My 6 All Time Favorite TV Shows

This is a tad off-topic but, with streaming video services gaining universal popularity, I guess not too far off the beaten track. Anyway, it’s an article I’ve been keen to present for some time. TV shows and movies are extremely subjective of course — one man’s meat is another man’s poison, so to speak — and there’s every chance you may choose to disagree with some of my selections. That’s fine, as I say, it’s all very subjective.


Gamers, make sure to catch up with Marc’s game picks: My 10 Favorite Games of All Time


#1 Banshee

IMDb

My wife and I absolutely love this unique and somewhat unusual show. Four series in all with a total of 38 episodes and we’ve watched the whole lot twice through.

Synopsis: We first meet our leading man, Lucas Hood, as he is released from prison following an extended period of incarceration. He immediately heads off to locate his former lover who, as it happens, is now happily married and residing in a small town called Banshee. Through a series of bizarre events, the ex-con Lucas Hood ends up as sheriff of Banshee and that’s when all the fun begins. Throw in a powerful town villain, past associations with a dangerous gangster, plus an eclectic cast of outrageous characters and you have a recipe for plenty of fun and action.

The cast is outstanding with little-known New Zealand actor Antony Starr in the leading role. Ivana Milicevic playing the sexy but lethal ex-lover. Ulrich Thomsen is perfect in his role as the powerful villain. Frankie Faison plays the lovable bar owner and ex-pugilist who befriends Lucas Hood. And Hoon Lee is fantastic as Lucas Hood’s partner in crime and technology expert.

If you haven’t seen Banshee, do yourself a favor, track it down and watch it. A great show.

#2 Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul

IMDb Breaking Bad / IMDb Better Call Saul

I could not split these two terrific shows so they share the second spot.

Breaking Bad Synopsis: Chemistry teacher Walter White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given only two years to live, he decides he has nothing to lose and embarks on a career of drugs and crime.

Brian Cranston is superb as ex-teacher turned drug manufacturer Walter White ably assisted by his young and rash offsider (Aaron Paul), and Dean Norris plays the role of Cranston’s brother-in-law, who just happens to also be a DEA agent, to absolute perfection. This is surely one of the must-see shows of all time. The story is a mix of, fun, humor, sadness, action, and never dull. I found it fascinating to watch Walter White’s gradual transformation from a mild-mannered school teacher and family man to a violent criminal who ends up caring for nothing but money. Brilliant.

Better Call Saul Synopsis: This prequel to Breaking Bad stars Bob Odenkirk as lawyer Jimmy McGill and chronicles the formative years leading up to his transformation to the shady alter-ego Saul Goodman and his association with the now-infamous drug dealer Walter White.

Bob Odenkirk reprises his role from Breaking Bad as the lawyer Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman and, in all honesty, it is his performance that really makes the show. He is simultaneously sad, brilliant, and funny, playing the role of lovable rogue to absolute perfection.

#3 NCIS – The Early Years

IMDb

Some of you might consider this to be a strange choice but I just love the early seasons of NCIS. The stories aren’t always the best but the interaction between the cast of characters more than makes up for any failings in that area.

Synopsis: A team of NCIS agents, headed by Leroy Jethro Gibbs, solve murders and crimes involving navy personnel.

The actors and the interaction of their diverse characters are really what makes this show. They purport to be a “family” and that is exactly how they come across– in much the same way as the crew of the starship Enterprise created that family feeling. NCIS is very much a character-driven TV show with much kudos to the cast.

From tough, enigmatic leader and father figure Leroy Jethro Gibbs to the wonderfully weird and eternally maternal Abby Sciuto. From the lethal but equally lovely ex-Mossad assassin Ziva David to the lovable, nerdy computer guy Timothy McGee. And my favorite of all, the irrepressible group clown Tony DiNozzo– Michael Weatherly really struts his comedic prowess in this role.

Unfortunately, as cast members left the show and were replaced, later seasons have not quite managed the same magic. I don’t understand the thinking when NCIS’s popularity was largely based on the diversity and eccentricities of its characters why those in charge would choose such dull replacements. Not the actors’ fault, of course, they can only play the roles to which they are assigned.

#4 The Sopranos

IMDb

Any wonder this superb TV show won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes.

Synopsis: Follows the life of New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano as he tries to lead his criminal organization while maintaining his family life.

A tour de force from James Gandolfini, who tragically passed away prematurely at the age of 51, as the fictional Mafia Capo Tony Soprano. With a superb, utterly believable cast and storyline, The Sopranos has to be one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

#5 Deadwood

IMDb

I love my westerns and, as far as I am concerned, Deadwood is the very best western TV show ever.

Synopsis: Follows the intertwining lives of lawman Seth Bullock, ex-lawman Wild Bill Hickock, and saloon owner/ruthless boss Al Swearengen in Deadwood, South Dakota, a lawless town of crime and corruption.

A fantastic cast headed by Timothy Olyphant as the straight-shooting town sheriff Seth Bullock (what a great name) and Ian McShane, in what I believe is his best role ever, as the equally well-named Al Swearengen. The sets, locations, and costuming are all very realistic and perfectly enhance the atmosphere. A true western classic in every sense– the goodies versus the baddies, brilliant.

#6 Sons Of Anarchy

IMDb

Not everyone’s cup of tea, lots of violence, and very much “R” rated. That said, it is also one of my lovely wife’s all-time favorites– what that suggests, I’m not too sure. 🙂

Synopsis: Follows the day-to-day lives of an outlaw motorcycle club operating in the fictional Californian Central Valley town of Charming.

Charming by name but certainly not by nature. Charlie Hunnam made his name in the role of Jackson (Jax) Teller (de facto club leader), ably assisted by Katy Sagal (Jax’s mum) in a very different role to what she played in the hit comedy Married With Children, and Ron Perlman as Clay Morrow (Jax’s stepdad and club leader). There is nothing much to like about any of the characters. They are all inherently violent and evil but, in the context of the show, that is to be expected and only adds to the realism. As I said, not everyone’s cup of tea, but one of my all-time favorites.

SPECIAL MENTIONS:

  • Game Of Thrones: Not bad but far too many scenes of couples just talking for my liking. And that terrible ending… woeful
  • The Walking Dead: Great early but then descended into a cycle of more of the same. Is it just me or are those zombies way too slow and easy to kill?
  • Start Trek – The Original: Absolutely one of my favorite all-time TV shows. Yes, I am a devout Trekkie. Wonderful show in its day but somewhat dated now

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I am definitely not interested in anything to do with special abilities; marvel characters, superheroes, and the like but I guess those sorts of shows appeal more to the younger ones. I don’t much like anything that is all action with no discernable storyline. And as for so-called Reality TV, no thank you very much.

Your turn, what are some of your all-time favorite TV shows? Let us know in the comments.

12 thoughts on “My 6 All Time Favorite TV Shows”

  1. Hi Jim. Thanks for sharing and allowing us to post from the heart. I whole hardly agree with your first 3 picks. Below are my 6 picks in alphabetical order. Had an extremely difficult task to limit my selection. Beside each series name is the number of episodes, though Dexter is due for a short return this year. The story lines are extracts from IMDB and credit is given to each author, wherever possible, Mindblower!

    Dexter 106
    Dexter Morgan, Miami Metro Police Department blood spatter analyst, has a double life. When he’s not helping the Homicide division solving murders, he spends his time hunting and killing bad guys that slip through the justice system. He spends his sun-drenched days solving crimes – and moonlit nights committing them. But not to worry, our Dexter doesn’t kill just anyone. He reserves his homicidal hobbies to taking only the lives of other killers. Written by ahmetkozan

    JAG 227
    JAG is an adventure drama about an elite wing of officers trained as lawyers who investigate, prosecute and defend those accused of crimes in the military. Navy Cmdr. Harmon “Harm” Rabb, an ace pilot turned lawyer, and Marine Lt. Col. Sarah “Mac” MacKenzie, a beautiful by-the-book officer, are colleagues who hold the same high standards but find themselves clashing when they choose different routes to get to the same place. The unmistakable chemistry between them must be held at bay for professional reasons as they traverse the globe together with a single mission: to search for and discover the truth. Helping them with their mission is Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bud Roberts, a lawyer who proved his grit and determination when, after losing a leg in a land mine field while on a mission, fought back and became even better at his job.

    Sea Patrol 68
    Everyday life on board Australian Navy patrol ship is never boring: they have to deal with all sorts of criminals at sea as well with the politically unstable island in the neighbourhood.Friendship between shipmates leads to love among the ship’s crew.

    Spooks 86
    The missions of MI-5, the UK’s domestic intelligence organization.

    The Americans 75
    A pair of deep-cover Soviet spies masquerades as a typical DC couple whose children, neighbors, coworkers & friends are completely unaware of their activities. At home, they’re the stereotypical parents of stereotypical kids; at work, they pose as travel agents; but at night, they weave a web of confidants, lovers, dupes, and historical figures from the Reagan-era Cold War. The startlingly realistic plot twists force the viewer to consider the real cost of an undeclared war, what it takes to protect one’s beliefs, if it’s worth it, and if it actually worked for either side. Written by Steve83

    Torchwood 41
    Captain Jack Harkness, the former Time Agent and con man from the 51st century last seen traveling with the Doctor, ventures to early 21st century Cardiff. There, he becomes a member of Torchwood Institute, a renegade criminal investigation group founded by Queen Victoria to battle hostile extraterrestrial and supernatural threats. Written by rmlohner

    1. Hey MB,

      Yes, it’s a struggle to keep this to just 6, so many terrific TV shows I could have included. Such as your top of list “Dexter”, great show much enjoyed by both myself and my wife.

  2. That photo with “Sons of Anarchy” looks a lot like the outside of our local computer shop when they had a RTX3080 in stock.

  3. Hi Jim,
    How to pick the favourites from a long list of past and present programmes we enjoy/ed, sources are : Foxtel, Netflix, BBC & ITV (using Express VPN) and the new BritBox in Australia and the USA.

    a) Spooks – MI-5 UK Spy Drama – 10 Series
    b) Line Of Duty – Investigations of AC-12, a controversial UK police anti-corruption unit. – 6 series
    c) Silent Witness – A UK team of forensic pathology experts and their investigations into various crimes. – 23 Series.
    d) New Tricks – A UK police procedural comedy-drama that follows the fictional Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) with 3 past detectives of the Metropolitan Police Service. – 12 Series.
    e) Shetland – Set in Scotland, a Detective Inspector and his team investigate various criminal activities that take place in the Shetland Islands. – 5 Series,
    f) Still Game – A long-running Scottish comedy sitcom, set in the fictional area of Craiglang in Glasgow. – 9 Series. (understand the Scottish accent or use sub-titles.

    Magnum PI, remake with a yummy Brit, Higgins. Perdita Weeks, (the sister of Honeysuckle Weeks, the car driver in Foyles War.)
    NCIS Los Angeles, The Coroner, UK, The Mentalist, USA, Lie To Me, UK, Hawaii-50 remake,
    White Collar, USA, Broadchurch, UK, Little Boy Blue, UK (YouTube) Law & Order, UK, The Bay, UK, Numb3rs, USA, Happy Valley, UK, The Majorca Files, UK-Spain, Death In Paradise, UK-Guadaloupe, Caribbean.

    An enormous list of past and present USA TV programmes for your perusal Jim 😉
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_programs_broadcast_by_USA_Network

    Regards,
    Jonno

  4. Only 6? Wow, that’s tough, but here they are in alphabetical order.

    BOSCH: A great “lived in” central performance from the improbably named Titus Welliver, and a fantastic adaptation/remix of the long running book series.
    DOCTOR WHO: I’ve been watching since the days of William Hartnell; Chibnall and his team of hack “writers” need to go before they completely destroy the show.
    LINE OF DUTY: The crack cocaine of cop shows; you can’t watch just one episode!
    STAR TREK – TOS: Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Lightning in a bottle that has never been replicated, no matter how hard they tried.
    THE PRISONER – TOS: It’s groovy man, “Be seeing you!”
    THE TWILIGHT ZONE – TOS: The “Citizen Kane” of anthology shows; an astonishing achievement by Rod Serling, who wrote or adapted about 2/3’s of the original 156 episodes.

    Honourable mentions…
    The new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and DEXTER; both shows were riveting must-see television, right up until they were wrecked by their final episodes.

      1. I read somewhere that Michael Connelly said Welliver is perfect for the role and he couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the part.

        And I’m glad we’ll have the spin-off series with “Money” Chandler, apparently on IMDb TV, but hope it’ll be included on Amazon Prime; I don’t want to have to take out another subscription to watch it!

  5. Hi Jim, a great list with which I agree. Also very difficult to ick only six out of so many so many godd, interesting shows. Don’t know if I’m allowed to pick some comedies like
    Cheers and Frasier. Nothing like a good laugh to ease the worries of our uncertain times.

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