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29 TV Shows That Every Television Lover Should Have Seen

From comedy classics to masterpieces of modern drama, these are the shows you need to know.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community what TV show they think every television lover needs to have seen. Here are their suggestions.

1. I Love Lucy (1951-1960)

"Sure, some of the themes may be outdated, but if you go in with an open mind you will be rolling on the floor laughing! Lucille Ball is the best!" — paytonh4921432c6
CBS

"Sure, some of the themes may be outdated, but if you go in with an open mind you will be rolling on the floor laughing! Lucille Ball is the best!" — paytonh4921432c6

2. Arrested Development (2003-2006; 2013)

One of the quickest and smartest comedies out there, Arrested Development made its mark in the '00s as perhaps the most unique comedy that was airing at the time. Both in words and in visuals, the gags on this show came a mile a minute — and it's hilarity is impossible to deny. Suggested by Natalie Soria, Facebook
Fox

One of the quickest and smartest comedies out there, Arrested Development made its mark in the '00s as perhaps the most unique comedy that was airing at the time. Both in words and in visuals, the gags on this show came a mile a minute — and it's hilarity is impossible to deny.

Suggested by Natalie Soria, Facebook

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

As a hallmark of television fandom culture, Buffy is one of the most important shows in recent decades. Plus, Buffy herself is totally badass. Suggested by Christopher O’Rourke, Facebook
20th Century Fox Television

As a hallmark of television fandom culture, Buffy is one of the most important shows in recent decades. Plus, Buffy herself is totally badass.

Suggested by Christopher O’Rourke, Facebook

4. The Wire (2002-2008)

"No show portrays a city so authentically (by casting actual police officers as cops, actual drug dealers to play drug dealers, and so on). The characters are so authentic, which only makes you get more and more attached to them." — mississippi17
HBO

"No show portrays a city so authentically (by casting actual police officers as cops, actual drug dealers to play drug dealers, and so on). The characters are so authentic, which only makes you get more and more attached to them." — mississippi17

5. The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

Aside from the simple fact of giving us Queen Betty White — not to take away from how terrific the rest of the cast is — The Golden Girls displayed a feminist attitude that presented older women as smart, capable, and fierce. Suggested by Mícheál Seosamh Ó Gríobhtha, Facebook
NBC

Aside from the simple fact of giving us Queen Betty White — not to take away from how terrific the rest of the cast is — The Golden Girls displayed a feminist attitude that presented older women as smart, capable, and fierce.

Suggested by Mícheál Seosamh Ó Gríobhtha, Facebook

6. Seinfeld (1989-1998)

For a comedy about nothing, Seinfeld has certainly done something for the cultural landscape. In fact, it's done more than just "something." It's become one of the most popular and consistently reference comedies in history. Suggested by Emily Sotzing, Facebook
NBC

For a comedy about nothing, Seinfeld has certainly done something for the cultural landscape. In fact, it's done more than just "something." It's become one of the most popular and consistently reference comedies in history.

Suggested by Emily Sotzing, Facebook

7. The West Wing (1999-2006)

"Nothing like a good walk and talk to reaffirm your love for television." — caitlinc26
NBC

"Nothing like a good walk and talk to reaffirm your love for television." — caitlinc26

8. Friends (1994-2004)

"The perfect sitcom, where every episode feels brand new, and bonus points for creating a cast with no lead. They are the definition of an ensemble cast — and their jokes are still funny today! Timeless. Classic." — erinllwydw
NBC

"The perfect sitcom, where every episode feels brand new, and bonus points for creating a cast with no lead. They are the definition of an ensemble cast — and their jokes are still funny today! Timeless. Classic." — erinllwydw

9. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

"Sadly, it's only one season, but [it's] incredible. Judd Apatow at his finest. You will see a lot of actor cameos that will make you squeal, and immediately revisit your vinyl collection. Stream it now on Netflix." — kathrynm21
NBC

"Sadly, it's only one season, but [it's] incredible. Judd Apatow at his finest. You will see a lot of actor cameos that will make you squeal, and immediately revisit your vinyl collection. Stream it now on Netflix." — kathrynm21

10. Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

A modern-day classic, and something that will inevitably end up in the pantheon of Great TV Dramas. Walter White's transition from meek chemistry teacher to criminal mastermind was a sight to behold, and the work of the actors on this show brought the story to the next level. Suggested by Ronan Quinn, Facebook
Ursula Coyote / AMC

A modern-day classic, and something that will inevitably end up in the pantheon of Great TV Dramas. Walter White's transition from meek chemistry teacher to criminal mastermind was a sight to behold, and the work of the actors on this show brought the story to the next level.

Suggested by Ronan Quinn, Facebook

11. The Rockford Files (1974-1980)

"The Rockford Files is on Netflix. It's a classic L.A. noir with a sense of humor, fantastic car chases, '70s L.A. lifestyle porn, and the coolest man in the history of the species, Jim Garner. Voted the 39th best TV series of all time a few years back. If you haven’t seen it, check it out." — Jim Kelly, Facebook
NBC

"The Rockford Files is on Netflix. It's a classic L.A. noir with a sense of humor, fantastic car chases, '70s L.A. lifestyle porn, and the coolest man in the history of the species, Jim Garner. Voted the 39th best TV series of all time a few years back. If you haven’t seen it, check it out." — Jim Kelly, Facebook

12. Doctor Who (1963-1989; 2005-present)

A show that has spanned so many decades that it has become an important cultural touchstone for generation after generation. Doctor Who is proof that geeky fandoms are immensely powerful when it comes to taking a TV show and turning it into an icon. Suggested by TaraSilke CannonYoung, Facebook
BBC

A show that has spanned so many decades that it has become an important cultural touchstone for generation after generation. Doctor Who is proof that geeky fandoms are immensely powerful when it comes to taking a TV show and turning it into an icon.

Suggested by TaraSilke CannonYoung, Facebook

13. Twin Peaks (1990-1991)

Although the murder mystery genre may seem to be everywhere these days, most of those shows owe a great deal to Twin Peaks for establishing the genre as something strangely enthralling during its run in the early '90s. The heavy stylization and idiosyncratic sensibilities displayed by the show have made it a cult classic. Suggested by Terri Thomas, Facebook
ABC

Although the murder mystery genre may seem to be everywhere these days, most of those shows owe a great deal to Twin Peaks for establishing the genre as something strangely enthralling during its run in the early '90s. The heavy stylization and idiosyncratic sensibilities displayed by the show have made it a cult classic.

Suggested by Terri Thomas, Facebook

14. 30 Rock (2006-2013)

"30 Rock is a really wonderful show to introduce people to the current trend in comedy of female-driven shows. 30 Rock broke a lot of ground with its witty portrayals of race, gender, sexuality, and politics while still being a well done show that never got boring. It paved the way for other female writer-actor led shows such as Parks and Recreation, The Mindy Project, Girls, Veep, and I'm sure more." — (cydneyt2)
NBC

"30 Rock is a really wonderful show to introduce people to the current trend in comedy of female-driven shows. 30 Rock broke a lot of ground with its witty portrayals of race, gender, sexuality, and politics while still being a well done show that never got boring. It paved the way for other female writer-actor led shows such as Parks and Recreation, The Mindy Project, Girls, Veep, and I'm sure more." — (cydneyt2)

15. ER (1994-2009)

A hospital drama for the ages (literally, this show lasted SO MANY SEASONS), ER gave viewers the opportunity to see George Clooney as a doctor. And isn't that enough to earn it a place amongst TV's best shows? Suggested by Sarah Cavanaugh, Facebook
NBC

A hospital drama for the ages (literally, this show lasted SO MANY SEASONS), ER gave viewers the opportunity to see George Clooney as a doctor. And isn't that enough to earn it a place amongst TV's best shows?

Suggested by Sarah Cavanaugh, Facebook

16. In Living Color (1990-1994)

While SNL is the more well-known (and, of course, longer-running) sketch television show, In Living Color was influential in its willingness to address issues such as race through its humor. Plus, it gave us stars such as Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez, and all of the Wayans Brothers. Suggested by Joseph Miller, Facebook
Fox

While SNL is the more well-known (and, of course, longer-running) sketch television show, In Living Color was influential in its willingness to address issues such as race through its humor. Plus, it gave us stars such as Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez, and all of the Wayans Brothers.

Suggested by Joseph Miller, Facebook

17. Lost (2004-2010)

"Lost is the first show I ever binge-watched (Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD, pre-Netflix streaming). I've watched a lot of other great shows between then and now, but I've still never had so many different feels while watching a show. The catchphrases! The Easter eggs! The mystery! Underwear-clad Kate bathing in the ocean! #NotPennysBoat" — Joanna Malcom
ABC

"Lost is the first show I ever binge-watched (Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD, pre-Netflix streaming). I've watched a lot of other great shows between then and now, but I've still never had so many different feels while watching a show. The catchphrases! The Easter eggs! The mystery! Underwear-clad Kate bathing in the ocean! #NotPennysBoat" — Joanna Malcom

18. Cheers (1982-1993)

"I mean, 'Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.'" — kristinl40134cb25
NBC

"I mean, 'Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.'" — kristinl40134cb25

19. Dynasty (1981-1989)

Perfect in its embrace of soapiness and camp, Dynasty was a ratings juggernaut during its time on air. Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington is perhaps one of the most iconic acting jobs ever. Suggested by Terri Thomas, Facebook
ABC

Perfect in its embrace of soapiness and camp, Dynasty was a ratings juggernaut during its time on air. Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington is perhaps one of the most iconic acting jobs ever.

Suggested by Terri Thomas, Facebook

20. The Sopranos (1999-2007)

One of the shows considered to have helped usher in the current "Golden Age" of television, The Sopranos took the idea of the antihero to the next level with the mesmerizing character of Tony Soprano. For a medium that had long been obsessed with shows about family, The Sopranos wasn't afraid to challenge our conceptions of what family — or The Family — might be. Suggested by Elizabeth Anne, Facebook
HBO

One of the shows considered to have helped usher in the current "Golden Age" of television, The Sopranos took the idea of the antihero to the next level with the mesmerizing character of Tony Soprano. For a medium that had long been obsessed with shows about family, The Sopranos wasn't afraid to challenge our conceptions of what family — or The Family — might be.

Suggested by Elizabeth Anne, Facebook

21. The Simpsons (1989-present)

"The Simpsons. It's been going for 25 seasons plus other clips on the Tracey Ullman Show and still is funny. The writers are great, incredible voice actors, inspired other animation comedy shows, and is a staple in TV history." — robm415cef2ad
Fox

"The Simpsons. It's been going for 25 seasons plus other clips on the Tracey Ullman Show and still is funny. The writers are great, incredible voice actors, inspired other animation comedy shows, and is a staple in TV history." — robm415cef2ad

22. Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

"For the ending alone (although the rest of the show is also the best)." — DeandraLalonde
HBO

"For the ending alone (although the rest of the show is also the best)." — DeandraLalonde

23. I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970)

A sitcom classic, I Dream of Jeannie was a paragon of supernatural hilarity. Jeannie's iconic magical action — crossing her arms and blinking — is still recognizable to audiences today. Suggested by brittneyt48fbe38cf
NBC

A sitcom classic, I Dream of Jeannie was a paragon of supernatural hilarity. Jeannie's iconic magical action — crossing her arms and blinking — is still recognizable to audiences today.

Suggested by brittneyt48fbe38cf

24. M*A*S*H (1972-1983)

Over 100 million people watched the final episode of M*A*S*H after its legendary run, making it the most watched broadcast in television history at the time — a record it held until it was overtaken by the 2010 Super Bowl. Its influence is indelible. Suggested by kaylah4532fffa3
CBS

Over 100 million people watched the final episode of M*A*S*H after its legendary run, making it the most watched broadcast in television history at the time — a record it held until it was overtaken by the 2010 Super Bowl. Its influence is indelible.

Suggested by kaylah4532fffa3

25. Bewitched (1964-1972)

"Oh man, I dunno what it is about this show, but I marathoned all eight seasons during one summer break in my first year of college and fell deeply, hopelessly in love. My roommates probably thought me crazy at one point because of how much I would burst out laughing at Aunt Clara's antics or all the spells Endora would cast on Darrin to purposely rile him up and get him in trouble." — ravenbard
ABC

"Oh man, I dunno what it is about this show, but I marathoned all eight seasons during one summer break in my first year of college and fell deeply, hopelessly in love. My roommates probably thought me crazy at one point because of how much I would burst out laughing at Aunt Clara's antics or all the spells Endora would cast on Darrin to purposely rile him up and get him in trouble." — ravenbard

26. Sex and the City (1998-2004)

A show that wasn't afraid of sexuality and female empowerment, Sex and the City has become an incredibly important part of American culture since its airing. It was unafraid of being frank and honest, a quality that not many shows can claim. Suggested by meredithhuddle
HBO

A show that wasn't afraid of sexuality and female empowerment, Sex and the City has become an incredibly important part of American culture since its airing. It was unafraid of being frank and honest, a quality that not many shows can claim.

Suggested by meredithhuddle

27. The X-Files (1993-2002)

A quintessential sci-fi program, The X-Files made us all wonder what was truly out there. Suggested by glitterbabe
Fox

A quintessential sci-fi program, The X-Files made us all wonder what was truly out there.

Suggested by glitterbabe

28. The Office (2005-2013)

"[This] show is freaking incredible. Not only is it hilarious, but the characters have actual, real depth — not just funny depth. Ugh, that show. Love it so much." — Blue Profitt
NBC

"[This] show is freaking incredible. Not only is it hilarious, but the characters have actual, real depth — not just funny depth. Ugh, that show. Love it so much." — Blue Profitt

29. The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)

"I really don't think you can call yourself a true TV addict if you haven't seen it. It's a classic." — Courtney Elizabeth
ABC

"I really don't think you can call yourself a true TV addict if you haven't seen it. It's a classic." — Courtney Elizabeth

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