Top Twenty All-time American Televison Programmes

I Love Lucy
CBS, 1951-61
Everyone throughout the world loves Lucy. Still syndicated internationally, Lucille Ball, then-husband Desi Arnaz as the Ricardos and their sidekicks William Frawley and Vivan Vance as the Mertzes, continue to live on in infamy. Ball and her cohorts set the standard for what all situation comedies to come would and should aspire to, as the landmark series chronicled the antics of the housewife, her Cuban bandleader husband and their friends, neighbors and landlords, the Mertzes. Make a reference to the grape-stomping episode, the trip to Hollywood season and many more -- and even infrequent TV viewers will know what you're talking about. The best. Period. M*A*S*H
CBS, 1972-83
The series ran longer than the war it depicted, and it's impact on the television viewing audience may, fortunately or unfortunately, be more significant than the Korean war. The stories of the doctors, nurses, patients and administrators of the 4077th brought both comedy and pathos into the viewing audiences homes. The sitcom from Larry Gelbart broke many traditions and set many new standards. It also was one of those rare occasions when the series was better than the movie. The series effectively made cast transitions and introduced a whole new concept to the meaning of television comedy - the introduction of the (occasional) dramedy. Star Trek
NBC, 1966-69
The original. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy couldn't have asked for a better seminal role to start their successful careers. The series, courtesy of the genius that was Gene Roddenberry, that started the billion-dollar franchise was clever, engaging and now, campily classic. Each adventure of the Starship Enterprise is held in fond memory of both TV fans and of course, Trekkers. The Andy Griffith Show
CBS, 1960-68
A look at life at small-town life in Mayberry, North Carolina. The local sheriff, Andy Taylor (Griffith), kept peace among the locals, while trying to raise young Opie (Ron Howard) without a mother. Among the town's many unique characters were Taylor's over-zealous deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts), and the almost-always happy gas station attendant Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors). Cheers
NBC, 1983-93
Whether you're a fan of the Diane Chambers or the Rebecca Howe years, "Cheers" is one of those series, as are all the top 10 shows, that can be watched repeatedly in rebroadcasts. Chronicling the lives of recovered alcoholic and ex-baseball player Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and the gang at his Cheers bar made Thursday nights on NBC what they are today. The Dick Van Dyke Show
CBS, 1961-66
Widely considered one of television's best-written comedies, this series followed television writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) as he dealt with the ups and downs of a Hollywood career writing for star Alan Brady (Carl Reiner). His home life featured caring wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), who often kept the sometimes-neurotic Rob in check. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
CBS, 1970-77
A groundbreaking series in its depiction of a single woman's life, this series followed Mary Richards, a woman in her early 30s, as she tried to start a new life in Minneapolis after an unsuccessful relationship. She found a job at a local TV station, and quickly worked her way through the ranks, all the while faced with many problems faced by women of her age in real life. Bewitched
ABC, 1964-72
The little story of a witch who decided she'd rather be an average housewife. Samantha Steven (Elizabeth Montgomery) tried her hardest to keep her powers under wraps, but frequent appearances by her mother, Endora (Agnes Moorehead) and other relatives meant she was always trying to get out of some mess. Samantha's husband, Darrin (played by Dick York, then Dick Sargent) tried to keep the witchcraft under control, but with one wiggle of her nose, Samantha invariably made those plans go awry. The Twilight Zone
CBS, 1959-65
Led by former playwright Rod Serling, this anthology series set the stage for many imitators, but few series could deliver the quality stories found in "The Twilight Zone." Usually off-beat with ironic twists or surprise endings, this series still sets the standard within the genre. It returned in an updated version in 1985, without the leadership of Serling, who passed away in 1975. All in the Family
CBS, 1971-83
Based on a hit Brit series, "All in the Family" introduced the first openly dysfunctional family on TV. No longer were TV families the envy of audiences. Archie and Edith Bunker (Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton) were more like the American every man than had ever been depicted on TV. Norman Lear's series was the first blue-collar (not "Roseanne," contrary to popular belief), hilariously relatable sitcom. The epitome of politically incorrect, Bunker was the outspoken, foot-in-mouth any guy whose job and neighborhood were being "taken over" by immigrants, homosexuals and, according to him, other "undesirables." Soon to be seen again on cable, it spawned the spin-offs "The Jeffersons," "Maude," "Gloria" and "Archie Bunker's Place."
The Carol Burnett Show
CBS, 1967-79
Burnett's show, which can still be seen on Nick at Nite, was a standout among the bevy of variety shows that ran during the same era. Keeping with a traditional variety show format - an intro and closing by Burnett, songs and skits, it was a perfect forum for Burnett's hilarity and genius. Characters remain memorable - enough so that one popular segment became the series "Mama's Family" - when Burnett's series finally went off the air at the tail end of the disco era. Happy Days
ABC, 1974-84
A longing for the easy life of the '50s led to the success of this sitcom, which focused on Ritchie Cunningham (Ron Howard), his family, and friends, including the too-cool Fonzie (Henry Winkler). Viewers watched Ritchie go through high school, then eventually leave to college, after which the series shifted its focus to his family and Fonzie. Mission: Impossible
CBS, 1966-73
The series about a group of highly special agents had two runs (the second in the '80s), but both feature Peter Graves as Jim Phelps, who served as head of the team. Their mission? To set the stage for what would be the spy genre for years to come. This great series also spawned a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Cruise as Jim Phelps. This summary will self-destruct in five seconds! The Cosby Show
NBC, 1984-92
A working mother who's able to successfully run a household and be a supportive mother? Yup. Cosby, who prior to the NBC sitcom had been best known for his role in "I Spy," and for his family-flavored standup, exec produced and starred in this remarkable, funny, message-without-being-moralistic series about a working lawyer, her doctor husband and their five impressionable children. The Simpsons
FOX, 1990-Present
Animation in primetime? If it's as well written as Matt Groening's "The Simpsons," first introduced as a series of shorts on yet another excellent Fox series, "The Tracey Ullman Show," it can work. And it has - the day-to-day trials and tribulations of the Simpson family of Springfield Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and pacifier-sucking Maggie - has entertained audiences for nearly a decade (!). The Brady Bunch
ABC, 1969-74
Here is the story... "The Brady Bunch" will always stand as a testament to life in the late 60s, when kids were groovy and parents had afros. A family of eight, the Brady kids were always getting into some trouble, which usually led to father Mike Brady (Robert Reed) giving out some sage advice to finish an episode. The show was made into two films in the 1990s. The Avengers
CBS, 1966-69
Slick British agents Jonathan Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) were an odd pair, taking on missions to stop diabolical geniuses from taking over the world. He, suave and proper. Her, sexy and playful. The show enjoyed various incarnations, and was recently made into a feature film. ER
NBC, 1994-2000 What makes "ER," essentially a hospital drama (which has been done many times before) work? Great writing, great acting - and risks. What series can introduce a significant character by having her (a nurse, no less) attempt suicide in the series opener? "ER" did it - and did it well - as it has continued to do so. Seinfeld
NBC, 1990-98
Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer have not only added to the lexicon of our generation, but provided literally hours and hours of water-cooler talk. Although it was essentially about "nothing" - the daily lives and mishaps of four friends, it was absolutely unique in its execution. No other show can boast introducing phrases laden with mass meaning. The X-Files
FOX, 1993-1999 Slow to start, but building to an unforeseen crescendo, "X-Files," which follows the adventures of agents Scully and Mulder - who investigate the abnormal, paranormal and the like -- is the barometer for all sci- fi series to come. Weird and creative, elegant end engaging, few series can boast such a wide variety episodic stories.
I think not
Most of these were good shows, some of them sucked.
3 out of the 20 listed were excellent entertainment. That surprised me,because I hate to be thought of as an average viewer. Oh, the shows : XFiles, The Simpsons and the Avengers
Quote: Originally Posted by missile View Post

3 out of the 20 listed were excellent entertainment. That surprised me,because I hate to be thought of as an average viewer. Oh, the shows : XFiles, The Simpsons and the Avengers

what surprised me is something like i love lucy being number one. i mean, what is it about that stupid show that everybody likes so much. its not even in colour and i think the husband was a dork.
They should add South Park to the list/
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurka View Post

They should add South Park to the list/

and drop all the black and white shows
L Gilbert
The Avengers was American? Go figger. It was ok, anyway.
Sitcoms suck in general but Cheers, All in the Family, Dick Van Dyke, and Happy Days were ok.
X-files, Twilight Zone, and Star Trek were ok.
Carol Burnett was good.
11 sucked.
45% isn't a good grade.
All in the Family should have been higher. The fact that The Brady Bunch is on the list and The Tonight Show isn't, makes the whole list rather silly.
I could never see what others saw in MASH. That was a cure for insomnia.
I didn't think MASH was all that good either but you can't deny that it changed television. Up until Col Blake was killed, comedies were comedies and dramas were dramas. MASH effectively blurred the line.

The best TV show ever was British and was called "Yes Minister" ( and later "Yes Prime Minister")
Last edited by Cannuck; Jan 26th, 2007 at 06:49 PM..
Father ted was pretty funny
I don't think you can beat Frasier for writing. There have been a lot of great comedies on tv but I don't think any has been so consistent in quality as that one.
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

The Avengers was American? Go figger. It was ok, anyway..

No, it was a British show. but it was on American prime time which is why they stuck it on the list. the list was centred on American television.
Where's the Honeymooners?

Also on that list is "The Larry Sanders Show"

And soon to be will be "The Office."
Quote: Originally Posted by Toro View Post

Where's the Honeymooners?

Also on that list is "The Larry Sanders Show"

And soon to be will be "The Office."

Couldn't tell you. Frankly, I thought that programme was highly over-rated.
How about the old ABC Wide World of Sports. I watched just to see the ski jumper doing the helicopter off the run during the intro.
"Three Stooges"

"Adventures of Superman"

"Perry Mason"


there has got to room for a couple of these!
Superman and Spiderman are my childhood Heros
I think not
Quote: Originally Posted by Toro View Post

Where's the Honeymooners?

Bang zoom!
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not View Post

Bang zoom!

You mean repeatedly threatening to hit your wife isn't funny?

I never saw the show, but it was the biggest of its time.
I think not
Quote: Originally Posted by Toro View Post

You mean repeatedly threatening to hit your wife isn't funny?

I never saw the show, but it was the biggest of its time.

I have all 39 original episodes on DVD. It's freakin hilarious.
I only watched "I love Lucy" on reruns. I've read that most of the early shows were broadcast live which makes that show special. No re-takes, any flubs went out over the airwaves.

"Mash" was alright I guess. It was interesting that the show went for 11 years while the war lasted only three.

"Star Trek" , in it's many incarnations, was a classic. It was hard to see any of the regular cast in anything without thinking of their characters in this space opera.

"All in the Family" was based on the British show,"Til Death do us Part" was a funny show that went against the general run of the mill sit coms.

"The Carol Burnett Show" owed everything to the excellent cast, Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, The show wouldn't have made it without all of them.
One of the oldest shows on TV now, (reruns) is "Rawhide", Clint Eastwood, I watch all of them, Black and White, but some very well-written episodes. And you could see the future success in Clint Eastwood back then.
I also watch "reruns" of "Bonanza",good old western, interesting plots, good acting.
Got good laughs from "I Love Lucy", she was very funny.
Loved "All in the Family", Archie was such a loser, but made it work, his acting was amazing.
Enjoyed the humor in "Mash"
The old black and white shows have to be enjoyed "from the standpoint of there time", as the social
acceptance of "the family" in those days, was so different. Women didn't work, were like maids in
the home, talked to their husbands like they were their dads, had to ask permission for "things", etc.
I watch all of the reruns of "Seinfeld", such brilliant writing, a show completely about "nothing" and
done to perfection, love it.
And, of course "The Carol Burnett Show, brilliant characters, I laughed till the tears rolled down my cheeks.
I also loved the "Perry Mason" shows, introduction to the court room dramas, good stories, and
good acting, and I now watch all of the CSI's, which I enjoy.
What about Columbo, Rockford Files, Silver
Silver Spoons ...........!!!!!!!
Other considerations:

The Ed Sullivan Show
The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson
Saturday Night Live
is there any vivid channel is there
Quote: Originally Posted by vinod1975 View Post

Silver Spoons ...........!!!!!!!

Yes. Jason Bateman was just as hot then as he is now. *swoon*
L Gilbert
Quote: Originally Posted by Kreskin View Post

I could never see what others saw in MASH. That was a cure for insomnia.

Yeah, I dubbed it the "Hawkeye Pierce Show". 40 episodes and then an episode that wasn't revolving around Hawkeye Pierce. Then another 40 episodes of Hawkeye Pierce. And so on.
L Gilbert
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarin View Post

I don't think you can beat Frasier for writing. There have been a lot of great comedies on tv but I don't think any has been so consistent in quality as that one.

Geee. Frasier experiences something. Frasier makes a fool out of himself. Show ends.

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