Pick Your Favorite TV Shows Of All-Time
Jeff Jarvis over at Buzzmachine asked people to “list your favorite 10 TV shows ever — but not the dutiful ones, the ones you like for a reason.”
10) X-Files: For a while, this was a fun show. Mulder and Scully would find some monster or alien, they’d stop it in the end, but the proof would slip through their fingers. Then Mulder stopped regularly appearing, they starting drifting off into this over-arching government conspiracy, and the quality dipped. But, those first few seasons were a blast.
9) Xena: Again, simple concept: Xena and her lovely companion Gabrielle wandered around the countryside battling and defeating evil. A God would show up here and there, Bruce Campbell did a few walk-on appearances, Gabrielle was just unbelievably hot — it kept my attention focused for an hour.
8) Hercules: Hercules was the exact same show as Xena, but without the eye candy. On the other hand, the suspension of disbelief during the fighting scenes was easier since Hercules was this immensely strong half-God. That’s why this show edged out Xena.
7) The Twilight Zone: The show could sometimes be hit and miss and the quality was consistently bad once it went from 30 minutes to an hour, but there were so many fantastic episodes and a lot of them hold up even today. As a matter of fact, in many cases the Twilight Zone was more in touch with certain parts of America than what you see on TV today because the show’s writers seemed be more comfortable with sympathetically portraying America, religion, the military, & country folk than the vast majority of TV shows do today.
6) The Young Ones: Along with Beavis and Butthead, I think the wild and outrageous humor of “Young Ones” was a forerunner of a lot of the best humor toons on today like “South Park” & “Family Guy.”
5) Futurama: Futurama was always a better, more creative show than Matt Groening’s more famous effort, “The Simpsons.” In the end, Bender & Frye > than Homer and Bart.
4) Highlander: This was another brilliantly formulaic action/fantasy. Every week, a new immortal would show up looking to kill Duncan McCloud. Then there would be a few flashbacks to when they met a few hundred years earlier, there would be a climatic fight, and Duncan would take their head. In a lot of ways, this show was paced similarly to Xena & Hercules, but the action was better and Duncan McCloud was a deeper, more interesting character than the leads in either of those two aforementioned series.
3) South Park: SP is easily the funniest TV show ever made. Not only have there been very few “clunker episodes,” the show is so good you can watch it over and over without ever becoming bored. SP is the cutting edge of humor.
2) Star Trek: Again, we have another show that stuck to a formula. The Enterprise encounters some sort of danger, the ship is threatened, they overcome the difficulty and then they win the day in the end. Granted, the show may seem a little dated these days, but in part that’s because the show has been so heavily copied, for so long, that it’s almost impossible for those old episodes to feel “fresh” anymore. That being said, any show that had two of TV’s all-time great characters, Kirk & Spock, deserves a high rating.
1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The awesomeness of this show is impossible for me to overstate. I started watching the show for the vampire slaying, but the character development and plot twists really hooked me in. Not only did they do a great job of humanizing the characters and making them likable, the character development was just beyond stellar.
Take Spike, a vampire, for instance. Early on in the series, he’s one of the main bad guys. Later, after having a government chip put in his head that keeps him from harming humans, he becomes sort of a pathetic figure. Then, over time, he manages to win Buffy’s confidence and the two of them begin secretly sleeping together. But, after Spike screws that up, he gets a soul, comes back, proves himself to be a hero, and becomes a champion of good.
That sort of thing, along with a healthy plot and lots of action, was what made Buffy the Vampire Slayer such an incredible TV show.