The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME

A - F

The Abbott and Costello Show

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The earliest TV shows were oddly assembled transitions between old genres that were (theater, vaudeville, etc.) and the TV that would become. Abbott and Costello, which debuted in 1952, was one of the most distinctive and acerbically funny of these video lungfish. The loosely connected skits conjured a seedy, hilariously cutthroat world in which there are two kinds of people: the one getting over and the ones getting gotten over on. Straight man Bud Abbott and whiny hustler Lou Costello combined their slapstick and pratfalls with a gleefully misanthropic sensibility; no one could be trusted, even, or especially the kids, as embodied by Stinky, the bratty urchin played brilliantly by The Three Stooges' Joe Besser. Larry David would make a living out of this attitude decades later, but as Abbott and Costello would say, they were on first.


How I Chose The List

Adding to this list would be easy; taking shows off is the tricky part. How did I settle on this list? I set a few guidelines...

Talk Back

What is your all-time favorite TV show?

Which films should have been included and weren't? Did we leave off any of your favorites? Were any shows on the list more influential than others? Tell us what you think


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TIME's TV critic James Poniewozik blogs daily on all visual media. Join the discussion here

A - F

From Abbott and Costello to Friends

G - M

From General Hospital to Mystery Science Theater 3000

N - S

From The Odd Couple to Survivor

T - Z

From Taxi to Your Show of Shows

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