With the final season of Game of Thrones wrapped up and the ridiculous online outrage that ensued, I thought it was timely to put together a list of my favorite TV shows of all time. I’m sure this list will be uncontroversial and everyone will fully agree with my choices. This list will stand the test of time—where these shows could be watched 50 years from now and still be relevant.
Breaking Bad - There is no debate here. This show is the greatest of all time. As I recently tweeted, this was the only show I’ve ever watched where each episode got exponentially better from the beginning to the end. The ending was beyond perfect and pretty much unanimous among the fans. I could watch this series ten times and never get tired of it. The characters and plot development threw constant curve balls. It was hard to predict how this show would turn out. Walter White turned from a geeky chemistry teacher to a drug lord quicker than Jesse could say “Yeah bitch!”.
Game of Thrones - Game of Thrones production value was tremendous (minus the water bottles and coffee cups littered throughout the entire last season). I don’t care what the haters say, the last season was great and I enjoyed it very much so. Full disclosure: I haven’t read the books (yet). This will be another one to re-watch in the coming years when we run out of other good shows to watch. Although not entirely in the same league, I’m a huge LoTR fan so GoT was a good fit for me and millions of other fantasy series fans.
The Sopranos - One quarter of this show is centered around Tony Soprano coming downstairs in his bathrobe and eating cold cuts out of the fridge—but I’m not mad at it. Another quarter is Tony talking to his therapist about how he despises his mother and uncle and trying to deal with his anxiety issues. The remaining half is centered around the different mob families disputing each other. This show had another controversial ending but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it—just don’t stop believing. I’ve watched this show twice now and it has aged even better the second time around because I was familiar with the characters and could get a better understanding of all the interfamilial nuances.
24 - If you thought Chuck Norris was a badass, you’ve clearly never ran into Jack Bauer. 24 made its debut only two months after the 9/11 attacks, which is one of the reasons why this show became so popular. There was a sense of American pride as Jack consistently defeated the terrorists. Every season is comprised of 24 episodes with each episode representing one hour of that day in real time. If you can get past the time gaps of how he made it around LA without sitting in traffic for an entire episode you will enjoy this one very much. The writers of this show were definitely on some pyschoactive drugs because they were somehow able to tie in ten different subplots at once. Not only did every episode end on a cliffhanger, but every commercial did too—with the digital clock beeping like a time bomb. This show is the most binge-worthy show of all time in my opinion.
Lost - I was bored the other night and flipped on Hulu to watch the Lost pilot episode. It still holds up well. This show falls right behind 24 on binge-worthiness. It had this mystery flavor that kept me sucked in for six seasons because I had to know the truth behind all the secrets of the island and how it was going to end. This show was unique in its storytelling as it had flashbacks of the character’s lives before they all crashed on the island and flashforwards after they were rescued—sometimes you didn’t know which way they went. Lost had a controversial ending that bugged most fans and critics but that didn’t take away from what a great show this was for so many reasons.
Seinfeld - The show about nothing. I didn’t really get turned on to Seinfeld until about five years ago. I grew up watching Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond. Seinfeld literally touches on every “it’s funny because it’s true” scenario that most of us have encountered in our every day lives. I also saw Jerry Seinfeld do standup recently and he is a genius. Even though this is true of most sitcoms, if you know the characters you can easily watch any random episode that airs and Seinfeld is my go to when I can’t find anything to watch.
Dexter - Dexter is a blood spatter analyst by day and serial killer by night. This show is great because it takes you inside the mind of a killer and there is a constant struggle of whether you should be rooting for Dexter to kill the bad guys or if he is really the bad guy. This show ended terribly but that doesn’t take away from what this show accomplished. The writers just didn’t know when to quit and probably took it two seasons too far. Still one of my favorite characters and shows of all time based on its uniqueness.
Black Mirror - This is The Twilight Zone for millennials. After the first episode with the pig—I won’t go into details—I was thoroughly disgusted but stuck with it. It’s an anthology series that takes new and existing technologies and exploits them in ways that make you feel extremely uncomfortable. For some reason I couldn’t stop watching this series, it was very addicting. Now, every time I see some new technology being exploited, my mind points directly to Black Mirror, which proves the effectiveness of the show.
The Office (U.S.) - I didn’t start watching The Office until Netflix started carrying it. Part of the reason I had never watched it was because I had worked in an office setting for such a long time that I didn’t want to go home and watch more people in an office setting. Big mistake because this show was so damn funny and I wish I would have been up-to-date with all of the Office-isms while working in the office. If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones yet you would know how I felt back then when everyone was talking about the most recent episode and I had to walk away because I had no friends. Steve Carell’s character Michael Scott absolutely made this show what it is. Honestly, though, you can’t help but love every single character on this show. They all have their unique quirks that make them and this show function very well.
The X-Files - The truth is out there. Mulder and Scully, a perfectly complementing pair of FBI agents exploring strange and unexplained cases. What else do you need? This show struck a chord with the tin-foil-hat-wearing folks and government conspiracy junkies. Fans of the show were rightly labeled X-philes. Some would argue this is the greatest sci-fi show of all time, eclipsing Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. I am in that camp.
Overrated Shows: The Wire, Mad Men, Stranger Things.
Shows I haven’t watched yet: Six Feet Under, Oz, The Americans, Fargo, Twin Peaks, Peaky Blinders, Deadwood, Rick & Morty, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc.
That is all. Good day. Go read a book.