Is The Wire better than Breaking Bad? Is Cheers better than Seinfeld? What's the best high school show ever made? Why did Moonlighting really fall apart? Was the Arrested Development Netflix season brilliant or terrible?
For twenty years-since they shared a TV column at Tony Soprano's hometown newspaper-critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have been debating these questions and many more, but it all ultimately boils down to this:
What's the greatest TV show ever?
That debate reaches an epic conclusion in TV (THE BOOK). Sepinwall and Seitz have identified and ranked the 100 greatest scripted shows in American TV history. Using a complex, obsessively all-encompassing scoring system, they've created a Pantheon of top TV shows, each accompanied by essays delving into what made these shows great. From vintage classics like The Twilight Zone and I Love Lucy to modern masterpieces like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, from huge hits like All in the Family and ER to short-lived favorites like Firefly and Freaks and Geeks, TV (THE BOOK) will bring the triumphs of the small screen together in one amazing compendium.
Sepinwall and Seitz's argument has ended. Now it's time for yours to begin!
Two of today's best writers on television, Sepinwall (The Revolution Was Televised) and Seitz (Mad Men Carousel), join forces to rank the 100 greatest series in TV history. Within defined parameters (American shows, narrative fiction, complete runs with minimal exceptions), both authors use a 10-point scale to score across six criteria (innovation, influence, consistency, performance, storytelling, peak) in order to determine ranking. They also include essays for each selected show (some essays cover multiple shows) and synopses highlighting themes, strengths, and weaknesses instead of linear plot points (though plot spoilers are sometimes included). The authors write as both incisive cultural critics and enthusiastic fans. Their essays will no doubt inspire debate and the reading equivalent of binge watching, with readers promising themselves to put the book down after just one more essay, but finding the lure of the next too attractive. Sepinwall and Seitz also include lists of great shows still running (therefore ineligible); of random TV bests (theme songs, cliffhangers, mustaches, etc.); of shows that they esteem, but that didn't make the cut; and of miniseries, made-for-TV movies, and filmed plays from TV's early days. The result is a treasure trove for TV fans.
No Babylon 5? I think that’s nuts.