My greatest songs post drew the ire of most nearly all of my friends on Facebook. People have strong opinions about music and it tends to create a divide. Television doesn't create as much of schism, even if I didn't include anything with a zombie or a vampire. But here are the best tv programs of all time. By bizarre coincidence, the Top 10 is completely from the 1980s, 90s and the 00s.
2. Unsolved Mysteries
4. Married...with Children
5. Quantum Leap
6. The Office
7. The Wonder Years
10. Salute Your Shorts
7,901. Live 9/11 coverage of the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center
7,902. Super Bowl 42
Honorable Mention: The Waltons, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Night Court, The Honeymooners and Perfect Strangers
Not Ranked: Bobby's World, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dexter and The George Lopez Show
Lets start with Cheers. If you look at the writing, the characters, the actors and the setting, Cheers is the best of all time for each of them.
The writing was top notch and didn't need poop jokes or general silliness like South Park or Family Guy. It was smart but had broad comedic appeal. For my money the cast is the best cast ever -- Woody Boyd and Norm Peterson are two of the best characters ever and Sam Malone is the best character of all time. What show had a better ensemble cast? The episode where Sam buy's the bar back is my favorite single television program of all time. Incredibly, Cheers also has the best theme song of all time. That's an impressive resume.
I have probably watched episodes of Unsolved Mysteries more than any other show in my life. I watched it every week when it was first-run on NBC. In the meantime, reruns were on Lifetime every night at 8pm and it was on two or three times on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I loved Robert Stack. His voice and his intros were perfect -- they had the perfect mix of being entertaining and serious at the same time. I watched these shows so many times that I naturally ended up being invested in the cases they were trying to solve. Half the fun of this show was watching each week and hoping that they would burst into a story with an UPDATE! and maybe they caught the killer or found the missing person.
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They run the show to this day, but with Dennis Farina as the host and the original footage chopped to hell. I would pay real hard earned money for copies of the original NBC broadcasts, just to hear Robert Stack again.
The thing about Unsolved Mysteries -- I loved that show so much, but it scared the freaking living daylights out of me. I would watch that show at night and be constantly afraid that any noise I heard was someone breaking in to kill me. It was quite harrowing for a 13 year old. I miss it so much.
Al Bundy is one of the all-time greatest characters and Married...with Children was revolutionary for it's time. That show might have more memorable episodes than any other show on the list. So many stick out but I think I'd have to lean towards the episode where they 'moved' into the grocery store to take advantage of the air conditioning during a heat wave or the Labor Day episode where the ashes of Marcy's dead aunt end up in Al's grill. Picking my favorite episode of MWC is like asking me to pick between my kids.
They recently started replaying it Saturday nights on one of the local stations and it drew me right back in. I don't know if I 'cared' more about a character than I did Sam Beckett.
I hate, HATE when TV shows end without resolution. That's why you will never find the Sopranos or Dexter on any favorites list. And that makes it so hard to reconcile the final episode of Quantum Leap, Mirror Image. That episode was on it's way to being the most interesting episode of a television show I've ever seen. Hell, it still might be.
Sam leaps into himself (sorry, if you never saw the show it won't make sense but that's not the point) and all of the previous episodes from the series were tied into one final story. But instead of sending him home, which is what Sam seemingly wanted along with entire viewing audience, they just ended the episode and ran tile cards explaining that Sam just went on leaping and never returned home. Later, I found that the producers were tasked with coming up with an episode that could be used as a cliffhanger and a series finale, because NBC hadn't decided if they were bringing it back. I guess with that backstory, they did about as well as they could have. Great episode, great show, but it's a tough pill to swallow when you don't get the resolution you were hoping for after five seasons.
I cant' really say much about the other shows that you don't already know. Seinfeld is an all-timer. Jeopardy is the greatest game show of all time and Salute Your Shorts was the best program designed for kids, ever. I was definitely network loyal to NBC.
So those are my favorite shows, and when I say favorite I mean greatest of all time. But don't fret, if your show is not listed, just know it still ranks higher than Super Bowl 42. Even if it involves Zombies.