22 top TV shows

December 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

News.com.au has what they call the 22 shows most worth bingeing on. They are:

  • Breaking Bad – started watching Season 1 on DVDs a few weeks ago, and damn good.
  • Girls – I love how Hannah, the lead, is such an unsympathetic character.
  • Mad Men – just finished watching Series 5 on DVD. Great one to watch from the beginning
  • Homeland – first season rocked.
  • Boardwalk Empire – yet to watch
  • Downton Abbey – my parents love it. Yet to view myself
  • The Sopranos – watched when live on TV – scheduled for a DVD binge
  • Friends – very easy to watch reruns, which is just as well as it has been on TV2 non stop for 15 years!
  • The Walking Dead – watched a few episodes, but not got into
  • Friday Night Lights – never heard of
  • The West Wing – have watched every episode at least six times. Love it.
  • House of Cards – am beyond addicted. Kevin Spacey as Frank is compelling.
  • Seinfeld – watched at the time, but not one for reruns
  • NCIS – watching both live and older episodes
  • House – watched live – excellent first few seasons but drifted off
  • The Newsroom – too preachy
  • Buffy – the first TV series watched from series beginning to end on DVD – lots of fun
  • Arrested Development – not watched
  • Game of Thrones – watched within hours of release
  • Scrubs – mildly funny at first, but annoying
  • Doctor Who – loved the Day of the Doctor
  • The Wire – have got Season 1 to watch as friends insist I will love it, but yet to get into

 

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69 Responses to “22 top TV shows”

  1. Longknives (4,691 comments) says:

    Game of Thrones first- Daylight second….

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  2. RightNow (6,988 comments) says:

    I’d put Weeds in my top 10.
    I also liked Blue Mountain State and Better Off Ted as great comedy shows.

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  3. Andrew (83 comments) says:

    Do you have all the Buffy DVDs? I’ll lend you all of The Wire in exchange :)

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  4. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    Mad Men is AWESOME! Only one more season to go, which they are going to break into to two like Breaking Bad. Last season was wicked….especially when Don was caught out by Sally. Damn! Hard to come back from that.

    For light ‘brain dead’ stuff where you can turn off and be entertained, I would go for Entourage.

    Ray Donovan is pretty good too.

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  5. Mobile Michael (446 comments) says:

    I watched my first Breaking Bad episode last month. Now up to series 4. First three series were brilliant but series 4 has started slowly.

    Friday Night Lights is about a High School (American) football team. Think 90210 but with jocks.

    Day of the Doctor was okay, but the TV movie “An Adventure in Space and Time” was my highlight of the 50th anniversary.

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  6. BlairM (2,321 comments) says:

    Everyone should watch Arrested Development! It’s probably one of the funniest TV comedies of all time, even though it never rated well when it actually aired. Pure genius!

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  7. GJM (62 comments) says:

    What about MASH. Given the perpetual reruns for almost 40 years, it must be good

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  8. Deane Jessep (67 comments) says:

    Agree with almost all of your comments but your missing out on 3 of the best at the mo.

    The Wire is nothing short of brilliant, though it is slow at times, I know you will appreciate the dialogue and the balance between good and bad being a matter of perspective.

    Boardwalk empire is probably my fav, it’s all 1930’s politics with a dash of gangsters. It just keeps getting better and better too.

    The walking dead. It really builds, you need to persist as the characters all come to terms with their plight in different ways. Some massive shocks too. Once again the writing is some of the best and every season is better than the previous.

    One for me not on the list though is Luther it is short BBC seasons (like Sherlock) and is easily the best writing acting and casting on television. You will simply never see each turn coming. And the musical score is spectacular. I’d have never heard of Emiliana Torrini if it was not for Luther. Watch all of it in one day!

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  9. dime (9,869 comments) says:

    Friday night lights was slightly better than 90210 with jocks!

    No mention of the shield? Wtf?

    Rome – amazing.

    Did a chick write this list? Surprised prison break isn’t on there… If they can put homeland and Buffy. Gay list.

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  10. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    No Parks and Recreation? I live by the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.

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  11. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    Breaking Bad & The Wire are the best 2 shows ever IMHO. Simply amazing.

    I enjoyed Prison Break until season 4 where it got ridiculous.

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  12. AG (1,824 comments) says:

    Three unforgivable misses here:

    The Killing (the Danish original, not the US remake)
    The Bridge
    Borgen

    How on earth can you sit through repeats of “Friends”, but not “Seinfeld”? This speaks to a deficiency in character.

    Oh – and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (but you can’t really “binge” on it – more than 2 episodes at a time would do your head in). But “It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia” can (and should) be binged upon.

    Finally, “The Wire” … skip to season 4, which combines both political campaigning (Carchetti for Mayor!) and Education Reform.

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  13. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    Don’t agree with the poster above re Walking Dead. I think Season 4 is far inferior to the first few seasons. Now episodes are just dragged out with lots of filler.

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  14. si_rangi (60 comments) says:

    Keep an eye out for Ray Donovan – only three episodes in but it is shaping up to be bloody good.

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  15. holysheet (364 comments) says:

    I agree with the west wing. Am enjoying watching Scandal on One. How close to the truth would it be?

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  16. Tinshed (170 comments) says:

    For any political junkies who read this blog (!) I can’t recommend too highly the Danish political drama series, ‘Borgen’. Absolutely top draw television. It won a BAFTA if that helps with the recommendation.

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  17. dime (9,869 comments) says:

    Ray Donovan was really good.

    The first season of boss was the shit. Kelsey grammer as the bad ass mayor of Chicago.

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  18. RightNow (6,988 comments) says:

    Also just finished watching the first season of Vikings. Highly recommend it.

    And thanks dime, about to get stuck into Rome.

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  19. ChardonnayGuy (1,199 comments) says:

    My version would include…Being Human UK, Torchwood, Babylon 5, Survivors (the seventies original), The Office US and UK, How I Met Your Mother, the United States of Tara and American Horror Story Asylum.

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  20. Fletch (6,296 comments) says:

    I haven’t watched many from the list (apart from Doctor Who!).
    I watched Seinfeld at the time but they don’t rerun on Free TV at the moment.

    What I’m really enjoying at the moment is Death In Paradise on Prime TV on Thursdays.
    It’s about a British detective transplanted to the tropical island of Saint Marie and having to solve crimes there.
    Very well written and amusing as well. He still wears a suit on this tropical island and can’t seem to adapt.

    Well worth watching.

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  21. Fletch (6,296 comments) says:

    Oh, and I quite enjoy a bit of The Mentalist, too.

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  22. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    If you watched all this you’d definitely be mind blocked from what’s really happening in the world.

    A healthy does of the Dr never did anyone wrong.

    Might wake us up.

    All th eother stuff is definitely designed to morph us out.

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  23. Fletch (6,296 comments) says:

    As far as Hulu, Spy is very good and humourous, as is new show The Wrong Mans, about two nerdy type guys mixed up in murder and mayhem.
    Also, The Tomorrow People is getting better and better.
    I’ve watched a few episodes of Almost Human with Karl Urban and they were just so-so.

    I watched the first few episodes of Marvel’s Agents of Shield, but gave up.

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  24. Maggy Wassilieff (344 comments) says:

    What?, are none of you poli commentators fans of “The thick of it”?…..back on UKTV Thurs nights.

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  25. PaulP (146 comments) says:

    Coupling was one of my favourites. Only discovered it after you, DPF, mentioned it on this blog. Managed to get hold of every series. I found it hilarious.

    A British combo of friends meets Seinfeld.

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  26. Scott Chris (6,068 comments) says:

    Well worth bingeing on the first 7 seasons of The Simpsons. The original ‘Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’ is also a good watch.

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  27. Fletch (6,296 comments) says:

    What really sticks out for me, is that there is not a lot on TV for kids anymore at night.

    Back in the 1980s we had all sorts of stuff – Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica, Dukes of Hazzard, CHiPs, Simon and Simon, The A-Team, Wiseguy (very good), Moonlighting, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Greatest American Hero, MacGyver, 21 Jump Street, Magnum P.I, Remington Steele, and lots of family-oriented comedies, like Full House, Charles In Charge, Perfect Strangers, Who’s The Boss, Diff’rent Strokes, Night Court, etc.

    The stuff was just so varied and mostly harmless.

    Nowadays the focus seems to be on gritty, realistic, violent crime stuff – NCIS, Homicide, CSI (and it’s spinoffs in NY and Miami), Criminal Minds, Dexter, Murder One and the like. TV isn’t fun anymore. The crime stuff has a lot of post-mortem examinations and such.

    Mandy Patinkin, who was in Criminal Minds, made a statement about the show

    Mandy Patinkin’s biggest career regret? Appearing on CBS’s Criminal Minds for two seasons, from 2005-2007, before his abrupt departure.

    “The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place,” the actor told New York magazine. “I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn’t think I would get to work in television again.”

    That’s what I mean. It’s all about women getting kidnapped and raped and people being tortured etc. I can’t watch many of these modern crime shows (although I do watch The mentalist, but even that veers into being too violent).

    And now all the modern American comedy seems to be sex-jokes – sexual innuendo. Stuff, like Two and a Half Men, and Big Bang Theory – I just can’t watch it and it isn’t funny.

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  28. Peter (1,700 comments) says:

    Walking Dead starts to kick in after series one. Changes from a zombie horror to a tale about starting society from scratch.

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  29. stephieboy (2,801 comments) says:

    I’ve watched only segments of Mad Men and appears to be in the tradition of Sweeny Todd. I would like to watch the whole series and assume it can be got online.?

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  30. PaulP (146 comments) says:

    Wow Fletch, your list brings back some great memories.

    CHiPs was my favourite although got hold of a DVD lately and should have left it in my childhood memory!

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  31. Peter (1,700 comments) says:

    Mad Men is great. Breaking Bad was the greatest, right up until the last series, when it got crushed under its own sense of self-importance.

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  32. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Gilmore Girls had great chemistry. Tried too hard to be eccentric though.

    Only a natural can be eccentric.

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  33. Manolo (13,590 comments) says:

    Glad to confess I do not watch TV. No comments from me on this issue. :D

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  34. Fletch (6,296 comments) says:

    CHiPs was my favourite although got hold of a DVD lately and should have left it in my childhood memory!

    yeh, sometimes you can’t go back. Although I have to say, I bought seasons 1 and 2 of Wiseguy (in a single boxset) and it still holds up. Season 2 is notable for Kevin Spacey’s big break, playing a gangster. (“Only the toes, knows”).

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  35. Fletch (6,296 comments) says:

    For sci-fi and Doctor Who fans, does anyone remember Sapphire and Steel?
    That show was soo great. Kinda scary at times, but great. I think they played it on New Zealand TV in the afternoons.

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  36. RightNow (6,988 comments) says:

    I remember watching Sapphire and Steel late at night, must have been early ’80s.

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  37. James Stephenson (2,155 comments) says:

    Glad to confess I do not watch TV. No comments from me on this issue.

    Well, I thought I did watch TV, but other than about three episodes of House (which about what it takes to realise it’s always the same formula) and Doctor Who when I was a kid, I haven’t watched any of that list.

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  38. Fletch (6,296 comments) says:

    What I did enjoy a few years ago was the British version of Life On Mars. Kind of a time-travel cop thing about a policeman who gets caught in an attack, goes into a coma and gets somehow transported back into the 1970s and him trying to wake up and get back.

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  39. alwyn (417 comments) says:

    There are a couple I would add to the list.
    Boston Legal. How could they possibly have left it out?
    Hustle. A BBC production so the episodes are 60 minutes long instead of about 42.

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  40. MH (713 comments) says:

    I got to admit i like those illusionists shows esp Derren Brown who sometimes shows how things are done. His Trick or Treat shows were fun-one bloke was put into a hypnotic trance in a photo booth in England and then wakes up in Marrakesh, Morocco. The look of wide eyed amazement is priceless.

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  41. redeye (629 comments) says:

    Life on Mars followed by Ashes to Ashes was really good. The Gene Genie really character made it.

    Ray Donovan deserves the above mentions. Jon Voight’s character is hilarious.

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  42. Manolo (13,590 comments) says:

    Talking about illusionists: How is this done?

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  43. Ed Snack (1,851 comments) says:

    You’all WATCH TV still, how very 90’s.

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  44. Joseph Carpenter (214 comments) says:

    If you loved Buffy try Supernatural, just gets better as it goes along.
    Also if we’re including old school the original The Prisoner.
    Another great under-rated and rare one that was shown here is American Gothic but you must watch it in the directors order of episodes not the broadcast ordering.

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  45. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    A pretty good list, although it tends to go for more recent shows (2000’s) so a lot of older classics are left out.
    It’s also very American which is fine I suppose (American cable channels like HBO make superb shows), but it leaves out a lot of good UK shows.

    Has anyone seen “Orange is the New Black”? A very recent show – only one season of 13 episodes so far, but I suspect it will be added to a few best of lists once it gets more widely known.

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  46. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    So if you don’t watch TV shows Ed Snack, then what do you watch?
    Or are you just being pretentious?

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  47. dime (9,869 comments) says:

    Vikings turned out to be a pleasant surprise!

    Dime didn’t watch tv for years. Then the cable networks started churning out some great shows.

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  48. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Yes, the US cable networks make great television. Because they are subscribed to they have the luxury of being able to let a show develop over a season (or seasons) without having to worry about instant ratings.

    I would add to the list “Six feet under” and “Curb your enthusiasm” from HBO

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  49. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I never watch TV now (except for the Olympics and a bit of Sevens) so I’ve only seen Friends and Seinfeld. From what I’ve seen of “The Sopranos” on Youtube, it was excellent.

    The other stuff on that list would have to be *outstanding* to beat those three shows.

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  50. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    The Wire, Breaking Bad and GOT all rate top equal IMHO.
    Boardwalk Empire and House of Cards both very very good.
    Sopranos was awesome but went on too long.
    Boss would be there too if it hadnt got canned.
    Homeland was a yawn.
    Buffy, Sienfeld and Friends? You are joking right?

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  51. greybeard (58 comments) says:

    Wallander ( the Swedish series )

    Luther

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  52. Harriet (4,857 comments) says:

    The Bible mini series and Rome are excellent viewing. :cool:

    I’ve also just been watching on youtube a mini series from the late 70’s called How The West Was Won[aka the Macahans] which is good too. The Amish type chick is rather beautiful too! :cool:

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  53. Viking2 (11,420 comments) says:

    you bunch of Philistines.
    Not one of you mentioned the perennial favourite of the masses.

    I refer of course to Coronation Street.
    :roll:

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  54. infused (654 comments) says:

    Spartacus, fuck the haters!

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  55. chiz (1,135 comments) says:

    Fringe. Best Mad Scientist ever. TV2 are playing 2 episodes back to back each week (after midnight).

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  56. Harriet (4,857 comments) says:

    The Young Ones!!!!! :cool:

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  57. big bruv (13,734 comments) says:

    Sporanos and the Wire for me.

    Oh…and DPF, the original English series of the house of cards is still far better than the Yankee version.

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  58. RandySavage (216 comments) says:

    DPF the worlds most boring man

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  59. Scott Chris (6,068 comments) says:

    The (UK) Office. Stephen Fry’s QI is also worth a binge.

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  60. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    @DPF You must be a hyperactive superman…. honestly mate. You run a business (or mabe 2 or 3), you operate New Zealand’s prime politics blog, you comment on and appear in other media, you go on trips and write about them as well as training and lose all that weight….. how on earth do you find time in your life to watch so much TV? Are you on speed or something? :D

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  61. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I promise you that you guys would love The Bridge and The three seasons of ‘The Killing’ (Serial Killers meet political intrigue) (in original Danish – get emt on Fatso)

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  62. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Also Fringe

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  63. kaykaybee (152 comments) says:

    Lee C. Loved the Danish version of The Killing ( couldn’t stomach the USA one) and loved The Bridge even more

    My favourite watch this year on Netflix has been full scale bingeing on Breaking Bad. Compelling in all respects. I loved Mad Men, but him indoors not a fan…liked Homeland, Strike Back and about to watch The Wire

    Anyone know of others I might appreciate

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  64. landoftime (35 comments) says:

    Yes – agree with the others said about the Walking Dead – give it another chance. It’s really good. The series is trying to make a comment about society. It’s one of my favourite shows.

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  65. Tauhei Notts (1,693 comments) says:

    I am feeling a bit left out here.
    Not one of those 22 shows is watched by me.
    I really do appreciate Russian Tv. You know it has a Russian bias so accept that and think.
    Then Al Jazeera gives you a degree of balance. Okay, they have towel head bias, but once again, you accept that and think.
    State Tv has a an awful bias that I find nauseating. Surprisingly, private Tv such as TV3 with that puffed up puff ball has a similarly sickening bias.
    The movies on the Rialto channel are frequently very good.

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  66. wf (429 comments) says:

    I remember thinking that The Planemakers was a must see on Sunday evenings The main actor was a nasty Muldoonish little man and got his comeuppance in the end. Then we got the Le Carre’s. And a nice little time waster series about a girl band during WW2 . Can’t remember it’s name.

    They were all black and white, and rarely lasted more than 12 episodes .

    Of the more recent series, Soap and Six Feet Under were must-watch, Sopranos worth keeping an eye on, butMy all time favorite in recent year was/is NYPD Blue.
    And I still do a Coro Catch-up every now and then.

    I have too much to do to have cable/skye connections – and not the interest, frankly. I’d rather read a book.

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  67. ChardonnayGuy (1,199 comments) says:

    Currently, I’m being somewhat entertained by Underbelly: Squizzy, although not as good as Underbelly: Razor, a damned excellent true crime/historical period piece set in roaring twenties Sydney.

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  68. ChardonnayGuy (1,199 comments) says:

    Oh, and of course, I’ve ordered in for “Time of the Doctor,” Matt Smith’s swansong as the Eleventh Doctor and Peter Capaldi’s advent as the much snarkier and grumpier Twelfth incarnation of our favourite Time Lord.

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  69. timmydevo (52 comments) says:

    No Big Bang Theory? List is worthless.

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