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Must List: TV Series


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The Top Ten TV series you must, at some point in your life, watch. (not everybody will like everything, so this list means that if you were me, there are the ten series you couldn't live without. If everybody did their own I think it would be pretty interesting)

 

These lists should be only finished series. If Justified was finished it'd be in my top 3.

 

10) Star Trek TNG (sure, the characters weren't well developed for the most part, which is a huge sin for a series that ran seven seasons. The biggest problem was the writers focused too much time on making Data human they didn't spend enough time making the humans ... human. It was the shiny new toy syndrome. They also leaned on the holodeck WAY too much, another symptom of the shiny new toy syndrome. But this show mastered the story of the week trope better than any, and for the most part their individual stories were original and interesting, something none of the spinoffs quite pulled off. I much prefer long story arcs and season long Big Bads but if I'm ever in the mood to just escape for one hour without needing tons of backstory and setup to enjoy that hour, this is the show to do it with)

 

9) Sons Of Anarchy (a couple seasons ago this wouldn't have made my top 100 list, which should tell you how good the final two seasons were)

 

8) Buffy The Vampire Slayer (this show hasn't exactly aged well because now we know Joss Whedon's storytelling quirks and obsessions. You know, all fathers suck while mothers mostly rock, true love lasts a couple seasons at most and usually ends in death. A main character has to die every season or two, etc. Now all that stuff seems cliched rather than groundbreaking. But the humor remains and the characters are deeply layered. That still means something)

 

7) Stargate SG1 (great characters, great humor, great story arcs, excellent villains they weren't afraid to kill off and replace. And, most praise worthy, the final couple seasons held their own when so many other decade long series fall on their faces at the end. Even the two after series movies were good. And unlike it's spinoff Atlantis, they didn't replace main characters just to replace them. In both cases it was because the actor wanted out. As one of the exec producers said, "It's a TV series, not a prison sentence. If the actor wants out, we have to let them out." It's the kind of show you have to like the genre to enjoy, but given that it's a must watch)

 

6) Veronica Mars (never would have believed you could pull off a mystery of the week AND an overall season long mystery with the TV series format. This show not only accomplishes that, it mixes in great characters and great humor.)

 

5) Lost (sure, the finale season whizzed it down it's leg and the finale was laughably bad, but this show created more interesting 3 dimensional characters with more interesting backstories than any three other shows. They did the character stuff much better than they did the overall mythology crap)

 

4) Dexter (sure, the final season whizzed it down its leg and the finale was laughably bad, but this is a show that's not about the destination, it's about the journey. And from episode to episode, few shows combined tense action and suspense with earned character comedy so consistently well)

 

3) 24 (this would be number one for pure fun but the couple bad seasons were REALLY bad. And they were a little too free with killing off popular characters at times and that got super annoying. Bringing Tony back was epic though, and making him legit evil was even more inspired. Meanwhile the revival was fantastic. So that keeps it in the top three despite the rancid turd that is season 6)

 

2) Pushing Daisies (a true masterpiece cut down in its prime)

 

1) Breaking Bad (there is no better long form character study in the history of film, and the ending lived up to the epic series run)

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Great thread SD. I'd also like to say that I respect your choices even though some wouldn't be mine!

 

8. Due South - A skilled mountie finds himself south of the border chasing his father's killers. A stand alone movie that spawned a tremendous TV show. Aided by his deaf wolf and his lovable but obnoxious New-Yorker detective partner. Prepare for some hilarity and moral guidance that is nothing short of humbling.

 

7. Father Ted - Three Priests... One Island. Quality British Comedy :)

 

6. Star Trek: The Next Generation - One man... Jean-Luc Picard. Yet again some damn fine acting and great episodic story-telling.

 

5. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Great science fiction with great moral decisions. Later seasons are much finer than the first couple and a great ending. But overall a very very good series.

 

4. Red Dwarf - British comedy gold. Put a Scouser in space with a hologram of his worst enemy, a life-form that evolved from his cat and the maintenance droid and you're got the recipe for great laughs.

 

3. The Sopranos - Great series with some of the best acting you'll ever see in the form of James Gandolfini. The actor admitted he lost some of himself to that character. Enough said! Shockingly bad ending can be overlooked in favour of 8 seasons of wonderment.

 

2. 24 - Only watched all of this series this year. And oh my god it's awesome. Jack Bauer is my favourite Superhero. Jack Bauer Power Hour!! #DammitChloe

 

1. Breaking Bad - Quintessentially the best series ever made. Brilliant story, Brilliant acting. Just pure gripping television with a great ending.

 

That's all I can think of. Can I just say though I wish this had current shows in it as well because my top ten would be full and looking a bit different!!

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These lists should be only finished series.

 

Any top ten list I could offer would be ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS without The Simpsons or Jeopardy or Dr. Who or The Venture Bros. or Archer or It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia or Adventure Time or Community or The Colbert Report.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

10) Star Trek TNG (sure, the characters weren't well developed for the most part, which is a huge sin for a series that ran seven seasons. The biggest problem was the writers focused too much time on making Data human they didn't spend enough time making the humans ... human. It was the shiny new toy syndrome. They also leaned on the holodeck WAY too much, another symptom of the shiny new toy syndrome. But this show mastered the story of the week trope better than any, and for the most part their individual stories were original and interesting, something none of the spinoffs quite pulled off. I much prefer long story arcs and season long Big Bads but if I'm ever in the mood to just escape for one hour without needing tons of backstory and setup to enjoy that hour, this is the show to do it with)

 

9) Sons Of Anarchy (a couple seasons ago this wouldn't have made my top 100 list, which should tell you how good the final two seasons were)

 

 

7) Stargate SG1 (great characters, great humor, great story arcs, excellent villains they weren't afraid to kill off and replace. And, most praise worthy, the final couple seasons held their own when so many other decade long series fall on their faces at the end. Even the two after series movies were good. And unlike it's spinoff Atlantis, they didn't replace main characters just to replace them. In both cases it was because the actor wanted out. As one of the exec producers said, "It's a TV series, not a prison sentence. If the actor wants out, we have to let them out." It's the kind of show you have to like the genre to enjoy, but given that it's a must watch)

 

4) Dexter (sure, the final season whizzed it down its leg and the finale was laughably bad, but this is a show that's not about the destination, it's about the journey. And from episode to episode, few shows combined tense action and suspense with earned character comedy so consistently well)

 

3) 24 (this would be number one for pure fun but the couple bad seasons were REALLY bad. And they were a little too free with killing off popular characters at times and that got super annoying. Bringing Tony back was epic though, and making him legit evil was even more inspired. Meanwhile the revival was fantastic. So that keeps it in the top three despite the rancid turd that is season 6)

 

 

1) Breaking Bad (there is no better long form character study in the history of film, and the ending lived up to the epic series run)

 

6. Star Trek: The Next Generation - One man... Jean-Luc Picard. Yet again some damn fine acting and great episodic story-telling.

 

5. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Great science fiction with great moral decisions. Later seasons are much finer than the first couple and a great ending. But overall a very very good series.

 

3. The Sopranos - Great series with some of the best acting you'll ever see in the form of James Gandolfini. The actor admitted he lost some of himself to that character. Enough said! Shockingly bad ending can be overlooked in favour of 8 seasons of wonderment.

 

2. 24 - Only watched all of this series this year. And oh my god it's awesome. Jack Bauer is my favourite Superhero. Jack Bauer Power Hour!! #DammitChloe

 

1. Breaking Bad - Quintessentially the best series ever made. Brilliant story, Brilliant acting. Just pure gripping television with a great ending.

 

 

I agree with with you on these.

 

I'd add (and yeah most are Sci Fi:

 

X-files (it has mostly aged pretty well)

The original Twilight Zone (among my all time favorite shows and always has been)

Star Trek TOS (1960s cheese aside, I think as far as characters go, TOS holds up pretty damn well. I actually like all incarnations, but many people won't like Voyager or Enterprise)

Firefly (you either love it or not, just didn't have enough time to expand on it. had good concepts)

Battlestar Galactica 2003 (series finale aside, a great show. A lot of social commentary, and tight, addictive plot lines)

Game of Thrones (very addicting!)

Rome

Spartacus

Homeland (Season 1 is the greatest. Started loosing me in Season 3, haven't seen 4 yet. not irredeemable yet)

Hannibal

Walking Dead

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I love a lot of TV shows-- but even my favorites have had filler episodes, crap storylines, or even full seasons where they spun their wheels. Breaking Bad really is the only series to never have a misstep in my opinion. It was perfection from start to finish. I recently re-read the pilot and aside from a couple of interesting differences (Walt only being 40 instead of 50, having it set in the Inland Empire instead of NM) it was amazing how all the major arcs, character traits and tropes were established from the get go. Everything that happens in the finale, every place that the main characters end up-- every bit of it is seeded in the pilot. It's amazing.

 

Mad Men may also fall into this category, I'll report back after the final 6 episodes run. True Detective as well, but I'd like to rewatch it before I commit to that statement.

 

Aside from that... all my other top shows-- BSG, Twin Peaks, 24, Veronica Mars, TNG... all of them at some point had some major suckage happen. Most often due to them going on after they had run out of story.

 

For the record though...

 

1. Breaking Bad

2. Twin Peaks

3. Veronica Mars

4. Star Trek Next Generation

5. 24

6. Studio 60

7. Battlestar Galactica

8. Twilight Zone

9.

10...

 

#9 and 10 slot shall be reserved for whichever shows wrapping up this year does so most expertly... Justified, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Homeland...

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So...Breaking Bad. Never seen an episode. Should I make it my next priority? My only real hesitation is that I'm in the middle of Psych and just finished Gilmore Girls, is the change in tone going to throw off my groove?

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1. Freaks and Geeks (Best teen show ever)

2. Star Trek: The Next Generation

3. The X-Files

4. Misfits (Best superhero show ever)

5. Thriller (Underrated horror anthology series)

6. Three's Company (Light, silly, fun show with John Ritter's amazing comedic talent on display)

7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

8. Raising Hope (Lovable white trash. How is that possible? This show makes it possible.)

9. Firefly

10. Entourage

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