I’ve seen many opinions on this topic, and I thought I might chime in. This list is highly debatable, but here is my opinion nonetheless.
1. Seinfeld – With its inimitable take on life’s most mundane moments, Seinfeld –ubiquitously and ironically referred to as “the show about nothing”-garnered countless accolades, initiated a string of words and terms into America’s pop culture lexicon… and continues to draw network-sized audiences into its uniquely comic world.
2. Macgyver – The story arc of MacGyver follows the intelligent, optimistic, laid-back, resourceful secret agent Angus MacGyver, played by Richard Dean Anderson. He prefers non-violent conflict resolution where possible, and refuses to use a gun. MacGyver works as a problem solver for the fictional Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles. Educated as a scientist with a background as a Bomb Disposal Technician/EOD in Vietnam (“Countdown”), and from a fictional United States government agency, the Department of External Services (DXS), he is used as a resourceful agent able to solve a range of problems along with his ever-present Swiss army knife.
3. Mythbusters – MythBusters is an American popular science television program on the Discovery Channel starring American special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who use basic elements of the scientific method to test the validity of various rumors, urban legends, myths and news stories in popular culture.
4. Curb Your Enthusiasm – The series stars Larry David as an extreme version of himself, accompanied by fictional re-creations of his ‘real friends’, usually played by themselves. Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Wanda Sykes, and Richard Lewis all have recurring roles as characters based upon themselves.
The show is set and filmed in various affluent Westside communities of (and occasionally the downtown area of) the City of Los Angeles, California, as well as the adjacent incorporated cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City and Santa Monica, California. Larry David’s actual place of residence was, and may still be (since his divorce from his wife Laurie), in the Pacific Palisades area of the Westside. During the run of the series, filming has been staged in various rented single-family residences around the Westside.
5. Sanford and Son – Sanford and Son stars Redd Foxx as Fred G. Sanford, a 65-year-old junk dealer living at 9114 S. Central Ave. in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California; and Demond Wilson as his 30-year-old son, Lamont Sanford.
Redd Foxx played Sanford as a sarcastic, stubborn, and argumentative antiques and junk dealer, whose frequent money-making schemes routinely backfired and created more troubles. Lamont dearly would have liked to enjoy independence but loved his father too much to leave him to his devices and schemes. Although each owned an equal share in the business and technically Fred was the boss, Lamont often found himself doing all the work and having to order his father to complete tasks and duties. Often, Sanford can be heard insulting his son, usually calling him a “big dummy”. Lamont insulted his father also, sometimes referring to him as an “old fool”.
6. The Office – A fly-on-the-wall “docu-reality” parody about modern American office life, “The Office” delves into the lives of the workers at Dunder Mifflin paper supply company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Regional manager Michael Scott (Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Steve Carell, “Get Smart,” “Little Miss Sunshine”) is a single, middle-aged man who is the boastful tour guide for the documentary.
7. The Sopranos – When “The Sopranos” drama was in great form, there was nothing else like it. Episodes such as “College,” from season one were simultaneously funny, frightening and startling. Tony toured New England universities with his daughter Meadow and took some time out to murder an old enemy while at home, his wife Carmela almost seduced her favorite priest, Father Phil, while watching a movie. Viewers never knew what was going to happen next, a policy creator David Chase enforced to the very last scene. The show also introduced us to fantastic actors who would have never been cast had the show been produced in Los Angeles. It is impossible to imagine anyone else playing Tony and Carmela besides James Gandolfini and Edie Falco. Their portrayal of a sometimes ugly marriage had never been seen on television before.
8. 24 – Set aside the groundbreaking real-time format and the split-screen action. Think about the plots. An African-American senator on the verge of becoming president. Terrorist threats against the US including an exploding jetliner. Patriot Act-level surveillance and wiretapping. Secret prisons and torture. So much of what this show does has come true, you start to worry that a heroin-addicted special agent is at this moment stopping a weaponized virus from wiping out Los Angeles. Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer is a hero for the modern age, amoral in motion, conflicted at rest. “24” shamed other cop dramas with its movie-size action, its breakneck plotting, but most of all its immediacy. After “24,” you can’t pretend your characters don’t live in the real world. Now, the clock is always ticking.
9. Sesame Street – Many an aging Generation Xer can thank “Sesame Street” for teaching them to read. Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and the gang created the first TV show parents and kids could watch together. Segments were short enough to engage the kiddies, and funny enough to keep mom and dad from changing the channel. The series also inspired entire networks dedicated to kids, like Nickelodeon, lessening the program’s power, but not its importance. No one hammered home what kids needed to know about the letter “E” and the number “8” like Grover and the Count.
10. The Simpsons – Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith gave voice to TV’s most endearing animated characters.
Thanks for reading, please leave your comments stating your opinion, I’d appreciate it. Thanks again!