Top 20: List Your Favorite TV-series of all time - the results are in!

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by Karin Schill, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I figured it might be fun if we could all list our top twenty TV-series of all time in this thread. It will work just as the top tens usually does on the board. Only that we list TV-series instead. The shows can be of any genre. The reason I chose to make this a top twenty instead of a top ten is to find out if there are any gems of shows that I am yet to see that other members of this community rank among their favorites. I think we can probably get some recommendations from the results. :)

    If you want to motivate your choices feel free to do so. But it's also okay just to list 20 shows. Please put the years the show was on the air in brackets to avoid confusion since we have two Dynasty and two Dallas for instance. :cool1

    Take care,
    Love:
    Karin.
     
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  2. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Top 20 - lots of who dunnits in my favourite lists - Dallas wins by a mile but only original Dallas and cast

    1. Dallas - WB /Lorimar ONLY VERSION 1978
    2. tenko
    3. undercover
    4. NYPD Blue
    5. Broadchuch
    6. Poldark original
    7. Homeland
    8. Kavanagh QC
    9. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Alec Guiness
    10. Jewel In The Crown
    11. Traffik with Bill paterson
    12. Line of duty
    13. The Missing
    14. prime Suspect
    15. Fawlty Towers
    16. GBH - Alan beasdale
    17. Auf Wiedesehen Pet
    18. Foyles war
    19. Dinner ladies
    20. the Office
     
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  3. Emelee

    Emelee Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    As this is an all-times favorite list, I will try my best to avoid most current favorites.

    1. Seinfeld (1989-1998)
    Hilarious, terrificly flawed characters and a series I can watch over and over. ​
    2. Twin Peaks (1990-1991, 2017)
    There's just nothing like it. It's bizarre, it's exciting, it's hilarious and absolutely captivating.​
    3. Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
    The most epic TV series of all times. Very cinematic and addictive. ​
    4. Fawlty Towers (1975-1979)
    Don't we all have a little Basil Fawlty within us?​
    5. Vi på Saltkråkan (We on Seacrow Island) (1964)
    I re-watch this Astrid Lindgren production every summer. To me, it's idyllic. ​
    6. The Bold and the Beautiful (1987-present)
    As this is an all-time favorites list, I am forced to add B&B. I don't watch it anymore, in fact, I avoid it on purpose. But the soap was a huge part of my life for many years. Up until 2012, when Susan Flannery left. That's when I jumped ship as well. ​
    7. Dallas (1978-1991)
    I was a big fan, it's so much nostalgia. I didn't enjoy the last 2 seasons whatsoever, but let's forget about that now. ​
    8. The X-files (1993-2002, 2016-2018)
    Uncomfortable at times, hilarious at times, but most often very entertaining. As with Twin Peaks, there really isn't anything like this elsewhere. ​
    9. 'Allo 'Allo! (1982-1992)
    The twists and turns in this comedy are to the likes of the soap operas, but instead of juicy and delicious, it's hilarious. Many terrific characters. I never knew WW2 could be funny!​
    10. Svensson, Svensson (1994-1996, 2007-2008)
    Swedish sit-com featuring the Svensson family. On the surface, a very plain and ordinary family, but, much thanks to the father, a football- and cartoon-crazy mailman, very funny. ​
    11. Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2012)
    The best feministic series of all time, if you ask me. Two women not caring what the world thinks of them, because they are free to act any horrible way they please and they are loving it. ​
    12. Soap (1977-1981)
    A parody of soap operas could have easily been nasty towards the genre, instead this sit-com celebrates the genre with very lovable, yet crazy, characters. It was done just right, so any fierce protector of the soap opera genre could love it too. Maybe especially them?​
    13. Rederiet (1992-2002)
    Sweden's most successful primetime soap. Half the country was hooked for the first few seasons. But as with almost all soaps, its quality and storylines became sillier for each season until they cancelled it. But at it's best, it was magnificent. I will re-watch the first 7 or 8 seasons soon enough.​
    14. Family Guy (1999-present)
    The show where absolutely anything can happen - and usually does. And yet, somehow, they don't take things too far. ​
    15. That '70s Show (1998-2006)
    A very unique sitcom with many memorable scenes. Terrific characters. ​
    16. Solsidan (2010-2015)
    A Swedish comedy featuring 2 couples trying to either fit in or guard their position in the posh living area called Solsidan outside Stockholm. The series often features the silly extremes that people will go to to keep up appearances and remain trendy so that their superficial friends and family will like them. But, as it's a comedy, things don't always work out as planned. ​
    17. Frasier (1993-2004)
    Sophisticated and smart comedy. I prefer this over Cheers any day of the week. ​
    18. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-present)
    The humor is, naturally, much like Seinfeld. Larry David plays a version of himself and is very much like Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza. I often find myself agreeing with Larry, but it's his actions that most normal people wouldn't take, as it tends to backfire somehow or make him disliked. ​
    19. Mad Men (2007-2015)
    The series that saved, or at least renewed, scripted drama and made TV hot. It was sexy, glamourously retro, fascinating and quite often funny. ​
    20. Modern Family (2009-present)
    Great fun, great characters, great plotlines, great actors.


     
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  4. Victoriafan3

    Victoriafan3 Soap Chat Fan

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    Great topic Karin :) thank you.

    1. Return to Eden, this was perfect television LOVED it. 1983 and 1986. Massive hit especially in NZ, Indonesia, Poland, France (its been repeated 11 times there) and Yugoslavia and the original mini series (at the time) in Australia was the highest rated tv show ever

    2. Dallas 1978-1987 can’t imagine why ;-)

    3. Downton Abby 2010-2015 and movie coming out next year! Wahoo!! SUPERB ensemble cast and excellent writing. Maggie Smith steals every scene!

    4. Miranda - the first three seasons and hopefully they will make another...I really enjoy slapstick comedy like this. So funny and clever

    5. Sons and Daughters 1982-1987

    6. Dynasty 1981-1989 (86-88 a bit hit and miss but hung in there for a brilliant final season)

    7. Coronation Street 1960-2006. After Mike Baldwin died it has kinda gone downhill. Now there’s Too many episodes per week, less long standing members in the cast and most of the younger ones have turned carrot orange. And how many murders can one little street possibly have? It must be the worlds most dangerous street?!!

    8. Glee, especially the first 3 seasons

    9. Brothers and Sisters, again especially the first 2-3 seasons

    10. Smash, especially the first season (I wish they’d really turn their Marilyn show into a westend or broadway musical)

    11. The Young Doctors 1976-1981 (got a bit tired by 1982)

    12. Are You Being Served?

    13. G.P. (A superbly acted quality drama in ABC Australia 1989-1996?) longing for this to come out on DVD. It had loads of well known Aussie actors guest star as patients over the years. It Won several awards

    14. Absolutely Fabulous

    15. Some Mothers Do ‘ave ‘me

    16. The Good Life UK ‘’70s

    17. Golden Girls

    18. Logan’s Run

    19. Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter was beautiful)

    20. Dinnerladies

    21. Charlie’s Angels, the Farrah and Cheryl years :)

    22. Neighbours 1986-1988, the Kylie era

    23. Pretty much anything David Attenborough, Planet Earth, Our World, etc etc that man is a legend. His Nature documentaries are Amazing!!

    And a special mention to Under the Mountain, just the one shorter series (for little NZ at the time this was a well made and quite scary as a kid)

    Sorry that was more than 20. Too good a topic to cut short Karin ;-) and by the way Karin. What’s YOUR top 20 list?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  5. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    I loved that series too. It was massive in the UK too when it was screened in the 1980s.
     
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  6. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    My top 20:
    1. Dallas (the original, not that TNT travesty)
    2. Columbo
    3. Falcon Crest
    4. Stranger Things
    5. The Crown
    6. Roots
    7. Lost
    8. Batman (the Adam West series)
    9. Knots Landing
    10. The Phil Silvers Show
    11. Lost In Space
    12. Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) (the original, not that BBC travesty)
    13. The Inbetweeners
    14. Jesus of Nazareth
    15. Crossroads
    16. The Avengers
    17. The OA
    18. The Handmaid's Tale
    19. The X Files
    20. Little House on The Prairie

     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  7. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    There's not much logic to any of this:

    GUNSMOKE (1955 to 1975) -- certain periods of it, but not really the half hour '50s version that became so iconic but was too simplistically macho. I tend to prefer the hour long, B&W early-'60s period (more haunted), and the color early-'70s period (warmer) which Lenny Katzman produced.

    TWILIGHT ZONE (1959 to 1964)

    DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (1961 to 1966)

    ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW -- the first five, B&W seasons only (1960 to 1965)

    THE AVENGERS -- the Diana Rigg episodes, especially her first year

    MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW (1970 to 1977, all seven seasons)

    POLICE WOMAN -- the first season only (the remaining three seasons left me banging my head on the table)

    DALLAS (1978 - 1991) ...yes, we know what happened to it

    KNOTS LANDING

    FALCON CREST -- the first three or four seasons

    DYNASTY -- as much as I hate what happened to it from Seasons 3 thru 8, I had the highest aspirations for it based on its work in S1, S2 and S9

    30 ROCK

    There are several other shows I liked and watched (like SEINFELD and ROSEANNE and ABFAB in the '90s) but don't feel compelled to put on a Top 20 list. Series from the last two decades I either missed, haven't seen enough of, or have to wait for more time to pass before I can place them on my permanent TV favorites shrine).

    So that's what feminism is about! :p

    Thank goodness that guy finally settled down at the end. Hopefully he's happy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  8. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Oh, and THE WALTONS (the first five John Boy years only) -- much less drippy than LITTLE HOUSE.
     
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  9. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Voilà my Top 20:

    1- Dallas (1978-91)
    2- thirtysomething (1987-91)
    3- Brideshead Revisited (1981)
    4- Knots Landing (1979-1993)
    5- Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-75)
    6- Soap (1977-81)
    7- Battlestar Galactica (2004-09)
    8- Fame (1982-87)
    9- Moonlighting (1985-89)
    10- 6 Feet Under (2001-05)
    11- Desperate Housewives (2004-12)
    12- Game of Thrones (2011-19)
    13- Smallville (2001-11)
    14- Dexter (2006-13)
    15- Smash (2012-13)
    16- Glee (2009-15)
    17- Falcon Crest (1981-1990)
    18- Revenge (2011-15)
    19- American Horror Story (s.1-4) (2011-14)
    20- Downton Abbey (2010-15)
     
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  10. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Gosh - this feels like an impossible task. I feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of narrowing it down. Maybe my brain will function and grasp the task at hand later in the day when I'm not so hot and bothered.


    And I suspect that's going to be my approach too.
     
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  11. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    I completely forgot Little House so I amended my list to include it.
     
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  12. Victoriafan3

    Victoriafan3 Soap Chat Fan

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    Oh gosh I forgot these two. They have to go in the lower end of my top 20. Oops

    And Toni we forgot the MUPPETS?!!

    Def a top 20 show. Such fun! Hi-yah!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    1. New DALLAS

    2. Brookside 1982-1989

    3. Old DALLAS

    4. Knots Landing

    5. EastEnders

    6. Peyton Place

    7. Doctor Who (all of it)

    8. Coronation Street (principally, the 60s, 70s and early 2000s)

    9. Cracker (UK version)

    10. Twin Peaks (2017)

    11. Old Dynasty

    12. The Fall


    13. Alias

    14. The X-Files (all of it)

    15. Oz

    16. Homicide Life on the Street

    17. Hannibal


    18. The Larry Sanders Show

    19. The Sopranos

    20. Mad Men
     
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  14. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    1. Lost
    2. Brookside
    3. Prisoner Cell Block H
    4. Coronation Street
    5. Dallas (Original)
    6. Wentworth
    7. Star Trek Deep Space Nine
    8. Knots Landing
    9. Blake’s 7
    10. Sense8
    11. Dallas (TNT)
    12. Sons of Anarchy
    13. The Shield
    14. Sapphire & Steel
    15. Star Trek Voyager
    16. Doctor Who
    17. Game of Thrones
    18. The Walking Dead
    19. Clocking Off
    20. Oz
     
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  15. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You're welcome. :)

    Good question. I have tried to narrow it down and realized that I should have done a top 25 instead... ;)
    Oh well to be able to fit it better into a top 20 I have put some of the spin-offs/continuation shows after the original shows at the same numbering. The exception being Knots Landing since although it's technically a spin-off of Dallas it ran for as many years and became very successful in it's own right and therefore I have put that as a separate numbering.

    Also it seems to me like most of the show that makes my list are shows that I have watched since I was an older child or teenager. I guess I have an emotional attachment and lots of memories of what was going on in my life at the time I watched them that's tied to them. So there's definitely some nostalgia here. I also have a preference for American shows and well I left out all the kids shows. If I had included those something by Astrid Lindgren would definitely have made my list as I loved watching those shows a lot when I was younger. But I haven't seen them in a long time now.


    Anyway this would be my list:

    1. Dallas (1978-1991) /Dallas (2012-2014)
    The Dallas theme song and opening credits is one of my first TV memories. I wasn't allowed to watch the show until I was 11 though. So I watched the final four seasons first. I remember the show was on Saturday Nights originally so on mondays I used to talk to a friend about it who was also watching it. After it was finished I went back to watch the beginning in reruns in the 1990s when I was in Junior High. I love pretty much everything about this show. The cast, characters, couples, storylines, setting, the 1980s fashion, special events like Oil Barons' Ball, Rodeos and BBQs, cliffhangers etc. It's all great.
    I even like the modern continuation, although I was disappointed it never got to realize it's full potential before it was cancelled.

    2. Knots Landing (1979-1993)

    I watched the first 6 seasons in reruns in 1996-1997. After that Swedish TV have not broadcast it anymore. So I've relied on friends from abroad who has copied me the episodes on VHS and DVD to be able to watch it all. I think I finally finished watching it around 2009 or 2010. So it took me almost as long to watch it from the first to last episode as when the show was originally on the air. Over this period of time I of course grew very attached to the characters. I love that this show is a Dallas spin-off and that we get to know Gary & Val better. But I also love the new characters, especially Abby. It's a great show. So well my hats off to David Jacobs for creating my two most favorite shows.

    3. Dynasty (1981-1989) / Dynasty II - The Colbys (1985-1987)

    I watched this show in reruns in like 1996. I loved the glamour of it all and the over the top storylines and characters. Alexis was my favorite and I also love to watch movies with Joan Collins. I rewatched Dynasty around 2006 and I still loved it. I also enjoyed the spin-off which is a bit different from the original show but still has many of the same elements and even some of the same characters. The shows were so tightly connected that when I first watched Dynasty I never understood why I missed 2 years of Fallon & Jeff's story. So when I finally got to watch the spin-off when it was released on DVD it filled the whole in the storyline and it now made sense.

    4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

    I was 19 when I got hooked on Buffy. This show came to define my college years. I was so into it at the time. I collected the tie in novels, was on fanfic lists, watched fan videos and even learnt to make my own. I was subscribed to the official magazine. I once almost missed my flight from London because I had to buy a Buffy book at the airport but it was at another terminal. :lol: I even analyzed Buffy and it's fanculture for a thesis I wrote at an undergraduate level at the University. I ended up spending 5 years on it and several years later a German publishing company contacted me to have it published as a book.

    Anyway I love that this show mixes several different genres together and that it has a feministic message of sorts. I had never seen anything like it before. I love the cast too and Sarah Michelle Gellar is one of my most favorite contemporary actresses because of this show.

    5. Angel (1999-2004)

    This is the Buffy spin-off show that's a bit more grown up. It deals with metaphors and follows the life of mostly a bunch of young adults who works at a detective agency of sorts. It's also about a very old vampire who is seeking redemption and whose past comes back to haunt him.When I rewatched the shows a few years ago I actually enjoyed Angel more than Buffy. Probably because I no longer viewed it as a two hour Buffy & Angel hour but saw it as a separate show. It can stand on it's own two feet if you let it.

    6. Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000) / 90210 (2008-2013)

    Growing up this was the one show that I followed for the longest period of time in the original run. I was 12 when I began to watch it. 22 when it went off the air. Of course in Sweden we are about two years behind in our broadcasts but still...
    It ran on sundays so on Monday's we always discussed this week's "Bevvan" at school...
    When the reboot came along I tuned in mostly to see the old characters like Kelly, Brenda and Donna make guest spots. I didn't realize how much I had missed the show until I saw them interact together again.I then rewatched the original show and it was better than I remembered!

    7. Friends (1994-2004)

    This show was hugely popular when I was in High School. It was the show we talked about every week much like "Bevvan" had been a few years earlier. I loved the characters and the couples and the humor was funny too. But to be honest I understood it even better when I rewatched it some years ago when I was closer to the characters ages on the show.

    8. Growing Pains (1985-1992)

    A friend got me hooked on this show since she wanted to watch the cute guy a.k.a. Leonardo Di Caprio. I began watching the show in the final season and then went back for the rest of the run in the 1990s reruns. I came to identify with Carol. But I also really liked the other characters, including the parents.I've rewatched this recently too.

    9. Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983)

    I watched this in reruns when I was like 12-13. I loved it and read all of the books too. I rewatched it more recently as an adult. My perception of it had changed a little but I still enjoyed it. It's a wholesome family show for the most part that promotes Christian values. But there's also some scary episodes where people are sick or die. It's a bit over the top but it gives a sense of what life might have been like in the 1800s. I enjoy the historical aspects and I love the Ingalls and Olsen families.

    10. Full House (1987-1995) / Fuller House (2016-)

    Right now it feels like I enjoy the continuation show more than the original. But my love for that show came from the original. I was like 12 when I began watching Full House. For about a year when I was about 13 it was my most favorite show. Then Dallas took back that title. I related the most to DJ since she was closest to my age when I was watching it. Although actually I am a bit closer to Stephanie in age. Anyway since those were my favorite characters I was really pleased that the new show revolves around them as it's been nice catching up with them and Kimmy Gibbler as adults. I like the new kids on the show too and Fernando is funny. That accent. Such a different part compared to on new Dallas.
    Oh and I just love Jesse & Becky as a couple. They are so cute.

    11. I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970)

    I watched this because of Larry Hagman. It's a really hilarious show that makes me laugh a lot. If the Bellows are in the episode it's usually funnier. It's a cute show too.

    12. Army Wives (2007-2013)

    Great drama that I watched last year on DVD. I like pretty much all the characters and couples. It also gives you a greater understanding for how people in the USA army lives. The focus is on the women who are left behind with the kids when their men goes off to war. There is however also a couple where the husband stays at home and his wife is in the army.

    13. Scarlett (1994)

    Gone with the wind is my all time favorite movie so this just had to go in somewhere. Also it was a treat to see Julie Harris as Rhett Butler's mama.
    Besides I'm a sucker for happy endings so I am sort of pleased this mini-series gave me a happy ending to the Scarlett & Rhett saga.

    14. McLeod’s Daughters (2001-2009)

    The American critics labeled this "Dallas down under". It's not really, but it's a great Aussie soap opera about a couple of sisters living on a cattle ranch. I really enjoyed it. Also any show that can evoke strong emotions when you watch it is good and I cried a lot when one of the characters died.

    15. Desperate Housewives (2004-2012)

    I really enjoyed this show too even though some of the dark comedy didn't work for me. I liked the drama and soap opera elements more. I also liked the characters. Especially Gabby & Carlos and Lynette & Tom.

    16. Bones (2005-2017)

    It's the best crime drama I've ever watched since it's very character driven. Probably the one show I've watched for the longest in the original run. It's very dark. But there's also some humor.

    17. Step by Step (1991-1998)

    I tuned in to watch Patrick Duffy and Sasha Mitchell from Dallas. It was odd I remember having a crush on James on Dallas but when I saw him as Cody in this show that crush quickly disappeared! :lol:

    18. North & South (1985-1986)

    Great costume period drama show starring Patrick Swayze, Lesley Ann Down etc.
    Also it had some of the best guest stars including Elizabeth Taylor!

    19. Walker Texas Ranger (1993-2001)

    I watched this because of Sheree J Wilson. I got it all on DVD's about 10 years ago. I didn't watch it when it was originally on since I thought the genre was too violent for me. But after watching Buffy all that karate kicking felt familiar somehow.

    20. Fame (1982-1987)

    I enjoyed the High School drama with a musical twist. I watched this in reruns when I was about 14. I taped over a lot of the songs from the show to cassette tapes that I listened to.


    Just below my list:

    21. Falcon Crest (1982-1990)

    This show was also really popular in Sweden when I was a child. I remember the opening theme from way back. I was 12 when I began to watch this. It was in the final season. I later watched it all in reruns when I was a teenager. I've tried to rewatch the show since then but never made it the whole way through it again.

    22. The Thorn Birds (1983)

    Great mini TV-series that was my grandma's favorite.

    23. Bewitched (1964-1972)

    Really cute classic tv-series. I watched it all on DVD a few years ago after someone recommended it to me by saying it was similar to IDOJ.

    24. Saved By The Bell (1989-1993)

    I had a huge crush on Zack Morris when I was 14. I used to watch this show on TCC. It had no subtitles so it helped me improve my English language skills.

    25. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
    The first American Tv-series my parents ever allowed me to watch. They used to read the subtitles for me. I liked Rudy the most since she was about my age.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  16. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    In no particular order (impossible with all the different genres) and excluding the mini-series (unless it's a series of mini-series):

    1. Peyton Place
    2. Dynasty
    3. TNT Dallas
    4. Knots Landing
    5. The Colbys
    6. Falcon Crest
    7. Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries
    8. Dexter
    9. Sons & Daughters
    10. Little House On The Prairie
    11. Cagney & Lacey
    12. Murder She Wrote
    13. Howards' Way
    14. Six Feet Under
    15. Mad Men
    16. Damages
    17. Nip/Tuck
    18. L.A. Law
    19. Carnivale
    20. De Familie Knots
     
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  17. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    :lol: You're so perverse.
     
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  18. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In choosing my twenty, the two questions I asked myself were how profound an impact each series had me when first watching, and also if I would enjoy watching every episode of the show again. This is what was left...



    Cagney & Lacey (1982-88)

    Intelligently written. Beautifully crafted. An eye for detail. An iconic theme tune. And an off-screen story as intriguing as the show itself.



    Knots Landing (1979-93)
    The casting (a fascinating hodgepodge of theatrical luvvies, hipsters, film stars, singers, new talent and damned good actors). The intricate writing . The evolution and exploration. Prime time soap at its finest and with many more layers besides.



    Peyton Place (1964-69)

    A very different animal from both the book upon which its based and the previous big-screen adaption. Taking the emotional intelligence from Grace Metalious's characters, concentrating it and then allowing the characters to just do their thing gave screen magic. All these years later it still looks wonderful - the early episodes very noir-ish - and the dialogue feels more truthful and contemporary than any number of series that followed it.



    The Gentle Touch (1980-84)
    Gritty. Brutal. Beautiful. The series was hailed as a forward step for feminism, but it never feels knowing and is rarely played that way on screen. The haunting theme captures the tone of the show perfectly, and even the caffeine-boosted version has something unsettling about it.



    One Tree Hill (2003-12)
    This was a real surprise when I discovered it a couple of years ago after it was recommended here on the forum. Each episode, I warmed to the show a little more with its character-driven heart and later clever plot turns. A few seasons in it was responsible for my biggest TV shock: a twist that came out of the blue and gave me a physical reaction that meant I was entirely invested. OTH introduced one of the most fascinating and complex TV characters I've ever encountered who I started off really disliking, but the darker he got the more empathy I felt for him. The ending of the series is easily one of the most satisfying and rewarded my perseverance through those early days when I thought this was just another teen drama.



    Keeping Up Appearances (1990-95)
    Patricia Routledge takes her "Kitty" to the next level, performing surrounded by reliable character actors all giving their all to Roy Clarke's material. It's (arguably) not art, but it's one of the easiest things to watch and rewatch.



    Last Of The Summer Wine (1973-2010)
    It began before I was born and ran for almost four decades - the world's longest-running sitcom. And it's only this year I've finally got round to watching it in its entirety from the beginning. Roy Clarke writes wonderfully and captures the last of a dying breed. The very best British character actors of "a certain age" work as part of an ever-growing ensemble to create something unique, special and hugely underestimated. Cartoony and formulaic on the surface (all wrinkled stockings, "Oh, Howard"s and "My Barry"s), But equal parts philosophy and cynicism run through the heart of the series in the attitudes of the main triad as surely as the River Holme makes its way through the town in which they live. British phlegm is the order of the day, but the series' and characters' soft underbellies are exposed through connections to others. Death and grief are treated as facts of life - to be neither schmaltzed up nor ignored. And that includes the deaths of the ageing actors as much as the characters they play, which brings a very meta element to the series at the time. Just this week I've watched the characters say their goodbyes to Compo, as actor Bill Owen was dying of cancer. The funeral that followed was as much a tribute to the love amongst the cast as it was about the community onscreen. A last farewell to Bill Owen. How can one not be moved by a scene in which battleaxe Ivy, on the day of Compo's funeral, looks at a photograph of her late husband Sid with love on her face, knowing that it's also a little acknowledgement that actress Jane Freeman misses the late actor who played her screen partner. The feature-length episodes are a treat, but one can guarantee that each episode will give a taste of the great outdoors and some breathtaking Yorkshire scenery.

    Incidentally, this series earns bonus points for every frame from start to finish being unique to the episode. There are no generic opening and closing titles. Instead the credits play out over a sequence shot just for the episode in question. Very impressive.



    Columbo (1968-78)
    Although I properly discovered Peter Falk's detective with the launch of the slightly more patchy revival series in the late Eighties, it's the original run on NBC that remains the most flawless jewel in the crown. A clever premise that turns the standard "whodunit" formula on its ear. And a very impressive revolving door of guest killers. Real quality.



    Happy Ever After/Terry & June (1974-87)
    Because June Medford is basically June Fletcher who is pretty much June Whitfield. And Terry Medford is a less letchy version of Terry Fletcher who is actually a goofier version of Terry Scott. And all six of them are wonderful.



    Ever Decreasing Circles (1984-89)

    I love myself an underdog. This is a series I didn't get at all when I was a child. Back then it seemed boring and safe and not even a little bit alternative. But great writing will out, and my adult self was so ready to enjoy Bob Larbey's wonderful dialogue when I really made the effort to watch this series. On the surface it's about nothing much really. This one is all about what's going on underneath. And it's a lot.

    I must also give a mention to two other great Larbey series that very nearly made it in: The Good Life and As Time Goes By.



    The Galton And Simpson Playhouse (1977)
    A nice little treat I discovered on DVD some years back. Written as a series of TV pilots, each featuring a well-known face or two. The Leonard Rossiter vehicle I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds will appeal to anyone who wonders how on earth we managed before IMDb.



    Futurama (1999-2013)
    Clever, funny, timeless and loaded with big guest-stars. The revival - while unnecessary - continued the consistent greatness despite my reservations.



    Will & Grace (1998 - )

    Repeating myself here, but... Clever, funny, timeless and loaded with big guest-stars. The revival - while unnecessary - continued the consistent greatness despite my reservations.



    Howards’ Way (1985-90)

    Very eighties and terribly British, Howards' Way was what Sunday nights were all about when I was young. It got more glam as the series went on, but was strong enough to begin with. Very watchable with some great cliffhangers and wonderfully incestuous goings on. But the trick here was that it felt quite gentle and leisurely despite all the twists. Rewatching it a few years ago, I got to one of the latter series and started to boggle at all the different ways the characters were related to one another through all the bedhopping, births, marriages, remarriages and parental revelations. The scenery is wonderful, and I've visited some of the locations many times - at first out of novelty, and then because I fell in love with the area itself.



    Miss Marple
    (1984-92)
    It's perfection and it stars Joan Hickson. No further explanation should be required.



    Sons And Daughters (1982-87)
    When it was good it was the best. With this kind of casting, who needs a big budget. Early Home and Away and Neighbours were both contenders for my Top Twenty but I've chosen to treat each series here as a whole and, as with all long-running serials there has been just too much dross and filler over the years. With a finite series like this, even the dross and filler becomes slightly legendary with the passage of time.



    Are You Being Served? (1972-85)
    Another example of casting being king.



    George & Mildred (1976-79)
    Its predecessor Man About The House is probably edgier. Father, Dear Father, from the same team, is at least as funny. But this is first sitcom that clicked with my very young self in its later years (or quite possibly even repeats). So in it goes.



    Dallas (1978-91)
    If this had ended four years earlier it would certainly have been at the top of this list. But it didn't. So it isn't.



    Wonder Woman/The New Adventures Of Wonder Woman (1975-79)
    My grown-up self wanted to include one of the Kenneth Johnson series. Or even 1966's Batman. But my five year old self would never forgive me if it wasn't included here. This was my entrée to appointment TV and back then I was of the opinion that this was my "favourite tv series of all time", so it certainly qualifies here.
     
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  19. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    You've got me properly intrigued now.
     
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  20. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Good! :popcorn:


    It's a bit of a slow burn for it to find its dramatic "voice" but if you keep going with it and resist Googling anything to do with the show you're in for a treat. And if you choose to write about the experience we're all in for a treat.
     
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