10 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Along with Cheers, it’s the gold standard for ensemble comedy, blending sparkling dialogue with unexpected heart and a cast of actors who seemed born to trade punchlines with one another. Four years after the end of her beloved run on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Tyler Moore returned to TV as both producer and star of this trailblazing series about a single woman reinventing herself in a new city, with new friends (Valerie Harper’s brassy Rhoda, Cloris Leachman’s selfabsorbed Phyllis), new co-workers (Ed Asner’s crabby Lou, Gavin MacLeod’s witty Murray, Ted Knight’s dim Ted Baxter), and a belief that she was gonna make it, after all. Like Lucille Ball before her, Moore used the show’s success to build her own TVproduction empire, responsible for other shows on this list, like Hill Street Blues. If the episode where Mary Richards struggles to not laugh at the funeral for Chuckles the Clown isn’t the funniest half hour ever, it is on a very short list.