Another Friday, another list! This one is is inspired by the “Favorite Album for Each Year I’ve Been Alive” list.
Essentially, it’s a list of best TV show debuts for every year I’ve been alive.
When researching — Wikipedia, naturally — I determined that the absolute nadir of American television was the 1980s, which is no surprise to anybody who lived through it. On the other hand, there is no doubt that we entered a golden age in 1999, which lasted until the great HBO shows all ended.
Also, there tends to be a pattern where one year has a bunch of fantastic debuts, followed by a couple of down years. Which is why a lot of the greatest shows ever aren’t on this list: they had the misfortune to debut the same year as an even better show (too bad, West Wing! tough luck, Veronica Mars!). The opposite held true: especially in the 1980s, I had to do some stretching to find anything halfway decent.