Bear in mind, these are in no particular order
Having watched every TV show ever made, we can now conclusively decree that these are the best programmes from the last one thousand years. But do you agree? That’s the question
Seinfeld – best sitcom ever. George, Elaine, Jerry, Kramer. Word to the wise, never google “what Kramer did next”.
The Larry Sanders Show – aired directly after Seinfeld on BBC Two at 3.43am, Garry Shandling puts in one of the greatest comedy shifts of all time. As does the alleged sex pest Jeffrey Tambor (as Hank).
Cagney and Lacey – one maverick and one steady eddy, so far so ‘seen it’, but there’s a twist. These cops both have veejays and boobies. It’s called Feminism, baby, look it up in your dicktionary.
The Wire – one maverick and one steady eddy, both with standard issue willies in their underpants, so far so “yeah okay I get it”, but The Wire operates on a higher plane. A plane so high that you, nor anyone, truly understands it. It’s way up there, up with the sparrows, sitting on the phone lines, singing to the moon. There’s a sprawling cast of millions, mostly also with willies. But some without.
Fame – an offshoot of the hard-hitting movie about kids studying at performing arts college, there’s a teacher played by an actual real-life owl. He’s called Old Owly.
Da Ali G Show – a heightened Tim Westwood sits in front of a confused politician and builds up to saying “is it because I is black?” until it’s not funny anymore, which, for the sake of clarity, is never.
Miss Marple – bloody, grizzly murder follows Miss Marple like a lolloping tuba follows a fat guy. Poor dear never got around to solving the greatest mystery of all – love. Died a virgin.
Heartbreak High – some guy with a shark tooth necklace and a skateboard ramp in his house turns his soul inside out to show everyone that, underneath the eyebrow piercing, he just wants to be loved, and also shagged really well. The best Australian teen drama of all time.
Blind Date – originator of the euphemistic adage “shall I get a hat?” meaning “please can I come to your wedding please?”. Gets marked down for featuring too many old people (all of whom, when you think about it, are now dead).
Friends – people complain that, with its boot cut denim and large cappuccinos, Friends is dated, but you know what hasn’t dated? Ross going “ahhh urrgh urrgh FINE BY ME!”
Baywatch – sexy models with bodies (and faces) from Baywatch foil biker drugs gangs that operate exclusively beneath Santa Monica boardwalks.
Top of The Pops – great modern pop music introduced by a series of molesters and paedophiles. Only, you know, less sexy than that sounds.
Transparent – the most gripping dysfunctional family on TV, all struggling to define their sexuality by modern standards. There’s a good chance you’ll start questioning your own too. The alleged sex pest Jeffrey Tambor puts in the performance of his life.
The Simpsons – what started out as an afterthought on an unfunny sketch show, is now the funniest cartoon comedy ever known. And that includes Thundercats, which was, thinking about it, not a comedy.
The Sopranos – Gandolfini is the greatest breath-actor since Robert De Niro. If you want our verdict on the ending here it is: it was
Eastenders – it’s easy to underestimate a good soap, to think of it as throwaway trash. But Eastenders in the mid-90s, when Cindy was frying David Wick’s sausage in the back of Ian’s chippie, was basically Shakespeare.
Cheers – we’re currently embarking on a Cheers marathon from start to finish, and can confirm that it might be the best sitcom of all time. The fizz between ole man Danson and Shelley Long’s Diane will blow your nutsack clean off. True story.
High Maintenance – New York vignettes about a weed dealer and his unusual clientele. Yes, it’s as pretentious as instagramming your entire record collection, or riding a bike in your normal clothes, but so fucking what?
The Tube – everything 80s yoof wanted from a television program. Spotty bands, saucy It Girls, a host with a voice vaguely like a trumpet.
The Chart Show – the olden days equivalent of spending your whole Saturday morning watching Youtube. Only in this case, everything was a poorly conceived music video starring a drug addict.
The Apprentice – blokes smelling sweetly of radox shower gel, girls with freshly ironed hair, everyone with a VPL from their too-tight suits. Sexy TV at its sexiest.
Cover Up – A fashion photographer and male model are secretly undercover vigilantes with revenge on their minds.
Tripods – a kid’s TV drama from back when it was okay to completely spook children, this was about the olde worlde being enslaved and branded by strange machines.
Horace and Pete – before his uncontrollable wanking habit took its toll and was officially exposed, Louis CK was making a cross between Cheers and Beckett. Can you separate the art from the artist? Yes. The answer to that question is always yes.
Friday Night Lights – on the packet this says it’s a “high school drama about an American Football team”, this can’t be any good can it? Wrong compadre. Way wrong. This might be the greatest TV show ever made, and we’re not even being ironic for once.
The Kids of Degrassi Street – an 80s staple, you could ultimately follow these sweet little Canadian dudes to Junior High (on the show Degrassi Junior High), and then to normal High (Degrassi High), and if you tuned in now, they’d probably still be there, freezing their dicks off, lost in adulthood, drinking drugs and smoking alcohol and brainlessly boffing each other like the rest of us. Goddam loss of innocence, what’s that aboot?
Columbo – if you’re looking for an underlying message, it’s that scruffy men aren’t as fucking stupid as you think, lady! Oh and just one more thing, ENJOY WOMEN’S PRISON!
Day of the Triffids – to look at it now, you get the feeling the BBC’s special effects department just filmed a bunch of daffodils and played a synthesiser, but at the time, this was as real and as genuine as true terror got.
The Professionals – a specialist law enforcement department made up of ex-paratroopers and police officers, some of whom, get this, occasionally bend the rules. This is basically the TV embodiment of Andy McNab’s stubby erect penis.
Mad Men – was it the tale of one man slowly unravelling inside his suit, or of two women proving that their brains are even bigger than their whopping great norks? People in advertising now incorrectly assume we think their lives are like this.
The Killing – the sheer joy of saying the word ‘Troeeeeeels’ for as long as possible made up for the fact that you guessed the killer as soon as he walked into shot.
Shipwrecked – one of the greatest scenes in modern television history came when the young castaways, stranded on a hot island wearing shark tooth necklaces, called a group meeting to discuss whether they were having too many group meetings.
Blackadder – when it started out Blackadder was the stupid one and Baldrick was the brains. One deft character shift later and the rest is history. The last episode, at the Somme, is famously a bit sad.
Man vs Food – great show. After it finished host Adam Richman lost so much weight it looked like he was going to whisper “man won” with his dying breath. Thankfully he’s still with us.
Breaking Bad – Walter White gets gradually growlier, but the real star is the blue crystal meth, which absolutely flies off the shelves.
Masterchef Australia – once you’ve gone down under you’ll never want to go up and over again. Better cooks, prawns the size of sea monsters. Plus when they give the losers a little pep-talk about following their dreams and finding their bliss it’s impossible not to start weeping inconsolably.
Fargo – the movie was good, then the TV show wandered over with an even bigger willy, and the movie pulled its trousers up and shuffled off.
I’m Alan Partridge – Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! DAN!… DAN! DAN! DAN!… and also, Kiss My Face!
Moonlighting – for 66 episodes Bruce Willis, famous for becoming Bruce Willis, and Cybill Shepherd, famous for having been Cybill Shepherd, traded top quality banter and occasionally snogged a little. Apparently in real life it was like Hitler meeting Stalin.
Lost – first series amazing, second series brilliant, third series oh right so are they not Lost then?, fourth series wait what? they’re in the future?, fifth series so is Sawyer good now? is it called Lost because I’m Lost? why is Hurley not funny?, where’s the smoke monster?, sixth series fuck this.
Fawlty Towers – greatest UK sitcom of all time. Or so you’ve been told. I don’t know, can someone get Twitter on the phone and ask how we should feel?
Spaced – greatest UK sitcom of all time… no wait, hang on, what?
King of the Rocket Men – for people of a certain age, morning TV wasn’t all lavish colours and strange camera angles, it was old black and white action adventures the likes of which would blow your mind. In this, the hero, dressed as Iron Man, would fly through the air, smash through a window, then punch someone in the face. It’s like life really.
Beverly Hills 90210 – don’t be an old lady and call it Beverly Hills Nine Thousand Two Hundred and Ten, that’s missing the point. This was telly for cool young renegades who speak their long numbers digit-by-digit and just don’t give a f… Wait, sorry, my producer’s in my ear… okay, so apparently it’s a postcode.
Roseanne – again, the question arises, can we separate the art from the artist? Yes, the answer is always yes. We’re not stupid and we’re not babies.
Spiral – the whole thing is in French, but after a while you won’t even notice. You’ll either be completely fluent or too busy reading the subtitles. Best crime drama of the last 200 years.
The A Team – BA refuses plane ride, accepts unexpected glass of milk, wakes up on plane, absolutely livid. Hang on a second, was it the milk? Did someone Cosby his milk?
The Word – The Word encapsulated everything that made the 1990s the 1990s. Courtney Love trouserless, Mark Lamarr shouting “come on then!” at Shabba Ranks, Oliver Read slurring something posh. Narrated by a Puckish Terry Christian.
Pop Idol – if you watch the early eps it looks like it’s taking place after hometime in a school gym. It was the show that taught us it’s okay to have a stutter so long as you can sing like Westlife.
Streetmate – Davina McCall forces people to admit they fancy each other. This was back when fancying people was like admitting you were a massive pussy.
The OC – a juvenile delinquent gets taken in by a rich family, squats in their pool house, and starts attending lots of huge charity fundraisers. It’s like life really.
The Returned – another one of those French shows from France, where everyone talks foreign. But by gum, the creepy lad who just stares. You don’t need a translator to know he’s scary as fuck.
Freaks and Geeks – long regarded as the show that launched a thousand bromances, it also introduced the parenting community to the name Judd, which has yet to really catch on.
Planet Earth II – like so many sequels, this whispered animal documentary from David Attenborough makes its predecessors look like a pile of goddam horse shit. Best nature doc ever.
Big Brother – not a popular choice among the intelligentsia, but let’s never forget that when it began, Big Brother was an extraordinary human experiment. And that Nasty Nick, WRITING INITIALS ON PAPER. What the fuck man!
The Munsters – back in the day, you had two kinds of people, those that liked the Addams Family, and those that liked The Munsters. Then everyone else.
The Osbournes – Ozzy Osbourne using gym equipment, a cultural high that can’t be bettered.
Stranger Things – 80s nostalgia done right, in British hands this would have been a boring waddle through Thatcherism in a donkey jacket.
The Monkees – wicked sitcom, wicked band, listen to As We Go Along, and Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?, and Porpoise Song, and then basically the whole rest of the Head album. Charles Manson famously auditioned to be in the band.
One Born Every Minute – not quite as interesting when you’re not expecting a baby, but when you are this is as addictive as crack cocaine.
Neighbours – Lou Carpenter’s boulder-sized head, Scott and Charlene French kissing in church, this is Australia’s finest export, and that includes all of their wonderful art and classical music.
The Real World – a bunch of strangers live together in a snazzy loft apartment, this was John the Baptist to every television show from the last twenty years. Never bettered.
Dynasty – proof that great hair goes hand in hand with great business acumen. Featured a character called Dex Dexter.
Dempsey and Makepeace – a posh English rose teams up with a streetwise American cop, and their sexual chemistry spills over into real life, where they start boning big time. It’s basically the reverse Royal Wedding.
Crashing – the best new sitcom on telly. Unless you’ve seen Silicon Valley.
The US Office – the UK version was magnificent, the US version was even more magnificenter. And presumably there’s a Bollywood version out there that would blow your dick off.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – it’s lost a little of the original lustre, but for a while there, best show on TV.
Tomorrow’s World – The future envisioned based not on twisted old soothsayers, but on technological advancement. From a time when remote controls still looked like witchcraft.
Deadwood – Best TV Western including Bonanza. That cocksucker Lovejoy swears his fucking titties off.
Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares – he’s been winding himself up all night, he’s pissed off with you before he’s met you, now Gordon Ramsey is going to watch you work.
Harry Hill’s TV Burp – for a while there, ITV had the most subversive show on telly, which made us all choke on our pain raisin.
The Deuce – After Freaks and Geeks, this is the second James Franco program on the list. Can you separate the art from the artist? Haven’t we covered this already? The answer is always yes. What we haven’t covered is that Maggie Gyllenhaal is the best actress in the world.
Brass Eye – someone more arch would probably say something about this being a precursor to what the world actually became.
True Detective – first series featured nine great episodes and one ridiculous finale, with McConaughey and Harrelson playing the new Lennon and McCartney. The second series was unwatchable.
The Big Breakfast – everyone has a favourite pairing, but let’s be clear about this: Liza Tarbuck was the best host, and Johnny Vaughan, in second place, was at the absolute peak of his powers.
Blockbusters – way before geeks officially inherited the earth, these giganto-nerds were turning themselves into playground legends.
Twin Peaks – Bob crawling over the sofa towards you, cherry pie, a dinner party soundtrack. It had it all!
First Dates – once you’ve made it past the twenty-minute intro and Fred’s cereal box philosophy about how being in love feels nice, there’s an excellent TV show to watch.
Gogglebox – remains a better barometer for public opinion than any newspaper.
TFI Friday – Everything the late 90s was about. Chris Evans running a pub, Ocean Colour Scene noodling for twenty minutes, the name Will somehow being turned into a catchphrase.
The Wonder Years – an old man looks back on his suburban childhood in 1960s America, it’s basically a much nicer Born on the Fourth of July.
Louie – Louis CK’s sitcom, and yet another decent stab at modernising Woody Allen. Again we ask, can you separate the art from the artist? Again we say yes, of fucking course you can. Else we’d barely be allowed to listen to music.
30 Rock – a TV show about a TV show, created by someone who worked on a TV show. Write what you know, that’s the message.
Faking It – the ultimate underdog story – normal folk attempt to pass themselves off as something to write home about, while conclusively proving that a life of riches and success is really all down to blagging.
Wogan – the closest the UK has come to a decent talk show. In America they’ve got these things coming out of their gigantic weeners.
Flight of the Concords – the first real glimpse into the jumbo-gentrified world of hipster New York, pre-dating Girls, Broad City, Master of None, High Maintenance and the rest. Also very funny.
Press Gang – from a time when print publishing actually meant something, these pint-sized hacks were out there making a difference. Paul Reynolds, who played Colin, has since gone on to play FOUR different characters on Casualty. A diverse, and seemingly very forgettable, actor.
Grange Hill – the TV show that taught me to say NO to drugs, and guess what? I’ve barely taken heroin since.
Wacky Races – only 17 episodes were made which makes this the Fawlty Towers of excellent 1960s cartoons.
Girls – Lena Dunham is forever caught in the swirl of an impending backlash, which seems genuinely unfair – Girls was pretty much a work of genius.
Shooting Stars – as synonymous with 90s culture as a beautiful lady barfing off a pier.
Going Live – two words: Trevor and Simon. Some of you might have noticed that that was technically three words. Good for you.
Gladiators – how will Keep Fit enthusiast Kevin fare against Shadow who is full of steroids and cocaine?
Would Like to Meet – profusely sweaty people on dates force eye contact and pretend to be listening while secretly pressing a panic button under the table.
Monkey Magic – King Fu but for kids. Also very fucking trippy.
Location Location Location – Kirsty and Phil passive-aggressively force anxious people to buy houses.
Fleabag – best British sitcom in recent times, also the 95th show to feature Olivia Colman in the last five years.
Queer Eye – four gay men help floundering heteros to understand what modern masculinity is all about. Another one teaches them to chop avocados.
Battle of the Planets – word has it the original version was full of sex and sweary fuck words until the censors cleaned it up for kids. The rest is anime history.
Popstars: The Rivals – anyone still shocked by Brexit clearly can’t remember Javine not getting into Girls Aloud.