This list serves as a list of my Top 10 Favourite TV Shows of All Time, wherein I recount my favourite tv shows, but this video also functions as an experiment I’d like to play out over the coming years here on the channel. Every year in January I would like to remake this list and compare how the list changes over time. Particularly in this list you will notice the overbearing amount of anime, by this time next year I hope to have watched more classic western television. With that being said let’s start the list:
- Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones would undeniably be in the Top 3 of this list if there were only 4 seasons of this show, but because of the abject failure of anything following season 4, it’ll have to settle for 10th on this list. Seasons 1 through 3 of Game of Thrones is some of the best television I have ever seen, the performances, story, cinematography, music and surprises were revolutionary, it captured the worlds excitement. But seasons 5 through 7 and likely season 8, have ruined this show, now it contradicts itself thematically and places importance of things like linage that are antithetical to the moral of the story. No characters ever die anymore, and half the episodes are just fan service another aspect the beginning of the show intentionally subverted. But we aren’t here to talk about the failings of Game of Thrones, but to highlight the positive aspects of the series and justify its placement here on the list. Game of Thrones, in the beginning, is all about the art of subversion and therefore the show created something fresh. The brave King who conquered the kingdom and overthrew a lasting dynasty, is sad about his lost girlfriend and drinks himself to death. The honourable stereotypical hero is eaten alive by the realistic political tactics of the capital. The beautiful Queen is paranoid constantly and sleeps with her brother, the prince charming esk knight has his fighting arm mutilated, the disgusting looking Dwarf is the best dude, the grand speeches before medieval battles are undercut by realism. Now this inherit freshness isn’t enough to create a successful tv show, but tie that together with all the other grand elements I mentioned, and you have yourself one hell of a story… until they fucked it all up.
- Naruto/Naruto Shippuden
Your eyes are not deceiving you, Naruto/Naruto Shippuden is rank higher than Game of Thrones here on the list. Immediately if you’re made and if you’ve been paying attention you should be yelling about me criticising Game of Thrones for contradicting itself thematically when that is maybe just as true of Naruto. Everyone’s pointed this out at this point, Naruto’s inspirational speech to Neji about linage being meaningless only for it to be revealed that Naruto and Sasuke are from a linage of ninja that were destined to battle throughout time. But in defence of Naruto, at least Naruto addresses this in the narrative. When Neji is killed in the great shinobi war his symbolic bird is impaled by the falling spikes as well. This maybe a brief call back, but at least Kishimoto is addressing the battle the two had in the past instead of ignoring it. At least Naruto addresses its contradictions instead of acting like nothing’s changed.
But once again we seem to be getting side-tracked in the negative, instead of justifying its placement here on the list. Naruto, even more than Pokemon to me, is the fictional world I would choose to live in if given the choice. Naruto has the coolest powers in all of fiction to me. Obviously, the hand signs are a genius inclusion, every kid want to emulate these hand signs because forming them, at least in the show, looks cool as fuck. Not only this but the actual fighting techniques are also amazing, my favourite being Minato’s fly risen jutsu, where he teleports around using the indicators. Not only is the world of Naruto captivating but the on goings are great as well, some of my favourite moments in fiction happen in Naruto. They’re were literal moments on my initial viewing where I couldn’t believe my eyes. The slow reveal of Obito being Tobi was unbelievably handled in the anime, I had already been spoiled when I first watched it but the direction of the 10-minute opening stretch in unreal, the music and visuals give the perfect representation of the rise and fall of this character. Later in the best fight in the series between Obito and Kakashi I couldn’t believe my eyes, the stylised combination of their fight as children and their contemporary fight is brilliant, and as the fight builds to the moment were the two cross over you feel the literal weight of their relationship and how much this fight means to the both of them. Overall Naruto has some outstanding moments in its historic run and shouldn’t be underestimated to the extreme it is by series critics. This show means too much to me for it to not be given representation here.
Baccano is stylised madness and the first of two examples on this list of a standout Dub performance making an already great show even better. The dialogue here is intrinsic to my overall enjoyment and even if you here some of those annoying familiar voices throughout the shows cast, the accents and stylisation here bring the show home. (Play Digibro clip) Baccano is famous for its non-linearity, the story is told across three separate timelines that do interact, even if maybe not directly, this complex method of storytelling is not only difficult to understand but even more difficult to pull off to this effective of an extent. Somehow even though on your first viewing you’re not going to fully understand the overall narrative, you still enjoy yourself and find the show thoroughly entertaining. Baccano also is very rewarding to go back and rewatch, I’ve seen the show four times from start to finish and every time I pick up on another extraneous detail. The atmosphere of authentic 1930s New York is the selling point here, when I’m watching Baccano, I’m watching Baccano it feels holey unique and could not be mistaken for any other show. Baccano is a must watch thrill-ride of complexity and action and that lands it a spot on this list.
- Attack on Titan
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Attack on Titan at all. It’s been with me since the beginning, it was my first conscious anime experience and the first manga I decided to follow. I have deep nostalgia for this series and I’m sure that clouds my judgement in some ways but I still with argue the validity of the series’ quality. But the anime is another level of confusion for me, because in some ways it out does the manga and in other ways I much prefer the manga, because of the bombast and over-the-top nature of the anime. But still this anime has some fantastic moments that lend it a spot here on the list. The reveal of the Armoured and Colossal Titans is so well handled in the anime. I get chills whenever I watch that scene, and at this point I have to have seen it at least 20 times, but it never fails to captivate me. Everything about the direction and the music in that moment furthers whatever effectiveness the moment had in the manga. Additionally, some of the action set-pieces are amazing in the anime. Levi’s chase scene from the beginning of season 3 comes to mind as an outstanding piece of animation. The camera work around the 3D manoeuvre gear throughout the series is always of high quality. These outstanding depictions of some of my favourite moments from the Attack on Titan manga earn this adaptation a spot on this list.
- Steins; Gate
Steins; Gate at one point in time, I would’ve stood by as unequivocally my favourite tv show of all time, and though my position on the show has wavered as you can see from its positioning here on the list, I still love this show. The characters and the music are the standout elements in this show, Makise Kurisu is one of the most beloved characters in all of anime, or at least she was at a time, and it’s because of the great writing in this show. The different character interactions in this show highlight the powerful writing. Every character talks fluidly, the conversations between them flow, whereas in other anime it feels like two expositional tools blabbing and the visuals are left to show the relations between them. Okabe is a great main character, he’s a socially awkward university student who entertain himself and others through his over-the-top persona and watching him in the slice of life beginning of the series establish relationships with everyone else hold the viewer attention. But when the twist happens in episode 12 and the series takes a turn into darker territory it’s even more fun to watch this over-the-top persona be ripped away piece by piece. This show also shows its strengths in the plot, with an interesting and far more plausible take on time travel and fantastic pacing. Overall Steins; Gate thought I may not love it as much as I once did, remains among my favourites of all time.
- Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain is peak experimental media. This show is insane and you’re not going to understand it, and that’s the main conceit, watch the imagery and insanity and try and piece the puzzle together, and rewatches aren’t only encourage but basically mandatory. I’ve only gone through this show two and a half times and I still have no idea what’s going on with the alien. The art and direction are a clear selling points for this show, its breathtaking and inspiring. The artistic flair you’ll likely first notice is the weird pattern in all the shadows, and it’s tantalising. Enjoy trying to figure out what that symbolises over your journey. Now a show like this that’s incredibly experimental and trippy in nature benefits heavily by its short length, if this show were much longer it might be too overbearing. But the concise 13 episodes leans perfectly into the shows watchability. This shows other worthy claim to fame is its phenomenal understanding of what the internet was both like in 1998 and has continued to be to this day. The show understands how internet culture has developed, the super-hacker group, the knights are all very different people living very different lives, showing the grand nature of the internet and how it brings people together. The show understood meme culture and how a stupid, clever saying can become incredibly popular with some audio manipulation. The show was so clever in creating an in-universe meme in the ‘Let’s All Love Lain’ chant that it transcended the universe within the show and has become a meme in real life. This show is a late 1990s commentary on internet culture and somehow because of the cleverness of the writers remains completely relevant today.
- Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop and I have an interesting relationship. If you check out the backlog of my channel some of my earliest videos are about my initial reactions to Cowboy Bebop as a series and it’s interesting to see me go from liking only certain episodes and hating the episodic nature of the show to loving every second of what I consider now to be a masterpiece. Cowboy Bebop is exceptional in all categories, its tone and atmosphere are unique and flexible, Cowboy Bebop doesn’t feel like anything else even though it homages so much content and it’s different nearly every episode. The character, even though I still don’t particularly care for Spike, are meaningful depictions. Faye is my favourite in the entire show, watching here best scenes is unimaginably tragic, from the shower scene where she remembers everything, to the Call Me scene as she running to her old ruined home, to the Go Me scene, to her final scene where she begs Spike to stay, are all fantastically tragic. Everybody in Cowboy Bebop is a realised person with depth, and it’s all derived from the final quote at the end of the show, everyone is carrying excess baggage. Everyone has a sad story behind them. And the tragedy of that and the beauty in that reality is why Cowboy Bebop stands out as a medium defining series, one deserving of a high placement on this list.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is the most influential anime of all time, for great reason this show is palpable. You vicarial feel this show and the struggle of the characters within it. This show through all the mech elements and anime trappings is an in-depth, psychological character study of predominantly 5 characters, the three-iconic child mech pilots; Shinji, Asuka and Rei as well as Misato and to a lesser extent Ryosuke. These characters and their interactions and relationships with each other are the driving force behind this show, in the movies Shinji’s relationship with these people is the only reason the world doesn’t end. Evangelion thematically is about the struggle to make meaningful human connections and it’s not necessarily a happy one, by the end of the series all the characters are divided up, having failed each other. Misato is distraught over Kagi’s death, Asuka has lost her purpose in life when she realises she isn’t the best pilot, Rei was reset again and has to deal with her repeated existentialism and Ryosuke feels like she been taken advantage of and has ruined her relationship with nerve by leaking information. That leaves Shinji alone and with no connection. But how these characters slowly got to that point and how they come out of their individual depressions is the appeal of the show. As well as all this deep character writing and the shows interesting themes; the show also has stellar direction, but you can find countless of videos on the internet to explain that to you. Overall Neon Genesis Evangelion is another medium defining series, that deserves this ranking.
- Black Lagoon
Black Lagoon is my favourite anime of all time, and I will never backdown from this position. While Serial Experiments Lain, Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion have things to say about humanity and the human experience overall, Black Lagoon’s story is much more person. It’s about two people and how they affect each other’s incredibly different lives. Rock and Revy are the driving force behind Black Lagoon, they are together the main character. Their relationship goes through phases and each one of them is equally as interesting. Initially they dislike each other because they are opposites, but through the famous cigarette kiss scene we begin to understand that opposites definitely do attract and then they’re on the same page. But then something interesting happens, Revy notices that Rock is losing himself to the city, Roanapur and the underbelly lifestyle is eating Rock alive and secretly he loves it, but Revy always saw Rock as her lifeline out of this hell-scape, so throughout the arc in Japan and mostly in Roberta’s Blood Trail Revy desperately fights to keep Rock for the darkness and this struggle is the highlight of this show to me. The scene where Yukio impales herself with the sword stands out as the biggest literal exploration of this struggle in the series, Revy pleads with Rock desperately to turn away, but he doesn’t, because secretly he loves the thrill. I could and in the future will go into far more depth regarding the relationship here between the two of these characters, but this isn’t even the best part of Black Lagoon the performances are. The dialogue for this show was completely rewritten for the Dub and it shows, couple that with the excellent performance from Revy VA and this show easily has the best dialogue in anime. Black Lagoon is so unbelievably great and is easily my favourite anime of all time.
- The Sopranos
The Sopranos is a sprawling, lasting experience, with a rich cast of character, interesting themes and houses some of the best performances in TV history. The Sopranos like Neon Genesis Evangelion is revolutionary, I highlighted this in a separate video you can find in the description. The anti-hero television craze is derived entirely from The Sopranos and the titular character Tony Soprano. None of these other anti-hero protagonists would exist if Tony wasn’t as captivating as he has. Tony is the deepest character I’ve ever come across. The Sopranos is a long show it’s 6 seasons and spans over 70 hours and Tony is explored as a character you it’s entire runtime. We learn everything about this character throughout the series through his introspective therapy sessions with Dr Melfei and his elaborate dream sequences, that are marvels in cinematography as well as tension. The Sopranos’ strength lay in the heart of its characters, the characters and their interactions through the fantastically written dialogue are what draw the viewer in here, this results in countless impeccable scene throughout the show. To list some of my favourites: when Junior Soprano sings at Jackie Jr’s funeral, to Christopher’s out-of-nowhere death, to Pussy’s death on the boat, to Silvio and Tony’s conversation about heritage, to Meadow’s exposure of Carmella, to Carmella and Tony’s visceral breakup, to Carmella’s philosophical awakening in France, to Richie’s death, to anything with Tony Blundetto, to anything in that unrivalled final episode, this series is too good. The Sopranos is required reading and if you haven’t seen it yet do yourself and the world a favour and get on that. The Sopranos is undoubtedly my favourite television show of all time.