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The TV standouts that keep our DVRs so busy

Shaun Harrison
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1 of 16 CBS

How I Met Your Mother

The manic flashbacks and sharp writing always keep things unpredictable. Any one of the stars could anchor their own show, but we're glad they're all together here.
2 of 16 Mary Ellen Mathews/NBC

30 Rock

The funniest show on television, even though no one seems to be telling jokes. This is the deadpan House of Fey: everyone is funniest when they act completely serious.
3 of 16 Showtime

Dexter

Cable is full of sympathetic bad guys, but find one more sympathetic, or sociopathic, than everyone's go-to-guy for blood spatter.
4 of 16 NBC

Saturday Night Live

Thanks to a few gifts from the comedy gods (especially a certain Alaska governor), SNL is better than it's been in years. Lorne Michaels seems to have found the perfect blend of fresh talent and old hands.
5 of 16 Art Streiber/Bob D'Amico/ABC

Lost

We finally, finally, finally get to go back to the island. It's a good thing, because we've never had so many unanswered questions. And it'll be good to see the Losties reunite.
6 of 16 AMC

Mad Men

If you aren't watching yet, we envy you: We're still nostalgic about seeing it for the first time. Someone start up the Kodak Carousel.
7 of 16 Chris Haston/NBC

The Office

Why do we care about a boss who's an idiot, a kiss-up who seems dangerous, and two nice kids who can barely manage to live in the same city? Because they're funny.
8 of 16 Justin Stephens/ABC

Pushing Daisies

We'll respect this show too much to make the obvious joke about how it's about to be pushing up... never mind. We'll miss it for its acting, and for being one of the quirkiest shows on the air.
9 of 16 Art Streiber/Sci Fi Channel

Battlestar Galactica

Who would think a sci-fi show about a space war with Cyclons would provide so much human drama? Battlestar succeeds by asking what makes us human at all.
10 of 16 HBO

True Blood

Alan Ball read out minds, Sookie Stackhouse-style: We didn't know we were looking for a love story/true-crime mystery about Southern gothic vampires, but now that we have it, we're in true love.
11 of 16 AMC

Breaking Bad

A struggling high school teacher, a fatal diagnosis, crystal meth... it should be the most depresssing show ever, but it's not. We're hooked.
12 of 16 Andrew Eccles/The CW

Gossip Girl

The drama of high school mixed with the natural tendency to gawk at poor little rich girls and boys make this one a can't-miss. xoxo.
13 of 16 Brian Bowen Smith/The CW

Supernatural

Angels and demons. Smoking-hot stars. And a wicked sense of humor. Just a few of the reasons this one has TV's most obsessive fans.
14 of 16 Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

Project Runway

Ohhh, how you frustrate us, Project Runway. So much talent, so many catfights. Never say auf wiedersehen.
15 of 16 Virginia Sherwood/NBC Photo

Law & Order

A procedural, a mystery, a glimpse into the dark side of humanity. The show's long run proves the genius of Dick Wolf's formula for success: do everything right.
16 of 16 Timothy White/Fox

House

Why do we keep our appointment every week with such a grumpy M.D.? Because we're sick of all the do-gooding docs with their easy-to-solve ailments. Bring on the hard cases.