10. Game of Thrones – I can’t think of one TV series that made me read 5 books that span about 5,000 pages because I wanted to. After watching the first season I remember feeling so intrigued that I went to the HBO website and began learning about all the characters and what families they belonged to because I was so fascinated with who was who and why they were treating each other why they were. Some of the plots are far better than others but the feeling that no one is safe always leaves great suspense. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion is a personal favorite. Jamie and Tywin also are up there. Even though HBO is only about to start season 3, this series will continue to shine because the story is that compelling. Reading the novels ahead of time in no way ruins the series.
9. Twin Peaks – An odd choice considering it only aired for 2 years and began in 1990 but there was something strangely appealing about the mystery behind Laura Palmer. Cooper was my favorite character but Ben Horne was equally great. I developed a nice crush on Audrey throughout. The music was absolutely fantastic. I’ll agree with most that the first season was better than the 2nd because some of the story lines in the 2nd were just sort of wacky. James with the woman and Cooper with Annie were kind of dumb so I think it ended before it really started to go downhill. Nevertheless, this was a very smart show.
8. Curb Your Enthusiasm – This show could go places where Seinfeld couldn’t. It was on HBO so no topic was off limits. Larry could be more animated and the profanity laced tirades were always welcomed. I believe this could be described as situational comedy with many sub plots joining together at the conclusion. Aside from Larry, I’m not a huge fan of any of the characters (Leon! Funk!), but it didn’t really matter, Larry made the show. An adult version of Seinfeld.
7. Seinfeld – I don’t need to waste my time with a write up about Seinfeld. Any show that started in 1989, was syndicated, and is still being shown in 2012 has already gone down in history. It always amazed me at how hot the girls were that Jerry pulled in the show. I’ll also say that I never really got Kramer. When Elaine describes him as “…a tall, lanky dufus with a bird face and hair like the bride of Frankenstein” that sort of sums him up in my mind. I also thought that later seasons weren’t as good as the story lines started getting a bit wilder and lost touch with reality.
6. Family Guy – I know people who don’t like Family Guy. I understand why they don’t like it and it’s because it’s so far over their head. They don’t get the jokes because the jokes are far too intelligent for them to pick up on. Most people think Family Guy and immediately think of dumb humor. It’s not. I know some parts of unbelievably stupid and maybe aren’t that funny but I can’t think of a show that I laugh harder at on a consistent basis. It’s not Seinfeld funny. It’s an off beat, let yourself laugh, take in the humor kind of show. Forget plot and story. You watch to catch the inside jokes and their hilarious references to things you probably have never heard of but if you do, you know they’re funny. Brian and Stewie sub-plots are the elite characters on the show with Peter a close second. Everyone else is secondary (besides Quagmire).
5. Dexter – I think this is one that may be a bit too high for this list. Mainly because I don’t think the show is as good as it has been in the past. I think it peaked with the Trinity Killer which was season 4. Season 1 & 2 with the Ice Truck Killer and the Bay Harbor Butcher were seasons that were so original that it just made Dexter an instant hit. The 3rd season with the Skinner (they just pulled him out of a hat) wasn’t all that great but then season 4 with the Trinity Killer topped the chart. RITA!!! Lumen and Jordan Chase were pretty crappy and then season 6 with Travis Marshall was decent but still lacking that punch. This season with La Guerta tracking Dexter and the odd love interest of Hannah Mckay is not bad but not as good as this show has been. Plus reality has been thrown out the window (why the hell did Estrada jump in the water and not call out to the police!). I think the strength of this show was found in the beginning seasons and then Dexter started getting to get, for lack of a better word, redundant.
4. Arrested Development – If you weren’t aware, Arrested Development will be coming out with 12-15 more episodes available through Netflix. An absolute brilliant move by Netflix to get diehard fans of the show to subscribe. Seriously brilliant. The reason this show takes the cake in terms of comedy is because it combines the story of Seinfeld and the humor of Family Guy. It’s just a wonderful combination of unconventional humor and hilarious story lines. Buster is my favorite character which I’ve noted before but Gob, Tobias, and even Lucille crack me up. This show even got me to start liking Jason Bateman which is saying a lot. Plus after watching it once through you can pick up any episode and feel like you know what’s going on. At 22 minutes long, it’s the perfect show to just watch in a jiffy.
3. The Sopranos – I feel like this show just gets nominated as a great show and that’s that. I just watched all the seasons (100+ episodes) in the last year and it really lived up to expectations in my mind. The Pauly and Christopher episode where they are in the freezing cold chasing after a Russian mob member was my absolute favorite. I couldn’t stop laughing when they were eating mustard packets. Anyway, the reason this show if so good is because it feels real. It’s like getting an up close look at how the mob operates. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t really like many of the characters outside of the members of Tony’s gang. Meadow, Aj, and Carmela were serious buzz kills every episode. Even with their boring story lines, this show lives up to the hype.
2. Breaking Bad – Walter White is terrific. His supporting cast is outstanding. Hank, Jesse, Mike and Saul are the best supporting cast ever assembled. Skyler is a huge bitch… Gus was such an intelligent bad guy that you almost had to like him. Walter’s development was also exhilarating to watch from season 1 to season 5. He went from learning how to sell drugs to becoming the kingpin. This series was intense throughout and every episode was worth watching. Rarely a feeling that the show was coming together slowly. AMC is starting to shine with their productions. See Walking Dead below.
1. The Wire – I watched all 5 seasons in a row about 5 years ago. I honestly haven’t seen an episode since and nothing ever strikes me as being as good as I remember this show. This show felt like real life. You actually felt like you were getting a look at the streets of Baltimore and how the cops tried to catch drug dealers. McNulty, Bunk, Herc, Daniels…. Omar, Stringer, Avon, Bodie, Marlow, Snoop, Chris…. and that’s only touching the tip of the characters. From the streets, to the docks, the campaign, the school and the newspaper and everything in between, this show had it all. I remember that I started ordering Jameson at bars just to be like McNulty. Just awesome.
Freak and Geeks – Tons of stars (Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, James Franco, Busy Philipps, Martin Starr, Linda Cardellini) as young adults. This was just a beautifully scripted show with great story lines that appealed to high school life.
Californication – A personal favorite with David Duchovny as Hank Moody. Runkle is unrivaled as a sidekick. A fun show with great fun involving a dysfunctional family, drugs, sex, partying, and writing novels.
6 Feet Under – I still have 20 episodes to finish but a show that brings death to the surface.
Entourage – Who says this isn’t a good show? It doesn’t have depth of course but that’s not why you watch it. It’s just interesting to get a view into a life that will never be yours.
Walking Dead – Just watching it as I type and I find this show pretty addicting. It’s hard to say it’s the greatest with all the walking zombies, but it’s certainly entertaining.