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22. 'The Rockford Files'
On music along, this would deserve a high spot on any list, as the Mike Post-written blend of synthesizer, harmonica and blues guitar remains perhaps the greatest original composition ever used as a TV theme song. But when you add in the answering machine gag — which, like the chalkboard and couch gags on "The Simpsons," would change every week to give viewers a reason to pay attention — and the way the slideshow images demonstrated the mundanity of Jim Rockford's work life (working the pay phone, sitting in the Firebird for long surveillance work) and personal life (hitting the frozen food section of the supermarket) to convey the show's wry, humorous tone, you've got a work of televisual art.
- Alan Sepinwall