36 I Love Lucy
In a ranking of the most historically important series in television history, this seminal comedy would probably finish ahead of even The Sopranos. Simply put, no show has been more influential or imitated than the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz vehicle that created the multicamera sitcom (shot on a stage in front of a raucous audience) as we know it. The gender politics haven’t aged well, as much of the series involves Arnaz’s nightclub bandleader, Ricky Ricardo, paternalistically dismissing the dreams of Ball’s Lucy each time his wife’s ambition to be anything other than a housewife gets her in trouble. But the slapstick genius of Ball — on display in iconic sequences like Lucy and best friend Ethel (Vivian Vance) struggling to keep up with a candy-factory conveyer belt, Lucy getting into a brawl while stomping grapes during a trip to Italy, Lucy getting drunk while filming a TV commercial, or Lucy re-creating the Duck Soup mirror scene with Harpo Marx — sure has.