1. Grey's AnatomyAt this point, the fact that I've seen every single episode of a show that's been on since 2005 is just... well, it's impressive, really. I don't know many people, aside from my mom, who have stuck with Grey's this long, but I can't quit it. The characters, the drama, the wacky bomb-in-a-body scenarios, the many, many deaths, & all the times it's jumped the shark... Despite - maybe because - of it all, I eagerly await this show every single week, & I will undoubtedly be a fan until its dying day (no pun intended).
2. Dawson's CreekDon't we all have some TV show that marked the first time we fell in love with the small screen? For me, Dawson's was it. I knew, from the very first time I saw a commercial on the WB - before the show even premiered! - that it was going to be my favorite, & it was. I watched Dawson's at a time when I thought I'd never get to see it again, a day long before DVDs & DVRs & Internet streaming, & so, on the day the show came to an end, I kicked my freshman roommate out of our room so I could sit on a plastic purple beanbag chair & watch the two-hour series finale while sobbing in solitude.
3. Law & Order: SVUI lived with my mom during my junior year of college, back when Law & Order marathons ran on TNT practically 24/7. We'd leave it on for hours, truly, just reading magazines & cooking & chatting as Benson & Stabler rid NYC of pervs in the background. These days, even sans Stabler, I'm still a big fan - & I've ever gotten Mike into it, such that it's become our favorite go-to show when there's nothing to watch. He doesn't even mind my deep love for Ice-T.
4. Battlestar GalacticaI thought this show was going to be the absolute worst. I'm not much of a sci-fi person, & this sounds like the ultimate nerdy sci-fi show. What a nerdy name! And yet, it's probably technically tops on this list. Hands down, it's one of the best, deepest, & most engaging shows I've ever watched. I felt fully immersed in their space world, in the politics & the plans & the people. I practically went insane trying to guess who was a Cylon - & I was so proud of myself for having guessed at the final twist.
5. Friday Night LightsHere's another one I doubted I'd like. Football in the south? No, thanks. But having seen it now, FNL is the one show that, if I could, I would wipe from my memory simply for the joy of being able to see it again for the very first time. Its storylines are realistic, for the most part (OK, except for that whole murder scenario) while still glitzy enough to make for good TV. Its characters are so lovable, so real, so raw that by the show's end, they felt like my family. Texas forever.
6. The Walking DeadI know plenty of folks have jumped ship on this gruesome, grotesque, post-apocalyptic drama, but it's still one I look forward to every week. I'm admittedly annoyed with, like, every other plotline - & I'm not really looking forward to this new villain, Negan (played by Grey's Anatomy's Denny Duquette, of blessed memory). But I also just can't wait to see what happens next. I am compelled. Who will be eaten by a zombie next? How did everyone look so clean-cut in Alexandria? Will Carl ever get less annoying? And who did Negan hit with that bat?
7. Criminal MindsSo desperate am I for the return of this serial killer-centric show that this summer, I rewatched the entire show. All of it. Every single episode of every single season. I was devastated to learn, just last week, that main character Thomas Gibson, formerly of Dharma & Greg fame, has been fired from the show for allegedly kicking a writer (who kicks another person?!). Now, I'm left hoping that this spooky thriller can pull it together & keep on keepin' on without its longtime lead character at the helm. Hotch, how could you?!
8. Game of ThronesYep, I'm totally on the GoT bandwagon. This is yet another show I didn't think I'd enjoy, but I became quickly obsessed, & now I'm one of those people who reads Reddit theories & can't wait to debrief each episode with fellow viewers. I can't believe there's so little time left for this series, but I'm clinging to every twist & turn while it's still on the air. I've lost my love for Daenerys, but I sure am curious to see who ends up on the Iron Throne.
9. GIRLSI know, I'm supposed to hate Lena Dunham, but I just... don't. Sorry. I know a lot of her work is problematic, but I think that, at its crux, so much of it is just true creative genius. The unlikable but somehow still relatable main characters in this show make decisions that seem absolutely crazy - & yet, they evoke emotions & life crises that are all too familiar to anyone who's ever been a twentysomething in limbo.
10. Buffy the Vampire SlayerMan, do I miss this one. I wasn't allowed to watch it when it debuted while I was in middle school, I think in part because my mom was scared of it - but I watched all of during college & fell quickly in love, which precipitated a 2011 rewatch. The first few seasons are, frankly, a little bit unbearable, with their bad special effects & one-off monster stories, but the character development throughout the series is just really incredible. By the finale, I couldn't imagine never returning to Sunnydale - which means another rewatch is probably coming my way soon.
Runners up include Roswell, My So-Called Life, Gilmore Girls, & I Love Lucy, among others. So what about you? What are your all-time favorite TV shows, & which fall TV return are you most excited about?