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The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 18, 2020 1.4M votes 65.4k voters 816.2k views 2,298 items

List Rules Vote up and add all of your favorite TV shows of all time.

Choosing the best 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 greatest 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? That's up to the fans to decide.

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 this 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.

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1
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Crime, Suspense, Drama, + more

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

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#14 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #1 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing The Most Plausible Fan Theories About Breaking Bad

2
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action, + more

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

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#2 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #9 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time Who Would Star In An Americanized 'Game Of Thrones'?

3
The Office is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 201

Network: Global Television Network, NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary, Satire, Romance TV, Romantic comedy, + more

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

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#36 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #77 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time Ranking The Dundies You Most Want To Win

4
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

Premiered: 1999

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 86

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama

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

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#13 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #2 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing 12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed

5
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

Premiered: 1959

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 156

Network: UPN, CBS

Genres (Tv): Anthology, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, + more

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

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#8 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time Creepy Parallels Between 'American Horror Story' And 'The Twilight Zone' You Never Even Knew Existedlisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

6
Friends is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow

Premiered: 1994

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 236

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Television comedy, Sitcom, Comedy, Romance

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

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#6 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch Rank All of the Girlfriends from "Friends"listed on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

7
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Crime, Drama, + more

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

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#4 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #8 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock'

8
Looney Tunes is listed (or ranked) 8 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

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#1 of 483 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made #108 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time Looney Tunes Fan Theories That Will Burrow Their Way Into Your Brain

9
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards

Premiered: 1989

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 180

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

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

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#24 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch All of Jerry's Girlfriends, Rankedlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

10
The Bugs Bunny Show is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Mel Blanc, June Foray, Jim Backus

Premiered: 1960

Number of Seasons: 40

Number of Episodes: 1040

Network: Nicktoons, CBS, American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Animation, Anthology series, Comedy

The Bugs Bunny Show is an animated television anthology series hosted by Bugs Bunny, that was mainly composed of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons released by Warner Bros. between August ...more

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#16 of 483 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made #219 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

11
The Flintstones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl

Premiered: 1960

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 166

Network: Cartoon Network, Boomerang, American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Animation, Sitcom, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Comedy, + more

The Flintstones is an animated, prime-time American television sitcom that was broadcast from September 30, 1960, to April 1, 1966, on ABC. The show was produced by Hanna-Barbera. The ...more

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#7 of 724 The Best Cartoons of All Time Brilliant Flintstones Comics from DClisted on Longest Running Animated Series

12
Happy Days is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross

Premiered: 1974

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 255

Network: Channel 4, American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Musical, Comedy, Family Film

Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life ...more

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#5 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #7 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

13
South Park is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 16

Network: Comedy Central

Genres (Tv): Animation, Television comedy, Sitcom, Satire, Animated cartoon, + more

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

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#8 of 724 The Best Cartoons of All Time The Best South Park Characters of All Timelisted on Longest Running Animated Series

14
The Muppet Show is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt

Premiered: 1976

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 120

Network: Associated Television, ITV, CBS

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Variety show, Children's television series, Live action, Comedy, + more

The Muppet Show is a family-oriented comedy-variety television series that was produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and features The Muppets. After two pilot episodes produced in 1974 and 1975 ...more

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#11 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #117 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing The Most Interesting Muppet Show Characters

15
I Love Lucy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance

Premiered: 1951

Number of Seasons: 6

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

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

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#47 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time The Complicated And Dark History Of Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz's Marriagelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

16
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Tom Kenny, Rick Zieff, Gary Cole

Premiered: 1940

Number of Episodes: 163

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Animation, Comedy, Family Film

Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of short films created in 1940, by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It centers on a rivalry between its two main characters, Tom Cat and Jerry ...more

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#2 of 384 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #404 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

17
Gilligan's Island is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus

Premiered: 1964

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 98

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy, Family Film

Gilligan's Island is an American sitcom created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz via United Artists Television. The show had an ensemble cast that featured Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jr., Jim ...more

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#178 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #95 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time The Best Gilligan's Island Characters

18
The Andy Griffith Show ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts

Premiered: 1960

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 249

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Andy Griffith Show is an American sitcom, which originally ran on CBS from October 3, 1960 to April 1, 1968. The show, a semi-spin-off from an episode of The Danny Thomas Show, starred Andy ...more

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#106 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing The Greatest Sheriffs In TV Historylisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

19
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

Premiered: 1982

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 273

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

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

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#54 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch Behind The Scenes Secrets From The Set Of 'Cheers'listed on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

20
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 80

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Suspense, + more

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

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#21 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #133 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Michael C. Hall And Jennifer Carpenter On 'Dexter'

21
The Addams Family is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Ted Cassidy

Premiered: 1964

Number of Seasons: 2

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Sitcom, Comedy, Fantasy

The Addams Family is an American television series based on the characters in Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons. The 30-minute series was shot in black-and-white and aired for two seasons on ...more

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#203 of 578 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #24 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcoms Charming And Intriguing Behind-The-Scenes Stories From ‘The Addams Family’ TV Show

22
The Fresh Prince of Bel-... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Will Smith, James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro

Premiered: 1990

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 148

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from September 10, 1990, to May 20, 1996. The show stars Will Smith as a fictionalized version of ...more

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#1 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #222 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate 20 Things You Didn't Know About The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

23
That '70s Show is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis

Premiered: 1998

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 200

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Sitcom, Comedy

That '70s Show is an American television period sitcom that originally aired on Fox from August 23, 1998, to May 18, 2006. The series focused on the lives of a group of teenage friends living in ...more

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#38 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time The Best Things Red Forman Ever Saidlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

24
Alfred Hitchcock Present... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams

Premiered: 1955

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 361

Network: CBS, NBC

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Anthology, Anthology series, Drama, Horror Film, + more

Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the time the show premiered on October ...more

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#190 of 260 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #8 of 73 Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TVlisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

25
The Munsters is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis, Yvonne De Carlo

Premiered: 1964

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 70

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Drama, Comedy, Fantasy

The Munsters is an American television sitcom depicting the home life of a family of benign monsters. It stars Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster and Yvonne De Carlo as his wife, Lily Munster. The ...more