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TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time is a collection of essays written by television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz. It was published in 2016. The main purpose of the book was to provide a canonical list of the top 100 greatest television programs in American history.[1]

TV (The Book):
Two Experts Pick the Greatest
American Shows of All Time
TV (The Book).jpg
Paperback edition
AuthorAlan Sepinwall
Matt Zoller Seitz
CountryUnited States
SubjectArt, media, pop culture, television, television criticism
GenreFiction, Humor
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
Publication date
September 6, 2016
Media typePaperback
Pages432 pp
ISBN978-1-4555-8819-0 (Paperback),

BackgroundEdit

Seitz and Sepinwall began as colleagues at The Star-Ledger, where they spent ten years together working on a column in the newspaper titled "All TV."[2] Since then, both had gone their separate ways. At the time of the book's publishing, Sepinwall was a television critic for HitFix, while Seitz was a television critic for New York and the editor-in-chief for RogerEbert.com. Sepinwall has since gone on to become the chief television critic for Rolling Stone.

CriteriaEdit

According to the book, Seitz and Sepinwall considered a television series for their ranking if it matched the following criteria:

Once a television series passed this criteria, they were ranked on a ten-point scale by either one of or both of the critics in six categories: "Innovation" (whether or not it did stuff that had been seen in the medium before), "Influence" (how a show served as inspiration for those that came after it), "Consistency" (whether or not the show's quality fluctuated season-by-season), "Performance" (how good the actors/performers were on the show), "Storytelling" (the quality of the writing on the show), and "Peak" (how great the show was at its best compared to the rest of American television's history).[4] Shows which aired for only one season were slightly penalized, receiving a maximum of nine points for most categories except for "Consistency", where they were only given a seven as a maximum. The series which were among the 100 highest placed in the points tally were counted in the rankings.[5]

Top 100Edit

Rank Name of television series Year of premiere Year of latest episode Network
1. The Simpsons 1989 present FOX
2. The Sopranos 1999 2007 HBO
3. The Wire 2002 2008 HBO
4. Cheers 1982 1993 NBC
5. Breaking Bad 2008 2013 AMC
6. Mad Men 2007 2015 AMC
7. Seinfeld 1989 1998 NBC
8. I Love Lucy 1951 1957 CBS
9. Deadwood 2004 2006 HBO
10. All in the Family 1971 1979 CBS
11. M*A*S*H* 1972 1983 CBS
12. Hill Street Blues 1981 1987 NBC
13. The Shield 2002 2008 FX
14. The Twilight Zone 1959 2019 CBS (1959–64, 1985–89), UPN (2002–03), CBS All Access (2019)
15. Arrested Development 2003 2019 FOX (2003–06), Netflix (2013–19)
16. The Larry Sanders Show 1992 1998 HBO
17. The Honeymooners 1955 1956 CBS
18. Louie 2010 2015 FX
19. The Mary Tyler Moore Show 1970 1977 CBS
20. The X-Files 1993 2018 FOX
21. Curb Your Enthusiasm 2000 2017 HBO
22. SpongeBob SquarePants 1999 present Nickelodeon
23. Twin Peaks 1990 2017 ABC (1990-91), Showtime (2017)
24. Lost 2004 2010 ABC
25. Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1997 2003 The WB (1997–2001), UPN (2001–03)
26. Freaks & Geeks 1999 2000 NBC (1999–2000)
27. My So-Called Life 1994 1995 ABC
28. Oz 1997 2003 HBO
29. The Dick Van Dyke Show 1961 1966 CBS
30. Friday Night Lights 2006 2011 NBC (2006–08), The 101 Network/NBC (2008–11)
31. NYPD Blue 1993 2005 ABC
32. Frasier 1993 2004 NBC
33. Homicide: Life on the Street 1993 1999 NBC
34. Battlestar Galactica 2004 2009 Sci-Fi
35. In Treatment 2008 2010 HBO
36. South Park 1997 present Comedy Central
37. The West Wing 1999 2006 NBC
38. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman 1976 1977 Syndication
39. The Andy Griffith Show 1960 1968 CBS
40. The Cosby Show 1984 1992 NBC
41. Moonlighting 1985 1989 ABC
42. Taxi 1978 1983 ABC (1978–82), NBC (1982–83)
43. East Side/West Side 1963 1964 CBS
44. Hannibal 2013 2015 NBC
45. ER 1994 2009 NBC
46. Parks and Recreation 2009 2015 NBC
47. Roseanne 1988 2018 ABC
48. 30 Rock 2006 2013 NBC
49. The Bob Newhart Show 1972 1978 CBS
50. Malcolm in the Middle 2000 2006 FOX
51. Miami Vice 1984 1990 NBC
52. The Office 2005 2013 NBC
53. St. Elsewhere 1982 1988 NBC
54. Community 2009 2015 NBC (2009–14), Yahoo! Screen (2015)
55. The Golden Girls 1985 1992 NBC
56. Police Squad! 1982 1982 ABC
57. 24 2001 2014 FOX
58. The Defenders 1961 1965 CBS
59. Gunsmoke 1955 1975 CBS
60. Sex and the City 1998 2004 HBO
61. Star Trek 1966 1969 NBC
62. Firefly 2002 2003 FOX
63. Law & Order 1990 2010 NBC
64. Maude 1972 1978 CBS
65. The Rockford Files 1974 1980 NBC
66. China Beach 1988 1991 ABC
67. Enlightened 2011 2013 HBO
68. Everybody Loves Raymond 1996 2005 CBS
69. The Wonder Years 1988 1993 ABC
70. Barney Miller 1974 1982 ABC
71. Frank's Place 1987 1988 CBS
72. It's Garry Shandling's Show 1986 1990 Showtime
73. The Jack Benny Program 1950 1965 CBS (1950–64), NBC (1964–65)
74. Justified 2010 2015 FX
75. The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show 1959 1964 ABC (1959–61), NBC (1961–64)
76. thirtysomething 1987 1991 ABC
77. Columbo 1968 2003 NBC (1968–1978), ABC (1989–2003)
78. Friends 1994 2004 NBC
79. Futurama 1999 2013 FOX (1999–2003), Comedy Central (2008–2013)
80. The Outer Limits 1963 1965 ABC
81. Northern Exposure 1990 1995 CBS
82. Batman 1966 1968 ABC
83. King of the Hill 1997 2010 FOX
84. Veronica Mars 2004 2007 UPN (2004–06), The CW (2006–07)
85. Cagney & Lacey 1982 1988 CBS
86. EZ Streets 1996 1997 CBS
87. Gilmore Girls 2000 2007 The WB (2000–06), The CW (2006–07)
88. Six Feet Under 2001 2005 HBO
89. Sports Night 1998 2000 ABC
90. Wiseguy 1987 1990 CBS
91. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1993 1999 Syndication
92. Batman: The Animated Series 1992 1995 FOX
93. Boardwalk Empire 2010 2014 HBO
94. NewsRadio 1995 1999 NBC
95. Picket Fences 1992 1996 CBS
96. Scrubs 2001 2010 NBC (2001–08), ABC (2009–10)
97. WKRP in Cincinnati 1978 1982 CBS
98. How I Met Your Mother 2005 2014 CBS
99. Soap 1977 1981 ABC
100. Terriers 2010 2010 FX

Additional book materialEdit

In addition to providing their Top 100 ranking, Seitz and Sepinwall provided a section titled "Works in Progress," highlighting some of their favorite current shows, as well as a section honoring shows that were not good enough to make it into the rankings titled "A Certain Regard." There were also several essays noting of TV's best miniseries, movies, and televised plays.[6]

ReviewsEdit

The book has received positive reviews from other television critics. Jacqueline Cutler of The Star-Ledger described the book as "a great reference tool," with the main top-100 list possessing "enough reflection, knowledge and tidbits that even if you don't care about a show, you will wind up reading." For Cutler, the one negative aspect of the book was the inclusion of the "Outlier Classics" and "Works-in-Progress" sections, which felt like "kiddie sports teams where everyone gets a trophy."[7] Bill Carter, writing for CNN, was also fond of the book, appreciating its effort to stimulate argument and pointing out that even if you were to disagree "it only means you care more about television now more than ever before, which is really the reason to write and read a book like this."[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa (September 6, 2016). "Alan Sepinwall on the 100 best shows in american television- so far". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Wellen, Brianna (2016). "Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz wrote the book on TV". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Sepinwall, Alan; Seitz (2016). TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. pp. xv–xvii. ISBN 9781455588190.
  4. ^ Champagne, Christine (August 31, 2016). "Two Critics Pick the All Time Best TV Shows. And They Already Know You Hate Their List". Fast Company. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Sepinwall, Alan; Seitz (2016). TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time (First ed.). New York: Grand Central Publishing. pp. xvii–xviii. ISBN 9781455588190.
  6. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (2016). TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. pp. xviii. ISBN 9781455588190.
  7. ^ Cutler, Jacqueline (September 4, 2016). "Ledger's former critics reunite, pick 100 top TV shows". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Carter, Bill (August 30, 2016). "TV finally gets the book it deserves". CNN. Retrieved September 30, 2017.

External linksEdit