Here’s a partial list of TV shows I either grew up with or have enjoyed in my adult life. For the most part, the criteria for being on this list is shows I have watched for pretty much the entire run (or watched all the episodes in syndication or on DVD/Netflix etc.). For most of the shows, I watched new episodes each week as they came out, like a fan. (Or each night on syndication, regularly.)

By definition, if I watched all the episodes, I liked the show quite a bit. There are a few shows from my youth on this list (The Bob Newhart Show and Starsky & Hutch come to mind) where I may be over-remembering how much of that show I actually watched, but they still made a lasting enough impression on me to deserve inclusion. There are a lot of shows that aren’t on this list that I also dabbled in—or even watched almost all of—but which didn’t grab me for whatever reason. (Seinfeld for example is a notable exception that should probably be here, but I don’t feel like I rose to a true fan level with it. I never really sought it out.)

So, “TV I’ve Loved” isn’t quite the right term, but it’s as close as any. These are shows that did something for me, caught and held my attention, excited my mind, etc. (At the time. I can’t promise they all hold up.)

I decided to start this list a few years ago when Barney Miller and WKRP in Cincinnati came on Hulu. I was fondly watching those shows—both of which are clearly adult shows, and both of which came off the air in 1982, when I was but 10 years old—and it made me realize how insanely much television I watched when I was young. And how much prime-time and syndicated adult television I watched. Sooooo much. I was learning (?) about hookers and the Middle East and racism and politics and so much more from these shows, probably seriously starting when I was 5 or 6. I remember the finale episodes of most of those big shows from the 70’s, because I watched them live, as an already-loyal viewer of the show at age 9 and 10 and 11. (When M*A*S*H finaled in 1983, 11-year-old me had probably watched that show 500 times between live airing and syndication. For real.)

Which is to say, TV has been a big influence on me. I don’t shy away from that. I’m glad of it. (I still love TV, even now that it’s finally kind of considered cool and respectable due to your Mad Mens and Breaking Bads.)

These are very loosely placed in order of my experience with them, which also tends to very loosely line up with when they were around, a lot of the time. The order is very rough and may change. Believe it or not, this list is still pretty incomplete. I will not be surprised if it hits 200 shows. (I already passed through several layers of surprise at how long it was getting, and have finally reached acceptance.)

One last note: I broke game shows (and competitive reality shows) into their own category. With a few exceptions, they cover a streak of my childhood and teen years–you don’t want to know how young I was watching The Newlywed Game–and I often didn’t watch the whole series run, so I separated them. It’s a small list at the end. (I also haven’t watched all of General Hospital‘s 30+ years—just the 80’s stretch from Luke & Laura to Frisco or so. And my viewing of Saturday Night Live has been spotty too.)

Let the memories wash over you…

    1. Sesame Street
    2. Electric Company
    3. The Amazing Spider-man
    4. The Muppet Show
    5. I Love Lucy
    6. The Honeymooners
    7. The Twilight Zone
    8. The Three Stooges
    9. Abbott and Costello (may belong more in my upcoming Movies page)
    10. Fat Albert
    11. Flipper
    12. Gentle Ben
    13. Grizzly Adams
    14. The Bob Newhart Show
    15. The Six Million Dollar Man
    16. The Jeffersons
    17. Diff’rent Strokes
    18. Sanford & Son
    19. All in the Family
    20. The Rockford Files
    21. Hart to Hart
    22. Eight is Enough
    23. Good Times
    24. Happy Days
    25. Laverne and Shirley
    26. The Odd Couple
    27. Joanie Loves Chachi
    28. The Love Boat
    29. Fantasy Island
    30. The Munsters
    31. MASH
    32. AfterMASH
    33. Barney Miller
    34. Fish
    35. WKRP in Cincinnati
    36. Hogan’s Heroes
    37. The Brady Bunch
    38. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
    39. Starsky & Hutch
    40. CHiPs
    41. Wonder Woman
    42. Gilligan’s Island
    43. Bewitched
    44. I Dream of Jeannie
    45. F-Troop
    46. One Day at a Time
    47. Alice
    48. Taxi
    49. The Jeffersons
    50. Soap
    51. The Incredible Hulk
    52. The Greatest American Hero
    53. The White Shadow
    54. Welcome Back, Kotter
    55. The Andy Griffith Show
    56. Mork and Mindy
    57. Charlie’s Angels
    58. Hee Haw
    59. The Odd Couple
    60. Remington Steele
    61. Too Close for Comfort
    62. Little House on the Prairie
    63. Three’s Company
    64. St. Elsewhere
    65. Hill Street Blues
    66. The Facts of Life
    67. General Hospital
    68. 227
    69. SCTV
    70. Saturday Night Live
    71. Siskel and Ebert at the Movies
    72. Cheers
    73. Newhart
    74. Cosby Show
    75. Family Ties
    76. Silver Spoons
    77. Benson
    78. Charles in Charge
    79. The Golden Girls
    80. Who’s the Boss?
    81. Mama’s Family
    82. Head of the Class
    83. Highway to Heaven
    84. Hunter
    85. Webster
    86. Punky Brewster
    87. Night Court
    88. Knight Rider
    89. Square Pegs
    90. The A-Team
    91. Dukes of Hazzard
    92. Bosom Buddies
    93. That’s Incredible!
    94. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    95. Riptide
    96. The Fall Guy
    97. Moonlighting
    98. Cagney and Lacey
    99. Kate and Allie
    100. Perfect Strangers
    101. The Young Ones
    102. Northern Exposure
    103. In Living Color
    104. Sliders
    105. The X-Files
    106. Sports Night
    107. NewsRadio
    108. Good vs. Evil
    109. Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist
    110. Buffalo Bill
    111. Frasier
    112. Home Movies
    113. The Critic
    114. The Boondocks
    115. Andy Richter Controls the Universe
    116. Andy Barker, P.I.
    117. That 70’s Show
    118. Malcolm in the Middle
    119. Freaks and Geeks
    120. The Simpsons
    121. Family Guy
    122. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
    123. American Dad!
    124. South Park
    125. Ren and Stimpy
    126. Futurama
    127. The Daily Show
    128. The Colbert Report
    129. Politically Incorrect
    130. Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn
    131. Inside the Actor’s Studio
    132. Dinner for Five
    133. Clone High
    134. Better Off Ted
    135. 10 Items or Less
    136. The Shield
    137. Battlestar Galactica
    138. 24
    139. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    140. Lost
    141. The Sopranos
    142. Six Feet Under
    143. Arrested Development
    144. Sit Down, Shut Up
    145. Curb Your Enthusiasm
    146. United States of Tara
    147. Pushing Daisies
    148. Dead Like Me
    149. Archer
    150. Misfits
    151. Spaced
    152. The IT Crowd
    153. Running Wilde
    154. The Office (UK and US)
    155. 30 Rock
    156. Dexter
    157. Eureka
    158. Parks and Recreation
    159. Bob’s Burgers
    160. Community
    161. Fringe
    162. Psych
    163. Workaholics
    164. Unsupervised
    165. Big Bang Theory
    166. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
    167. Awkward
    168. Bored to Death
    169. Chuck
    170. Portlandia
    171. The Good Guys
    172. Todd and the Book of Pure Evil
    173. Alphas
    174. Louie
    175. Reaper
    176. The Loop
    177. Breaking In

In case you’re wondering, my favorite show of all time is probably Arrested Development. In fact, here’s an impromptu top 5:

  1. Arrested Development
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Psych
  4. Moonlighting
  5. Soap

Game Shows

Most of these were part of my regular rotation when I was a kid and into my teens (and early twenties for a few of the MTV game shows). The Amazing Race is really the only “game show” I watch these days. (It’s also the only reality show I watch regularly.)

    1. Match Game
    2. Hollywood Squares
    3. Jeopardy!
    4. Wheel of Fortune
    5. 25,000 Pyramid
    6. Joker’s Wild
    7. Press Your Luck
    8. Card Sharks
    9. The Newlywed Game
    10. Family Feud
    11. Battle of the Network Stars
    12. Love Connection
    13. Remote Control
    14. Win Ben Stein’s Money
    15. Make Me Laugh
    16. The Amazing Race
 See also: Favorite Movies