Friday, January 16, 2015
The Undisputed Greatest TV Shows Ever
Creators: Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld
A critical favorite, the show led the Nielsen ratings in seasons six and nine, and finished among the top two (with NBC's ER) every year from 1994 to 1998. In 2002, TV Guide named Seinfeld the greatest television program of all time. In 1997, the episodes "The Boyfriend" and "The Parking Garage" were respectively ranked numbers 4 and 33 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time, and in 2009, "The Contest" was ranked #1 on the same magazine's list of TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time. E! named it the "number 1 reason the '90s ruled." In 2013, the Writers Guild of America named Seinfeld the No. 2 Best Written TV Series of All Time (second to The Sopranos). That same year, Entertainment Weekly named it the No. 3 best TV series of all time.
The Simpsons (1989-present)
Creator: Matt Groening
The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted primetime television series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million. On October 28, 2014, executive producer Al Jean announced that Season 27 had started production, renewing the series through the 2015–16 season. Time magazine's December 31, 1999, issue named it the 20th century's best television series, and on January 14, 2000, the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. Homer's exclamatory catchphrase "D'oh!" has been adopted into the English language, while The Simpsons has influenced many adult-oriented animated sitcoms.
The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998)
Creators: Garry Shandling, Dennis Klein
The show has its roots in Shandling's stand-up comedy background, his experience as a guest host on The Tonight Show and his earlier sitcom It's Garry Shandling's Show. It has had a marked and long-lasting influence on HBO as well as on television shows in America and Britain. Shandling's performance is a precursor to Larry David's in Curb Your Enthusiasm and even more directly to Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras) as David Brent. Gervais said in Variety that he was heavily influenced by the show and that "It taught me that flawed characters can be compulsive viewing — seeing them squirm and get their comeuppance".
The show won 24 major awards, including three Primetime Emmy Awards, five CableACE Awards, four American Comedy Awards, two British Comedy Awards, two Peabody Awards, a BAFTA Award and a Satellite Award. It also received 86 nominations, including 56 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, five Directors Guild of America nominations, six Writers' Guild of America nominations, six American Comedy Awards nominations, three Golden Globe nominations, three Satellite Awards nominations and a GLAAD Award nomination.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999-present)
Creators: Madeleine Smithberg, Lizz Winstead
Jon Stewart took over as host in January 1999, making the show more strongly focused on politics and the national media, in contrast with the pop culture focus during Craig Kilborn's tenure. Stewart's version is currently the second longest-running program on Comedy Central after South Park. It has received two Peabody Awards for its coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Between 2001 and 2012, it has been awarded 18 Primetime Emmy Awards in the categories of Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series (winner for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012) and Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program, and a further seven nominations. The show has also been honored by GLAAD, the Television Critics Association, and the Satellite Awards.
The Colbert Report, a spin-off of The Daily Show starring former correspondent Stephen Colbert premiered on October 17, 2005 and ended on December 18, 2014. Another spin-off series hosted by contributor Larry Wilmore entitled The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore premiered on January 19, 2015, replacing The Colbert Report. The Daily Show also helped lead to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, an HBO series hosted by former correspondent John Oliver, who had previously guest hosted The Daily Show throughout the summer before its debut.
The Wire (2002-2008)
Creator: David Simon
Each season of The Wire introduces a different institution in the city of Baltimore. In chronological order they are: the illegal drug trade, the seaport system, the city government and bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media. The large cast consists mainly of character actors who are little known for their other roles, as well as numerous guest and recurring appearances by real-life Baltimore and Maryland figures. Simon has said that despite its presentation as a crime drama, the show is "really about the American city, and about how we live together. It's about how institutions have an effect on individuals. Whether one is a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge or a lawyer, all are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution to which they are committed."
Despite receiving only average ratings and never winning major television awards, The Wire has been described by many critics as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time.
Chappelle's Show (2003-2006)
Creators: Dave Chappelle, Neal Brennan
After numerous delays, production of the third season of the show was abruptly ended when Dave Chappelle left the show. Three episodes were compiled from the completed work and these episodes aired from July 9 to July 23, 2006. Re-runs have frequently aired on Comedy Central and around the world, with episodes airing on MTV in Germany, Comedy Central in Brazil, MuchMusic in Canada, The Comedy Channel and 7mate in Australia, and FX in the United Kingdom. TV Guide ranked it #31 on their list of "TV's Top 100 Shows".
In May 2005, Time magazine announced that one of their reporters, Christopher John Farley, had interviewed Chappelle in South Africa, and that no psychiatric treatments were occurring or necessary. Chappelle returned shortly thereafter and quelled rumors of psychiatric or substance abuse problems, and emphasized that his trip was a "spiritual retreat" intended to keep his sense of reality outside the bubble of intense pressure and fame and to keep his humor fresh.
Arrested Development (2003-2006, 2013)
Creator: Mitchell Hurwitz
Since its debut in 2003, the series has received widespread critical acclaim, six Primetime Emmy Awards, and one Golden Globe Award, and has attracted a cult following, including several fan-based websites. In 2007, Time listed it among the magazine's "All-TIME 100 TV Shows". In 2008, the show was ranked 16th on Entertainment Weekly 's "New TV Classics" list. In 2011, IGN named Arrested Development the "funniest show of all time". The script of an Arrested Development film has also been in development, with the main cast purported to reprise their original roles.
Parks and Recreation (2009-present)
Creators: Greg Daniels, Michael Schur
It uses a single-camera, mockumentary filming style, with the implication being that a documentary crew is filming everyone. The ensemble and supporting cast features Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Paul Schneider, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O'Heir, Retta, and Billy Eichner. Parks and Recreation received mixed reviews during its first season. After a reapproach to its format and tone, the second and subsequent seasons received much higher critical acclaim. Parks and Recreation has received several awards and nominations, including a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, five Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe win for Poehler's performance, and a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.
Creator: Dan Harmon
The single-camera series follows an ensemble cast of students at a community college in the fictional town of Greendale, Colorado. It makes heavy use of meta-humor and pop culture references, often parodying film and television clichés and tropes. Community has received acclaim from critics, being ranked in several critics' lists of the best television series in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and has gained a cult following. In 2012, Community was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the episode "Remedial Chaos Theory," written by Chris McKenna. Following cancelation by NBC in May 2014 after five seasons, Community was renewed for a sixth, 13-episode season by Yahoo! Screen, to premiere on March 17, 2015.
The Walking Dead (2010-present)
Creators: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
The series has been well received and has been nominated for many awards, including the Writers Guild of America Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. The pilot episode "Days Gone Bye" received three nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards—it was nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series and won for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special. It has also attained strong Nielsen ratings, surpassing various records for a cable series, including viewership of 17.3 million for its season five premiere, making it the most-watched drama series telecast in basic cable history.
Game of Thrones (2011-present)
Creators: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss
Game of Thrones has attracted record numbers of viewers on HBO and obtained an exceptionally broad and active international fan base. It received widespread acclaim by critics, although its frequent use of nudity, violence and sexual violence has attracted criticism. The series has won numerous awards and nominations, including a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Drama Series for its first four seasons, a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series – Drama, a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in both Long Form and Short Form, and a Peabody Award. Among the ensemble cast, Peter Dinklage won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for his role as Tyrion Lannister.
It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones. Filmed in a Belfast studio and on location elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Malta, Scotland, Croatia, Iceland, the United States, Spain and Morocco, it premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011. Two days after the fourth season premiered in April 2014, HBO renewed Game of Thrones for a fifth and sixth season. The fifth season is scheduled to premiere on April 12, 2015.