TV.com's Top 30 Shows of the Past Five Years: The Runners-Up and Our Individual Staff Picks

Last week, we finished counting down our Top 30 TV Shows of the Half-Decade, a diverse list of series that just goes to show how much great television programming we have to choose from these days. And to cap off the festivities, we're back to present what many of you have been asking for: the individual Top 20 lists that we used to tabulate our collective Top 30. Below, you'll find our personal choices, along with a few words about some of the shows that we really, really wish would've made the final cut.

Editor's Note #1: Regardless of whether you participated in @MarlboroMagpi's TV.com reader version of the Top 30 TV Shows of the Half-Decade, you can still feel free to share your personal picks in the comments!

Editor's Note #2: For details on how we compiled our overall rankings, you can find a full description of our methodology here. Below, shows are in listed order from highest-ranked to lowest-ranked, where No. 1 is worth 20 points and No. 20 is worth 1 point.


CORY BARKER

1. Mad Men | 2. Breaking Bad | 3. The 2015 College Football Playoff | 4. 30 for 30 | 5. The Good Wife | 6. Happy Endings | 7. The Vampire Diaries | 8. Community | 9. Parks and Recreation | 10. Terriers | 11. Enlightened | 12. Veep | 13. Justified | 14. The Americans | 15. Top of the Lake | 16. Key & Peele | 17. Banshee | 18. Hannibal | 19. 30 Rock | 20. Homeland

SPOTLIGHT: Top of the Lake

Our top 30 features two stylish murder mysteries in Fargo and True Detective and yet somehow almost everyone forgot about the most stylish of them all, Jane Campion's Top of the Lake. The BBC Two/SundanceTV co-production might not have featured the same big and showy performances as those two dude-focused whodunits, but Elisabeth Moss, Peter Mullan, and the rest of the cast were fan-freaking-tastic just the same. Similarly, while Top of the Lake wasn't as concerned with conveying its coolness with tracking shots and shootouts, Campion's use of the New Zealand landscape produced some of the most beautiful and breathtaking visuals in recent TV history. If you skipped over this one the first time around, move it to the top of your queue right now.

SPOTLIGHT: Banshee

The action drama's tremendous third season was what solidified Banshee's inclusion on my list. The series has always produced some of the best fight choreography and violent action sequences on television, but the most recent 12 to 15 episodes were especially impressive in building moving character arcs and gut-wrenching moments with long-lasting narrative impact. Banshee is no longer just a fun little romp on Cinemax; it's one of TV's absolute best.


NICK CAMPBELL

1. Breaking Bad | 2. Mad Men | 3. Adventure Time | 4. 2010 World Cup: U.S. vs. Algeria | 5. Terriers | 6. Community | 7. The Daily Show | 8. Parenthood | 9. Archer | 10. Parks and Recreation | 11. Bob's Burgers | 12. Game of Thrones | 13. The Good Wife | 14. Friday Night Lights | 15. The Chicago Code | 16. Scandal | 17. Portlandia | 18. Broad City | 19. True Detective | 20. Lost

SPOTLIGHT: The Chicago Code

The 2010–2011 TV season was a rough one for Shawn Ryan, mostly thanks to Fox's subsidiaries. Terriers (be still, my heart) was taken too soon from FX, Lie to Me petered out (mercifully), and a promising semi-procedural starring Jason Clarke, Matt Lauria, and Jennifer Beals was wrested from me long before I was ready to let go. From Billy Corgan's opening theme to the show's cliffhangers full of corruption, I loved The Chicago Code, and once Fox axed it, I swore off the network for a good while as a result.

SPOTLIGHT: Lost

I liked the last season. I thought the ending was fine. I even liked the flash sideways. My only gripes were not knowing who the people in the outrigger were and the surprise magic in the penultimate episode. Otherwise, I was completely satisfied. Come at me, bro.


ANDY DAGLAS

1. Parks and Recreation | 2. Justified | 3. The Good Wife | 4. Archer | 5. Bob's Burgers | 6. Breaking Bad | 7. Spartacus | 8. The Legend of Korra | 9. Mad Men | 10. Happy Endings | 11. Community | 12. Gravity Falls | 13. Person of Interest | 14. Hart of Dixie | 15. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia | 16. Game of Thrones | 17. Hannibal | 18. Arrow | 19. Phineas and Ferb | 20. The Vampire Diaries

SPOTLIGHT: The Legend of Korra

Following in the footsteps of Avatar: The Last Airbender—one of the most artful and best-loved animated series in American TV history—is no small task. Yet The Legend of Korra more than measured up, expanding the Avatar universe in organic ways without ever seeming to trade on the success of its predecessor. And starting with the savvy, headstrong, fierce, compassionate, and heroic Korra (expertly voiced by Janet Varney), the show populated that world with a tremendous range of female characters—all of them people of color—to an extent scarcely even approached by most contemporary programs. Whether animated or live-action, TV in this decade and the decades to come badly needs more shows that look like The Legend of Korra.

SPOTLIGHT: Hart of Dixie

Despite mostly flying under the radar during its four seasons, Hart of Dixie is this half-decade's one true successor to Gilmore Girls for fans of wacky, small-town hijinks. It’s an unabashed screwball comedy bustling with zany capers, eccentric locals, and a thoroughly charming ensemble led by Rachel Bilson, in the most underrated comedic performance on TV. What’s not to love?


NOEL KIRKPATRICK

1. Adventure Time | 2. The Good Wife | 3. Hannibal | 4. 30 Rock | 5. Breaking Bad | 6. Justified | 7. The Colbert Report | 8. Enlightened | 9. Orange Is the New Black | 10. Scandal | 11. Rectify | 12. Rubicon | 13. Key & Peele | 14. Wimbledon 2012: Isner vs. Mahut | 15. Awake | 16. Gatchaman Crowds | 17. Bob's Burgers | 18. The Legend of Korra | 19. Community | 20. The Tatami Galaxy

SPOTLIGHT: The Colbert Report

My high placement of The Colbert Report is largely due to the show's hilarious, amazing, and, frankly, educational work during the 2011–2012 election cycle regarding the Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow super PAC. What a masterfully lampooning of the sad state of American politics!

SPOTLIGHT: Rubicon

I still mourn Rubicon's passing. A show about grief and paranoia in a post-9/11 United States (and then about just grief and paranoia), it transformed the "conspiracy thriller" into a "conspiracy meditation" that always stayed true to its roots: Even when Will won and unraveled the conspiracy, he still lost because the system cannot be stopped.


MARYANN SLEASMAN

1. Breaking Bad | 2. Mad Men | 3. True Detective | 4. Drunk History | 5. The Americans | 6. Louie | 7. Shameless | 8. Continuum | 9. The Office | 10. Archer | 11. Glee | 12. The Normal Heart | 13. Hannibal | 14. Downton Abbey | 15. Misfits | 16. The Flash | 17. New Girl | 18. American Horror Story: Murder House | 19. The Daily Show | 20. Community

SPOTLIGHT: Glee

Say what you will about the serious quality control issues that plagued Glee's later seasons, but in the early years after Fox's song-and-dance number originally tap danced its way into our cold, dead, gritty-cable-series-loving hearts, it was weird and wonderful. One of the most diverse casts on television brought obese characters, gay characters, and characters with every shade of epidermis under the sun to center stage in millions of living rooms. That's more than a little important.

SPOTLIGHT: New Girl

Okay, yes, I once totally side-eyed the concept of a Zooey Deschanel-fronted sitcom, but then New Girl took some very tired tropes and taught them new tricks with such classics as "Fluffer" and "Keaton" and "Cooler." Plus it gave us True American. While the series initially sounded awful on paper and certainly has its flaws (ugh, the first half of Season 3!), overall, it's actually ended up being pretty dang great.


TIM SURETTE

1. Breaking Bad | 2. Enlightened | 3. Game of Thrones | 4. The Americans | 5. Justified | 6. The Returned | 7. Fargo | 8. Black Mirror | 9. Louie | 10. Fringe | 11. Community | 12. Person of Interest | 13. Rectify | 14. Awake | 15. Homeland | 16. Manhattan | 17. Broad City | 18. True Detective | 19. Orange Is the New Black | 20. Bachelor in Paradise

SPOTLIGHT: The Returned

My fellow TV.com writers must be francophobes, because this supernatural French drama about the dead returning to life easily deserved a spot on fthe finale list. It may have only aired one eight-episode, mind-boggling first season so far, but that one season was one of the most captivating TV debuts I've ever seen. Moody, disturbing, and frickin' gorgeous, The Returned is the type of show that never leaves you. Victor!

SPOTLIGHT: Black Mirror

Brimming with satire so sharp that its teeth will cut all the way to the bone, Black Mirror offers a thoughtful, witty, and frightening look at society's relationship with technology in the form of a Twilight Zone-style anthology. Yes, there've only been seven episodes, but the show is the epitome of quality over quantity.

SPOTLIGHT: Fringe

Fox's sci-fi drama may have sputtered out toward the end, but the seasons that were eligible for this list include the back half of Season 2 and all of Season 3, when Fringe was firing on all cylinders with multiple universes and entangled romance. It's a damn travesty that it wasn't recognized here. I'm mad at everyone.


KAITLIN THOMAS

1. Breaking Bad | 2. Justified | 3. Hannibal | 4. The Americans | 5. Shameless | 6. Friday Night Lights | 7. Parks and Recreation | 8. Bob's Burgers | 9. The Good Wife | 10. Mad Men | 11. Veep | 12. Game of Thrones | 13. Rectify | 14. Community | 15. Orphan Black | 16. The Vampire Diaries | 17. Sherlock | 18. Jane the Virgin | 19. Terriers | 20. Rubicon

SPOTLIGHT: Sherlock

Sherlock isn't always perfect—please don't even get me started on "The Hounds of Baskerville"—but it's still one of my favorite shows to come out of the last five years. Maybe it's the shortened format of three episodes per season that makes it feel fresh. Maybe it's the focus on the unbelievably entertaining bromance between Sherlock and Watson (Sherlock's embarrassing but heartfelt toast at Watson's wedding was one for the ages). Or maybe I just really love that Sherlock is an unabashed jerk. Whatever it is, the show is a hoot and I can't wait for Season 4 to debut in approximately 2023.

SPOTLIGHT: Jane the Virgin

I was initially hesitant to include shows with only one season—or in Jane the Virgin's case, less than one season—on my list because I wanted to see proof that their success/quality wasn't a fluke (lookin' at you, True Detective!). But Jane the Virgin has been rock-solid since its debut and continues to impress me each and every week. Few TV series are so well-written over the course of their entire freshman seasons—Friday Night Lights and Veronica Mars the other recent-ish examples that I think qualify—and while Jane still has a handful of episodes left in its inaugural run, the show's record is already so strong that I'm feeling good about saving it a spot in my Top 20.


JEN TROLIO

1. Breaking Bad | 2. The Americans | 3. Mad Men | 4. Fargo | 5. 30 Rock | 6. Parks and Recreation | 7. Game of Thrones | 8. Justified | 9. Veep | 10. Community | 11. Archer | 12. Orange Is the New Black | 13. Broad City | 14. Terriers | 15. Happy Endings | 16. Louie | 17. Homeland | 18. The Office | 19. Portlandia | 20. Parenthood

SPOTLIGHT: Broad City

Oh, Abbi and Ilana and also Lincoln, how I love thee (especially you, Lincoln). We have very little in common, but you are so unique, funny, wacky, relatable, and special that I look forward to hanging out with you every single week. Ten-episode seasons never felt so short.

SPOTLIGHT: Suburgatory, Trophy Wife, Playing House, Silicon Valley, and so many other great/young/under-watched/canceled-too-soon comedies

Oh gosh, there were so many shows, specifically comedies, that I considered putting on my list, and in some cases I think I subconsciously discounted them due to their youth/newness, under-the-radar status, or short life spans. Shame on me! But that doesn't mean I love(d) them any less.


Comments (248)
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Jan 09, 2016
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER !!!!! The 100, Once Upon A Time, Under the Dome,... and maybe Reign
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Jan 09, 2016
1. Lost
2. HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER !!!!!
3. The 100 !
4. Once Upon A Time !
5. Arrow, and The Flash (2014)
6. Under the Dome !
7. Doctor Who !
8. Broadchurch !
9. Quantico
10. Orphan Black
11. Scandal (exluding season 5 for now)
12. Torchwood (seasons 3 and 4 were the best)
13. Reign (seasons 1 and 2 were the best)
14. Zoo (watching season 1)
15. Hostages (US)
16. Sense8
17. Dark Matter
18. Supergirl
19. Dark Matter
20. Supergirl
21. Twelve Monkeys (watching season 1)
22. The Expanse (watching season 1)
23. UnReal (watching season 1 too)
24. King & Maxwell
25. Crisis (I didn't watch everything)

For those ones, I'm not sure :
1. Bloodline
2. Revenge
3. The 4400
4. Jericho

And finally, 5 french TV shows :
1. Dolmen
2. Zodiaque (=Zodiac)
3. Le Mystère du Lac (=The Mystery of the Lake)
4. Suspectes (=Suspects)
5. Les Témoins (=The Witnesses)
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Jan 09, 2016
TDCT
1. Lost 2. HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER !!!!! 3. The 100 ! 4. Once Upon A Time ! 5. Arrow, and The Flash (2014) 6. Under the Dome ! 7. Doctor Who ! 8. Broadchurch ! 9. Quantico 10. Orphan Black 11. Scandal (exluding season 5 for now) 12. Torchwood (seasons 3 and 4 were the best) 13. Reign (seasons 1 and 2 were the best) 14. Zoo (watching season 1) 15. Hostages (US) 16. Sense8 17. Dark Matter 18. Supergirl 19. Twelve Monkeys (watching season 1) 20. The Expanse (watching season 1)
21. UnReal (watching season 1 too) 22. King & Maxwell
For those ones, I'm not sure : 1. Bloodline 2. Revenge 3. The 4400 4. Jericho
5. Crisis
And finally, 5 french TV shows : 1. Dolmen 2. Zodiaque (=Zodiac) 3. Le Mystère du Lac (=The Mystery of the Lake) 4. Suspectes (=Suspects) 5. Les Témoins (=The Witnesses)
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Jan 09, 2016
Oh, sorry for those 5 comments, I thought I was rewriting the first...
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Jan 09, 2016
1. Lost

2. HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER !!!!!

3. The 100 !

4. Once Upon A Time !

5. Arrow, and The Flash (2014)

6. Under the Dome !

7. Doctor Who !

8. Broadchurch !

9. Quantico

10. Orphan Black

11. Scandal (exluding season 5 for now)

12. Torchwood (seasons 3 and 4 were the best)

13. Reign (seasons 1 and 2 were the best)

14. Zoo (watching season 1)

15. Hostages (US)

16. Sense8

17. Dark Matter

18. Supergirl

19. 12 Monkeys (watching season 1)

20. The Expanse (watching season 1)

21. UnReal (watching season 1 too)

22. King & Maxwell

For those ones, I'm not sure :

1. Bloodline

2. Revenge

3. The 4400

4. Jericho

5. Crisis


And finally, 5 french TV shows :

1. Dolmen

2. Zodiaque (=Zodiac)

3. Le Mystère du Lac (=The Mystery of the Lake)

4. Suspectes (=Suspects)

5. Les Témoins (=The Witnesses)
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Apr 24, 2015
boardwalk empire....was it even mentioned? flawed, but in my top five at the very least.
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Apr 19, 2015

Where is Masters of Sex? Come on, some of the best drama on current TV, and at least equal to Mad Men!!!
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Apr 05, 2015
Glad to see Tim's nod to Fringe. Easily my #1 series from all these lists, and for the record, I loved S1-S3 but I felt Fringe's best episodes were in Season 4. Very underrated season.
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Apr 04, 2015
Well, I was honestly expecting to share more shows in common with Tim, but it turns out I have a new favourite! I shared 10 shows in common with Jen, who obviously has great taste (Mad Men not withstanding). All the lists have some great, underrated choices and they all have some questionable, though clearly passionate choices (Hart of Dixie? Jane the Virgin? I should disclose that I watch both those shows though). I included Chuck and House in mine I doubt they were even considered for a lot of peoples lists.
Some kudos is due though for some of those spotlights, namely Top of the Lake (which I regret not including), Banshee (my No. 10), Chicago Code, Black Mirror (my No. 11) and, of course Fringe (my No. 1), also kudos to MaryAnn for including Misfits, it was nowhere near my list because the uneven later seasons but the first two were fantastic.
The main thing to take from all of this is that the last five years have given us an unprecidented volume of high quality TV series, long may it continue.
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Apr 03, 2015
Nope. Y'all didn't include a single mention of Teen Wolf anywhere, so these rankings should be invalidated. And only Andy ranked The Good Wife high enough (but he's generally forgiven any misdemeanours because of his smartass What To Watch Tonight commentary that's a wee treat every day — is this a crush?). Tim's spotlight on Fringe makes me supremely happy (damn, I miss me some Walter Bishop). And Kaitlin redeemed herself too by featuring Sherlock and Jane The Virgin. I don't care if it's the teenage girl in me irrationally and obsessively loving a show about angsty teenage supernaturals gratuitously running around shirtless half the time, Teen Wolf fixes everything about Mondays with its unabashed earnestness.
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Apr 03, 2015
1. Breaking Bad (season 3+ were the best seasons in my opinion)
2. Spartacus
3. Banshee
4. Hannibal
5. Game of Thrones
6. Justified (exluding season 5)
7. Sherlock (exluding season 3)
8. Strike Back
9. Orange is the New Black
10. Orphan Black
11. Fargo
12. True Detective
13. The Walking Dead
14. Kingdom
15. Boardwalk Empire (wasn't a fan of how the last season played out)
16. Homeland (season 1 and 2)
17. Vikings (have still only seen season 1)
18. SoA (season 3 ending, and season 4, minus the BS ending)
19. Penny Dreadful
20. True Blood (most of season 3)
21. Dexter (season 7)
22. AHS
23. Lost
24. The Strain

Love 1 - 6, really like 7 - 14, like 15 - 17, don't care much for 18 - 24.
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Apr 03, 2015
Any list that has Spartacus, Banshee, and Game of Thrones in top 5 piques my interest by default (now the first two are the epitome of underrated shows).

I really should get down to watching Breaking Bad, shouldn't I (it's just when something is overhyped, it tends to put me away for fear I might not appreciate it nearly as much), and probably Justified. Still thinking that Hannibal might not up my alley, even if I could undoubtedly appreciate the style.
Looking at your tastes and where they align with mine, something also tells me that I might find Strike Back enjoyable.

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Apr 03, 2015
1.The leftovers
2.Teen wolf
3.Downton Abbey
4.Being Human
5.The following
6.Orphan Black
7.scandal
8.The affair
9.TVD
10.The originals
11.Vikings
12.revenge
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Apr 02, 2015
1. Breaking Bad
2. The Vampire Diaries
3. Fairy Tail
4. Game of Thrones
5. Psych
6. Survivor
7. The Colbert Report
8. Last Week Tonight
9. Bojack Horseman
10. Orphan Black
11. Banshee
12. Community
13. True Detective
14. House of Cards
15. Hunter X Hunter
16. American Horror Story
17. Sherlock
18. How I met your mother
19. Trailer Park Boys
20. Doctor Who
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Apr 02, 2015
I an't believe Silicon Valley isn't in any of this lists
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Apr 02, 2015
The defacto correct list:

    1.Spartacus
    2.Survivor
    3.Downton Abbey
    4.Game of Thrones
    5.Orphan Black
    6.Shameless
    7.The Inbetweeners
    8.Boardwalk Empire
    9.Breaking Bad
    10.Episodes
    11.30 Rock
    12.Last Week Tonight
    13.Smash
    14.Modern Family
    15.New Girl
    16.The Borgias
    17.Fargo
    18.Curb Your Enthusiasm
    19.Life’s Too Short
    20.Transparent
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Apr 02, 2015
Game of Thrones
Breaking Bad
Black Mirror
The Big Bang Theory
You're the worst
Doctor Who
Orange is the new black
Lost
Grey's Anatomy
The B*tch from apartment 23

10 is more than enough

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Apr 02, 2015
I am also including all shows that finished at least in 2010, not counting starting dates.
1. Breaking Bad
2. Banshee
3. Fringe
4. Dexter (Mostly the first three seasons)
5. Lost (finished in 2010 so I include the show)
11. The 100
12. Sons of Anarchy (early seasons only)
13. True Detective
14. Orange is the New Black
15. Rectify
6. Spartacus
7. The Americans
8. Person of Interest
9. Game of Thrones (only Nick Campbell fra TV.com!)
10. Justified
16. The Walking Dead
17. American Horror Story
18. Real Humans (Äkta Människor)
19. 30 Rock
20. Homeland (ONLY the FIRST season)

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Apr 02, 2015
I appreciate and I thank you for putting the following shows in the spotlight:
Cory: Banshee, Top of the Lake, and forgotten Lost
Tim: Fringe, Black Mirror
Kaitlin: Sherlock
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Apr 02, 2015
Friends - Alias - The Walking Dead - Spartacus - Brothers & Sisters - Supernatural - The Vampire Diares - True Blood - The Goldbergs - Game Of Thrones - Prison Break - The Amazing Race - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Hell On Wheels - Dancing With The Stars - Whose Line Is It Anyway? - Mind Freak - The Voice - Breaking Bad - Saturday Night Live

How I Met Your Mother - Fringe - Man Vs Wild With Bear Grylls - Prison Break - America's Got Talent - The Graham Norton Show - Heroes - Nikkita - Scorpion - Grimm - Episodes - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno - ER - House MD - Reaper - The 4400 - Face Off - Married With Children - Ally McBeal - America's Funniest Videos

Homeland - Kyle XY - Fear Factor - The Doctors - The Dr Oz Show - The Arsenio Hall Show - In Living Color - MADtv - Party Of Five - Family Feud - Blossom - Lost - Growing Pains - Family Ties - Doogie Howser MD - The Inbetweeners - Perfect Strangers - Who's The Boss? - Hawaii Five-0 - Dawson's Creek

Doll House - Quantum Leap - Wipeout - Inside The Actors Studio - Human Weapon - Deadliest Warrior - Sliders - American Horror Story - Mom - Jane The Virgin - Penny Dreadful - The Strain - The Last Man On Earth - Saved By The Bell - Ferris Bueller - Smallville - V - Revenge - Seinfeld - American Idol

... and many more!


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Apr 02, 2015
Fringe, Lost, New Girl and Sherlock weren't on the big list? Lost broke the traditional format of network television! was Grimm on there?
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Apr 02, 2015
I salute you, Tim Surette for not including the most overrated show of the past decade - Mad Men. Cue the haters in 3,2,1....
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Staff
Apr 02, 2015
Oh, sure, salute Tim. I didn't include it either! WHATEVER. ;)
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Apr 02, 2015
Noel you're absolutely right. I sincerely apologize - let me rephrase my previous statement, "I salute you, Tim and Noel, for not including the most overrated show of the past decade - Mad Men. Cue the haters in 3,2,1..."
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Apr 03, 2015
I wholeheartedly second this!
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Apr 02, 2015
1. Homeland 2. Breaking Bad 3. True Blood 4. Black Sails 5. The Americans 6. Fortitude 7. 12 Monkeys 8. Game of Thrones 9. The Affair 10. Salem
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Apr 02, 2015
The way that this is going, i think Fortitude will make it to my list of top 20 best shows pretty soon, but i thought i rather wait for the end of the first season at least.
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Apr 02, 2015
1. 30 Rock | 2. House | 3. Fringe | 4. Parks & Recreation | 5. Flash
6. Continuum | 7. Awake | 8. Alphas | 9. Doctor Who | 10. The Daily Show
11. Modern Family | 12. The Big Bang Theory | 13. Community | 14. Person of Interest | 15. The Colbert Report
16. How I Met Your Mother | 17. Arrested Development | 18. Elementary | 19. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt | 20. Smallville

Honorable Mention: Almost Human, FlashForward, Once Upon A Time (Season 1 only!)

I still consider myself a huge Lost fan, but that final season disqualifies it from this list for me.

Not a hard and fast ranking, but in the general area. As someone else mentioned, not necessarily the Best Shows, but the ones I enjoyed the most.

Will there be a Worst 20 List? I can imagine the flame wars that would start! Heroes, Once Upon A Time (Season 2 - Present), and Gotham would definitely be on there, as well as New Girl, Orphan Black, Thundercats, The Legend of Korra, Boondocks (Season 4), Lost (Season 6... or more precisely, the last 10 minutes). Now that I think about it, maybe the Worst 20 List isn't a good idea. The flames would rage on for days! Perhaps call it The 20 Most Disappointing Shows...
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Apr 02, 2015
The worst shows lists are a lot less significant, cause normally you don't watch shows that you don't like. Most disapointing is a different thing, but it just means you had expectations that were not fullfiled, not necessarily that the show was bad. I could mention Helix in that corner, and 12 monkeys.
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Apr 02, 2015
Yeah, I agree. I realized halfway through writing that I don't really know what the worst shows are because chances are I don't watch them. So yeah- disappointing is more accurate. And I agree about 12 Monkeys- not sure that I expected anything, but given that it's one of my favorite movies of all times, I was a little turned off after the first few episodes of the series.
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Apr 01, 2015
Damn, this is quite hard and time consuming. I would not say these are the best shows out there, but the ones I most enjoyed.

1: Lost - 2: Breaking Bad - 3: Shameless - 4: Game of Thrones - 5:The 100 - 6: Community -
- 7: Borgen - 8: Fringe - 9: Person of Interest - 10: Continuum - 11: Bates Motel - 12: Banshee - 13: House of Cards - 14: The Walking Dead - 15: The Americans - 16: True Detective- 17: The Leftovers - 18: Homeland - 19: The Fall - 20:Grey's Anatomy



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Apr 01, 2015
This would be my Best Show List:
1. Mad Men I 2. Breaking Bad I 3. Parks & Recreation I 4. Game of Thrones I 5. Justified I 6. Pretty Little Liars I 7. Dexter I 8. Damages I 9. Downton Abbey I 10. True Blood I 11. Suits I 12. Jane by Design I 13. House of Cards I 14. The Vampire Diaries I 15. Bates Motel 16. The Good Wife
New shows: Fresh off the Boat; Jane the Virgin
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Apr 01, 2015
Sherlock not on Top 20 lists is mind boggling.
Given that there are only 3 episodes in a season it might be difficult to compare with longer running shows.... but when two out of the three episodes each season where incredible and the other was more than OK I don't see how it was overlooked.
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Apr 01, 2015
Hi, I don't think it was overlooked. I would say the main conclusion of this exercise is that these are great times for television, and with so many great shows around, you make a list of your top 20 and a lot of great stuff slips out. So basically, as good a Sherlock might be, there's a whole lot of other shows that are at least as good. And that goes already to personal opinion which ones go in the list or not.

I personally loved the first season, really liked the second one, and I was a tiny bit disappointed by the third. I had it 18th in my list.

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Apr 01, 2015
Obviously it is personal opinion but I would be hard pressed to think that some of the top 20 shows on reviewers lists would be considered 'great' television. I think the list concept is a little flawed in even attempting to identify great TV within the 5 year span... just like with some of the Oscar winners time will tell if the choices are inspired or embarrassing.
Just my opinion but I would expect Sherlock to hold up much better over time than some of the supposed top shows.
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Apr 01, 2015
Look out for the readers list.
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Apr 01, 2015
Every time I think I have my top 20 I think of another show to put on there. I don't know how you guys did it. Respect!

What definitely would be on mine: The Leftovers, Awake, New Girl, Person of Interest, Orange is the new Black, Vikings, Hannibal, Jane the Virgin, The Walking Dead and The Missing. So got my top 10 but there's just to much to choose from to fill the other 10 spots
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Apr 01, 2015
I know what you mean. It was so difficult to make the list for me too! And then I'm sure I forgot stuff :) Like Rubicon!
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Apr 01, 2015
Sorry Tim but the final season of Fringe was EXCELLENT..... go and re-watch it and come back and tell why it was not excellent......
Season 4 had it's ups and downs but the majority of it was brilliant too........ 'Letters of Transit' being the obvious highlight

Fringe was this generation's version of 'The X-Files' but instead of being a phenomenon like X-F it turned out to be an underrated show that people gave up on too early because people seem to have developed a low attention span in recent years which make them lose interest if the pacing isn't fast enough.......
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Apr 02, 2015
Read Tim's reviews of the final season and you'll see why he thinks it wasn't excellent, and he was right, by the way. Fringe had some great moments but it was nowhere near as good as The X-Files.
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Apr 05, 2015
I'm confused by this, The X-Files didn't have a remotely good final season either. Actually, Season 9 was terrible. For the record, I found Fringe S1-S5 and The X-Files S1-S8 brilliant. Probably two of the best TV dramas ever made along with Twin Peaks.
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Apr 02, 2015
I read every review of Tim's relating toFringe's final season (back when it aired) and i disagreed with just about everything negative he had to say about it so i know i will disagree with him if i read it now..... My reasoning for telling him to rewatch it is because it is MUCH better the second time round and uninterupted (as was the 4th season)

As for the XF remark.... you tell me to read Tim's reviews on Fringe's final season yet you failed to read the rest of this thread.... i clearly state later on that i did not say Fringe was better than XF.... i said IT IS THIS GENERATION'S VERSION OF XF. how does that mean i liked it better???????????? Buffoon
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Apr 02, 2015
Excuse me, I did read the rest of the thread, and I never implied that you thought that Fringe was better than The X-Files. I'm gonna have to throw the buffoonery right back atcha.

By the way calling a show "this generation's version of" something without qualifying which is better is a massive cop out. And since Fringe has had nowhere near the cultural impact of The X-Files, in this case it seems like a superficial comparison based on genre similarities rather than any meaningful connections.
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Apr 05, 2015
Cultural impact? It's tough to compare any show in the 2000s with a series from 1993 when there were only 4-5 major networks. Hannibal with Gillian Anderson is AMAZING and lacks powerhouse ratings too.
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Apr 01, 2015
I thought that Fringe was even better than X-Files. Both started out as monster of the week episodes but once the mythology was laid out both series took off.
One reason I rate Fringe higher is that it was more consistent and had a strong final season while X-Files went downhill with the casting change towards the end.
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Apr 01, 2015
I watched every single episode of Fringe and don't think it quite comes close to XF. It had the potential to do so, but fell apart from the end of S3 onward. Doesn't have to do with the pacing at all.
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Apr 05, 2015
Fringe S4 was excellent. If anything fell apart, it was The X-Files after David Duchovny left.
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Apr 02, 2015
Right, Fringe doesn't come close... it is better... in my opinion.
I watched every episode of both series as they aired. Don't know if the experience would be different if binge watched on DVD vs weekly on TV.
While I really liked X-Files overall, it was the series that 'fell apart' at the end... Not Fringe.
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Apr 01, 2015
I didn't say it was better than XF, i said it was this generation's version of XF.... the MotW stories mixed with the overarching storyline(s)..... The amazing chemistry between the two leads..... Fringe owes a lot of it's success to XF and a lot of people would say it bettered XF
It was a lot more consistent than XF.........

Also the pacing remark was in relation to the early parts of the first season..... a lot of people gave up on it early on because they didn't see a direction in the show because the story hadn't yet became part of the mythos.....
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Apr 02, 2015
I remember the episode in the first season that turned it around for me. It was an episode located in Antarctica I believe with a bit of a "The Thing" feel to it. Even though it wasn't a mythology episode it did hook me enough to stick around.
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Apr 02, 2015
It was called 'Ice' and it was the best episode of the season and one of the best episodes of the series.....
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Apr 01, 2015
There's a number of important shows that i haven't watched yet in these lists - Breaking bad, Justified and Louie are in my list for future watch. I did try Community and it wasn't for me. Banshee i watched two seasons and got tired of it. Shameless first season was excellent, but i stopped at season 2. Black mirror, i hated the pig episode, but they told me the rest of the episodes are better :-) So i will probably give it another try.
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Apr 01, 2015
Justifying Louie you must !
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Apr 01, 2015
:) I'm also adding Black Sails to my watch list, but that's only in users list, not staff. So you don't recommend Breaking Bad? :-O
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Apr 01, 2015
Everyone in the world will tell you to watch bb so I dont need to plus that quote wont work with bb.

BB after the first few episodes you wont be able to stop. Its great for binge watching. I missed seaon 1 too. Only started around end of season 2.

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Apr 01, 2015
I really want to know how Sherlock makes only one list, and at 17? I think 17 is a bigger insult than actually not having it on a list, because then you can just say you forgot it instead of thinking that Parks & Recreation is better.
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Apr 01, 2015
Lost, TLOK,Phineas and Ferb,Fringe,Sherlock are better than the shows in the actual list...
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Apr 01, 2015
LOST is definitely better than most of these shows, but only the final season was eligible, remember.
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Apr 01, 2015
Good to see so many different shows mentioned, tv has never been better. But surprised no one mentioned The 100 or Psych, always thought these shows have been a site favourite.
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Apr 01, 2015
Finally, someone mentions The Returned. Absolutely one of the best TV shows in the last ten years.
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Apr 01, 2015
Yes, Sherlock - I missed that on the Top 30 list because it reinvigorated the ultimate detective and brought it into the modern time. Yes, it's not without flaws but when it's good, it's just awesome. *g
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Apr 01, 2015
Oh, and I don't care that it doesn't count, I'd be very interested in seeing Price's list.

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Apr 01, 2015
Price declined to do a list, as did Lily and Ryan.
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Apr 03, 2015
That's a shame, I was looking forward to seeing them (Price's in particular, if I'm being unnecessarily honest!).
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Apr 02, 2015
Well don't just give up Noel, wear them down. I know you can do it.
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Apr 01, 2015
There was a lot of discussion about the lack of The Walking Dead when the rankings were initially posted, and I was very surprised to hear Cory say that not a single tv.com writer had it in there Top 20 list. I was wondering if any staff members would explain why they personally don't enjoy the series? I understand it has it has its problems, but for it to be completely absent from everyone's lists (when most everyday people would rank it, you would think) such seems bizarre.
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Apr 01, 2015
I look forward to see if it has made it to our readers top 30 :) How does it rank for you? It didn't make it to my list.
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Apr 02, 2015
I think I placed it somewhere between 5th - 10th place for me. I guess everyone's list will depend on how much television they've actually watched in the last five years - I don't think I would have watched 30 shows from the beginning in the last five years, but The Walking Dead is one of them, and so it deserves a place on my list.
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Apr 01, 2015
I'd guess that for most people it's not necessarily an indictment of TWD but a signal that so many other things are better. I like TWD, REALLY like the last season or so, but it'd never crack the top 35 for me probably. Just a very solid show.
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Apr 01, 2015
I've always thought Game of Thrones has been terribly overrated and it's interesting to see that of those writers that did have it in their lists' (some didn't have it all!) that it ranked around the middle of the pack, which is fair enough.
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Apr 01, 2015
Top of the Lake was outstanding.
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Apr 01, 2015
Cory Barker are you campaigning to become a Kiwi with your love of TV product exported from the Shakey Isles? (Antony Starr being a Kiwi for those following). Cos we totally dig it. Come visit. Hang out. Continue to say nice things about us and we might even let you stay :)
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Apr 02, 2015
I'm from Australia and I've never heard them called The Shaky Isles before. Y'learn something new every day.
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Apr 02, 2015
TV may rot ya brain, but TV.com now counts as educational reading. Hurrah!
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Apr 01, 2015
I totally should
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Apr 01, 2015
The 100 and Banshee are not on enough of these lists.
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Apr 01, 2015
to Nick: nothing was left unanswered in LOST if you know how/where to look and what to study. It's quite simple who the people on the outrigger were, that were shooting at our losties - it was themselves. the island was skipping at the time. the clue can be found in the Dharma video from The Orchid with the 2 rabbits both numbered 15, and Dr. Edgar Halliwax shouting, "don't let them near each other.' Sawyer was on the outrigger that we seen, and his number is 15 (two 15's, thus two sawyers). Also, the orchid video mentions the Casimir Effect...Huge clue. Another seemingly unrelated connection I noticed is the orchid is station 6, and there were 6 on the outrigger. I'm not sure what magic you refer to in the penultimate episode though.
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Apr 01, 2015
Yeah I was confused when he mention the magic part..... Unless he meant the heart of the island which was shown in 'Across The Sea' which was the third to last and it was also in the season finale of the fourth season when Ben turned the wheel so........
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Apr 01, 2015
Not here to say "waah waaah my fave show is not on your list your taste is shit" or anything of the kind, but I'm genuinely curious why The 100 didn't make it on anyone's list when it's weekly featured on the website and the staff reviews are almost always glowing (which the show deserves imo). Not gonna expand on all the reasons I think the show is great because it's been said on this site a lot already. I'm just wondering, since a lot of shows up here have gotten much less favourable reviews from TV.com. What's up, Katlin (whose list I otherwise mostly agree with, bar a couple exceptions)?
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Apr 01, 2015
I know :( It pained me to not be able to include The 100 on my list, because it's a personal favorite of mine. There's just too much good TV! If our lists had gone to 25, it definitely would have made my list.
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Apr 01, 2015
Mm, ok, I get it. I guess I'm just surprised TVD (my main exception!) made it on three lists when even Price who's a big fan is often pointing out its flaws in his reviews, and it's been said by others in this thread, but there's at least two or three similar genre shows which imo are stronger and didn't make it. TVD is still really entertaining and has become sort of a phenomenon I guess... This is all a matter of personal opinion though.
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Apr 01, 2015
This comment has been removed.
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Apr 01, 2015
There seem to be rather high number of shows that got canceled early or didn't really find a big market on the lists. I wonder if it is regret that makes them seem better, a desire to pick stuff off the beaten track, or if staff picks just don't match network picks.
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Apr 01, 2015
Thank God For Tim! FRINGE was awesome!!!
I actually love season 3 and 4 the best, and season 5 was the perfect ending. I've actually just finished binge watching FRINGE, again, and season 5 has some of my favorite FRINGE episodes. Yes, we didn't have the other side, yes we continued with the changed timeline (which I loved), and yes, it was kinda depressing, but it was the perfect ending. The whole show started with Walter doing everything to save Peter, and ended with Walter sacrificing himself for Peter, Olivia and Etta.
It's very clear watching the show that everything was thought out, and that no question was left unanswered. I just wish we could of got the season and a half that the writers wanted (they had a six year plan), because the end of season 4 felt rushed so they can get to the observer plan, and also made it as a possible series finally, since they didn't know if they'd come back. [I remember some people didn't like the end of season 4. I thought all the cortexephan (? I'll never remember how to spell it) kids trying to destroy the world, and William Bell trying to make a brave new world, could have been a fitting ending]
More+
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Apr 01, 2015
For me the last season and a half ruined it, but i remember that one episode when Peter is becoming an observer, with the Bowie song and all, it was excellent.
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Apr 01, 2015
What about Black Blotter? The episode they find the child observer, Walters trippin and sees his sins of the past? Not only is the episode hilarious but that ending...Walter crying and seeing his fights with his wife and assistant and watching Peter drown, It's one of my most favorite scenes in the whole series.
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Jun 11, 2015
Remember the end of episode 1 (or was it 2) in the 5th season? Yazoo's Only You starts playing and Walter looks at the dandelion. That moment, in my mind, is still the definition of Hope.
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Apr 05, 2015
Man, Black Blotter was incredible. Honestly, I thought Letters of Transit, In Absentia, Black Blotter, Liberty and An Enemy of Fate were some of the best episodes in the entire show.
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Apr 01, 2015
I remember a lot less about that episode, but I had little tolerance for Walter towards the end of the series, so don't mind me :) I liked so much more the Walter of the beginnings!
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Apr 01, 2015
Thanks for including Fringe Tim, you rock. Yes, the show was never as good as the second half of season two through to the end of season three but it more than deserves a place in the top 20. Because when it was good, Fringe was the best show on network TV.

Nick, thanks for having the guts to include LOST in your list. Everyone say what you will but LOST was the greatest thing to happen to television and most shows that followed (network and cable) have LOST to thank for the creative freedom and heavy serialised storytelling that the show fearlessly pushed onto primetime. From network to cable, LOST has inspired a over a decade of great television and changed the landscape forever.

I honestly think that anyone who hasn't seen LOST has not experienced the full potential and magic of television. And yes Nick I agree, it was brilliant from start to finish.
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Apr 01, 2015
If more than the last season was in contention, Lost would be at or near the top of my list. It's my favorite show ever, and it's not close.
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Apr 01, 2015
I still want the last three years I spent on LOST back, but I'm happy for the fans that enjoyed seasons 4-6. But I think you're giving LOST to much credit. Sure, LOST made it mainstream, but that credit goes to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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Apr 01, 2015
All the staff writers are great but I really only wanted to see Price's picks, maybe you guys can add his in late since he was unable to participate for some reason.
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Apr 01, 2015
A lot of my favorite shows made it! I have a lot of faves. I was surprised that Fringe didn't make the final cut. I loved that show. I read every review, and enjoyed some of the commentary as well. Seems like a lot of the comments are a bit unkind though.
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Apr 01, 2015
Only KAITLIN dared to mention Orphan Black.
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Apr 01, 2015
Orphan Black didn't make it in anyones list?
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Apr 01, 2015
It's on mine.
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Apr 01, 2015
Did search after posting... funny how the show got unnoticed and yet I believed it was one of the best young actor acting I had seen in long time.
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Apr 01, 2015
One terrific performance does not a terrific show make. But then I think Kaitlin is (lovably) bonkers for including Sherlock, so grains of salt and all that.
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Apr 01, 2015
Shhhh. Let me have my Sherlock bromance, Noel! (Also, Scandal?! That show is wack.)
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Apr 01, 2015
When that one performance makes up 90% of the cast, it can.
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Apr 01, 2015
I'm amazed how many great shows from the past five years there are. Anyone who says that there is nothing good on television 1) is an idiot and 2) should just shut the hell up.
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Apr 01, 2015
KingsX,
Who said there is nothing good on TV?
Is this a straw dog argument?
And name calling is immature.
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Apr 01, 2015
3) has different tastes from me which are just as valid for them as mine are for me

*that thumbs up was an accident; think of it as a thumbs down instead.
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Apr 01, 2015
So yout hink there's nothing good on tv?
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Apr 01, 2015
So you're defending the person who insulted people by calling them idiots for having differing tastes? How you could bypass that and go after my statement instead is beyond me.

Whether I think there is anything good on TV is irrelevant. The point is, people who don't feel that way are not idiots.
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Apr 01, 2015
yeah, calling people stupid is always rude, but there are other ways to be rude. I actually don't know anyone that doesn't find good stuff on tv these days, so i was actually interested in your take. But hey, you're clear, not interested anymore.
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Apr 01, 2015
1. Game of Thrones | 2. Mad Men | 3. Top of the Lake | 4. Transparent | 5. True Detective | 6. Girls | 7. Rectify | 8. Fringe | 9. Penny Dreadful | 10. Halt and catch Fire | 11. The Big Bang Theory | 12. Hannibal | 13. The Knick | 14. RuPaul's Drag Race | 15. Fargo | 16. Person of Interest | 17. Grey's Anatomy | 18. Portlandia | 19. Community | 20. Glee
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Apr 01, 2015
This list has heart and can be respected! Cory next time post this one first!! Good job you guys!!
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Apr 01, 2015
Ha. It's the same list, just broken up.
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Apr 01, 2015
Not true, in the last list to just a copied and pasted list of shows in a random order (yours) with some "blurbs", in a careless manor say like a certain somebody's review of the Dexter Finale. In this list you actually show staff member's picks and their top 20 rankings. The other list felt devoid of input from anyone else. You might have conferred with others but it was not apparently clear that you did. The point I'm trying to make is Quality v. Quantity, this list being the former than rather the latter. This was good work Cory.
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Apr 02, 2015
Mcarson09 based on your comments in this and the Editor's Top 10 Shows article you're kind of an idiot.
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Apr 01, 2015
That is absolutely not true. The top 30 is the CUMULATIVE rankings of our individual lists. Noel and I just happened to post it. All eight of us participated in the original list; it's the same list. We all wrote blurbs. Please do consider reading before criticizing. It'll go a long way.
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Apr 01, 2015
It's not anyone's fault but your own if you didn't read the names of the people who contributed for each show that was listed.
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Apr 01, 2015
As for Hart of Dixie, I'm glad Andy put it on his list, because I enjoy it. But Bunheads was the true succeessor to Gilmore Girls.

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Apr 01, 2015
The number one comedy on TV today and the past five years gets not one vote. Comedies are supposed to be funny, and this one definately is--The Big Bang Theory.
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Apr 02, 2015
One day having liked TBBT will be your biggest regret.
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Apr 02, 2015
Not sure if you are being ironic or serious - how can one regret watching a funny comedy?
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Apr 02, 2015
If it were a funny comedy and not the devil's bidding you would have a point.

I've noticed that unlike Muderboy your top 20 list doesn't include TBBT. I congratulate you on your good taste.
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Apr 02, 2015
I do like tbbt, but it doesn't make it to my list. I do think it is funny, though.
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Apr 01, 2015
I don't think many users have included TBBT in their lists neither.
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