28 Of The Greatest Shows In The History Of Television

    "And that ending...holy crap. So many shows can't stick the landing, but The Americans absolutely did."

    Recently, Reddit user u/JustNoir_ posed the question, "What's the best TV series of all time?"

    And there were so many excellent responses! Here are some of the top-voted answers:

    1. The Twilight Zone (1959–64)

    "What other shows will have a significant cultural impact 60 years after airing? The Twilight Zone paved the way for so many modern artists, shows, and movies. Love, Death, and Robots, Black Mirror, and other anthology shows all have The Twilight Zone in their DNA. Jordan Peele (involved in the newest incarnation of The Twilight Zone BTW) was influenced by the show. Rod Serling was a visionary who never compromised the content of his show to bow to advertisers or cultural pressures. The show was ahead of its time and is still as poignant and entertaining today as when it came out."


    a creepy doll

    2. Psych (2006–14)

    "I’ve probably watched it 30 or 40 times, and it doesn’t get old. It’s so funny, and the romantic storyline is beautifully paced and executed. I love it."


    "I think what I love so much about Psych is that the cast has such great chemistry that after a certain point, it feels less like you’re watching scripted entertainment and more like you’re just a fly on the wall in someone else’s daily life. Watching Psych makes me feel at home."


    Two actors portraying characters in a TV show, focused intently on something off-camera

    3. Fleabag (2016–19)

    "It's a short two seasons of six episodes each, but it is flawlessly executed with not a single moment wasted. A strange creation for TV, it might be more comparable to a brilliant movie or even a play (it was, after all, adapted from a one-woman show). It's just art."


    Fleabag talking to a priest

    4. The Office (2005–13)

    "I find the humor of this show to be utterly timeless and completely brilliant. Yes, like every series it has its low moments, but it is of a league of its own in my opinion. It also inspired so many other comedy series."


    "It’s part of our culture now, more than Breaking Bad or any other show."


    Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute from The Office in an office setting, Michael holding a gift basket

    5. The Wire (2002–08)

    "No other series comes close to The Wire, and it’s kinda hard to believe one ever will. It’s become a cliché that the show is the best ever, but it’s one premised on a reality of nothing else in the medium ever being so ambitious or so successful at realizing that ambition. The conversation is The Wire, then everything else competing for the best thing one level below The Wire."


    "It was a perfect show. Brutally honest, finely detailed, funny, driven as much by character as by plot, unflinching, bittersweet, heartfelt, gut-wrenching. Every storyline ends perfectly; every detail feels inevitable. There's no better show in history."


    Michael K Williams in "The Wire"

    6. Mad Men (2007–15)

    "Part of what made Mad Men so good — better than most other shows — was the use of multiple story arcs. Every episode had its own arc but was also part of longer ones. Some arcs would go for several episodes, for the season, multiple seasons, or went on for the entire show. Some of the stories slapped you in the face; some were such a slow burn that you didn't realize everything leading up to it until it ended. This allowed the show to keep you interested and satisfied without resorting to cheap tricks like ending every episode with a cliffhanger.

    They also managed to stick the landing on breaking a cardinal rule of storytelling: The main character has to change. They got around it and worked with it in multiple ways, but they managed to tell a great story about a character that cannot change, no matter how hard they try or want to."


    Don Draper sitting in an office

    7. Firefly (2002)

    "Nine main characters with fun, interesting, and impressively distinct personalities, all bouncing off each other in believable ways. Every character gets major screentime, and they all feel important, complex, and well realized. Sharp dialogue, hilarious snarky humor. The characters and the unique world just feel rich and believable, all of which was managed in only 14 episodes. Great chemistry among the cast; their energy comes through on the screen."


    cast of Firefly

    8. Parks and Recreation (2009–15)

    "I just finished a rewatch of Parks and Rec last week after not having access to it for two years, so this is still fresh in my mind. I think Parks and Rec is a rare example of a show that got progressively zanier with each season without that being a fault. Man, it was so nice to spend some time back in Pawnee."


    "Leslie Knope is my favorite sitcom character ever. I just think she is written so richly. Strong female lead. Plenty of flaws, but they’re also her strengths. Sweet and caring, intense and ambitious, and so funny."


    April and Leslie at a construction site

    9. Breaking Bad (2008–13)

    "Breaking Bad has some of the best directing I've ever witnessed in my life, hands down."


    "Character writing, too. There's no Darth Vader moment where Walt becomes evil because the writers wanted him to. For me at least, every character really seemed like they were trying to do the right thing. You don't really notice how their choices have changed them until you look back at how they used to be."


    "And plotting. There isn’t a single line, scene, storyline, or character that doesn’t ultimately pay off. Probably the most tightly plotted series ever."


    Jesse and Walt sitting on a couch in "Breaking Bad"

    10. Better Call Saul (2015–22)

    "If they stick the landing, which I think they will, it's definitely going to be my favorite TV show ever."


    "I feel like so many people went into it expecting the same energy as Breaking Bad, and that is why it gets so much hate. It starts off slow and has a lot of character development, but I love it. Especially with the anticipation of how it connects with BB and wondering how it will all come together. We know the destination, but they are giving us a hell of a journey. It's definitely ramping up in tempo as it gets closer to BB."


    "It's better than Breaking Bad, and I will die on this hill."


    Jimmy and Kim looking stunned in "Better Call Saul"

    11. Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1998–2007)

    "The American Whose Line Is It Anyway? with Drew Carey will never stop being one of my top three shows of all time."


    "I was watching this the other day for the first time since I was a kid. I could not believe how good they were. I don't understand how they were able to be so creative and funny and actually make sense on a moment's notice."


    the cast of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

    12. Band of Brothers (2001)

    "Being someone who has served in the armed forces, watching Band of Brothers brings out emotions that nothing else in life has been able to replicate. I feel for those men as if I was watching my comrades serving. The name does the series justice."


    a man saluting

    13. Twin Peaks (1990–91, 2017)

    "It is easily the most concentrated piece of art I have ever seen. There are only a few things out there that can match it in quality. Very, very good. That's what happens when two seasoned geniuses with the artistic experience of a lifetime come together to deliver their best. Frost and Lynch were like 60 and 70 years old when they did it. Amazing."


    "I saw Season 3 when it aired, and I’m still trying to understand what even happened. I like how we fans demanded more Twin Peaks for years, and when we finally got it, we all shut up because it destroyed our minds."


    Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee acting in "Twin Peaks"

    14. Cheers (1982–93)

    "Cheers was damn good. For being a sitcom, they had many episodes with deeper topics than most TV bullshit: struggles with alcoholism, the perks of being a playboy womanizer vs. having a real, meaningful relationship, and so on. It wasn't just a bunch of idiots who ran around and found themselves in idiotic situations. There was a real story, real characters, real development, and real commentary on real issues."


    Sam Malone tending bar

    15. Community (2009–15)

    "The average Community episode is on par with other average comedies out there: They're pretty good and enjoyable. But the best 10 episodes of that show are absolute masterpieces, and no other comedy show comes close to Community when Community is at its best! I have seriously been in tears from laughing so hard. Favorite show for sure."


    young guys sitting on a couch studying

    16. The Sopranos (1999–2007)

    "Perfect mix of drama, comedy, character study, suspense, and social commentary. Fuck, man, it has everything. I’d choose it in a heartbeat if I could only watch one show for the rest of my life."


    "Without The Sopranos, there would be no Mad Men, no Breaking Bad, no Succession. It’s the most honest, nuanced, well acted, and incredibly scripted show ever made."


    Tony Soprano looking angry

    17. Our Planet (2019)

    "Narrated by David Attenborough."


    "The greatest voice in the history of humans. Every long distance flight I take, I listen to this guy to knock out."


    baby and mama chimps

    18. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–94)

    "Star Trek will stand the test of time. It will exist for all future human history. A group of people travel through the universe to discover the meaning of life. Star Trek is something beyond TV."


    the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" looking at something

    19. M*A*S*H (1972–83)

    "M*A*S*H was a game changer for television. It changed the way people wrote and directed TV and ultimately what TV could be."


    "MASH stands the test of time. Still funny 50 years later!"


    soldiers at a table with food

    20. Chernobyl (2019)

    "Man, the absolute dread I felt watching that show was something else. They nailed the tone."


    destruction in "Chernobyl"

    21. BoJack Horseman (2014–20)

    "I feel like BoJack is so slept on because it’s animated and mixed animal/human characters, but goddamn the writers did something special there. We inherit our parents' trauma, but we will never fully understand it."


    "That show destroyed me. And then I went back and rewatched it five more times and was destroyed five more times. I was a crack/heroin addict up until 2015 and still struggle with alcohol. Speaking as an addict, that show NAILED addiction struggles."


    BoJack in Diane's messy apartment

    22. Black Sails (2014–17)

    "The most criminally under-watched TV show in the history of TV shows."


    "The acting is top-notch. The stories are intertwined. Every character is one you want to hate, but you end up loving for entirely different reasons from one another. Bad guys are good, good guys are bad, and every motivation is justifiable."


    "Do ya like pirates? Do ya like Game of Thrones? Imagine these two together, but the ending is actually beautifully told."



    23. The Good Place (2016–20)

    "The sheer ambition of the writing was captivating, and the way they literally reinvented the entire goals of the main characters every single episode while still keeping them true to themselves AND being ludicrously, mind-blowingly funny at the same time was absolutely incredible. Underrated comedy brilliance that will hopefully be remembered as the best of the Golden Age of TV decades from now."


    "I love that it can take me from a full-on gut laugh to bawling in the span of a few minutes and do so with absolute sincerity. Chidi’s existential chili meltdown is probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on TV."


    Chidi making chili

    24. Dark (2017–20)

    "It's three perfect seasons. So complex and demanding, but if you give it due diligence, it's the most rewarding. It left a void in me a couple years ago, and I don't know if it'll ever be filled... Super excited for their next project, 1899, though. And for anyone finding this and going to start it, please watch in German with subtitles. I know they're annoying, but the English dub ruins the dialogue."


    two people looking at each other seriously in the woods

    25. The Americans (2013–18)

    "I've never seen a longer-running show stay so consistently fantastic start to finish. The actors were incredible, and the tension just kept ratcheting higher, season after season. The stakes were real, and the story never faltered. Just...wow. A masterclass in TV done right. And that ending...holy shit. It was legit the best finale I've ever seen. So many shows can't stick the landing, but The Americans absolutely did."


    people sitting at a dinner table

    26. Mr. Robot (2015–19)

    "Seriously, the best show I’ve ever seen. I put it above Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. The weight of emotions during Season 4, all the twists throughout the series, all the theories that you can think of...and OMG, the rewatch value is wild. Rewatching seasons 1–4 is like getting seasons 5–8 because you’re watching again with 4D glasses. Damn you, Sam Esmail, you fucking genius."


    Rami Malek wearing a hoodie in a city

    27. The Golden Girls (1985–92)

    "An excellent cast and never gets old watching."


    "It also tackled social issues that no other TV show would ever have touched at the time. Absolute classic show. I can't even tell you how many times I've watched it."


    Four characters from 'The Golden Girls' sitting around a kitchen table, looking concerned

    28. And finally, my personal favorite: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005–08)

    "This show is mind-bogglingly good. I love how intentional the writing is. It’s one of the few shows that deserves a 10/10, IMO."


    "Zuko has the best redemption arc in all of media. He had setbacks, but he ultimately grew into a good person in a believable way. It may be a kids' show, but it does get darker, and the characters are well written and complex."


    Zuko smiling

    Which TV show do you think is the greatest of all time? Sound off in the comments below!

    Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.