This is the first part of a nine part series featuring my favorite TV shows of all time. These are my favorites, not necessarily what I think are the best made or are most deserving of an Emmy, they are just the shows that I have enjoyed the most. My criteria is only that it must be a prime time television show and not a talk show, everything else is fair game.
Note: There are a few shows that I have not yet seen, and I would like to point them out because of their popularity: Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Sopranos, The West Wing and The Wire. They are only excluded from the list, because I haven’t seen any episodes of these shows.
O.K. Let’s get started……..
#108. Body of Proof (2011-Present)
This show just began in March of this year, but it shows great promise. Dana Delany is in her element here as a Medical Examiner, by default. She was a surgeon, until an accident left her hands unreliable. It is a great premise with “every dead body tells a story”, and Delany’s Dr. Megan Hunt is the one to tell it. Delany is a great actress and finally can shine, unlike her stint on Desperate Housewives, where they under utilized her.
Notable Performance: Geoffery Arend as Dr. Ethan Gross
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
#107. Who’s the Boss (1984-1992)
Back in the ’80’s when sitcoms ruled, Who’s the Boss was one of the most popular ones. Tony Danza as the tough guy housekeeper and Judith Light as the savvy career woman had really great chemistry, and for 7 seasons we waited for them to get together. Throw in Katherine Helmond and it became a very funny, great family show.
Notable Performance: Alyssa Milano as Samantha Micelli
Memorable Episode : Season 1 Episode 22 : First Kiss
#106. The 4400 (2004-2007)
I love Sci-Fi shows that go places that we haven’t seen before, and when The 4400 first came on the air it was so intriguing. 4400 people who had disappeared and were abducted by aliens, now have returned to earth. The show dealt with character issues of how these people cope with getting back in society and how their loved ones deal with their return. The only reason that this show is so high on my list is that the last season left us wanting more, and unfortunately it ended up getting cancelled.
Notable Performance: Joel Gretsch as Tom Baldwin
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
#105. Iron Chef America (2005 – Present)
Food Network came alive after Iron Chef America began. Based on a very popular Japanese cooking show, Iron Chef America pits our favorite celebrity chefs against each other in a battle style cook-off. A secret ingredient is chosen and each chef must make 5 dishes in which that ingredient is showcased, all in 60 minutes. It is fun and exciting and we have seen some dishes that we never thought would ever exist (Trout Ice Cream).
Notable Performance: Alton Brown as the Commentator
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 11: Bobby Flay v. Hiroyuki Sakai
#104. Growing Pains (1985-1992)
Growing Pains was one of my favorites as a kid. The Seavers were a genuine family that dealt with real issues. There was nobody bigger than Kirk Cameron in the mid ’80’s. Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns were great, hip parents as well.
Notable Performance: Tracey Gold as Carol Seaver
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 15: Thank God it’s Friday
#103. The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978)
Bob Newhart as a psychologist in Chicago dealing with his wacky patients and co-workers. Bob played the straight man to all the chaos around him, and he did it wonderfully. Characters from this show have even shown up in other TV series’ such as St. Elsewhere, Newhart, SNL and Murphy Brown.
Notable Performance: Marcia Wallace as Carol Kester
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 11: Over the River and Through the Woods
#102. Providence (1999-2002)
Providence was one of those rare shows that just made you feel good. It wasn’t groundbreaking or spine-tingling it was just superb acting and a wonderful story. Unfortunately, those kind of shows don’t always last that long. Melina Kanakaredes stars as Dr. Sydney Hansen who has moved back to Providence RI from Hollywood after her mother passes away. The show is about how Sydney deals with her Dad, Brother, Sister, and visions of her Mother. It was just a solid show that didn’t get enough of a chance to show what it could do.
Notable Performance: Paula Cale as Joanie Hansen
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 17: The Storm
#101. Cybill (1995-1998)
The short-lived series Cybill focused on a struggling middle-aged actress trying to make it in hollywood. It involved Cybill’s two ex-husbands, two daughters and her heavy drinking best friend. It was a very humorous look at the hollywood life and sometimes how ridiculous it is. It was unfortunately cancelled abruptly and didn’t really give the show a proper ending.
Notable Performance : Christine Baranski as Marianne Thorpe (Emmy Winner 1995)
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 4 : Cybill with an S
#100. The Killing (2011-Present)
I have only seen 4 episodes of The Killing, and it is still making my top 108. This show, so far, is a deeply intense thriller. It centers around the murder of teenager Rosie Larsen. We follow the detectives as they search for clues and interrogate the suspects. Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton are agonizing to watch as the grieving parents of Rosie. I have great hope for this new show and would expect it to move up on my list as it continues to get better.
Notable Performance: Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 11 : Missing
#99. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1962)
Alfred Hitchcock is one of my all time favorite directors. His movies changed the way suspense was portrayed. Alfred Hitchcock Presents was a great platform to showcase his great story telling. The reason it is so high on my list is because I haven’t seen many of the episodes. It also has one of the most recognizable theme songs in television “Funeral March of a Marionette”.
Notable Performance: Alfred Hitchcock as the Host
Memorable Episode: Season 5 Episode 15 : Man from the South
#98. Wings (1990-1997)
Brothers Joe and Brian Hackett run an airline off Nantucket Island in this 90’s sitcom. One thing that made this show work was the parade of characters that came through that airport. This was a great ensemble cast and not one actor outshined another, everyone was terrific. Lasting 8 seasons, Wings was probably more popular in syndication than it was airing live.
Notable Performance: Thomas Haden Church as Lowell Mathers
Memorable Episode: Season 6 Episode 26: Here it is: The Big Wedding
#97. The Nanny (1993-1999)
Fran Drescher played an obnoxious, loud Jewish woman from Queens, who falls into a job being a nanny for a upperclass Broadway producer with three children. Fran and Charles Shaughnessy have great chemistry,even after they got together. It was a very funny show, with many endearing moments between Fran and the children. The show also featured many famous guest stars in its 6 seasons such as Elton John, Rosie O’Donnell and Elizabeth Taylor.
Notable Performance : Renee Taylor as Sylvia Fine
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 20: Lamb Chop’s on the Menu