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Empire picks the 50 greatest TV shows of all-time

by Bob Sassone, posted May 1st 2008 8:02AM

The SimpsonsQuick, what do the following TV shows have in common: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Twilight Zone, The Andy Griffith Show, M*A*S*H, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson?

Answer: they're not on Empire Magazine's list of the 50 best greatest TV shows of all-time. Let the arguments begin!

Of course, being a British publication, Empire is going to have some shows on the list that we here in America probably wouldn't have: Father Ted, Cracker, Spaced, Red Dwarf, and Only Fools and Horses. But I don't care if you live in the jungles of Africa or on the moon, there's no way that a list of the 50 best shows in TV history can not include the shows I mentioned in the question above. It seems that all these lists you find on the web of the best TV shows is some sort of weird combination of what shows are the quality shows, what shows get buzz and a hipness factor, and what shows get ratings. And when you do that, you end up like Empire's list: you don't include The Mary Tyler Moore Show but you have room for THREE Star Trek shows and Prison Break. I don't understand how they can have so many recent shows on an "all-time" list.

There's a lot to like on the list though, of course, including Lost, The West Wing, The X-Files, and the surprise inclusion of Alias. (By the way, there's no way to see the whole list on one page, you have to click page by page - ugh.)

There's also a severe lack of music/variety/talk shows on the list.

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WOW there are some major flaws with this list. First of all, FAMILY GUY BEFORE SOUTH PARK?????? wow. that is just so dumb its funny. family guy is just cheap laughs. south park is on a whole other level. for real. Also theres one more deeply disturbing occurence here. Friends is higher than seinfeld?? and seinfeld isnt top ten? thats just rediculous. i think you just put 50 tv shows in a hat and picked them out. seriously. seinfeld is the best tv show of all time. no question.

March 28 2011 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The empire list is the results of a poll - I voted on it. It doesn't represent a carefully chosen list, its the shows Brits who read Empire love the most. As somone pointed out, the only show you felt was missed out that we've heard of is MASH, and that's not so desperately popular here. Also, readers of Empire, of which I am one, are probably mostly the same sort of age as me - mid-20s. So, of course we love and fondly remember mid-nineties and mid-noughties shows.

For the record, I voted for ST: Voyager, The West Wing, Red Dwarf, Friends and The Girl From Tomorrow (a little known Australian kids show I loved). As you can see, not all of them made the list!

May 01 2008 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the acknowledgement of sci-fi series within the list, which are so often overlooked for cop/doctor dramas. For a list complied by a British audience its great to see so many recognizable U.S. series. Particularly love that all three Whedon series were mentioned. Love also that cult shows like "Twin Peaks" and "Alias" were also given recognition, U.S. lists often overlook these shows, along with the sci-fi genre in general

May 01 2008 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where is Mork and Mindy?

May 01 2008 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael C. Sherrin

Couldn't they at least give us an explanation of their criteria? It's this best shows for young, hip cats who don't care what our parents or The Man likes? Of course, then why is Frasier there? This list has no logic but I'm sure Empire loves the page views.


Michael C. Sherrin

May 01 2008 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't really care about no damn Brits list of best shows. I've got my own list as all of you have your own lists. I bet there are no 2 lists of ours that are the same. Its all based on our own opinion. Hey, lets start our own list - "The World's 50 Greatest Revolutionary War Asskickings. #1. America kicks British Ass."

May 01 2008 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MERVE-THE-PERVE's comment

Hehehe... freakin' hilarious Merve...

May 02 2008 at 12:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can discuss the list and its in- and exclusions all you want, but this list was made by the readers. Anyone taking the time to register had a chance to vote and this is the result. Pretty much everyone whose top ten differs from this one will have something to say about it, including me. Buffy is way overrated!

May 01 2008 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a decent list for "modern era" shows, not all-time. But Prison Break? And Seinfeld didn't even crack the top ten? Please. Though I do love a few surprise inclusions, like Veronica Mars (boo yah).

May 01 2008 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pacheco's comment
Simon Wakefield

Seinfeld has never been given a decent run in the UK. The BBC had it in late night slots as have Virgin 1 more recently. Between the BBC and Virgin 1 airings it was on Paramount but thats a pay tv channel so has limited reach.

As for others who say things like "wheres classic who" or "wheres show x and y from the 60/70/80's" its simply that its a viewers poll and that gives new shows an advantage as theres more chance of everyone voting having seen them. We havent traditionally been a nation like you lot in the US where there was a mass market for syndicating reruns of shows, our series don't run as long so havent traditional had enough episodes to make it worthwhile and we didnt until recently have the channels to support it so older shows were not seen by later generations as much. With more channels and the rise of video discs this is probally changing

May 02 2008 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm just glad they included Deep Space Nine, the best of all the Star Trek series, on the list. It's an excellent series that gets overlooked on this "best of" rankings.

Too many Trekkies (Trekkers?) complain that it steers too far from Roddenberry's original concept but that's what makes it so good. It features hero's with flaws and less than perfect conclusions instead of featuring a ship full of goody two shoes and lot's of contrived endings.

May 01 2008 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How come they mention the "new" Doctor Who series but no mention of the IMO much, much better old-school series?

May 01 2008 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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