Stuff You Should Know · Television

Classic GOAT


Things had been a mite quiet over at The Classic TV Blog Association—that august organization of bloggers what like to write about vintage TV a lot—until Rick at The Classic Film and TV Café came up with an interesting idea in mid-December of last year.  He proposed that each CTVBA member nominate a total of ten TV series that we considered the best.  Not necessarily our favorites, mind you—but programs that “began broadcasting no later than 1989” and that met the suggested criteria of a show’s “historical impact, its influence, and enduring popularity.”

There are eight million stories in the Naked City…but not one of them made the list.

I had every intention of turning in a list of nominations for this exercise…but in all honesty, I couldn’t get past the recommendation that one should choose not necessarily one’s favorites but shows that you truly thought were the best.  Every list I started contained a show or two that I stuck on there simply because I get enormous pleasure out of revisiting them.  I decided then that rather than taint the nomination process I’d wait until a list was put together (which came to fruition a little over a week later, consisting of 58 candidates) and then vote for the ones that I felt were best.

Well, the bloggers have spoken.  Here are the twenty-five shows that made the list, and the ones in red were my choices for Top Ten:

1.   The Twilight Zone 
2.   I Love Lucy 
3.   The Mary Tyler Moore Show
4.   Columbo
5.   All in the Family
6.   Dragnet
7.   Monty Python’s Flying Circus
8.   Star Trek
9.   The Prisoner
10. M*A*S*H
11. The Dick Van Dyke Show
12. The Fugitive
13. Dallas
14. Doctor Who
15. The Andy Griffith Show
16. The Defenders
17. The Golden Girls
18. Perry Mason
19. SCTV
20. The Honeymooners
21. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
22. Hill Street Blues
23. The Odd Couple
24. The Outer Limits
25. The Avengers

Honorable mentions: Get SmartThe Ed Sullivan ShowLeave It to BeaverWKRP in Cincinnati

Farm living is not for everyone.

I had a pretty good batting average on this; nine of my ten choices made the Top 25, and my tenth pick made the honorable mentions.  It’s a fairly solid list, and the only real quibble I have is that The Dick Van Dyke Show should have been ranked higher because it’s simply the greatest TV sitcom of all time.  (You know the rules of the blog—I shall brook no disagreements about this.)  I need to come clean and admit that the “newest” show in my Top 10 was Monty Python’s Flying Circus…proving once again that I was made for earlier times.

Anyway, if you need to pick apart any of the choices on this list the comments section is there for your edification.  (I’m only disappointed that my and Rick’s fave, Route 66, was eliminated from the first round of candidates, that there’s no real estate when it comes to either Green Acres or Naked City, no respect for the dean of TV westerns [Gunsmoke], and no room at the inn for my childhood heroes, Rocky & Bullwinkle.)

12 thoughts on “Classic GOAT

    1. The irony of this is that Fred Mertz series where he’s chief-cook-and-bottle-washer to the motherless family didn’t make the candidates list, either. (I could be wrong on this, so don’t hesitate to correct me.)


  1. You are correct, it did not. I was a bit late to the nomination party, otherwise Nat Hiken, Fort Courage and the High Chaparral would have been on the ballot. Nevertheless, it was easy to fill out my list of 10 from those choices nominated by my fellow members.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps the Glenn Corbett years hurt ROUTE 66 (ironically, I’m watching season 4 on Amazon Prime now–it was weird when Glenn went gooey over Joan Crawford in episode 2). But the episodes with Martin Milner and George Maharis were first-rate and should have been in the Top 25.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I own all four seasons of ROUTE 66 on DVD, I didn’t set out to do so — and I freely acknowledge the show jumped the Corvette when Maharis left — but the completist in me sweet-talked me into it (I said the same thing re: McHALE’S NAVY; that I wasn’t going to buy the last season but I ended up doing so anyway).


    1. I know Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was among the 58 candidates that made the first draft but I’m not sure SNL was on it. (I think it was insisted upon that these be primetime series, which would leave SNL out…though if this was the case I don’t know how SCTV made the list.)


  3. Glad to see The Odd Couple on the list, and The Dick Van Dyke Show should be *much* higher. Leave it to Beaver should be on the main list (I think it’s a brilliant show) and I’m actually a little surprised The Avengers made it.

    Also: I never got Doctor Who, but that’s a personal thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard from a few People of Facebook about the inclusion of DOCTOR WHO. I like the show a lot, but it’s one of those shows (STAR TREK is another) that people make much more profound than it actually is.


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