In 2007, Time magazine published a list of all-time favorite TV shows, as compiled by James Poniewozik. The list was primarily comprised of American series, though it also includes a few mini-series and specials; read on to see how Time’s list compares with your own.
In no particular order, but starting with some classic television, are such shows as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, the American family classic Leave It to Beaver, and the 1970s hit, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. M*A*S*H, a comedy about American forces stationed in Korea in the 50s, is also noted.
There are plenty of talk shows represented, as well. The Daily Show with the politically incorrect Jon Stewart’s humorous take on American politics and current events, including sports, is a Time favorite, as is Late Night with David Letterman. The Ed Sullivan Show, which was a variety-style evening program that was noted for giving all kinds of musical acts their introduction to the American public, is listed, as is the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.
TV specials are represented on the 100 All-Time list with such memorable programs as A Charlie Brown Christmas, a holiday special that still enjoys airtime each December due to its popularity. The Super Bowl, an annual sports event, also made the list, but not only because of the football game – the competitive advertising during the match makes for quality entertainment in the form of commercials, a main reason that many non-sports fans tune in each winter.
Some 90s sitcoms and teen dramas that made the list include Friends, the long-running hit portraying the lives of 6 fabulous housemates in New York City. The show dealt with the relationships between the characters and took place primarily in their apartments and in their neighborhood coffee shop. Felicity, another New York City-based program that followed the four years of the lead character’s college career, was listed, as well as the one-season MTV smash hit, My So-Called Life, which gave actress Claire Danes her start and realistically portrayed the anxiety and excitement of high school.
Some of the more contemporary programming to be listed as some of the best shows of all time include Lost, the mega-hit adventure/suspense series surrounding a group of strangers who are stranded on a supernatural desert island following a plane crash. The cinematography of Lost alone is good enough reason to tune in; high definition viewing is of course preferred. The Office received recognition twice over, for both the American and the British versions of the wacky workplace comedy featuring an inept boss, miserable employees, and awkward office romances. Sarah Jessica Parker’s super-powered Sex and the City made the list, as well; this show took a new angle for examining the modern relationship, as well as the feminist perspective on being single in your 30s.
Also, HBO’s Six Feet Under, a one-off drama about a family funeral home business, gets a nod, as does The Wire and 24, both of which created new concepts in television programming. Many of these more recent programs can be accessed best by satellite TV, with the great range of channels and special programming available.