Every week, Entertainment Weekly gives you tips on the latest, greatest ways to spend your limited time and money. With our new special issue, The 100 All-Time Greatest, we take on nothing short of entertainment history. This is a keepsake issue to inspire (and, yes, enrage) you for a long time to come. You’ll find the 100 best movies, TV shows, albums and novels ever, as well as the 50 greatest plays of the last 100 years and more.
We decided early on not to react to anybody else’s list — and not to try to make “statements” we didn’t really believe in. If we decided that Casablanca was the best movie of all time, then it would be number 1, whether or not people had said it before. By the way, Casablanca is NOT the best movie of all time, but it comes in at a still-impressive No. 3 on our list.
Some familiar geniuses show up on our lists: Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations hits the greatest novels list at No. 4, The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street pops at No. 3 on the album list, and The Sopranos finds a home at No. 5 on the list of all-time greatest TV shows. (The issue also includes a tribute to the late James Gandolfini.) But there is plenty of fresh blood, too. Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is No. 8 on albums, Breaking Bad is No. 18 in TV, and Ben Fountain’s mesmerizing book about Iraqi War vets being paraded around Dallas Cowboy Stadium, Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk, makes it to No. 54 of the best novels ever.
So in our new issue, the new battles the old, the hipsters take on the fogies, and when the dust clears you’ve got our stab at a definitive list for the ages. We know that some of our choices will make you furious, but we’re pretty certain you’ll find far more things that make your heart beat faster. As EW’s editor, Jess Cagle, puts it in his Editor’s Note this week: “I promise you, no list in the history of lists has been constructed with more care, more smarts, and more enthusiasm for pop culture. All of our debate and disagreement served to remind us of the amazing artistry now available in so many ways and on so many platforms, just waiting there to entertain us, enlighten us, inspire us, and change our lives.”