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The 100 best TV shows of all time

  • The 100 best TV shows of all time
    1/ Warner Bros. Television

    The 100 best TV shows of all time

    Sometimes a cozy night at home with your favorite TV show is better than a night on the town.

    Long before #NetflixandChill, there was just plain old primetime-television-watching bliss — and fan-favorites such as “The West Wing” and “The Sopranos” kept us glued to our sofas week after week, year after year, to find out what would happen next. Some shows were so good, we’d watch them again and again just to relive the drama or bask in the laughs.

    Now that we have a multitude of streaming services at our fingertips, and can watch TV anytime, anywhere, the content has become even richer and more diverse, pleasing both fans and critics alike, with original hits like “Game of Thrones” and revivals of shows like “Arrested Development.”

    As we settle in for summer binge-watching season, Stacker wanted to celebrate with a definitive list of the 100 best TV shows of all time, using data from IMDb. The shows with the highest IMDb score are ranked the highest, with #1 being the best TV show of all time, as rated by IMDb users and with ties broken by the number of votes. For our list, we excluded kids shows while focusing on series with at least 5,000 votes (if released before 1980) or more than 50,000 votes (if released after 1980).

    Read on with caution - this list contains some spoilers.

  • #100. Get Smart
    2/ NBC Television

    #100. Get Smart

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (1965–1970)

    As is the case with most things Mel Brooks has touched, "Get Smart" was nothing short of sensational, showcasing both the individual talents and the unbreakable chemistry of Don Adams and Barbara Feldman. The show was so immensely popular that it ultimately was adapted into a 2008 film starring Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway.

  • #99. The Andy Griffith Show
    3/ CBS Television

    #99. The Andy Griffith Show

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (1960-1968)

    With iconic episodes like "Convicts-at-Large," "The Pickle Story," and "Christmas Story," this series following the Taylor family ran for eight successful seasons and cemented itself as one of the best shows of the 60s. Winning a handful of Primetime Emmy Awards for outstanding individual performances from Griffith's co-stars Don Knotts and Frances Bavier, the show was so beloved that many cast members were included in a movie inspired by the series called "Return to Mayberry."

  • #98. All in the Family
    4/ CBS Television

    #98. All in the Family

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (1971–1979)

    Carroll O'Connor's portrayal of Archie Bunker is one of those performances which was intensely popular at the time but would simply not get the same kind of reception today. The Bunker family patriarch was best known for eliciting laughs from viewers by sharing his outlandish, highly unpopular opinions which, while intended for comedic purposes, have proven directly relevant to many contemporary social issues.

  • #97. Star Trek
    5/ Desilu Productions

    #97. Star Trek

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (1966–1969)

    The original “Star Trek,” created by Gene Roddenberry, ran for three seasons on NBC before it was cancelled for low ratings. The series became a huge hit in syndication, however, and went on to spawn a franchise of TV shows, movies, toys, and video games that maintain huge popularity today. The original cast — led by Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his Vulcan First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) —still features heavily in Trekkie rankings of the best characters from the franchise as a whole.


  • #96. The Americans
    6/ Amblin Television

    #96. The Americans

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2013-Present)

    This popular FX show, set during the Cold War, stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as two undercover KGB officers living with their children in Washington, D.C. From the outset critics praised the show’s compelling concept and thrilling storylines, and the show continues to receive rave reviews in its sixth season.


  • #95. Ozark
    7/ Zero Gravity Managment

    #95. Ozark

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2017-Present)

    Jason Bateman, best known by TV audiences as Michael Bluth from “Arrested Development” (breaking the top 20 on our list) takes on a more dramatic role as the father of a family who moves into an Ozarks resort community beset with money laundering problems. Critics saw the first season as overly dour, but saw potential in the cast and premise, and Netflix has renewed the show for a second season in 2018.


  • #94. Altered Carbon
    8/ Mythology Entertainment

    #94. Altered Carbon

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2018-Present)

    Set in a dystopian future where human minds can be downloaded and later reactivated in shell bodies, this big-budget Netflix sci-fi series kicks off with a former political operative waking up after 250 years in storage. Given the choice of prison time or solving the murder of a prominent captain of industry, he chooses the latter. Critics and audiences were divided on the show’s mashup of the pulp and cyberpunk genres, and as of now Netflix has held off on announcing a second season.


  • #93. Black Sails
    9/ Film Afrika Worldwide

    #93. Black Sails

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2014–2017)

    This Starz show, set in the Caribbean 20 years prior to the events of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island," follows the dealings of a Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his pirate crew. Although the series (shot in Cape Town, South Africa) boasts beautiful visuals and some exciting action setpieces, critics initially found its characters too bland to invest in. Later seasons remedied this issue with more rigorous character development, including a surprise twist in season two in which Captain Flint is revealed to have had a homosexual romance back in England. The twist, though initially controversial to some fans of the show, has since been widely praised as a watershed moment for historical depictions of LGBTQ characters on television.


  • #92. The Originals
    10/ Bonanza Productions

    #92. The Originals

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2013-Present)

    The CW’s spinoff of “The Vampire Diaries” follows the story of vampire/werewolf hybrid Klaus (Joseph Morgan) as he grapples with supernatural power struggles in New Orleans. Critics were lukewarm on the show, but the CW’s audience, apparently immune to vampire burnout despite oversaturation of the genre in recent years, has stuck with the show for six seasons and counting.


  • #91. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    11/ Fremulon

    #91. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2013-Present)

    This goofy cop show stars former “SNL” cast member Andy Samberg as a juvenile and irreverent detective who’s forced to shape up when a strict new commanding officer (Andre Braugher) takes over his precinct. Critics praised the show’s easygoing parody along with Samberg’s charming performance, and following its debut season “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” clinched Golden Globes for best series and best actor in the Musical/Comedy category. Within 31 hours of being canceled by Fox, it’s just been picked up by NBC for a sixth season after fans on social media flipped out.

  • #90. White Collar
    12/ Jeff Eastin & Warrior George Productions

    #90. White Collar

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2009–2014)

    A con-man (Matt Bomer) partners up with the FBI Agent who finally apprehended him (Tim DeKay) to help solve white-collar crimes. Critics were skeptical of the familiar premise, but the show garnered enough goodwill off the chemistry of its leads to received positive reviews. It was also a hit with audiences, receiving several People’s Choice nominations over its run and clinching the “Favorite TV Cable Actor” award for Matt Bomer in 2015.


  • #89. Californication
    13/ Aggressive Mediocrity

    #89. Californication

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2007–2014)

    David Duchovny, best known for portraying Agent Mulder on the long-running “X-Files,” stars as Hank Moody, a playboy novelist who begins the show’s run with a severe case of writer’s block. The show took a couple of seasons to hit its stride, but the quippy dialogue and Duchovny’s wry delivery kept audiences and critics on board for the long haul.


  • #88. The Dick Van Dyke Show
    14/ CBS

    #88. The Dick Van Dyke Show

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (1961-1966)

    There have been a lot of iconic television couples throughout history, but few can hold a candle to the chemistry shared between Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore during their 158-episode stint as the Petries on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Not only did the show itself win a Golden Globe for best TV comedy in 1964, but Moore took one home the very next year for best female TV star.




  • #87. 13 Reasons Why
    15/ July Moon Productions

    #87. 13 Reasons Why

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2017-Present)

    This Netflix drama adapts a young adult novel about a teenager who sets out to uncover why his high school crush took her own life through a series of cassette tapes she left behind. While most critics applauded the show’s tackling of heavy issues such as bullying and sexual assault, some reviewers criticized it for glorifying teen suicide.


  • #86. The Big Bang Theory
    16/ Chuck Lorre Productions

    #86. The Big Bang Theory

    IMDb score: 8.3

    Years on the air: (2007-Present)

    At its peak (in its fourth season), CBS’s hit sitcom from Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady about a pair of brilliant physicists lacking in social skills was the highest-rated comedy on television, despite a rough start with critics in its first season. Eleven seasons later, the show’s success in primetime and syndication has led to a spinoff, “Young Sheldon,” which depicts the childhood of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, one of the lead characters portrayed by two-time Emmy Award Winner Jim Parsons in the original (and voiced by Parsons in the spinoff).

  • #85. I Love Lucy
    17/ Bureau of Industrial Service

    #85. I Love Lucy

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (1951–1957)

    The first major television series put on film as opposed to kinsecope, "I Love Lucy" made Lucille Ball a superstar as she brought the lovable Lucy Ricardo to life alongside co-star Desi Arnaz. Perhaps no episode is more heavily responsible for making the show as iconic as it is than "Lucy Does a TV Commercial," in which Ricardo was hired to advertise a substance called "Vitameatavegamin," unaware it contained 23% alcohol.

  • #84. M*A*S*H
    18/ Pxhere

    #84. M*A*S*H

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (1972–1983)

    A hysterical comedy which also touched on serious notes pertaining to the horrors of war, M*A*S*H ran for eleven laugh-filled seasons tracking the staff of an Army hospital during the Korean War. Few shows have resulted in as many memorable quotes, of which one of the most iconic is Hawkeye articulating to Father Mulcahy: "War isn't Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse."

  • #83. Veronica Mars
    19/ Silver Pictures Television

    #83. Veronica Mars

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2004–2007)

    Before audiences knew her from her big screen performance in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Kristen Bell played a high-school-aged private investigator in this beloved CW show. Although aimed at teens, the show’s sharp writing gained it a cult following among older viewers, too. A 2014 feature film adaptation saw Bell reprising the role as an older, wiser Veronica who gets pulled back into sleuthing just as she’s trying to start her career in law.


  • #82. Legion
    20/ 20th Century Fox Television

    #82. Legion

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2017-Present)

    Rising above the crop of TV superhero fare, “Legion,”  set in the “X-Men” universe, tells the story of a young mutant grappling with psychiatric disturbances that may be the key to unlocking his true powers. By eschewing genre conventions — usually favoring psychological conflict over physical brawls — the series manages to put a refreshing twist on the superhero theme.

  • #81. Banshee
    21/ Cinemax

    #81. Banshee

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2013–2016)

    From Alan Ball, the creator of “True Blood,” comes a show that’s just as heavy on the sex and violence, though without the supernatural elements of his HBO hit. “Banshee” chronicles the twisty dealings of an ex-con who assumes the identity of a small town’s new sheriff. Critics were split on the show, with some finding it too lurid and preposterous to recommend, while others recommended it for precisely those qualities.

  • #80. Stargate SG-1
    22/ Double Secret Productions

    #80. Stargate SG-1

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (1997–2007)

    This series, based on the 1994 film “Stargate,” debuted on Showtime in 1997 and then moved over to the Sci-Fi Channel in 2002 to conclude its run. Its storyline follows a military team who uses an ancient archway to travel the universe and battle alien threats. Their leader, Col. Jack O’Neill (portrayed by Kurt Russell in the movie), is played by “MacGyver” star Richard Dean Anderson.

  • #79. Psych
    23/ USA Network

    #79. Psych

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2006–2014)

    A sendup of psychic detective tropes, this USA comedy/drama follows the exploits of a fake psychic and his best friend, who have somehow managed to con the Santa Barbara Police Department into taking them on as crime-solving consultants. The somewhat hammy lead performance from James Roday met some resistance from critics early on, but as he toned down the broadness in later seasons, reviews improved.

  • #78. Sense8
    24/ Anarchos Productions

    #78. Sense8

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2015–2018)

    This Netflix sci-fi show about eight twenty-somethings around the world with a mysterious psychic connection features a multinational cast. Along with its focus on racial and ethnic diversity, the show has been praised for its exploration of LGBTQ issues, with its first season receiving the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series.

  • #77. 24
    25/ Imagine Entertainment

    #77. 24

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2001–2010)

    The main hook of “24” is its format: 24 episodes per season, each an hour long, taking place in real time. Each season throws counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer into a new high stakes scenario that milks the ticking clock premise for maximum drama, throwing in plenty of twists along the way. Kiefer Sutherland’s iconic performance, which earned him a Golden Globe win in 2002, has made the actor’s name synonymous with the role.

  • #76. Fringe
    26/ Bad Robot

    #76. Fringe

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2008–2013)

    The same team behind the 2009 big-screen “Star Trek” reboot, J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, launched this Fox show about a Boston-based FBI team that explores mysteries related to the existence of parallel universes. While it didn’t quite manage to seize the zeitgeist to the degree of Abrams’s previous hit, “Lost,” the show received positive reviews that improved with each subsequent season.

  • #75. Scrubs
    27/ Doozer

    #75. Scrubs

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2001–2010)

    Zach Braff (of “Garden State”) plays a young attending physician at a teaching hospital. The series subverts the standard hospital show formula by opting for goofy comedy over drama, relying heavily on the voiceover and daydreams of Braff’s character for its jokes. In its ninth and final season the writers attempted to introduce a new narrator, played by Kerry Bishé, along with a mostly new cast. Longtime fans weren’t game for the shakeup, and the show was cancelled in May of 2010.

  • #74. Homeland
    28/ Teakwood Lane Productions

    #74. Homeland

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2011-Present)

    Based on an Israeli series, the first season of “Homeland” chronicles the homecoming of a U.S. Marine sergeant who has been held captive by Al-Qaeda for the last eight years. Claire Danes plays a bipolar CIA officer who suspects the marine has been turned by the enemy and is now a national security threat. Later seasons follow the story of Danes’s character as she departs the CIA for a career in aid work. These story arcs lacked the tension and mystery of early seasons, and review scores have declined over the show’s run.

  • #73. Prison Break
    29/ Adelstein-Parouse Productions

    #73. Prison Break

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2005–2017)

    The show’s first season sees an engineer intentionally getting himself incarcerated so he can bust his innocent brother out of prison. Despite mixed reviews, the show was initially a ratings hit for Fox, but viewership declined as the seasons progressed and the premise became more and more strained.

  • #72. Lost
    30/ Bad Robot

    #72. Lost

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2004–2010)

    “Lost,” was a ratings phenomenon for ABC and a career-maker for co-creator J.J. Abrams, who directed the pilot. The series kicks off with the survivors of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 finding themselves stranded on a tropical island, and from there things start to get weird. The scripts were heavy on mystery and cliffhangers, featuring polar bears, mysterious underground bunkers, and a nefarious smoke monster. But ultimately the show was more interested in raising questions than answering them, and as a result the final season, and especially the final episode, was met with divisive reactions from fans and critics.

  • #71. How I Met Your Mother
    31/ 20th Century Fox Television

    #71. How I Met Your Mother

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2005–2014)

    Told as a series of flashbacks, this popular show depicts a father’s (extremely) long-winded tale to his children of how he met their mother. The show’s writers mixed a lot of heart in with the jokes, but whenever the scenes veer towards cheesiness they’re inevitably saved by a cynical quip from the show’s womanizing best friend character, Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris in a standout performance.


  • #70. The Walking Dead
    32/ American Movie Classics

    #70. The Walking Dead

    IMDb score: 8.4

    Years on the air: (2010-Present)

    At the height of its popularity, AMC’s zombie romp through post-apocalyptic Atlanta was the highest rated show on television. Audiences and critics praised the show for its makeup effects, intense plotting, and willingness to kill off major characters in unpredictable ways (that often deviate from its source material, a series of graphic novels). One character who’s unlikely to take a bite anytime soon, however, is former sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, the show’s grizzled leading man. The same can’t be said for any members of the show’s Los Angeles-based spinoff series, “Fear the Walking Dead,” which was launched in 2015.

  • #69. BoJack Horseman
    33/ Tornante Company

    #69. BoJack Horseman

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2014-Present)

    In this animated Netflix series a former sitcom star, voiced by Will Arnett, attempts to reignite his showbiz career. Oh, and he happens to be an anthropomorphized horse. While many reviewers found the show’s first season too short on laughs to justify its bizarre premise, subsequent seasons added surprising depth to the BoJack character and drew acclaim from audiences and critics alike.

  • #68. American Crime Story
    34/ Ryan Murphy Productions

    #68. American Crime Story

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2016-Present)

    This acclaimed anthology series from Ryan Murphy recounts the stories of famous American crimes. Season one, which was nominated for 22 Emmy Awards, tackles the O.J. Simpson case, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. taking on the role of “The Juice” himself. Critics praised his performance alongside those of his fellow cast members, who included John Travolta, Courtney B. Vance, and David Schwimmer. Season two, which focused on the murder of Gianni Versace, lacked the starpower of the series’ initial outing, but still received favorable reviews overall.

  • #67. Outlander
    35/ Tall Ship Productions

    #67. Outlander

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2014-Present)

    This Starz time travel drama sees a WWII nurse transported back to 18th century Scotland, where she becomes a key player in the Jacobite rebellions. The series was adapted from a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon and developed by Ronald D. Moore, whose previous project “Battlestar Galactica” (a reboot of the 70s original) had been a huge hit for the Sci-Fi Channel.

  • #66. Person of Interest
    36/ Kilter Films

    #66. Person of Interest

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2011–2016)

    Like several shows on this list, the first season of “Person of Interest” received a mixed response from critics for its shallow character development, while later seasons seemed to remedy this issue. The premise sees an ex-CIA operative and a scientist teaming up to try to prevent crimes before they can occur. The show’s creator, Jonathan Nolan, is the brother of director Christopher Nolan.

  • #65. Entourage
    37/ HBO

    #65. Entourage

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2004–2011)

    This HBO guilty pleasure follows the career of Vincent Chase, an actor from Queens who brings a tagalong crew of friends from the old neighborhood along for his ride to Hollywood stardom. Reviewers enjoyed Jeremy Piven’s portrayal of Vince’s slimy Hollywood agent but criticized the shallow characters and plotlines, while audiences were happy to tag along for the vicarious hedonism. A 2015 movie that tied up some loose ends from the show received poor reviews and underperformed at the box office.


  • #64. Community
    38/ Krasnoff Foster Productions

    #64. Community

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2009–2015)

    Joel McHale made a transition from hosting the clip show “The Soup” to scripted comedy in this NBC favorite about a lawyer who’s disbarred for lying about his academic credentials and forced to attend community college in order to resume his career. In addition to helping launch the career of Donald Glover, the show featured Chevy Chase in a supporting role. Chase’s public feud with the show’s writers and producers received significant press coverage towards the end of the show’s run.

  • #63. Futurama
    39/ Curiosity Company

    #63. Futurama

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (1999–2013)

    This Fox animated show from “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening follows the adventures of an interplanetary delivery outfit, parodying movies and TV shows from all corners of science fiction along the way. Although it never rose to the level of popularity of “The Simpsons,” the show received almost universal critical acclaim, with 12 Emmy nominations and six wins over the course of its run.

  • #62. Modern Family
    40/ 20th Century Fox Television

    #62. Modern Family

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2009-Present)

    Applauded by critics for its fresh writing and eclectic characters, “Modern Family” adds second marriages, gay relationships, and large age gaps between partners into the mix to shake up the old nuclear family sitcom formula. The show has won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and 6 Writers Guild of America Awards.

  • #61. Supernatural
    41/ Warner Bros. Television

    #61. Supernatural

    IMDb score: 8.5

    Years on the air: (2005-Present)

    Debuting on The WB (and continuing its run on The CW when the network changed names), this sci-fi/horror sees a pair of vigilante brothers hunting down various supernatural entities. It is now the network’s longest-running show and the longest-running live-action fantasy series of all time.

  • #60. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
    42/ NBC

    #60. Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (1955–1962)

    The Master of Suspense, best known for directing timeless thrillers such as "Psycho," "The Birds," and "Vertigo," had people on the edge of their seats for seven seasons as he treated fans to a handful of mysterious, crime-driven short stories. The show ran for 268 episodes, and was composed of a combination of originally written material and adaptations of older works.

  • #59. Adventure Time
    43/ Cartoon Network Studios

    #59. Adventure Time

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2010–2018)

    This Cartoon Network show follows the adventures of a boy and his best friend, a talking dog who can change his size and shape at will, in a mystical and magical realm. While the premise may sound familiar, the show’s sweet but strange tone sets it apart. Creator Pendleton Ward has acknowledged influences as far ranging as “Dungeons and Dragons,” “Beavis and Butthead,” and “Ren and Stimpy.” Another unique aspect of the show is its approach to voice casting. While many animated shows employ adult actors for their child characters, “Adventure Time” cast an actual child actor (Jeremy Shada) to voice the character of Finn. As such, Finn’s voice deepened through the show’s run as its star progressed through puberty.

  • #58. The Handmaid's Tale
    44/ MGM Television

    #58. The Handmaid's Tale

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2017-Present)

    Based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, this acclaimed Hulu show stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman struggling for freedom in a misogynistic, alternate-reality version of America that has been taken over by religious extremists. Far more critically and commercially successful than the ill-fated 1990 feature film of the same name, “The Handmaid’s Tale” has received critical acclaim and sufficient zeitgeist traction to warrant a “Saturday Night Live” parody.

  • #57. Louie
    45/ 3 Arts Entertainment

    #57. Louie

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2010-Present)

    Written, directed, created, edited, and produced by comedian Louis C.K., who also stars, this show constantly subverts expectations of television as a format. The tone oscillates unpredictably between funny and serious, the visual and editing style varies wildly between episodes, and the show plays fast and loose with continuity. Despite long-standing critical acclaim, the future of the show remains uncertain in the wake of C.K.’s recent, highly publicized sexual harassment scandal. At the very least, it seems unlikely to return to FX, whose executives cut ties with C.K.’s production company after he admitted to misconduct alleged by several female comics.


  • #56. Justified
    46/ FX Productions

    #56. Justified

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2010–2015)

    This FX show saw Timothy Olyphant, who played the sheriff on HBO’s “Deadwood,” portraying Raylan Givens, a maverick U.S. Marshall who returns to his hometown of Kentucky to take on the criminal element that’s taken root there. The character of Givens is adapted from an Elmore Leonard short story. Critics praised Olyphant’s performance and the show’s seedy worldbuilding.


  • #55. Big Little Lies
    47/ Blossom Films

    #55. Big Little Lies

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2017-Present)

    This HBO drama, based on the bestselling novel by Liane Moriarty of the same name, features an A-list cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern. The show is set in a wealthy coastal town in California where deception and murder lurk beneath the picture-perfect surface. Despite initially being billed as a miniseries — and winning an Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series — HBO has renewed the show for a second season.


  • #54. Star Trek: The Next Generation
    48/ Paramount Television

    #54. Star Trek: The Next Generation

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (1987–1994)

    A 50,000 vote poll by found that Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) beat out James T. Kirk as fans’ favorite “Star Trek” captain of all time. That says a lot for this series, set 99 years after the original show, whose popularity peaked with a series finale that drew a whopping 31 million viewers. This Enterprise crew also went on to star in four feature films, the first of which combined the original series and TNG casts through a time travel plot.


  • #53. Mindhunter
    49/ Denver and Delilah Productions

    #53. Mindhunter

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2017-Present)

    This Netflix crime drama follows two FBI agents who essentially write the book on criminal profiling in the late 1970’s by interviewing serial killers. Leads Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany have great chemistry in the leading roles, the former playing a meticulous idealist and the latter a gruff cynic. Critics praised the first season for its cerebral plotting and creepy interview scenes with some of history’s most famous murderers.


  • #52. Silicon Valley
    50/ 3 Arts Entertainment

    #52. Silicon Valley

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2014-Present)

    Created by Mike Judge (“Beavis and Butthead,” “Office Space”) this hilarious HBO comedy chronicles the rise of a software startup run and staffed by geeky programmers. Critics and fans heralded the strong joke writing and a standout performance by T.J. Miller as Erlich, the world’s most obnoxious business mentor. Although difficulties on-set led to Miller’s departure from the show at the end of the fourth season, the show continues to draw unanimously positive reviews.


  • #51. The Newsroom
    51/ HBO Entertainment

    #51. The Newsroom

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2012–2014)

    Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing,” “The Social Network”) co-created this HBO news drama alongside producer Denis Biggs. Jeff Daniels stars as a principled but unpredictable cable news anchor. Critics found the first season smug and preachy but warmed up to the show over subsequent seasons.


  • #50. Boardwalk Empire
    52/ HBO

    #50. Boardwalk Empire

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2010–2014)

    This crime drama stars Steve Buscemi as an Atlantic city mob boss during the prohibition era. While not a hit on the same level as HBO’s contemporary mafia series “The Sopranos,” the show received positive reviews and won 20 Primetime Emmy awards over its run as well as a Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Drama in 2011.


  • #49. Parks and Recreation
    53/ Deedle-Dee Productions

    #49. Parks and Recreation

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2009–2015)

    The brainchild of the creator and the head writer of the U.S. version of “The Office,” this workplace comedy employs that show’s same mockumentary style to depict the workings of a quirky Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana. Critics initially found the show lacking compared to its predecessor, but warmed to the charms of its ensemble cast (headed up by Amy Poehler), and after a shaky start, the show found its groove and became a hit for NBC.

  • #48. Mad Men
    54/ Lionsgate Television

    #48. Mad Men

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2007–2015)

    When HBO famously rejected his series pitch, creator Matthew Weiner took the show over to AMC, where it redefined the network as a viable destination for prestige television. Set in the halls of a New York advertising agency in the 1960s, the acclaimed show was praised for its period authenticity, social commentary, and strong performances. Standout actors among the cast include Jon Hamm, who plays the smooth-but-tortured leading man Don Draper, and Elisabeth Moss, who plays a secretary who manages to rise up the ranks in the agency despite rampant misogyny in the workforce.


  • #47. Hannibal
    55/ Dino De Laurentiis Company

    #47. Hannibal

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2013–2015)

    Based on the Thomas Harris novels “Red Dragon” and “Hannibal,” this show sees Mads Mikkelsen stepping into the role of brilliant forensic psychologist slash cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (previously portrayed by Anthony Hopkins and Brian Cox in movie adaptations of Harris’s novels). Hugh Dancy plays his protege, a profiler who is unaware of his mentor’s secret double life. The show employs José Andrés, a prominent restaurateur, to serve as a consultant in order to ensure that Lecter’s culinary preparation of human flesh is realistic.


  • #46. Spartacus: War of the Damned
    56/ Starz!

    #46. Spartacus: War of the Damned

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2010–2013)

    This Starz historical drama tells the bloody tale of the legendary Thracian gladiator who led a slave uprising against Rome. Sadly the actor who played Spartacus in the first season died from complications related to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and was recast for subsequent seasons of the show.

  • #45. Sons of Anarchy
    57/ SutterInk

    #45. Sons of Anarchy

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2008–2014)

    This FX crime drama revolves around a motorcycle gang based out of central California. Critics appreciated the uncompromising grittiness of the show and the strength of the ensemble cast, which includes Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam, and Katey Sagal. For the sake of authenticity, the producers even cast Oakland Hell’s Angel David Labrava to play one of the biker gang members in addition to his role as a consultant for the show.


  • #44. Mr. Robot
    58/ Universal Cable Productions

    #44. Mr. Robot

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2015-Present)

    This surprise USA hit, which draws heavily from “Fight Club” and “The Matrix,” tells the story of a hacker named Elliot (Rami Malek) with social anxiety disorder, clinical depression, and (unbeknownst to him through most of the first season) a split personality. Christian Slater plays his Tyler Durden-esque alter ego with scenery-chewing aplomb.

  • #43. Suits
    59/ Universal Cable Productions

    #43. Suits

    IMDb score: 8.6

    Years on the air: (2011-Present)

    A hotshot Manhattan lawyer hires a talented college dropout despite his lack of a law degree, forging a secret between them. While some critics dismissed the show as inessential, others found the sharp dialogue and lead chemistry sufficient to give this show an edge in the crowded legal drama genre. Star Meghan Markle would go on to royal fame, marrying Prince Harry in May 2018.

  • #42. The Crown
    60/ Sony Pictures Television

    #42. The Crown

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2016-Present)

    This acclaimed Netflix historical drama explores the life of Queen Elizabeth II. The show was created by Peter Morgan and evolved out of his award-winning 2006 film “The Queen.” Season one begins when Elizabeth (Claire Foy) is only 25 and a Princess and focuses on her relationship with grizzled Prime Minister Winston Churchill (John Lithgow).

  • #41. The Shield
    61/ Fox Television Network

    #41. The Shield

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2002–2008)

    “The Shield” surpasses most primetime cop shows by favoring shades of gray over clear-cut moralism. In a career-defining role, Michael Chiklis plays the volatile, corrupt, and yet somehow principled leader of an elite Los Angeles detective squad. He won a Primetime Emmy for his performance after the first season.

  • #40. Making a Murderer
    62/ Synthesis Films

    #40. Making a Murderer

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2015-Present)

    This Netflix docuseries was one of the forerunners in establishing the current popularity of the format. It tells the story of Steven Avery, a man acquitted for sexual assault after serving eighteen years in prison, who finds himself accused of murder within a few years of his release. Audiences and critics were enraptured by the unlikely case, which spurred a heated debate among true crime enthusiasts.


  • #39. Deadwood
    63/ CBS Paramount Network Television

    #39. Deadwood

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2004–2006)

    Series creator David Milch initially tried to pitch HBO a show set during the Roman period. But when it turned out they already had such a show in the works (“Rome”), he reworked the concept to a western frontier town setting. The show features poetic, almost Shakespearean dialogue and standout performances from Timothy Olyphant as Deadwood’s sheriff and Ian McShane as a brothel owner. Its relatively short run left fans clamoring for more, but with the fate of the long-delayed “Deadwood” movie still uncertain, they may have to keep waiting for some time.

  • #38. Curb Your Enthusiasm
    64/ HBO

    #38. Curb Your Enthusiasm

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2000-Present)

    “Seinfeld” creator Larry David plays a fictionalized version of himself in this heavily-improvised, award-winning HBO comedy. His onscreen persona has a talent for generating awkward, uncomfortable, and hilarious situations that have long delighted both audiences and critics. Offscreen, David has declared himself done with the character numerous times, sometimes taking long hiatuses between seasons, which is why it took him 17 years to make nine seasons of the show. Whether there’ll be a tenth? Only L.D. knows for sure.

  • #37. The Punisher
    65/ ABC Studios

    #37. The Punisher

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2017-Present)

    Jon Bernthal (“The Walking Dead”) plays a vigilante superhero whose revenge quest brings him face to face with New York’s underworld. Critics found the first season to be a slow start, but Marvel fans hungry for more content between movies were willing to jump on board.

  • #36. Six Feet Under
    66/ HBO

    #36. Six Feet Under

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2001–2005)

    This HBO drama about a family-run funeral home features a unique gimmick: each episode begins with the arrival of a new corpse. The show’s final episode, which stares down the mortality of its characters as it fast-forwards the full remainder of their lives, has been hailed as one of the best series finales of all time.


  • #35. Archer
    67/ Fox Television Animation

    #35. Archer

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2009-Present)

    This FX animated hit milks workplace comedy from an unlikely source: a spy agency. H. Jon Benjamin lends his distinctive voice to the main character, an arrogant and juvenile superspy, while Jessica Walter of “Arrested Development” plays his overbearing mother who also happens to run the agency. Reviews of the early seasons praised the show’s original voice and sharp jokes, though critics’ takes on the more recent season suggests creative burnout may be setting in amongst the writing team.


  • #34. Battlestar Galactica
    68/ British Sky Broadcasting

    #34. Battlestar Galactica

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2004–2009)

    This Sci-Fi Channel remake vastly improves upon the cheesy 1970s original with excellent special effects, politically astute plotlines, and a first-rate cast. Bucking the trend of youthful casting, series creator Ronald D. Moore opted for seasoned actors for his leads: Edward James Olmos as the Captain of the titular starship and Mary McDonnell as the secretary of education who’s thrust into the role of president by succession laws after most of humanity is wiped out by evil robots. With its tense plotlines, first rate performances, and surprisingly deep themes, “Battlestar Galactica” is one of the best science fiction shows ever to hit the small screen.



  • #33. Shameless
    69/ Bonanza Productions

    #33. Shameless

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2011-Present)

    A remake of a British series, this Showtime dramedy takes on the struggles of a family headed up by a deadbeat patriarch (William H. Macy) whose only concerns are what his next scheme will be and where his next beer will come from. Although some critics initially thought Macy was miscast, he went on to rack up three Screen Actors Guild awards for his performance in the role.


  • #32. Better Call Saul
    70/ High Bridge Productions

    #32. Better Call Saul

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2015-Present)

    This spinoff of AMC’s flagship series “Breaking Bad” (breaking the top 5 on our list) takes place before and after the events of that show, focusing on the life of sleazy attorney Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk. Although it had big shoes to fill, the show managed to surpass critics' expectations while scratching an itch for “Breaking Bad” fans with cancellation withdrawal.

  • #31. South Park
    71/ Comedy Central

    #31. South Park

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (1997-Present)

    This foul-mouthed animated satire from creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone pushed the boundaries of good taste to a breaking point, making “The Simpsons” look tame by comparison. A breakout hit for Comedy Central, this show put the fictional town of South Park, Colorado on the pop culture map and made Kenny, Kyle, Stan, and Cartman (and the series creators) household names. The show also spawned a big screen adaptation as well as two hit video games.


  • #30. Daredevil
    72/ ABC Studios

    #30. Daredevil

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2015-Present)

    A blind lawyer fights crime by night in this Netflix adaptation of the Marvel comic. Much better received than the poorly reviewed Ben Affleck movie from a decade earlier, the success of this series was an early indicator that Marvel’s media empire could extend its bounds beyond feature films.


  • #29. Dexter
    73/ Showtime Networks

    #29. Dexter

    IMDb score: 8.7

    Years on the air: (2006–2013)

    A psychopathic forensic expert takes his violent urges out on evildoers. Critics loved the novel premise, though they warned that some viewers might find the show’s goriness repellant. Not too many did, apparently: the show’s finale drew 2.8 million viewers, a record for Showtime.


  • #28. The West Wing
    74/ Warner Bros. Television

    #28. The West Wing

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (1999–2006)

    Created by Aaron Sorkin, this NBC political drama peered into the workings of a fictional White House under the leadership of a Democratic president played by Martin Sheen. Critics praised the show’s smart writing and brisk walk-and-talk pacing. In terms of viewership, the show was especially popular among high income audiences, making its commercial breaks desirable real estate for advertisers.


  • #27. This Is Us
    75/ 20th Century Fox Television

    #27. This Is Us

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (2016-Present)

    This popular NBC dramedy from Dan Fogelman about three siblings struggling through adulthood is all about tugging heartstrings. Although some critics have found the proceedings too saccharine to recommend, the show has been nominated for and has won a number of a awards in its first two seasons, and audiences have been happy to indulge their warm and fuzzy side.


  • #26. Oz
    76/ Levinson / Fontana Company

    #26. Oz

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (1997–2003)

    HBO’s first one-hour drama, set in a maximum security prison, rewrote all the rules of television and set the table for the network’s future as the go-to destination for prestige television. While it’s a little rough around the edges by today’s standards, the show holds up as a gritty, uncompromising, character-driven look into life inside a correctional facility. J.K. Simmons gives a standout performance as an alpha-male white supremacist inmate.


  • #25. Freaks and Geeks
    77/ Apatow Productions

    #25. Freaks and Geeks

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (1999–2000)

    Before Judd Apatow became a household name through movies, he created this short-lived comedy-drama for NBC. Although it only ran a single season, it has developed a cult following over the years for its unflinching and heartfelt portrayal of teenage awkwardness. The show debuted several actors who would go on to become regulars in Apatow projects, including Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, and James Franco.

  • #24. Rome
    78/ HD Vision Studios

    #24. Rome

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (2005–2007)

    This ambitious HBO sword-and-sandals epic followed two Roman soldiers whose onscreen lives intertwined with actual historical events. The series received positive reviews for its impressive visuals and R-rated thrills. But, like the Roman empire itself, the show’s size and scope were its downfall: HBO was forced to axe it from the schedule after its second season due to budgetary concerns.


  • #23. Twin Peaks
    79/ Lynch / Frost Productions

    #23. Twin Peaks

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (1990–1991)

    It’s still astounding that a show this weird was able to land a network TV time slot in the early 90s. The fact that it was a huge hit is positively mind-boggling. The show follows the investigation of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper into the murder of a homecoming queen in a Washington logging town. While the premise makes it sound like a run of the mill primetime procedural, the delivery from creators Mark Frost and David Lynch was truly bizarre. Combining surrealism, melodrama, horror, and comedy with movie-quality visuals, “Twin Peaks” stands as one of the most original pieces of American television ever made. The show was recently resurrected by Showtime in 2017 for a limited run series featuring many of the original cast members to the delight of fans everywhere.

  • #22. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    80/ Blubush Productions

    #22. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (2005-Present)

    Its main characters may work in a bar, but this show’s no “Cheers.” Caustic, cynical, crass, and hilarious, “Sunny” delights in pushing the boundaries of good taste far beyond what would fly in a network show. The first season took a while to find its comedic footing, but since season two, which kicked off with Danny DeVito joining the cast, the show has received universal acclaim from critics.


  • #21. The Office
    81/ NBC Universal Television

    #21. The Office

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (2005–2013)

    This NBC workplace comedy was the first to popularize the documentary style that has since been employed by numerous other shows such as “Modern Family” and “Parks and Recreation.” Based on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s hit BBC show, the American version starred Steve Carell as the well-meaning but painfully awkward boss of the Dunder-Mifflin paper company. The show turned Carell, who up until then was best known as a “Daily Show” correspondent, into a household name. NBC has recently been in talks to revive the series.


  • #20. The Simpsons
    82/ 20th Century Fox Television

    #20. The Simpsons

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (1989-Present)

    America’s longest-running animated show was originally adapted from a series of shorts sandwiched between sketches on “The Tracey Ullman Show” in the late 80’s. The series has come a long way since then, spawning toys, comic books, albums, video games, a feature film, and even its own theme park ride at Universal Studios. At the peak of its success, the show’s principle cast members earned $400,000 per episode, though they’ve since agreed to multiple rounds of pay cuts in order to keep the show financially feasible for Fox.


  • #19. House
    83/ Heel & Toe Films

    #19. House

    IMDb score: 8.8

    Years on the air: (2004–2012)

    Hugh Laurie plays a physician who makes up for his poor bedside manner with diagnostic skills that border on genius. Each episode presents a new medical mystery for him to solve, and although it strains believability, the formula makes for an engrossing procedural. Critics raved about Laurie’s performance, which earned him back to back Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama in 2006 and 2007.

  • #18. Seinfeld
    84/ Castle Rock Entertainment

    #18. Seinfeld

    IMDb score: 8.9

    Years on the air: (1989–1998)

    Regularly referred to as one of the best TV shows of all time by Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and TV Guide, “Seinfeld’s” hilarious, iconic characters, storylines, and catchphrases have become an indelible part of popular culture. Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld in 1989, the show launched the careers of Seinfeld and co-stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander, while Michael Richards’ Kramer character became unforgettable. It won an Emmy in 1993 for “Outstanding Comedy Series,” and in 2014, Hulu acquired the streaming rights to all nine seasons of the series’ episodes for a reported $130 to $180 million. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


  • #17. Arrested Development
    85/ 20th Century Fox Television

    #17. Arrested Development

    IMDb score: 8.9

    Years on the air: (2003-Present)

    Debuting in 2003 and revived in 2013 by Netflix, the quirky comedy “Arrested Development” follows the dysfunctional Bluth family as they navigate life after the family patriarch is imprisoned. Starring Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, and Portia De Rossi, the critically-acclaimed show has won six Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, though it was canceled due to low ratings on Fox in 2006. Some critics have said that “30 Rock” and “Community” were inspired by the show’s offbeat sensibility.


  • #16. Narcos
    86/ Dynamo

    #16. Narcos

    IMDb score: 8.9

    Years on the air: (2015-Present)

    One of the most popular original shows on Netflix, “Narcos” is a gripping drama that follows the real-life stories of the Colombian drug trade of the late 1980s. While seasons one and two focused on the infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, season three picks up after his fall and the rise of Cali Cartel. The series has been nominated for a number of awards, and will return with season four, set in Mexico, this year.


  • #15. Westworld
    87/ Bad Robot

    #15. Westworld

    IMDb score: 8.9

    Years on the air: (2016-Present)

    Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name, “Westworld” is the hit HBO sci-fi series about the fictional, technologically-advanced “Old West” amusement park hosted by androids. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden, its debut in 2016 earned the highest ratings for the network for a premiere since “True Detective” (#8 on our list) in 2014, and its first season ranks as the most-watched of any HBO original series. A third season was just announced.


  • #14. House of Cards
    88/ Media Rights Capital

    #14. House of Cards

    IMDb score: 8.9

    Years on the air: (2013-Present)

    “House of Cards,” which is often referenced as the case study for Netflix and the new era of television developed based on “big data,” is an adaptation of the 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name. The acclaimed political thriller, which stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, suspended production after allegations of sexual assault and harassment came out against Spacey, then severed ties with the actor for good. It’s now in production on its sixth and final season.


  • #13. Stranger Things
    89/ 21 Laps Entertainment

    #13. Stranger Things

    IMDb score: 8.9

    Years on the air: (2016-Present)

    The Duffer brothers created this phenomenally-successful 80s original thriller series for Netflix in the summer of 2016, sparking a cultural revolution that boosted sales of Eggo waffles, had fans worried about Barb, and begging for more post-binge-watching sessions. Season three is due out later this year or in early 2019.


  • #12. Friends
    90/ Warner Bros. Television

    #12. Friends

    IMDb score: 8.9

    Years on the air: (1994–2004)

    When Joey, Rachel, Ross, Monica, and Phoebe — played by the unforgettable ensemble cast of Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow — got together in “Friends,” it was television magic. One of the most popular sitcoms of all-time, the show earned 62 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning for “Outstanding Comedy Series” in 2002. It launched the TV and film careers of all of its cast members, and sparked the short-lived spinoff “Joey.”


  • #11. The Twilight Zone
    91/ CBS Television Network

    #11. The Twilight Zone

    IMDb score: 9.0

    Years on the air: (1959–1964)

    Rod Serling’s iconic, critically-acclaimed “The Twilight Zone” series took on issues of prejudice, war, government, and morality. Blending fantasy, thriller and science fiction, many of the themes and lessons from the memorable (albeit super creepy) storylines resonate today. Perhaps that’s why CBS announced in December of last year that the network has greenlit a revival of the series to be helmed by Jordan Peele. While the original black-and-white Serling-led series ran from 1959 to 1964, the first reboot arrived in 1985, followed by other revivals and even a film version produced by Steven Spielberg in 1983.


  • #10. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
    92/ Sixteen String Jack Productions

    #10. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

    IMDb score: 9.0

    Years on the air: (2014-Present)

    When fans of Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” were looking for a new voice of reason when he retired in 2015, John Oliver was there. Oliver, who won an Emmy for his work on “The Daily Show,” now serves as host on his own popular late-night talk show on HBO, which has been nominated for and has won a number of awards in its first four seasons. 


  • #9. Firefly
    93/ Mutant Enemy

    #9. Firefly

    IMDb score: 9.0

    Years on the air: (2002–2003)

    Joss Whedon’s short-lived but beloved futuristic space drama was canceled by Fox, but then became a fan-favorite when it was released on DVD. The series featured an ensemble cast (led by Nathan Fillion) and won a Primetime Emmy for special effects, and inspired comics and a role-playing game, as well as the 2005 film “Serenity.” Titan Books announced in February that a series of “Firefly” novels will be released in October, with Whedon serving as consulting editor.


  • #8. Fargo
    94/ MGM Television

    #8. Fargo

    IMDb score: 9.0

    Years on the air: (2014-Present)

    Based on the Coen brothers film of the same name, “Fargo” is a darkly comedic anthology show about quirky characters in small towns. The award-winning series has received top marks from critics for its originality and dedication to the absurd.


  • #7. True Detective
    95/ Passenger

    #7. True Detective

    IMDb score: 9.0

    Years on the air: (2014-Present)

    In this critically-acclaimed anthology crime drama series, new cast ensembles take on challenging crime investigations each season. The first season, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was called one of the best drama series of the year while other critics said it was one of the strongest in recent memory.


  • #6. The Sopranos
    96/ HBO

    #6. The Sopranos

    IMDb score: 9.2

    Years on the air: (1999–2007)

    The late James Gandolfini led this megahit, award-winning HBO series as Tony Soprano, an Italian-American mobster who must balance family life with organized crime. Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler co-starred in what some critics think is one of the most groundbreaking series ever made because of its effect on the industry in elevating the art form.


  • #5. Sherlock
    97/ Hartswood Films

    #5. Sherlock

    IMDb score: 9.2

    Years on the air: (2010-Present)

    Benedict Cumberbatch stars at Sherlock Holmes in this popular series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective series of the same name. Produced as a co-production of BBC and WGBH in Boston for PBS Masterpiece, the show has received praise from critics and fans alike, winning three Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Lead Actor for Cumberbatch.


  • #4. Rick and Morty
    98/ Harmonious Claptrap

    #4. Rick and Morty

    IMDb score: 9.3

    Years on the air: (2013-Present)

    Cartoon Network’s adult animated sci-fi comedy “Rick and Morty” follows the adventures of Rick Sanchez, a mad scientist, and his daughter (Sarah Chalke) and her children. It’s received high marks from critics for its creativity and general wackiness.


  • #3. The Wire
    99/ Blown Deadline Productions

    #3. The Wire

    IMDb score: 9.3

    Years on the air: (2002–2008)

    Still cited as one of the greatest TV shows ever made, “The Wire” went off the air 10 years ago. The acclaimed HBO drama featured a black ensemble cast, helping to launch the careers of Michael B. Jordan, Idris Elba, and Michael K. Williams, and took an authentic look at Baltimore and its drug scene, police department, schools, and media.


  • #2. Breaking Bad
    100/ Sony Pictures Television

    #2. Breaking Bad

    IMDb score: 9.5

    Years on the air: (2008–2013)

    The critically-acclaimed AMC series, “Breaking Bad” turned Walter White into an icon and catapulted Bryan Cranston into cult fame status for his portrayal of the high school teacher-turned-meth-lab-operator. Cranston won four Primetime Emmy Awards for the role. It’s considered one of the greatest TV shows of all-time, having become the most-watched cable TV shows on American television, and most critically-acclaimed of all-time. Its spinoff, “Better Call Saul,” appears at #34 on our list.


  • #1. Game of Thrones
    101/ HBO

    #1. Game of Thrones

    IMDb score: 9.5

    Years on the air: (2011-Present)

    Based on George R.R. Martin’s beloved series of novels, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” this megahit HBO series has essentially taken on a life of its own. The Emmy Award-winning medieval fantasy epic follows the deadly adventures of two powerful families as they battle for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. It frequently battled “The Sopranos” in viewership ratings during its first four seasons, and fans are currently eagerly awaiting season eight, due in 2019. The show has inspired licensed merchandise, games, replica armor, and boosted sales of the original novels.


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