The 80 Greatest Moments in TV History


From Johnny Carson’s farewell to 'Soul Train,' Tim Goodman looks at the best of television’s past for THR’s 80th anniversary issue.

71. Tie: Any scene where William Shatner chews scenery as Captain Kirk/Shatner on Saturday Night Live, chewing out Trekkies Before the shtick got old.

72. Law & Order No, not the episodes or the spinoffs. That iconic sound.

73. The Rodney King video Solidified every person with a video camera as a potential journalist/witness to history.

74. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, episode 107 “Buffy the Musical.” Gleefully perfect.


75. The last minutes of the Six Feet Under series finale Other series enders might have been more bold or unusual, but this wrap-up gave the people what they wanted: closure on the lives of characters they loved.

76. President Reagan getting shot An unsavory extension reaching back to Dallas.

77. Shock and awe It wasn’t just the massive explosions, the dark night lighting up and the sounds of destruction: It’s that we witnessed the countdown to the start of a war, like it was a moon launch.

78. The Muppets The mixture of puppets and people — a very young Elton John fit right into the goofiness — somehow made this a show for the whole family.

79. Tie: David Letterman talking about his heart surgery/Letterman talking about his affair with a co-worker and getting blackmailed over it There’s something about honesty from someone who normally employs snark that can generate both compassion and forgiveness.

80. Watching Soul Train and thinking, “That’s how it’s done."

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