Top 108 TV Shows – Part 9 (12 – 1)

Well the end is finally near….

Hopefully you have enjoyed my top television show countdown.  It has been really fun revisiting some old shows and discovering new ones along the way.

So here it is, my Favorite Top 12 Television Shows of all time:

#12.  ER (1994 – 2009)

ER changed the way medical dramas were shot .  I can remember watching it for the first time and being blown away by the quickness of each shot.  You really felt like you were in an ER. That was thanks to Michael Crichton, the creator, and John Wells, the producer.  It was more realistic than anything we had seen on tv and it was refreshing.  I guess the cast could have had something to do with it also.  This was George Clooney’s launch into superstardom.  The show ran for fifteen years and many actors came and went in that time, and pretty much all of them were top-notch.  Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies and Laura Innes will all be remembered mostly for their roles on ER.  There are some really great medical shows out there but this one is the best and would be very difficult to beat.

Notable Performances:  Maura Tierney as Abby Lockhart

                                                         Goran Visnjic as Luka Kovac

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 7:  Hell and High Water

 

#11.  Parks And Recreation (2009 – Present)

Parks and Recreation is the most recent show in my top twelve.  Usually a show takes years to get to the level that Parks is at.  I think the first season they were feeling out their audience and the second season they just went for it and hit it out of the park, pun intended.  Now, just finishing its third season, it is a must see for Thursday nights.  Pawnee, Indiana is the setting for this documentary-style sitcom.  It follows the government officials of the town, in the parks department.  A superbly talented group of actors, I could watch these characters sit around and do nothing and they would still be funny. 

Notable Performances : Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope

                                                         Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 4 : Practice Date (This is one of my favorite episodes of all time, absolutely hilarious!)

 

#10.  Arrested Development (2003-2006)

It is almost a crime that this show was only on for three seasons.  It follows the wealthy Bluth family in which the Patriarch, George, is arrested in the pilot episode and the family doesn’t know how to function.  Son Michael steps in to try to bring some common sense to the situation but his siblings usually get in the way.  There is so much going on in each episode that is hilarious it needs a second and third viewing to get it all.  Way before its time, Arrested Development was such an unfortunate cancellation.  It made a huge impact on television in just three seasons, imagine if it could have been on longer.

 

Notable Performances:  Will Arnett as Gob Bluth II

                                                         David Cross as Tobias Funke

                                                        Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 13 : Motherboy XXX

 

 

#9.  Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-Present)

This is my favorite procedural show and my favorite partnership ever on television.  Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson tackle the most unimaginable crimes.   The reason I think it is the one of the best partnerships is that they have an amazing dynamic under the most awful and sometimes unusual circumstances.  Olivia is very personal with the victims and makes them feel safe and comfortable.  Where Elliot does whatever it takes to bring in the perp, lots of time crossing the line, and his anger gets the best of him.  Between the two of them they make an unstoppable duo.  Unfortunately, Chris Meloni, who plays Elliot, is leaving the show and I am not sure that they could find the same symmetry with anyone else, hopefully I am wrong.

Notable Performances : Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler

                                                         Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson (Emmy Winner 2006)

Memorable Episode : Season 9 Episode 17 : Authority

 

 

#8.  The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

I remember watching The Golden Girls as a kid and thinking it was so funny.  Then I didn’t see it for many years until it came out on DVD’s and Lifetime started playing reruns of it.   I realized that not only was this show still funny, it was so smart too. Developed by Susan Harris, who also wrote most of the episodes and created spin-off’s Empty Nest and The Golden Palace. The writing of this show was so sharp and along with the four main cast members who were absolutely perfect, it’s no wonder it was a huge hit.  It was because it was hilarious and the women, Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, were such pros, they nailed every scene.  It is one of only a few shows that stayed on track its entire run.  It had the same momentum from the pilot episode to the season finale.  When Bea Arthur decided to leave the show, the creators decided to end the show instead of continuing on with only three of the four cast. 

Notable Performances:  Betty White as Rose Nylund (Emmy Winner 1986)

                                                         Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo (Emmy Winner 1988)

Memorable Episode :  Season 1 Episode 13 : A Little Romance

 

#7.  Fringe (2008-Present)

Fringe, I believe, is the most underrated show on television today.  This show has some of the finest acting and an unparalleled mythology that makes you think and wonder what the heck just happened?  It seems to fight every year just to stay on the air but it does has a large network of fans that hopefully will keep it going for a long time to come.   Olivia Dunham is a FBI agent assigned to the secret Fringe division that investigates strange and bizarre happenings.  She enlists the help of an eccentric scientist, Walter Bishop, who is a genius but also was institutionalized.  It starts out as a type of procedural sci-fi show in its first season, and it really takes off in season 2 as this epic story that unfolds as Olivia and Walter discover why all these peculiar things are happening.  It is such a shame that it hasn’t won any Emmy’s, especially for Anna Torv and John Noble.  The complexity of the characters that they play are unsurpassed.

Notable Performances : Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham/Alternate Olivia/William Bell/Olivia Dunham playing Alt. Olivia/Alt. Olivia playing Olivia/Future Olivia

                                                        John Noble as Walter Bishop/Walternate (Alternate Walter)/Walter in the Past/Walternate in the past/Future Walter/Future Walternate

 

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episodes 22 & 23 : Over There Part 1 & 2

#6. Saturday Night Live (1975 – Present)

Lorne Michaels created this sketch show in 1975 and he is still pumping out shows thirty-six years later.  That is amazing in itself.  Yet, SNL has lasted that long for a reason, it is the place to be seen if you are an up and coming performer.  Hosting the show is an honor and it shows the audience a different side that we might not get to see.  It is a unbelieveable list of people who have worked on SNL and the talent that has come out of it can not be denied.  Tackling the politics of the world, celebrities and some wacky characters, SNL isn’t afraid to go there.  They make fun of things that we are all thinking but can’t say ourselves. 

Notable Performances : Will Ferrell as George W. Bush

                                                         Molly Shannon as  Mary Catherine Gallagher 

Memorable Episode:  Season 32 Episode 9: Justin Timberlake

 

#5. Cheers (1982-1993)

 

The bar in Boston where everyone knows your name, is the first show I remember needing to be home to watch every Thursday night.  Cheers was so comfortable, it made you feel like you were hanging out in the bar with these guys.  Really vivid characters and a familiarity each week made it an enormous hit.  A test of a truly remarkable show is that when one of the main cast members leaves, someone comes in without missing a beat.   That is what happened when Shelly Long decided to part ways with the show, Kirstie Alley stepped in and we almost forgot about Diane Chambers.  The center of the show was Ted Danson as Sam Malone.  He was the heart and soul of Cheers and led this amazing cast through eleven years of terrific memories.

Notable Performances : Ted Danson as Sam Malone (Emmy Winner 1990 & 1993)

                                                         Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli (Emmy Winner 1984,1985, 1986 & 1989)

                                                         George Wendt as Norm Peterson

Memorable Episode : Season 5 Episode 9 : Thanksgiving Orphans

 

 

#4.  Three’s Company (1976-1984)

Three’s Company was my favorite tv show growing up. Reruns played all the time in the mid-eighties, and I just loved them.  Once I got older and re-watched episodes I realized there was no way that I understood half these jokes as a child, but I loved it anyway.  On the outside Three’s Company seems like a slapstick type of show with a lot of sexual innuendo, but it actually has some really great writing and the cast was perfect.  John Ritter was outstanding as Jack Tripper, the klutzy womanizer who is living with two girls. Suzanne Somers was overshadowed by her blonde bombshell looks and the controversy surrounding her departure, but she was exceptional as Chrissy Snow.  Definitely very dated but oh so much fun!

Notable Performances :  John Ritter as Jack Tripper (Emmy Winner 1984)

                                                          Norman Fell as Stanley Roper

                                                          Don Knotts as Ralph Furley

Memorable Episode : Season 3 Episode 19:  The Bake-Off

 

#3.  The Office  (2004- Present)

 

Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin branch in Scranton, PA  has been the home to many awkward situations usually caused by Scott himself.  Steve Carrell is  brilliant as Michael Scott, the boss who just wants to be liked but borders on being offensive.  He thinks of his co-workers as his friends and just wants to do right by them.  Very funny, dry humor that you sometimes have to look for.  Jokes are not in your face, they are subtle and often uncomfortable.  The first five seasons the cast was perfect, great chemistry with each other.  The last two seasons have felt a little unbalanced with the departure of Michael and new characters introduced.  Hopefully it will get back on track, and if not the time we have had at the office has been fabulous. 

Notable Performances : Steve Carrell as Michael Scott

                                                         Rainn Wilson as Dwight K. Schrute

Memorable Episode : Season 2 Episode 10:  Christmas Party 

 

 

#2.  Seinfeld (1990-1998)

My all time favorite comedy.   Seinfeld changed the way sitcoms were perceived and made us think about what was funny.  Petty observations were the theme of Seinfeld, often referred to being a show about nothing.  They took the simplest little quirks of people and made a whole entire episode about that and how others react to it.  Absolute genius, thanks to co-creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.  The four main cast members couldn’t be more perfect.  I do think that if someone different had been cast, it wouldn’t have worked.  The show will forever live in pop culture as being a pioneer of what sitcoms have now become.  I can watch Seinfeld any time, any place, any episode and I still enjoy every minute of it.

Notable Performances:  Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld

                                                  Jason Alexander as George Costanza

                                                  Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer (Emmy Winner 1993, 1994 & 1997)

                                                  Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes (Emmy Winner 1996)

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 11:  The Chinese Restaurant

 

 

AND NOW FOR NUMBER 1……………

 

 

#1. Lost (2004-2010)

Lost is my number one pick because it changed the way I watched tv.  No other show had me thinking about it long after an episode aired.  I didn’t start watching it live until season 4, and in a world with online viewing and DVR’s, it was a show that you had to be home to watch.  After I realized I couldn’t stop theorizing and wondering about this show I went online to see what others thought.  What I found was a rabid online community full of podcasts and websites all dedicated to this series that I was so intrigued with.  I have never experienced anything like it, and am very doubtful I will again.  Lost managed to have it all, superb acting with a very large cast, mysteries that had us guessing until the very end (and even now), amazing writing that tied six seasons of a show together exquisitely, and a musical score from Michael Giaccino that just melted your heart.   The premise of  plane crash survivors on a mysterious island is captivating enough, let alone all the things I just mentioned.  I believe your favorites things in life are things that you spend the most time doing, well that is what Lost managed to do.  I’ve spent hours upon hours theorizing what is going on, on that island.  For that reason alone I couldn’t pick any other show for number one.

Notable Performances:  Matthew Fox as Jack Shepard

                                                         Terry O’Quinn as John Locke/MIB

                                                         Michael Emerson as Ben Linus

Memorable Episode : Season 1 Episode 1 : Pilot

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Top 108 TV Shows – Part 8 (24 – 13)

#24.  Alias (2001 -2006)

I didn’t watch Alias when it aired on television.  It peaked my interest as I heard about it being a similar show to Lost.  Jennifer Garner stars as Sydney Bristow, a seemingly young college student, but really a recruited CIA spy.  The show is action packed, but the real draw of the show is the relationships of the characters.  Sydney’s estranged father is also in the CIA, mystery constantly surrounds her dead mother, and she is in love with her CIA handler Michael Vaughn.  The series was only on for five seasons, but there was such an underlying mythology woven throughout, that made the show very credible. 

Notable Performances: Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow

                                                         Victor Garber as Jack Bristow

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 22 : The Telling

 

#23.  Friends (1994 – 2004)

In the 90’s there were countless shows that tried to mimic Seinfeld.  What made Friends different from all the other shows was primarily the cast.  The connection that these six main characters had with each other was evident on-screen.  The actors were all so talented, that, along with witty writing made for a sure-fire hit.  The ongoing relationship with Ross and Rachel was really the heart of the show.  It started with that and after ten seasons it ended with that.

Notable Performance: Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay (Emmy Winner 1998)

                                                      Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green (Emmy Winner 2002) 

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 7 : The One Where Ross Finds Out

 

 #22.  The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964)

The sci-fi show that spawned endless others.  Rod Serling’s masterpiece focused each week on ordinary people put in bizarre, unimaginable situations.  It was one of the first shows, along with Hitchcock Presents, that was very thought-provoking.  It had some really strong messages about how we, as humans, live our lives.  The Twilight Zone is probably most famous for its twist ending of each episode.  It has now been fifty years since the show aired and people still refer to a shocking ending of a show or movie as a “Twilight Zone ending”.

 Notable Performance: Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis

Memorable Episodes:  Season 1 Episode 8:  Time Enough at Last

                                                      Season 2 Episode 6: Eye of the Beholder

                                                      Season 5 Episode 3: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

 

#21.  The Comeback (2005)

Lisa Kudrow’s hilarious comedy about Valerie Cherish, a washed up actress trying to make her way back in the business.  Cameras follow Valerie as she has landed a new sitcom Room and Bored as the older Aunt Sassy.  Done in a documentary style, this HBO series didn’t have enough time to really blossom.  It only lasted one season, where as today, I think it would have been more receptive to viewers.  Lisa Kudrow’s first post-Friends tv show, she came out swinging.  She shines as Valerie Cherish and we really get to see what a great talented comedic actress she is.   This is definitely one of the most tragic cancellations in history.

Notable Performances:  Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish

                                                         Robert Michael Morris as Mickey Deane

Memorable Episode:  Season 1 Episode 2 : Valerie Triumphs at the Upfronts

 

#20.  The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006-2010)

 The Seinfeld curse is finally broken.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Christine Campbell (Old Christine) a divorced mother who is still friends with her ex husband, who is now in a relationship with a younger woman also named Christine, a.k.a. New Christine.   A great premise for a show and Louis-Dreyfus is wonderful as Old Christine.  The self-absorbed, wine drinking,  promiscuous 40 something is trying to be the best mother she can, but of course she gets in her own way.  A remarkable cast surrounding her makes it seem like these people are an actual dysfunctional family.  Another show cancelled too soon and unfortunately didn’t get a rightful ending.

Notable Performance: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell

                                                      Hamish Linklater as Matthew Kimble

                                                      Wanda Sykes as Barb Baran

Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 3 : White Like Me

 

#19.  The Amazing Race (2001 – Present)

 The Amazing Race has all the elements of a great reality show rolled into one.  It has great characters, difficult challenges and exotic locations.  Together it makes for a great hour every week.  Teams of two race around the world searching for clues to their next destination.  They must battle the elements of each country, road blocks, detours and each other to get to the end to win a million dollars.

 

 

Notable Performances:  Phil Keoghan as the Host

Memorable Episode:  Season 15 Episode 5 : Do it For the Hood! Do it For the Suburbs!

 

#18.  The Simpsons (1989 – Present)

The Matt Groening animated sitcom about a family in Springfield is still going strong in its 22nd season.  The Simpsons consist of Homer and Marge and their children Bart, Lisa and Maggie.  Bart, who is notorious for getting into all kinds of mischief, has become a pop culture icon.  Homer Simpson has grown into being more than just a dimwit, he really tries to do right by his family.  Homer was chosen by EW as the #1 television character of all time.  The Simpsons have the same great voice actors as they had when they first began on The Tracey Ullman Show.  Hundreds of famous celebrities have provided voices over the years such as Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Elizabeth Taylor.

Notable Performance: Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson

Memorable Episode:  Season 6 Episode 25:  Who Shot Mr. Burns?: Part 1 

 

#17.  30 Rock (2006 – Present)

30 Rock is based on Tina Fey’s reign as head writer on Saturday Night Live.  Fey’s character Liz Lemon is the head writer of a skit comedy show and she tries to keep all the craziness in check, especially with her outrageous star of the show Tracey Jordan, played by Tracey Morgan.   Her boss Jack Donaghy is all business but ends up being a real confidant to Liz.  The show is very hip and the jokes are quick-witted.  Tina Fey is a genius and this was a perfect transition for her from SNL.  Tons of powerhouse guest stars pushes this shows quality over the top.

Notable Performances:  Tina Fey as Liz Lemon (Emmy Winner 2008)

                                                         Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy (Emmy Winner 2008 & 2009)

Memorable Episode:  Season 5 Episode 4: Live Show

 

#16.  Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – Present)

Grey’s Anatomy follows the surgical staff at Seattle Grace hospital.  If I had done this list last year I think that Grey’s would have been a much higher number.  I always enjoyed Grey’s Anatomy but I thought it was another soapy medical drama.   Now, after seven seasons, I can see that creator Shonda Rhimes established very well-defined characters.  It took me six years to see it but this season of Grey’s really opened my mind and I could see the development of these people.  At the end of Season 6 there was an explosive episode with a shooting at the hospital.  Season 7, then, focused on what the ramifications of what that event did to everyone.  It was a very real depiction of how trauma is dealt with even months after the fact.  Grey’s doesn’t get the critical acclaim it deserves, it is a terrific show with an amazing cast.

 Notable Performances: Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepard

                                                         Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey

                                                         Sara Ramirez as Callie Torres

Memorable Episodes: Season 6 Episode 23: Sanctuary

                                                     Season 6 Episode 24: Death and All His Friends

 

#15.  Top Chef (2006 – Present)

This is the highest reality show that I have on my list.  Top Chef is a delicious look at chefs competing in, sometimes silly, challenges to see who will be the culinary champion.  The contestants are actual chefs from across the country and if you didn’t know, chefs have big personalities, which makes for great tv.  There are three main judges but each week there is a guest judge who is usually a big name in the foodie world.  Top Chef recently won the Emmy for best reality show.

 

Notable Performance:  Tom Colicchico as Head Judge

Memorable Episode:  Season 8 Episode 1: History Never Repeats

 

 #14.  The X – Files (1993 – 2002)

The X-Files was another show that I did not watch live when it aired.  It wasn’t until after the series ended that I watched the entire nine seasons on DVD.  It took me a couple of years to do, but I am so glad that I did.  Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are FBI agents assigned to the X-Files, a department that investigates unexplained events.  Mulder is a true believer and Scully is the forever skeptic. Together they are my second favorite partnership to ever grace the small screen.  What a great match to delve into the deep twisted phenomenon of the universe.  The X-Files was also the first show that I remember seeing a mythology to the back story of the characters.  Definitely one of the best sci-fi shows ever made and gave the Fox network some much-needed credence.

Notable Performances:  David Duchovny as Fox Mulder

                                                         Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 25: Anasazi

 

 

#13.  Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present)

Larry David’s autobiographical look at his life post Seinfeld.  David was the writer and co-creator of Seinfeld and now lives in LA with his wife, but nothing seems to make him happy.  Larry has all the money he could wish for, a beautiful wife, a lovely home, but yet the smallest things tick him off and he just can’t get over them.  A perfect show for HBO because it needs the profanity and inappropriate subject matter in it to make it all that much funnier.  A really, really hilarious show that also pokes fun at the LA lifestyle of a celebrity.  His friends often appear in episodes like Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Lewis and Wanda Sykes.  The highlight of Curb was a Seinfeld reunion arc that included the cast altogether for the first time since it went off the air. 

Notable Performances:  Larry David as Larry David

                                                         Susie Essman as Susie Greene

Memorable Episode:  Season 7 Episode 3 : The Reunion

Top 108 Shows – Part 7 (36 – 25)

#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

Top 108 TV Shows – Part 6 (48-37)

#48.  The Cosby Show (1984-1992)

Bill Cosby’s groundbreaking show about wealthy African-American family raising five children in Brooklyn Heights NY.  Cosby is Cliff Huxtable the patriarch of the family and also a doctor.  Phylicia Rashad plays his wife Claire, a successful lawyer.  Bill Cosby’s greatest achievement in his long career, it was an instant hit and sustained its prominence in the ratings for eight years.

 

 

Notable Performance: Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 3: Happy Anniversary

 

 #47.  Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List (2005-2010)

Kathy Griffin is one of my favorite comedians, but she is the funniest when she is herself.  That is why this show is so hilarious.  Kathy, along with her assistants, takes on any and all jobs to try to move herself up the celebrity ladder.  Her 80-year-old, wine drinking Mom steals the show when she is on, and you can see where Kathy gets her sense of humor from.  This is the only reality show on my list that isn’t a competitive one.  The reason is because the show is really well done.  Kathy comes off as her sharp-tongued, celebrity bashing self, and we love it.

Notable Performance:  Kathy Griffin as Herself (Emmy Winner 2007 & 2008)

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 3: Iraq

  

#46.  CSI (2000-Present)

When CSI debuted in 2000, it blew all other procedurals out of the water.  It changed the way crime shows were depicted including some of the most grisly and graphic images on network television .  CSI was an intelligent look at crimes and how the scene of the crime can tell the story.  Las Vegas is the setting for the show which allows for endless possibilities of  wrongdoings for our investigators.  William Petersen was great as Gil Grissom, the leader of the night shift team, unfortunately the show lost a little bit when he departed in season 9. 

Notable Performance: William Petersen as Gil Grissom

Memorable Episode: Season 5 Episodes 24 & 25 : Grave Danger Volume 1 & Grave Danger Volume 2 

 

 #45.  The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)

It’s campy and cheesy and that is why it’s so great.  The Brady Bunch is about a man and woman who marry and join their families.  He has three boys and she has three girls, so let the antics begin.  The straight-laced Brady’s always taught their kids to do the right thing and each show had a heartfelt message.  The Brady Bunch is a huge part of pop culture, there are so many memorable episodes it is hard to narrow it down to just one. 

 

Notable Performance: Ann B. Davis as Alice Nelson

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 15: Will the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up?

 

 

#44.  American Idol (2002-Present)

This powerhouse reality show dominates the ratings from January to May every year.  Thousands of singers hope to be picked to go to Hollywood and compete to be a contestant on Idol.  They must sing their hearts our each week and be judged by the judges and ultimately America, because we are the ones who are voting.  It is a show that, universally, everyone can relate to and it is fun to root for the average Joe to get the chance to be a superstar.

 

Notable Performance:  Simon Cowell as Himself

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 39: Clay vs. Ruben 

 

#43.  Law & Order (1990 – 2010)

A brilliant procedural that wraps up the whole case in one episode.  The first half you see the crime and police making the arrest, then the second half focuses on the trial and outcome of the case.  It is such a great concept that it worked for 20 seasons and 2 successful spin-offs.  The characters changed some over 20 years, but Law & Order does such a great job of giving us just enough back story to these people that we do care about them.  Yet, the fact that we are not highly involved in their personal lives makes it so easy to watch any episode at any time of any season and we haven’t missed a thing.

Notable Performance: Jerry Orbach as Detective Lennie Briscoe

Memorable Episode: Season 9 Episode 20: Empire

 

 

#42.  The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)

A Saturday Night Live-esque show that featured hilarious skits with recurring characters.  Carol Burnett was comedy in the late 60’s.  The show won a ton of Emmy’s and was the show to watch at the time.  There were only five main cast members but slew of guest stars that graced the stage.  The show wasn’t shown live, but it had that feel to it.  Burnett interacted with the audience and many of the actors broke character and couldn’t stop laughing, most notably Harvey Korman.

 

Notable Performance: Vicki Lawrence as Thelma “Mama” Harper

Memorable Episode: Season 11 Episode 24: A Special Evening with Carol Burnett

 

 

#41.  Murphy Brown (1988-1998)

 Murphy Brown was about a strong female journalist at a television show, FYI.  It was a really smart, sophisticated show that centered on Brown and her colleagues at the news room.  Brown’s personal choices were the subject of a, now infamous, fight with Dan Quayle.  She chose to raise a child, unmarried.  Now it seems absurd that it would cause controversy, but Quayle made a big deal about it in one of his speeches and the writers just used it in the show.   

Notable Performance:  Candice Bergen as Murphy Brown (Emmy Winner 1989,  1990, 1992, 1994 & 1995)

Memorable Episode:  Season 5 Episodes 1 & 2: You Say Potatoe, I Say Potato Parts 1 & 2

 

 

#40.  The Office (U.K.) (2001-2003)

The original British version of the mockumentary comedy.  Ricky Gervais played David Brent, the boss of the paper company in Slough.  He is immature and sometimes offensive, but thinks he is really cool and hilarious.  Rounding out the office is Tim a sales rep who likes the receptionist Dawn, and plays practical jokes on his deskmate Gareth.  The American version uses a lot of elements from the original series, yet they got to develop the characters more, since The Office U.K. was only on for 2 years.

 

Notable Performance:  Ricky Gervais as David Brent

Memorable Episode:  Season 1 Episode 1: Downsize

 

 

#39.  Mad Men (2007-Present)

Mad Men is about the advertising executives at Sterling Cooper on Madison Avenue in New York City in the 1960’s.  It really shows how these men were king at this time.  Smoking and drinking were acceptable at anytime and any place, depicting the stress they were always under.  Adultery was rampant and women had to fight just to be more than an average housewife.  Beautifully shot, amazing acting and incredible sets are a few things that make this show a critical success.

 

Notable Performance:  Jon Hamm as Donald Draper

Memorable Episode:  Season 4 Episode 7: The Suitcase

 

 

 #38.  Ally McBeal (1997-2002)

This David E. Kelley quirky drama/comedy is in a category of its own.  It is about a law firm in Boston but seen through Ally McBeal’s eyes.  We see her fantasies and thoughts come to life as she struggles with a new job where her ex works with his new wife.  Lots of oddball characters and funny guest stars made this show a must see in its early days.  The craziness could only go so long until it got too out of the box for the average viewer.  No other show has been able to maintain the bizarre with the serious as well since.

 

Notable Performance: Peter MacNichol as John Cage

Memorable Episode:  Season 3 Episode 16:  Boy Next Door

 

 

#37.  Family Ties (1982-1989)

A great show about a couple of former hippies raising four kids in the suburbs.  Family Ties always hit on some tough family issues and had them play out very realistically.  Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter were great as parents Steve and Elyse Keaton, but it was Michael J. Fox that stole the show and skyrocketed his career, as conservative Alex P. Keaton. 

 

 

Notable Performance: Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton (Emmy Winner 1986, 1987 & 1988)

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 14: Say Uncle

Top 108 TV Shows Part 5 (60-49)

#60.  Hot in Cleveland (2010-Present)

This show is about 3 middle-aged women from L.A. who, on  an unexpected stop, settle down in Cleveland OH. One is an actress, one is a famous hair stylist and one is recently divorced.  Together, along with their house caretaker Elka, they are like a modern, younger Golden Girls.  In Cleveland, unlike LA, they are exotic and very attractive to men, so they think it is a great place to stay for a while. 

 

Notable Performance: Betty White as Elka Ostrovsky

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 5 & 6 :  I Love Lucci  Part 1 & 2

 

#59.  Ellen (1994-1998)

These Friends of Mine was a show that began in 1994.  After one season and major cast changes, it became Ellen.  The much-needed revamp probably saved the show from cancellation.  Ellen Degeneres is really funny, we all know that from her talk show, but she needed a cast that could play off of her.  That included adding Jeremy Piven and Joley Fisher.  Ellen is, of course, most famous for her character coming out as a gay woman.  Unfortunately, that overshadowed the show and after that episode the viewership dropped.   Still, there would not be shows such as Will and Grace and storylines like on Grey’s Anatomy and Glee, if Ellen hadn’t broken the ice first.

Notable Performance:  Ellen Degeneres as Ellen Morgan

Memorable Episode:  Season 4 Episode 22 &23: The Puppy Episode Part 1 & 2

 

 #58.  The Apprentice / Celebrity Apprentice (2004- Present)

Donald Trump’s powerhouse of a show has changed over it’s 7 years on the air.  It started out being a reality show where actual professional people actually competed for a job in the Trump Organization.  Trump looked for applicants that had real determination and drive.  He split them up into teams and gave them tasks to work on together.  The losing team then had to meet in his boardroom where then someone would be fired.  In 2008 Trump started the first Celebrity Apprentice, having stars compete for the charity of their choice.  The show then took on a life of its own and even though Trump tried to go back to the original concept in 2010, with real people, it didn’t work, we wanted our crazy celebrities.

Notable Performance: Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Season 1

Memorable Episode:  Season 11 Episode 5: The Art of the Deal

 

#57.  What’s Happening!! (1976-1979)

What’s Happening was a show that focused on three teenage boys in Chicago getting into all kinds of hijinks.  Raj, Dewayne and Rerun always had either girl trouble or money trouble.  Mama Thomas was always there to keep an eye on them, as was Raj’s meddling sister Dee.  The kids favorite hangout, Rob’s Place, was the setting for a lot of the show.  Sassy waitress Shirley usually stole the show with her snide remarks.

 

Notable Performance:  Shirley Hemphill as Shirley Wilson

Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 18: The Tickets

 

#56.  All in the Family (1968-1979)

Archie Bunker is one of the most iconic characters in television history.  An extremely conservative man, often called a bigot, Archie was very outspoken on what his opinions were.  His naive wife Edith would try to reason with him, as would his daughter and son-in-law Gloria and Mike (a.k.a. Meathead) .  At a time when the world was really trying to get past stereotypes and racial boundaries, All in the family dares to write a character that exemplifies all those things, only to really be making  fun of him.  It was a pioneer of a show from the brilliant mind of Norman Lear.

Notable Performance: Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker (Emmy Winner 1972, 1977, 1978 & 1979)

 Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 12 : Cousin Maude’s Visit

 

#55.  House M.D. (2004-Present)

Not your typical medical show, House M.D. focuses on Dr. Gregory House, a pain-killer addict who solves unusual medical cases.  It is as much as a mystery show as it is medical.  He is a cranky curmudgeon who just wants to be left alone.  He constantly tests his crew of doctors, even putting them through a “reality show like” competition for a job on his team.  We have gotten to see Dr. House soften a bit after seven seasons including falling for his boss Dr. Cuddy.

 

Notable Performance:  Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 24: No Reason

 

#54.  The Love Boat (1977-1986)

 

I know that this may be a surprising pick, but The Love Boat is just pure enjoyment to me.  Everything turns out wonderful on this cruise ship.  Whether it is finding the love of your life or solving any kind of problem it will happen by the end of your cruise.  It was fun to see which guest stars were going to be on each week and who was going to fall in love with whom.  When this show started in 1977 cruise ships were a more exclusive luxury excursion than they are today.  The Love Boat had a way of making the viewer feel like they were on a vacation too, at least for an hour.

Notable Performance: Fred Grandy as Gopher Smith

Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 2 : A Tasteful Affair/Oh, Dale!/The Main Event

 

 

#53.  Bewitched (1964-1972)

Samantha Stevens is a witch that married a mere mortal man.  She made a promise to him not to use her powers but that is usually hard for her to do.  Darren, her husband, is an ad executive.  They try to lead a normal life, but with interference from her mother, aunt, uncle and nosy neighbors, it proves to be very difficult.  A great popcorn show that ran for eight seasons and went through two Darrens.

 

Notable Performance: Agnes Moorehead as Endora

Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 2 : Babes in Toyland

  

#52.  Glee

The guilty pleasure known as Glee, is a teenage dramedy set against the backdrop of a newly formed glee club.  What makes this show work is the impeccable cast of young actors mixed with contemporary songs that they sing throughout the show.  One of the things that is great about Glee is that it always conveys a great message.  The glee club is made up of kids, for one reason or another, don’t belong, and the gift of song brings them all together.  There are so many great actors on this show it is hard to just pick one.  Some standouts are Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Lea Michele as Rachel Berry and Heather Morris as Brittany S. Pierce.

Notable Performance : Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 11 : The Sue Sylvester Shuffle   

 

#51.  Frasier (1993-2004)

A spin-off of one of my favorite shows, Cheers,  Frasier was a very sophisticated comedy.  Dr. Frasier Crane has moved from Boston to Seattle and now lives with his father. Frasier and his brother Niles are both well-educated psychiatrists who are often pretentious compared to their down-to-earth father.  It has been a joy to watch Kelsey Grammer play Frasier for about 20 years, an amazing feat in itself.  Frasier was also an Emmy magnet, it is the only show to win the best comedy award five years in a row.

Notable Performance : David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane (Emmy Winner 1995, 1998, 1999, & 2004)

Memorable Episode: Season 3 Episode 14 : The Show Where Diane Comes Back

 

#50.  Alice (1976-1985)

Based on the movie “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, Alice was about a widow who moves to Phoenix with her son to start a new life.  She ends up working at Mel’s Diner with two other quirky waitresses Vera and Flo. The show had a lot of heart and Linda Lavin was excellent in the title role.  It also had one of the most famous catchphrases in television, “Kiss My Grits”.

 

Notable Performance : Polly Holliday as Flo Castleberry

Memorable Episode:  Season 4 Episode 12 : Good Buddy Flo

 

#49.  Kitchen Nightmares (2007-Present)

This is the second Gordon Ramsey sighting on my list.  I love Kitchen Nightmares!  Gordon goes to a failing business, per their request, and tells them straight up what they are doing wrong.  Of course, they never think their food is bad or their management skills are lacking.  It takes a strong presence like Ramsey to get through to these people, because they usually just don’t get it.  In the end he tries to turn the restaurant around and you really root for the owners to make a change.

 

 

 

Notable Performance : Gordon Ramsey as Himself

Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 12: Capri

Top 108 TV Shows – Part 4 (72-61)

#72. The Jeffersons (1975-1985)

A spin-off of All in the Family, The Jeffersons followed Louise and George moving on up to the East side of NY. Louise was very sweet and most of the time had to calm George down after he got wound up about something.  George usually got irritated with friends Tom and Helen Willis, a mixed race couple, whose daughter ends up marrying the Jefferson’s son.  He also sparred often with the housekeeper Florence, played wonderfully by Marla Gibbs.

 

Notable Performance: Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson

Memorable Episode:  Season 3 Episode 2:  Louise Gets Her Way

 

 

#71.  Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005)

I didn’t watch Raymond until quite a while after it had ended.  I would just catch reruns here and there and it really started to grow on me the more I watched it.  I really didn’t think Ray Romano was that funny, but I was wrong, he is, along with the rest of his family.  He kind of exemplifies the typical male and Patricia Heaton, as his wife Debra, is constantly trying to battle that part of him.  That, along with his parents living across the street, many crazy things end up happening to this funny family.

 

Notable Performance:  Peter Boyle as Frank Barone

Memorable Episode:  Season 6 Episode 5:  Marie’s Sculpture

 

 

#70.  Married With Children (1987-1997)

Married with Children was crude but it was hysterically crude.  It centered around the Bundy’s.  Al worked in a shoe store, Peg shopped and watched tv all day, daughter Kelly was dumber than a stick and son Bud was just girl crazy.  Al pretty much thinks his life sucks and isn’t afraid to say so, but even through all the sarcasm he loved his family and did whatever he could for them.

 

Notable Performance:  Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy

Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 20: Peggy Made a Little Lamb

 

 

#69.  The Flintstones (1959-1966)

The animated sitcom is a classic, geared towards adults and kids.  Set in the stone-age, The Flinstones are a family that lives in Bedrock with their friends Barney and Betty Rubble.  The Flinstones was way ahead of it’s time, paving the way for shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Jetsons.   To think that this animated sitcom went on the air, on primetime TV, in 1959 is really something.

 

Notable Performance:  Alan Reed as Fred Flintstone

Memorable Episode:  Season 1 Episode 10:  Hollyrock, Here I come

 

#68.  Diff’rent Strokes (1978-1986)

Diff’rent Strokes focused on 2 African American kids adopted by a wealthy businessman Philip Drummond.  Much like the Jeffersons, it dealt with how they fit in to the very white bred society of New York City.  A superb cast made this show an instant hit.  Gary Coleman was so adorable and precocious, that America just fell in love with him.  Todd Bridges and Dana Plato were also great as Willis and Kimberly, yet their personal tragedies will always outshine their performances here.  On a high note, this is our first introduction to Edna Garrett who we will come to know and love for many years on The Facts of Life.

Notable Performance:  Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson

Memorable Episode:  Season 1 Episode 13: No Time for Arnold

 

#67.  Designing Women (1986-1993)

Designing Women was a show about 4 southern belles who were interior decorators in Atlanta.  The women had tremendous chemistry with each other and Meschach Taylor who also worked with them. Delta Burke, being the biggest name at the time, ended up leaving the show and the ratings went down after that.  It was a pretty humorous look at life in the south, but also dealt with controversial issues such as racism, abuse and weight problems.

 

Notable Performance:  Jean Smart as Charlene Frazier Stillfield

Memorable Episode:  Season 4 Episode 8: Julia Gets Her Head Stuck in a Fence

 

 

#66.  Medium (2005-2011)

Patricia Arquette plays Allison Dubois, based on the real life medium, who helps the Phoenix Police with mysterious cases.  Allison either has dreams or visions of  people and she tries to figure out what they mean.  A really great show that deals with not only the supernatural, but also with family life as Allison is raising 3 children with her husband Joe, who tries to support all her insights.

 

Notable Performance: Patricia Arquette as Allison DuBois (Emmy Winner 2005)

Memorable Episode: Season2 Episode 22: Twice Upon a Time

 

 

#65.  Night Court (1984-1992)

Night Court was one of those shows that every time you watched it, it was silly and made you laugh but it wasn’t too heavy.  It was a night court, so obviously only the crazies are out at that time.  Just a very silly show and, it took a couple of years, but by the fourth season, the cast was perfect.

 

 

 

Notable Performance:  John Laroquette as Dan Fielding (Emmy Winner 1985, 1986, 1987 & 1988)

 Memorable Episode:  Season 4 Episode 15: A Day in the Life

 

#64.  Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2002 & 2008-Present)

There is no wonder why this show is so great, it says it right in the title.  Unsolved Mysteries is intriguing and fascinating.  They don’t just talk about the mysteries, they reenact them to tell the story.  UFO’s , missing families, murders and historical mythology are just some of the topics that they delve into.  This show would work at any time because people will always be captivated by the unknown.

 

 

Notable Performance: Robert Stack as the Host

Memorable Episode: Season 2  Episode 1: The Roswell Incident

 

#63.  Happy Days (1974-1984)

Happy Days was set in the 1950’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  It followed the Cunningham family, Howard and Marion and their kids Ritchie and Joanie.  Their tenant, “The Fonz”, became an instant pop icon.  It was even responsible for the much used phrase, “Jumping the Shark”, because in a Season 5 episode The Fonz actually jumped a shark on water skis.  People think that the show was never the same after that, yet it did last six more seasons.

Notable Performance:  Henry Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli

Memorable Episode:  Season 3 Episode 3 & 4:  Fearless Fonzarelli

 

 

#62.  Picket Fences (1992-1996)

 

Picket Fences takes place in Rome, WI and follows Sheriff Brock as he investigates many bizarre happenings.  Written and produced by David E. Kelley, this quirky drama was a bit ahead of its time.  I think that it would be more well received now, than back in the 90’s.  It was very smart and the critics loved it, but I think the low ratings were its ultimate demise. 

 

 

Notable Performance:  Kathy Baker as Dr. Jill Brock (Emmy Winner 1993, 1995 & 1996)

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 5: The Dancing Bandit

 

 

#61.  Taxi (1978-1983)

 

 The premise doesn’t really seem that funny, a show about a New York City cab company.  If the cast is Judd Hirsh, Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner and Christopher Lloyd then, guess what, it’s a laugh riot.   Watch this show if only to see these actors at the start of their career, when they were really raw comedians.  Taxi even managed to cast Andy Kaufman, who was basically hailed as a genius at this time.  There is a nice camaraderie with these characters as they try to make it through life while working at the Sunshine Cab Company.

Notable Performance:  Danny DeVito as Louie De Palma

Memorable Episode:  Season 4 Episode 1:  Jim The Psychic

Top 108 TV Shows – Part 3 (84-73)

#84.  The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004)

The Drew Carey show came on strong when it first started in 1995.   Drew was just your average guy working in a department store and hanging out with his nitwit friends.  The character of Mimi as an antagonist to Drew worked really well.  The show also added a lot of musical elements to the show which made it fun and memorable, especially the opening credits.  The cast singing and dancing to “Cleveland Rocks” is so fun and catchy, it was the best opening of them all.

Notable Performance:  Kathy Kinney as Mimi Bobeck

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 24:  New York and Queens

 

#83.  WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982)

The cast of crazy characters at the WKRP radio station in Cincinnati OH, is just that, crazy.  From D.J. Johnny Fever to O.C.D. ridden Les Nessman, there was never a dull moment happening at WKRP.  Manager Arthur Carlson is trying to keep the station going and comes up with a lot of gimmicks, including the famous Thanksgiving episode where they are going to drop live turkeys out of a helicopter.

 

 

Notable Performance: Howard Hessman as Johnny “Dr. Fever” Caravella

Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 7:  Turkeys Away

 

#82.  Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983)

When we think of Penny Marshall now, we think of the marble mouthed director of so many great films, but we forget that she was hilarious as Laverne DeFazio.  Cindy Williams was a great contrast to her as prim and proper Shirley.  The two women had great chemistry with each other and their friends Lenny and Squiggy.  One of the best physical comedies of all time.  The show set in the late 50’s, was a spin-off of Happy Days. 

 

Notable Performance:  Penny Marshall as Laverne DeFazio

Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 16:  Steppin Out

 

#81.  Hell’s Kitchen (2005-Present)

Gordon Ramsey’s foul-mouthed reality show in where contestants vie for the coveted spot of the head chef of a renowned restaurant.  How he finds people who want to be on this show is beyond me?  He yells at them constantly, calls them obscene names and usually throws their food all over the kitchen.  Yet, at the end of the day, we are all enamored with Chef Ramsey, ’cause the guy does know what he is talking about.

 

Notable Performance: Gordon Ramsey as Himself

Memorable Episode: Season 8 Episode 1:  Day One

 

 #80.  Dallas (1978-1991)

I remember Dallas as a kid, my parents needing to watch it, their friends needing to watch it, everyone on TV talking about it, I can remember that frenzy that Dallas brought to pop culture.  Once I got a little older, I began watching it and it definitely drew you in.  The soapy drama had love stories, family conflicts and most importantly cliff-hangers.  Actually, the biggest cliff-hanger in television, Who shot J.R.?  Running for an amazing 14 seasons, Dallas had a huge following, in a time before DVR’s and online viewing, you needed to be home on Friday nights to watch Dallas. 

Notable Performance:  Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing

Memorable Episode:  Season 3 Episode 25:  A House Divided

 

#79.  One Day at a Time (1975-1984)

For nine seasons we watched newly divorced Ann Romano deal with the struggles of life and raising two teenage girls in Indianapolis.  Bonnie Franklin was really great, sometimes over the top, as Romano.  She would always get help, whether she wanted it or not, from the most famous superintendent on TV, Schnieder.

Notable Performance:  Valerie Bertinelli as Barbara Cooper

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 1:  The Runaway’s Part 1

 

#78.  Weeds (2005-Present)

Weeds was one of those shows that I didn’t think that I would like.  I saw the first episode and devoured the first season very quickly.  Mary Louise Parker is Nancy Botwin, probably her greatest role to date, a suburban mom whose husband died and now she is financially strapped.  What is a woman to do but to turn to selling pot. 

 

Notable Performance: Justin Kirk as Andy Botwin

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 12: Pittsburgh

 

#77.  Newhart (1982-1990)

Bob Newhart’s second appearance on my list.  In Newhart, he plays Dick Loudon a Vermont innkeeper originally from NYC.  Tom Poston is also back as the inn’s handyman George.  Basically the same formula as the Bob Newhart show, a cast of wacky people surrounded by Newhart’s dry sense of humor.  I think that two successful shows proves that the formula works.

Notable Performance: Julia Duffy as Stephanie Vanderkellen

Memorable Episode: Season 8 Episode 24: The Last Newhart

 

#76.  NYPD Blue (1993-2005)

NYPD Blue is from creators David Milch and Steven Bochco.  When you think at the shows that these two men have created, there is no way that Blue could lose.  It ran for 12 seasons and really brought back the cop show dramas to television.  Except they raised the bar.  Blue was one of the first primetime network shows to use higher levels of profanity and nudity. 

 

Notable Performance:  Dennis Franz as Andy Sipowitz (Emmy Winner 1994, 1996, 1997 & 1999)

Memorable Episode:  Season 3 Episode 20: A Death in the Family

 

#75.  Roseanne (1988-1997)

Roseanne was a breath of fresh air when it came on the air in 1988.  We were very in tuned to shows like The Cosby Show and Growing Pains where the families are seemingly perfect with no financial issues.  People really responded to Roseanne, since it was probably closer to how more people lived.  The Connor family had problems just like any other family and it was nice to see that.  Roseanne and John Goodman were brilliant as Roseanne and Dan Connor, they set the tone of the show and the rest of the cast followed perfectly.

 

Notable Performance: Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris (Emmy Winner 1992, 1993 & 1994)

Memorable Performance:  Season 2 Episode 1: Inherit the Wind

 

 

#74.  The Muppet Show (1976-1981)

The Muppet Show aired the first five years of my life.  I can still remember being so excited waiting for it to come on.  What made The Muppet Show so remarkable is that it had unbelievable guest stars, great catchy music and the brilliant, witty dialog of the Muppets, for which creator Jim Henson is responsible.  Guest stars included Milton Berle, George Burns, Elton John, Liberace, Julie Andrews and Liza Minelli. 

 

Notable Performance: Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, The Swedish Chef and Waldorf

Memorable Episode:  Season 4 Episode 17:  The Cast of Star Wars

 

#73. I Love Lucy (1951-1957)

The quintessential comedy.  All other sitcoms have taken some element from I Love Lucy.  The best physical comedy still to this day.  There is no one out there that doesn’t know who Lucy and Ricky are, or Fred and Ethel.  Lucy got herself into so many “situations” while Ricky was out, and they always ended in side-splitting results.

 

 

Notable Performance: Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo (Emmy Winner 1956)

Memorable Episode:  Season 2 Episode 1: Job Switching