TV Shows: 2006 Top 40

  1. My top 40 TV shows of December 2005 to November 2006. All-time rank not included yet, as my all-time list needs to be updated (it will be soon).
  2. show [last year's rank, years ran, seasons purchased on DVD this year]
  3. Frasier [1, '93-'04, 8]
  4. A very tough choice for the #1 spot, but Frasier just nabs it again this year. While the only season released on DVD this year, S8, has been the show's weakest, constant repeat viewings of other seasons cement this as a contender for my all-time favourite show. Perfection!
  5. Curb Your Enthusiasm [NA, '99-date, 1-5]
  6. Perhaps even better than Seinfeld, genius in every conceivable way. A brilliant conception, brilliantly executed and hilariously performed. The only problem is the lack of episodes!
  7. Arrested Development [NA, '02-'05, 1-3]
  8. Brilliantly played gags and complex plot threads that would make any drama series proud made this one of the finest sitcoms of recent years, but perhaps ultimatly let to its downfall - audiences just didn't get it, it seems. Regardless, the legacy lives on on DVD!
  9. House, M.D. [NA, '04-date, 1-2]
  10. After 24, the most compulsive drama series on TV; Hugh Laurie is fantastically good, the supporting case are more than competent, and the plots are consistently inventive and engaging.
  11. Scrubs [4, '00-date, 3-4]
  12. Drops ever so slightly from last year - there's stiff competition at the top - but remains one of the best current series on US TV right now; S3, home to the best sitcom episode of all-time, "My Screw Up", more than makes up for a few dodgy episodes in S4.
  13. Cheers [NA, '82-'93, 1-5]
  14. Not quite as good as its spin-off, Frasier, but undeniably a classic. Far surperior to other sitcoms of the era, every episode is very witty and the casting is spot-on. Kudos for making a primarily one-set sitcom so enjoyable, too!
  15. Deal Or No Deal [UK] [NA, '05-date, NA]
  16. I know, I know, it's not exactly highbrow. But earlier this year I was addicted to it! The obsession has worn off since, but it's still a firm favourite. And it's better than the US version.
  17. Seinfeld [2, '89-'98, 7]
  18. Another that's had to drop due to just one season being released on DVD this year, Seinfeld remains among my all-time favourites - re-viewings confirm that - but there's no denying the later seasons aren't quite as good as those that preceded them.
  19. QI: Quite Interesting [15, '03-date, 1]
  20. Last year lumped in with Jonathan Ross and HIGNFY, this year it's really come into its own with me, and is more consistently funny - and interesting - than either of the aforementioned Friday night counterparts. Unmissable.
  21. Malcolm In The Middle [3, '00-'06, NA]
  22. I haven't seen as much of it this year, but the finale was as good as could be hoped, and repeats are more consistently entertaining than even The Simpsons or Frasier. If they'd just get the DVDs out..
  23. King of the Hill [5, '97-date, 6]
  24. Another one that's dropped thanks to the DVD releases slowing down, only season 6 having been released this year. Regardless, it's a class show, and like so many other current American shows, markedly consistent. And S6 is one of the best yet.
  25. The Simpsons [6, '89-date, 8 & soon 9]
  26. Having ended its' 6-year long streak at #1 last year, dropping to #6, this marks the first year since 1998 I haven't included the show in my top 10. And in 1998 I'd never watched the show and was seven years old. How the mighty have fallen.. still, DVDs of the classic years remain atop my re-watch list, and it's still just about my all-time favourite.
  27. Home Improvement [10, '91-'99, 4-5]
  28. If I liked this last year, I loved it this year, though so many new shows means it's relegated to #12; still, S4 and 5 of this show prove it's a show better than most give it credit for, and the scripts are frequently impressively funny.
  29. 24 [12, '01-date, 5]
  30. A first viewing on S5 - perhaps the best season yet? - not to mention a repeat viewing of S4 ensures this a high position once again. It was made for DVD and it's unbelieveably addictive. The cast are, as always, beyond impressive.
  31. Everybody Loves Raymond [NA, '96-'05, 1-5]
  32. A slow starter maybe, but by season 3 things are getting fabulous and ELR is destined to be a classic. A traditional setup, yes, but the comedy is consistently original. Great episodes come thick and fast.
  33. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air [7, '90-'96, 3-4]
  34. An excellent show which, like Home Improvement deserves more credit than it often gets. Nothing outstanding or genre-bending, just good old-fashioned hilarious sitcom
  35. Have I Got News For You [14, '90-date, Best Of #2-3]
  36. Excellent satire week after week, but it's not as consistent as it once was. Hislop and Merton are, however, comedy geniuses, and the guest-presenter idea comntinues to work well - when they make a good decision.
  37. The X Factor & American Idol [13, '01/'04-date, NA]
  38. Probably the trashiest shows on my list, these Simon Cowell talent shows-slash-promotional vehicles guarantee entertainment week after week. The auditions bring laughter whereas by the live shows we get to see some real talent shine through. I've combined both as I don't think I could justify giving both separate positions on the list.
  39. A Bit of Fry & Laurie [NA, '87-'94', 1-4]
  40. Way-before-its-time wordplay and wit. Some sketches dragged, but most were outright hilarious - Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie made a great team. It's just a shame there's only 26 episodes.
  41. Friends [8, '94-'04, NA]
  42. Still a classic in my book; but it had to drop, as despite being a great show, I haven't had time to watch it more than once through this year, new shows having to take precedence.
  43. Family Guy [17, '99-date, 5]
  44. Still just in the top 20 is the ever-hilarious Family Guy, the volume 4 (S5) DVD release a pleasant surprise after a middling V3/S4. It's not as good as it has been in the past, but it's still very silly and very funny.
  45. The Office (UK) [NA, '02-'04, 1-2+Xmas]
  46. Ricky Gervais is clearly a genius. He portrays David Brent faultlessly, as well as having written all 14 episodes of this top-tier show. A stellar supporting cast and three or four of the finest sitcom episodes of all-time guarantee this a high-rankingplace on my list.
  47. American Dad [NA, '05-date, 1]
  48. Just as good as Family Guy, and certainly not a clone of it. If I'd seen more than the first 13 it'd probably be even higher. Excellent writing and an inspired set of characters.
  49. Friday Night with Jonathan Ross [16, '98-date, NA]
  50. Sadly now the weakest of the Friday Night trilogy (this, QI, HIGNFY) - the guests seem to have gone quite downhill this series - but still a good laugh, Ross as amusing as ever. Wonder if we'll ever see some highlights packages on DVD..
  51. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart [NA, '96-date, Election 2004]
  52. As good as, if not better than, most British political satire shows, Jon Stewart and co. make this nothing less than appointment television. Certain to rise next year.
  53. My Name Is Earl [NA, '05-date, 1]
  54. Brilliant concept, executed faultlessly. Jason Lee was a great choice for Earl, and the range of talent as the supporting characters is up there with Frasier. Soon to become an all-time classic, mark my words! Bound to rise on my list next year.
  55. Monk [NA, '01-date, 1-2]
  56. An American Jonathan Creek - and just as good, too. Great plots and plot resolutions, while the character of Monk is one of the best to feature in a detective show of all-time. An instant classic.
  57. One Foot in the Grave [NA, '90-'00, 1-6+Xmas]
  58. The British 'show about nothing'? Perhaps. Either way, Victor Meldrew is a classic sitcom character by any yardstick, and Renwick did a great job penning each and every episode of this very clever and amusing show.
  59. Futurama [18, '99-'02, NA]
  60. Another show down from past rankings, this fantastic show only loses marks simply because thanks to the lack of new episodes or DVD releases I haven't watched it too much. Still an all-time great, but could do with some new material now, which it looks like we might be getting in '07.
  61. Huff [NA, '04-'06, 1]
  62. Genre-bending, eye-catching genius. The perfect example of black comedy mixed with drama. Every episode's a hit, thanks to fantastic complex plots and direction, and great acting.
  63. 30 Days [NA, '05-date, 1]
  64. Excellent, eye-opening documentary series. Alas, only seeing six episodes means I can't justify putting this any higher, but it's an brilliant show, on every level.
  65. The Shield [NA, '02-date?, 1-2]
  66. I've only recently discovered this, probably the finest cop show on TV; with time it'd probably be quite a bit higher. As it is, it's a fantastic show with some of the most shocking storylines TV has seen. Michael Chiklis does an excellent job as Vic Mackey.
  67. Derren Brown: Trick of the Mind [20, '04-date, 2]
  68. A new third series and the release of the second on DVD ensure this remains in my favourites for the year. Brown is both convincing and entertaining, and his show is always a highlight of C4's schedules.
  69. Becker [NA, '99-'04?, NA]
  70. Brilliant show. I caught S1 over the summer and it was excellent. All I can ask is: where are the DVDs?!
  71. My Family [22, '00-date, 4-5]
  72. Not as great as it once was, but certainly the best post-2000 Britcom. Despite lacking some of the characters that made earlier series work, S4 and S5 certainly had their share of classics too, even if there were too many duds.
  73. Only Fools & Horses [23, '81-'03, NA]
  74. The all-time greatest British sitcom, remaining in the list thanks to re-views earlier in the year. Sharp scripts and excellent acting, always. Shame The Green Green Grass isn't nearly as good.
  75. Grumpy Old Men/Women [NA, '03-date, 1/1]
  76. By far the best result of the current talking-heads obsession on British TV, these shows are often hilarious and equally often have you in complete, utter agreement. The Christmas specials are particularly good.
  77. The Detectives [NA, '94-'98?, 1-3]
  78. Inoffensive '90s Britcom. Par for the course, really, though the occasional standout episode and stellar acting allow it to rise above many of its peers.
  79. South Park [NA, '97-date?, Hits]
  80. Destined to rise when I finally catch up with the season releases next year, "Hits V1" proved what a truly brilliant social satire is hidden behind South Park's crude veneer. Hilarious.
  81. Extras [NA, '05-'06, 1]
  82. Just creeping in ahead of Ant & Dec is Ricky Gervais' latest TV project, and a great show it is too. Had I seen S2 as well as S1, this may well be higher, but based on a solitary viewing of the first six-episode series, I can't justify giving it a higher rating yet.

  84. Notional 41. Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway [25, '02-date, NA]
  85. So few episodes this year mean this show just barely misses out on a slot.
  86. Notional 42. Judge Judy [24, '96-date, NA]
  87. Consistently one of the most entertaining programmes on television, I'd love to see this on DVD. Alas, I haven't had time to watch it as much this year, so it marginally misses out on a placing.
  88. Notional 43. The West Wing [NA, '99-'06, NA]
  89. A fantastic show, but one that I never get around to catching up with. My new year's resolution will be to buy more West Wing DVDs!
  90. Notional 44. Father Ted [20, '94-'98, NA]
  91. Immeasurably brilliant, but one re-viewing of the show's 25 episodes this year doesn't quite suffice to make my top 40. Still deserving an all-time top-10 position though.
  92. Notional 45. Jonathan Creek [11, '97-'04, NA]
  93. Just misses out this time around, once again due to a lack of new episodes or DVDs. It seems to be on long-term hiatus.. will there ever be any more?
  94. Father of The Pride [NA, '04-'05, 1]
  95. Good, but not quite good enough to make the cut.. and unlikely to in future, sadly. Could've been great if it has lasted longer.
  96. Joey [21, '04-date, NA]
  97. I haven't been able to see S2; perhaps it would feature if I had.
  98. Tucker [19, '01-'02, NA]
  99. It only has 13 episodes, it can't stay on my list forever, sadly.
  100. 3rd Rock From The Sun [19, '96-'02, NA]
  101. Still a brilliant show, unquestionably, but I haven't had time to see much of this at all this year. I suspect it'll crop up again next year.
  102. Dilbert [NA, '99-'02, 1-2]
  103. Haven't seen much of it at all this year; I bought the DVD set a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't got around to viewing it yet. Likely to be present, and up high too, next year.
  104. Diff'rent Strokes [NA, '78-'86, 2]
  105. Might be on the list if they hurried the damn DVD releases up.
  106. Two of A Kind [NA, '98-'99, NA]
  107. So it's really really cutesy.. bah. It's also far wittier than it got credit for. Mary-Kate and Ashley's finest hour, I say!
  108. Boot Camp [NA, '99, NA]
  109. I attempted to re-watch this during the summer, but I'm missing the last three episodes! Shame, it's a great show, wish it'd be repeated.
  110. Bad Lads' Army/Brat Camp/Ian Wright's Unfit Kids/Wife Swap (UK) [NA, VAR, NA]
  111. Watched 'em all. None made the list; Bad Lads' Army was by far the closest.
Author Comments: 

Note that many of the DVDs I purchased were R2 (UK).

Comments welcomed.

Cloned From: 

I agree with many of your show-related opinions, especially The Simpsons'. How the mighty have fallen, indeed. Couldn't have put it better myself.

You shouldn't be ashamed of a show's trashy status, as long as it keeps you sufficiently entertained, who cares what a snooty, pretentious critic thinks?

Ta for the comment. In a way, The Simpsons is more disappointing now than ever; while S10-12 were undoubtedly of worse quality, nowadays it's consistently of middling quality, barely anything memorable.

Critics? Ah, indeed, who cares what they think! I suppose it's because I deride people for watching the likes of I'm A Celebrity.. yet watch similar rubbish myself. :D

excellent list, always cool reading these.

Everybody Loves Raymond , so how did s4 & 5, did you like? i love the pokemon spoof episode from season 4 and The Wallpaper from S5, sitcom classics !

Extras. if you liked first season you'll love Season 2 when comes out on dvd, actually season 1 was out for xmas last year, they haven't done the same this year :( unless they rush it.

Frasier. i saw two classics episodes today, Flour Child & Botched language of the cranes. but season 7 wasn't strong enough for me to buy S8. but the first 5 seasons were brilliant.

Cheers. i agree, for a one set sitcom, its brilliant ! really picks up around season 7 / 8 when lilith is introduced as a full time cast memember

Friends. been getting back into that this year, the writting is so sharp really, nearly every line is a joke or a lead up to a joke, really shows the qaulity of the writting. re-watched seasons 1-3.

did i ever recommend Whose line is it anyway? it's a really cool improv show, it ran in UK and a US version was made, Youtube has hundreds of videos of it.

sorry for long post

ELR; Oh yes, S4 and 5 were great, even better than 2 and 3 (1 being the weakest). I particularly liked the episodes you mention there, really great, and the Italy two-parter - not laugh-a-minute, though it was funny, but very unique and the atmosphere of Italy was captured excellently.

Extras; Yeah, I don't know why they haven't released S2 yet. It's not as if they can tie it in with S3, as there isn't going to be an S3 is there?

Frasier; Those two are great! If you didn't think much of S7, you won't like S8, it's far worse, but S11 is a excellent - my favourite after S1-6 certainly.

Cheers; Mm, it's strange for a sitcom to improve so late on in the run, but that's the consensus with Cheers! Only seen S1-5 myself.

Friends; Yeah, it's great, I re-watched it all over the summer. Thing is, with so many other shows to see, a full run-through once a year is about the best I can manage!

WLIIA; Yeah, you have mentioned it to me, though as yet I've not seen any. I'l check some out on YouTube.

Don't aplogise for long posts, it's nice to hear lots of opinions of yours!

yeah, the italy episodes were ace.

Not sure about a third season, i sure hope so though

Frasier S11, ace, i'll add it to my xmas wishlist.

i guess it depends if you like lilith i guess, but i think she rules

Friends lol i could only do 1-3. i commend you being able to watch whole thing. but the rewatches did make me realise Ross is my fave chracter, i lvoe the direction they take with him in later seasons too.

WLIIA, yeah i mean dont feel you have to check them out or anything, just you might enjoy them

later dude

What else is on your Xmas wishlist then?

Friends - I still think Chandler is my favourite, joke-wise, but Ross is pobably the most fully-fleshed out of the characters, I will concede.