Best TV The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time  

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Ranker Video The Greatest TV Shows of All Time

Choosing the greatest TV shows of all time means taking into account the best TV dramas, the best TV comedies, the best cartoons, and even the best TV miniseries to try and come up with a list that answers the question of "what are the best TV shows ever?" If you're a fan of reality television - spoiler alert - it's not one of those shows. However, if you're looking for the top TV comedy series and the top TV dramas to fill the top slots on the list, you won't be disappointed. In addition to new favorites like Lost, classic TV sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld also fare well in the quest to answer the burning question of what are the top rated TV shows ever.

The best TV shows of all time also include the most popular TV shows with loyal fan bases like Sherlock and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even though some programs are not considered the most watched TV shows of all time, they later become cult classics and remain fan favorites. This list also includes critically acclaimed TV shows such as House of Cards and Breaking Bad, both outstanding programs that have won many Emmy awards. But could they be considered the best TV series of all time?

Newer shows are currently dominating the top television shows list, but classic television shows like M*A*S*H and Star Trek are hot as well, and it's up to you to vote for your favorite TV show of all time to get it closer to the top of the list of the greatest television shows of all-time. If your choice for the best TV series ever isn't on the list yet, make sure to add it so others can share in the bright glow of what you consider to be the best television show ever.

list ordered by
1
16,875 10,715
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn
Breaking Bad is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, ...more
2
16,552 10,956
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke
Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more
3
8,693 11,194
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the ...more
4
12,247 9,880
Friends is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow
Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which originally aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004. It lasted ten seasons and is now in ...more
5
8,863 8,288
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally ran for nine seasons on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as ...more
6
7,645 8,351
Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise and its crew. It later acquired the retronym of ...more
7
6,691 6,940
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi
M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ...more
8
7,507 5,189
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco
The Sopranos is an American drama television series created by David Chase. Revolving around the fictional New Jersey-based Italian-American Tony Soprano, the show portrays the difficulties he ...more
9
6,764 5,232
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs
Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more
10
7,100 5,576
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts
The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more
11
6,215 6,643
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi
The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more
12
6,053 6,314
House is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard
House is an American television medical drama that originally ran on the Fox network for eight seasons, from November 16, 2004 to May 21, 2012. The show's main character is Dr. Gregory House, a ...more
13
5,265 5,245
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger
Cheers is an American sitcom that ran for eleven seasons between 1982 and 1993. The show was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for ...more
14
7,824 9,004
The Big Bang Theory is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco
The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom serve as executive producers on the show along with Steven Molaro. All three also serve as head ...more
15
5,438 6,188
Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry twenty-one years after the original Star Trek series debuted in 1966. Roddenberry, ...more
16
6,879 7,377
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies
The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more
17
5,696 5,449
South Park is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman
South Park (Comedy Central, 1997) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In the small town of South Park, four boys get caught up in all sorts of bizarre ...more
18
5,714 3,142
The Office is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer
The Office is an American television comedy series that aired on NBC from March 24, 2005 to May 16, 2013. It is an adaptation of the BBC series of the same name. The Office was adapted for ...more
19
4,772 4,678
I Love Lucy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance
I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, ...more
20
5,966 3,982
Looney Tunes is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Mel Blanc, June Foray, Arthur Q. Bryan
Looney Tunes is an American animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. from 1930 to 1969 during the golden age of American animation, alongside its sister series Merrie ...more
21
5,164 4,991
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas
Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life ...more
22
4,056 4,853
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Darrell Hammond, Kenan Thompson, Seth Meyers
Saturday Night Live is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, ...more
23
5,195 5,156
Lost is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia
Lost is an American television drama series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 ...more
24
4,970 5,748
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
TyroneArellano added Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production ...more
25
4,404 4,674
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith
Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more