Our All-Time Favorite TV Shows

Highbrow Magazine Staff


According to many critics, television is currently enjoying another Golden Age, and with the arrival of newcomers such as Amazon and Netflix on the scene in the past few years, our black boxes are populated by more than 500 scripted shows alone (and counting).


Since it’s officially the start of the awards season -- and to help kick off the Golden Globes – Highbrow Magazine staff have selected their all-time favorite TV shows, which we recommend you also watch.




Having spent most of my childhood in Europe and the Middle East, American TV shows were few and far between at the time. I would watch shows such as The Brady Bunch, Star Trek, The Addams Family, Happy Days, All in the Family. But none had more of an impact on me than Taxi, which I started watching as a teenager in West Berlin.

I was mesmerized by the characters (Louie De Palma, Latka Gravas, Jim Ignatowski and the rest) and the superb acting and stellar writing. Each character endeared themselves to me, and I watched fervently every week to see what life would deal each of them next. In my opinion, this was truly American television at its best.


--Tara Taghizadeh, Founding Editor and Publisher --



Breaking Bad:

 Any dramatic series that starts with the hero wielding a gun in his underwear in the middle of the desert already has a lot going for it. When you add an outstanding cast, top-quality writing and a dark strain of humor, it's hard to think of any other television series that comes close to the magnificent achievement of Breaking Bad. That the series sustained this exceptional level of quality for five seasons is little short of a miracle.


--Lee Polevoi, Chief Book Critic--



The Honeymooners:

At the risk of being accused by readers of over-the-top sentimentality, I vote for The Honeymooners (1955-1956).  As I was housebound, recovering from a childhood appendectomy, my father begrudgingly agreed to buy our first black and white TV set. 

Week after week, we sat mesmerized as Jackie Gleason as the rotund bus driver Ralph Cramden rolled his eyes and exploded at his deadpan wife Alice (Audrey Meadows) in the saddest and smallest kitchen set in New York.  His comic foil was the brilliant Art Carney, whose dimwitted shenanigans could only infuriate Ralph even more. Joyce Randolph as Ed’s wife Trixie completed this classic quartet.  Their timing was impeccable, but more importantly, through their meteoric fights their humanity shone through, convincing me that love won out every time. 


--Sandra Bertrand, Chief Arts Critic --



Cowboy Bebop, American Horror Story, etc.

For Anime, Cowboy Bebop is phenomenal. But if you watch a lot of science fiction anime, they all get ripped on by Space Dandy, which is worth the watch if you're familiar with the source material. Another piece of wonderful adult animation, which also heavily lampoons its subject material, and a good plenty macho stereotypes associated with adventure series and superheroes, is Venture Brothers. The Andy Warhol send-up in Season 6 is well worth the watch on its own: Venture Bros - The Doom Factory! (the link isn't official).

I fell hard for Lost and don't really invest too heavily in television. This is probably one of the major draws of American Horror Story for me. It's an anthology series, yes, but each season has an arc that raps up by the end of the season. Thus, because it's a finite quantity, it's a bit more reassuring: I'm not going to be pulled along for 10 seasons to find out at the end what I suspected, and was advised against, in the beginning. 


--Adam Gravano, Contributing Writer--



Madam Secretary:

OK, it may be the most far-fetched story on television these days, but my husband and I look forward to ending our weekends with a dose of Madam Secretary—in which Téa Leoni plays the gorgeous Secretary of State who, no matter what kind of international crisis is thrown her way, solves the world’s problems with grace, ease, and always on her own terms (which, of course, are principled and just). Maybe it’s the state of real-life politics today, but it just feels good to watch a world where everyone is working towards a better place rather than self-aggrandizement. 


--Barbara Noe Kennedy, Contributing Writer--



The Good Wife:

My favorite TV show is still The Good Wife: woman-centered, kept up with current politics, tackled interesting and tough subjects; and Matt Czuchry is in it.


--Angelo Franco, Chief Features Writer--



Parks and Recreation:

My all-time favorite TV show is Parks and Recreation, of course. Why? I find qualities derived from people I know and love personally in each character. They're all learning how to deal with life's obstacles and become a team as they figure things out.

 There is such great character development. Every character has a purpose in the show. I have never felt more attached to any other fictional TV characters.

Confession: I cry every time I rewatch this series because I'm happy to see how each character has grown over time (and also because I know its ending). Every time I watch Parks and Recreation, it feels as though I am watching the show for the first time, and it fills my heart with joy!


--Caitlin Cohen, Contributing Writer--


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