The 300 Best TV Shows Ever

4 May

A few weeks ago, I decided to make a list of the best TV shows ever created, mostly because I’ve watched a lot of TV shows.

This is that list.

But before you read that, here’s a few things about it to explain everything:

-Only shows broadcast in America are eligible, and they have to be fictional, narrative series. That leaves in the ineligible pile: British shows and those from any other country (I know many of them are good, but come on, that’s way too much to consider), mini-series (so no Band of Brothers), TV movies (so no Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom), sketch comedy shows (Chappelle would otherwise be very, very high), or non-themed anthology series. I’m phrasing it that way because seasonal anthologies (like American Horror Story) are eligible, and themed anthology shows (like The Twilight Zone) are also valid.

-I’m weighing current watchability a bit higher than “at the time” value for this list, although both still matter (The hardest part was factoring personal favorites against classics that I don’t care for as much). The goal of the list is less to be scientific than to recommend 300 great TV shows.

-I don’t factor in renewal and cancellation in the rankings. Every show eventually runs out of consistently good ideas, and it’s not necessarily the show’s fault that it got cancelled. If an 18-episode show was better than a 180-episode show (in one notable case, I think it was), I’ll rank it that way. You might even see some long-running shows that have more bad episodes than good!

-As such, feel free to ask questions or discuss the rankings or omissions with me! I’ll probably go back and write paragraphs about the shows later, but for now it’s just a list.

-The rest of that being said, here is a reminder that all of my opinions are the objective truth and this list should be considered a matter of fact. (Not really.)

-And the shows marked with the asterisk* are special cases.

THE RANKED TOP 100

100. Girls (2012-2017, HBO)

99. Daria (1997-2002, MTV)

98. Treme (2010-2013, HBO)

97. Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009, HBO)

96. Carnivale (2003-2005, HBO)

95. The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993-1996, Nickelodeon)

94. Star Trek (1966-1969, NBC)

93. The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978, CBS)

92. Friends (1994-2004, NBC)

91. Orange is the New Black (2013-present, Netflix)

90. Pushing Daisies (2007-2009, ABC)

89. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966, CBS)

88. Barney Miller (1975-1982, ABC)

87. Sex and the City (1998-2004, HBO)

86. Gilmore Girls (2000-2006, The WB; 2006-2007, The CW)

85. The Outer Limits (1963-1965, ABC)

84. Miami Vice (1984-1989, NBC)

83. Terriers (2010, FX)

82. Archer (2009-2016, FX; 2016-present, FXX)

81. Scrubs (2001-2008, NBC; 2009-2010, ABC)

80. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-2012, FX; 2013-present, FXX)

79. Baskets (2016-present, FX)

78. Columbo (1971-1978, CBS)

77. American Crime (2015-present, ABC)

76. The Office (2005-2013, NBC)

75. Enlightened (2011-2013, HBO)

74. Six Feet Under (2001-2005, HBO)

73. Justified (2010-2015, FX)

72. Futurama (1999-2003, FOX; 2008-2013, Comedy Central)

71. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995, FOX Kids)

70. King of the Hill (1997-2009, FOX)

69. St. Elsewhere (1982-1988, NBC)

68. Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006, FOX)

67. NewsRadio (1995-1999, NBC)

66. The Wonder Years (1988-1993, ABC)

65. Roseanne (1988-1997, ABC)

64. NYPD Blue (1993-2005, ABC)

63. Moonlighting (1985-1989, ABC)

62. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011, NBC)

61. Lost (2004-2010, ABC)

60. The West Wing (1999-2006, NBC)

59. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009, Sci-Fi)

58. The Cosby Show (1984-1992, NBC)

57. You’re The Worst (2014, FX; 2015-present, FXX)

56. Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014, HBO)

55. 30 Rock (2006-2013, NBC)

54. Rick & Morty (2013-present, Adult Swim)

53. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-present, The CW)

52. Broad City (2014-present, Comedy Central)

51. Atlanta (2016-present, FX)

50. Game of Thrones (2011-present, HBO)

49. Master of None (2015-present, Netflix)

48. Police Squad! (1982, ABC)

47. Firefly (2002, FOX)

46. ER (1994-2009, NBC)

45. Bob’s Burgers (2011-present, FOX)

44. Rectify (2013-2016, Sundance)

43. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (1986-1990, Showtime)

42. Oz (1997-2003, HBO)

41. Frasier (1993-2004, NBC)

40. The Honeymooners (1955-1956, CBS)

39. The Shield (2002-2008, FX)

38. My So-Called Life (1994-1995, ABC)

37. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2001, The WB; 2001-2003, UPN)

36. The Americans (2013-present, FX)

35. The Leftovers (2014-present, HBO)

34. Veep (2012-present, HBO)

33. Taxi (1978-1982, ABC; 1982-1983, NBC)

32. Fargo (2014-present, FX)

31. Better Call Saul (2015-present, AMC)

30. Adventure Time (2010-present, Cartoon Network)

29. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-present, HBO)

28. Hill Street Blues (1981-1987, NBC)

27. Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999, NBC)

26. The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998, HBO)

25. I Love Lucy (1951-1957, CBS)

24. Spongebob Squarepants (1999-present, Nickelodeon)

23. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000, NBC)

22. All in the Family (1971-1979, CBS)

21. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977, CBS)

20. Review (2014-2017, Comedy Central)

19. Silicon Valley (2014-present, HBO)

18. BoJack Horseman (2014-present, Netflix)

17. Deadwood (2004-2006, HBO)

16. Parks & Recreation (2009-2015, NBC)

15. M*A*S*H* (1972-1983, CBS)

14. Community (2009-2014, NBC; 2015, Yahoo)

13. Hannibal (2013-2015, NBC)

12. The X-Files (1993-2002; 2016, FOX)

11. Cheers (1982-1993, NBC)

10. Seinfeld (1989-1998, NBC)

9. Louie (2010-2015, FX)

8. Arrested Development (2003-2006, FOX; 2013, Netflix)

7. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964; 1985-1987, CBS)

6. Twin Peaks (1990-1991, ABC)

5. The Sopranos (1999-2007, HBO)

4. Breaking Bad (2008-2013, AMC)

3. Mad Men (2007-2015, AMC)

2. The Wire (2002-2008, HBO)

1. The Simpsons (1989-present, FOX)

THE NEXT 200 (Unranked, separated by category)

HIGH PEAKS

Action (1999, FOX)

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993-1994, FOX)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1960 & 1962-1964, CBS; 1960-1962 & 1964-1965, NBC)

Ally McBeal (1997-2002, FOX)

American Gods (2017-present, Starz)*

American Gothic (1995-1996, CBS)

Babylon 5 (1994-1997, PTEN/Syndicated; 1998, TNT)

Beavis & Butthead (1993-1997 & 2011, MTV)

Black-ish (2014-present, ABC)

The Boondocks (2005-2014, Adult Swim)

Bored to Death (2009-2011, HBO)

Boston Public (2000-2004, FOX)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-present, FOX)

Casual (2015-present, Hulu)

Catastrophe (2015-present, Amazon)

Chuck (2007-2012, NBC)

The Comeback (2005 & 2014, HBO)

Cupid (1998-1999, ABC)

Dallas (1978-1991, CBS)

Dead Like Me (2003-2004, Showtime)

Desperate Housewives (2004-2012, ABC)

Difficult People (2015-present, Hulu)

Dragnet (1951-1959, NBC)

Dream On (1990-1996, HBO)

Family Ties (1982-1989, NBC)

Farscape (1999-2003, Sci-Fi)

Felicity (1998-2002, The WB)

Fresh Off the Boat (2015-present, ABC)

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996, NBC)

Frisky Dingo (2006-2008, Adult Swim)

Get a Life (1990-1992, FOX)

The Good Place (2016-present, NBC)

Halt and Catch Fire (2014-present, AMC)

Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (2000-2007, Adult Swim)

Homeland (2011-present, Showtime)

How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014, CBS)

Hung (2009-2011, HBO)

The Jack Benny Program (1950-1964, CBS; 1964-1965, NBC)

Jessica Jones (2015-present, Netflix)

LA Law (1986-1994, NBC)

Luck (2011-2012, HBO)

Mannix (1967-1975, CBS)

Masters of Sex (2013-2016, Showtime)

The Middleman (2008, ABC Family)

Mr. Robot (2015-present, USA)

Nowhere Man (1995-1996, UPN)

Orphan Black (2013-present, BBC America)

Penny Dreadful (2014-2016, Showtime)

Picket Fences (1992-1996, CBS)

The Practice (1997-2004, ABC)

Profit (1996, FOX)

Samurai Jack (2001-2004, Cartoon Network; 2017-present, Adult Swim)

South Park (1997-present, Comedy Central)

Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1994-2004, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim)

Spin City (1996-2002, ABC)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999, Syndicated)

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994, Syndicated)

The Tick (1994-1996, FOX Kids; 2001-2002, FOX)

Transparent (2014-present, Amazon)

True Detective (2014-2015, HBO)

TV 101 (1988-1989, CBS)

UnREAL (2015-present, Lifetime)

Veronica Mars (2004-2006, UPN; 2006-2007, The CW)

Weeds (2005-2012, Showtime)

The Westerner (1960, NBC)

Westworld (2016-present, HBO)

Wonderfalls (2004, FOX)

Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001, Syndicated)

24 (2001-2010 & 2014, FOX)

CONSISTENTLY GOOD

Alien Nation (1989-1990, FOX)

Almost Human (2013-2014, FOX)

American Crime Story (2016-present, FX)

Andy Barker, PI (2007, NBC)

The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968, CBS)

Andy Richter Controls the Universe (2002-2003, FOX)

Angel (1999-2004, The WB)

Angie Tribeca (2016-present, TBS)

Animaniacs (1993-1995, Fox Kids; 1995-1998, The WB)

Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2001-2015, Adult Swim)

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008, Nickelodeon)

Baretta (1975-1978, ABC)

The Bernie Mac Show (2001-2006, FOX)

Better Off Ted (2009-2010, ABC)

The Bold Ones: The Senator (1970-1971, NBC)

Boomtown (2002-2003, NBC)

Brooklyn Bridge (1991-1993, CBS)

Bunheads (2012-2013, ABC Family)

Buffalo Bill (1983-1984, NBC)

The Carmichael Show (2015-present, NBC)

Chicago Hope (1994-2000, CBS)

China Beach (1988-1991, ABC)

The Closer (2005-2012, TNT)

Crime Story (1986-1988, NBC)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015, CBS)

Damages (2007-2010, FX; 2011-2012, Audience)

The Defenders (1961-1965, CBS)

Designing Women (1986-1993, CBS)

East Side/West Side (1963-1964, CBS)

Ed (2000-2004, NBC)

Everwood (2002-2006, The WB)

Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005, CBS)

Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2006, UPN; 2006-2009, The CW)

EZ Streets (1996-1997, CBS)

Frank’s Place (1987-1988, CBS)

Fringe (2008-2013, FOX)

The Fugitive (1963-1967, ABC)

Get Smart (1965-1969, NBC; 1969-1970, CBS)

The Golden Girls (1985-1992, NBC)

The Good Wife (2009-2016, CBS)

Gravity Falls (2012-2016, Disney)

The Grinder (2015-2016, FOX)

Gunsmoke (1955-1975, CBS)

Happy Days (1974-1984, ABC)

Happy Endings (2011-2013, ABC)

Hey Arnold! (1996-2004, Nickelodeon)

House, MD (2004-2012, FOX)

I Spy (1965-1968, NBC)

I’ll Fly Away (1991-1993, NBC)

In Treatment (2008-2010, HBO)

Jane the Virgin (2014-present, The CW)

The Jeffersons (1975-1985, CBS)

Joan of Arcadia (2003-2005, CBS)

John from Cincinnati (2007, HBO)

K Street (2003, HBO)

Keen Eddie (2003, FOX)

The Knick (2014-2015, Cinemax)

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975, ABC)

Lady Dynamite (2016-present, Netflix)

Law & Order (1990-2010, NBC)

The Legend of Korra (2012-2014, Nickelodeon)

Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983, NBC)

Living Single (1993-1998, FOX)

Lou Grant (1977-1982, CBS)

Mad About You (1992-1999, NBC)

Maude (1972-1978, CBS)

Maverick (1957-1962, ABC)

Mission Hill (1999-2000, The WB; 2002, Adult Swim)

Mission: Impossible (1966-1973, CBS)

Mork & Mindy (1978-1982, ABC)

The Muppet Show (1976-1981, Syndicated)

Murder One (1995-1997, ABC)

Murphy Brown (1988-1998, CBS)

My World and Welcome to It (1969-1970, NBC)

Naked City (1958-1963, ABC)

New Girl (2011-present, FOX)

Newhart (1982-1990, CBS)

Night Court (1984-1992, NBC)

Northern Exposure (1990-1995, CBS)

Nothing Sacred (1997-1998, ABC)

Now and Again (1999-2000, CBS)

The Odd Couple (1970-1975, ABC)

Once and Again (1999-2002, ABC)

Party Down (2009-2010, Starz)

Person of Interest (2011-2016, CBS)

The Phil Silvers Show/Sgt. Bilko (1955-1959, CBS)

Phineas & Ferb (2007-2015, Disney)

Quantum Leap (1989-1993, NBC)

Recess (1997-2001, ABC)

Regular Show (2010-2017, Cartoon Network)

Robbery Homicide Division (2002-2003, CBS)

The Rockford Files (1974-1980, NBC)

The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959-1961, ABC; 1961-1964, NBC)

Rubicon (2010, AMC)

Sanford and Son (1972-1977, NBC)

The Sarah Silverman Program (2007-2010, Comedy Central)

Sealab 2021 (2000-2005, Adult Swim)

Shameless (2011-present, Showtime)

Soap (1977-1981, ABC)

Southland (2009, NBC; 2010-2013, TNT)

Space: Above and Beyond (1995-1996, FOX)

Sports Night (1998-2000, ABC)

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003-2005, Cartoon Network)

Strangers With Candy (1999-2000, Comedy Central)

Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996, HBO)

Thirtysomething (1987-1991, ABC)

Titus (2000-2002, FOX)

Togetherness (2015-2016, HBO)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-present, Netflix)

Undeclared (2001-2002, FOX)

Wet Hot American Summer (2015-present, Netflix)

Wiseguy (1987-1990, CBS)

WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982, CBS)

UNIQUE AND INFLUENTIAL

The Addams Family (1964-1966, ABC)

Aeon Flux (1991-1995, MTV)

Batman (1966-1968, ABC)

Clone High (2002-2003, MTV)

Harsh Realm (1999-2000, FOX)

Home Movies (1999, UPN; 2001-2004, Adult Swim)

Horace and Pete (2016-present, N/A)

The Last Man on Earth (2015-present, FOX)

Legion (2017-present, FX)

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-1963, CBS)

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976-1977, Syndicated)

Max Headroom (1987-1988, ABC)

Nobody’s Watching (2006, N/A)*

On the Air (1992, ABC)

Rome (2005-2007, HBO)

Steven Universe (2013-present, Cartoon Network)

Tell Me You Love Me (2007, HBO)

That Girl (1966-1971, ABC)

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