Greetings, Glancers! Today we run down the next batch of Rolling Stone’s 2016 list of the greatest TV shows of all time. Have I seen them? What do I think? What do YOU think? Follow the links for Part 1 and Part 2.
60. Beavis And Butthead
They added Ren And Stimpy, so they had to have Beavis And Butthead too, and have it higher on the list. In some ways I’m surprised it’s here – it was a seminal snapshot moment in time, the peak of 90s counter culture, but it’s never talked about these days and hasn’t gained that nostalgic power which shows of the same time or later have achieved. Still, the slacker humour, the satire, the juvenile spirit, the metal, and the mayhem ensured that it was and remains one of my all time favourite shows.
59. Hill Street Blues
Cop dramas were never my thing, but there was something more appealing about Hill Street Blues. I never saw more than a few scenes, but it at least felt like something I could half-watch.
Roots was a show I knew about long before I ever saw it. An older brother of a school friend had a poster of it, that iconic image of Kunta Kinte in chains. I had no idea what it was, but I loved the poster. It wasn’t until well over a decade later that I actually watched it for myself, and it (and its sequel) is one of the greatest pieces of television ever. Not ony because of its subject matter and cast, but because of its cinematic treatment. It wasn’t some cheap piece of fluff, it was loaded with stars, was well acted, written, directed, it was smart, cultured, epic in scope yet brilliantly handled, and it marked a turning point in Television while revealing to millions one of the nation’s most horrible truths.
57. Fawlty Towers
Interesting, because I’m sceptical that many in the US have actually seen it, or that it would translate well now, or back when it was made. It’s a very English sitcom – naturally it’s another personal favourite, but it’s certainly not Universal. If there are going to be any British comedy shows to make this list, you would put money on this, Monty Python, and Little Britain to be the ones. Maybe Mr Bean, Blackadder, and The Office.
That’s the Kiefer Sutherland show, 24, not just another random number. You know, I haven’t seen a single second of this either. It was always on my radar, I’ve always loved Kiefer, just for unknown reasons I never got around to it. Who knows, maybe some day.
55. Six Feet Under
There’s a fine line somewhere in humour, between sophistication and pissing me off snobbery/knowing snark. This to me always felt closer to the latter. A diehard fan put on an episode for me once to hopefully get me to join the fan club, but I was off my face and the touch of his living room carpet was much more interesting. I haven’t seen another second of it.
54. The Muppet Show
I’m just going to group all the various Muppet incarnations into one here, because I was too young for the original run but absolutely loved some of the later editions. It’s just a bizarrely human thing – to have a bunch of puppets telling stories, doing sketches, and roping in the legitimately biggest stars on the planet for it – and it actually being funny. I could of course do with less of the show tunes, but the mixture of legendary guests being shown up by the even more legendary muppets means this is a classic.
53. The Bob Newhart Show
Was this another talk show or a stand up show, or Newhart’s own variety comedy kind of thing? I never saw it.
52. The Colbert Report
I’ve seen snippets on Youtube which always seem to pop up into my feed, no idea why. Seems okay.
I like the movie – don’t love it. But then I don’t love the Coens as much as I like them. Were they even involved in the show? I watched about half of the first season, but my wife wasn’t into it and we stopped there. I thought it was fine, but have never felt the urge to return to it. I’m sure I’d like it.
If I’m not a fan of Police dramas, then Hospital dramas are an extra step down the ladder. Whatever was so interesting about ER – presumably the hot actors – was lost on me and I could not have cared less.
What a cast. This is more my speed of sitcom – a weird idea on paper, propped up by some of the best American comics ever. More than a smidge of British humour in its ideas too.
48. The Office
It’s the US version. I haven’t seen a single episode, nor have I watched the English one. Not properly, again it’s been on in the background at house parties and such, and the pieces I’ve seen – while everyone else was roaring with laughter – had me doing the whole Principal Skinner ‘no, it’s the children who are wrong’ shtick.
47. The Rockford Files
While I’m no fan of Cop Dramas, the PI TV shows are something different. Something about the lone wolf out on his own, struggling to keep his head above water but still being better than the regular detectives… that dynamic made all the difference. Plus, James Garner was always cool as fuck. I never watched much of this, but out of all the PI shows from the 70s onwards, this is one I had an affinity for.
46. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
See The Bob Newhart Show
45. Battlestar Galactica
I loved the original show, and was sceptical about this when it was announced. I never loved it as much as others – my brother is obsessed with both – and I never watched the whole thing, but it’s a good show. Outside of all the annoying sudden camera zooms into spacecraft which was all the rage at the time – I hate that. The original was… more pure? Less complex? It felt more like The Odyssey – one of my favourite stories and a template I always enjoy seeing revamped.
Another PI show, though arguably the most iconic. It’s one I dipped into if there was nothing else on and while I’d never call myself a fan, I would always get sucked in to whatever the crime of the week was and enjoy Falk outsmartarsing everyone.
43. The Americans
Seems high. Never seen it. My mum watches it.
42. NYPD Blue
One of the only cop dramas I did watch and enjoy. I liked the cast, I liked the characters, and it felt more real than other shows. Plus it was always on late at night so it felt like the sort of thing I wasn’t supposed to be watching.
41. The Honeymooners
I know of it, never seen it. Way beyond my time and I don’t recall it ever being shown over here in syndication. No desire to see it beyond a general desire to see EVERYTHING.
Getting close to the top now – which shows above would you recommend I give a try? Which are your favourites? Let us know in the comments!