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My top ten favorite TV shows

  • Apr 4, 2013
For the sake of this list, I'm not including mini series such as Band of Brothers or Generation Kill, nor am I including animated comedy's such as South Park and Furturama, though those shows deserve all the praise I can give them. This list will focus on those that were at least meant to go beyond one season, and are all live action shows. So here's my list, my personal top ten television show's that I love to watch.
Battlestar Gallactica
This show is brilliant in a way other Sci Fi classics like Star Trek can only dream of. It really is Sci Fi for the modern audience. Incredibly dark, with very well written characters and plots, BSG is a show that really got me interested in Television in a way no other show before or after has. Before this I'd never been compelled by a TV show in a manner that interested me to see what came next. Though later seasons got bogged down in religious mumbo jumbo, the "twists" never really made sense, and good god what is with the ending? I still found the show, as a whole, to be extremely enjoyable my one of my favorite works of fiction ever.
See the full review, "Eat your heart out Star Trek".
Game of Thrones
If there's a show out there with the potential to overthrow Battlestar Gallactica, it is Game of Thrones. Based upon the incredible books, A Song of Ice and Fire by Gorge RR Martin, the series is as faithful an adaptation as they come, and that's one of its great strengths. It doesn't have the hubris to think they can outdo Martins story, and the changes they make genuinely feel (for the most part) like their simply doing it in order to better tell the story in a new medium, as opposed to shows like Walking Dead for instance who think their way of telling the story is better then the source material (hint, its not). Game of Thrones is as perfect a series as they come, with amazing actors, effects, writing, pacing, etc. At times it can feel a little slow, and they do have a habit of skipping over some of the battles (though I can understand this for budget concerns) but overall its an incredible show.
Firefly Complete Series
What can I say about Firefly that hasn't already been said? Its perfect. It is absolutely perfect. The characters, the writing, the plot, the world it creates, I can find no flaw worth mentioning in this show. So why is it #3 and not #1? I think you know that answer to that. FOX, fucking FOX. Watching this show, and then finding out there was no season 2, was just heartbreaking. Its a real testament to how great this show is that one season into it and I was so invested in the characters and plot that I grew so sad and angry upon hearing that it had been canceled. If Firefly had maintained that level of excellence for two, or three seasons, it would have easily topped this list. As is, it works great as a mini series with the movie, Serenity, wrapping it up.
Everyone knows about Firefly, but not nearly as many people are aware of a show I equally enjoyed but got the axe after only one season. Kings is a modern day retelling of the David and Goliath story from the Bible set in a fantasy world, but don't let that scare you off. I can see why they canned this show; it was very expensive (and looks gorgeous as a result), had a very lofty concept, focused primarily on royalty, and was set in a fantasy world. But by God was it amazing. This is another show that, had it had more time, might very well have topped my list.
Babylon 5
Rarely does a show with such cheesy graphics, lame opening, goofy characters, and odd designs manage to elicit anything but contempt from me, but Babylon 5 is that rare exception. Yes the first season is a bit silly, but as the series goes on and we get more time to dive into the world created in the show and the people who inhabit it, the silliness of earlier episodes is replaced by a very deep, very emotionally and intellectually rewarding work of art that transcends the genera it belongs to, to become something truly special. For five seasons Babylon 5 tells an ongoing story that was written up and planned for from the very beginning, and they had the good sense to realize when they were done and just stop while they were ahead. I love this show, I love the characters, I love the setting, I love the conflict and the drama. It is held back a bit by the incredibly fake looking CGI, their idiotic portrayal of military life, the sometimes lame technology, but these a good story do not make. A good story is about characters, conflict, and atmosphere, and Babylon 5 has that in spades. An overall great TV series.
Rome - The Complete First Season
Talk about your graphic TV. I love HBO. Few other channels are as willing to air shows as graphic, as ambitious, as expensive, and as risky as something like Rome. Though it didn't last very long, and its a real shame we didn't get to see what was planned for future seasons, Rome somehow feels more complete to me then, say, Firefly and Kings. It suffers at times from the limitations of TV with its at times really bad CGI and the way it glosses over the battles in the same manner Game of Thrones sometimes does, but all of this is just tiny nit picking compared to what the show does right. The atmosphere of ancient Rome is the best I've seen from TV, hell I'd put it above a certain feature film with Russel Crow. Yeah, I think that highly of this show. I get why it was canceled, it was expensive and didn't have the audience necessary to carry it on for much longer. Still, I consider it a classic, and if you like shows about ancient times, I think you will too.
Breaking Bad
Who the hell's idea was it to make a show about a high school chemist teacher making crystal meth while dieing of cancer? Really, how do you pitch a show like that to producers, to say nothing of how your going to convince TV viewers to sit down and watch such a thing. But Breaking Bad has done it extremely well, and has avoided thus far the pitfalls of AMC's other flagship series, The Walking Dead. Again, its the characters who really shine in this show. They are great, even the ones people tend not to like. I don't understand the hate for the wife, Skyler. She's married to a drug dealer who's become more and more violent as time goes on. Lets face it people, Walter White IS THE BAD GUY, but he's written and acted so well that everyone seems to forget this fact and forgives him despite his new thuggish nature. And I think that's just fascinating. Who would have ever thought that the drug dealer and his junky partner would be so relate-able and likable that the guys normal and very concerned wife is considered annoying as a result?
I seem to have a thing for ambitious show's that don't make it past one or two seasons, this being the fourth such show on the list. Jeremiah is set in a post apocalyptic future fifteen years after a disease known simply as "The Big Death" has killed everyone over the age of puberty. That premise alone was enough to get me hooked, but thankfully this isn't one of those stories that sounds amazing on paper but doesn't work on the small screen. Jeremiah tells the story of how these children, left traumatized after seeing their parents die before their eyes, grow up and try to rebuild the world to what it once was. It really is an amazing series, and I can't recommend it enough.
Spartacus: Blood & Sand (2010)
This is one of my more guilty pleasures. 300 the television series, I mean Spartacus, is exactly what you would expect. Its big, bloody, and boobyrific. Lots of gore, lights of fighting, and a SHIT ton of nudity to boot. There's nothing deep about the story, although some of the character drama can get really emotional at times, this show knows what it wants to be and does a hell of a job being that. By Jupiter's Cock, this is a bloody awesome show.
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Now here's a show who's stock is falling fast in my mind. I loved the first two seasons, and was very forgiving until the season final for season 3 because, in my mind, I thought they were setting it all up for the huge payoff we get in the books, and that they were just taking their sweet time doing it. Nope. Once that final aired I looked back on the season as a whole and could no longer justify its goofiness, its plot holes, the bad writing and characters, any longer. For the love I bare the first two seasons, it still appears on the list, but if it keeps down the road its going then I might stop watching altogether.

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About the list creator
Jonathan J.D. Lane ()
Ranked #118
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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