It's funny. There's a big difference between what I want to say vs. what it actually is.
I want to say Rat Patrol because it's a bunch of dudes driving around the Southern California desert pretending to fight Nazis. But the shows are actually boring.
I want to say Space: Above and Beyond because it was the most promising hard sci fi series ever to come out and it just died from lack of interest. But since it's unresolved it's unrewarding.
I want to say Upstairs, Downstairs because it's a masterful exploration of class and culture but it's also a long haul and I don't need to see it again.
I want to say Star Trek because it's an excellent and important exploration of issues from an era where that wasn't really done on television but it's also often campy and trite.
I want to say The Wire but it's only sixteen years old.
I don't want to say Twilight Zone but the answer is Twilight Zone.
Twilight Zone is one of the most thoughtful things ever aired on American television. It's golden-age sci fi from golden-age sci fi writers, performed on a shoestring budget for people who were paying attention. It's cheap, it's quick, it's poignant as hell and it's haunting. Twilight Zone is the kind of show that would stage Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Twilight Zone is the kind of show that would give Richard Matheson sixteen episodes. Twilight Zone is such a pop cultural icon that you can go meta three deep on the fucking thing and have the audience laugh along:
Twilight Zone is Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery in a postapocalyptic love story. Twilight Zone is the kind of show where a bad episode ends with "but it turns out I was a mannequin all along!" Twilight zone is...
I mean, my wife wanted to watch Fringe. I'd read the pilot and knew it was garbage but whatever. So we watched Fringe. Then to prove a point we watched the pilot of X-Files, which had more interest in the fucking pre-title sequence than all of Fringe. Then to really hate ourselves we watched the pilot of Twilight Zone, which was literally a dude wandering around the Warner lot on a Sunday when nobody was there.
And Rod Serling made the Warner lot on a Sunday more interesting than Kurtzman, Orci and Jj Abrams could do with $2m an episode.
Twilight zone. The answer is Twilight zone.