Thursday Aug 17

Television

Written by Ben Pogany
Couple ground rules.  For starters, we'll be using 1990 as the demarcation line for what should be considered modern.  This seemed like a natural cutoff point, as the Cheers generation was giving way to the Seinfeld generation and cable channels were beginning to gain some footing.  When we say 1990, we mean that the first season of a show had to, at its earliest, at least span the turn of the decade.  This means The Simpsons is still good as its first season started in the latter half of 1989 and ended in 1990.  However, this disqualifies still active shows that started any earlier; as great as SNL and 60 Minutes are, you won't see them on this list.  Tough call but we ultimately decided that we didn't want to be handing out too many greatness points for longevity alone.  Furthermore, with all apologies to Freaks and Geeks, miniseries or single-season programs will not eligible.  Though we don't want to over award for longevity, there's something to be said for sustaining greatness across multiple years.  Beyond that it's wide open--dramas, sitcoms, talk shows, sketch comedy, British shows--if it comes on the small screen and could be considered essential viewing, it has a spot on this list.
  1. The Wire (2002-2008, 60 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Simon
  2. The Simpsons (1989-Present, 618 episodes over 28 seasons)  FOX  Created by Matt Groening
  3. Seinfeld (1989-1998, 180 episodes over 9 seasons)  NBC  Created  by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
  4. Breaking Bad (2008-2013, 62 episodes over 5 seasons)  AMC  Created by Vince Gilligan
  5. The Daily Show (1996-Present, 3000+ episodes)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Madeleine Smithberg and Lizz Winstead
  6. Game of Thrones (2011-Present, 60 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  7. The Sopranos (1999-2007, 86 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Chase
  8. Mad Men (2007-2015, 92 episodes over 7 seasons) AMC Created by Matthew Weiner
  9. South Park (1997-Present, 277 episodes over 20 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone
  10. The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998, 89 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by Garry Shandling and Dennis Klein
  11. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present, 80 episodes over 8 seasons) HBO  Created by Larry David
  12. The Colbert Report (2005-2014, 1447 episodes over 10 seasons.  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Stephen Colbert, Ben Karlin, and Jon Stewart
  13. Family Guy (1999-Present, 289 episodes over 15 seasons)  FOX  Created by Seth McFarlane
  14. Law and Order (1990-2010, 496 episodes over 20 seasons) NBC Created by Dick Wolf
  15. The West Wing (1999-2006) NBC Created by Aaron Sorkin
  16. Arrested Development (2003-Present, 68 episodes over 4 seasons)  FOX/NETFLIX  Created by Mitchell Hurwitz
  17. The Leftovers (2014-2017, 28 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta and based on the novel The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  18. Louie (2010-Present, 61 episodes over 5 seasons)  FX  Created by Louie CK
  19. Friends (1994-2004, 236 episodes over 10 seasons)  NBC  Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman
  20. Chappelle's Show (2003-2006, 28 episodes over 3 seasons)  Comedy Central.  Created by Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan
  21. Twin Peaks (1990-1991, 2017 48 episodes over 3 seasons)  ABC  Created by Mark Frost and David Lynch
  22. 30 Rock (2006-2013, 138 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Tina Fey
  23. Lost (2004-2010, 121 episodes over 6 seasons)  ABC  Created by JJ Abrams
  24. NYPD Blue (1993-2005, 261 episodes over 12 seasons) ABC  Created by Steven Bochco and David Milch
  25. The X-Files (1993-2002, 208 episodes over 10 seasons) FOX Created by Chris Carter
  26. Deadwood (2004-2006, 36 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Milch
  27. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present, 134 episodes over 12 seasons)  FX  Created by Rob McElhenney
  28. The Shield (2002-2008, 88 episodes over 7 seasons)  FX  Created by Shawn Ryan
  29. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011, 76 episodes over 5 seasons)  NBC  Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger
  30. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015, 125 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Shur
  31. Key and Peele (2012-2015, 53 episodes over 5 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele
  32. Six Feet Under (2001-2005, 63 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by Alan Ball
  33. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-Present, 213 episodes over 10 seasons)  NICKELODEON  Created by Stephen Hillenburg
  34. Oz (1997-2003, 56 episodes over 6 seasons) HBO Created by Tom Fontana
  35. Frasier (1993-2004, 264 episodes over 11 seasons)  NBC  Created by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee
  36. Black Mirror (2011-Present, 13 episodes over 3 seasons)  CHANNEL 4/NETFLIX  Created by Charlie Brooker
  37. Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999, 122 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Paul Attanasio and based on the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
  38. 24 (2001-2014, 204 episodes over 9 seasons) FOX Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran
  39. ER (1994-2009, 331 episodes over 15 seasons) NBC Created by Michael Crichton
  40. Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993-2009, 2,725 episodes over 14 seasons)  NBC  Created by Conan O'Brien
  41. Fargo (2014-Present, 30 episodes over 3 seasons)  FX  Created by Noah Hawley
  42. Atlanta (2016-Present, 10 episodes over 1 season)  FX  Created by Donald Glover
  43. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003, 144 episodes over 7 seasons)  THE WB/UPN  Created by Joss Whedon
  44. The Office (British) (2001-2003, 12 episodes over 2 seasons)  BBC  Created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
  45. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009, 75 episodes over 4 seasons)  SCI-FI  Based on TV series Battlestar Galactica by Glen A. Larson and developed by Ronald D. Moore
  46. Real Time with Bill Maher (2003-Present, 400+ episodes over 14 seasons  HBO  Presented by Bill Maher
  47. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996, 148 episodes over 6 seasons) NBC  Created by Andy and Susan Borowitz
  48. Sex and the City (1998-2004, 94 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by Darren Star
  49. 30 for 30 (2009-Present, 93 episodes)  ESPN  Created by Bill Simmons and Connor Schell
  50. Mr. Robot (2015-Present, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  USA  Created by Sam Esmail
  51. The Americans (2013-Present, 65 episodes over 5 seasons)  FX  Created by Joe Weisberg
  52. American Crime Story (2015-Present, 10 episodes over 1 season)  FX  Developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
  53. Pardon the Interruption (2001-Present, 3500+ episodes)  ESPN  Starring Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon
  54. The Office (American) (2005-2013, 201 episodes over 9 seasons)  NBC  Developed by Greg Daniels and based on The Office by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
  55. Veep (2012-Present, 55 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by Armando Iannucci
  56. Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000, 293 episodes over 10 seasons)  FOX  Created by Darren Star, Aaron Spelling, and E. Duke Vincent
  57. The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (1992-2014, 4,610 episodes over 22 seasons)  NBC  Presented by Jay Leno
  58. Justified (2010-2015, 78 episodes over 6 seasons)  FX  Developed by Graham Yost and based on the short story "Fire in the Hole" by Elmore Leonard
  59. Modern Family (2009-Present, 188 episodes over 8 seasons)  ABC  Created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan
  60. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015, 337 episodes over 15 seasons)  CBS  Created by Anthony E. Zulker
  61. In Living Color (1990-1994, 127 episodes over 5 seasons)  FOX  Created by Keenan Ivory Wayans
  62. Master of None (2015-Present, 20 episodes over two seasons)  NETFLIX  Created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang
  63. Beavis and Butthead (1993-1997, 2011, 222 episodes over 8 seasons.  MTV  Created by Mike Judge
  64. Sherlock (2010-present, 13 episodes over 4 seasons)  BBC  Created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat
  65. Hannibal (2013-2015, 39 episodes over 3 seasons)  NBC  Developed by Bryant Fuller
  66. Chicago Hope (1994-2000, 141 episodes over 6 seasons)  CBS  Created by David E. Kelley
  67. The Knick (2014-2015, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  CINEMAX Created by Jack Ariel and Michael Begler
  68. The Real World (1992-Present, 602 episodes over 32 seasons)  MTV  Created by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray
  69. Last Week Tonight (2014-Present, 103 episodes over 4 seasons)  HBO  Presented by John Oliver
  70. Dexter (2006-2013, 96 episodes over 8 seasons)  SHOWTIME  Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay an developed by James Manos Jr.
  71. Northern Exposure (1990-1995, 110 episodes over 6 seasons)  CBS  Created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey
  72. Orange is the New Black (2013-Present, 65 episodes over 5 seasons)  NETFLIX  Created by Jenji Kohan
  73. Broad City (2014-Present, 30 episodes over 3 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Illana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson
  74. Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006, 151 episodes over 7 seasons)  FOX  Created by Linwood Boomer
  75. Better Call Saul (2015-Present, 30 episodes over 3 seasons)  AMC  Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould
  76. Vice (2013-Present) 58 episodes over 4 seasons HBO  Created by Shane Smith
  77. Rick and Morty (2013-Present, 21 episodes over 2 seasons)  ADULT SWIM  Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon
  78. Transparent (2014-Present, 30 episodes over 3 seasons)  AMAZON  Created by Jill Soloway
  79. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014-Present, 700+ episodes over 4 seasons  Presented by Jimmy Fallon
  80. That 70's Show (1998-2006, 200 episodes over 8 seasons)  FOX  Created by Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, and Mark Brazill.
  81. Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014, 56 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by Terence Winter
  82. Community (2009-2015, 110 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO/YAHOO  Created by Dan Harmon
  83. The Walking Dead (2010-Present,  99 episodes over 7 seasons)  AMC  Developed by Frank Darabont and based on the comic book series The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
  84. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005, 210 episodes over 9 seasons)  CBS  Created by Phillip Rosenthal
  85. King of the Hill (1997-2010, 259 episodes over 13 seasons)  FOX  Created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels
  86. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-Present, 90 episodes over 4 seasons)  FOX  Created by Dan Goor and Michael Shur
  87. Futurama (1999-2013, 140 episodes over 7 seasons)  FOX/COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Matt Groening
  88. Homeland (2011-Present, 72 episodes over 6 seasons)  SHOWTIME  Based on the Israeli drama Prisoners of War by Gideon Raff and developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
  89. House of Cards (2013-Present, 52 episodes over 4 seasons)  NETFLIX  Created by Beau Willimon and based on British series and novel of same name
  90. In Treatment (2008-2010, 106 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Developed by Rodrigo Garcia and based on the Israeli series BeTipul
  91. Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014, 92 episodes over 7 seasons)  FX  Created by Kurt Sutter
  92. Jackass (2000-2002, 25 episodes over 3 seasons)  MTV  Created by Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine
  93. Silicon Valley (2014-Present, 35 episodes over 4 seasons)  HBO  Created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler, and Dave Krinsky
  94. Newsradio (1995-1999, 98 episodes over 5 seasons)  NBC  Created by Paul Simms
  95. Picket Fences (1992-1996, 88 episodes over 4 seasons)  CBS  Created by David E Kelley
  96. Animaniacs (1993-1998, 99 episodes over 5 seasons)  FOX/THE WB  Created by Tom Reugger
  97. The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991-1995, 52 episodes over 5 seasons)  NICKELODEON  Created by John Kricfalusi
  98. Eastbound & Down (2009-2013, 29 episodes over 4 seasons)  HBO  Created by Ben Best, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride
  99. Party Down (2009-2010, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  HBO  Created by John Enborn, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd.
  100. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014, 208 episodes over 9 seasons)  CBS  Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Gilmore Girls, Enlightened, True Detective, Scrubs, Girls, Mr. Show, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, Sports Night, House, The Practice, Veronica Mars, Black-ish, Portlandia, Rescue Me, Saved by the Bell, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Home Improvement, Family Matters, Flight of the Conchords, Nathan For You, Bojack Horseman, American Crime, Jessica Jones, Melrose Place, Nurse Jackie, The Man Show, Rectify, Da Ali G Show, You're the Worst, Grey's Anatomy, Prime Suspect, Survivor
 
Written by Ben Pogany
  1. Superman (first appearance: 1938)  Created by Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster for Action Comics #1 (DC Comics).
  2. Mickey Mouse (1928)  Created by Walt Disney and Ub Iworks for Steamboat Willie.
  3. James Bond (1953)  Created by Ian Fleming for novel Casino Royale.
  4. Bugs Bunny (1940)  Created by Warner Bros and originally voiced by Mel Blanc.
  5. Batman (1939) Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane for Detective Comics #27 (DC Comics).
  6. Dorothy Gale (1900)  Created by L. Frank Baum for novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Later portrayed by Judy Garland in the 1939 film adaptation.
  7. Darth Vader (1977) Created by George Lucas for Star Wars IV: A New Hope.
  8. The Tramp (1914)  Created and portrayed by Charlie Chaplin for Kid Auto Races at Venice.
  9. Peter Pan (1902)  Created by J.M. Barrie for novel The Little White Bird.
  10. Indiana Jones (1981)  Created by George Lucas for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Portrayed by Harrison Ford.
  11. Rocky Balboa (1976)  Created and portrayed by Sylvester Stallone for Rocky.
  12. Vito Corleone (1969) Created by Mario Puzo for novel The Godfather. Later portrayed by Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro in Coppola's film adaptation.
  13. Han Solo (1977) Created by George Lucas for Star Wars IV: A New Hope. Portrayed most famously by Harrison Ford.
  14. Homer Simpson (1987)  Created by Matt Groening for The Tracey Ullman Show, later The Simpsons as voiced by Dan Castellaneta.
  15. Archie Bunker (1971) Created by Norman Lear for All in the Family. Portrayed by Carroll O'Connor.
  16. Norman Bates (1959) Created by Robert Bloch for novel Psycho.  Later portrayed by Anthony Perkins in Hitchcock's film adaptation.
  17. King Kong (1933)  Created by Edgar Wallace and Merian C Cooper for the film King Kong.
  18. Lucy Ricardo (1951) Portrayed by Lucille Ball for I Love Lucy.
  19. Spiderman (1962)  Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel Comics).
  20. Spock (1964)  Created by Gene Roddenberry for Star Trek. Portrayed most famously by Leonard Nimoy.
  21. Godzilla (1954) Created by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishiro Honda, and Eiji Tsubaraya for the film Godzilla.
  22. Winnie-the-Pooh (1924)  Created by A.A. Milne for verse book When We Were Young.
  23. Popeye (1929)  Created by E.C. Segar for comic strip Thimble Theater (King Features).
  24. Forrest Gump (1986)  Created by Winston Groom for novel Forrest Gump.  Later portrayed by Tom Hanks in Zemeckis' film adaptation.
  25. Hannibal Lector (1981)  Created by Thomas Harris for the novel Red Dragon. Portrayed most famously by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 Jonathan Demme film The Silence of the Lambs.
  26. Big Bird (1969) Created by Jim Henson and portrayed by Carroll Spinney for Sesame Street.
  27. Tony Montana (1983)  Created by Oliver Stone for film Scarface.  Portrayed by Al Pacino.
  28. Tony Soprano (1999)  Created by David Chase for The Sopranos. Portrayed by James Gandolfini.
  29. The Terminator (1984)  Created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd for The Terminator. Portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  30. Charles Foster Kane (1941)  Created and portrayed by Orson Welles for Citizen Kane.
  31. Scarlett O'Hara (1936)  Created by Margaret Mitchell for the novel Gone With the Wind. Portrayed most famously by Vivien Leigh for the 1939 Victor Fleming film adaptation.
  32. Marty McFly (1985) Created by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale for Back to the Future. Portrayed by Michael J. Fox.
  33. Rick Blaine (1940)  Created by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison for the unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. Later portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in Michael Curtiz's film adaptation Casablanca.
  34. Man With No Name (1964)  Created by Sergio Leone for A Fistful of Dollars, which was adapted from a ronin character in Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961).  Portrayed by Clint Eastwood.
  35. Charlie Brown (1948)  Created by Charles M. Shultz for the comic strip L'il Folks; popularized two years later in Peanuts.
  36. E.T. (1982)  Created by Melissa Mathison for the film E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial.
  37. Arthur Fonzarelli (1974)  Created by Bob Brunner for the show Happy Days. Portrayed by Henry Winkler.
  38. Holden Caulfield (1945) Created by J.D. Salinger for the Collier's story "I'm Crazy."  Reworked into the novel The Catcher in the Rye in 1951.
  39. Phillip Marlowe (1939)  Created by Raymond Chandler for the novel The Big Sleep.
  40. Jay Gatsby (1925)  Created by F. Scott Fitzgerald for the novel The Great Gatsby.
  41. Lassie (1938) Created by Eric Knight for a Saturday Evening Post story, later turned into the novel Lassie Come-Home in 1940, film adaptation in 1943, and long-running television show in 1954.  Most famously portrayed by the dog Pal.
  42. Fred Flintstone (1959)  Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for The Flintstones. Voiced most notably by Alan Reed.
  43. Rooster Cogburn (1968)  Created by Charles Portis for the novel True Grit. Most famously portrayed by John Wayne in the 196
    9 film adaptation.
  44. Atticus Finch (1960)  Created by Harper Lee for the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  (Appeared in the earlier work Go Set A Watchman, though this was not published until 2015)  Portrayed most famously by Gregory Peck in the Robert Mulligan film adaptation.
  45. Kermit the Frog (1955)  Created and performed by Jim Henson for the show Sam and Friends. Later popularized in Sesame Street (1969) and The Muppet Show (1976)
  46. George Bailey (1943)  Created by Phillip Van Doren Stern (then as George Pratt) for the short story The Greatest Gift. Later adapted into Capra's It's A Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart as the renamed George Bailey.
  47. Yoda (1980) Created by George Lucas for The Empire Strikes Back.
  48. Sam Malone (1982)  Created by Glen and Les Charles for the show Cheers.  Portrayed by Ted Danson.
  49. Harry Callahan (1971)  Created by Harry Julian Fink and R.M. Fink for the movie Dirty Harry.  Portrayed by Clint Eastwood.
  50. Tarzan (1912)  Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs for the novel Tarzan of the Apes.
  51. Zorro (1919)  Created by Johnston McCulley for the All-Story Weekly pulp magazine story The Curse of Capistrano. Later adapted to the Douglas Fairbanks' film The Mark of Zorro (1920).
  52. Moe, Larry, and Curly (1928)  Created by Ted Healy for the vaudeville act Ted Healy and his Stooges.
  53. Mary Poppins (1934)  Created by P.L. Travers for the children's book Mary Poppins.
  54. Ron Burgundy (2004)  Created by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay for the film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.  Portrayed by Will Ferrell.
  55. Mario (1981)  Created by Shigeru Miyamoto for the video game Donkey Kong.
  56. The Dude (1998)  Created by Ethan and Joel Coen for the film The Big Lebowski. Portrayed by Jeff Bridges.
  57. Gandalf (1937)  Created by J.R.R. Tolkien for the novel The Hobbit.
  58. The Joker (1940)  Created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane for Batman #1 (DC Comics)
  59. The Grinch (1957)  Created by Dr. Seuss for the story How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  60. Willy Wonka (1964)  Created by Roald Dahl for the children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  61. The Hulk (1962)  Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel Comics)
  62. Scooby-Doo (1969)  Created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears for the show Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
  63. George Costanza (1989)  Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld for the show Seinfeld.  Portrayed by Jason Alexander.
  64. Jules Winfield (1994)  Created by Quentin Tarantino for the film Pulp Fiction. Portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson.
  65. Harry Potter (1997)  Created by J.K. Rowling for the novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  66. Travis Bickle (1976)  Created by Paul Schrader for the film Taxi Driver. Portrayed by Robert De Niro.
  67. John McClane (1988)  Based on the character Detective Joe Leland, who was created by Roderick Thorp for the novel Nothing Lasts Forever. Later adapted into the John McTernan film Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis as McClane.
  68. Ellen Ripley (1979)  Created by Don O'cannon and Ronald Shusett for the film Alien.  Portrayed by Sigourney Weaver.
  69. Ralph Kramden (1951)  Created and portrayed by Jackie Gleason for "The Honeymooners," which became its own show in 1955.
  70. Edward Scissorhands (1990)  Created by Tim Burton for the film Edward Scissorhands.  Portrayed by Johnny Depp.
  71. Eric Cartman (1992)  Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the animated short Jesus vs Frosty.  Later developed into the show South Park, which premiered in 1997.  Voiced by Trey Parker.
  72. Walter White (2008)  Created by Vince Gilligan for Breaking Bad.  Portrayed by Bryan Cranston.
  73. Cosmo Kramer (1989)  Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld for Seinfeld.  Portrayed by Michael Richards.
  74. Freddy Krueger (1984)  Created by Wes Craven for the film A Nightmare on Elm Street. Most famously portrayed by Robert Englund.
  75. Shrek (1990)  Created by William Steig for the children's book Shrek! Later adapted into the 2001 film starring Mike Myers as the titular character.
  76. Captain America (1941)  Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Captain America Comics #1 (Marvel Comics)
  77. Bambi (1923)  Created by Felix Salten for the children's book Bambi, a Life in the Woods. Later adapted into the Disney film Bambi in 1942.
  78. Ronald McDonald (1963) Created by Williard Scott for a series of television spots.
  79. Waldo/Wally (1987) Created by Martin Hanford for the children's book Where's Wally? (Waldo in US edition)
  80. Frasier Crane (1984)  Created by Glen and Les Charles for Cheers.  Portrayed by Kelsey Grammar.
  81. Omar Little (2002)  Created by David Simon for The Wire. Portrayed by Michael K. Williams.
  82. Cliff Huxtable (1984)  Created and portrayed by Bill Cosby for The Cosby Show.
  83. Wolverine (1974)  Created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and John Romita Sr for The Incredible Hulk #180 (Marvel Comics)
  84. Jason Voorhees (1980)  Created by Victor Miller for the film Friday the 13th.
  85. Betty Boop (1930)  Created by Max Fleischer and the Grim Network for the cartoon Dizzy Dishes.
  86. Bilbo Baggins (1937)  Created by J.R.R. Tolkien for the novel The Hobbit.
  87. Tom Joad (1939)  Created by John Steinbeck for the novel The Grapes of Wrath. Later adapted into the 1940 John Ford film and portrayed by Henry Fonda.
  88. Tony Stark (Iron Man) (1963)  Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby for Tales of Suspense #39 (Marvel Comics)
  89. Porky Pig (1935)  Created by Friz Freleng for the animated short film I Haven't Got a Hat. Voiced most famously by Mel Blanc.
  90. Hawkeye Pierce (1968)  Created by Richard Hooker for the novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. Famously portrayed by both Alan Alda and Donald Sutherland.
  91. Don Draper (2007)  Created by Matthew Weiner for the show Mad Men.  Portrayed by Jon Hamm.
  92. Jack Torrance (1977)  Created by Stephen King for the novel The Shining. Later adapted into the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film and portrayed by Jack Nicholson.
  93. Terry Malloy (1954)  Created by Budd Schulberg for the film On the Waterfront. Portrayed by Marlon Brando.
  94. Axel Foley (1984)  Created by Danilo Bach for the film Beverly Hills Cop.  Portrayed by Eddie Murphy.
  95. Tyler Durden (1996) Created by Chuck Palahniuk for the novel Fight Club.  Later adapted into the David Fincher film and portrayed by Brad Pitt.
  96. Holly Golightly (1958)  Created by Truman Capote for the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Later adapted into the 1961 Blake Edwards films starring Audrey Hepburn as Holly.
  97. Patrick Bateman (1987)  Created by Bret Easton Ellis for the novel The Rules of Attraction. Most famously portrayed by Christian Bale in the 2000 film adaption of American Psycho.
  98. J.R. Ewing (1978)  Created by David Jacobs for the show Dallas.  Portrayed by Larry Hagman.
  99. Optimus Prime (1984)  Created by Dennis O'Neil for the Transformers toy line.
  100. Keyser Soze (1995)  Created by Christopher McQuarrie for the film The Usual Suspects.
Pre-20th Century: Santa Claus, Dracula, Robin Hood, Cinderella, Huckleberry Finn, Odysseus, Sherlock Holmes, Romeo and Juliet, Frankenstein, Prince Hamlet, Uncle Sam, Paul Bunyan, Tom Sawyer, Pinocchio, Oliver Twist, Snow White, Don Quixote, Rip Van Winkle, Ebenezer Scrooge, Anna Karenina, Ichabod Crane, John Henry, The Tooth Fairy, Br'er Rabbit, Long John Silver, The Mad Hatter
Written by Ben Pogany
1) HBO: Launched in 1972
Top currently-running properties: Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, Last Week Tonight, Veep, Silicon Valley, True Detective, Girls, Togetherness
Top formerly-running properties: The Wire, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Larry Sanders Show, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Sex in the City, Oz, Boardwalk Empire, Band of Brothers

2)  FX/FXX: Launched in 1994
Top currently-running properties: Fargo, Atlanta, American Crime Story, The Americans, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, American Horror Story, You're the Worst, Baskets, Tyrant, The Strain
Top formerly-running properties: Louie, The Shield, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck

3)  Netflix: Launched in 1997
Top currently-running properties: Master of None, Black Mirror, Making a Murderer, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, Bloodline, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Jessica Jones

4)  Comedy Central: Launched in 1991
Top currently-running properties: The Daily Show, Inside Amy Schumer, South Park, Nathan For You, Broad City, The Nightly Show, Drunk History, Workaholics, Review, Tosh.0
Top formerly-running properties: Chappelle's Show, The Colbert Report, Key and Peele, The Man Show, Upright Citizen's Brigade

5)  AMC: Launched in 1984
Top currently-running properties: Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead, Halt and Catch Fire, Fear the Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels.
Top formerly-running properties: Breaking Bad, Mad Men

6)  Amazon Studios: Launched in 2013
Top currently-running properties: Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle

7)  Showtime: Launched in 1976
Top currently-running properties: Homeland, Ray Donovan, Episodes, Shameless, The Affair, Penny Dreadful, Masters of Sex, Billions
Top formerly-running properties: Dexter, Nurse Jackie, Californication, Weeds, The Tudors.

8) FOX: Launched in 1986
Top currently-running properties: Brooklyn Nine Nine, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Empire, The X-Files
Top formerly-running properties: Arrested Development, 24, That 70's Show, 90210, Melrose Place, In Living Color, Prison Break, House, Married...with Children, Party of Five, Undeclared.

9) CBS: Launched in 1941
Top currently-running properties: Big Bang Theory, NCIS, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 60 Minutes, The Good Wife
Top formerly-running properties: CSI, Chicago Hope, Picket Fences, Everybody Loves Raymond, Murphy Brown
10) NBC: Launched in 1939
Top currently-running properties: Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Blacklist, Meet the Press, Law & Order: SVU
Top formerly-running properties: Seinfeld, The West Wing, Cheers, Law and Order, Friends, Parks and Rec, ER, Friday Night Lights, The Office, Frasier, Freaks and Geeks, The Cosby Show, Homicide: Life on the Street, 30 Rock, L.A. Law
Written by Ben Pogany
1) Stephen Colbert (1997-2005)
Even Stephven, This Week In God, The Jobbing of America
Extracurriculars: The Colbert Report, The Late Show

2) Steve Carell (1999-2005)
Even Stephven, Produce Pete, Dollars and "Cents, We Love Showbiz, Slimmin' Down With Steve, Ad Nauseam
Extracurriculars: The Office, Anchorman, Foxcatcher, The 40 Year Old Virgin

3) Jon Oliver (2006-2013)
Senior British Person; Wilmore-Oliver Investigates, Interim host
Extracurriculars: Last Week Tonight

4) Samantha Bee (2003-2015)
Extracurriculars: Full Frontal

5) Larry Wilmore (2006-2014)
Senior Black Correspondent, Wilmore-Oliver Investigates
Extracurriculars: The Nightly Show

6) Ed Helms (2002-2006)
Digital Watch, Ad Nauseam, Mark Your Calendar, We Love Showbiz
Extracurriculars: The Hangover, The Office

7) Jason Jones (2005-2015)

8) Jessica Williams (2012-2016)

9) Lewis Black (1996-2015)
Back in Black
Extracurriculars: Standup, Root of all Evil, Inside Out

10) John Hodgeman (2006-2015)
Resident Expert, Deranged Millionaire, You're Welcome, Exper-teasers ; Money Talks
Extracurriculars: Author, Mac Commercials, The Knick

11) Aasif Mandvi (2006-2015)
Senior Middle East Correspondent

12) Wyatt Cenac (2008-2012)
Extracurriculars: Standup

13) Rob Riggle (2006-2008)
Senior Military Affairs Correspondent
Extracurriculars: Step Brothers, 21 Jump Street

14) Rob Corddry (2002-2006)
Extracurriculars: Anchorman, Hot Tub Time Machine

15) Mo Rocca (1998-2003)
Dollars and "Cents, Mark Your Calendar, Mopinion.
Extracurriculars: CBS Sunday Morning, I Love the 70's/80's, My Grandmother's Ravioli

16) Demetri Martin (2005-2008)
Trendspotting
Extracurriculars: Standup, Important Things with Demetri Martin

17) Al Madrigal (2011-2015)
Senior Latino Correspondent

18) Jordan Klepper (2014-Present)

19) Kristen Schaal (2008-2015)
Women's Issues Correspondent
Extracurriculars: Flight of the Conchords

20) Beth Littleford (1996-2000)
The Beth Littleford Interview
Written by Ben Pogany
1) Denis Leary (20 episodes)

2) Brian Williams (22 episodes)

3) Will Ferrell (16 episodes)

4) Fareed Zakaria (21 episodes)

5) Bill O'Reily (13 episodes)

6) Paul Rudd (17 episodes)

7) John McCain (18 episodes)

8) Ricky Gervais (13 episodes)

9) Louis CK (8 episodes)

10) Richard Lewis (16 episodes)
Written by Ben Pogany

Since 2008, there have been two kinds of people in the world: those who insist The Wire is the greatest television series ever, and those who insist that it's totally at the top of their Netflix queue but they just haven’t had the time to get around to it yet.  For over half a decade, TV’s Greatest Of All Time was safe.  Sure, The Sopranos and Mad Men were in the conversation, but that conversation usually ended once David Simon’s trump card was introduced.  Today, that conversation just got a whole lot dicier.  Breaking Bad has ended, and in doing so, has forced us to reopen the discussion anew.

A new contender has arisen from the multitudes, and like its predecessor, it is a modern masterpiece of moral compromise.  Hitting the airwaves just weeks before The Wire took its final bow, Breaking Bad set out on the unprecedented journey of taking a warm, relatable hero and slowly transforming him into a villain, forcing the audience to question where their allegiances lay all the way down to the series’ final moments.  The Wire had forced us to reexamine the typical good guy/bad guy roles in an entirely different manner, by gradually exposing everyone as imperfect players in a broken system.  Ultimate takeaway?  Under the right circumstances, everyone eventually breaks bad, no matter what side of the wire you happen to be on.

Two great shows, but there can only be one G.O.A.T.  Let the breakdown begin.

Series Arc: It's actually kind of remarkable how similarly the arcs of each of these series mirror one another when you really think about it.  Both shows submitted pilots that instantly announced that this was going to be vastly different from anything you’d ever seen on television before.  They then proceeded in the early going as more of a slow burn, so much so that you may even have been inclined to protest to a new initiate, “just keep watching.  Things eventually pick up.”  And do they ever.  Both series then experienced polarizing sophomore seasons (the season on the docks was a departure to be sure, but also very necessary to the overall scope of the show. In Breaking Bad, it was the business with the pink teddy bear and the season long lead-up to the plane crash.  Over the top perhaps, but also an important and meaningful step along Walt’s transformation.)  Season three in each show is right around when we realized that we were witnessing something truly special.  Between the Stringer/Avon showdown and the Los Pollos Hermanos operation being in full swing, season three is when you probably started proselytizing the merits of these shows to your friends with an almost religious zeal.  Many a Netflix/on-demand/DVD binge was had between seasons three and four, as countless people at first curious to see what all the buzz was about were now full on hooked and desperate to be caught up before the start of the new season.  For each, season four catapulted the series from great drama to high art; there was no longer any doubt that we were witnessing something historic.  And then there was season five....

Final Season: It's not so much that The Wire’s final season was bad, just not quite up to the unprecedented, almost impossibly high standard it had previously set for itself.  Breaking Bad did what perhaps no other show ever has been able to accomplish, get better and better the closer it got to the end.  Whichever side you ultimately come down on (or maybe you’re just more of a Good Wife kinda guy), it seems almost impossible to argue with the fact that if nothing else, Breaking Bad had the most riveting, astonishing, and altogether masterful final season in television history.  While The Wire was stumbling to the finish line with invented serial killers and numbskull reporters, Breaking Bad seemed to raise the bar to ever staggering heights with every successive episode.  (Although the high water mark for me has to be the antepenultimate "Ozymandias", which might be the most harrowing, devastatingly brilliant hour ever committed to the small screen.)  Time and time again, we have seen great shows reduced to impotent shells of their former selves by not knowing when to pack it in (Lost, Dexter, 24).  Breaking Bad stepped away exactly as any show could ever hope to, with us all wanting more.

The worst thing you can say about the finale is that it ended perhaps a little too neatly, or a little too predictably.  (Just imagine the mind-blowing shock had we never received those flash-forwards to puzzle over for so many months.  All in all, I say it was a worthwhile peak.)  While "Felina" might not quite belong alongside the pantheonic conclusions of say Six Feet Under or The Shield, it might also be that after having raised the bar so incredibly high in the preceding handful of episodes nothing short of Citizen Kane: ABQ could have possibly lived up to our expectations.  (Actually that probably would have sucked pretty bad.  You’re telling me Heisenberg was just the name of his childhood sled?!!)

Acting: Again, this is to say nothing ill of the magnificent ensemble of The Wire, but come on, Bryan Cranston?!!  His performance of Walter H. White these past six years is simply in a whole other league, only so much as glimpsed by James Gandolfini and perhaps, depending on how these final 14 shake out, Jon Hamm.  The degree of difficulty here cannot be overstated.  Cranston literally played four characters in one: Walter White, Heisenberg, Heisenberg pretending to be Walter White (think the scene when he’s subtly encouraging Jesse to dump Andrea), and Walter White pretending to be Heisenberg.  With all the other assets Breaking Bad had going for it, it seems wrong to suggest that it couldn’t have succeeded without Cranston’s performance, but can you really see anyone else pulling this off?  Not a chance.  Idris Elba’s Stringer and Dominic West’s McNulty are iconic, even transcendent characters, but I can’t say with the same conviction that they absolutely could not have been pulled off by anyone else.

Speaking on the rest of the casts, it's almost mind-boggling how ridiculously deep these benches of talent were.  Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks all got their Emmy nods or better.  As for The Wire, the fact that this series did not receive so much as one nomination throughout its run is the single greatest travesty in anything, ever.  Michael K. Williams’ Omar, Andre Royo’s Bubbles, Michael B. Jordan’s Wallace...just top notch up and down the line.

Significance/Importance: There’s a reason they teach a college course on The Wire at Harvard.  Even if you weren’t fully internalizing everything David Simon was serving up, you just knew that you were watching something important.  The Wire was social commentary at its most profound, a window into the all-too-overlooked world of poverty, drug addiction, urban dysfunction, and the twin engines of the streets and the government bureaucracy charged with policing it, each infected to its core by ambition, greed and corruptibility.  It was just about as real as any show has ever been; gritty and raw and unflinchingly honest. Breaking Bad, on the other hand, inhabited more of a hyper-reality, in which a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief was a required prerequisite.  I don’t mention this as a slight.  Heck, if you’re getting on Breaking Bad for not being realistic, you’re simply missing the point.  The world of Heisenberg was one of inflated reality, full of fantastical train heists and impossibly orchestrated prison murder sprees.  Its style is more Western than neo-realist.  The Wire was entertainment to be sure, but it was also a sociological treatise on our times.  While Breaking Bad no doubt had a lot to say about society, it was always first and foremost a show firmly committed to entertain.

Direction, Cinematography, and Music: As one of the last shows to still be shot on film, Breaking Bad often looked as impressive as anything being churned out of Hollywood.  Directors such as Michael Slovis, Rian Johnson and most notably Michelle MacLaren elevated the craft to a level heretofore unseen on the small screen.  The dazzling cook sequences, inventive camera work (think Roomba cam), awesome time-lapse shots, and magnificent landscape panoramas were truly things of beauty.  And then there’s Dave Porter’s scoring.  Whether it was the slow, trepidatious beat in "Crawl Space",  or the frenzied fury that accompanies Jessie’s attempted foray into arson, Porter was simply a virtuoso at taking an already tense situation and introducing just the right amount of sonic accompaniment to leave your heart positioned firmly in your throat. The Wire didn't suffer in these departments, it just was never really all that a part of the equation the way it was with its counterpart.  Reality didn’t need to be heightened by fancy camera work or scoring, and that’s perhaps the point.  Still, Bad wins this one running.

Comic Relief: It's amazing that two of the darkest, most brutal shows in recent memory could also be as hilarious as anything on television when they wanted to (or maybe you would have preferred it to just be like this).  Sustained tension needs to have built-in release points; to do otherwise would simply have been too punishing to audiences.  Of course, longtime comedian Bill Odenkirk was a revelation as Saul Goodman, and his cohort of fellow stand-ups Bill Burr (Kuby) and Lavell Crawford (Huell) were masters at diffusing the tension with some well placed laughs.  (see: Huell going all Scrooge McDuck on Walt’s bed of money)  Then there's the twin jesters Badger and Skinny Pete and that epic Star Trek script.  In The Wire, you have that classic scene with Bunk and McNulty communicating solely through the use of one four letter word in all its glory.  You had Rawls and Landsman excelling in verbal assholery, Clay Davis and his trademark other four letter word (although come to think of it, there had to have been six or seven i's in there), and hell even Stringer had his moments.  Which brings us to...

Epic Quotes: Man, so much to choose from.  Do you like Heisenberg's "Say my name" or Marlo's "My name is my name!"?  Jesse's "I’m the bad guy" or Omar's "I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game though, right?" And then of course, we have the iconic “I am the one who knocks” monologue and the equally unforgettable "Where's Wallace at? Where the fuck is Wallace? Where's Wallace, String? STRING!"

The Verdict: When you get this far up on the totem pole, you almost want to stop and say ‘screw it, why can’t we just acknowledge that they were both great and be thankful that God saw fit to give us Vince Gilligan and David Simon and leave it at that'.  Cause that would just be a cop out, that’s why.  And frankly, if you haven’t noticed, ranking things is kind of what we do.  So at risk of offending one of my greatest loves, the show that up until very recently I touted as having an untouchable perch atop the TV pantheon, I have to admit that yes, indeed, a new GOAT has arisen.  Maybe in another decade, after some of the afterglow of its recent departure has dissipated, things will look differently.  Maybe an entirely new show will rise to overtake them both.  Maybe Boardwalk Empire or House of Cards will soon make that jump. Maybe Long Winter Sun will take---ummm, na maybe not.  For now, it's Breaking Bad, it's The Wire, and it's everybody else.
Written by Ben Pogany
1) "No soup for you!"

2) "The sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli..."

3) "Hellooo Newman..."

4) "I was in the pool!  I was in the pool!"

5) "Yada yada yada"

6) "These pretzels are making me thirsty!"

7) "Oh, noooo, I'm so sorry. It's the Moops. The correct answer is...the Moops."

8) "SERENITY NOW!!"

9) "Well the jerk store called, they're running outta you!"

10) "You dipped the chip. You took a bite, and you dipped again...That's like putting your whole mouth right in the dip! From now on, when you take a chip, just take one dip and end it."

11) "You are soooo good looking..."

12) "You put the balm on?! Who told you to put the balm on?! I didn't tell you to put the balm on! Why'd you put the balm on?!!"

13) "That is one magic loogie."

14) "I flew too close to the sun on wings of pastrami."

15) "Just remember, when you control the mail, you control... information."

16) "Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint; it's delicious!"

17) "So, anyway, if you think about it, manure is not really that bad a word. I mean, it's 'newer', which is good, and a 'ma' in front of it, which is also good. Ma-newer, right?"

18) "I didn't know she had a pony. How was I to know she had a pony? Who figures an immigrant's going to have a pony? Do you know what the odds are on that? I mean, in all the pictures I saw of immigrants on boats coming into New York harbor, I never saw one of them sitting on a pony. Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense.. am I wrong?"

19) "And you wanna be my latex salesman..."

20) "Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it."

21) "Unfortunately, I didn't have a partner. I got gonorrhea from a tractor."

22) "I'm disturbed, I'm depressed, I'm inadequate, I've got it all!"

23) "Believe it or not, George isn't at home. Please leave a message at the beep. I must be out or I'd pick up the phone. Where could I beee? Believe it or not, I'm not hoooommme."

24) "You don't understand.  A garage.  I can't even pull in there.  It's like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?"

25) "Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it Roundtine. That's gold, Jerry! Gold!"
Written by Ben Pogany
  1. Breaking Bad (2008-2013) AMC   Created by Vince Gilligan. Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher turned meth cook, and if that sounds weird just consider that this is also the guy who played the dad in Malcolm in the Middle.  Breaking Bad sets its self apart from any other show in that it introduces a hero and slowly transforms him in a villain, who in the process brings down every person around him.  Whether or not there is anything left in the character of Walter White to root for may be forever up for debate.  The quality of Bryan Cranston's depiction of him is not, as the guy who once asked for a "shtickle of fluoride" is now turning in some of the best acting on television.
  2. The Wire (2002-2008) HBO Created by David Simon. The Wire is television perfection, and if it's not the greatest series of all time it certainly is the most under-appreciated.  How this never was even nominated for an Emmy is beyond all rationale.  The Wire takes a brutal look at various aspects of life in Baltimore, exploring with harsh realism the interweaving worlds of street life, politics, education, poverty, law enforcement, and the media.  What emerges is the sobering realization that from the drug cartels to the fractured bureaucracy tasked with combating them, all are players in the same game, mirrors of one another in a vicious cycle of ambition, dysfunction, and moral compromise.
  3. Mad Men (2007-2015) AMC Created by Matthew Weiner.    Mad Men is like watching literature in hourly installments, replete with incisive symbolism and complex subtleties.  It follows Don Draper, ad man extraordinaire inhabiting the world of 1960's Madison Avenue, a world of rampant smoking, drinking, and philandering.  However, Mad Men is not so much a period piece as it is a series of character studies.  Weiner seems to intimate that we all are searching for something to fill the void, whether it be that new car seen in a magazine, the next promotion, or woman at the end of the bar.  Ultimately, when we run from ourselves we just end up out of breath.
  4. The Sopranos (1999-2007) HBO Created by David Chase.   Long before The Jersey Shore was offending the sensibilities of Italians and Jerseyans everywhere, it was the Soprano family representing the Garden State.  The Sopranos demonstrated what was truly possible for the television medium, raising production up to an almost cinematic level that single-handedly ushered in the era of premium television.   Making that HBO subscription all but mandatory, it stands as the most financially successful program in cable history.  Compiling 21 Emmys over six seasons, the Sopranos finally signed off in 2007 in a finale that can only be described as                                 .
  5. Law and Order (1990-2010) NBC Created by Dick Wolf.   The show that inspired a million law degrees and almost as many spinoffs.  The first half police investigation, second half trial format was originally conceived to increase the show's chances at syndication by giving broadcasters the option of splitting the episodes into half-hour airings.  Fortunately, winning syndication was never a problem for this mega franchise, and it's probably not far off to say that at any one moment, an episode of Law and Order is airing somewhere.
  6. The West Wing  (1999-2006) NBC Created by Aaron Sorkin.   Just where do you think Charlie got that Adonis DNA from anyway?  Papa Sheen is brilliant as Commander-in-Chief Josiah Bartlet, presiding over a series that would collect an astounding four consecutive best drama Emmys in its heyday.  Taking on an array of real world issues, from the Israeli conflict to DOMA to North Korean nuclear ambitions, the West Wing is as relevant today as it was over a decade ago.
  7. Game of Thrones (2011-Present) HBO  Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  8. Lost (2004-2010) ABC Created by JJ Abrams
  9. NYPD Blue (1993-2005) ABC Created by Steven Bochco and David Milch
  10. 24 (2001-2010) FOX Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran.    The way 24 plummeted after Season 5, it's hard to remember just how riveting those early seasons really were. There was always a certain degree of suspension of disbelief necessary with 24, but a guy can only go rogue, do the "there's no time to explain" routine, and end up saving the world so many times before things just descend into the ridiculous.  Still, Jack Bauer was a hero for the new millennium, and just think, would we have ever had Barack if not for David Palmer paving the way?
  11. ER (1994-2009) NBC Created by Michael Crichton.    Did for doctors what Law and Order did for lawyers.  Its 124 Emmy nominations are the most in television history and its introduction of George Clooney into the public consciousness (notwithstanding the cinematic masterpiece Return of the Killer Tomatoes) is something we can surely all be thankful for.
  12. Dexter (2006-2013) Showtime Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay and developed by James Manos, Jr.     When Dexter hit TV screens in 2006, all the world needed was another show about a crime scene forensic.  However, when that forensic just happens to moonlight as a sociopathic killer of bad guys, things start to diverge from your average episode of CSI. Think Robin Hood as a hopeless kleptomaniac, channeling his uncontrollable inner demons into a public good.  Fun fact: Michael C. Hall met his now ex-wife Jennifer Carpenter (Deb) on the set of Dexter, effectively marrying his sister.
  13. Six Feet Under (2001-2005) HBO Created by Alan Ball.   Ironic that a show that revolves around death can penetrate with such poignancy what it means to be alive.  This time Michael C. Hall plays a gay funeral director, running the Fisher and Sons funeral home in Los Angeles (what creator Alan Ball calls "the world capital of the denial of death") with brother Nate and partner Rico.  Also in the picture are sister Claire, mother Ruth, and a host of significant others.  All are eccentric, often demented, and always real, sometimes painfully so. Dealing with death on a daily basis is no easy gig.  Dealing with life might very well be harder.
  14. The X-Files (1993-2002) FOX Created by Chris Carter
  15. Oz (1997-2003) HBO Created by Tom Fontana. HBO's first ever one-hour drama illustrated just how "not just TV" HBO truly was, presenting prison life with gritty, often cringe-worthy realism that spoke to themes all-to-relatable to us civilians. Thirteen actors that originally appeared in Oz went on to appear in The Wire, so it goes without saying how I feel about this one.

Best Right Now: Fargo, Mr. Robot, The Leftovers, Better Call Saul, The Knick
Written by Ben Pogany
1) Will Ferrell (1995 - 2002) 
Signature sketches: Celebrity Jeopardy, More Cowbell, W. Bush, James Lipton, Harry Carry, Robert Goulet, The Lovers.      SNL Rating: 10
Extracurriculars: Anchorman, Old School, Funny or Die.      Post SNL Rating: 9.5
Total Score: 19.5


2) Eddie Murphy (1980 - 1984)
Signature sketches: Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood, White Like Me, Buckwheat, Gumby, Prose and Cons, Stevie Wonder, John David Stutts, James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party.        SNL Rating: 9.6
Extracurriculars: Stand-up, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America.      Post SNL Rating: 9.3
Total Score: 18.9

3) John Belushi (1975 - 1979)
Signature sketches: Samurai Futaba, Blues Brothers, Olympia Restaurant, Joe Cocker, The Singing Bee.      SNL Rating: 9.2
Extracurriculars: Animal House, Blues Brothers.   Post SNL Rating:  7.2
Total Score: 16.4

4) Phil Hartman (1986 - 1994) 
Signature sketches: Bill Clinton, The Anal Retentive Chef, The Sinatra Group, Ronald Reagan, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. SNL Rating: 9.7
Extracurriculars: NewsRadio, The Simpsons.     Post SNL Rating: 6.6
Total Score: 16.3

5) Bill Murray (1977 - 1980) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Nick the Lounge Singer.        SNL Rating: 7.4
Extracurriculars: Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation.       Post SNL Rating:  8.5
Total Score: 15.9

6) Chris Farley (1990 - 1995) 
Signature sketches: The Chris Farley Show, Matt Foley Motivational Speaker, The Chippendales Audition, Bill Swerkski's Super Fans, Bennett Brauer, El Niño, Schmitts Gay Beer.         SNL Rating: 9.6
Extracurriculars: Tommy Boy, Black Sheep.       Post SNL Rating: 6.2
Total Score: 15.8


7) Dan Aykroyd (1975 - 1979) 
Signature sketches: Blues Brothers,  Irwin Mainway, Beldar Conehead, Fred Garvin, Bass-O-Matic, Julia Child, and One Wild and Crazy Guy.        SNL Rating: 8.3
Extracurriculars: Ghostbusters, Coneheads, Blues Brothers. Post SNL Rating:  7.3
Total Score: 15.6

8) Adam Sandler (1991 - 1995)  
Signature sketches: Opera ManThe Hanukkah SongCanteen BoySchmitts Gay Beer.      SNL Rating: 7
Extracurriculars: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Happy Madison Films.       Post SNL Rating: 8.4
Total Score: 15.4

9) Chevy Chase (1975 - 1976)  Also a 9-time host, the most of any former cast member.
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Gerald Ford, Land Shark.       SNL Rating: 7
Extracurriculars: National Lampoon, Caddyshack, Fletch, Community.        Post SNL Rating: 8
Total Score: 15

10) Tina Fey
(2000 - 2006) 
Signature sketches: Head Writer, Sarah Palin, Weekend Update.        SNL Rating: 7
Extracurriculars: 30 Rock, Mean Girls. Post SNL Rating: 7.7
Total Score: 14.7

11) Dana Carvey (1986 - 1993) 
Signature sketches: Church Lady, Garth Alger, Hanz, The Grumpy Old Man, Chopping Broccili, Bush I.     SNL Rating: 8.3
Extracurriculars: The Dana Carvey Show, Wayne's World.       Post SNL Rating:  5.8
Total Score: 14.1

12) Seth Meyers (2001 - 2014)  
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Head Writer.   SNL Rating: 7.8
Extracurriculars: Late Night With Seth Myers, The Awesomes.     Post SNL Rating: 6
Total Score: 13.8

13) Mike Myers (1989 - 1995) 
Signature sketches: Wayne Campbell, Sprockets, Coffee Talk.        SNL Rating: 6
Extracurriculars: Austin Powers Trilogy, Shrek Quadrilogy, Wayne's World.       Post SNL Rating: 7.7
Total Score: 13.7

14) Kristen Wiig (2005-2012) 
Signature sketches: The Target Lady, Kat, Penelope, Michele Bachmann.      SNL Rating: 8
Extracurriculars: Bridesmaids, MacGruber.       Post SNL Rating: 5.6
Total Score: 13.6

15) Chris Rock (1990 - 1993)  
Signature sketches: The Dark Side With Nat X, I'm Chillin'.      SNL Rating: 4.4
Extracurriculars: Stand-up, Everybody Hates Chris, The Chris Rock Show.   Post SNL Rating:  9.1
Total Score: 13.5

16) Jane Curtin (1975 - 1980) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Pymaat Conehead.       SNL Rating: 6.7
Extracurriculars: Kate & Alley, 3rd Rock From the Sun, The Coneheads.     Post SNL Rating: 6.6
Total Score: 13.3

17) Amy Poehler (2001 - 2008) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update.       SNL Rating: 6.8
Extracurriculars: Parks and Rec, Baby Mama.     Post SNL Rating: 6.4
Total Score: 13.2

18) Al Franken (1977 - 1980, 1985 – 1986, 1988 – 1995) 
Signature sketches: Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley, Prolific writer.      SNL Rating: 6
Extracurriculars: US Senator, Author, Radio commentator.     Post SNL Rating: 7
Total Score: 13

19) Jimmy Fallon (1998 - 2004)  
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Barry GibbSully and Denise.       SNL Rating: 4.6
Extracurriculars: The Tonight Show, The Jimmy Fallon Show. Post SNL Rating: 8.2
Total Score: 12.8

20) Andy Samberg (2005 -2012)  
Signature sketches: Lazy SundayDick in a BoxMother Lover, I'm On a Boat, Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals.      SNL Rating: 7.5
Extracurriculars: Brooklyn Nine-Nine.     Post SNL Rating: 5
Total Score: 12.5

21) Tracy Morgan (1996 - 2003) 
Signature sketches: Brian Fellow's Safari Planet, Uncle Jemima, Star Jones, Woodrow the Homeless Man.     SNL Rating: 6.6
Extracurriculars: 30 Rock, Stand-up, The Tracy Morgan Show. Post SNL Rating: 5.5
Total Score: 12.1


22) Norm Macdonald (1993 - 1998) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Burt Reynolds, Bob Dole, Stan Hooper.    SNL Rating:  6.7
Extracurriculars: Stand-up, Dirty Work, The Norm Show.    Post SNL Rating: 5
Total Score: 11.7

23) Darrell Hammond (1995 - 2009)  His fourteen seasons is by far the longest running tenure in the history of the show. 
Signature sketches: Sean Connery, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Al Gore, John McCain, Dick Cheney.       SNL Rating: 9
Extracurriculars: Assorted bit roles       Post SNL Rating: 1
Total Score: 10

24) Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1982 - 1985)
Signature sketches: Televangelist April May June, Consuela, Weather Woman.      SNL Rating: 1.5
Extracurriculars: Seinfeld, Veep, The New Adventures of Old Christine.      Post SNL Rating: 8.2
Total Score: 9.7

25) Molly Shannon
(1995 - 2001) 
Signature sketches: Mary Katherine Gallagher, Schweddy Balls, Sally O'Malley.       SNL Rating: 6.9
Extracurriculars: Superstar!, Assorted bit roles.          Post SNL Rating: 2.2
Total Score: 9.1

26) Gilda Radner (1975 - 1980)
Signature sketches: Roseanne RosannadannaEmily LitellaBaba Wawa.      SNL Rating: 7.5
Extracurriculars: Gilda Radner - Live From New York.                Post SNL Rating: 1.5
Total Score: 9.0

27) Kevin Nealon (1986 - 1995) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Franz, Mr. Subliminal.       SNL Rating: 6.2
Extracurriculars: Weeds, Adam Sandler movies.      Post SNL Rating: 2.3
Total Score: 8.5

28) Jon Lovitz
(1985 - 1990) 
Signature sketches: Tommy Flanagan the Pathological Liar, Harvey Fierstein, Master Thespian, Hanukkah Harry.     SNL Rating: 4.7
Extracurriculars: The Client, Newsradio, The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club.     Post SNL Rating: 3.7
Total Score: 8.4

29) David Spade
(1990 - 1996) 
Signature sketches: Hollywood Minute, Buh-bye guy.      SNL Rating: 4
Extracurriculars: Just Shoot Me!, Tommy Boy, Rules of Engagement.    Post SNL Rating: 4.3
Total Score: 8.3

30) Garrett Morris
(1975 - 1980) 
Signature sketches: Chico Escuela, News For the Hard of Hearing Translator.         SNL Rating:  4.5
Extracurriculars: The Jamie Foxx Show, 2 Broke Girls, The Downtown Comedy Club. Post SNL Rating:  2.8
Total Score: 7.3


Honorable Mentions:   Tim Meadows (1991 - 2000), Ana Gasteyer (1996 - 2002), Jim Breuer (1995 - 1998), Chris Kattan (1996 - 2003), Joe Piscopo (1980 - 1984), Jason Sudeikis (2005 - 2013), Martin Short (1984 - 1985), Fred Armisen (2002 - 2013), Harry Shearer (1979 - 1980, 1984 - 1985), Chris Parnell (1998 - 2006), Rachel Dratch (1999 - 2006), Cheri Oteri (1995 - 2000), Dennis Miller (1985 - 1991), Horatio Sanz (1998 - 2006), Will Forte (2002 - 2010), Bill Hader (2005 - 2013), Jan Hooks (1986 - 1991), and Kenan Thompson (2003 - present).

Host Hall of Fame: Steve Martin (15 appearances), Alec Baldwin (16), John Goodman (12), Buck Henry (10), Tom Hanks (8), Christopher Walken (7) and Justin Timberlake (5).

Flashes in the Pan Who Went On To Bigger Things: Conan O'Brien (writer, 1987-1991), Robert Downey Jr (1985–1986), Billy Crystal (1984-1985), Steven Colbert (writer, voice in Ace in the Ambiguously Gay Duo), Steve Carell (voice of Gary in The Ambiguously Gay Duo), Christopher Guest (1984-1985), Michael McKean (1994-1995), Sarah Silverman (1993-1994), Chris Elliott (1994-1995), Joan Cusack (1985-1986), Gilbert Gottfried (1980-1981), Randy Quaid (1985-1986).

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