It’s Tuesday again (even if it feels like Monday because of the holiday) and that means another TTT, and this week I’m talking about the Top Ten TV shows of all time in no particular order. Let’s check it out.
#1 Kolchak The night Stalker:
One of the main inspirations for the X Files Kolchak starred the incomparable Darren McGavin (better known as the dad in a Christmas Story) as Carl Kolchak a regular Joe news paper reporter who get pulled in to cases that involve the paranormal. Running of only one season didn’t keep Kolchak from getting a pretty sizable fanbase. Wearing his trademark rumpled suit and straw hat, a cast of colorful characters (Miss Emily forever!), a different “monster” each week, and the incredible theme song all make Kolchak pretty hard to not love. Kolchak over the course of his one season fought Satanic senators, werewolves, zombies, and even monsters based on several other cultures. Nearly every part of this show is solid gold, and I highly recommend it if you have never seen it.
#2 The Twilight Zone:
The granddaddy of anthology shows and great tv in general everyone knows the Twilight Zone. Rod Serling created (and narrated expertly) the show that would still be watched and fondly remembered some fifty plus years later. The Twilight Zone wasn’t necessarily the first show of its kind, but it is the one that really nailed every aspect perfectly. Beyond Serling himself the show had some of the best writers working on it as well which really explains why the show was just so damn good. Covering nearly every genre while also secretly or not so secretly bringing issues of the day to light the Twilight Zone was just as much about Serling’s anger at lot of the limits placed on him as it was about blowing viewers minds. One can only imagine how incredible the show must have felt to those watching it for the first time in the relatively safe zone of late 50’s television.
#3 Tales From The Crypt:
Another anthology show TFTC took the old EC Comics properties and with the help of HBO blasted them on to our televisions full of gore, sex, and other unsavory things you couldn’t show on normal TV. The Crypt Keeper is and always will be one of the best hosts of all time, and the stories themselves were nearly all great. TFTC show that with some big talent(amazing cast and directors abound) and a budget you could really do horror right, and thats a big part of why the show is still beloved to this day, and doesn’t look nearly as dated as other shows from the era. The real charm of TFTC is how expertly they mixed horror and humor enough for even young me (who let me watch this every week?) to not be scared by it and instead love it with my whole being.
#4 The Venture Brothers:
Combing the awesomeness of Jonny Quest with the parady/humor of The Tick is a genius idea, and Venture Brothers has been getting better and better over its five seasons (in more than ten years…you can’t rush greatness) it has consistently been on of the best shows on television, and remains Adult Swim’s greatest in a whole lot of greatness. Unlike most cartoons the characters grow and change over the course of the seasons, and the people we meet in episode one are very different form the people we see at the end of the latest season in a realistic way that is not normally seen in cartoons. Venture is always the highlight of my year in those odd years we actually get a new season of the show.
#5 Arrested Development:
If you’ve seen arrested you know, and if you haven’t you really should watch it because this show is HILARIOUS! One of the few shows EVER that nearly every second of it is some kind of joke, and there are things you don’t even realize until repeat viewings, and that is the hallmark of a great show in my eyes. Couple the amazing humor with one of the best casts around and you have a perfect storm of TV amazement. Even after a near ten year break the return of the show on Netflix managed to be just as good as the seasons that came before.
#6 Sealab 2021:
Before Frisky Dingo and Archer were the amazing shows they were/are Adam Reed and Matt Thompson created this surreal acid trip of an old show mixed with new assists to great effect. You can see so much of Sealab in the DNA of Archer that fans of that show really owe it to themselves to check out the forebears of it. Jokes from Sealab are still made in my circle today…over ten years after the final episode aired. The highlight of the early seasons was Captain Murphy who was voiced by the great Harry Goz, and after his death a new character was voiced by Goz’s real life son which took some of the sting out of not having Murphy around anymore. Featuring episodes that are basically one joke for 11 minutes, and a lot of repetition until it becomes funny again Sealab was a standout of Adult Swim’s early days (even premiering before Adult Swim was even officials a thing) that has definitely stood the test of time.
#7 Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
Another of the early Adult Swim Cartoons,and a long running show in it s own right (2001-20015) ATHF is one of those shows that influenced so much during its run. In a block of shows filled with insanity the Aqua Teens managed to be the most insane of them all . Featuring a great cast and some incredible guest talent this show was in constant DVD rotation at my house for years. Meatwad,Shake, and Frylock are still some omg favorite characters of all time. ATHF was also the first and last Adult Swim show to make it to the big screen in the hilarious Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, which we saw in theaters more times than most people have any reason to.
#8 The Maxx:
MTV’s Oddities was full of great/mind melting shows that helped usher in the reign of Adult Animation, but The Maxx was the cream of the crop for me. Sticking pretty close to the comic it was based on, and full of weirdness catching the Maxx late night was a serious highlight of any weekend back when it was airing on TV. Dark and well animated The Maxx was a serious highlight of the early 90’s MTV as it slowly slipped from music videos to the dreck we see today on the network. Both the comic and the show feature some great writing that sticks with you long after you watch them, and I’ve binged all the episodes of The Maxx dozens of times since finding the complete series on DVD.
#9 The Tick:
Two weeks in a row the Tick makes it on to the list! Last week it was the comic, but this week it’s the Fox animated cartoon which brought the super hero parody into most peoples living room. Great writing and funny humor made this show a wonder to my eyes back in the day. The fact that the show managed to elevate itself above just a simple parody with great characters (Chairface for life!) while keeping the spirit of the comic (minus some of the darker elements) was a true triumph of The Tick, and as seen by the current buzz of a new live action show most peoples first exposure to The Tick really struck a cord with viewers.
#10 Trailer Park Boys:
The Boys had aired in Canada long before I discovered them, but with the advent of all seasons on Netflix (beyond the movies that were my first exposure) I fell in love with this show, and even after Netflix continued their adventures the show has remained hilarious. So many great characters and jokes in a show that at first seems really stupid, but as you watch you realize there is genius in the humor. Unfortunately things are getting bad for the show as some long time characters have left (Rstill missing J-Roc the show wont be same without you), but we will see if the upcoming 11th season manages to be as good as what came before. Even if the show falters in the future it doesn’t change the greatness of what came before.
So we have another TT in the bag join us again next week for another list.