40. Party of Five ---- The Wedding Day
Probably the most undervalued show in the 90's was this teen drama. The Salinger's suffered a lot of blows during the series six year run, but watching Charlie and Kirstin's wedding implode has always made my heart ache (even though eventually they would make it to the altar). Matthew Fox for the first time demonstrated that he would become an acting force unseen in my lifetime. I hope this finds syndication somewhere so a new generation can discover it.
39. Scrubs ---- His Story
Yes, Zach Braff is a comedic genius who made Scrubs work for eight years. But the real force of nature on this show was John C. McGinley as Perry Cox, and getting a chance to look inside his head for the first time, and seeing the mixture of anger and endless, gleeful sarcasm to find that there is a heart there. The factor he never even saw a nomination from the Emmy's over the shows eight year run in reason 784 I can't take them seriously.
38. The Shield --- Family Meeting
Next to The Wire, this was the most riveting police drama on TV, and the last episode was perhaps the most brilliant capper of any series. While I'll never forget the pentultimate episode where Vic Mackey finally confessed his sins (and I'll never forget that long pause he took as he prepared to give his confession to the government that just hired him), this episode may have been better. Some may have thought Vic never received thorough punishment, but I think his fate--- all of his former friends and colleagues either dead or in prison, his family out of his reach, taken off the streets he spent so much time cleaning up--- might have been the perfect punishment. Death by bureauacracy was fitting punishment, even if Shawn Ryan and company never intended it.
37. Glee --- Pilot
There's no reason that this show should work so well. Teenagers who burst into song in a high-school hierarchy. Never in a million years. But like the club itself, this show defies the odds. This is one of the most wonderful casts I've ever seen, and it mixes comedy, drama and music in ways that Broadway should do so well. And the last five minutes where the cast Journey's Small Town Girl away from The Sopranos and makes it their own--- that is magic. I see a lot of Emmys in this shows future, even if they don't win regionals.
36. Deadwood --- A Two Headed Beast
This was that rarest of things --- an underrated HBO program. Get past the fact that cowboys and miners were using ten and twelve letter obscentities, and what you had was a show that rewrote the idea of what a western could be. There were many superlative moments in this shows (too brief) run, but this episode may have been the best. Featuring a brutal five-minute fight sequence between Al Swearengen's Dan Dority and George Hearst's Captain Turner that did what the people on Buffy wished they could do, this show featured Ian MacShane doing what he did best --- drinking and engaging in a dialogue with a dead Indian's head. How I wish David Milich could've found a way to end this series properly.