Thursday, April 16, 2009

Top 20 Television Shows from the Past 20 Years

The list below is a look at the top 20 television shows of the past 20 years. In order to qualify for the list, each show much have debuted in 1989 or later. Video clips included.

20. The Tom Green Show

The Tom Green show was a highly unique and often hilarious concept. The way he interacted with the public was seldom seen elsewhere on television. Although rumors circulated that a Hitler sketch he did caused him to be taken off the air, I believe it was due to the massive success his show had experienced. He was too recognizable to pull off the great skits that he did after his two first seasons in the states. The clip below is my favorite Tom Green skit.

19. Cops

You might be wondering how this could make the list, but you know you love this show. Nothing probably makes you happier than watching a routine pull over turn into an arrest for crack possession. This is white trash TV at it's best.

18. Da Ali G Show

A very underrated show on HBO. This did not receive the recognition that it deserved until the (amazing) Borat movie was released. All three characters were great (Ali G, Borat, and Bruno). The awkwardness that his interviewees went through made for some frequently hilarious moments.

17. The Daily Show

One of the most important television shows to come out of Comedy Central. This show got a whole generation into of television viewers interested in politics. The show started with Craig Kilborn, but Jon Stewart made it into the show that is today.

16. Dexter

The best show Showtime ever produced. Dexter follows the life of a blood splatter analyst who happens to be vigilante serial killer. The show is EXTREMELY entertaining and unlike anything else you've ever seen on television.

15. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This show was on the air when I was thirteen years old so part of the reason it makes the top 20 is my infatuation with Sarah Michelle Gellar back then. Even without my middle school crush, this show remained an interesting television series. All of the characters were highly likable and the plot was entertaining enough to keep you coming back episode after episode.

14. The Office

Critics said a US version of the hit British show "The Office" would never succeed. Nobody anticipated the United States version would be as good as it is. The acting is first rate, each one being cast PERFECTLY. Few shows match the comedic brilliance of The Office.

13. Boy Meets World

If you are over the age of 25 you will probably complain that this on the list. Even if you are under 25, you still might complain, but this was show was absolutely hilarious. It did lose some steam in its last two seasons, and the first season was a little weak, but everywhere in between was highly entertaining and often hilarious.

12. Full House

Another one you might groan at. It was extremely corny, but it was impossible to dislike Full House. The situations were relatable and the plots (although sometimes cheesy) were realistic, exploring real life family issues. If you're from the 20-26 age group you should agree with the inclusion of this show.

11. Robot Chicken

A show truly made for the ADD demographic. Robot Chicken is a 10 minute show that includes various short comedic clips ranging from 2 seconds to sometimes 2-3 minutes. 90% of the time they hit the mark and when they don't it is only because I am unfamiliar with the television show or movie that they are mocking.

10. Doug

I needed to include a Nickelodeon show in the mix. Doug stands out as the best nicktoon of the 90s. Yes it was stupid, just like most other Nickelodeon nicktoons back then, but it was so stupid it was awesome. The clip below confirms this.

9. South Park

Who knew that after it's premiere 10 years ago, South Park would turn into one of the biggest animated series on television. South Park is not only consistently hilarious, but it is extremely intelligent often integrating the writers' own views on current events within each episode. I personally think it has jumped the shark this year, but nothing on television beats a Butters / Cartman episode or an awkward Randy Marsh moment.

8. Arrested Development

This was the smartest comedy in the history of television, which is what led to its failure. It was honestly too brilliant for its own good. The show follows a dysfunctional family who falls into a lot of trouble when the father, and head of the family company, is arrested. Michael, the only stable character, takes over the company and tries everything he can to keep his family together. EVERY character on this show contributed to its success. Gob and Tobias would have to be my two favorites thought.

7. Scrubs

People either love or hate this show. Obviously because it made my top 20, it is a show that I absolutely love. What's great about this show are the characters themselves. The show did a great job with character development and with casting. Scrubs also contains hundreds of great one-liners.

6. Oz

A brutal look into life within a maximum security prison. Oz was one of the best television shows to come out of HBO. It honestly felt like the perfect soap opera for men.

5. The Sopranos

Tied with Oz, in my opinion, for the best HBO show ever made. In terms of mobster-based entertainment, this series rivals The Godfather. The ending was highly controversial (I personally did not like it), but it still does not take away from the brilliance of this show.

4. Lost

The most frustratingly addictive show on television. Lost will answer one question while asking five others all in one episode. The true greatness of this show lies in how it is going to end, but for now it stands as one of the best television shows of the past twenty years.

3. Family Guy

Could not believe when this show was first canceled. I can't get through an entire episode without laughing at least ten times. The flashbacks that are often mocked are extremely random and often make no sense, but that nonsense is what makes the show so hilarious. Favorite moments have to be when the whole family gains up on Meg.

2. Seinfeld

It's sad to say that there will never be a show quite like this. It was a show about nothing, but it had more laugh out loud moments in one episode than most shows managed in an entire series. Nothing beats the Costanzas for comedic gold.

1. The Simpsons

Most people would have this and Seinfeld switched around, but my favorite show of the past twenty years would definitely have to be the Simpsons. There is a reason why this is the longest animated television show in history. The Simpsons paved the way for shows like Family Guy and South Park. Recent output has failed to live up to the greatness of the past, but even the new episodes are a lot better than 90% of everything else out there.


Anonymous said...

i would have respected your list until i noticed 24 wasnt on it...

Top 10 Lists said...

I know a lot of people love the show, but I think it is overrated. Not to say it is bad, but think it is overly hyped.

Anonymous said...

wts the top 20 list with out prison break in it..? don't mind
u better review ur list..

Top 10 Lists said...

Prison Break does not deserve to be on the top 20. Probably not the top 50 either. It is a pretty good show, but isn't amazing by any means.

Anonymous said...

Great list! The fact that you included Tom Green makes my day (but the Canadian show had way more, better skits before he went to the US). I cannot disagree with any choices made, all are great. Small changes I'd make, though, are Rocko's Modern Life over Doug, and Deadwood or The Wire over Scrubs personally...maybe throw in the original Power Rangers for nostalgia

Earle said...

you should update it with 30 rock!