phenomenon, but I wonder if a couple years from now (one year, maybe even a couple months) its ranking could appear a bit overzealous, still not an offensively generous placement. Despite some dubious shows and rankings, it is a fun list highlighting some of the best work in television, some we might have even forgotten about. What do you think?