My Top Ten (Ish): Favorite TV Shows of All Time

So SOMEONE has horrendous inexplicable crippling anxiety every day from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. (GUESS WHAT THAT SOMEONE IS ME.) Myy therapist and I are working on it but it suuuuuuucks and it’s getting really super old really super fast and so in thinking of ways to distract myself from the suck I thought maybe I would write.  Please enjoy the yammering.

Talking to people about their favorite tv shows never gets old for me. It’s such an interesting way to figure out so much about a person so quickly. Anyway, here are mine.  I hope you enjoy this trip through every TV show the CW has ever made.

1. Buffy


This will always always always be my number one favorite tv show of all time.  I watched it as it aired starting with the second episode  (which I was sure I would hate because it sounded TERRIBLE) and Buffy was the first time I really knew what it was to love a tv show with your whole heart, what is was like to live from one Tuesday night to the next, to Google for spoilers (did we have Google? I can’t remember), to be consumed by television.  It was so smart and funny and different and girl kick assy, and I loved every single smart funny girl kick ass minute of it, although anything after the Angel spinoff doesn’t have my heart the way the first five seasons do.  But seriously. I had the cropped t shirt, the yearbook, the bumper sticker, and waaaaaay after I didn’t own a VCR I had VHS tapes of every episode.  Man did I love that show.  I am not ashamed to say because of how and when I watched it, it’s an actual part of who I am, wired into my being. In some weird way Buffy and Xander and Cordelia and Willow and Giles and Angel and Oz were my first family that wasn’t my actual family.

2. The Wire


I don’t think that this whole series is quite as even as one might wish but I consider Season One and Two of the Wire to be some of the finest television ever made.  It hit right to the core of me.  I can’t think of anything else that has gotten to me quite like this show did, it’s amazing television. Heartbreaking and otherworldly and eye opening and like nothing before or after.

3. Battlestar Galactica


Erik made me watch this show from the beginning after he’d already seen a few seasons and I was VERY resistant and I wasn’t really feeling the first few episodes and then I fell HARD.  HARD. Even though it seems like spaceships and sci fi and weird future hoo ha, at its heart, BSG is actually a love story, and you’ll never find anyone who falls for epic fantasy love stories the way I do.  Let’s all just be happy I didn’t name my daughter Starbuck because it was a legitimate possibility.

4. Felicity


There will be never be another TV boyfriend for me quite like my TV boyfriend Ben Covington. To this day I have all the feelings when I watch this clip.

NO ITS A TIME MACHINE. I mean…I could rewatch this series twice a year every year and never grow tired of it. EXCEPT FOR JULIE UGH. Also, my husband refers to Keri Russell as “an american treasure” at least three times a day, and yeah, he’s not wrong.  Her and Ben Covington. America’s Finest.

5. My So Called Life


The first time this show ran, I didn’t much care for it, not sure why.  Then I watched it a few years later during one of its many airings on MTV and damn. It just gets everything so RIGHT. The mom is so annoying and friends are so difficult and confusing and it’s so hard to do the right thing and boys are completely awful and SO HOT WHEN THEY LEAN and people are flawed and everything is so very well understood and reflected back to us so beautifully. I still consider this to be perhaps the most perfect scene in television history:  Also, Jordan Catalano is my other TV boyfriend, just in case Ben Covington doesn’t work out.  The leaning, people.  The leaning.

6. Dawson’s Creek

dawson's creek

He bought her a wall.  Enough said.

I believe that sometime during the 90’s there was a glorious period when you could watch Buffy, Felicity, Dawson’s Creek, and maybe that Roswell show, all in the same week? AND IT WAS THE BEST TIME THAT ANYONE EVER LIVED.

7. The Cosby Show

the cosby show

This was the first show my mom let us watch after my parents got divorced. Previous to that we didn’t own a television and we ate spelt and did math for entertainment.  It will always be my television comfort food, and I am not ashamed to admit that I consider Cliff and Claire to be my life role models for parents and general married people.  Is there a greater woman than Claire Huxtable? No, no there’s not. There’s just not, and there never has been and never will be.

8. Veronica Mars

veronica mars

I never grow tired of this show.  Kristen Bell is just utterly wonderful in every way.

9. Girls and Sex and the City


I am counting this as one number because Girls! Shoes! Clothes! Funny things! Despite the two ragingly bad movies inflicted on us, I loved SATC with every fiber of my being and I would watch Carrie wear Manolos she can’t actually afford any day of the week.  And Lena Dunham is just amazing and I continue to thoroughly enjoy watching girls wear crazy clothes and kiss boys and eat cupcakes, because that’s my favorite thing.

10. The Vampire Diaries


Somehow I didn’t start watching this show until this summer, when I watched all five seasons in under a month. I thought Erik was going to make me go to Vampire Diaries marriage counseling but seriously I COULD NOT STOP WATCHING. It’s SO good. It’s SO Elizabeth. I have SO many inappropriate feelings about Damon Salvatore.  It’s every thing I love in television.  Bad boys, pretty makeup, funny writers, fog machines, SO MUCH BROODING I LOVE IT SO MUCH.  It’s legitimately my favorite thing in a long long time.  Jennie and I watch the new season “together” while we text back and forth nonsensical things about Steven R. McQueen and his abs and seriously I look forward to Thursday nights all week.  GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW HASHTAG DELENA FOREVER.

11. FNL

friday night lights

This is why this list is 10 ish, because LOOK AT THAT PICTURE I MEAN JUST LOOK AT IT because COME ON TIM RIGGINS IS THE HOTTEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED.  Also Tami Taylor. Also Tami Taylor’s hair. Also Coach Taylor.  Also Lyla Garrity.  Also Landry and Tyra and the scene where she says that she “had enough hate in her heart to start a car” which is now and always will be my everything.

Ok, so this will seem like one of those rotten questions that people ask at the end of blog posts just to fish for blog comments like “How often do you eat dessert? Do you usually eat it after dinner like I do?” but I promise it’s not, so please ignore me if you want, but now that you know that I have the supreme best taste in television in the history of time the taste of a 12 year old girl, is there something else I should be watching? Please let me know because the jury is still seriously out on “Arrow” and I am still so mad at “The Good Wife” that I can’t talk about it.

18 Responses

  1. Buffy, first and always for so many reasons. I’m literally counting the days until I can share it within my daughters. Vampire Diaries was the only vampire show/movie I could watch after Buffy, the rest seemed too Blergh, not enough argh. I also enjoy the Originals b/c like TVD, they kill characters off with such panache.

  2. Firstly, I hate that you’re struggling with the anxiety, but selfishly I love the thought of getting to read more of what you have to say. I hope that helps in some tiny way.

    I was in college during the Dawson’s Creek/Felicity years, and my roommate’s mom also recorded Sex and The City for us and mailed it once a month or so (on VHS, natch). Seriously the best TV years of my entire life (and I…named my son Pacey. For real.).

    My So-Called Life makes me think of Party of Five, did you watch that? Another angst-y teen show that I totally loved. I also really enjoyed Six Feet Under. I don’t know if you’re into Brit comedy at all, but a lot of it can be found on Hulu Plus. My husband is from England and I just think the dry humor is so funny. A couple I’d recommend would be Coupling and The In-Betweeners.

    And finally, Tim Riggins: swoon.

    Question about The Wire. Was it removed enough from your everyday life that it didn’t give you nightmares? I keep thinking about watching it but I can’t handle stuff like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, etc.

  3. I almost don’t dare re-watch any of these in case they don’t hold up to the first time, but here are three I’d add to the list:

    1. Sports Night. Not about sports. It took me several episodes to get into it (at first they had a laugh track) (A LAUGH TRACK), but by the end of it I was good-weeping on and off through every single episode

    2. Gilmore Girls. I got kind of annoyed at the idea that Lorelei was supposed to be a sort of Ideal (I thought of her as a good character, but I think I considered her flawed where the writers considered her perfect), but I watched it and really loved it and still sometimes have dreams that I am a teenager and Logan is my boyfriend.

    3. Firefly. I thought I would hate it, and really it was too rough/violent a show for me, but I went from “NO WAY IN HELL” to “OMG I AM SO IN LOVE” in, I think, three episodes.

    • GG is one of my favs too (see my real comment below) and I completely agree with you about Loralai being flawed. My big annoyance was that I never liked her with Luke! He wasn’t well suited for her and was such a jerky grumpy old man in the later seasons. Lorelei, you can do better!!

  4. Sorry to say that I don’t have any show recommendations, but I do concur 100% about Clair Huxtable. Hands-down the best TV mom of all time.

  5. I feel like I could have written this about Felicity, Veronica Mars, and Buffy. My best friend Nick and I used to watch Buffy in his dorm common room, people knew that the TV was ours that night. And the Cosby Show is my touchstone for so many life/marriage/parenting moments. Right now, I’m totally engrossed in the Amazon Prime show Transparent. It’s about a Jewish, L.A. family and also about gender, sexuality, family, marriage and divorce. If you like badass ladies like Buffy and Veronica and can tolerate some sci-fi you might like Orphan Black – the first two seasons kept me on the edge of my seat. For more high school realism like My So-Called Life, I have to recommend Freaks & Geeks, we have the box set and keep loaning it out to spread the wealth, plus like everyone who went on to star in a Judd Apatow movie is in it. You don’t mention mystery shows, but The Fall and Happy Valley are two I was totally riveted by on Netflix (the actor playing Christian Grey is in The Fall and he is hot but evil). Did you ever watch Big Love or Six Feet Under? I think I need to do a rewatch of one or both because transparent is reminding me I love family dramas.

  6. Swistle, I watched Sports Night (for the first time) in the last couple years and it was amazing. I’m not sure it holds up to a real-time viewing (since I didn’t watch it when it was first on), but it was just so good. I was heartbroken it was just a couple seasons long!

  7. Come back to The Good Wife! You won’t be disappointed. (It’s SO good this season, so far.)

  8. The Cosby show is and always will be one of my favorite shows.

    I love Frasier – smart and funny with really great characters.

    It took me four tries and fifteen hours to write that much, so that is my only contribution even though it shouldn’t be!

  9. Right now I’m watching Californication on Netflix and really love it. There’s not a single character I think of as being in any way admirable or some sort of role model… but then again maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. And I have always thought David Duchovny was so yummy.

  10. Ok so for what it’s worth:
    -Once and Again- I feel like this is a 90s/early 00s series that would really jive with what’s on the list. They released 2 seasons on DVD and I bought the third and last season off eBay illegitimately.
    – I agree wholeheartedly with SATC and Girls.
    -Downton Abbey, yes please. Perhaps it’s soap opera-y like BSG but instead of an outer space/sci fi way, it’s in an old-timey way.
    -Parks and Recreation, The Office until about season 4 and Modern Family are all great for a laugh.

  11. Gilmore Girls is one of my all time favorites. I started watching it in reruns when I was on maternity leave with my first born (he’s 8 1/2 now. Ack!) and became completely addicted. The entire series just came out on Netflix so I am currently binge watching and it totally holds up. Love!

    I am totally with you in that if a show is geared toward 14 year old girls there is a good chance I’ll love it. However The West Wing is another series that I binge watched on Netflix a couple years ago and it is awesome! I watched the entire series again about 6 months ago and it is still so good. Highly recommend.

    I think Friends will always be my touchstone show. I know it doesn’t feel special anymore since the reruns are on 24 hrs a day, but it is definitely the show that is in my bones. It was a part of my life during some of the best, most formative years of my life.

    I love your list and thin you have proven that your taste in television is impeccable.

  12. Omar coming, yo. I don’t watch that much tv–I sit on the sofa and read blogs next to the Mister watching tv, so whatever he wants to watch is generally what we watch. Two years ago I put down a request that I do not want to spend our sitting next to each other time sort-of-watching anything that a tv reviewer might describe as “gritty” or filmed with dark filters to make the mood seem depressing. (ie. Sopranos). I have made an exception for Game of Thrones, although I am not glued to the screen.

    The shows I felt passionately about back in the day were Friends and Frasier. Right now I enjoy Orphan Black, Blacklist, Justified (Timothy Olyphant, yum). Oh, and Ray Donovan, if it ever comes back. Oh! And The Goldbergs! I love the Goldbergs. Its a happy, funny show about growing up in suburban Philly area in the 80s (ie. my childhood) and narrated by Patton Oswalt. It is happy tv. I like happy (see above re: no gritty rule).

  13. I am going to second Firefly and Justified. And also sit here for a minute thinking about Tami Taylor’s hair.

  14. Pretty Little Liars. Nashville. The League. Gilmore Girls!

  15. MSCL will always be the shining golden child of TV for me. I am also a huge West Wing and Sports Night (ugh the laugh track) fan. From brief glancing at the comments no one has mentioned Parenthood. I don’t think it is cinematic greatness, but brings up much so conversation and snark on twitter to make it entertaining. Homeland is outstanding, though I had to be in the right mindset to get into it (I rejected it twice before getting hooked) and is perhaps a show about terrorism is not the best idea for my own anxiety. I already griped about Team Ben on twitter, but hopeful the Wall Buying of Dawson’s Creek means you are Pro Pacey and can retain your fabulousness in my eyes. If you are looking for trashy/soap-opera-y goodness I think Revenge and Nashville are hilarious and fun.

  16. When did you drop Arrow? Because OMG I mainlined the second half of season 2 last weekend (I dropped it mid-season as it was airing) and the third season is starting out very strong IMO. I think it might be one of those shows that I just need to binge on. Week to week it doesn’t work as well for me. I’m also a big fan of shows geared at teenage girls. (See Arrow love. And also, um, Supernatural.) I also loved BSG and the first two seasons of The Wire. Something clicked for me in season three with the Wire and I just … couldn’t watch it any more. I couldn’t take the endless heartbreak. As for ass kicking girls, I LOVED Alias. And in fact just talking about it makes me want to watch the first two seasons again. I still think its pilot is one of the most perfect pilots ever. I loved Buffy, but somehow on re-watch Angel held up better for me.

  17. Thirtysomething.
    Northern Exposure.
    Deep Space Nine.

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