50 greatest shows of all time.
April 29, 2002 1:51 PM   Subscribe

50 greatest shows of all time. TV Guide has listed their top 50 greatest television shows of all time. What shows do you think they are missing?
posted by dcgartn (125 comments total)
Quite frankly, I'm upset that Airwolf didn't make the cut.
posted by dcgartn at 1:52 PM on April 29, 2002

Tom & Jerry, Knight Rider, Star Trek, American Bandstand, Top Of The Pops (if we go international)
posted by riffola at 1:56 PM on April 29, 2002

posted by transient at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2002

no "Get a Life" anywhere? this list is crap! ; )

what about the Kids in the Hall? (or does that count as cable?) I would argue that KITH was the funniest show ever, imo...
posted by stifford at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2002

Dammit Riffola, my first vote was going to be for Knight Rider :) And not KR2000, not Team Knight Rider - Just Knight Rider.

I've got a bad feeling about this, Michael
posted by holycola at 2:02 PM on April 29, 2002

Good Times.
Mr. Belvedere.
posted by rocketman at 2:02 PM on April 29, 2002

"Tom and Jerry" wasn't a show. It was animated shorts meant to be shown in movie theaters along with feature films. When it finally became a TV show it was "Tom and Jerry Kids," and all the things that made the originals so great (violence) had been removed.
posted by rocketman at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2002

The Jeffersons. Sanford and Son.

Seinfeld!? They might as well have put Mork & Mindy there (IMHO)
posted by vacapinta at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2002

Seinfeld greater than I Love Lucy? Pfeh. This list loses any credibility right there.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2002

No Silver Spoons? No Saved By the Bell? No Baby Bob?

All kidding aside, I'm actually very dismayed that Northern Exposure isn't on there. Setting aside the final season or two, it was hands-down the best TV show I've ever seen, week-in-and-week-out. I would also put in a vote for more recent shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Once and Again, and Alias (although I'm sure that one needs more time to prove itself). And Cheers should be much higher than 18 (and higher than Seinfeld), IMHO.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:14 PM on April 29, 2002

Family Ties.
posted by Sinner at 2:15 PM on April 29, 2002

No Perry Mason?
No Dukes of friggin' Hazzard?
No Star Trek?
This list is a joke.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:15 PM on April 29, 2002

What I find amazing is the degree to which NBC shows dominate the list. Anyone game to do a breakdown by network ?
posted by Sinner at 2:16 PM on April 29, 2002

Um... Hello? Northern Exposure? Where are these guys' heads?

Whoah! Good timing, pardonyou. I agree... Northern Exposure should be at the top of the list. C'mon people.
posted by zanpo at 2:16 PM on April 29, 2002

Obviously all these lists are subjective, but my #1 of all time would probably have to be M*A*S*H, probably because it was a large part of my childhood, when TV meant something to me. I can't get worked up for a TV show anymore.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2002

Twin Peaks might have qualified on a list of gtreatest pilots (a list ST:TNG would not qualify for), but it does not belong on a list of greatest series.

Something they got right:

Star Trek:The Next Generation -- yes
Star Trek -- NO!


[reads list again]

No Degrassi?
posted by NortonDC at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2002

Ghostwriter. Jamal Jenkins made that show.
posted by holloway at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2002

Ah, but Moose and Squirrel made leest.

Golly, gee!
posted by yhbc at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2002

Battlestar Galactica
posted by zanpo at 2:19 PM on April 29, 2002

Misfits of Science and Manimal got overlooked again...
posted by ttrendel at 2:19 PM on April 29, 2002

Canonization strikes again.
posted by scarabic at 2:22 PM on April 29, 2002

..."we could use a man like huyburt hoova aaaahhhgan"
posted by clavdivs at 2:22 PM on April 29, 2002

The West Wing. And SportsCenter.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:23 PM on April 29, 2002

Great weeping Jesus Christ on a pogo stick! Seinfeld?!?!

No A-Team? No Muppet Show? No Danger Mouse? No Ed Sullivan Show, for crying out loud?

posted by starvingartist at 2:23 PM on April 29, 2002

Seinfeld greater than I Love Lucy? Pfeh

Agreed. Agreed. What were they thinking? ILL is sacred.

(this is going to be a loooong thread, isnt it?)
posted by vacapinta at 2:24 PM on April 29, 2002

The West Wing. And SportsCenter.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2002

Yes on Muppet Show. Also, Soap should be on the list somewhere.
posted by yhbc at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2002

Check out the 'vote' feature. Current results show Buffy in the lead, followed by Seinfeld. *sigh*

OTOH, the winners have less than 1000 votes each so... if everyone from mefi votes....
posted by vacapinta at 2:28 PM on April 29, 2002

Get Smart? (I mean cmon, it's Mel Brooks and Buck Henry) Fawlty Towers? For the social conscience angle, The Smothers Brothers show might have been a nice nod.
posted by machaus at 2:29 PM on April 29, 2002

The list may as well be blank without "Scooby Doo"
posted by plaino at 2:32 PM on April 29, 2002

Parker Lewis Can't Lose.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:36 PM on April 29, 2002

The fact that something is sacred dosn't mean it's better. Seinfeld is way better then I love lucy.

And kids in the hall SUCKS!
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2002

Until I see BJ and the Bear on that list, they have my eternal enmity.
posted by UncleFes at 2:39 PM on April 29, 2002

Oh. Another list. i'm starting to get it now: There is no wisdom except that organized by number. In that case:


1. Most lists suck.
2. Lists suck ass like a vacuum cleaner plugged up to ass.
3. Lists suck like your mamma does.
5. Your momma is fat and ugly.
12. Really really ugly.
61. And also fat.
32. Space Ghost
33. Cowboy Bebop
34. Anything dealing with sexy women who take their clothes off.
36. Seinfield is so overrated.
900. Vice:Project Doom is better than Ninja Giaden.
10,000,000,000,000,000. What is that smell? I hope it isn't a gas leak.
posted by fuq at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2002

If Bewiched made it, then I Dream of Jeanie should be on there. . .
posted by Danf at 2:42 PM on April 29, 2002

No MacGyver? Angus MacGyver was the greatest TV hero of all time! The lack of Scooby also upsets me greatly. Arooo?
posted by bargle at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2002

Here ya go, Sinner:

TV Guide Top 50 Breakdown by Network (based on network on which show premiered)

NBC: 17
CBS: 16
ABC: 7
Fox: 2
HBO: 2
PBS: 2
WB: 1

Three shows were syndicated.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 2:50 PM on April 29, 2002

Catch sez: "The Virginian, he looks so sad when he sees bad people doing bad things".
posted by holloway at 2:53 PM on April 29, 2002

Agreed that Northern Exposure should have made the list. Other shows I would put on the list : Soap - probably the show that made me laugh more than any other, Dallas, which for the first 6 or 7 seasons was the perfect nighttime soap, Wiseguy, The Paper Chase, I'll Fly Away, Siskel & Ebert, Party of Five, The Wonder Years and Babylon 5.

And I'd have St. Elsewhere at #1
posted by gspira at 2:54 PM on April 29, 2002

Anyone who watched Whiz Kids knows that it was the greatest show on TV.
posted by gluechunk at 2:55 PM on April 29, 2002

Ren and Stimpy!
posted by atom128 at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2002

Vice: Project Doom was terrible compared to Ninja Gaiden. Ninja Gaiden didn't need car stages or first-person gun stages--VPD was just compensating for ripped-off gameplay and a weak-assed storyline.

Kinda like how Stephen King's The Golden Years tried to compensate for Stephen King by attempting to market itself to the Twin Peaks crowd.
posted by one.louder.ash! at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2002

Without Jerry Springer, you know the list is nonsense!
posted by Postroad at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2002

I'm with transient on Homicide. At least for the first season. Rocky and Bullwinkle ought to have been in the top ten. My Living Doll should have been #49.
posted by y2karl at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2002

the ben stiller show.

the counting with bruce springsteen sketch is indelibly burned into my memory -- yeah, painful.

i'm glad he at least made it in films later on.
posted by fishfucker at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2002

gspira, I forgot about I'll Fly Away. Agreed -- that should be on there.
posted by pardonyou? at 3:02 PM on April 29, 2002

NYPD Blue.
posted by ericost at 3:07 PM on April 29, 2002

Without Jerry Springer, you know the list is nonsense!

*bitch slaps Postroad*
posted by y2karl at 3:09 PM on April 29, 2002

Sports Night? I liked it more than I like West Wing.

Or Newsradio?

I'd also think about putting Six Feet Under over the Sopranos, but this season's really been touch-and-go for me.
posted by one.louder.ash! at 3:12 PM on April 29, 2002

anyone remember Small Wonder, the show with that robot girl?

that show sucked.
posted by dcgartn at 3:13 PM on April 29, 2002

"Square Pegs"

Lauren- "I've got this whole high school thing psyched out. It all breaks down into cliques.


Lauren-"Yeah, you know. Cliques. Little in-groups of different kids. All we have to do is click with the right clique, and we can finally have a social life that's worthy of us."

Patty-"No way! Not even with cleavage."

Lauren-"I tell you, this year we're going to be popular."


Lauren-"Yeah. Even if it kills us."
posted by ColdChef at 3:13 PM on April 29, 2002

Have to agree with everyone else who suggested Northern Exposure should be on there. That's the one glaring omission I noted in the list.

Two shows that are probably too new to be on there yet, but definitely have the potential to be on a similar list 5 years from now, if they keep up their current quality: Malcolm in the Middle and Twenty-four. (Twenty-four, in particular, will be very dependent on how they handle the second season, if there is one--there are at least a dozen ways to go wrong there.)

They ranked Saturday Night Live at #10--while I won't argue that SNL should be completely off the list (I can see it going either way), it definitely doesn't belong in the top ten--it's been far too inconsistent for that. It's very telling that the 90-minute show is cut to an hour in reruns on the Comedy Network. Some of the sketches are brilliant, of course, but at the other extreme there's usually at least 30 minutes of crap in each show which can be safely cut.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:19 PM on April 29, 2002

As it stands right now, for me, the one true list is:
1. Simpsons (easy choice)
2. Seinfeld (re-runs are still better than most regular shows)
3. Law & Order (the original)
4. SCTV (missing from TV Guides list? horror!)
5. WKRP (one of the best ensembles assembled)
6. X-Files (would be higher if not for the last two years)
7. Carol Burnett Show (lost classics)
8. Friends (would be higher if not for the season 4-5 doldrums)
9. 60 Minutes (liked it a lot as a teenager)
10. Malcolm in the Middle (it's going to be a flame that burns bright, but not long)

Shows that people tell me are good but don't make my list:
Cheers (they seem SO dated now)
Buffy (I've only seen a couple episodes so far...it could be on my list in 10 years)
ER & MASH (not a huge fan of medical shows)
Frasier (same jokes/plots are getting tiring...but David Hyde Pierce is excellent)

The rest of the big ones I'm not old enough to have seen first run, or repeats/re-runs are too scarce to find, or I didn't think were good enough.

Best Canadian show? Street Cents.
Best new show that will probably make the list? C.S.I.
posted by grum@work at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2002

where in hell is mary hartman, mary hartman?
posted by pxe2000 at 3:36 PM on April 29, 2002

What about The Trouble with Tracey or The Mad Dash?
posted by dobbs at 3:38 PM on April 29, 2002

Oh, and I'll also note the following categories:

Cult Show Which Admittedly Is Not To Everyone's Taste (pun intended) And So Would Never Make A List Compiled By A Large Group Of People, But Is Still On My Personal Top Fifty List: Iron Chef

Show Which Is Highly Regarded Both By Critics And By The General Public, But Which I Never Much Cared For And Would Not Be On My List: Seinfeld.

(At the risk of hijacking the thread, I'll note that while many Seinfeld fans didn't care so much for the show's finale, I liked it very much--I like to think of the finale as "the episode for people who don't normally like the show." Perhaps I like it so much because, IMO, those four got exactly what they deserved.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:40 PM on April 29, 2002

Barney Miller. . .talk about great ensembles. . .
posted by Danf at 3:42 PM on April 29, 2002

eyeballkid, I would have to choose the Adventures of Beans Baxter over Parker Lewis (although PLCL probably lasted much longer...)

and Benny Hill needs to be added somewhere on the list too...
posted by stifford at 3:48 PM on April 29, 2002

What about Nickelodeon's underrated, ahead-of-its-time masterpiece Roundhouse? And The Cosby Show should be higher up!
posted by grrarrgh00 at 3:56 PM on April 29, 2002

Actually, I think The Adventures of Pete & Pete was pretty damn funny.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:57 PM on April 29, 2002

PS: Yay Buffy!!
posted by grrarrgh00 at 4:01 PM on April 29, 2002

What, no Mystery Science Theater 3000?
posted by MegoSteve at 4:05 PM on April 29, 2002

Oh, and you can't forget Pee-wee's Playhouse...
posted by MegoSteve at 4:06 PM on April 29, 2002

Hmmm, no Tracey Ullman, eh?

Letterman is overrated, even if he is better than that male Rosie Leno.

And where the hell is Nova?
posted by dglynn at 4:25 PM on April 29, 2002

Ally McBeal hasn't been mentioned once in this thread!!! So, that's my nomination. Thankfully, The Larry Sanders show is in there.. which is kinda like a funnier version of Seinfeld to me. Where's Ally McBeal!?!
posted by wackybrit at 4:32 PM on April 29, 2002

Ooh, and a late one.. Married With Children!
posted by wackybrit at 4:33 PM on April 29, 2002

No "Odd Couple"?
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:35 PM on April 29, 2002

I agree that 60 Minutes is awesome.

I'm also glad Seinfeld topped I Love Lucy. I hate, hate, hate, hate I Love Lucy. I mean, I really can't stand that show. At all.
posted by tomorama at 4:44 PM on April 29, 2002

bollocks to this list.

where is "the state?"

or, more importantly, where the hell is "the super mario brothers super show?"
posted by ronv at 4:46 PM on April 29, 2002

Oh, a few more I forgot:

Mad About You. (Thanks, Lifetime, for bringing back reruns of this--the first thing ever on Lifetime worth watching.)

Cosmos. Carl Sagan is without question the greatest popularizer of science--certainly within my lifetime, possibly ever. (Although at 13 episodes (because it was planned that way, not because it was cancelled) Cosmos arguably borders on being a miniseries, which I presume wouldn't qualify for the list.) (Thanks to dglynn for mentioning Nova and thus reminding me not to neglect PBS.)

OK, I'll quit posting in this thread now.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:04 PM on April 29, 2002

Of course it's not on the list, but I'll be damned if Upright Citizens Brigade wasn't the funniest show of all time.

Good call on Law and Order, too.

And what about Colombo?

And The State?

And Monty Python's Flying Circus?
posted by saladin at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2002

Hogan's Heroes!
posted by fletcher at 5:25 PM on April 29, 2002

How about Babylon 5?
posted by sigma7 at 5:27 PM on April 29, 2002

grrarrgh00 ...definately. I (heart) Buffy.

But...I always liked "Mad About You". I was a teen in ND when it came out, so you'd think it wouldn't appeal to me. But it did, somehow. Also, I wish "Mystery Science Theatre" had been up there.

And the child in me cries out, "No ALF?"

That show made my day as a kid.
posted by burnt-toast at 5:42 PM on April 29, 2002

If somebody does a list like this in five years, I bet "The Shield" will be on it.
posted by diddlegnome at 5:53 PM on April 29, 2002

For the love of god, STRANGERS WITH CANDY!!!!
posted by Karl at 6:07 PM on April 29, 2002

The Prisoner
The Smothers Brothers
Danger Man

among many others... their list is middlebrow shlock.
posted by anser at 6:08 PM on April 29, 2002

I'm with gspira and sigma7: they have X-Files, ST:TNG, and Buffy... but no Babylon 5?? Pfft.

and I Dream of Jeannie?
posted by mkn at 6:19 PM on April 29, 2002

There's a ton of great shows listed in this thread that aren't on the list. But to get them on there, you'd have to knock a few off. Here are my nominees: "thirtysomething," "Frasier," "Friends," "Twin Peaks," and "Bewitched."

I'd add "Northern Exposure," "Get Smart," "The West Wing," "I'll Fly Away," and "Homicide."

And if I'd seen "Oprah" more and could form more of an opinion, I'd probably knock it off in favor of "The Wonder Years."
posted by diddlegnome at 6:40 PM on April 29, 2002

Freaks And Geeks.
posted by spilon at 6:40 PM on April 29, 2002

So Buffy finally beats My So-Called Life in the teen-angst genre. Joss must be doing the Snoopy Dance.

Hey, what about Moonlighting? That was a show. More of a show than Friends at least.
posted by furiousthought at 6:42 PM on April 29, 2002

I'm gonna have to echo a few others here and say Homicide, Homicide, Homicide. Reruns of that show are just about all I watch anymore. That show had excellent writing, superb actors, and was pretty much the last show on TV with any honest pretensions to realism;ie the charcters were not held up as examples or inspirations or walking points of view, merely human beings. Sometimes they were unattractive, sometimes they were unfashionable, sometimes they held unpopular opinions. Also, it had several African-American characters who were not there as tokens or "racial representatives", which probably alienated people used to Urkel and the Cosby's. Not to mention, it featured Richard Belzer, Bridgeport, Connecticuts favorite son.
This pretty much ensured it would be a marginal ratings performer, which is the worlds loss.
Also , I'm surprised Barney Miller didn't make the list. It was one of the few consistently funny sitcoms to last almost a decade, and Abe Vigoda's Fish is one of the all time greatest TV characters. Plus he seems to share Dick Clark's anti-aging secrets since he looks exactly the same now as he did 20 years ago.
posted by jonmc at 6:43 PM on April 29, 2002

Twin Peaks might have qualified on a list of greatest pilots (a list ST:TNG would not qualify for), but it does not belong on a list of greatest series.

Boo and hiss on you.

They also left off Mr. Show.
posted by brittney at 6:45 PM on April 29, 2002

You know, I just don't get why Seinfeld is so darned popular. I suspect that it should make the list only because it is less a piece of crap than most comedy programming. But still, it struck me as being rather shallow, in contrast to M*A*S*H that could blend its comedy with pathos or even outright tragedy on occasion. The few episodes of Seinfeld that I've watched just seem to be painfully stupid.

The list seems to be heavily biased towards popularity over quality. That is the only reason that I can think of to put The Defenders on the list, and to leave out The Prisoner.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:57 PM on April 29, 2002

This thread is particularly good if you imagine all the participants sitting in a circle of folding chairs, and getting up in turn, shouting their comments.

Don't know why.
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:00 PM on April 29, 2002

Yes to WKRP and Moonlighting

No to Star Trek NG

Absolutely no to Buffy

Wha????? to Rosanne

Cheers & MASH shoulda been higher on the list, and where the heck is DangerMouse?!
posted by Bixby23 at 7:02 PM on April 29, 2002

Doctor Who, dammit.
posted by webmutant at 7:25 PM on April 29, 2002

The Prisoner
The Smothers Brothers
Danger Man

posted by clavdivs at 7:28 PM on April 29, 2002

I'm surprised (and disappointed) at the absence of Miami Vice from the list. I'm also quite surprised that no one has even mentioned Miami Vice yet.

I'm not the least bit surprised, but yet still disappointed, that Alien Nation isn't on the list.

I'd also put 21 Jump Street, Party of Five, Moonlighting and MacGyver on the list.
posted by sueinnyc at 7:39 PM on April 29, 2002

sueinnyc-Patty and Selma salute you...
posted by jonmc at 7:44 PM on April 29, 2002

You young people, tsk, tsk.
The original Avengers
The original Batman
The Man from U.N.C.L.E
The original Star Trek
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Masterpiece Theater's The Six Wives of Henry VIII and
Upstairs Downstairs
Burns & Allen
Dr. Who
That Was The Week That Was
posted by Lynsey at 7:48 PM on April 29, 2002

Lynsey- my freind Paul used to mow Robert Vaughn's lawn. He was a lousy tipper, Paul said. Sure looked suave with a big gun though...
posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on April 29, 2002

Where is The Simpsons??? Yes to Northern Exposure, and what about LA Law?
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 8:43 PM on April 29, 2002

How easily we forget the true greats...
posted by Poagao at 8:43 PM on April 29, 2002

Babylon 5
The Prisoner
Northern Exposure

and does nobody else like Oz?
posted by juv3nal at 9:01 PM on April 29, 2002

Where is The Simpsons???

Number 8. And, one of only two animated shows in the list, by my count. I'm still so happy that Rocky and Bullwinkle made the list, that I can easily get over any other disagreements and disappointments.
posted by yhbc at 9:03 PM on April 29, 2002

Where is Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies?
posted by MaddCutty at 9:31 PM on April 29, 2002

Well it's obvious some of the best Australian TV was never going to be on there, but if it was I'd recommend Frontline and The Games to be somewhere near the top (Frontline certainly).

And where, exactly, is the A-Team?
posted by Neale at 9:33 PM on April 29, 2002

um, they're not still in Los Angeles?
posted by yhbc at 9:47 PM on April 29, 2002

For the love of Fred Savage - THE WONDER YEARS!

Good call on Seinfeld.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer? That's just wrong.
SportsCenter should be on the list.
posted by wklang at 9:51 PM on April 29, 2002

my bad, yhbc. I looked at the list a few times and didn't see it. thanks for pointing it out.
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 9:57 PM on April 29, 2002

For my money, nothing beats a Barnaby Jones/Mannix marathon. You say Quinn Martin, I say Quality Television.

Oh. And MST3K anyone?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:59 PM on April 29, 2002

Anyone notice how there are no soaps? No Dynasty, Dallas, Neighbours, etc.
posted by riffola at 10:14 PM on April 29, 2002

Most people here don't seem to understand the true genius of Seinfeld.
posted by gyc at 10:38 PM on April 29, 2002

The fact that Buffy made it onto this list gives me heart that reviewers actually watch the shows and don't base their opinions on popular opinion or expectation.

Then again, SNL made the list, which leads me to believe the opposite...
posted by kfury at 11:04 PM on April 29, 2002

LA Law?
The Simpsons?

That's just low...
posted by jedrek at 11:09 PM on April 29, 2002

I'm amazed Letterman made #7 and absurdist TV genius Ernie Kovacs is nowhere to be found on the list. Kovacs is without a doubt one of television's most imaginative and hilarious pioneers; his 1950s "gag-oriented, camera-conscious brand of humor" would later become very familiar to SNL and Letterman fans. He was the first person to joyously dive into the oddball possibilities of the new technology (instead of treating it like a mini Broadway stage, say), and loved to play with split screens, talk to his cameramen and interview people on the street outside the studio. The fact that he did all this live with minimal rehearsals only adds to the achievement. I usually don't care about fake "best-of" lists like this, but TV Guide ignoring Ernie Kovacs -- the man who basically showed everyone else how to use the medium for maximum comic effect -- is just plain sad.
posted by mediareport at 12:48 AM on April 30, 2002

The Young Ones, dammit! Or is this just American stuff?

Once in every lifetime, comes a love like this...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:54 AM on April 30, 2002

50's TV is way underrepresented. Doesn't fit their targeted demographic, I guess. One token western, Gunsmoke, a long-lived but pretty average series. The Rifleman, Maverick, Palladin...all are better horse operas than Gunsmoke.

Burns & Allen, Phil Silvers, Jack Benny, Red Skelton are also MIA. For shame.

I second Barney Miller. The theme song alone is reason enough to include on the list.

If you value special effects over originality, then yeah, I guess Star Trek TNG wins over the Star Trek I.

Homicide absolutely deserves a spot. Along with my other favorite cop show, Dragnet.
posted by groundhog at 6:28 AM on April 30, 2002

I always felt sorry for those who *didn't get* Seinfeld. You see friends, it was a show about "nothing", consequently there wasn't anything to *get*, just four very shallow people attaching great emphasis to the most minute and obscure aspects of everyday life.
Shows of obvious quality belonging in the top half of this list would, I agree, be Homicide and NYPD Blue; Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies and Titus (for the Bizaro-world aspect) and for the pre-MTV crowd, Shindig, a live 60s show featuring such acts as the Supremes, Otis Redding, the Beach Boys, James Brown, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds,The Everly Brothers, The Who and every other British invasion band.
posted by Mack Twain at 8:36 AM on April 30, 2002

Right, Wagon Train to the stars, real original.

I'm perfectly secure in the righteousness of choosing to watch Patrick Stewart over William Shatner any day.
posted by NortonDC at 8:43 AM on April 30, 2002

Peter Gunn
posted by whatsupdoc at 8:56 AM on April 30, 2002

Flowery Twats...uh...Flay Otters...uh...Farty Towels...uh...Fawlty Towers
posted by plinth at 9:31 AM on April 30, 2002

home movies, transformers :) and NOVA!

does V count?
posted by kliuless at 9:58 AM on April 30, 2002

This thread makes me feel old. There are some surprising and absolutely right choices on the list, like American Family and Laugh-In.

But it is good to see the nod to other genres besides sitcoms and hourlong dramas -- Donohue probably is one of the fifty most important shows historically, as is Sesame Street, Twilight Zone, Playhouse 90 and even the Today Show. But is "historically significant" the same as "greatest" -- not unless you define it that way, which isn't clear.

Shows that I'd add -- ABC's Wide World of Sports, That Was the Week that Was, The Prisoner, and The Monkees (personal peculiarity). I don't know why miniseries and made-for-TV movies shouldn't count, too. Even though it's horribly dated now, the original Brian's Song invented a genre. And why no daytime soap operas? Or evening news shows (Walter Cronkite shaped a nation)?

I think that given the vast morass of television flow over the years, calling Seinfeld the Greatest Show Of All Time is asinine. It's almost easier to know what to kick off the list than what to include.
posted by elgoose at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2002

If Patrick Stewart is such a great Actor, how come he couldn't even come up with a goddamn French accent? They should have renamed his character John Luke Packard.

As to Shatner, well, I don't mind a little ham with my eggs.

"Wagon Train to the Stars" is a pretty fair description of both series. And really, I like them both. I just think the original Trek is the more innovative IF you compare each show to the contemporary programming of its time.
posted by groundhog at 10:30 AM on April 30, 2002

spilon is right: Freaks and Geeks was on for only one season, but, man, what a great show. I would put Buffy at or near the top of the list.
posted by Holden at 10:36 AM on April 30, 2002

groundhog, innovation is not the same as greatness.
posted by NortonDC at 11:16 AM on April 30, 2002

Most people here don't seem to understand the true genius of Seinfeld.

I lke the show OK, but Seinfeld is easily the most overrated show ever

Maybe a dozen episodes of the entire series are worthy of repeated viewing.The first and last two seasons are worthless and the finale was universally panned as the worst ever.It blew hard.

In syndication, at least here, they show the same 2 dozen episodes over and over.That's very weak for a show that was on for 9 years.Seinfeld pales in comparison to the classics.It's a shallow show for shallow people.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 12:00 PM on April 30, 2002

If Patrick Stewart is such a great Actor, how come he couldn't even come up with a goddamn French accent?

I can easily imagine ways that Picard could have ended up with a French name but a British accent. I have much more difficulty imagining ways his starship could exceed lightspeed, not to mention some of the other things that regularly occurred on that show.
posted by kindall at 12:32 PM on April 30, 2002

Bagpuss, Mr. Benn, The Clangers, My So-Called Life and of course Doctor Who.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:54 PM on April 30, 2002

Strange that there are so many Seinfeld haters out there. The show was consistently funny and is still great, even in reruns. That being said, how didn't 'Small Wonder' make the list? Or Alf. Those bastards.
posted by blefr at 3:38 PM on April 30, 2002

Strange that there are so many Seinfeld haters out there.

What I find strange is that there aren't more "Friends" haters out there (or in here, if you will). What a godawful show.
posted by diddlegnome at 4:36 PM on April 30, 2002

I must second the observation that Seinfeld is/was overrated, at least in relation to the hype the show got. There were some very, VERY episodes, but only the middle seasons contained outstanding writing; and the last two seasons, and even the last three, ranged from disappointing to terrible.

Another thing: by its nature, a lot of what was funny upon first view ceased being funny upon repeated viewing: some comedy is more durable than other comedy.

P.S. Friends has never had hype of Seinfeld, but it's dive was even more precipitous: it got fast. It became unbearable after two or three seasons.

I think fame destroys actors and writers. Or market forces do, once popularity setss in: it's an interesting subject, when a certain strand of humor stops being funny.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:03 PM on April 30, 2002

(it got stale fast)
posted by ParisParamus at 5:07 PM on April 30, 2002

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