Ranked Top TV Show Synopsis with Reviews 30 for 30
Written and Ranked By: C. A. Ponch
As a reminder – To qualify for the list I followed these basic guidelines:
- I watched at least three to five episodes of each show finishing most first seasons of every series on this list. Some shows were so bad that it was not worth watching more than three to five episodes. I gave them a chance. For the majority of the series, I have seen every episode.
- Each of the top TV shows could not have more than 30 episodes a season. That eliminated all late-night shows like “The Tonight Show”, variety of programs like “Sports Center”, and singing competitions like “American Idol” and “The Voice”. Also, I didn’t include morning shows like “The Today Show”, etc. If it were a series that aired more than once a week, it was unfortunately just too much content for me to review.
- Each series had to have at least three episodes air/stream per season to qualify. This eliminated event TV and made for TV movies but did include some great mini-series.
- No reality competitions or junk reality TV. That is not acting, and they show no real craftsmanship to judge. Those series are almost impossible to review. Variety shows with actual writers like SNL were included.
- Documentaries were accepted, but only if they were season-long documentaries with more than three episodes. I decided the difference between what qualified as a documentary series and a reality series. Reality series generally create situations and observe those situations for the entertainment of the viewer in an on-going manner much like life itself. A documentary series attempts to educate the viewer by presenting facts through a series of observations that are a full product having a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a fine line, but documentaries tend to inform or educate while entertaining.
- Each program had to have at least three episodes air during the past decade (2010-2019) that I actually saw, but I ranked TV shows from their full body of work of which that I have seen since their inception. This eliminated anything that didn’t have an episode air after 2009 but it also eliminated a few shows like “The Simpsons”, and “NCIS” which although I have seen more than three episodes of; I haven’t seen enough episodes of those shows in the past ten years. In fact, a few series on this list would have been ranked higher, had they just ended earlier before the quality of the show deteriorated.
- Lastly, there is one exception on this list of the shows I have watched this decade but can’t rank: “Sesame Street”. It’s still one of the greatest children’s top TV shows of all time. If you have young children, “Sesame Street” should be #1 on this list, if you don’t have young children, why are you watching “Sesame Street”? That’s strange and you may want to seek help.
2. 30 for 30 including OJ: Made In America (ESPN – 2009 to Present): Ponch 10/10
This is a series of over 100 documentary films airing on ESPN. They highlight important sports people and events over the last 30 years since ESPN’s inception. It started out as 30 films by 30 different directors and they were so popular that ESPN kept putting new seasons out every year.
The series won the 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program for their original series. OJ: Made in America” is a 2016 American five-part documentary miniseries produced and directed by Ezra Edelman for ESPN Films for this series. It won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for “O.J.” and was nominated for six Emmys winning two.
Best sports documentary series ever!
I don’t think I have ever seen one of these series I didn’t like. These are not just some of the best sports documentaries ever; these are some of the best documentaries ever. The past four seasons gave us some classics: “Chasing Tyson”, “Trojan War”, “I Hate Christian Laettner”, “Of Miracles and Men”, “Four Falls of Buffalo” and “Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies”. If you are a sports fan and haven’t seen some of the past episodes, check them out right now. The first one you should watch is the one everyone talks about and the high-water mark of the series: “OJ: Made In America”.
Holds nothing back
It chronicles every aspect of OJ’s life before, during, and after the famous trail. It tells us a story of race and fame, then and now. It holds nothing back; we get a full social history of race, fame, and sports in Los Angeles over the past half-century. The “OJ” Documentary alone is eight hours long, but every show is worth its running time. My three favorites after “OJ” are 1. “The Two Escobars”, 2. ‘Once Brothers”, 3. “The Best That Never Was”, but all of them are great. Whether it be baseball, football, boxing or soccer, pick the topics of the docs that most interest you and watch those first, you will not be disappointed by any of them.
IMDB 8.9/10 – RT 100% – Metacritic N/A
Streaming On: ESPN On-Demand, ESPN+ Subscription
30 for 30 FAQs
The title is derived from the series’ genesis as 30 films in celebration of ESPN’s 30th anniversary in 2009, with an exploration of the biggest stories from ESPN’s first 30 years on-air, through a series of 30 one-hour films by 30 filmmakers.
Upcoming Schedule. These ESPN Films’ are an unprecedented documentary series featuring 30 films from some of today’s finest storytellers.
The only place you can watch this series online is ESPN+, the network’s new subscription service.
One of the newest revelations is that ESPN+ will be the exclusive home of on-demand access to this series. Now you will still be able to watch this series live on ESPN and from the wording, you will likely still be able to buy episodes and seasons on services like Amazon and iTunes.