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Top 10 Best TV Shows



Cheers (1982-1993, NBC)

At Cheers, the Boston bar "where everybody knows your name," Bar owner Sam Malone (Ted Danson), a former Red Sox pitcher and an irascible womanizer, served up beers and traded one-liners with the regulars who gathered to drink, relax, and forget their troubles. Over the course of eleven seasons, Cheers earned 28 Emmy Awards and a then-record 117 nominations. The character of psychiatrist Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer, was featured in his own successful spin-off, Frasier, which also ran for eleven seasons and included guest appearances by most of the major Cheers characters.


The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978, CBS)

In The Bob Newhart Show (not to be confused with Newhart or Bob, two other shows which featured the stuttering comedian), Newhart portrayed a psychologist dealing with an eccentric group of characters including his friendly but inept neighbor, airline navigator Howard Borden (Bill Daily), orthodontist Jerry Robinson (Peter Bonerz), receptionist Carol Kester (Marcia Wallace), and an assortment of patients, notably neurotic Elliot Carlin (Jack Riley) and milquetoast Marine veteran Emil Peterson (John Fiedler).


The West Wing (1999-2006, NBC)

Set in the Oval Office during the fictional administration of Democratic President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), Aaron Sorkin's political drama The West Wing debuted on NBC in 1999 and quickly racked up awards, including nine Emmys in its first season. It would go on to win three Golden Globe Awards and a total of 27 Emmy Awards during its seven year run, including the award for Outstanding Drama Series, which it claimed four years in a row from 2000 to 2003.


Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969, NBC)

Star Trek (now referred to as Star Trek: The Original Series to distinguish it from numerous sequels) is set in the 23rd century and follows the adventures of the crew of the starship Enterprise whose five year mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and chief medial officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), along with Sulu, Chekhov, Scotty, and Uhura, have become iconic figures. Easily one of the most beloved television series of all time, Gene Roddenberry's groundbreaking sci-fi classic has captured the hearts and minds fans everywhere and spawned a cultural phenomenon with movies, tv shows, novels, comic books, and video games, all contributing to an ever expanding Star Trek universe.


All in the Family (1971-1979, CBS)

Norman Lear's landmark comedy featured one of the most beloved families in television history, the Bunkers, starring Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton as Archie and Edith, with co-stars Rob Reiner as Mike "Meathead" Stivic and Sally Struthers as daughter Gloria. The show broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, miscarriage, abortion, breast cancer, the Vietnam War, menopause and impotence. All in the Family ranked #1 in the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1971 to 1976 and became the first sitcom in which all the lead actors (O'Connor, Stapleton, Struthers, and Reiner) all won Emmy Awards.


I Love Lucy (1951-1957, CBS)

The first scripted TV program to be shot on 35 mm film in front of a live studio audience, I Love Lucy set the bar for sitcoms for years to come. The series centered around zany housewife Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her Cuban bandleader husband (Desi Arnaz), along with their best friends and landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz. A 1999 Entertainment Weekly poll ranked the birth of Little Ricky, the Ricardos' son, as the fifth greatest moment in TV history. The show won five Emmy Awards and ended its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings.


M*A*S*H (1972-1983, CBS)

Adapted from the 1970 feature film of the same name, M*A*S*H was a black comedy that followed a team of American doctors and support staff stationed at the "4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital" during the Korean War, documenting the difficulties they faced in their attempt to survive and save lives. The show featured a memorable cast of characters including "Hawkeye" (Alan Alda), "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit), "Trapper" (Wayne Rogers), "Radar" (Gary Burghoff), Klinger (Jamie Farr) and many others. The series, which covered a three-year military conflict, spanned 251 episodes and lasted eleven seasons, with the finale becoming the most-watched television episode in U.S. television history with 105.97 million viewers--a record that would stand for almost thirty years.


The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977, CBS)

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which followed the crew from WJM (Minneapolis's lowest-rated evening news show), was a television breakthrough, with the first never-married, independent career woman as the central character. As Mary Richards, a single woman in her thirties, Moore presented a character different from other single TV women of the time. She was not widowed or divorced or seeking a man to support her. The show won 29 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975–77) and spun off three other television series: the sitcoms Rhoda (1974–1978) and Phyllis (1975–1977), and the one hour drama Lou Grant (1977–1982).


The Sopranos (1999-2007, HBO)

One of the most financially successful series in the history of cable television, The Sopranos chronicled the life of New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as he turned to a psychiatrist (Lorraine Bracco) to come to terms with the effect of his job's brutality on his home life. The show has been characterized by critics as one of the most influential artistic works of the 2000s and is credited with bringing a greater level of artistry to the television medium and paving the way for many successful drama series that followed. It won a multitude of awards, including twenty-one Emmys and five Golden Globes.


Seinfeld (1990-1998, NBC)

An unprecedented phenomenon, Seinfeld followed the life of New York comedian Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) as he led a kooky foursome including quintessential loser George (Jason Alexander), shrill unpredictable Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and, of course, curiously-coiffed Kramer (Michael Richards), Jerry's eccentric neighbor with a knack for unique entrances. The show, often described as being about "nothing", became the first television series since Monty Python's Flying Circus to be widely described as postmodern with its inimitable take on life's most mundane moments. The show garnered countless accolades and introduced a string of words and terms into America's pop culture lexicon and in 2002, TV Guide named Seinfeld the greatest television program of all time.

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