The True Top 10 Television Shows Of All-Time

Stop Wondering - Find Out By Reading

 I want this to be a mostly-serious story. But not so serious that you have to have an intreperter to read it to you as he looks over his college professor-type of bifocals. No, ladies, gentlemen, television freaks of all ages, I'm a simple man with a simple mind. Actually I do like the 80's band, Simple Minds, but that's another story.

In years past, today and in the future, there will always be polls. Poll that find out what we think, eat, drive, wear, and put on our feet before going to a restaurant. And yes, what restaurant is our favorite. Talk about annoying. Talk about prodding our privacy. This is NOT one of those polls that invade your dinner with the wife and kids as you share each other's day and form great memories. NO. This is a simple story that took me a long, long time to compile. A very long time.

Television has been a part of my life since the grand old year of 1961, the simple years before hippies, drugs, and Jimi Hendrix. Actually I do like Hendrix. These years in my youth I had to spend watching televison because my parents both worked at factories in out-of-town places leaving me home alone (no, the movie of the same title wasn't inspired by my young years) to occupy myself with chores for the home, being safe and watching my favorite shows on television. What a cheap babysitter, or childsetter, television was in the "great days of television." Nowadays, I cannot, with a clear conscience call shows on television in 2011, "great." Wish I could, but I cannnot.

Now my personal poll or list is not carved in cheap cement. There are, thanks to Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers, a thing called Freedom of Speech that you can form your own list of the Top Ten Television Shows of All-Time, if you want to. You have that freedom. Exercise it sometime. It's great. We owe Jefferson and his buddies a great debt of gratitude.

Okay. I want to start with Number 10 on my List of Favorite Television Shows of All-Time with:

10. BEWITCHED - with Dick York and Elizabeth Montgomery. Although it was ABC's answer to NBC's I Dream of Jeanne (and I did love Barbara Eden), it was a good show. The mother-in-law, Agnes Moorehead, Endora always hating-on Darrin got a bit old, but overall, Bewitched had redeeming qualities like Paul Lynde, the pranking Uncle Arthur and the distinguished, Maurice Evans, Maurice, Samantha's dad, kept the show going through all the rough sweeps weeks that networks have every year.

9. VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA - Richard Basehart, the always-stern Admiral Nelson and his crew of underlings made for weekly entertainment from all type of dangers like "Monsters" who ate through the submarine, Sea View's hull and invisible demons who took over the sub to escape planet earth. Irwin Allen, the all-time disaster show and movie master, designed the perfect mix of actors and situations to keep me and America watching. I always loved the giant squid almost swallowing the Sea View and how the crew would fall from side-to-side with sparks flying from the control panels. No one who was a star on this show ever died. I miss Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea. In this day of remakes, someone please upgrade and release Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea. Please?

8. WILD, WILD, WEST - athletic built, Robert Conrad (the slim one) and his sidekick Artemus Gordon, Ross Martin, two swashbuckling Secret Service men in the late 1800's was a great action series. And even the villians were great to watch. Each week, Jim West and Gordon were burdened to save the country, not just a town, from evil foes and monster machines. I didnt like the theater movie with Will Smith and Kevin Kline. It just didn't go down easy with me. West always looked great-combed and shaved as well as Gordon. Yes, West always got the damsel in distress and won the adalades of President Grant. What a great show to forget your worries.

7. PERRY MASON - Raymond Burr headed up a professional cast of actors and each week had a showdown in court with D.A., Hamilton Burger and Mason won every case. Was this realistic? No, but we were not into that much honesty in the black and white television days. We didn't disregard honesty, but rather enjoyed an hour each week of pure, unadulterated fantasy. What was wrong with this? Burr went on to recreate Mason in several network television movies and had an amazing hit on NBC, Ironsides where he played a crippled police chief who solved crimes with three employees and never baked down from a fight. Where are the Perry Mason's in 2011?

6. AMERICAN BANDSTAND - Saturday's "get-away" for pre-teens and teens across America. Ageless Dick Clark hosted a great show for teens only. And smooth wasn't the word for how he ran this show. Smooth as a Swiss Clock each week with famous rock and rollers and single singers and the Rate a Record segment was always fun. Why did ABC in their sometimes-enlightened wisdom, cancel this ratings monster? It could be easily revamped for 2011. Just an idea.

5. THE RIFLEMAN - Chuck Connors, who went straight from his outlaw days to raising his son Mark, aka, Johnny Crawford was one of the first single-parent shows set in the west. And the plots were very predictable. Each week, Lucas McCain/Connors, with the help of his special-designed rifle, would face outlaws, thieves and troublemakers and always come out smelling like gunpowder. True, Connors was THE star, but many of Hollywood's most successful got roles on the show such as Dennis Hopper, to name one. This is my number five. Sorry it wasn't higher on my list.

4. ADAM 12 - don't ask me the two stars of this blockbuster from NBC and executive producer and creator, Jack Webb, who will be seen again in a moment. The dialogue, dry. The action, predictable and limited due to the toning-down of violence on television. Hardly anyone on this show laughed. It didn't last long in the ratings. If you know the two stars of this show, please leave their names in my comments box.

3. DRAGNET - the ultimate police show. The epitome of acting, script and and screenplays and the plots were never dull. Each week a new criminal or criminals to face Jack "Sgt. Friday" Webb and Harry "Frank Gannon" Morgan, two ace detectives who always got their man and sometimes woman criminal. The remake for theaters with Dan Akroyd and Tom Hanks, sucked wind and even with the supporting cast of Elizabeth Ashley and Christopher Plumber and Dabney Coleman, I didn't spend my money on a ticket. I loved Dragnet. The music the cars, the shiny suits the guys wore and the well-groomed hair they wore. Terrific is all I can say and another thing: DO A REMAKE as close to the original as you can. Please. We need a Sgt. Friday and Frank Gannon to make us feel safe in 2011.

2. THE HONEYMOONERS- yes, The Honeymooners was very high in the ratings all because of a street-wise kid from Brooklyn named, Jackie Gleason. Gleason was a literal one-man show--writer, producer, actor and was "the king" and all around him knew that and never questioned this decisions. Gleason was Ralph Kramden, a city bus driver; Audrey Meadows was Alice "one day, bam! Zoom! To the moon," while Art Carney, a master comedian, played Kramden's best pal, Norton, a sewer employee and his wife, Trixie, Jane King, made up this master supercast who kept audiences rolling and the money rolling into CBS. Later, Gleason took his act and most of his cast to Miami Beach to where he also ruled the airways with The Jackie Gleason Show with famous celebrities each week to comlement Gleason's endless list of lovable characters. Sammy Spear was the most famous orchestra leader in the world for awhile as Gleason always introduced him at the beginning of each show. Earth is missing Gleason today, but you can bet he is entertaining people in Heaven.

1. THE RED SKELTON SHOW - what can I say except two words that spell: TALENT; WARMTH; COMPASSION; COMEDY AND CLASS, but Red Skelton. Before coming to television, Skelton was cast in many comedy and dramatic movie roles and succeeded greatly in each one. Skelton couldn't be touched with his vast array of impressions and one-liners that never grew old. Freddie The Freeloader, Klem Kadiddlehopper and San Fernando Red, were only a few of Skelton's sketch characters. Skelton featured movie and television stars each week in corny sketches and seldom did anyone in the sketch get their lines right and they mostly were victim to Skelton's gift to break them up into show-stopping gales of laughter to the entertainment of the audiences. Skelton's high-moral life was evident in his comedy..he never used profanities. He didn't have to. He was just that talented. His humanity and compassion were on display each Christmas season in the Freddie The Freeloader Christmas Special where Freddie never asked for presents, but done what he could to give others a Christmas themselves. "Good night and may God bless," isn't heard anymore on ABC, CBS and NBC or any cable or satellite companies. The hole that Red Skelton left in the entertainment field has never nor will ever be filled. By anyone.



More by this Author

Comments 25 comments

ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Hi Kenneth...this is a nice list you have compiled. I would, perhaps, do some adjusting to fit my own know...including Get Smart and all... Still...your hub...your list. Thanks for reminding me of the 'silly' shows of the 60s! Voted Up, beautiful and interesting.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

What, not Gunsmoke? Or Ozzie and Harriet? Oh, right...your list. Oops. ;D

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

ThoughtSandwiches, yes, Get Smart was a great show. Don Adams is a comic genius. Barbara Feldon broke my heart at an early age. Thank you for this comment and the memories.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear JamaGenee . . .I do apologize. And you are so right. I was so neglectful to not include Gunsmoke, which Ken "Festus" Curtis made better and that American icon, Ozzie and Harriet. I am so sorry. My list or not, I dropped the ball and take full responsibility. Thank you for the idea and the comment.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear JamaGenee . . .I do apologize. And you are so right. I was so neglectful to not include Gunsmoke, which Ken "Festus" Curtis made better and that American icon, Ozzie and Harriet. I am so sorry. My list or not, I dropped the ball and take full responsibility. Thank you for the idea and the comment.

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Great Hub! Perry Mason was awesome and I did love Bewitched, especially Endora and her craziness. I also think a new American Bandstand would be a great idea.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

Well obviously you left out the really good shows so that the rest of us would be prompted to create our own list of the top ten TV shows of all time, very clever of you!

I won't bore you with the true top ten list as you'll just have to wait for the hub page, like the rest of humanity, but I will give you a hint . . .

Have hub page will travel!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear did you know? You have the sensitive 'Spider sense' that Peter Parker, a/k/a Spiderman has when he senses things around him. Good show! And I hope you are hinting about THE BEST show I ever watched, but I will let YOU name it on YOUR LIST. Cannot wait. Thanks so much for reading this hub.

profile image

Serena Gabriel 5 years ago

I barely remember some of these the first time around, but I loved and still do love Bewitched. My own favorite series list would have to include The Alfred Hitchcock Show, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone (All of Serling's stuff, really) and I Love Lucy. Your list has some items worth exploring, again - especially Red Skelton. I barely remember him, but I think he was very funny.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Serena,

I agree. I too LOVED Hitchcock, Playhouse 90, Outer Limits, Twilight Zone and Red Skelton along with Jackie Gleason. My dream was to, besides being an all-night DJ in an FM rock station in Illinois, was to be as a talented writer as Serling but with the sense of humor as Skelton. What a mix! Neither dream came true. Hey, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate YOU and your input. Sincerely, KENNETH

justateacher profile image

justateacher 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

Bewitched and The Rifleman were two of my favorite shows!I didn't think anyone remembered The Rifleman!

By the way, my oldest daughter is named Tabitha - after Sam and Darrin's daughter...she would have been Lucas (from the Rifleman)if she would have been a boy...Yes...I watch too much tv...

bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee

You have some interesting shows on your list! I have to admit I have never seen Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Someone mentioned Gunsmoke, and gosh I remember watching that with my Dad when I was little. I thought the Marshal and Miss Kitty made a cool couple :)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


justateacher...that is soooooo sweet of you to name your oldest daughter, Tabitha. Nice. And Lucas if she had been a boy is terrific. No, you do NOT watch too much TV. I watch too much TV, but hey, someone has to do it. Otherwise what memories would be have of names, events, and characters. There IS a purpose for addictive TV viewing. LOL. Thanks for your sweet comment.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

12/9 are right. Matt and Kitty were a "match made in Dodge." And I wish that CBS had not cancelled this icon. And the scriptwriters had let them tie the knot.

Festus, the best man. Doc, well, he could be a groomsman. Sam, Kitty's faithful bartender, he could be a bartender at their reception at the Long Branch Saloon. And who does that leave? Yeah, some lawless dude rides into town to just be mean and he speaks up when the preacher asks "if there be anyone here who objects to this couple being wed," then fast-as-a-cat, Festus, 'clocks him,' and the ceremony continues. Ahhh, Gunsmoke. Good times. And Beth, you made my day.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

When my kids were in elementary school they called me into the den to see this great show they were watching. The man was so funny they wanted me to see it too. It was Red Skelton - in 1992! I think your list is very much a "guy's list" but that's OK. I'll have to give this some thought and come up with a "gal's list" !!!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

12/28....Dear Kathleen, thank you so much for your input. I appreciate it very much! Red, what a guy! I am so glad that I included him in this list. And you know what? YOU are right. I did write this from a guy's perspective. Im terribly sorry. This was one of my first hubs, but this is no excuse. I apologize. Sincerely. When someone is offended or miffed at one of my hubs, I am concerned. So Kathleen, I ask for your forgiveness. And your idea of a girl's list....go for it. And use THIS HUB as a How To Not Present a TV Show List...that will be my pentence. Sorry again. Kenneth

suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

Hi Kenneth: Thought I'd drop by and see what's up! I love this hub! I watched all these tv shows growing up. I'm so old we watched American Bandstand after school each day, not just on Saturdays. I always watched to look for my babysitters on the show. I lived in NJ right across the Delaware River from Philly - we were only 20-30 minutes away from American Bandstand. I used to dream of when I was in my teens I would be on the show dancing, but we moved to Ohio when I was 12 and that was the end of that! lol. But, your list brought back a lot of memories.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

My Dear suzette, you are NOT old, my friend. I too did the same thing. A local TV station in Birmingham, Alabama broadcast "Where The Action Is," each afternoon and I would lose myself in these early rocker songs. But I had chores to do before my parents got home, so thereby my Action was short-lived. Thank YOU for the sweet comment. And the nice visit. Do this often.

Your Friend,


profile image

lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Bewitched was one of my favorite TV shows. I haven't seen any of the old-episodes again, but I'm sure that I wouldn't mind watching them again. Nice hub.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

My Dear lovedoctor, thank you for your lovely comment. I think that TVLand still shows Bewithched. Im not that sure, for I dont watch that much TV now days due to my hub-writing.

And again, lovedoctor, I appreciate YOU very MUCH!!!


Skarlet profile image

Skarlet 4 years ago from California

Love it! This is quite a list. Some of these are really hard to come by today. I think youtube has some Perry Mason. I can remember my parents watching the Honeymooners in the 1970's late at night. I loved seeing Jackie Gleason dancing.

Voted up and all!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Skarlet,

now it is 11:07 p.m., CDST in Marion County, Alabama, where I live and I cannot begin to thank you enough for honoring me with your follow. I really appreciate that. And your comments on this, one of my earlier offerings, but I still love vintage TV. Any day. Speaking of the Honeymooners, Art Carney was my favorite of all. I had the best time when Brad Garrett, "Robert," on Everybody Loves Raymond, did Gleason in a movie about his life and he was dead-on in his looks, voice and mannerisms. Gleason was an early comedy genius, along with Red Skelton, and Lucille Ball.

I am very glad that I found you on hubs. You are one terrific writer, Skarlet and I appreciate your time, comments, the follow and votes.

Write me anytime you like and in the next few days, I will email you my personal note of Thanks for following me. I cherish my followers.



D.Juris Stetser profile image

D.Juris Stetser 4 years ago from South Dakota

Hi Kenneth. I happened on your Hub by accident and so glad I did. I couldn't believe it when I found all of your choices were favorites of mine also...Loved the Honeymooners, and Bewitched and the name Jackie Gleason always trailed the names Sammy Spear, and the June Taylor dancers with it....Wonderful walk into nostalgia. Thank you. voted Awesome.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, D. Juris Stetser,

Thank you, dear friend, for your very kind words. I appreciate you taking time to read and leave a comment. You are very appreciated. I cordially Invite YOU to be one of my followers and that way you could share your hub ideas with me and visa versa. I would love that. I will be looking for you and thanks again.


    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article