TV Shows: Top 100 Favourite TV Shows

  1. key: SHOW NAME (country of origin/genre/year, number of seasons, year I first viewed)
  2. THE TOP 100

  3. THE SIMPSONS (USA animated sitcom 1989-date, 26 s., 1998)
  4. It's been my favourite show since I was eight years old; it's clearly not going to let go of this #1 spot any time soon. Despite a weaker decade-plus of shows post-2000, The Simpsons at its peak is unbeatable television. The show redefined every aspect of television comedy; the astounding range of characters rate among the best of all-time; and for an animated show it can certainly tug at the heartstrings when it wants to. It's the funniest programme ever, to boot. Unparalleled.
  5. Best episodes: "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", S5 ; "Summer of 4 ft. 2", S7 ; "Homer's Enemy", S8
  6. Best season: Really, pull anything between the second and eighth seasons. Maybe S6 at a push.
  7. Key quote: "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  8. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (USA sports/family drama 2006-2011, 5 s., 2007)
  9. Amazingly realistic, compulsively watchable and outstandingly well-acted. Genuinely realistic dialogue; the finest camerawork the small screen has seen. Devastatingly emotional, profound, and home to characters I'll care about and think about for the rest of my life. It's almost impossible to articulate just how much of an impact this show had on me. No matter your opinion on high-school football, give this a shot; it's about life, about love, about being human. It's all a TV show can possibly be.
  10. Best episodes: "The Son", S4 ; "Always", S5 ; "State", S1
  11. Best season: Its sublime first season remained unsurpassed, though S4 and S5 gave it a run for its money.
  12. Key quote: "Gentlemen, the hopes and dreams of an entire town are riding on your shoulders. You may never matter again in your life as much as you do right now." - Coach Gary Gaines
  13. BREAKING BAD (USA serial crime/thriller drama 2008-2013, 5 s., 2009)
  14. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul make for the best dramatic partnership in small screen history. The propulsive, ever-escalating tension in this increasing-stakes thriller leaves you open-mouthed and gasping for more, episode after episode. And it really stuck the landing, going out with a top-to-bottom perfect season.
  15. Best episodes: "Four Days Out", S2 ; "Half Measures"/"Full Measure", S3 ; "One Minute", S3
  16. Best season: The fifth and final run stunned, but three, two and four, in that order, run in ridiculously close
  17. Key quote: "I have cancer. Lung cancer. It's bad." - Walter White
  18. E.R. (USA medical drama 1994-2009, 15 s., 2007)
  19. The most powerful and genuine emotion the small screen will probably ever will see. A sprawling cast of fleshed-out, believable and engaging characters; story arcs to die for. ER is simply the definitive network drama, from early benchmarks "Love's Labour Lost" and "Hell and High Water" through late-period heartbreakers "The Letter" and "On the Beach".
  20. Best episodes: "On the Beach", S8 ; "Love's Labour Lost", S1 ; "The Letter", S8
  21. Best season: Season 8 was home to the most devastating arc, but S2 was wall-to-wall perfection.
  22. Key quote: "You set the tone, Carter." - Dr. Mark Greene
  23. FRASIER (USA multi-camera sitcom 1993-2004, 11 s., 2005)
  24. The sharpest, tightest scripts on television; the best ensemble cast the world will ever see. Marvellous characters, meticulously-executed farce. It's unequivocally hilarious. A weaker run in the early '00s was redeemed by a stellar final outing in 2003-04.
  25. Best episodes: "Ham Radio", S4 ; "Look Before You Leap", S3 ; "Miracle on Third or Fourth Street", S1
  26. Best season: Season 4 hit the most home-runs, with S2 close behind.
  27. Key quote: "We are not barbarians, we are not Neanderthals and we are not French!" - Frasier Crane
  28. KING OF THE HILL (USA animated sitcom 1997-2010, 13 s., 1999)
  29. Clever, subtle, wry and hilarious - forever underrated and consistently fantastic. Some of the best plotlines in television stem from Hill, one of few shows never to talk down its audience. A gem hidden away among Fox's animation block.
  30. Best episodes: "The Substitute Spanish Prisoner", S6 ; "Keeping Up With Our Joneses", S1 ; "Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men", S3
  31. Best season: The third is the most consistent; S2 and S6 are close runners.
  32. Key quote: "I sell propane and propane accessories."- Hank Hill
  33. SEINFELD (USA multi-camera sitcom 1990-1998, 9 s., 2005)
  34. Often cited as the greatest sitcom of all-time. Not quite so for me, but it's pretty close; the humour is sharp, the stories always weave together meticulously, and the cast of characters are excellent. A gem of a show.
  35. Best episodes: "The Outing", S4 ; "The Parking Garage", S3 ; "The Contest", S4
  36. Best season: Season four delivered both stand-alone classics and the series' finest arc.
  37. Key quote: "The key to eating a black and white cookie is that you wanna get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate. And yet still somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie, all our problems would be solved." - Jerry Seinfeld
  38. FUTURAMA (USA animated sci-fi sitcom 1999-2013, 8 s., 1999)
  39. Post-revival, Futurama remains as strong as ever, its latest sixth season comparing favourably with those seventy-two classic episodes. Gorgeously animated, sharply written, devastatingly emotional and absurdly intelligent.
  40. Best episodes: "The Luck of the Fryrish", S3 ; "Jurassic Bark", S4 ; "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings", S4
  41. Best season: Season 4, its last pre-cancellation, wins out thanks to a multitude of structural risks that paid off in spades
  42. Key quote: "If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate." - Zapp Brannigan
  43. COMMUNITY (USA single-camera sitcom 2009-date, 6 s., 2010)
  44. A revolution for the sitcom format; no two episodes are alike. Abed is one of sitcom's all-time greatest characters, a compelling look at a personality we rarely see given so much depth on mainstream TV.
  45. Best episode: "Cooperative Calligraphy", S2
  46. Best season: Season 2 somehow surpassed the already-magnificent season 1; season 3 is also close
  47. Key quote: "We've lost our Cliff Clavin. Our George Costanza. Our Johnny Drama.. our Turtle.. our E.. man, that show is sloppy." - Abed
  48. LOST (USA action-adventure/fantasy/sci-fi drama 2004-2010, 6 s., 2007)
  49. Whether dishing out deliciously compelling character drama, or confusing us with mindf**k sci-fi time travel, Lost never failed to deliver compulsively watchable TV, right up to "The End".
  50. Best episodes: "The Constant", S4 ; "Greatest Hits", S3 ; "The End", S6
  51. Best season: The ultra-compact fourth season delivered in spades.
  52. Key quote: "You've only got three choices: run, hide... or die." - Danielle Rousseau
  53. MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (USA single-camera sitcom 2000-2006, 7 s., 2000)
  54. Redefined the dysfunctional family sitcom with a fantastic cast of characters and relentlessly inventive plots. Effortlessly hilarious - and the oft-overlooked latter-day pioneer of single-camera network sitcom, too.
  55. Best episodes: "Rollerskates", S1 ; "Bowling", S2 ; "Traffic Ticket", S2
  56. Best season: The second season was wall-to-wall classic comedy.
  57. Key quote: "You wanna know what the best thing about childhood is? At some point, it stops." - Malcolm
  58. MONK (USA detective mystery dramedy 2003-2009, 8 s., 2006)
  59. The best, most original detective drama of recent years. Tony Shalhoub is one hell of a class act, and the conclusions to the criminal cases always deliver. Comedy, mystery and emotion combine effortlessly in this genuinely charming show.
  60. Best episodes: "Mr. Monk Is Up All Night", S6 ; "Mr. Monk and the End", S8 ; "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies", S2
  61. Best season: A remarkably consistent show, season three just nabs it - with S5 a close second
  62. Key quote: "It's a gift... and a curse." - Adrian Monk
  63. HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (USA single-camera sitcom 2005-2014, 9 s., 2006)
  64. A wonderful concept, executed with absolutely hilarious scripts and one of the strongest ensemble casts in recent memory. It's actually surpassed its spiritual predecessor, Friends, on my rankings. Even when the concept threatened to hew creativity in later years, the show remained a pleasure to watch. Legendary!
  65. Best episodes: "Slap Bet", S2 ; "Come On", S1 ; "Ten Sessions", S3
  66. Best season: The second season was the most consistently funny
  67. Key quote: "It's gonna be legen- wait for it.. and I hope you're not lactose-intolerant because the second half of that word is 'dairy'!" - Barney Stinson
  68. SCRUBS (USA single-camera sitcom 2001-2010, 9 s., 2005)
  69. Combines raw, heart-rending emotion with brilliantly sharp scripts and hilarious visual gags, and succeeds almost every time. At its peak it's virtually unrivalled: "My Screw-Up", "My Old Lady" and "My Lunch" are among TV's all-time greatest achievements. Superb soundtrack, too.
  70. Best episodes: "My Old Lady", S1 ; "My Screw-Up", S3 ; "My Lunch", S5
  71. Best season: Its first season was its sharpest.
  72. Key quote: "Let me go ahead and share a little something special with you that I like to call 'Perry's perspective'. One, if someone is standing in front of me in line at the coffee shop and can't decide what they want in the half-hour it took to get to the register then I should be allowed to kill them; two, I am fairly sure that if they took porn off the internet, there would only be one website left and it would be called "Bring Back the Porn"; three, and most importantly, the only way to be respected as a doctor and a man is to be an island. You're born alone, and you damn sure die alone. The point is, and you might want to jot this down; only the weak need help." - Dr. Cox
  73. HOUSE, M.D. (USA medical procedural drama 2004-2012, 8 s., 2006)
  74. Razor-sharp wit and brilliant characters, portrayed superbly. Hugh Laurie is on top form as the title character, delivering caustic sarcasm like few before him. A procedural that rarely feels repetitive.
  75. Best episodes: "Broken", S6 ; "Three Stories", S1 ; "No Reason", S2
  76. Best season: The second - home to the show's finest two-parter, and multitudes of standalone classics
  77. Key quote: "Like I always say, there's no 'I' in team. There's a 'me' though, if you jumble it up." - Gregory House
  78. SOUTH PARK (USA animated sitcom 1997-date, 18 s., 2003)
  79. From crude shock-jock toon to darkly satirical sitcom to astute political satire, South Park remains an absolute gem.
  80. Best episodes: "Scott Tenorman Must Die", S5 ; "Casa Bonita", S7 ; "Cartmanland", S5
  81. Best season: Season 5 at a push, but 3, 6 and 7 may also have a claim
  82. Key quote: "Screw you guys! I'm goin' home!" - Cartman
  83. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (USA serial single-camera sitcom 2003-2006 & 2013, 4 s., 2006)
  84. Its praises have been sung by many before me, yet the viewers still failed to tune in. A great shame indeed, as this was probably the most intelligent comedy on the airwaves for its three short runs. Absurdly clever; the characters were memorable and the sharp running jokes were unsurpassed in density. (A fourth season on Netflix took structural risks but didn't live up to comedic expectations, in my book.)
  85. Best episodes: "Pier Pressure", S1 ; "Development Arrested", S3 ; "Good Grief", S2
  86. Best season: The first, marginally
  87. Key quote: "Michael was concerned that he was caught in a lie about his family. The family was concerned that they were being confronted by a woman they had clubbed, drugged, and left on a bench." - Ron Howard, narrating
  88. ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES (UK multi-camera sitcom/dramedy 1981-2003, 7 s., pre-1997)
  89. The best British show of all-time, spanning over two decades and delivering sharp, clever and oft-emotional scripts until the very end. Combined traditional British wit with ambitious storylines and dramatic subplots flawlessly.
  90. Best episodes: "Danger UXD", S6 ; "The Longest Night", S5 ; "Time on our Hands", S7
  91. Best season: The sixth series' newly-expanded 50-minute format helped it become the most successful
  92. Key quote: "This time next year, we'll be millionaires!" - Del Boy
  93. THIS AMERICAN LIFE (USA anthology documentary 2007-2009, 2 s., 2008)
  94. Funny. Dramatic. Surprising. True. Radio's best show converts to visual medium; delivers all-time great documentary series.
  95. Best episodes: "My Way", S1 ; "John Smith", S2
  96. Best season: There's only twelve episodes total - watch them all
  97. 24 (USA serial action thriller 2002-2010 & 2014, 8 s., 2004)
  98. Innovative, addictive, and consistently thrilling; compelling storylines and powerful acting ensure 24 its rightful place among the all-time television greats.
  99. Best episodes: "Day 2 - 10pm to 11pm", S2 ; "Day 1 - 11pm to 12am", S1 ; "Day 5 - 6am to 7am", S5
  100. Best season: Day 2 is the most consistently thrilling, though Day 5 is also a masterclass in action-thriller plotting
  101. Key quote: "I'm Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life." - Jack Bauer
  102. FRIENDS (USA multi-camera sitcom 1994-2004, 10 s., 1999)
  103. At times wrongly dismissed for not being as intelligent as Frasier or Seinfeld, Friends is a wonderful show that doesn't get the respect it deserves often enough. The cast work marvellously together, the story arcs are compelling, the scripts very witty; in the mainstream sitcom stakes, Friends has set an impossibly high standard.
  104. Best episodes: "The One With The Prom Video", S2 ; "The One Where No-One's Ready", S3 ; "The Last One", S10
  105. Best season: The second run is home to the most consistently hilarious batch of episodes
  106. Key quote: "First divorce: wife's hidden sexuality, not my fault. Second divorce: said the wrong name at the altar, kind of my fault. Third divorce: they shouldn't let you get married when you're that drunk and have stuff drawn all over your face, Nevada's fault." - Ross Geller
  107. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (USA mockumentary/single-camera sitcom 2001-date, 8 s., 2006)
  108. Proving Larry David wasn't a one hit wonder, along comes CYE, the genius semi-scripted HBO sitcom that leads David into situations among the most hilarious ever seen in sitcom.
  109. Best episodes: "Seinfeld", S7 ; "The Doll", S2 ; "Krazee-Eyez Killa", S3
  110. Best season: Season 7's Seinfeld reunion hit new highs for the show
  111. Key quote: "The whole cashew-raisin balance is askew!" - Larry David
  112. LOUIE (USA single-camera anthology/dramedy, 2010-date, 5 s., 2011)
  113. Breaks down the boundaries of television comedy. Profound.
  114. Best episodes: "Bully", S1, "Duckling", S2, "Late Show", S3
  115. Best season: They're all blisteringly good, but season two might just take the trophy.
  116. THE SHIELD (USA serial police drama 2001-2009, 7 s., 2006)
  117. No questions asked, the finest police drama on TV. A masterclass in intense, gritty drama; never took the easy moral route, right to the very end.
  118. Best episodes: "Of Mice and Lem", S5 ; "Family Meeting", S7 ; "All In", S3
  119. Best season: Season five's explosive final episodes ensure it just beats out S3
  120. Key quote: "Good cop and bad cop have left for the day. I'm a different kind of cop." - Vic Mackey
  121. ANGEL (USA serial dark fantasy drama 1999-2004, 5 s., 2011)
  122. Surpasses its already-stellar predecessor to become a truly special show; Wesley rates among the best characters Whedon has ever created.
  123. Best episodes: "Not Fade Away", S5 ; "You're Welcome", S5 ; "Lullaby", S3
  124. Best season: The third season, though the final year arguably has more individual standouts
  125. Key quote: "Stop calling me pastries!" - Angel
  126. THE X-FILES (USA horror/conspiracy drama 1993-2002, 9 s., 2007)
  127. The mytharc intrigued, but what always kept me coming back were the gripping Monster Of The Week sci-fi masterclasses - oh, and the inspired Duchovny/Anderson pairing.
  128. Best episodes: "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", S3 ; "Pusher", S3 ; "Beyond the Sea", S1
  129. Best season: The third, home to classic episodes of both mytharc and Monster-of-the-Week varieties
  130. Key quote: "The truth is out there." - Fox Mulder
  131. IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (USA single-camera sitcom 2005-date, 10 s., 2007)
  132. One part Cheers, two parts Curb, and a dash of Seinfeld. Brazenly politically incorrect; effortlessly hilarious.
  133. Best episodes: "A Very Sunny Christmas", S6 ; "Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare", S2 ; "The Nightman Cometh", S4
  134. Best season: Probably season two, the first with Danny Devito
  135. Key quote: "When we get out of this, I'm gonna shove my fist right into your ass, hard and fast... Not in the sexual way! In the 'I am pissed off' sort of way." - Frank Reynolds
  136. THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR (USA multi-camera sitcom 1990-1996, 6 s., 1999)
  137. It may not be acclaimed, but it's damned hilarious. Smith and a brilliant supporting cast carry this sharply-written show through six fantastic seasons. An oft-underrated gem.
  138. Best episodes: "Poppa's Got A Brand-New Excuse", S4 ; "Knowledge Is Power", S1 ; "'Twas the Night Before the Christening", S4
  139. Best season: The first season is home to a lot of the most memorable outings
  140. Key quote: "Girl, you look so good, I would marry your brother just to get in your family." - Will Smith
  141. GILMORE GIRLS (USA small-town dramedy 2000-2007, 7 s., 2007)
  142. Sublimely witty scripts, faultless cast chemistry and a perfect balance between the dramatic and the comedic make this one of modern TV's finest achievements. Fantastic.
  143. Best episodes: "Wedding Bell Blues", S5 ; "A House Is Not A Home", S5 ; "Bon Voyage", S7
  144. Best season: Season two was the early-years peak; season five is home to the series' finest character development
  145. Key quote: "You lost me at 'carrots', which was the first draft of 'you had me at hello'." - Lorelai Gilmore
  146. THE MIDDLE (USA single-cam sitcom 2009-date, 6 s., 2011)
  147. The most underrated family sitcom since Malcolm. An underdog of a show about a family of underdogs, The Middle proves that working-class family sitcom can still make for outstanding television in the 21st century. A marvellous show.
  148. Best episode: "Hecks on a Plane", S2
  149. Best season: The second is the best to date.
  150. Key quote: "Once I get this job, baby, I'm gonna get you the best lightbulb-chain money can buy." - Mike Heck
  151. 30 ROCK (USA single-camera sitcom 2006-2013, 7 s., 2007)
  152. Baldwin and Fey shine consistently in this sharp-witted instant classic.
  153. Best episode: "The Rural Juror", S1
  154. Best season: Albeit shortened, the second run is full of memorable moments
  155. Key quote: "If the president is so serious about the war on terror, why doesn't he hunt down and capture Barack Obama before he strikes again?" - Jenna Maroney
  156. PEEP SHOW (UK first-person single-camera sitcom 2005-date, 8 s., 2008)
  157. Impeccably observed, hilariously delivered. The David Mitchell-Robert Webb pairing has never been so well utilised.
  158. Best episode: "Holiday", S4
  159. Best season: A show that seems to improve each season, S7 was the best yet
  160. Key quote: "Shit, what's she talking about? Nod. Look serious. I'm Di, she's Bashir." - Jeremy Usbourne
  161. SIX FEET UNDER (USA serial dark dramedy, 2001-2005, 5 s., 2007)
  162. Dark, disturbing, compelling, stunning. As close to "art" as television has come. And oh, my, what a finale.
  163. Best episode: "Everyone's Waiting", S5
  164. Best season: A controversial opinion, but S3 struck the perfect balance between the dark humour of S1 and 2 and the unreleting despair of S4 and 5
  165. Key quote: "If you think life's a vending machine where you put in virtue and take out happiness than you're going to be disappointed." - Maggie Sibley
  166. THAT '70S SHOW (USA multi-camera sitcom 1998-2006, 8 s., 2012)
  167. The last great multicam? A hell of a talented cast.
  168. Best episode: "Dine & Dash", S3
  169. Best season: Season 3 pips it, but 2 is close, and 6 was a standout last-gasp
  170. Key quote: "So, Michael cheated on me with Laurie, and Laurie cheated on him! There is a God, and he's on MY SIDE!" - Jackie Burkhardt
  171. MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE (USA buddy dramedy 2009-2011, 2 s., 2011)
  172. Fantastic characterisation; you'd never imagine middle-aged men going about their day-to-day lives could be quite so compelling.
  173. Best episode: "Go With the Flow", S1
  174. Best season: Not caught up with S2, so S1 it is
  175. Key quote: "You are going to take that great "what if" that's been itching you, and you're gonna scratch the hell out of it." - Terry Elliott
  176. TWIN PEAKS (USA serial psychological/supernatural horror 1990-1991, 2 s., 2008)
  177. A wonderfully inventive, meticulously plotted, perplexing and mysterious masterpiece.
  178. Best episode: "Lonely Souls", S2
  179. Best season: The first season - an eight-episode, seven-hour masterclass
  180. Key quote: "Damn good coffee." - Dale Cooper
  181. WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (USA) (USA improvised short-form comedy 1998-2006, 8 s., 2007)
  182. Incomprehensibly consistent for improvised comedy. Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie shine but everyone brings something to the table. Better than the vast majority of scripted television.
  183. Key quote: (improvised hoedown) "Singing a song about a vending machine / Don't you know that it's really not my scene? / Try to think of something clever, with a little twist / But if we do another hoedown, I'll slit my f**king wrist" - Ryan Stiles
  184. CHARLIE BROOKER'S WEEKLY WIPE (UK media analysis and deconstruction 2006-date, 8 s., 2007)
  185. The best TV critic in the biz delivers his genuinely hilarious rants and reviews. Plus a bit of the ol' social commentary, too. Previously Screenwipe and Newswipe.
  186. SPORTS NIGHT (USA sitcom/dramedy 1998-2000, 2 s., 2007)
  187. A stellar cast and that trademark Sorkin wit make this a home run (ho ho). Knowledge of sports is absolutely not a prerequisite.
  188. Best episode: "Quo Vadimus", S2
  189. Best season: It's tight, I'll go with season two - no laugh track.
  190. Key quote: "Anybody who can't make money off 'Sports Night' should get out of the money-making business." - Calvin Trager
  191. MOONLIGHTING (USA dramedy 1985-1989, 5 s., 2008)
  192. The on-screen chemistry and tension between Willis and Shepherd was always brimming, but it was the razor-sharp witty banter that really made the show.
  193. Best episode: "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice", S2
  194. Best season: Season two, before the outright insanity of seasons-to-come took over proceedings
  195. Key quote: "Do ducks duck? Do flies fly? Do bees be?" - David Addison
  196. THE OFFICE (US) (USA mockumentary/single-camera sitcom 2005-date, 9 s., 2006)
  197. The finest remake of any British show, ever. Rarely does a remake improve on the original, but this one did it. Perfectly scripted, delivered wonderfully. Also, I heart Pam Beesly.
  198. Best episode: "Christmas Party", S2
  199. Best season: The second, but every subsequent season - including the oft-derided sixth - has delivered too
  200. Key quote: "I guess the atmosphere that I've tried to create here is that I'm a friend first and a boss second, and probably an entertainer third.." - Michael Scott
  201. FATHER TED (UK/IRL multi-camera sitcom 1994-1998, 3 s., 2002)
  202. Hilarious through and through, this is Channel 4's greatest achievement: a masterclass in combining absurdist comedy with wit and slapstick. Shame it only lasted 26 episodes.
  203. Best episode: "A Song for Europe", S2
  204. Best season: The second series
  205. Key quote: "That's the great thing about Catholicism - it's very vague and no-one knows what its really all about." - Ted Crilly
  206. EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (USA multi-camera sitcom 1996-2005, 9 s., 2006)
  207. If Friends wins those mainstream sitcom stakes, Raymond is a close runner-up. Sporting an immensely talented cast and some of the finest, most realistic familial conflict in sitcom, it is fully deserving of the numerous accolades bestowed upon it.
  208. Best episode: "The Breakup Tape", S6
  209. Best season: Season six, oft-overlooked as one of the best sitcom seasons of the 2000s
  210. Key quote: "When I was a teenager I wanted to write the Great American novel. But then I realized that I didn't even want to read the Great American Novel." - Ray Barone
  211. EVERWOOD (USA small-town family drama 2002-2006, 4 s., 2008)
  212. Gorgeous location, believable characters, smart writing.
  213. Best episode: "A Thanksgiving Tale", S2
  214. Best season: Probably the first, but all four are superb, though S4 is perhaps the weakest
  215. Key quote: "You know, when your mother died, a thousand people said a thousand stupid things to me and I just wanted one of them to give me a reason not to die." - Dr. Andrew Brown
  216. HEY ARNOLD (USA childrens' animated sitcom 1996-2004, 5 s., 1997)
  217. Best Nicktoon, bar none - home to writing worthy of any primetime animated sitcom. Stellar voices and soundtrack, too.
  218. Best episode: "The List", S1
  219. Best season: Season one is home to a lot of my childhood favourites, but seasons four and five include a whole lot of character development and surprisingly emotional stories
  220. Key quote: "Move it, football-head!" - Helga Pataki
  221. NEWSRADIO (USA multi-camera sitcom 1995-1999, 5 s., 2006)
  222. A sublime ensemble cast - seriously, where else do you get Dave Foley, Phil Hartman, Stephen Root *and* Maura Tierney - and some of the funniest sitcom scripts ever written.
  223. Best episode: "Bitch Session", S2
  224. Best season: Season three just beats out S2
  225. Key quote: "How was I supposed to know that there was an actual person out there called Joe Vigilante?!" - Bill McNeal
  226. CHEERS (USA multi-camera sitcom 1982-1993, 11 s., 2006)
  227. Not quite as good as its spinoff Frasier, but close: razor-sharp wit a-plenty, and a compelling range of wonderful characters portrayed perfectly. Ahead of its time - and remarkably, it was as good at the end as it was at the start.
  228. Best episode: "Pick A Con, Any Con..", S1
  229. Best season: A very difficult choice, as the show was so consistent. Of the Diane years, S3; of Rebecca's run, S7
  230. Key quote: "Did I ever tell you kids about the first Thanksgiving? It took place between the ancient Egyptians and aliens from a distant galaxy." - Cliff Clavin
  231. BOSTON LEGAL (USA legal dramedy 2004-2008, 5 s., 2007)
  232. One of the most amusing shows of the last decade - and it's a legal drama. David E. Kelley at his witty, verbose best, supported by the formidable Spader/Shatner tag team.
  233. Best episode: "Son of the Defender", S3
  234. Best season: The 27-episode second season has nary a misfire
  235. Key quote: "You hear the one about the fella who died, went to the pearly gates? St. Peter let him in. Sees a guy in a suit making a closing argument. Says 'who's that?' St. Peter says 'Oh, that's God. Thinks he's Denny Crane.' " - Denny Crane
  236. MAD ABOUT YOU (USA multi-camera sitcom 1992-1999, 7 s., 2010)
  237. Paul Reiser is absolutely standout in this surprisingly above-par, boundary-pushing sitcom.
  238. Best episode: "Up In Smoke", S3
  239. Best season: Peaked around S3 - S2 and S4 run it close
  240. Key quote: "All I know is I wanna wake up naked with you for the rest of my life." - Paul Buchman
  241. COUPLING (UK multi-camera sitcom 2000-2004, 4 s., 2009)
  242. One of the sharpest Britcoms in recent memory, Coupling succeeds thanks to a stellar cast and genuinely funny scripts.
  243. Best episode: "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", S3
  244. Best season: S2, though 1 and 3 aren't far behind
  245. Key quote: "I love the word naked, it's brilliant isn't it, 'naked'. When I was a kid I used to write the word naked on a bit of paper hundreds of times and rub my face in it." - Jeff Murdock
  246. PSYCH (USA crime/buddy dramedy 2006-date, 6 s., 2007)
  247. Very entertaining, a fresh twist on the Monk formula, with a dash of buddy-cop comedy thrown in for good measure.
  248. Best episode: "Poker? I Hardly Know Her", S1
  249. Best season: The third season is the perfect combination of compelling mystery and hilarious buddy banter
  250. Key quote: "I can't watch Channel 8 anymore. Lloyd Lansing wears a toupee. It's like every newscast begins with a lie." - Shawn Spencer
  251. CRACKER (UK police/thriller drama 1993-2006, 4 s., 2007)
  252. Britain's finest police drama, thanks to the ever-talented Robbie Coltrane and the genius scriptman that is Jimmy McGovern.
  253. Best episode: "To Be A Somebody", S2
  254. Best season: Series 2's three stories are unparalleled
  255. Key quote: "I drink too much, I smoke too much, I gamble too much. I am too much." - Eddie 'Fitz' Fitzgerald
  256. FAMILY GUY (USA animated sitcom 1999-date, 12 s., 1999)
  257. An animated show that makes no pretenses about emotion, characterisation and drama, and instead goes straight for the laughs - which it delivers in huge quantities. What it lacks in intelligence it makes up for in all-out stupidity.
  258. Best episode: "Wasted Talent", S2
  259. Best season: Seasons two and three, which saw the show briefly - but impressively - reach the upper echelons of TV comedy
  260. Key quote: "Well, Peter, if you plan to pull a party out of your ass, you better stand up." - Brian Griffin
  261. GAVIN & STACEY (UK single-camera sitcom 2006-2009, 3 s., 2009)
  262. Genuine heart and warmth sits alongside well-drawn character humour and top-tier acting. Deserving of its new-classic status.
  263. Best season: There's very little between the three series - watch them all
  264. Key quote: "You think they've thought of it all, you think "Where can they go with this next?" and then they hit you with it. I mean mint Baileys! Whatever will they think of next!" - Bryn West
  265. PENN & TELLER: BULLSHIT! (USA critical-thinking documentary 2003-2010, 8 s., 2008)
  266. Best episode: "PETA", S2
  267. Best season: Broadly, the early seasons are marginally better, but this one's a tough call
  268. Key quote: "Sure, we're smug, self-righteous, pompous and self-important assholes, but damn it, we're right!" - Penn Jillette
  269. THE WEST WING (USA political dramedy 1999-2006, 7 s., 2005)
  270. Offers both typically sublime Sorkin dialogue, and brilliant insight into the American political world.
  271. Best episode: "Two Cathedrals", S2
  272. Best season: Season two - those final five episodes are impeccable
  273. Key quote: "It seems my granddaughter, Annie, had given an interview in one of the teen magazines. And somewhere between movie stars and make-up tips, she talked about her feelings on a woman’s right to choose. Now Annie, all of 12, has always been precocious, but she’s got a good head on her shoulders and I like it when she uses it, so I couldn’t understand it when her mother called me in tears yesterday. I said, "Elizabeth, what’s wrong?" She said, "It’s Annie." Now I love my family and I’ve read my Bible from cover to cover so I want you to tell me, from what part of the Holy Scripture do you suppose the Lambs of God drew their Divine inspiration when they sent my 12 year-old granddaughter a Raggedy Ann doll with a knife stuck through its throat? You’ll denounce these people, Al. You’ll do it publicly. And until you do, you can all get your fat asses out of my White House." - President Jed Bartlet
  274. THE SOPRANOS (USA mob drama 1999-2007, 6 s., 2008)
  275. Compelling, engaging television; James Gandolfini's Tony is one of the all-time great TV characters.
  276. Best episode: "College", S1
  277. Best season: Hard to beat the first season, though there are no weak runs
  278. Key quote: "There's an old Italian saying: you fuck up once, you lose two teeth." - Tony Soprano
  279. TAXI (USA multi-camera sitcom 1978-1983, 5 s., 2008)
  280. Not even slightly dated in the three decades-plus since its original run - Taxi remains as laugh-out-loud hilarious as ever.
  281. Best episode: "Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey", S2
  282. Best season: Season two, but the rest aren't far behind
  283. Key quote: "If you find yourself in a confusing situation, simply laugh knowingly and walk away." - Reverend Jim Ignatowski
  284. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (USA serial dark fantasy drama 1997-2003, 7 s., 2005)
  285. The best-known of Joss Whedon's many achievements. The dialogue flows effortlessly, the characters grow wonderfully, and the plots consistently deliver.
  286. Best episode: "Once More With Feeling", S6
  287. Best season: Probably the third, but 2 and 6 may also have a claim
  288. Key quote: "If the apocalypse comes, beep me" - Buffy Summers
  289. CALIFORNICATION (USA dark dramedy 2007-date, 4 s., 2008)
  290. Pure outrageous fun. Hilarious, dark, and often hilariously dark. Duchovny does sleazy so well.
  291. Best episode: "California Son", S1
  292. Best season: The hedonistic first season remains the finest
  293. Key quote: "I probably won't go down in history, but I will go down on your sister." - Hank Moody
  294. HOME IMPROVEMENT (USA multi-camera sitcom 1990-1998, 8 s., 2005)
  295. Now-overlooked sitcom that guarantees laughs every episode. Tim Taylor is one of American sitcom's definitive characters.
  296. Best episode: "I Was A Teenage Taylor", S6
  297. Best season: The fifth season was a run of genuinely high-quality episodes, and is worthy of a look from any TV comedy aficionado
  298. Key quote: "I don't think so, Tim." - Al Borland
  299. ALLY MCBEAL (USA legal dramedy 1997-2002, 5 s., 2007)
  300. Another remarkable David E. Kelley show; combines realistic, emotional drama with surreal comedy perfectly. Bonus props for the Vonda Shepard soundtrack and the Robert Downey, Jr. guest slot.
  301. Best episode: "Boy Next Door", S3
  302. Best season: Season two or three; towards the end of S3 and especially in S4 and S5 things get a little *too* crazy
  303. Key quote: "I like being a mess. It's who I am." - Ally McBeal
  304. STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (USA media drmaedy 2007-2008, 1 s., 2008)
  305. Another Sorkin masterpiece, it's criminal that this was cancelled so soon.
  306. Best episode: "The Christmas Show", S1
  307. Best season: The one, and alas only, season.
  308. Key quote: "This show used to be cutting edge political and social satire, but it's gotten lobotomized by a candy-ass broadcast network hell-bent on doing nothing that might challenge their audience." - Wes Mendell
  309. TITUS (USA dark multi-camera sitcom 2000-2002, 3 s., 2008)
  310. About as daring as network sitcom can get, the "Neutral Space" was a work of genius.
  311. Best episode: "Tommy's Not Gay", S3
  312. Best season: Season two, but there's very little between the three
  313. Key quote: "In my family, goodness is just badness before it's had something to drink." - Christopher Titus
  314. MY SO-CALLED LIFE (USA teen drama 1994-1995, 1 s., 2008)
  315. A perfect snapshot of '90s teenage life delivered by a stellar cast.
  316. Best episode: "The Substitute", S1
  317. Best season: Only one to choose from, more's the pity.
  318. Key quote: "My parents keep asking how school was. It's like saying, "How was that drive-by shooting?" You don't care how it was, you're lucky to get out alive." - Angela Chase
  319. JONATHAN CREEK (UK mystery dramedy 1997-date, 4 s., 2004)
  320. Britain's best mystery drama. Unique, amusing and superbly plotted. More required, David Renwick!
  321. Best episode: "Time Waits for Norman", S2
  322. Best season: Season two - a stellar two-parter, and several standalone classics
  323. Key quote: "It's not who, it's how." - Jonathan Creek
  324. MODERN FAMILY (USA mockumentary/single-camera sitcom 2009-date, 3 s., 2010)
  325. A refreshingly sharp single-camera take on the family sitcom.
  326. Best season: Oh dear, another case of "only seen S1"..
  327. Best episode: "Undeck the Halls", S1
  328. Key quote: "I'm sorta like Costco. I'm big, I'm not fancy, and I dare you not to like me." - Cameron
  329. SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (USA teenage multi-camera sitcom, 1996-2003, 7 s., 2000)
  330. An excellent premise that delivers consistently amusing setups. One of the best teen sitcoms around.
  331. Best episode: "First Kiss", S1
  332. Best season: The first season, with Mr. Pool and Jenny, can't be beat
  333. Key quote: "Dogs guard; cats watch... and judge." - Salem Saberhagen
  334. KENAN & KEL (USA live-action childrens' sitcom 1996-2000, 4 s., 2000)
  335. Best live-action Nickelodeon show, bar none.
  336. Best episode: "Merry Christmas Kenan", S1
  337. Best season: They never surpassed season 1, though a couple of weak links aside, S2 matches it
  338. Key quote: "Who loves orange soda?" - Kenan Rockmore, Kel Kimble
  339. FREAKS AND GEEKS (USA teen serial drama, 1999-2000, 1 s., 2008)
  340. Devastatingly realistic. Kudos, Paul Feig.
  341. Best episode: "Discos and Dragons", S1
  342. Best season: Just one to pick from..
  343. Key quote: "I don't like sci-fi. I love, love, love it!" - Gordon Crisp
  344. THE OFFICE (UK) (UK mockumentary/single-camera sitcom 2001-2003, 2 s., 2006)
  345. Ricky Gervais' finest hour. Consistently superb.
  346. Best episode: "Training", S1
  347. Best season: Probably S1, but there's only 14 episodes total.. watch them all!
  348. Key quote: "If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain - do you know which 'philosopher' said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of tits." - David Brent
  349. EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (USA urban single-camera sitcom 2005-2009, 4 s., 2008)
  350. Underrated and overlooked sitcom: an urban, '80s Malcolm in the Middle.
  351. Best episode: "Everybody Hates Food Stamps", S1
  352. Best season: They never did surpass the stellar first season, but season two is pretty close
  353. Key quote: "You better not get on stage and embarrass me in front of a bunch of white people, or else I'm gonna smack the pomp outta your circumstances." - Rochelle Rock
  354. AMERICAN DAD (USA animated sitcom 2005-date, 7 s., 2006)
  355. Excellent political satire combined with the best aspects of Family Guy.
  356. Best episode: "A Smith in the Hand", S1
  357. Best season: The series' fifth was its best yet
  358. Key quote: "We're at terror alert orange! Which means something might go down somewhere in some way at some point in time. So look sharp!" - Stan Smith
  359. BLACK MIRROR (UK dark comedy-drama anthology 2011-date, 2 s., 2011)
  360. Six phenomenal standalone stories wherein techno-paranoia meets social satire.
  361. Best episode: "The Entire History of You", S1
  362. Best season: Both are outstanding - and only three episodes each..
  363. ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (USA comic prison drama 2013-date, 3 s., 2014)
  364. Netflix's strongest material yet - a pitch-perfect ensemble deliver an impeccably-written blend of comic and dramatic prison material.
  365. Best episode: tbc
  366. Best season: The first and second are both impossibly good - the first at a push
  367. MY MAD FAT DIARY (UK coming-of-age comedy-drama 2013-2015, 3 s., 2013)
  368. Destined to become the UK's Freaks and Geeks, a poignant and honest look at teen life in '90s Britain.
  369. Best episode: "It's A Wonderful Rae", S1
  370. Best season: Season one just about takes it, but all fifteen episodes are home-runs
  371. A BIT OF FRY AND LAURIE (UK sketch show 1989-1995, 4 s., 2010)
  372. Literate, witty fun from two of Britain's finest talents.
  373. Best episode: tbc
  374. Best season: Series two sees Fry and Laurie firing on all cylinders
  375. PARKS AND RECREATION (USA mockumentary/single-camera sitcom 2009-date, 7 s., 2011)
  376. Yet another standout in the NBC comedy lineup. A stellar cast, working with A-grade material. Every character works.
  377. Best episode: "Telethon", S2
  378. Best season: Season two marginally beats out the third season
  379. Key quote: "I think this is gonna be a really good bonding experience with Ron. Guys love it when you can show them you're better than they are at something they love." - Leslie Knope
  380. THE INBETWEENERS (UK single-camera sitcom 2008-2011, 3 s., 2010)
  381. The most realistic portrayal of sixth form life to be put on TV, every episode devolves a hilarious train wreck not dissimilar to the finest Peep Show moments. The US version is alright, too.
  382. Best episode: "Night Out in London", S2
  383. Best season: S2 just about beats out S1
  384. Key quote: "I hope you brought your wellies Neil, 'cos we're gonna be knee-deep in clunge" - Jay Cartwright
  385. TRU CALLING (USA supernatural drama 2003-2005, 2 s., 2010)
  386. Intriguing premise, injected with the inherent likeability of Dushku, Galifianakis, and Priestley, results in a consistently compelling show.
  387. Best episode: "The Longest Day", S1
  388. Best season: Season two introduced a strong running arc, but S1 was considerably longer and had more standout standalones.. virtual tie
  389. Key quote: "You know, Davis is a nice guy, but why do I get the feeling that we're gonna come in here one morning and all the corpses are gonna be dressed up for an imaginary tea party?" - Jack Harper
  390. DEXTER (USA serial thriller 2006-2013, 8 s., 2008)
  391. Michael C. Hall's second standout role in a row. Gripping, intense, meticulous and amusing.
  392. Best episode: "Born Free", S1
  393. Best season: Nothing has topped the first season to date
  394. Key quote: "Blood. Sometimes it sets my teeth on edge, other times it helps me control the chaos." - Dexter Morgan
  395. 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN (USA multi-camera sitcom 1996-2001, 6 s., 2001)
  396. A stellar (perhaps interstellar.. geddit?) cast and a hilarious premise led to a consistently fantastic series. Lithgow steals the show.
  397. Best episode: "Jolly Old St. Dick", S2
  398. Best season: Interestingly, 3rd Rock peaked late in its run, with seasn five (despite the inferior theme tune used for those episodes..) but season two runs it pretty close
  399. Key quote: "Women, you can't live with 'em and you can't have heterosexual sex without 'em." - Dick Solomon
  400. IMPRACTICAL JOKERS (USA improvised comedy 2011-date, 4 s., 2015)
  401. Unerringly funny improv-prank show where the joke is always on the regular cast. It's amazing how many genuine laughs this show serves up.
  402. Best episode: Difficult to choose with a show of this type
  403. Best season: Season two is the most consistent to date
  404. Key quote: "LARRY!" - Joe Gatto
  405. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (USA single-camera musical sitcom 2007-2009, 2 s., 2009)
  406. One of the best casts in TV comedy, combined with the most amusing songs ever to hit the screen in any format? TV gold.
  407. Best episode: "Yoko", S1
  408. Best season: The first run is marginally superior to the second
  409. Key quote: "You're so beautiful, like a tree or a high-class prostitute." - Jemaine
  410. WITHOUT A TRACE (USA crime procedural drama 2002-2009, 7 s., 2006)
  411. The best of the CBS procedurals: gripping, intense stuff, made all the better by a stellar Anthony LaPaglia.
  412. Best episode: "So This Is Christmas" (aka "Malone vs Malone"), S3
  413. Best season: Probably season two or three - many memorable cases during those runs
  414. Key quote: "You're not supposed to get used to this. You're not. When you do... it's time to hang it up." - Jack Malone
  415. LEAD BALLOON (UK mockumentary 2006-2011, 4 s., 2008)
  416. Not just a Curb clone: Jack Dee's mockucom is hilarious in its own right
  417. Best episode: tbc
  418. Best season: The second run is the strongest
  419. DARIA (USA animated sitcom 1997-2002, 5 s., 2000)
  420. One of the best-written female characters in TV history.
  421. Best episode: tbc
  422. Best season: Season two is my favourite, but an argument can be made for any of the five
  423. SHAMELESS(US) (USA comedy-drama, 2011-date, 4 s., 2012)
  424. An utterly fantastic ensemble cast propel this adaptation to greater heights than the original
  425. Best episode: tbc
  426. Best season: The second run is probably the show's most compelling to date
  427. HUFF (USA dark drama 2004-2006, 2 s., 2006)
  428. A precursor to a multitude of FX, AMC and Showtime shows on air today - an underrated masterpiece, Hank Azaria does outstanding work
  429. Best episode: "Lipstick On Your Panties", S1
  430. Best season: Season 1 is probably stronger overall
  431. FAWLTY TOWERS (UK multi-cam sitcom 1975-1979, 2 s., 2012)
  432. A phenomenal number of downright hilarious moments are packed into these twelve episodes
  433. Best episode: "Waldorf Salad", S2
  434. Best season: There's only two - watch them both!
  435. BROADCHURCH (UK crime drama 2014-date, 2 s., 2015)
  436. Unbelievably tense - the finest rookie run of British television in years. Stellar performances and captivating, compelling story
  437. Best episode: "Episode 7", S1
  438. Best season: Easily the first
  439. PORTLANDIA (USA sketch show 2011-date, 5 s., 2011)
  440. Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen are absurdly talented, and they put their considerable weaponry to great use in this consistently brilliant sketch series.
  441. Best episode: tbc
  442. Best season: The second run is perhaps the most consistently laugh-out-loud funny
  443. I'M ALAN PARTRIDGE (UK single-camera sitcom 1997-2002, 2 s., 2007)
  444. Alan is a brilliant comic creation, and this show is pitch-perfect.
  445. Best episode: "To Kill A Mocking Alan", S1
  446. Best season: Probably the first series
  447. Key quote: "Right, dry-skin cream. I'm having an attack of the old flakes again. This morning my pillow looked like a flapjack." - Alan Partridge
  448. BLACKPOOL (UK musical murder-mystery comedy-drama 2004, 1 s., 2012)
  449. A phenomenally clever blend of a multitude to genres. The musical elements mesh superbly well with the "northern Vegas" feel of the promenade arcade setting and the dark, intriguing murder-mystery case.
  450. Best episode: Episode 3
  451. Best season: alas, there is but one (aside from the one-off sequel Viva Blackpool)
  452. Key quote: "Oh, what do you know, a copper who's read a book." - Ripley Holden / "Well, if I'd read two books, maybe I'd run an amusement arcade." - Peter Carlisle
  453. 30 DAYS (USA documentary 2005-2008, 3 s., 2005)
  454. Intelligent, unpretentious and engaging documentary series.
  455. Best episode: "Straight Man in a Gay World", S1
  456. Best season: Season 1, the most original ideas
  457. Key quote: "I encourage you, and I challenge you to let your guard down, to strip away your life, and to put yourself in the situation of someone else because you will be changed." - Morgan Spurlock
  458. ROSEANNE (USA multi-camera sitcom 1988-1997, 9 s., 2007)
  459. Surprisingly boundary-pushing - and very funny too.
  460. Best episode: "Toto, We're Not In Kansas Anymore", S1
  461. Best season: The fourth season sees the Roseanne-Goodman pairing at the height of their powers, and some great stuff from Sara Gilbert too
  462. Key quote: "What a beautiful day - the kind of day that starts with a hearty breakfast and ends with a newsreader saying, '... before turning the gun on himself.'" - Dan Conner
  463. BOB'S BURGERS (USA animated sitcom 2011-date, 5 s., 2012)
  464. A sharp, unique entry to the Animation Domination canon, packed with genuine warmth and heart, and an array of developed, unstereotypical characters
  465. Best episode: tbc
  466. Best season: Season 3, the series' first full 22-episode run, stands with the best of the animated sitcom canon
  467. GIRLS (USA dramedy 2012-date, 3 s., 2012)
  468. Feels so honest and true-to-life, darkly comic and often vaguely depressing.. in the most impressive ways.
  469. Best episode: tbc
  470. Best season: The second, but all are excellent in different ways.
  471. DIFF'RENT STROKES (USA multi-cam sitcom 1978-1986, 8 s., 2002)
  472. One of my favourites back in my tween years. It's corny and dated, but it's still good fun, and sentimental attachment seems likely to lock it into my top 100 for years to come.
  473. Best episode: "Santa's Helper", S5
  474. Best season: The fifth, home to a number of the show's most memorable moments
  475. Key quote: "Whatchoo' talkin' 'bout, Willis?" - Arnold Jackson
  476. INSIDE NO. 9 - (UK anthology comedy/horror 2014-date, 2 s., 2014)
  477. A deliciously dark comic horror anthology. Some episode have a sting in the tail; others sting all the way through.
  478. Best episode: "The 12 Days of Christine", S2
  479. Best season: The second just pips the first

  481. JOAN OF ARCADIA (USA supernatural family dramedy 2003-2005, 2 s., 2009)
  482. A touching, thoughful, smart drama that deserved more attention.
  483. Best episode: "Jump", S1
  484. Best season: The first season
  485. Key quote: "It's the one advantage to being universally despised: you get to say whatever you want." - Grace Polk
  486. BLACK BOOKS (UK multi-camera sitcom 2000-2004, 3 s., 2010)
  487. Another stellar show from Graham Lineham, purveyor of fine Channel 4 ccomedy for two decades now. Dylan Moran's Bernard is the highlight.
  488. Best episode: "Elephants and Hens", S3
  489. Best season: Little to seperate the three.. perhaps S2
  490. Key quote: "I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all." - Bernard Black
  491. DAWSON'S CREEK (USA teen drama 1998-2003, 6 s., 2008)
  492. Sparkling dialogue and enthralling characters that allowed you to buy into the melodrama.
  493. Best episode: "Detention", S1
  494. Best season: Probably the first season, home to many a classic episode
  495. Key quote: "Things change, Dawson, people change." - Joey Potter
  496. SAXONDALE (UK single-camera sitcom 2006-2007, 2 s., 2008)
  497. Steve Coogan's second-finest comedic creation, Tommy Saxondale is the lead of this absurdly underrated sitcom.
  498. Best season: Series 2 just beats out the first
  499. Key quote: "If I want to hear electronic bleeps and farts, I'll put my foot through the windscreen of the Rascal and listen to the alarm going off" - Tommy Saxondale
  500. TUCKER (USA single-camera teen sitcom 2000-2001, 1 s., 2001)
  501. Nice concept and storylines. Katey Segal and Alison Lohman make the cast particularly memorable.
  502. Best episode: "Everybody Dance Now", S1
  503. Best season: There's only one!
  504. Key quote: "That's a rule, right there!" - Claire Wennick
  505. SPACED (UK single-camera sitcom 1999-2001, 2 s., 2007)
  506. The ultimate in nerd fulfilment: quirky characters, casual pot smoking, and absolute boatloads of movie and TV references.
  507. Best episode: "Beginnings", S1
  508. Best season: S1, marginally
  509. Key quote: "Just... give me a reason. You think I'm unemotional, don't you? I can be emotional. Jesus, I cried like a child at the end of Terminator 2." - Tim Bisley
  510. QI: QUITE INTERESTING (UK panel game show 2003-date, 9 s., 2004)
  511. A Quite Interesting panel show, with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies consistently injecting hilarity into proceedings.
  512. Key quote: "Welcome to QI, the closest modern equivalent to Lions vs. Christians." - Stephen Fry
  513. THE BIG BANG THEORY (USA multi-camera sitcom 2007-date, 5 s., 2008)
  514. Hilarious stuff, the Leonard-Penny dynamic is particularly believable.
  515. Best episode: "The Hamburger Postulate", S1
  516. Best season: Season two was the benchmark
  517. Key quote: "You have about as much chance of going out with Penny as the Hubble Telescope has of finding that at the center of each black hole there's a little man with a flashlight trying to find the circuit breaker." - Sheldon Cooper
  518. NEVER MIND THE BUZZCOCKS (UK panel game show 1996-date, 24 s., 2005)
  519. The UK's most consistently hilarious panel show offering, especially in the Simon Amstell years.
  520. Key quote: "Hang on a minute... Donny [Tourette] is smoking now? What is he going to do next?! A cigarette! That you can legally buy in shops(!) I'll try to carry on but I am shocked and appalled!" - Simon Amstell
  521. ENTOURAGE (USA dramedy 2004-2011, 8 s., 2007)
  522. The excesses of fame, HBO-style. Ari Gold is one of TV's finest characters.
  523. Best episode: "Vegas Baby, Vegas!", S3
  524. Best season: Season 3 briefly say the show hit the TV comedy stratosphere
  525. Key quote: "Let's hug it out, bitch." - Ari Gold
  526. AUF WIEDERSEHEN, PET (UK dramedy 1983-2004, 4 s., 2008)
  527. British drama at its finest: a stellar ensemble cast give life to genuinely funny, believable characters.
  528. Best episode: "If I Were A Carpenter", S1
  529. Best season: The original series was the best
  530. Key quote: "Ah'll tell ye the reason I left this counrty in the first place.. in a word.. Margaret bloody Thatcher.." - Oz Osborne
  531. NORTHERN EXPOSURE (USA small-town dramedy 1990-1995, 6 s., 2008)
  532. Blends the surreal and the realistic masterfully.
  533. Best episode: "Aurora Borealis", S1
  534. Best season: The standout third season
  535. Key quote: "They say dreams are the windows of the soul - take a peek and you can see the inner workings, the nuts and bolts." - Chris Stevens
  536. THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (USA news/satire/variety 1996-date, 15 s., 2005)
  537. Home to the best satire in America. Jon Stewart is hilarious.
  538. Key quote: "Before we bring democracy to Iraq or even Afghanistan, it might be prudent to bring it to Florida. We don't have to bring regime change to the whole state. We can start in Pensacola and work our way down." - Jon Stewart
  539. RESCUE ME (USA serial firefighter drama 2004-2011, 7 s., 2008)
  540. Denis Leary stuns as the troubled firefighter in a post-9/11 world.
  541. Best episode: "Justice", S2
  542. Best season: Season two, before things got a little over-the-top
  543. Key quote: "What in the sweet chocolate Christ is a metrosexual?" - Chief Jerry Reilly
  544. OZ (USA dark prison drama 1997-2003, 6 s., 2008)
  545. HBO's first stab at hour-long drama was, naturally, an unreserved success. A sprawling cast ground a semi-realistic prison drama like no other.
  546. Best episode: "A Game of Checkers", S1
  547. Best season: S2 - intense and powerful
  548. Key quote: "Oz, that's the name on the street for the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary. Oz is retro, Oz is retribution. You wanna punish a man? Separate him from his family, separate him from himself, cage him up with his own kind." - Augustus Hill
  549. GROUNDED FOR LIFE (USA multi-camera sitcom 2001-2005, 5 s., 2008)
  550. Relentless torrents of hilariously dysfunctional comedy.
  551. Best episode: "I Saw Daddy Hitting Santa Claus", S2
  552. Best season: Probably S2, but season 3 is close
  553. Key quote: "Fine, put me on hold. I love listening to the 'Music to Kill Yourself By' collection." - Sean Finnerty
  554. The Crystal Maze (UK game show) - best gameshow of all-time
  555. True Detective (USA crime anthology) - phenomenally strong central performances
  556. Episodes (UK/USA single-cam sitcom) - I'm a sucker for media about the media, this is a fine example
  557. Inside Amy Schumer (USA sketch comedy) - best sketch show currently on TV
  558. Bored to Death (USA noir dramedy) - gotta love Galifianakis, Danson and Schwartzman in one show
  559. Bob & Rose (UK romantic dramedy) - a six-part classic, Russell Davies' magnum opus
  560. Would I Lie To You? - cleverly conceived British panel show, continues to improve
  561. Happy Endings (USA single-cam sitcom) - S2 was a great improvement on S1, superb cast chemistry
  562. Hustle (UK light-hearted con drama) - impeccably plotted and smooth as heck
  563. Nighty Night (UK dark single-cam sitcom) - the darkest sitcom I've seen; way beyond any sense of good taste, and all the better for it
  564. Wonderfalls (USA small-town fantasy drama) - Fuller gets his quirk on - his finest show
  565. Green Wing (UK surreal dramedy) - surreal insanity, Mangan shines
  566. Key and Peele (USA sketch show) - original, sharp and pointed sketch comedy
  567. FM (UK single-cam sitcom) - the second-best sitcom set at a radio station (sorry, WKRP)
  568. Nurse Jackie (USA dark dramedy) - about as dark and depressing as sitcom gets
  569. Derren Brown (UK magic/illusion) - he never fails to amaze. Ranking includes Trick of the Mind & all specials
  570. Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish (UK live comedy) - who knew Powerpoint could make for such great TV?
  571. Extras (UK mockumentary) - multiple laugh-out-loud moments every episode
  572. Wonder Years, The (USA dramedy) - a poignant, profound coming-of-age gem
  573. IT Crowd, The (UK multi-cam sitcom) - more stellar sitcom from Graham Linehan
  574. Orphan Black - (UK/US clone sci-fi) thrilling and compelling sci-fi drama with a human heart
  575. My Name Is Earl (USA single-cam sitcom) - superior show, clever concept - if occasionally inconsistent
  576. Get A Life (USA multi-cam sitcom) - way before its time
  577. Pulling (UK single-cam sitcom) - BBC3's worthiest entry into the sitcom canon by miles
  578. My Family (UK multi-cam sitcom) - lost something when Nick left, but still delivers laughs
  579. Clerks: The Animated Series (USA animated sitcom) - six episodes of gold; oh, the places this show could've gone
  580. Saved by the Bell (USA kids' multi-cam sitcom) - if you're after trashy Saturday morning fare, it's hard to beat
  581. Broad City (USA single-cam sitcom) - slacker comedy that consistently delivers laugh after laugh
  582. Veronica Mars (USA detective neo-noir) - smart, stylish and slick; neo-noir at its sharpest
  583. Sex And The City (USA dramedy) - witty, quotable and entertaining
  584. Thick of It, The (UK single-cam sitcom) - brilliantly profane; spot-on satire
  585. Mock the Week (UK panel show) - the rightful heir to HIGNFY's crown
  586. Awkward. (USA teen comedy-drama) - the most intelligent MTV show ever?
  587. Friday Night Dinner - the first two series have proved superbly funny
  588. Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, The (UK/USA single-cam sitcom) - David Cross is standout in this superior spin on Worst Week
  589. Better Off Ted (USA single-cam sitcom) - deconstructs US corporate culture with hilarious results
  590. Louis Theroux (UK documentary) - the best British documentary maker, bar none
  591. 15 Storeys High (UK single-cam sitcom) - Sean Lock's masterclass in low-key sitcom
  592. Cougar Town (USA single-cam sitcom) - far, far better, and smarter, than its title would suggest
  593. Becker (USA multi-cam sitcom) - consistently hilarious
  594. Dragon's Den (UK entrepreneurial doc) - fun when the "businesses" are appalling, wonderful when they're genuinely intriguing
  595. Him & Her (UK single-cam sitcom) - Strongly performed, dialogue-driven show-about-nothing
  596. Blackadder (UK multi-cam sitcom) - S1 is average, but 2, 3 and 4 rate along the best Britcom has to offer
  597. Outnumbered (UK single-cam sitcom) - the most natural kids on television, full stop
  598. Lucky Louie (USA dark multi-cam sitcom) - Louis CK's toying with the multicam sitcom form is magnificent
  599. Raising Hope - another stellar lower-class slice-of-life from Greg Garcia
  600. Rectify - beautiful, hypnotic and trance-like drama
  601. Weeds (USA dramedy) - sharp and clever, at least for S1-3
  602. Judge Judy (USA reality-documetary) - endlessly watchable trash
  603. Suburgatory (USA single-cam sitcom) - biting and bracingly funny
  604. Getting On (US) (USA dramedy) - dark, jet-black comedy laced with desperation
  605. Kids in the Hall - a sketch show among Canadian TV's finest achievements
  606. Brooklyn Nine-Nine - utterly hilarious sitcom, fantastic stacked cast
  607. Lilyhammer - Norwegian fish-out-of-water comedy drama
  608. Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, The - brilliantly conceived classic Britcom
  609. Wilfred (US) - dark, dark comedy; surprising considering the comical premise
  610. Boy Meets World - classic tween-teen gem
  611. League, The - another standout FX comedy
  612. Mole, The - ingenious game show idea, deserving of a wider audience
  613. Stressed Eric - the best British animated sitcom, by far
  614. Arthur - how many shows aimed at six-year-olds have parodied South Park and Dr. Katz?
  615. You're the Worst - bracingly sharp, dark comedy
  616. New Girl - charmingly funny
  617. L Word, The - compelling, sharp and sexy indulgence
  618. Rev. - well-observed small-town comedy
  619. Penn and Teller: Fool Us - magic *and* P&T in primetime? an all-around winner
  620. Enlightened - low-key, intelligent and funny; Mike White and Laura Dern are fabulous
  621. One Foot in the Grave - one of Britain's darkest comedies
  622. Not Going Out - wall-to-wall jokes
  623. American Horror Story - great balance of horror and cheese
  624. Young Ones, The - genre-bending, rule-breaking sitcom that holds up surprisingly well
  625. Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 - done-too-soon single-cam sitcom packed with great gags
  626. Prison Break - action-packed, ever-entertaining nonsense
  627. Eli Stone - deftly blended comedy-drama in the Ally McBeal mode
  628. Hart of Dixie - beautiful, well-made Southern small-town drama
  629. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - the original and best of the franchise
  630. Utopia - Britain's best shot at paranoid conspiracy yet. Gorgeously shot
  631. Hannibal - beautiful, horrifying masterpiece
  632. Band of Brothers - tense, enveloping and devastatingly emotional ten-parter
  633. Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place - strongly-written sitcom
  634. Greg the Bunny - short-lived puppet-based hilarity
  635. Colbert Report, The - finely-honed political satire
  636. Brass Eye - boundary-pushing, preconception-challenging
  637. Bad Education - easily Jack Whitehall's strongest work
  638. Pushing Daisies - Bryan Fuller via Tim Burton
  639. Up All Night - Arnett and Applegate have fantastic chemistry
  640. Rugrats - one of Nicktoons' finest, still holds up
  641. Early Doors - touching, low-key British pub comedy
  642. Sherlock - wonderful movie-length cases and performances; shame there's only three a season
  643. Two and a Half Men (USA multi-camera sitcom) - it does what it does well
  644. Party Down (USA single-cam sitcom) - gone-too-soon single camera genius
  645. 2 Broke Girls (USA multi-cam sitcom) - Kat Dennings makes it work
  646. Garth Marenghi's Darkplace - spot-on satire
  647. Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister - the Thatcher era, in sitcom form
  648. Mission Hill - stunningly animated, sharp comedy
  649. Royle Family, The - instant-classic Britcom
  650. Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus is superb
  651. Married - well-performed FX sitcom
  652. Phoenix Nights - Peter Kay's finest hour
  653. Longmire - sharp contemporary Western anchored by a great lead
  654. The Cleveland Show - another hilarious, if inconsistent, entry from the Macfarlane stable
  655. The Fast Show - great fast-paced UK sketch comedy
  656. Numb3rs - clever concept, delivered well
  657. Desperate Housewives - compelling soap opera-cum-murder mystery
  658. Duckman - among US cable's finest of the '90s
  659. Look Around You - spot-on parody of UK schools and pop-science shows
  660. Archer - stellar voice acting, hilarious premise
  661. Huge - out of place on ABC Family, another Winnie Holzman one-and-done classic
  662. Mr Bean - a modern take on silent comedy
  663. PJs, The - claymation has never been so entertaining
  664. Apprentice, The - the UK version; always entertaining stuff
  665. Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle - fabulously cynical
  666. Derek - Ricky Gervais' latest inspired slice, an oddball blend of comedy and heart
  667. Critic, The - extremely underrated satirical animation
  668. Day Today, The - so accurate a portrayal of British news broadcasts, it hurts
  669. Boot Camp - better than Survivor
  670. Grandma's House - Simon Amstell proves his chops as a writer
  671. Exes, The - great throwback comedy packed with sitcom legends
  672. Storage Hunters - the funniest and most exciting of the "scripted reality" set
  673. Outsourced - underrated one-and-done fish-out-of-water sitcom
  674. Silicon Valley - fun and original comedic look at tech entrepreneurs
  675. Spectacle... with Elvis Costello - best rock-doc show on TV
  676. Eastbound & Down - another successful foray into dark comedy from HBO
  677. Catherine Tate Show, The - by the end it's weakened but early on it's truly funny stuff
  678. Joey - far, far better than received opinion would have you believe; judge it on its own merits
  679. Practice, The - David E. Kelley's most sincere, serious work
  680. Knowing Me Knowing You - with Alan Partridge, on top form
  681. Harper's Island - starts slowly but builds explosively
  682. Snuff Box - truly bizarre British sketch comedy
  683. The Returned - intense and intriguing French horror
  684. Legit - Jim Jeffries is a funny man
  685. Moone Boy - quirky Irish sitcom, think Wonder Years/Oliver Beene
  686. Law & Order - a staple of the TV landscape forevermore; forerunner to CSI, Homicide et al
  687. Amanda Show, The - some extremely memorable sketches (Judge Trudy, Blockblister)
  688. 8 Simple Rules - John Ritter's episodes were of course the best
  689. Pointless - British quizzes at their finest
  690. Spin City - Michael J Fox on fantastic form
  691. Little Britain - falls apart a tad in later episodes, but the first run is golden
  692. Adventure Time - gorgeously animated innuendo-laden Cartoon Network instant-classic
  693. Heroes - fantastic S1, let down by subsequent runs; still worthy
  694. Roger and Val Have Just Got In - intelligent real-time look at domestic life
  695. Dilbert - converted the tone of the comics into the TV format very convincingly
  696. Only Connect - the most challenging quiz show on TV
  697. Goldbergs, The - sharply-observed '80s nostalgia with great characters
  698. Book Group, The - strong performances and generally funny writing
  699. Three Friends and Jerry, The - surprisingly risque kids cartoon
  700. Mindy Project, The - Mindy Kaling makes for a great front-and-center sitcom star
  701. A Touch of Cloth - spot-on police procedural satire - more please
  702. The River - strong concept, generally well-executed
  703. Uncle - fun, unusually-toned dark 'big bro' comedy
  704. Funland - darkly comic, surreal British serial
  705. Comeback, The - deserving of a longer run, Kudrow shines
  706. Marion & Geoff - monologues from a taxi driver; somehow, brilliant
  707. Due South - quirky, delightfully low-key detective procedural
  708. Flintstones, The - Hanna-Barbera's finest
  709. Angry Beavers, The - another standout Nicktoon
  710. 4400, The - stellar sci-fi
  711. Mighty Boosh, The - Fielding and Barratt are surprisingly sharp in this surreal Britcom
  712. Have I Got News For You - past its peak.. but oh, how that peak was good
  713. Doug - holds up less well than others, but still a childhood staple
  714. How Do You Want Me - subtle, sharp-witted fish-out-of-water thirty-minute British dramedy
  715. Mom - a great blend of lowbrow comedy and dark subject matter
  716. Genius - you might say the concept of this show is, er, genius
  717. Night Court - wherein we learn the NY legal system can be rather funny
  718. Bread - long-forgotten Britcom; by far the best from otherwise-disappointing Carla Lane
  719. Undeclared - not quite up there with Freaks and Geeks but still unmistakeably Apatow
  720. Two of a Kind - surprisingly entertaining, given it started life as little more than an Olsen Twins vehicle
  721. Franklin & Bash - fun successor to David E Kelley legal shows
  722. My Parents Are Aliens - Tony Gardner is the standout in this above-par kidcom
  723. About A Boy - a movie spin-off that shouldn't work, but does
  724. Are You Afraid Of The Dark? - terrifying as a child
  725. The Graham Norton Show - Wossy's spiritual successor
  726. Worst Week of My Life, The - consistently amusing - Christmas episodes are strongest
  727. Rupert - perhaps the only TV show aimed at young children that works just as well - and, crucially, in exactly the same way - for adults
  728. Angelo's - sadly-forgotten one-and-done Britcom with a unique cast
  729. Last Man Standing - Tim Allen's latest is a surprisingly interesting, political show
  730. Beast - overlooked vet sitcom - Alexander Armstrong is great
  731. Hello Ladies - didn't completely live up to its potential but there are great gags in there
  732. Noah Knows Best - one of Nick's more underrated sitcoms
  733. Count Arthur Strong - classic sitcom style, solid characters and sharp writing
  734. Terriers - superior in every way - and I'm only halfway through
  735. Spongebob Squarepants - by far the best of the latter-era Nicktoons
  736. Goosebumps - like AYAOTD?, pretty chilling at eight years old
  737. My Brother and Me - one of Nick's most likeable sitcoms
  738. FAREWELL..

  739. Shows that have dropped out of the top 300 - or rank just outside of it
  740. Conan, Summer Heights High, Damages, Boss, The Drew Carey Show, Gossip Girl, The Powerpuff Girls, Father of the Pride, Looking, What I Like About You, The Wrong Mans, Family Tree, Lights (Northern Lights/City Lights), Bedtime, Ed Edd 'n' Eddy, Clarissa Explains it All, Grumpy Old Men, Dead Set, Hellcats, Third Watch, Men at Work, Human Remains, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Rocko's Modern Life, The Famous Five (1978), The X Factor, Top Gear, Big School, Some Girls, Adrian Mole, NYPD Blue, The Detectives, Raising Dad, Samantha Who?, Diagnosis Murder, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, Hardware, The Golden Girls, Cuckoo, The Millers, The New Normal, Doctor Who, Shark, Running Wilde, Hard

  742. Shows that I'm not still quite yet comfortable giving a position, for an array of reasons
  743. The Wire, Deadwood, Justified, The Boondocks, M*A*S*H, The Twilight Zone (Original), Person of Interest, Felicity, Dollhouse

  745. The Americans, Awake, Battlestar Galactica (2005), Ben & Kate, Bent, Bones, Buffalo Bill, Bunheads, Castle, Cowboy Bebop, Elementary, Flashforward, Fringe, Frozen Planet, The Fugitive, Game of Thrones, Go On, The Good Wife, Homicide: Life on the Street, Homeland, The Job, LA Law, The Larry Sanders Show, Last Resort, Leverage, The Lone Gunmen, Married... With Children, Mary Tyler Moore, Masters of Horror, Millennium, Naked City, Nashville, The Newsroom, Once Upon A Time, Parenthood, Party of Five, Picket Fences, Revenge, Route 66, The Slap, Sleeper Cell, Sons of Anarchy, Southland, Tell Me You Love Me, Thirtysomething, The Twilight Zone (1980s), Under the Dome, United States of Tara, The Walking Dead... Bates Motel, Boardwalk Empire, Burn Notice, Carnivale, Clone High, The Following, Glee, Harry's Law, How to Make it in America, It's Garry Shandling's Show, Jam, Life on Mars, Lights Out, Profit, Roswell, Rubicon, Supernatural, White Collar
Author Comments: 


25-Jul-2014: Added KEY AND PEELE, THE RETURNED, LAST MAN STANDING, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, TRUE DETECTIVE, MY BROTHER AND ME, FRANKLIN AND BASH. Fell off the bottom: Men at Work, Human Remains, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Rocko's Modern Life, The Famous Five (1978), The X Factor, Top Gear. Adios!
27-Jun-2013: Added LONGMIRE and THE FAST SHOW. Bumps for BOB'S BURGERS and WILFRED.
30-Jul-2012: Added AWKWARD. and SHAMELESS (US).
31-May-2011: Bumped ANGEL. Added MISSION HILL.
05-May-2011: Added THE MIDDLE.
15-Apr-2011: Bumped FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS to #2. Added FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER (no relation, haha).
24-Mar-2011: Added CLERKS: THE ANIMATED SERIES, PARTY DOWN, LOOK AROUND YOU and 15 STOREYS HIGH. ANGEL will be ranked next update.
31-Aug-2008: Added THE BIG BANG THEORY, TWIN PEAKS, YES MINISTER, BAND OF BROTHERS. Re-arranging including bumps for TITUS and BUFFY.
25-Jul-2008: Re-arranging, including E.R. being bumped from #5 to #3.
02-Jun-2008: Made formatting consistent

If anyone spots something I might've missed, point it out - also feel free to make recommendations.

Comments welcomed!

Agree with a lot of this - but Friends - "inoffensive, middle-of-the-road?!"
I thought that its frank and sometimes candid dialogue about sex and relationships made it quite an edgy sitcom - I believe that's one of the reasons why it's not shown in China!

Well, I do to a certain extent agree with you, but it's a criticism often levied at it regardless. It's not subtle, I concede! But compared to Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Huff, Arrested Development to name but a few, it's quite traditional and not particularly controversial. And I was also getting more at the premise of the show - six 20-somethings chat about relationships, family and life in a coffee bar - it's a brilliant show, but in terms of innovative plots it didn;t reallt break any ground.

You, of course, may disagree!

Yeah, you're right, there's nothing specifically groundbreaking about that sitcom in terms of plot. That, I agree with!

As usual, we may not really agree when it comes to TV, but it's great to see your opinions. :-D

(By the way, you should drop me a line at

Ta muchly. :-)

(and of course, the latter is done!)

" The pioneer of mainstream non-laugh track sitcom " Malcom

I never thought about that, but thats very true. i wish they would realese more seasons. Malcolm along with Sifl & Olly are my most requested TV on DVD.

My favourite pioneers are, to my mind, the two greatest 'one and done' sitcoms ever...

Police Squad! (1982) and Bakersfield, P.D. (1993)

I think the lesson learned is that, in the absence of a laugh track, you need the lead character to break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience.

Indeed, breaking the fourth wall is very effective on the likes of 'Malcolm'.

I haven't seen Bakersfield PD, I'm sad to say, but I rather like Police Squad.

In terms of 'pioneer', I suppose it probably wasn't the first sitcom to do it, but the first one to employ it effectively. Scrubs, Arrested Development, etc., all followed.

I wish they'd release more seasons too. S1 was released in 2002... :\

gotta say i'm loving KOTH so far

Fave Lines so far, of what i could remember and find on internet

Great list, Wezzo!

Have you seen The Venture bros?

No, I haven't, sadly. An Adult Swim show, isn't it? I assume you'd recommend it?

Yes, i bought the dvd of the first season without seeing the show, because of all the raves i read in the internet, and its a surprise. I haven't been this excited about a show since the first time i saw The Simpsons. I heard the second season is even better.
Warning, it has very adult situations.

Great update!

Did you make some changes?

I think I just corrected some phrasing and spelling mistakes.

You know, my friend...Buffy has seven seasons, not six. ;-)

Why am I not surprised that you're the one who corrected me? :-D Thanks.

When does Buffy get good, I wasn't that impressed with the first season.

I've seen episodes here and there spread all throughout the series and didn't really notice any difference in quality. CaptMal, our resident Buffy fan, might be able to tell you any seasons are better than others.

As Wezzo said, I'd be the one to tell you.

While I myself love the first season, I can definitely understand why someone wouldn't. There are several outright stinkers in there, but also some perennial masterpieces ("Angel," "Nightmares," "Prophecy Girl"). I myself was sucked in from the very first episode.

However, Buffy gets truly great in season two, with the marvelously evil trifecta of Spike, Drusilla, and Angelus. Things don't really heat up until about halfway through, with "Surprise," but as far as I'm concerned, it's all good.

If you want to reassure yourself, though, that the series does indeed get great, you could skip ahead and watch a few of its key episodes: Season four's "Hush" (the only episode to get nominated for a Best Writing Emmy), season five's "The Body" (the best, most heartbreaking and realistic hour of drama ever produced), or season six's "Once More, With Feeling." It should be said that some of these episodes definitely require knowing the past histories of the characters, but anyone I've shown "Once More, With Feeling" generally finds that their fears as to the show's quality have been largely assailed.

I would argue/recommend that "Once More, With Feeling" be reserved for when one is well-acquainted with the characters and narrative. To my mind the singular acheivement of that episode was its seemless integration in the show's story arc. Not only did it fit, it actually advanced the plot.

Joss Whedon has always struck me as the most Dickensian of our writers. Perhaps that should be "Dickens-like." I think that the true stength and power of his writing comes from the totality of his work, not any single, solitary installment/episode. The humour, wit, social commentary, characters, metaphors and so on are better appreciated within the context of the whole.

The writing (mostly) sparkles but the best humour springs from character. This takes a while to learn and/or appreciate. "Bunnies. Floppy, hoppy, bunnies." Q.E.D.

So watch it like the Dickens. If you don't like the first couple chapters you read then stop watching. You can just nod pleasantly and smile politely whenever the subject is discussed in mixed company.

I agree that the genius of his work is in its totality. It's hard to appreciate the full impact of the series in one episode, even the ones I've mentioned.

But still, were someone just to want to take the show for a test drive, the episodes I'd pick--and it's really hard to, considering how well the show integrates long-existing quirks and storylines--are still "Hush," "The Body," or "Once More, With Feeling." "Hush" is probably the most accessible of those, though. "Restless" is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, and even though I've been trying to make the argument that one could attempt to show some of the series' best episodes to a non-believer (for lack of a way better word; don't wanna get cultish here), that one is way too inaccessible to newcomers. Hell, I've seen it divide many long-time fans.

Angel's an even more difficult show to pick for, considering it was often more directly serialized than Buffy. But if I had to choose, I could possibly see choosing "Smile Time." Like I've seen "Once More, With Feeling" do, it makes the viewer realize the show is free from most conventions plus, if anything, it at least makes them curious. Who wouldn't be curious about a vampire puppet?

Ironically, the best "test-drive" episode for Firefly is Serenity. You don't know how many people I've converted (wow, I am just on a roll here with the creepy quasi-religious terms) with that flick...

did you order Scrubs S5 of Play or PlayUSA?

Play, the UK version, I decided to be consistent! You?

ah, well i had my order on play for ages (since feb i think) then i just tested ordering Scrubs from USa, just to see if it was in stock, and it was lol so i press backup without ordering..few hours pass..still on my mind, so i had to order it from usa! lol it isn't even that long to wait for UK, yes, i gave in. oh well lol

:D Did it arrive yet?

hmm what updates did you make today to this list?

Added NewsRadio at #40 - brilliant show, I think you'd like it actually.

ah right fair doos, i'll look into the sets

lately i've been watching Scrubs S5 and American Dad S2, you had chance to view AD S2 yet?

Yeah, excellent stuff - what do you think?

yeah pretty impressive. Deff a step up from 1st season. some of it was bit mad and crazy, but overall solid.

Gazizza, my dilznoofus! If not for the regrettable fifth season I think NewsRadio would be the greatest sitcom of all-time (3 seasons or more.)

How can "Super Karate Monkey Death Car" not be the best episode?

How could Maura Tierney never even get nominated for an Emmy? How come they never got a slot on NBC's Thursday night "Must See TV"? How can we ever thank them enough for giving us the singular Stephen Root? How could the loss of Phil Hartman jump four separate shows over four distinct sharks?

Okay... maybe "Arcade" is the best episode.

How could one cast contain actors from SNL, The Kids in the Hall, The Ben Stiller Show and a Whitney Houston choreographer? How could cast members go on to such shows as ER (two of them), CSI: Miami (one of those two), Less than Perfect, The West Wing and King of the Hill (one of 'em), Celebrity Poker Showdown and Thank God You're Here (another of 'em) and... Fear Factor?

NewsRadio is one of the few shows that can have hilarious scenes involving three or more characters. Damn, it's crezappy!

I agree with all of that!

I've been watching the seasons in order on DVD, and at the time of adding it to my list I hadn't seen "Super Karate Monkey Death Car" - I have now, and I would definitely agree it's a candidate for best episode.

I always knew that you were a personage of taste and distinction.

The sight of Jimmy James [the singular Stephen Root] slowly coming to the realization that Jimmy James: Macho Business Donkey Wrestler isn't all that he'd hoped for is amazing... and so is the giant Jimmy head in Japan.

"Arcade" was, upon further reflection, the first time I ever saw Leelee Sobieski.

Being a completionist I think you should watch the final season. I probably would have loved it if I hadn't seen the previous four seasons but, SPOILER - highlight to read much like the death of Jim Henson looms over The Muppet Christmas Carol, the loss of Phil Hartman is always in the wings. But I'm far too sensitive... I still feel twinges of sadness whenever the Simpsons get into legal trouble... or when Zapp Brannigan shows up in Futurama.
How crazy is it that Futurama is coming back?

"I’m just resting up for that big sale at Baby Gap." - Dave Nelson

A personage of taste and distinction, eh? Oh, my, yes.

Any episode that features Leelee Sobieski can't be bad! But "Arcade" is definitely another hilarious episode. From what I've seen, I also rate "Smoking", "Complaint Box", "The Cane" and all of the Lauren Graham subplot of early season 4 very highly.

I've ordered the final season. I'm aware of Phil Hartman's unfortunate death but I'm optimistic that the remaining cast chemistry will carry things through - and the S5 premiere "Bill Moves On" seems to be very highly rated at

Crazy that Futurama's coming back? You call it 'crazy', I call it a blessing from the gods!

Don't listen to him, season 5 is NOT a hack job!IMO, anyway...

After watching it I'm pleased to report I agree, though it was a bit weaker than what preceded it

Were you planning to include any further "Key quotes", or just reserve them for the first 20? I love this list, and the quotes were a particular pleasure to read.

Thanks! I plan to continue adding quotes as time permits. :)

is it me or is scrubs slipping down the list?

Afraid so! I haven't actually moved it down but a couple of others have gone in front of it, so it's down from its peak of about #6 to #9 for now. But I'm fickle - so who knows, next week (after I've seen S6 - I'm getting it for my birthday, couldn't hold out for the R2 in the end) it might be back up a place or two!

On the bright side, Whose Line is a recent addition that's likely to climb fast!

ah fair doos, well from what i've heard and the little i've seen of Scrubs S6, i doubt it will go up any places, i've heard its the worst series so far. Which is the main reason i haven't rushed to get it or watch it

Mm, I've heard that too - though sometimes simply watching a show, and having it fresh in my memory, can bump it up a place! :-D

haha ok, well i'm th same with stuf like that

You've heard it's the worst series?

Well, then: I personally think it's a great season.

There, now you've heard another kind of opinion

well i mean thats the majority of what i heard, ok then i must ask you did you enjoy the musical episode, as (and this is comming from a huge fan of scrubs) i found it totally cringe worthy

I loved the musical episode

But I've always been a big fan of musicals, so that might explain it.

You've made some inspired changes!

Yeah, thought you might like this update..

whats so strange about sunset strip being cancelled is that based on his work on the West Wing alone, you'd think they'd let it run for a while longer, give it a chance

Indeed. The TV industry is a strange one.. have you seen Studio 60 at all?

never actually got around to it , heard some great things about it though, and i expected it to do better due to who was involved and what i've heard. i may pick it, how much of a role does matthew perry have? i've seen him in the previews and on the dvd cover

Well, the benefit of it being only one season is that it's not a huge investment with the DVDs. :-D

It's great stuff, Matthew Perry is pretty much the main character (though not overwhelmingly). The first half of the season tends to focus on the mechanics of the TV industry and later on the focus shifts towards more typical drama but all of it works well, thanks to the great cast and sharp scripts. If you can find it for a good price you should definitely give it a go!

Ah, I figured you would be helpful on this front.

I just watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother and didn't really understand the structure. The episode ("No Tomorrow") mentions that the mother in question was at the party that Ted attends and then later says that he didn't meet her then. But isn't the show supposed to be concealing the true identity of the mother? Does the show often feature near-misses between Ted and the mother, or was this a fairly rare occurrence? Are you supposed to be looking for clues in the extras or something? Does every episode somehow add to the story and get us closer to Ted meeting the mother? Or is all this structure just a MacGuffin for the interactions of five twentysomethings in New York City?

I haven't seen the latest season yet, so I'm not sure about that specific episode. (Perhaps one of those TV recap sites might be helpful.) Based on my viewing of the first two seasons, however: for the most part it is just a conceit that allows for a Friends-type dynamic. I do recall a couple of instances where we were led to believe a certain character was the mother (one in the pilot episode, in fact) and it later turns out that she was not the titular mother, but I don't recall anything (other than perhaps the most subtle references) that hinted at us genuinely getting closer to finding the mother in those first two seasons. edit>: OK, I slightly mis-read your post. Most of what I said still stands, but a near miss like that would not be out of the ordinary - I do recall the narration making several such references throughout the first two seasons that suggest maybe Ted came closer to the "mother" than he thought. On those occasions, though, they didn't really further the titular arc significantly, and the next episode was another standalone adventure, for the most part.

I'm sure you'll find out before I do if you do some research on the Net, but if not, I'll get back to you when I've seen the season.

My research on the net was actually pretty unhelpful, to be honest with you, so thank you for your response. I feel like the show's ending will be inevitably disappointing since they either have to (1) introduce a new character that we'll only get to meet for one episode and make some attempt to have everything that came beforehand somehow leading up to this point (which seems impossible to do legitimately), or (2) break their own rules and have it be someone we've already been following somewhat. I probably shouldn't think about these things if I watch the show again, and just stick to enjoying the dynamic.

Man, those kids must be getting pretty bored by now, eh?

Haha, well I'm sure I remember my parents telling me stories that felt like they last three seasons.. ;-)

Good point about how they're going to end it. I personally think it will wind up being your second idea, although I suppose they could always go with option 1 but continue the show beyond his meeting her, perhaps even right up to the birth of the first child. After all, the show has never stuck to its title claim very well - three seasons in we haven't actually met the mother yet (well, strike that, maybe we didn't in season 3, but certainly not in S2) - so I suppose material after the titular meet wouldn't be out of the question.

A part of me feels like it's going to be something completely absurd that allows us to both know the character yet feel like Ted hasn't met her. Like, Barney gets a sex change operation and as soon as Ted meets, er, Barbara, he knows it's true love.

who agrees with me that tom and jerry definitely deserve to be on here?

Never really watched it enough, I'm afraid!

Okay, let's see our dis-/similarities:

Seinfeld: I've only seen the first 2 seasons (13 episodes), so I'm hoping for season 3 to become really good permanently.
Malcolm In The Middle: Yeah, love it - but it never was released on dvd (at least not in Germany).
Scrubs: Yay! My favourite Comedy-show and my 3. favourite Show ever, love it, but Season 6-7 were not as good as the brillant first 5.
24: I've thought about it, but I'll wait till I get a complete DVD-Set with all seasons.
Monk: Not bad, but I'm not much into the crime-Shows.
Friends: I've never seen it in English, but I never liked it anyway.
Everybody Loves Raymond: No, don't like it.
Gilmore Girls: Love it! Oh my gosh, my all-time-fav show, great, great, great!
Six Feet Under: I'll buy the complete box next year, I promise.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air: Oh my gosh, I thought it was mediocre. Than I bought the first season, because the price was perfect - and in English it really rocked, Will Smith is hilarious, great show, great first season.
Home Improvement: Cool, I know some people, that don't like it, because they think it's always the same. Maybe, but the last 8th season I'm watching at the moment is really good, one of my favourite 90s show!
LOST: # 30? After the great 4th season? Oh my gosh! I rate it my 2nd favourite show - with a good 5th season i'll give it #1.
How I Met Your Mother: Not bad, Barney's great, but not funny enough for a sitcom.
Ally McBeal: I hope that I can rank it with a good place, I've just started the 1st season, but after 3 episodes, I'm not going to give you a review. Not bad, but I hope there's some more to come. Ally's really great!
The X-Files: I don't like it, I know I'm one of ten people on planet earth that doesn't like it, but I can't...
Sabrina: Not bad, with real actor voices (not the synchro) it could kind of good.
Buffy: I soon will give Buffy a try.
Freaks and Geeks: Oh, I badly want the dvd. It was really a nice show, realistic, down to earth, nice to see that show on your list!
Veronica Mars: I was a bit disappointed with the first season, it took me 8 episodes to really take it to a good level. The rest was good, but I assume, the 2nd season will be better!
My Co-Called Life: Great to see that little show on your list. Claire Danes played so well, realistic, emotional show with great content!
Dexter: On my to buy list!
Prison Break: Dito, but I'm a bit scared, coz I heard the last seasons are not as good as the first 2 seasons.
Heroes: S1 was great, Season 2 was short, sometimes good, got lovely Kristen Bell, but in the end disappointing. For what I've heard, I'm not going to look forward to season 3.
Californication: On my list!
The Sopranos: I'm going to watch the first season someday - thanks for reminding me, I've bought the dvd, but forgot! ;)
The Big Bang Theory: I love it! What is it doing on spot 81? Are those 80 shows really better or funnier? Could easily become one of my top 10 favourite shows!
Desperate Housewives: On my list!
The 4400: On my list (you see, I've got a long, long list to watch)
Pushing Dasies: Maybe on my list
8 Simple Rules: Since I've discovered that Kaley Cuoco is sooo cute, I'm going to buy the first season. (does it have an english subtitle?)

Future Candidates:
Dawson's Creek: Dito! I've just seen the great 1st Season - more to come soon!
Everwood: Season 1 is imho the best season of a tv show ever! I'm watching right now, I just love it.
Felicity: If I only could watch it...
Party Of Five: Season 1 was great, season 2 not that good, but not bad either.
That '70s Show: Not really interested
Two And A Half Men: I'm watching the 3rd season, in my opinion, the show really got better, I didn't like it in the beginning, but today the last episodes of season 2 and the 3rd season so far are really funny.

You've got a lot shows that I love on your list, like it! :)

Wow, thanks for the in-depth comment!

Lovin' the Community placement!

Hells yeah.


Never seen it, shockingly.

where is 1000 ways to die

I haven't seen it!