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March 28 2008

Buffy #2 on Empire's list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time". Firefly and Angel also make the list!

That is a damn fine list, though I'd have The Shield and Futurama both higher. Still, it's almost like my own brain helped put that piece together without telling the rest of me about it.
The list is a bit too contemporary. The Phil Silvers Show is probably the finest comedy show to ever come out of America but seeing as it was in the 50s it'll never get a look in on lists like this. But overall not a bad effort from Empire.
That list was rather bizzare. I don't think it had enough shows geared towards younger people. Boy Meets World and the like. I loved seeing "Spaced" ranked so high. Though I was, and Im sure Joss would be upset to see "Veronica Mars" ranked so poorly.
It was a pretty sweet list though. Not necessarily in agreement with the order :)
If memory serves, this list was voted on by the folks so we are the ones to blame/praise :)
If memory serves, this list was voted on by the folks so we are the ones to blame/praise :)

That makes more sense.
Awful, awful list.
Anyone that thinks Prison Break is better than the Prisoner(which isn't even on the list- so it's an invalid list right there) is someone I do not want to talk with TV about. Though it was nice to see Spaced so high (probably the only thing about the list I enjoyed other than the Simpsons being #1).
Nothing excuses including the show my house used to refer to as Deep Space Poo.
And I would've been miffed if DS9 wasn't included. :) It's a love/hate thing, in my experience.
Jumped around the list for about 5 mintues arbitrarily, didn't find a single show I followed as yet except BtVS & ER.
I think it had an online poll too so the usual barrel of salt regarding results is probably wise.

All in all though, not a terrible list considering it's clearly a "popularity contest" style of thing - i'd juggle the order and it's skewed towards recent programmes and towards US programmes (surprisingly, given it's a UK magazine) - no 'Porridge' or 'Callan' for instance ? - but it's not too far off my 50 best TV shows ever, give or take 5 or 6 plain crazy choices ('Prison Break' ? Really ?) and a few I haven't seen (but "everyone" says are great) as well as a couple of omissions ('Heroes' but no 'House' ?).

Not sure about their best 'ER' episode though (the one they pick, 'Hell and High Water' really was brilliant - hokey end but it totally earned it and watching Clooney burst up from the water was the first time I really thought he could play Batman. Course, we all know how that turned out but I still maintain it wasn't all his fault ;). Doubt it was the best ever though but it's a tough choice, with so many great eps.

(y'know the strangest thing ? It seriously never actually occurred to me before now that in 20 years of watching 'Only Fools and Horses', I never knew Trigger's real name - 'Trigger' just seemed to fit him so perfectly ;)
Are there any other single creators responsible for 3 or more shows on this list? I don't think so. Kudos, Joss, for having your trifecta of goodness take up 3 slots out of 50.

Like others, I have some quibbles with this list but such is the nature of lists. I'd place The Wire right up at the top with Buffy, certainly not beneath Sopranos and the Simpsons, for example. I'm also with theMidnighter on the ridiculousness of not including The Prisoner. Oh well.
That's actually a pretty good list, although most of the shows are fairly recent.

The supporting cast (made largely out of Buffy cast-offs) were never as appealing as their Scooby gang counterparts but the show was a worthy addition to the Buffyverse nonetheless...


Well, that sentence just irks the hell out of me. I never thought of the cast, including Angel, as Buffy 'cast-offs' and in a lot of ways, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Lorne and Fred were more interesting than the Scoobies. Angel had more depth than Buffy did and...and...well, I loved it more than I did Btvs.
Spaced could have ranked a little higher for me. And not including Porridge, possibly the funniest TV show Britain ever produced, seems a touch criminal (if you'll excuse the pun).
THe scond best show of all time, after BTVS ofcourse, My so Called Life is NOT on the list. That is a damn shame. But yes Kudos to Joss for having all three of his awesomess shows on the list.
I thought the list was pretty good, although I agree that Veronica Mars and Angel should have ranked a little higher. Hell, move Twin Peaks up too. :)

The fact that Spaced is above Seinfeld makes me smile.
Veronica Mars probably would have been higher ... if it had more than one great season. (We all know season two was iffy and season three is best not discussed.)

And I'll wholeheartedly agree that Prison Break doesn't belong anywhere near this thing. Still, though, there is a bushel of great shows crammed in there.
Spaced makes me very happy, I always take issue with The Simpsons coming number one in all of these lists. To be fair though I haven't watched it in about 5 years (because it annoyed me so much), so maybe it is a good show, and I am just personally irritated by it.

I am actually watching Farscape now, on episode 3, so far it is quite entertaining, but I hope it gets better the more you watch. Kind of surprised that Buffy came at number 2, I thought it was a good deal more 'cult' than that (I assumed Sopranos would outrank it, and The West Wing). Mildly miffed that MSCL didn't make the list, and personally I would have liked Queer as Folk (UK) on the list, lol...
As I was reading off the names on the list, my husband kept asking, "What number is MacGyver?" When I told him it wasn't on the list, he deemed it a useless list. Simpsons at 1 and Buffy at 2 make sense. We all thought Angel could have been higher though. "Smile Time" is also my daughter's favorite episode. She and her friends watch it together and then take turns pretending to be Spike, which is almost as much fun as watching the episode.

But yeah, I agree that it does seem to be a fairly contemporary list, but not entirely. Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Black Adder - all classics, all excellent. How Scrubs got so far down on the list is beyond me though. Swap it with 24 and I'm happy. And y'all can jump all over me about that all you want. I'd rather be laughin' than paranoid.

And good for Joss in making the list three times!
Did anyone else think that the best episode picks were kind of "safe" or trendy?
I agree that "OMWF" and "Hush" are fantastic episodes. Truly amazing. But if I had to pick the best ep, I would also have to consider "Becoming Part 2," "Restless," I could go on and on and on...
As for Angel, "Smile Time" is hilarious, high-concept, and awesome. But what about "I Will Remember You" or "Five by Five?"

Glad that Fawlty Towers made the list. Too few people in the States know about that show, and it just makes me laugh uncontrollably. "Stop talking about the war!" "You started it!" "No, we didn't" "Yes you did! You invaded Poland!"
Simpsons as #1? Oookay. Prison Break? Meh.

And yay, Joss for making it thrice. I think Dollhouse should already be on there somewhere, if the trend continues.

ETA: I get kind of miffed when people talk about Friends' writing as "great" or anything better than "amusing at best." Compare it to a show written by Mr. Whedon, and we think that Friends must have been written by second graders. What made that show great was not the writing but the chemistry and ability of the actors. The show has no respect for continuity, which drives me insane. Sorry, I just get miffed when people talk about shows like Friends and anything Whedon-y in the same sentence. Rant over.

[ edited by BandofBuggered on 2008-03-28 23:27 ]
It's a very, very sad day when Scrubs is deemed a better show than Angel. A very sad day indeed.

And, I hope I'm not the only one irked by the comment that Buffy's cast was better than Angel's. Oh, I'm not. But, still, I just don't think that's right. Angel has, in my meaningless opinion anyways, the greatest cast of any TV show I've ever seen. Seriously, Fred alone trumps any character from Buffy (no offense to the still-great Buffy characters). But, then there's Wesley, played by the extremely talented Alexis Denisof, who I think is probably the most developed character in the Buffyverse. But, what do I know? Still... irksome.

I agree about the best episode choices too. Both Buffy and Angel had better episodes than the ones chosen, I think. "A Hole in the World", that's your best Angel episode right there.

I am glad to see that all three of Joss' shows made the list. Hopefully, in a few years, when another list like this comes out, we'll see Dollhouse on one of these too.
Supersymettrical, I agree. "A Hole in the World" is truly great. I don't know how it escaped being typed...I think it's because that episode always makes me cry. I try to block it at times.
Same thing with "The Body."

And so, so, many others.
And In Treatment is missing. I'd put that at #3, behind Buffy and Firefly. Of course, it has only been out for a couple of months, but what great months they have been. Farewell, young fart!
Well my favorites were all on the list: the Holy Trinity (BTVS, Angel and Firefly), Veronica Mars, Arrested Development, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, and the recent addition of The Wire. I haven't seen Spaced but it's definitely on my list. And they were spot on with the comment that anything is made 27% better with the presence of Nathan Fillion. (I should have stuff thrown at me for using the phrase spot on, how weird- but you get the point.)

[ edited by onthedrift on 2008-03-28 23:38 ]
Nice list. Though I don't agree with most of the best episode picks.
I didn't take the time to read; I got bored when I disagreed with or didn't recognize most of the shows. So, can someone tell me: is Ghost Whisperer on there? *A guilty pleasure of mine*
Plus, the show is so better than Prison Break.
I don't mean to be a killjoy but apparently TV didn't exist before 20 years ago.
Channel 4 did something similar a while ago, 50 greatest TV Dramas of all time. A lot of all the shows on the list I had never heard of. The Sopranos won, and The West Wing was in the top 5 I think. But maybe that better represents the actual best TV shows? I will see if I can find the list somewhere.

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=13498328

Doesn't really have anything to do with Whedonverse, but still an interesting read.
The first two choices pretty much reflect my own feelings about TV -- nothing finer than either The Simpsons or Buffy in all their glory.

delirium_haze: this is something I hector my friends about, the fact that television is experiencing a creative flowering in the last 10-15 years, and that it's not just that TV is better than it used to be, but better than the current state of movies right now. Viva la boob tube.
Its too soon to tell on In Treatment, Dana5140. I know, I know, you love it better than bread and oxygen :) And, no the Ghost Whisperer is not on there, although the only way I could see it getting on there is if we pushed Prison Break off, which shouldn't be there to begin with ;) Spaced should be higher, and I would've chosen a different numero uno. And no, TV didn't exist before twenty years ago, thank you for noticing ;)
Except for 'Star Trek' (with 2 shows older than 20 years on there - yikes, I can remember griping about 'Encounter at Farpoint' like it was yesterday), 'Monty Python', 'Only Fools ...', 'Blackadder', hell, even 'Red Dwarf' is 20 this year. So they have some spread through time, just not enough.

Seems significant to me that, aside from a few token sci-fi shows with their dedicated cult followings, it's comedy that stays in people's minds for years and years. Though it could also just be that those are some of the most repeated shows on UK TV ;).

(AFAIK 'In Treatment' hasn't been on over here yet so, given that it's a UK magazine, it's not even really a contender, nevermind the fact that it's just a few weeks old)
Great list!
Buffy, the Simpsons, the Sopronos and the West Wing as the top four choices. And it also include Firefly, Angel, Futurama, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Twin Peaks, Black Adder, Friends, Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine and Veronica Mars! Can't get much better than that.

Only show I really feel should be on it that is missing is Sports Night. And I also would have liked to see Gilmore Girls included.

Also, Arested Development is like Royal Tenenbaums shot like COPS? I really have to give that a chance.
Ok, first off, that list fails because they didn't mention a show that, imo, HAS to be on that list atleast somewhere. MASH. I was young when it first came out, but a couple years ago watched the entire series and it has some of the best comedic and dramatic moments I've seen on TV.

I agree with a few of the posters on here that I liked the Angel cast over Buffy. Cordy was funnier (atleast in the first 3 seasons) and Wes is the best supporting character, period.

One good thing about this list is that it's given me some more things to put on my "shows I need to watch list." Now, if I could just stop rewatching Buffy.
True, Sports Night could've been on there. I adore Arrested Development and that description isn't entirely wrong, though I think its far more quick witted than that. Hope you dig it. Eek, Encounter at Farpoint' was 20 years ago? Now I feel dreadfully old...
Gotta say, I'm very glad that Gilmore Girls didn't make the list. Only occasionally was that show decent.
Ghost Whisperer should have been there instead of Prison Break.

Was Beverly Hillbillies on that list? Because that show rocks. I'm watching it with the parents (Baby Boomers) and that show is quite witty, and a lot of fun. Irene Rose is a great actress, up there with Lucille Ball and Gilda Radner for comedians.
I don't really get MASH. Mayhaps it's because it's before my time.

I have a special place in my heart for the BtVS characters over Angel, mostly because I grew up with Buffy and the Scoobies and didn't watch Angel until much later. I think I just identified more with Buffy, being around her age and dealing with similar things.
pffffft Nathans presence making things 27% beter? try 27 trillion % beter
Why, why, WHY do internet lists require me to click on so many things to get through them!! I've really got to click 50 times to see the entire list? No, I won't.
Well, zg, I did note it was only 2 months old, you know? :-)

But lord, what acting. Just incredible, and a new star in Mia Wasikowska, who tore Peter Horton a new one in her final episode this week. Chills, when she told her dad (Horton) "It's my therapy. Mine!" Or when she threw his words at him: "That's adult!"

I honestly find the character of Sophie to be the most compelling person I have ever seen on TV outside of Willow Rosenberg. And we know how I feel about Willow.

And truth is, I never got into the Sopranos. I've had S1 for 2 years but have not made it past ep 3.
Cordy was funnier (atleast in the first 3 seasons) ...

C'mon, coma Cordy was hi-larious. She used to do this thing where she didn't do anything but, like, funny ... well, maybe you had to be there.

And yeah, nevermind replacing dreck with dreck (IMO ;), if we're taking 'Prison Break' out, let's slide MASH in there.

Hey, zeitgeist, check it out:
Originally on: Syndicated (60 min.)
Status: Ended Premiered: September 28, 1987 Last Aired: May 29, 1994
Show Categories: Science-Fiction, Action/Adventure

I share your pain ;).
Wowza... It really doesn't seem like that long ago, Saje. I may have to give your new fave a looksee, Dana5140.
Well I couldn't look at the whole list, but I loved what they said about Buffy. Praising the supporting cast and especially Spike. I couldn't agree more. Plus I actually agree with OMWF and Hush being the best.
The Body is a great episode but it is such a narrow view of what Buffy can be. It's about death, portrayed in an excellent way, but it's not what Buffy is about. The choice not to use music worked for that episode, but in general music is a huge part of Buffy.

I would have put Angel a lot higher up on the list, granted I am saying this without actually looking at the whole list, but I can't think of many shows, much less 21 shows, that are better.
Okay, maybe I should go look at the list.

I think Smile Time is the perfectly representative Angel episode. Horror, humor, action, totally outside the normal television box, it's wonderful.
A Hole in the World has some great angsty moments, but it's not one of the great Angel episodes to me.

I have to give it up to the Simpsons. I certainly don't like it as much as Buffy, there are many episodes I haven't seen, and I don't own two copies of the DVDs like I do Buffy, but it still manages to be relevant, witty, sometimes fall off the couch funny after three decades and you gotta respect that.
I'm disappointed that 'Northern Exposure' and 'Dead Like Me' didn't make the list, but all in all I was pleasantly surprised that so many I love DID make the list. I do have to agree w/Simon: they don't have anything that pre-dates 1960 which shows that the voters must have all been pretty young, haven't any of you watched 'Dobie Gillis'?
I call "shenanigans." The best of Joss Whedon's three big shows was ranked the lowest! (Yes, yes, I know. Without Buffy, there is no Angel. Still, I'm glad I am not the only one who seems to prefer the spinoff to the parent. By which I mean, I prefer THIS particularly fine wine to THAT particularly fine wine.)

Also, South Park at 17th? There ain't no justice, I tells ya. Still, overall, not a bad list...though I would have preferred the inclusion of some vintage shows like Get Smart and The Twilight Zone over the modern-day top-heavy list of entries. (Come on. These editors are seriously going to tell me that Family Guy is better than Rod Serling's classic series? Pfft.)

[ edited by BAFfler on 2008-03-29 05:19 ]
Okay, you've goaded me into it. I will go so far as to say Family Guy would not be on my top 50 list.
I actually hadn't realized, when I wrote my previous post, that Family Guy was ranked higher than South Park. [Not to mention Firefly (!) and Angel (!!) and Blackadder (!?!?!).] Wars have been started with less provocation. This marks one of the few times I will ever feel comfortable channeling Eric Cartman: "I HATE FAMILY GUY!"

Or, as my mom once said after we watched a few episodes together: "It was funny a few times, but the humor's too crass. And I couldn't commit to watching a show where the two smartest characters are an alcoholic dog and a psychopathic baby."
Manatees + idea balls = funny.

"Laundry" + "Winning" + "Date" + "Mexico" + "Gary Coleman"

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, zeitgeist?
The South Park Episode - Cartoon Wars, about Cartman trying to get Family Guy taken off the air.

Decriptions for Part 1 and Part 2.

Cartman is finally introduced to the Family Guy writing staff - a group of manatees. The aquatic mammals, who live in a large tank, pick up "idea balls" and put them into a hole. Each ball has the name of a person, a verb, or a pop-culture reference written on it, and when the balls travel down a shaft, a group of five of them forms a Family Guy joke (e.g. "Laundry" + "Winning" + "Date" + "Mexico" + "Gary Coleman").

Shiny, you can right click on the pics and snag them. Without the number or anything else.
zeitgeist, I knew what you were referring to. Do you not remember the joke you referenced, about winning a date to Mexico with Gary Coleman? Where they're at a restaurant, and the waiter says something, and Coleman lets loose with his trademark "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" That one?
Count me in on the Spaced love, nothing about that show is less than brilliant.

Obviously, it was great to see all Joss' shows here too.

As far as Certain Great Show not being on the list? This looks like a list of people's favorite DVDs, so anything not released(or not released widely enough) was unlikely to end up the list.
The Simpsons? Really? I mean, it was good for a while...but it's also been awful for an even longer while.

Still great to see Joss' troika up there, though.
Veronica Mars probably would have been higher ... if we'd had a chance to see it. The show wasn't picked up by any of the terrestrial networks which means that its possible viewing audience was very small. Plus it hasn't even been released on dvd. The fact that its ranked anywhere in a chart like this is amazing.

Shame no My So-Called Life though.
Certainly an interesting list. Glad to see a lot of quality shows listed instead of simply loading up with sitcoms. Would not have included Family Guy or Sex in the City to name just a couple.

Favorite shows not mentioned:
Freaks and Geeks
Mystery Science Theater 3000
The Prisoner
Cheers
M*A*S*H
The Twilight Zone
For me, the show that should have been mentioned is Oz.

And the ones that shoudn't have been on the list? Heroes and Family Guy. I haven't seen a few of the other shows but those two are ones I have actually watched and think are (overall) mediocre at best.
For the record, it was not my intention to rate Scrubs over Angel. Angel and Buffy rank equal in my world. I should have said.

Totally agree about MASH. Should've been on the list. And while we're talking about older shows, did any one else think of All In The Family?
zg- you can watch the first 3 weeks of episodes (15 of them!) for free at www.hbo.com/intreatment. Sophie is Wednesday, but it is not really until week 3 that she explodes off the screen (and let me say that no matter how obvious you think the storyline is, it is way deeper than you think; small things in ep 1 come back to have huge repercussions later, for example- they are Jossian this way). At the end you will be astonished that Mia Wasikowska was 17 when she filmed those scenes, and right at the end of ep 3 Sophie, when she is asked by Gabriel Byrne's Paul Westin about her intuition, and what follows, is spectacular.

No show has grabbed me like this since Buffy. I can't sleep worrying about some of these characters, honest!
zeitgeist, I knew what you were referring to.


Sorry, it was late and I was about to go to sleep :)

Dana - cool, I will look into that :)
There is NO WAY "King Sized Homer" was the best Simpsons episode. It does pop up on lot of lists, though. I prefer "Homie the Clown" or "Last Exit To Sprigfield". And as far as Buffy goes, I thought "Restless" was better than "Hush".
No "Best of TV" list with Heroes on it will every get my approval.
Dark Angel should have really made the list.
Angel was only resurrected after his death in Season 2 because the network decided to greenlight a spin-off show.

...

For one reason or another I really didn't know this.
These kinds of lists are pointless, entertaining, but pointless. It's like saying who is the best artist. Isn't it all subjective? The title of the list should be, Our Favorite 50 TV Shows, cuz depending on who "Our" is depends on whats on the list. In this case it's a bunch of younger people. Some of my favorites are on here, some aren't, I don't agree with the order of the list. But I do agree with the James Marsters praise. God, don't think I will ever get over him. Damn his Spike performance! I have never loved another character like this before and never will again.
Langauge, language!!!!! (*grin)
Of course it's debatable as to the merits of such lists, but regardless it's nice to see Buffy, Angel and Firefly make their mark.

I do think that the comments they made on Angel were pretty dismissive of the show, making it sound like a mildly entertaining Buffy spin-off, rather than an excellent show in its own right, for example by referring to the cast as being "made largely out of Buffy cast-offs". I think that actually sounds quite offensive. Yes, Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and Spike all originated in Buffy, but I completely disagree with the idea that they were "never as appealing as their Scooby gang counterparts".

Angel, Cordelia and Wesley all became much more interesting, complex and appealing characters on Angel. I think on Buffy Angel was always hinted at being a character with a lot of depth and that we only ever saw a part of his life on Buffy, but I think AtS really delivered on this by making him a much more fully developed character with a long history than he ever was on Buffy. Even more surprising were the transformations of Cordelia and Wesley, two characters who went on journeys that were so far removed from how they were portrayed on Buffy, and yet this development was believable. Wesley in particular was only comic relief on Buffy so to see him change so much was fantastic.

And that's not to mention characters like Doyle, Gunn, Fred and Lorne who first appeared in AtS. It's just weird that the review sounds slightly dismissive and ignores many of the show's strengths.
It's not a bad list and, by saying that, I mean it's not as bad as it should've been. It's the title that'll irk most people; it's closer to being the 50 most popular shows of all time, rather than the greatest.

I think Heroes and Lost were completely overrated in this list: Heroes, in particular. Lost is inferior to many of the shows on this list, not least The Wire, Angel, Twin Peaks and JJ Abrams' own show, Alias.

Like everyone else, I think the comments on Angel are far too damning. It's quite obviously written by somebody who saw one or two episodes, without really knowing why Joss and David made it work. The show was at least as good as Buffy.

Spaced, although decent, didn't deserve to be placed ahead of The Office.

I would agree with UnpluggedCrazy on The Simpsons, but I think they churned out enough classic episodes to immortalise the show.

Basically, there are all kinds of holes in the list. It passed the time, though.

The fact that Prison Break got in there is just...hilarious. I say that as a fan of the show.
But you know, and I'm in the minority and I think Buffy is the best show ever put on TV, but I have yet to make it through all 5 seasons of Angel- and I own them all. I get to the far end of S3 and end up giving up. No resonance for me. Not like Firefly, not like Buffy. But I'd still put it years ahead of Lost. I think Lost is deplorable.
I'm actually with Dana on Buffy being the best show ever. AtS is quite good, but I can live without most of S4. Then again, I have a teenaged brother, so maybe I just got irritated with Connor's angst because I have to deal with it at home.

Still kind of miffed that Friends was so high on the list, and that it mentioned its clever writing. Pah.
That's probably the worst list I've ever seen.

"50 Greatest TV Shows of ALL TIME"?!?! Lost is number 5!?!? Better than The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dick Van Dyke, The Twilight Zone, Frasier, etc etc?

There's only like two shows from before 1990 in the top 20, and only like 2 from before 1975 on the entire list. Even calling it "The Most Popular Shows of All Time" would be wrong. Probably 90% of people who owned a TV set was watching the Honeymooners, The Flintstones, or Leave it to Beaver when they were on.

Call it what it is. "50 Shows From the Past 25 Years That People Who Have Nothing Better To Do Than Read Empire.com Like."
Why is Friends being picked on? I like that show. My kids have all the seasons on DVD and whenever it's on it makes me laugh and what more can you ask from a sitcom? It isn't War & Peace or anything, it's just a fun show.
I have all seasons on DVD, too--it's an amusing show, though it kind of jumps the shark after S8.

My problem with that show is that people call it brilliant, and that people talk about how good the writing is. The more I watch it, the more I realize that the show owed all of its success to the chemistry and skill of the actors. The writing actually sucks: it's clunky and forced at times, and the show has no respect whatsoever for continuity, which just irritates me.

I just get mad when people talk about the show in the same breath (or, in this case, inane online list) as BtVS or anything else Whedon.
Friends doesn't make me laugh. At all. That's why I've picked on it in the past. But one of this year's resolutions was to not take any more cheap shots . . .

Heroes? Entertaining, well-shot, great moments, but some very mediocre dialogue and character development, IMO. I would have had Fs & Gs, the original run of Doctor Who (I'm right in thinking that wasn't included, yes?), Deadwood should be in the top 5 (best dialogue, word-for-word, of any show), and so on and so on. Too many shows from the past 10 years (although there have been some great ones in that period). But this list? Really not such a bad place to start.
Deadwood? Word for Word? You mean F word to F word? That seemed to be most of the dialog I heard. Just got so sick of it I couldn't get past the first 2 episodes, I tried, but no, couldn't do it. See, like I said, all in the eye of the beholder.
Nah, I think that Pulp Fiction is more F word to F word than Deadwood. Plus, any show that uses "Wanted Dead or Alive" is okay by me. I know Pulp Fiction is a movie; I'm just saying.

Still miffed on behalf of Commander in Chief and Ghost Whisperer's snubbage. And Prison Break's inclusion. On the other hand, at least Fawlty Towers got a nod...and Monty Python.

Which just makes me think: how awesome would it be to see John Cleese and Eric Idle saying lines penned by our own Numfar?

[ edited by BandofBuggered on 2008-03-30 02:15 ]
Heck, my own list, top 5

Buffy
In Treatment
Dead Like Me
CSI (Las Vegas only!)
Firefly
(Wonderfalls hiding at 6)

(PS. I have never seen Friends, Seinfeld or The Office)

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-03-30 03:33 ]
Wow. I would've placed The Wire, X-Files, Deadwood and BSG much higher than Friends, Seinfeld and The Family Guy.
I would also rate Firefly higher.
Me? I absolutely loved the writing (and acting) of Deadwood.
Language speaks volumes about characters and their situations. How else would one expect people in a lawless, violent place to speak? Your words let people know that you are not to be f***ed with in any way.
I highly suggest that anyone that was initially put off by Deadwood to rent the DVDs and listen to any of David Milch's commentary or watch the Featurette about The Writing of Deadwood.
: )
Anyway...that Empire list is pretty interesting.
Spaced, although decent, didn't deserve to be placed ahead of The Office.


Them's fightin' words :) Sometimes I wake in the night screaming in a cold sweat because I've suddenly realized that The Office could not possibly be more overrated than it already is. Spaced is rather underrated by comparison, as is the awesome Look Around You.
I agree with many of the comments people have made about omissions, but I cannot believe that nobody has mentioned Homicide: Life on the Street. Probably I'd still rate that as the greatest show of any kind, ever, although The Wire comes close, and Buffy would share the top spot or hover just below. I suspect Firefly might have made it to the top if it had had a couple of seasons - or even one whole one.
Not bad as these lists go. My biggest quibble is the over-rating of The Simpsons. Better than not only all Joss's shows but The Wire, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, BSG?? .... I would have it somewhere in the top twenty-twenty five, at best.

But the one that tics me off most is Lost at #2. They can't be serious. And Prison Break is just a joke, on a "best of" anything list.

Since they included mini-series, Band of Brothers all the way down at #41 is inexcusable, and leaving off Angels in America is totally incomprehensible.

Dana5140, sharing your In Treatment love. :) some of the best acting ever, by just about every single character.
shey, you said it. Man, that was top notch acting- first, seeing Gabriel Byrne and Diane Wiest run circles around each other is a masterclass. Then Blair Underwood just kills as Alex- and Glynn Turman as his dad was so great. Embeth Davidtz and Josh Charles are so toxicly good together. Melissa George was wonderful as the femme fatale. Michelle Forbes- of BSG!- just is perfect as Paul Westin's suffering but smart wife. And the discovery of Mia Wasikowska as Sophie- oh my God, where did they find her? She is astonishing, just beyond belief. She pwns the entire tale. Every session with her is beyond belief, and so deep. The photo books in ep 1. The attempt to get Paul to help her change clothes in ep 2 (and her interactions with Paul's wife). The end of ep 3, which chilled me. The comments from the gymnast she ... well, I'd rather not say so as to preserve the power of the comment (and Paul's response- and Sophie's response to Paul's response). Pizza. Her relation with her mom and the later comment about having coffee- and her mom's response. The perfection of the final scenes in ep 9, when Mia owns the screen as never before. Wow! Just wow.

And we know Alyson Hannigan's tears can move the world, but Mia's can affect galaxies.

And like Buffy in Chosen and its last words "What do we now, Buffy?" The final words in In Treatment: "We can talk about it."

Folks- I'm strident, a contrarian pain in the butt (:-)), and so on, and you know I love Tara, but trust me on this- you have never seen a show like this, and not one with this level of acting (well, Buffy excluded). The first 3 weeks of eps are free online at hbo.com/intreatment- check it out.

And, I have been convinced now to begin The Wire. I will do so soon.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-03-30 14:13 ]
I think my current top five would be (in no particular order):

Morecambe and Wise
Lost
Buffy/Angel
Doctor Who
Babylon 5

Course two weeks down the line it'll all change.
Yeah, Morecambe and Wise are probably gonna have jumped the shark by then.
Well they are dead, so probably not.
and you know I love Tara


No... ;) Didn't realize who all was in this and if the new folk are giving the 'name' actors a run for their money this has gotta be good. I am definitely checking it out.
Is that like irony squared Simon or do I need to go back and rewrite my post in the special flashing font ?

(we who grew up on their Christmas specials salute them ;)
I saw that Gabriel Byrne was in a series and knew I had to check it out, but I missed taping the first ep (and repeats). My best friend from high school has told me it's a winner of a series too, and I love the way it's airing. I'll catch it on DVD. Along with Rome and The Wire, eventually. I used to be on top of all my HBO viewing, but sometimes shows come along when I'm just too busy for TV.

50. Quantum Leap ~ watched it as a child/pre-teen and enjoyed it, but didn't see all of it and can't have an honest adult opinion of it. Probably won't ever re-watch or buy it.

49. Prison Break ~ haven't seen it. Initially opposed to it due to it coming across in its ads like a hybrid of 24 and a watered down Oz. On the recommendation of a number of people who's opinions I trust, I will check it out eventually as a piece of entertaining adrenaline action/intrigue. I like a couple of the actors in it, and the dude playing the older brother is smokin', IMO, in addition to a whole lot of the rest of the cast, so that doesn't hurt.

48. Veronica Mars ~ I almost wish I had stuck with this on the air so that I wouldn't keep sounding like a broken record every time is comes up, but...I watched the first three episodes and wasn't impressed. It felt too high school, too cute for its own good (despite some of the heavy subject matter), and just wasn't the right show for me at the time. Vast fan opinion that it didn't have a very good final season doesn't help encourage me to rent or buy. I know Kirsten Bell is brilliant, she was one of my favorite characters on Deadwood and possibly the second-best villain (or "villain", if you like) on Heroes, but her character on VM didn't seem all that interesting or unique, IMO.

I know, I know, I'll eventually watch Prison Break but I'm resistant to Veronica Mars. Some of you probably think that discredits my opinions right there, heh. *shrug*

47. Star Trek: DS9 ~ Child/pre-teen memory of it and I only watched the first two or three seasons, then a bit sporadically, then gave up around the time the Dominion War was just starting up (doesn't matter how great the big drama might be if you just don't give a crap about any of the characters aside from Dax...and that might've just been a teen crush manifesting itself as "character interest"). I might've just felt Trek'd out once ST:TNG ended, I remember that. Can't really give DS9 a fair assessment, though I will watch it if I ever make time in my life for a serious franchise marathon/partial re-watch (haven't seen more than a couple original series eps, more than a couple of the original movies, seen all of TNG and its films, all of Enterprise oddly enough, about four or five Voyager eps...)

46. Sex & The City ~ I liked it, but by the time the series ended I definitely didn't love it. Sarah Jessica Parker's character was at times grating, though I loved Cynthia Nixon's Miranda (got the best moment in the finale, IMO, with Steve's mom, and overall was the most relatable and well-rounded character in the series for me) and Kim Cattral's Samantha. Not to mention most of the supporting cast. Will definitely go see the movie, though. IMO, this does deserve its spot on the list.

45. Farscape ~ High up on my list of things to watch.

44. Cracker ~ I know nothing about it, no interest in seeing it, though Robbie Coltrane is frequently awesome.

43. Star Trek ~ Yeah...I dunno. Maybe some day. I'm sure it deserves its spot if only for the groundbreaking nature of it originally and due to that being a popularity list.

42. Only Fools & Horses ~ No clue (apologize to the Brits for being quite ignorant of their shows. Hey, I've seen Manchild, Bob & Rose--which would be on a quality list, if I had anything to say about it--and the original UK Queer As Folk, plus I plan on seeing the original The Office some day).

41. Band of Brothers ~ Deserves its spot and should probably be higher, like in the 30s or 20s...probably would be if more folks had seen it. That shiny metal case is on sale a lot lately...so tempting...gonna hold off for HD some day though. You normally won't get me near contemporary war stuff, but the acting is too good to pass up and the whole thing is just too effectively harrowing to ignore.

40. Life on Mars ~ Kinda curious, probably won't ever get around to it now though. I frequently forget about it and that I originally intended to rent or buy it soon after it had finished airing in the UK.

Skipping 39 - 38

37. Star Trek: TNG ~ Yes.

36. Father Ted ~ Dunno it.

35. Alias ~ Felt a bit like La Femme Nikita (the series) in the seven or eight episodes I caught on bootleg DVD years ago (I gave up watching 'em that way because the transfer was too dark and I wanted the official thing, and in widescreen damn it). Besides being easy on the eyes, I'm not sure I really like Jennifer Garner as an actor all that much, but I'm willing to give it another go, especially because a lot of the supporting cast was interesting. The stuff in the later seasons sounds wonderfully fucked up, I'm prepared to be frustrated too. And I'll be the first to admit that I'll watch anything JJ Abrams throws at me. He's not Joss, Alan Ball, David Milch, or whoever else you can think of who produces quality consistently...but his stuff is at least always initially ambitious and entertaining.

34. Frasier ~ I liked it, but never watched it much. Just whenever nothing else was on. A very capable and loveable cast, but I could only take so much pompous posturing, even though it was made fun of in every episode. At least we got a sitcom (laugh track and all) with a brain.

33. CSI ~ bleh.

32. Babylon 5 ~ Yay. I wanna finish this off. I feel sci-fi deprived lately. Cut more of the comedies from this list, I'm more about the dramas, especially the big sweeping ones with smaller stories peppered throughout.

31. Deadwood ~ Should be way higher up on the list. And I want my Season 4, one movie or two, just something to conclude the series properly.

30. Dexter ~ Another that should be seen by more people and as a result become more popular and end up higher on lists like these. I don't think it's crazy to go out on a limb and say after two seasons that this is easily Top 10 material. God, for the acting alone. Even if later seasons completely suck, I will point to Seasons 1 and 2 and continue to proudly proclaim them as some of the best TV viewing available.

29. ER ~ I wathed it a little in its heyday, because I watched most of NBC's Thursday night programming...but what is there really to say about this show ? I wouldn't be in my Top 50. Cartoons from my childhood that I've recently re-watched and re-confirmed that I still love would get on my Top 50 list before ER.

28. Fawlty Towers ~ Skipping it, haven't seen it. All I've seen remotely related to Monty Python/John Cleese's best days is "The Meaning of Life". A few things I loved (that "Every sperm is sacred" song--can't help it if this offends, but shots at the more ridiculous aspects of Catholicism never get old for me, especially when phrased and visualized in hilarious fashion).

27. Six Feet Under ~ Top 10 material, one of the best complete series ever, possibly the best straight-up drama on TV so far (ie, no genre elements). My biggest gripe with this list aside from having The Simpsons in the #1 slot is this one being down this far.

26. Red Dwarf ~ Never seen it...or I might have, if it was shown on YTV in Canada ? Or am I confusing it with White Dwarf ? Some kind of goofy sci-fi show was on in the `90s with the word "dwarf" in it.

25. Futurama ~ My love for this series is huge (though not as huge as addicts who've listed to all the commentaries and know the series inside out, line to line...but I'll get there). Only getting bigger with the direct-to-DVD movies. I can't wait 'til movie #2 in June, I wish Firefly was getting that sort of treatment.

24. Twin Peaks ~ Only seen the first season, but it was intersting and entertainingly weird at times. I don't feel motivated to watch the rest now that the series is complete on DVD though. Meh.

23. The Office (UK) ~ Haven't seen it. I'll read the rest of the list to see if it made it, but the US version would be in my Top 50, definitely. My favorite currently-airing half hour comedy at the moment (Scrubs might beat it if I was still keeping up with that, but I'm saving Seasons 4 to 7 for DVD). I don't think the US version is at all overrated. It does less well in the ratings than it deserves, but is as review-and-internet popular as it should be.

22. The Shield ~ gotta get my hands on Seasons 5 on DVD and later this year Season 6. Season 7 is gonna start soon and I've never been more than a year behind on it. Best cop drama I've seen, and that's not a genre I normally go to.

21. Angel ~ I love Angel too, but it's probably in the exact spot it deserves, overall, all-encompassing across the entire spectrum of TV shows, quality-wise. Maybe the mid-teens instead would be fairer and more attractive a spot for it though.

20. Blackadder ~ More "I suck at Brit TV knowledge"

19. Scrubs ~ Happy it made the list, had no idea it was all that popular. Overseas, even. Anyone heard whether they've been given the space to end it properly ? I remember reading that the strike really screwed with Bill Lawrence's plans and threatened to end it prematurely before its final season could conclude properly.

18. Arrested Development ~ Oh yeah. Blind-buy, folks, blind-buy. If you haven't seen this and Six Feet Under, get 'em (but SFU first, so you'll trust me better)

17. South Park ~ I love South Park, but I only watch it once in a blue moon anymore. I was working my way through it with the first four seasons on DVD plus the movie being rented, but lost track of that mission and never resumed.

16. Doctor Who ~ I need to see the part of this that Russel T. Davies oversaw. Or is he still doing it, even after Christopher Eccleston left ? I've never seen a lick of Who, aside from the endings of some episodes when I was little because just as this was finishing around 3pm, cartoons were coming on after school.

15. Heroes ~ I have fun with Heroes. I agree with a member above who said the dialogue is kinda sub-par sometimes...often...but many of the actors are capable and, though they rush through certain plotlines (although I appreciated in Season 1 that it was not glacially paced like certain seasons of Lost), I like the stories generally. It has a cool factor that attracts me (by which I mean, it looks and "feels" cool), and it's probably the best-executed popular piece of sci-fi in years. And there's just so much sexy in it, I won't lie, it's a major appeal in certain shows. It has had some stunning stand out episodes and it accomplished what Smallville miserably failed at and squandered its potential attempting -- a well-executed live-action superhero drama on television.

However, it's too early for me to say whether it's worthy of #15 on my personal best list. At the moment, probably not. Got too many other high-quality shows that I've enjoyed more.

14. Firefly ~ Nice spot, and I love this series in a way that might make it my favorite piece of sci-fi TV (keeping in mind I haven't seen BSG or Farscape yet), but I think it's in a good spot on that list. It's hard to place a series that had only begun.

13. BSG ~ So close to buying this every time I pass it in the store. More likely I'll rent it all (one of the few popular sci-fi shows that's readily available at Blockbuster) and then buy a complete series set on Blu-Ray (or whatever format we have in five years) if I love it.

12. Family Guy ~ Skipping comment on this one for various reasons.

11. Seinfeld ~ " " " "

10. Spaced ~ Never seen it

9. The X-Files ~ Loved it up until the end of Season 7 or something, would like to re-watch some day so I can see the bulk of Season 9 that I missed, looking forward to movie #2 this summer...I dunno where I'd place this on a personal list. I loved most of it in the `90s, but would I still, knowing where some of the main plot meanders and leads and sometimes faulters ?

8. The Wire ~ Yep, soon HBO and diehard fans, soon (I've never seen anyone speak about The Wire who isn't a diehard--seems to have a high success/conversion rate).

7. Friends ~ I'll refrain from commenting this time.

6. 24 ~ I think I'm just getting tired. No comment aside from "Yes I have loved it aside from Season 6 and some of Season 4, but no I would never rank it this high". Also, it needs to end.

5. Lost ~ Entirely dependant on whether the remainder of Season 4, Season 5, and the concluding Season 6 deliver. I love this series (well, I fell back in love with it some time during Season 3), but if it drops the ball in the end, I'm not sure how much will end up feeling like it's been worth it. Severely overhyped in its first season though, I'll concede to that. There were other shows happening at the time that deserved more praise and attention from critics and pushes from them to viewers to watch. Ridiculous that the magazine thinks Season 1's finale was the best episode. "Exodus" was bloated/padded, the Hatch mystery was moronic and one of the least intriguing/intelligent question marks in the series, and it had a very unfortunate choice for a portrayal of a crazy side of Rousseau/The Frenchwoman that hasn't lined up with anything we've seen/been told about her before or since.

4. The West Wing ~ may or may not get around to watching the whole thing. Far as Sorkin goes, Sports Night is a priority.

3. The Sopranos ~ I loved it too (Seasons 2, 3, 4, and 6 more than 1 and 5, though), but I think Six Feet Under should be wearing the HBO crown. And Sopranos ain't #3 on my personal list, that's for sure.

2. Buffy ~ It's in my Top 10, definitely, and makes my Top 5 depending on how I'm feeling, but I don't think it's #2. Sure, back when it was airing it probably was, heck it was #1 for years...but by Season 7 I had watched so many other shows that edged it out by a little in terms of overall satisfaction and emotional resonance. I mean, Firefly and Angel Season 4 were better than Season 7 and I'd discovered Six Feet Under that year too and consumed Season 1, 2, and most of Season 3 by the time BtVS Season 7 was almost finished, so it plummeted way down. Doesn't diminish the impact it had on me during its first six seasons (plus early Season 7 + finale), but it just...it isn't the first or second best TV series I've ever seen, in terms of quality or favoritism. Maybe it's the best or second-best others have seen, thoroughly fair, but I've seen too much other goodness that I can't ignore no matter what my originally rabid fanboy heart wanted to believe. I still love it huge though and Season 8 keeps getting better, it's gradually felt like a more and more natural continuation in comic book form (the fact that there were already some canon-considered Buffy comics plus Fray was a huge factor in easing the official continuation's medium change in my mind).

1. No. Fuck. Why. (and no, I'm not really taking this list as seriously as it seems. But for the purposes of discussion, I am mock-outraged at The Simpsons being voted #1, it's a travesty. Really) Look, I loved the movie when I saw it for free in theatres in December. But come on. Time is past. I don't care if the series runs forever, it ain't as great as it used to be currently and...seriously voters, this is seriously your favorite TV series ? And there are better half-hour comedies, animated or otherwise...Does Matt Groening even still oversee the thing heavily ? 'Cause it feels very public-domain-ish at this point (not always a bad thing, but I often hate when TV shows lost their original creator).
Holy shit, if i'd known there were prizes for longest post i'd have tried harder ;-).

Davies is still doing 'Doctor Who' though there're rumours that he may stop after series 5 (which is only actually a few specials rather than a full series).

You should check out some of the UK shows you're unfamiliar with Kris, most of the ones on that list are genuine classics, 'Fawlty Towers' is considered by some to be the greatest sitcom ever and 'Cracker' is a brilliant drama built around a police psychologist (though it's very much NOT a procedural). And yep, Robbie Coltrane is awesome in it.

(and no 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' at all ? Wow, unusual. If you liked the sperm song piss take BTW, you should watch 'Life of Brian', their best film IMO and highly irreverent)
Kris - A couple of things. DS9 is worth a watch/rewatch, I consider it to be the best of the Treks, tackling heavier themes, but still having some humor to it. Life on Mars is brilliant, IMO, and I'm really enjoying the follow-on series Ashes to Ashes. Alias I found very fun in a superhero way and the supporting cast amused me. Jennifer Garner wasn't the best, but the supporting cast always brought me back. Plus its just fun/ludicrous.

Six Feet Under is brilliant from start to finish, though hard to watch in marathon mode. Its like a punch in the stomach at times, but somehow that darkness illuminates the beautiful moments all the more. I should note that I was referring to the UK Office. I get what it was doing/trying to do, I just didn't like it, so everyone who loves it, please stop telling me I just didn't get it. I also don't like Extras. Can't wait for The Shield to come back, that show never fails to blow me away. Agree on Scrubs and Arrested Development, two of my fave US comedies. South Park is anotehr one -- I stopped watching for a couple of seasons and came back to find that it was just as relevant and on-the-nose as ever. Parker and Stone are brilliant parodists and social commentators, IMO.

The best eps of RTD Doctor Who come with a written by Steven Moffat tag on them (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink). Love BSG, though the back end of S3 lost its way, to my eye/ear. I don't like Family Guy or Seinfeld which loses me all manner of credibility with many people. Spaced is great if you're a pop culture dork, which I am. Sports Night is brilliant, Sorkin on the rise, West Wing is Sorkin's promise fulfilled, Studio 60 is Sorkin wandering over and down the hill.

ETA - Agree with Saje re: Life of Brian. One of the best things ever, especially for one who loves a little skewering of religion.
Definitely with y'all on Life of Brian. That was the show that finally convinced my brother that Monty Python was funny. I can't even look at Easter the same anymore; I always think of the "Always look on the bright side of life" song.

Though Holy Grail was my first love. Except for the ending. Because that was stupid.

..."Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
Overall a great list from Empire magazine!

Here's my 2 in the form of my Top 5:

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. Firefly
3. Twin Peaks
4. Battlestar Galactica
5. Samurai Jack

The Rest of my Top 20 (in no particular order):

Angel
LOST
Monty Python's Flying Circus (UK)
ST:TNG
ST:DS9
The Simpsons
The Wire
Deadwood
The Sopranos
Veronica Mars
Weeds
Black Books (UK)
Batman: The Animated Series
South Park
The Venture Brothers
.
Honorable Shout Outs:

Fawlty Towers (UK), Rome, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, The Henry Rollins Show, The Boondocks, Spaced (UK), Coupling (UK), Alias, Futurama, Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Scrubs, Alien Nation, and Ren & Stimpy (when John K. was in charge)

(I watch waaaaaaay too much TV. I wonder if I will regret it when on my death bed.
Only one way to find out.. more great TV, please!)
.
With you all on the Python love. Though I liked the show and Holy Grail and the hugely underapreciated (IMO) Meaning of Life better than Life of Brian. I'm mean what was so great about that movie? Except for the intro song, the stoning sketch, the Romanes eunt domus bit, the what did the Romans ever do for us bit, the Always Look on the Bright side of life sketch, the crazy prisoner sketch (first offense, oh, you'll probably get away with crucifixion), etc.
(Very lame attempt at channeling the brilliant "What did the Romans ever do for us" bit, though I'm to lazy to list all the great stuff in Life of Brian, since there's just way to much and you all know it already)

Let's just at a bit too the listmania with my favourite english series (that I can think of right now) in random order:

+ Buffy
+ Firefly
+ Angel
+ The West Wing
+ Sports Night
+ The Simpsons
+ Futurama
+ Fawlty Towers
+ Monty Python
+ Blackadder the Third
+ Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
+ Veronica Mars
+ The Office US
+ Friends

Only one of this that wasn't included on the Empire list is poor Sports Night.

And some honorable shout outs:

Gilmore Girls
Twin Peaks
The Sopranos
South Park
My Name is Earl
Pushing Daisies
Cold Feet

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2008-03-30 21:40 ]
I've never gotten around to seeing The Office US...I tried to watch the UK version while I was recovering from surgery (thus on surgery-recovering pills) and couldn't stand it. So I watched BtVS in order again.
I was so very confused about the premise...(of The Office, that is.)

I still say Gilmore Girls isn't that great. It was decent from the last half of S1 through the end of S3. And then it sucked.
The premise of 'The Office' (US and UK versions) is "A bunch of people working in an office are filmed by a documentary crew". Not much more to it than that.

(see zeitgeist, now do you get it ? ;-)
Nobody's yet mentioned Hill Street Blues, which was a huge favorite of mine back in the day. The 80s day. And, if including a soap opera isn't the height of vulgarity, how about a Brookside shout out?

I'll get me coat. (Hey, there's another great show. And The Day Today, worth a mention.)
SoddingNancyTribe-- I am old enough to both remember and have enjoyed seeing HILL STREET when it aired. It was fantastic. BAFlier-- your mother sounds like a genius. (re: Family Guy) I disagreed with the number 1 pick, but I do love that BtVS was number 2. As it should be..

The comment about the cast-offs of BtVS was both rude and untrue. Harumph! Have they never seen the show?? And I think that ANGEL should have been higher. Along with BSG!! (Though that might be that I am frantically re watching S3 right now in prep for the April 4th return) It is a stunning show from nuts to bolts.. All in all well rounded list, sans Prison Break. What is THAT about?? *shudder*
I didn't think of adding Jon Stewart because I was thinking about fiction/scripted (wait that would cover ALL the news, including The Daily Show!). But if we are counting that then I have to mention one more old but great show: That Was The Week That Was.
"Holy shit, if i'd known there were prizes for longest post i'd have tried harder ;-)."

It was Sunday (ie, Cleaning & Laundry Day), I was bored, before I knew it it took on a life of its own. Self-lists are incredibly self-indulgent, but sometimes I like doing 'em.

And I took a nap from 5pm to 11:30pm without meaning to and now it's the middle of the night and my schedule's all messed up, so there's nothing to do but check internet real quick and then go watch some TV.
Being the evangelist, here is a good review of In Treatment:

Review: Gabriel Byrne in HBO's 'In Treatment'
Posted on: Monday, 28 January 2008, 06:00 CST

It starts slowly, seems a little dull, and doesn't make much sense at first.

Just like psychotherapy.

HBO's new weeknightly half-hour drama "In Treatment" gets it. Like a series of one-act two-handers -- stage plays where just a pair of actors face off -- this sneaky little gem steadily strips away its therapy patients' emotional defenses and excuses, exposing the raw fears and paralyzing reactions beneath.

Same as with those regular visits to the shrink, "In Treatment" takes time to reveal itself. And you're never quite sure where it's headed. But you do know it keeps coming at you. Like clockwork.

The therapy session lasts only about 25 minutes here, taking place at the same time weekly with the therapist cannily played by Gabriel Byrne. On HBO tonight at 9:30, he sees a young woman (Melissa George of "Alias") feeling bullied to decide whether to marry her boyfriend. Tomorrow at 9:30, it's a cocksure Navy bomber pilot (Blair Underwood), who maintains he sleeps great despite that recent heart attack after he killed a schoolful of Iraqi kids.

Wednesday brings a top-level teen gymnast (astounding newcomer Mia Wasikowska) with a nasty habit of plowing bikes and motorcycles into other vehicles when she isn't idealizing her coach and eviscerating her mother. Thursdays may be the roughest going: A pregnant executive (Embeth Davidtz, "Schindler's List") and her furiously resentful husband (Josh Charles, "Sports Night") rage, accuse and interrogate each other while debating an abortion. By Friday, Byrne's Dr. Paul Weston starts seeing his own shrink, a former mentor (Dianne Wiest) with whom he'd broken off contact years earlier. Until he needed her.

Paul does have his needs, too. "In Treatment" draws us deeper in by cracking the protective exteriors of both partners in the therapy relationship. Though Monday's series premiere is the least compelling of the week's five introductory episodes, it crucially lays the foundation of Paul's "midlife" crisis. His most recent one, anyway. (Yet to be introduced is Michelle Forbes as the wife about whom he has his own suspicions.) But the doctor claims he's most concerned that he isn't measuring up professionally, losing patience with his patients -- to which his shrink friend Gina listens with the same careful awareness and baloney detection we've watched Paul employ all week.

By this time, we're doing our own shrinking. We recognize the denial, the sublimation, the perfectionism, the need for control, the misplaced hate or passion. The desire for certainties, validation, reassurance. The insistence by patients that they're not there for therapy, oh no, they don't need to talk about themselves or look inward, they seek merely affirmation or permission or "tell me what to do" verdicts.

As we see Paul listen, and reflect back on what he hears, and ask probing questions, and react to the push-back, everything becomes so obvious -- all his patients' coping strategies and their willful obliviousness to what might really be distressing them. We get to feel more insightful, maybe even better adjusted than they are. But deep down, we might also recognize more than a little of ourselves in their behavior. Consider it a free shrink session.

"In Treatment" has a scheduled nine-week run, over which we'll get to observe these patients' progression, and perhaps our own. Will it become as addictive as the Israeli show from which it's adapted? That series ("BeTipul" in Hebrew) wowed the critics, mesmerized the public and swept that country's TV awards. HBO's episodes are fairly faithfully adapted from the originals, by such big-name talent as writer-director Rodrigo Garcia ("Six Feet Under"), director Paris Barclay ("NYPD Blue") and executive producer Mark Wahlberg ("Entourage").

The audience has some work to do here, too. "In Treatment" demands attention be paid -- rapt and undivided attention -- to two people simply sitting and talking. What the series doesn't demand of its makers, conversely, is much money. No huge cast or fancy sets. The concept is so simple, in fact, it could potentially go on forever -- a minimalist franchise where new patients and other therapists come and go. The key ingredient -- personal crises -- springs eternal.

HBO's broadcast strategy is equally simple yet complex. "In Treatment" initially runs weeknights at 9:30, repeating that same night on HBO2 at 11:30. (HBO On Demand subscribers have access to all of each week's new episodes starting Monday.) Starting the second week, the previous-week session with that day's patient repeats at 9 p.m. as a refresher lead-in (11 p.m. as HBO2 lead-in). The week's episodes encore as a block on HBO2 Saturday 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. and on HBO Sunday 6:30-9 p.m.

Confused? Seek counsel at hbo.com/intreatment.
lol, when i saw that buffy was the 2nd best show of all time, i didn't say 'wow', i said 'well who the fuck was number 1?'

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