I'll start this post off by offering a disclaimer; I have not watched nearly as many TV shows as I should have. I wish I could put shows like Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, or The Wire, but that wouldn't make sense considering I am yet to watch those series. Thus, I am by no means pretending like this list in any way represents the ten best shows of all time. (That's why the title says "favorite," not "best.") These are merely the shows I actually have managed to follow that I enjoyed the most.
Also, keep in mind that these are pre-taped, scripted programs, which means no reality shows (sorry Big Brother) or Saturday Night Live.
5. Parks and Recreation
This Amy Poehler-starring NBC comedy is based around the Department of Parks & Recreation in the small, simple, yet grumpy an ungrateful town of Pawnee, Indiana. The excellent acting from all cast members results in a wide variety of characters types, whether it's the dedicated public servant Leslie Knope (Poehler), the quirky, annoying yet loveable Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) or the stern, rigidly Libertarian Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). There's also Aubrey Plaza's hysterical performance as the cynical intern, Rob Lowe as the always-happy health freak Chris Traeger, and the goofy, kid-like Andy Dwyer, played by Chris Pratt. Smart writing, subtle jokes, and references to current events keep this show fresh after a solid six seasons. At times silly, at others heartfelt, and always entertaining, Parks and Recreation will never fail to put a smile on your face.
Perhaps the most beloved '90's sitcom, Friends is the story of six friends living in New York City and dealing with the issues that come along with getting older. During the show's ten-season run, viewers came to love each character (well, except for Ross) and made Friends one of the most successful comedies in television history. Like Parks and Recreation above, the show benefits from superb acting and excellent character development. Each member of the gang has more layers than it seems, which is always an indicator of a great show. Whether you like Joey, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, or Ross the most, you won't be disappointed when an rerun of Friends is on.
3. Arrested Development
I seem to have thing for ensemble comedies, don't I? This amazingly clever series is a cult classic, adored by fans and critics alike, despite inexplicably having only a three year cycle on TV before returning for a 4th season on Netflix. Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and David Cross shine in their roles as members of the highly dysfunctional Bluth family. After the father of the family, George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), is sent to jail for defrauding investors in the family's real estate company, his son Michael (Jason Bateman) must try and keep the large family together. Michael and his son George Michael (Michael Cera) are the only seemingly "normal" members of the family, as each relative has a series of quirks and eccentricities. Arrested Development is the kind of show that defines the word 'witty,' the show was highly original for its time and still remains hilarious ten years later.
2. 30 Rock
The star-studded cast of 30 Rock tell the story of the production of a fictional NBC TV show called The Girly Show, taking place in the famous Rockefeller Center. Tina Fey, the show's lead actress and creator, plays Liz Lemon, the awkward and frustrated head writer for TGS. Alex Baldwin gives possibly his career-best performance as NBC executive and Lemon's boss Jack Donaghy. Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan play the show-within-a-show's stars, both of which have unmanageable egos and unpredictable mood swings. Loads of guest stars only add to the show's depth, with appearances from Julianne Moore, Al Gore, Steve Martin, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Anniston, Matt Damon, David Schwimmer, and countless SNL alums, to name a few.
Now, for a show that's not a comedy. Lost is, simply put, my favorite TV show of all time. Countless plot twists, fast-paced action, raw emotion, excellent writing, and stellar character development all combine to make ont truly fantastic show. Just from the show's opening scene, you know that you're in it for the long haul. In a nutshell, the show follows the group of surivivors of Oceanic Flight 815, which crashed on an unknown island when flying from Sydney to Los Angeles. Almost immediately, the survivors realize that this isn't your average island, as mysterious happenings begin. That's as far as I'll describe plot-wise, since this is definitely a show you don't want to be spoiled. There are so many characters with such deep backstories and personalities that it's hard to single out just a few: there's Jack Shepard, an empirical surgeon who quickly emerges as a leader of the group; John Locke, a philosophical man who is Jack's main opposition when it comes to decision-making; and Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, the jolly, loveable, easy-going guy who adds a bit of comedic value to the show. Lost is one of those rare series that pulls you in, won't let you go, and makes you want to see every episode again and again. Despite a controversial ending that split fan opinion, Lost remains my favorite TV show of all time.