It's also worth stating (and you can see the list of tons of shows that 'just missed' the cut at my original post here, but it didn't make sense to have a list of 26 (it was 21 originally but capping at a round number makes things more logical to me) -- that I now have the first TV show that's been bumped off the list. That show is Kids In The Hall, one of the funniest sketch comedies ever and it really hurt to bump it. But hey, gotta be ruthless, right?
- The show has to have completed at least three full seasons. There are a lot of shows that had two great seasons, and then the great fall began. (Alias immediately comes to mind, for instance.) This is just a rule to try and corral my self-control, so that I don't go and state that Modern Family is a top ten show of all time, when in fact I have no idea whether the show will stay anywhere near the fun of its first season. [EDIT: It did NOT.]
- Unless, that is, the show didn't last three years. I call this The "Sports Night" Corollary, one of my favorite shows that only lasted two seasons, because Aaron Sorkin decided to focus more on The West Wing, another favorite. (Also, the show itself never did squat in the ratings.) This also applies to the BBC version of The Office, though that show has it's own special treatment here. (Spoiler alert!)
- I haven't watched everything.
To be sure, that applies to the shows I mentioned above like Breaking Bad, a show everyone I know who watches absolutely reveres.But this also really goes back to older shows that I know are fantastic; I just can't prove it. While I saw plenty of M*A*S*H., I don't really remember it as much as I should. Same goes with shows like The Bob Newhart Show, etc.
- All Your Seasons Are Belong To Us. Here's the deal - the show stands as a complete entity. If there were seasons that I didn't like - or, in at least one case, where I simply stopped watching, that obviously affects my ranking. I could go the other way, and rank "The first four seasons of The West Wing" or "The first five seasons of 24," but I can't really handle it and besides, that's stupid. So, those shows suffer their own fate.
- It's My List. Enough said. It's going to be a top-25
20, because that number seems right and it's also how it sort of worked out.
|Taxi||-5||Only a drop as I added five new shows. Still one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Original review is here.|
|Parks & Recreation||NEW||Couldn't figure out a place for this - it may move higher over time, or lower (though I'd doubt that). Everything about this show was fairly perfect, though the show didn't feel particularly consequential it was so damn funny and earnest. The sheer talent in this show is overwhelming.|
|The Simpsons||-4||Again, I added five shows above this, hence the drop. Truly an example of being punished for being too successful for too long, but by the general rules, ignoring what's turned out to be a majority of the the show means it can't be higher than this.|
|The Daily Show||-4||Honestly, I could even move it down further in terms of how frequently I watch these days (and even more after Jon Stewart leaves later this year), but historically it's been so great.|
|Sons of Anarchy||NEW||If this show had ended after, say, four seasons, it would probably be five or six slots higher, maybe more. But it did linger for at least two seasons too many, though I think it rallied in its final season. I really enjoyed the series, LOVED a few seasons and liked most of the rest. 21 feels about right, for now.|
|The Office (US & UK)||-3||While the show fell three slots, this doesn't feel wrong -- the last few seasons of the US series were so much weaker, I couldn't put this higher. But the highs of this show? As good as any comedy ever. Ever. The very first of these Roundups had the show at #12 overall. Yowch.|
|Justified||NEW||In six seasons, only one felt slightly less than wonderful - and yet, so few people have even seen it. Timothy Olyphant (who will show again shortly) is brilliant, as is Walton Goggins (who will also) - but I'll just use this as an excuse to repeat my favorite quote: "You meet an asshole in the morning...hey, you met an asshole. You meet assholes all day long, well, maybe YOU'RE the asshole."|
|Arrested Development||-3||The fourth season was bumpy as hell, but I'm resisting the temptation to punish the series disproportionately, especially with so many folks saying it works much better on second viewing. This show bordered on genius when it hit, which was often.|
|The Shield||NEW||There are parts of the show that don't age so well, but the story of this LA Police squad is also so original (and influential), so raw ... I think some of the acting is uneven from some tertiary characters, but it's such a great series and ends so brilliantly, I'm glad I went back and watched it end-to-end.|
|Deadwood||NEW||The first time I tried to watch Deadwood, I couldn't do it. The second time, I couldn't stop watching. Losing some points only because the story just ends - Season 3 wasn't intended, wrote or directed to be a series finale. Otherwise, it's unlike anything I've ever seen on TV, with fantastic acting everywhere, especially from Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane.|
|15||24||-1||I think as time goes by, I'm deducting less points for the last few seasons of 24 (which lost most of the magic of the first four or five) and remembering the brilliant series overall.|
|14||Survivor||-8||A precipitous plunge -- I stand by how great the show is - that's the present tense, because the actual show is still interesting and challenging. But - when they have "All-Star" seasons lately, I don't even remember the folks from those prior seasons. I couldn't remember the names of half of the contestants THIS season until there were like six or seven folks left. It's just a victim of age - but still a landmark show that I love.|
|13||Game of Thrones||+3||I still look forward to this show as much or more than anything -- and I actually like how it's not exactly like the books. While I don't love every decision that's been made, it's so compelling and original...I don't know if it will ever go much higher than this, but I also can't imagine it will fall too far either. Such a great show.|
|12||Six Feet Under||-3||This is probably the show I am thinking about rewatching from start to finish the most right now. Man, it was good. But, when I think back on it I really disliked one of the five seasons and in retrospect I think it ages poorly AND I can't think of too many characters I actually liked. Hence, the fall.|
|11||Lost||0||As noted earlier, the ending didn't help but still a great, great show.|
|10||Cheers||0||I am starting to think too many people forget how amazing this show really was.|
|9||Mad Men||+3||Now that it's ended - and done so brilliantly, I might add - I re-watched it from start to finish. I loved this show and think it's technically one of the very best shows ever made. I'll be posting a blog entry on how re-watching it made me appreciate it even more.|
|8||The West Wing||0||If this show had ended even one year after Aaron Sorkin left, I think it would be top-5 for sure.|
|7||Friday Night Lights||0||Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can't Lose.|
|6||Sports Night||-2||A tough decision - in some way it's my favorite show of all-time, but by the rules here, just two years and one was uneven at times. It just had to get nudged downward.|
|5||Battlestar Galactica||0||If you've seen it, you get it. If you don't, just watch it and stop judging. It's goddamn amazing.|
|4||Breaking Bad||+9||The biggest gainer - I didn't really know what to do with Breaking Bad, the last time I did this there'd been three seasons out of the masterful five that comprised the series. There simply wasn't a bad episode in the lot, and even this score might be too low.|
|3||The Sopranos||0||Same as it ever was. Might be time (gulp) for a re-watch of this, too.|
|2||Seinfeld||0||Same as it ever was, too. Someone recently pointed out to me that 80% of Seinfeld plots wouldn't make sense today, simply because of smart phones. Consider your mind blown.|
|1||The Wire||0||I rewatched this series a few years ago and if I could rank it higher, I would. It's the best show ever, and you're wrong if you disagree. :)|
So, that's it. Not that the shows care about it, but congrats to newcomers: Deadwood, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Parks & Recreation and The Shield. The list feels even better with these guys along for the ride.