#36. Desperate Housewives (2004-Present)
The ladies of Wisteria Lane are still keeping us entertained after seven seasons. The four main women have held the show together and kept things interesting along the way. The mix of mystery, relationships, comedy and drama all come together very nicely. Housewives always keeps us guessing to what will happen next. In a brilliant move, they jumped ahead five years in season five to develop new stories. Mostly the show is about friendship, and how these four women stick together through all the chaos around them.
Notable Performance: Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo (Emmy Winner 2005)
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 23 : One Wonderful Day
#35. Will & Grace (1998-2006)
Will is a lawyer in New York City and he lives with his best friend Grace, an interior designer. Will is gay and Grace is straight and they help each other out in relationships and other problems that arise. Their friends Jack and Karen steal the show with their outrageousness. Jack is extremely flamboyant and Karen is Grace’s boozy rich secretary that basically only works for the entertainment of it. Tons of guest stars and brave storylines made this an absolute hit.
Notable Performance: Megan Mullally as Karen Walker (Emmy Winner 2000 & 2006)
Memorable Episode: Season 3 Episode 18: An Old Fashioned Piano Party
#34. Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
The HBO drama created by Alan Ball, was a hit from the start. Six Feet Under takes a peek inside the Fisher family who runs a funeral home in California. Son, Nate, has just returned home after his father’s death and helps his brother and mother run the family business. This was one of the first shows I remember watching and thinking, “wow, is this really on T.V.”? It was so progressive, and so daring and the characters were so complex, it just completely floored me. A lot of shows have tried to live up to the same quality as Six Feet Under, and many have come close, but it was this show that first set the standards for cable television dramas.
Notable Performances: Francis Conroy as Ruth Fisher
Peter Krause as Nate Fisher
Memorable Episode: Season 5 Episode 12 : Everybody’s Waiting
#33. Sex and the City (1998-2004)
Sex and the City is about 4 single women and their adventures with men in NYC. It is a very candid look at what women think and react to the opposite sex. The four best friends are brilliantly played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristen Davis, Kim Catrall and Cynthia Nixon. Narrated by Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, there is usually a theme to each episode as she is writing her column. I think Carrie Bradshaw changed the face of fashion in the six years she was on the air. Also, cosmopolitan cocktails and endless New York City landmarks were prevalent throughout the show. Sex and the City continued with two blockbuster films after the series ended.
Notable Performances: Kim Catrall as Samantha Jones
Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbs (Emmy Winner 2004)
Memorable Episode : Season 3 Episode 9 : Easy Come, Easy Go
#32. 24 (2001-2010)
Does any one not know who Jack Bauer is? The “real-time” action packed drama features Keifer Sutherland, in a role of a lifetime, as Jack Bauer, a counter-terrorist unit agent. Each season of 24 is one day in the life of Jack, usually involving a terrorist attack of some sort. Great guest stars and co-stars, such as Jean Smart, Dennis Haysbert, Cherry Jones and Carlos Bernard, make this a really well-rounded show. After 8 seasons (or days) there were some hits and some misses, yet no one can deny that Jack Bauer is the ultimate bad ass.
Notable Performance: Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
Memorable Episode: Season 5 Episode 24: 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.
#31. The Facts of Life (1979-1988)
The girls of Eastland entertained and educated us for nine years. Discussing some of the most controversial topics for a mainstream sitcom at the time. It was a great show to watch as a young woman growing up, realizing that these girls dealt with the same problems that you did. The five main cast members, led by Charlotte Rae, had impeccable chemistry. Everyone of them were cast perfectly and their relationships with each other seemed very real. Co-stars George Clooney as handyman George Burnett and Geri Jewell as Blair’s cousin with Cerebral Palsey Geri Tyler, were an added bonus to the already smash hit show.
Notable Performance: Nancy McKeon as Jo Polniaczek
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 5: Cousin Geri
#30. Survivor (2000-Present)
Survivor is probably the show that started the reality show movement. When it debuted in the summer of 2000 it created a genre of television that is still going strong. Survivor was a fascinating look at what happens when you strand a group of people on a deserted island then have to vote each other off one by one until there is a sole survivor. What makes Survivor stand the test of time more than any other show, is that the dynamics of each show can change on a dime. How people react to others and how they deal with certain circumstances are something that can not be scripted. Not every season is riveting T.V., but most seasons are engrossing to watch the contestants squirm and connive to obtain that million dollar prize.
Notable Performance: Jeff Probst as the Host (Emmy Winner 2008, 2009 & 2010)
Memorable Performance: Season 1 Episode 13 : Season Finale
#29. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
Mary Richards was the quintessential strong, single woman. She moved to Minneapolis by herself and gets a job at a television newsroom. Mary Tyler Moore was perfect in this role, it was a change from the submissive wife, Laura Petrie, she played on the Dick Van Dyke Show. Besides MTM’s influence, this show worked because the supporting cast was just as great, Ed Asner, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper and Ted Knight. Even though this was called the Mary Tyler Moore Show, it truly was an ensemble cast. The show is now forty years old but the themes and hilarity still hold up, that shows how remarkable this series was.
Notable Performances : Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards (Emmy Winner 1973, 1974 & 1976)
Ed Asner as Lou Grant (Emmy Winner 1971, 1972 & 1975)
Memorable Episode: Season 6 Episode 7 : Chuckles Bites the Dust
#28. Modern Family (2009 – Present)
A documentary style comedy that follows the Pritchett family and their lives. A perfectly executed show that explores the issues of “modern” families. Patriarch Jay is married to a voluptuous Columbian woman who is half is age, who has a young, very precocious son. Jay’s son, Mitchell, is gay and him and his partner are raising an Asian baby girl. Jay’s daughter Claire, is married with three kids. The cast is so wonderful and their comedic timing is flawless. It always has a great theme to each episode, which is to always be there for your family no matter what.
Notable Performances: Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker (Emmy Winner 2010)
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 4 : The Incident
#27. Absolutely Fabulous (1992 – 2004)
This was my first introduction to British comedy. It was so over the top, I wasn’t even sure what I was watching. These two women, Patsy and Edina, drank, did drugs, slept around and laughed all the way through it. Edina’s daughter, Saffron, was sensible and responsible and usually had to clean up her mother’s messes. It is hysterically funny and I even think I miss some of what they are saying because of their accents and drunken speech. It is crude and distasteful, but so so funny!
Notable Performances: Jennifer Saunders as Edina
Joanna Lumley as Patsy
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 2 : Fat
#26. Twin Peaks (1990 -1991)
The David Lynch murder mystery series was unbelievably only on for two seasons. When you think about how much press and recognition that this show got for only a total 30 episodes, it is amazing. Twin Peaks was a quirky little town that was tangled in a murder of teenager Laura Palmer. Kyle McLachlan is Special Agent Cooper who is in charge of the case. He then has to weave his way through the bizarre townspeople of Twin Peaks. A unique show that just couldn’t keep up once the murder was solved. Even though there was only thirty episodes, most of them were so captivating that we just hung on and enjoyed the ride.
Notable Performance: Kyle MacLachlan as Dale Cooper
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 1 : Pilot
#25. The Good Wife (2009-Present)
Created by husband and wife team, Robert and Michelle King, The Good Wife is an incredibly classy legal drama. Julianna Margulies has managed to snag another role that is so clever and intelligent, that she just carries this show into new territory. Yes, it is another courtroom program, but in this case it is usually the B plot of the episode. The A plot surrounds Alicia Florrick, a lawyer who has just gotten back into practicing at her college friend’s prestigious law firm. We are watching through her eyes how she is dealing with the ramifications of her State Attorney husband’s sex scandal. Chris Noth is excellent as her husband Peter Florrick. Each episode comes closer to the truth about her husband, as she tries to do her best to defend her clients. It is very different from anything on television right now, I have only seen the first season and still put it this high on my list.
Notable Performances: Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma (Emmy Winner 2010)
Alan Cumming as Eli Gold
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot