1.- The Secret World of Alex Mack, Nickelodeon
(when watched from beginning to end this series shows its true worth; it goes from stupid childish Nickelodeon live-action cartoon to a low-key dramedy about 'normal' young people growing up in American suburbia. Even the lead character's powers were deliberately underused and relegated to the background in the superior third and shortened fouth season to emphasize character development and -in the better standout episodes like "Triangle" and "Lies & Secrets"- honest-to-goodness true pathos. I love it, and the final shot of the "Paradise Lost" series finale is permanently etched in my mind forever!
)2.- Law & Order/L&O: Special Victims Unit/L&O: Criminal Intent, NBC-USA Network
(so sue me for cheating, I love all three shows equally. The "L&O" universe is such a cozy and recognizable place to lose yourself in for hours on end with settings, characters and convoluted crimes that are both somewhat believable while being extremely unreal. My day isn't complete without repeats of either show waiting in the DVR for me to come back from work)3.- Mystery Science Theater 3000, Comedy Central/Sci-Fi
('nuff said)4.- Late Night with David Letterman, NBC
(from '82 to '93 the show was on a major creative roll with Letterman at his prime; Dave's been coasting ever since moving to CBS)5.- The Incredible Hulk, CBS
(best live action superhero TV show ever made, primarily because it focused on the weakling but honorable David Banner alter ego over the childish and brute Hulk shenanigans; I still cry when I hear the 'Lonely Man' piano theme song
)6.- Dexter, Showtime
(best new show of the past decade; M.C. Hall's performance should have cleaned the Best Actor Emmy several times over but he still hasn't won yet. Seasons 3 keeps "Dexter" below my Top 5; when only sampling Seasons 1 & 2 it'd be near the top)7.- Sailor Moon, Syndicated/DVD
(my favorite anime of all time, a timeless and hilarious take on 'girly' romance cliches and fantasy taken both seriously and with heart but also a mischievous-without-being-dirty sense of humor. Other anime shows have followed, but Ms. Moon & friends remain my favorite anime crew to hang around with)8.- The X-Files, Fox
(when it was at its peak the personal drama and sparks from the Mulder-Scully relationship and their adventures was peerless. It couldn't help but run out of fuel after nine seasons -two of them quite pointless and redundant- but it's now part of our lives)9.- The Sopranos, HBO
(best acted drama of the Y2K decade but let's face it, the last two or three seasons were coasting on the far-superior first four seasons and that final episode was a letdown. Still great)10.- South Park, Comedy Central
(favorite animated comedy; last half-season of episodes proved to me Trey and Matt still got 'it' and can keep going for a few more years)11.- Match Game, CBS/Syndicated/Game Show Network
(funniest and most timeless gameshow ever made despite being firmly anchored in the 1970's; there will never be a group of people with the chemistry that Rayburn-Dawson-Reilly-Sommers had during the show's golden age)12.- The Price is Right, CBS
(even with Drew Carrey mugging for camera time and 37 years of history this remains the quintessential American gameshow institution: loud, colorful, materialistic to its core and always predictably unpredictable).Honorable mentions:
"Dream On," "Spider-Man '67," "Weeds," "Battlestar Galactica" (remake), "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Science Ninja Team Gatchaman," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Gunslinger Girls," "The Larry Sanders Show," "Firefly," "What's My Line?" (John Daly version from '50 to '67), "Heroes" (Seasons 1 and 4; 2 & 3 suck!), "Big Love," "Ranma 1/2," "Sports Night/Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (an Aaron Sorkin one-two punch), "Cardcaptor Sakura" and "The Amazing Race."