Best TV Show Revealed

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's down to "The Sopranos" vs. "The Wire" in New York Magazine's critics' bracket and "Breaking Bad" vs. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for the readers. New York's TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz talks us through the contest and reveals the winners.

Listeners: What's the best TV drama of the last 25 years? 

Comments [36]


Critics had Wire v Sopranos & fans had Breaking Bad v Buffy because critics get to write off premium channel costs as business expense, or else get eps on DVD ahead of time & fans' finalists were basic cable/over the air channels.

Mar. 26 2012 03:54 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I vote for Seinfeld, only the seasons where Larry David was still there - which excludes the last two seasons. On the other hand Curb Your Enthusiasm (a Larry David project) is disappointing. I also agree that Alfred Hitchcock Presents is GREAT. I use a Zenith DTT901 Digital converter box to receive Free OTA (Over The Air) TV to tune in Digital channel 11-3 and 11-4.

Mar. 26 2012 01:18 PM
rich mcbride from Murray Hill

Aaron Sorkin & The West Wing

Mar. 26 2012 12:47 PM
Steve from queens NY

I totally agree. The Wire is one of the best TV show I seen on TV in over 25 years. I will also agree that Breaking Bad is its closest rival in my book. I just hope they have a good ending to the series. I also liked Six feet under & the Sopranos, but the ending of both shows was weak. I also would take MI5 over 24.

Mar. 26 2012 12:23 PM
Donna from Ridgewood, NJ

Six Feet Under....The Uniqueness, the depth and the chemistry of those actors. In my opinion, definitely the best drama of the last twenty five years. I think everyone forgot about it. There will never be another show like it.

Mar. 26 2012 12:19 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sandra

I fully AGREE about Rome. I even bought the whole series on DVD. IMO, the best series EVER made for TV, and I've been watching TV since 1952.

Mar. 26 2012 12:10 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The only things I still watch on Broadcast TV are the Simpsons, reruns of Monk, and PBS Newshour and documentaries. Everything else I watch via Netflix, Hulu and the like from the internet, especially Colbert Report. I also prefer reruns of very old 1950s era dramas and sci fi programs such as Tales of Tomorrow, Outer Limits, Hitchcock, the old Sherlock Holmes show from the 1950s, and other dramas mostly made in the 1950s.

I simply cannot "get into" the mostly cookie cutter current TV shows with their cookie-cutter looking actors and actresses as well as their untoward sexual innuendos that seem to be part and parcel of today's soft-porn entertainment melieu. If you have to use sex to hold an audience, then the rest must be pretty weak.

Mar. 26 2012 12:06 PM

SIX FEET UNDER. “Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. "-- Cormac McCarthy

Mar. 26 2012 12:00 PM
Rachel from Manhattan

I cannot watch the shows because I find the commercials offensive and feel like a captive audience.

Mar. 26 2012 11:59 AM
The Truth from Becky

Hands down HBO's Game of Thrones!

Mar. 26 2012 11:58 AM
Sandra from New York

West Wing

Mar. 26 2012 11:58 AM
Sandra from New York


Mar. 26 2012 11:57 AM
andrew from Williamsburg

It's got to be hands down The Wire. Great shows, and there have been many, can be pulled apart for various subplots and how they fit in with the running plot line, various characters and other complexities that are layered and create a great show. Where the Wire differs, however, is that it changes the perspective of people who watch it. After watching the Wire, you actually look at things differently, for example the two businessmen on the corner, and you think, 'Now, what is really going on there?' SO in that sense, it's like reading Foucault in how it changes your perception of things, and no tv show other than the Wire has done that for me.

Mar. 26 2012 11:57 AM
ceedee from Mt.Vernon

"Justified" is amazing tv as is "The Walking Dead"-and yes,"Breaking Bad" is just that,bad! As in "bad-ass". Great work by all,including Giancarlo Esposito,who should have more roles that are worty of his talents. "Zooman And The Sign",baby!

Mar. 26 2012 11:57 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for a reason any fan of the show would recognize: "She saved the world. A lot."

Mar. 26 2012 11:56 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

It's not an upset at all...Breaking Bad is an excellent show with excellent writing...Buffy is just a typical, silly show. Quality won, nothing surprising about that.

Mar. 26 2012 11:55 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Can't believe how much people live vicariously and buy into these shows nowadays....

Mar. 26 2012 11:54 AM
Michael from Springfield,MO

HBO's Rome was great.

Mar. 26 2012 11:53 AM
Bob from Westchester, NY

Readers' poll shows were available on broadcast and basic cable; Critics' Poll shows were only available on premium cable. Maybe that's the difference.

Mar. 26 2012 11:53 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The writing on the Sopranos and The Wire is more complex. Breaking bad is amazing but its writing is not as good nor its premise is as believable - the drama and Mr. White's narrative is amazing though.

Mar. 26 2012 11:53 AM


Mar. 26 2012 11:53 AM
Rah from Manhattan


Buffy? COME ON.

Mar. 26 2012 11:53 AM
Shenna from UWS

Without a doubt Deadwood was the best!

Mar. 26 2012 11:53 AM
James from Brooklyn, NY

I'm disappointed to see the West Wing get knocked out so early! I think it should come down to West Wing vs Wire, but by far, Wire is the best of all.

Mar. 26 2012 11:52 AM
Trish from NYC

My Vote: The Wire. (FOUR words) EVERY character is multi-dimensional.

Mar. 26 2012 11:52 AM
MP from Brooklyn

The Sopranos - such a different world and yet so very familiar.

Mar. 26 2012 11:52 AM
John from Brooklyn

Twin Peaks influenced everything worth watching.

Mar. 26 2012 11:51 AM
bo from mnhtn

the wire was amazing, but what about good old reliable law and order? doesn't seem fair to compare networks to cable television.

Mar. 26 2012 11:37 AM
Thomas from Manhattan

None of the listed suggestions would have been possible without Twin Peaks. It changed television and what was possible with serial narrative. From it sprung The X Files, Northern Exposure, certainly gave birth to the possibility of The Wire, Mad Men, and others. LOST stunk at the end.

Mar. 26 2012 11:33 AM
Gabriel from NYC

It is Mad Men. Hands down. Without question. If you don't know this you aren't watching. All the shows mentioned are great however Mad Men is perfect.

Mar. 26 2012 11:04 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Breaking Bad vs. Buffy? Buffy shouldn't even be in the same category as Breaking Bad. It's Breaking Bad, hands down, total blowout, no question.

Mar. 26 2012 11:02 AM

I don't what y'all are talking about. It is Mad Men. Hands down. Without question. If you don't know this you aren't watching.

Mar. 26 2012 11:02 AM
Tom DePaola from Bronx, NY

Though I absolutely love The Wire, I have to stand up for another show without which I can't imagine what my life would be like: The West Wing! I first became infatuated with it in high school; Aaron Sorkin's sharp, witty dialogue and nuanced understanding of issues taught me more about politics than any vocab list I was made to choke down by some apathetic "political science" teacher in public school. My only criticism of the show would be that it portrayed every politician as nobly motivated and genuinely interested in solutions, no matter their ideology, when deep down we know this is a grotesque fantasy. Vanity Fair recently published an article about a whole new generation of politicians who attribute their political maturation to the show. How many other TV dramas have had that kind of effect?

Mar. 26 2012 10:50 AM
Paul from NJ

LOST. Top notch character development. Great set design. For a broadcast television show, it rivals most of what's on cable.

Mar. 26 2012 10:36 AM
John A.

For me it's "Law & Order" versus "E.R.", with "Star Trek: The Next Generation" being the guilty pleasure.

Mar. 26 2012 10:29 AM

"The Wire" is the best tv show in the history of television. "The Sopranos" was excellent, I always enjoyed it when I caught an episode, but it never grabbed me, I never felt compelled to follow it. "The Wire" grabbed me, took hold, and never let go. I often feel like a Reverend in the Church of "The Wire," as I never stop preaching how amazing it is. When I meet someone who has not watched it, I do my best to convert them into a believer. It is not merely a tv show, it is a mind-blowing and all-consuming experience. (P.S. Though it unfairly only lived one season, "Freaks and Geeks" would be my choice for second place.)

Mar. 26 2012 10:22 AM

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