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The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated May 27, 2020 1.5M votes 68.7k voters 841.4k views 2,323 items

List Rules Vote up all your favorite TV shows of any genre, and add any that are missing from the list.

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

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Thriller, Neo-western, Tragedy

Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by Vince Gilligan. After being diagnosed with cancer, a depressed high school chemistry teacher (Bryan ...more

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The Most Low-Key Evil Things Walter White Ever Did #2 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #1 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

2
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Crime drama

The Sopranos (HBO, 1999) is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase. New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) deals with personal and professional issues in ...more

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12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed #9 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #153 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

3
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke

Premiered: 2011

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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The Best 'Game Of Thrones' Characters #1 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #2 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

4
Friends is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow

Premiered: 1994

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

Friends (NBC, 1994) is an American sitcom television series created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman. The personal and professional lives of six friends (Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa ...more

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Rank All of the Girlfriends from "Friends" #6 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

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

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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Creepy Parallels Between 'American Horror Story' And 'The Twilight Zone' You Never Even Knew Existed #53 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

6
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards

Premiered: 1989

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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All of Jerry's Girlfriends, Ranked #28 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

7
The Office is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski

Premiered: 2005

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary

The Office (NBC, 2005) is an American mockumentary sitcom television series developed by Greg Daniels, based on the 2001 British series. Led by manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the office ...more

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Every Episode Of 'The Office,' Ranked #5 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #4 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

8
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Mystery

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock' #4 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #6 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

9
I Love Lucy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance

Premiered: 1951

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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The Complicated And Dark History Of Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz's Marriage #87 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

10
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

Premiered: 1982

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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Behind The Scenes Secrets From The Set Of 'Cheers' #114 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

11
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Premiered: 1972

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Medical drama, Sitcom, Satire, Military, + more

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

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#72 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #23 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciatelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

12
Looney Tunes is listed (or ranked) 12 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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The Best Looney Tunes Characters of All Time, Ranked! #1 of 373 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #2 of 733 The Best Cartoons of All Time

13
The Muppet Show is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt

Premiered: 1976

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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The Most Interesting Muppet Show Characters #12 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #11 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

14
South Park is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman

Premiered: 1997

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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The Best 'South Park' Episodes Featuring The Goth Kids #49 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Animated Series

15
Star Trek: The Original ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Premiered: 1966

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction

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

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#121 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #5 of 331 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #8 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

16
House is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Medical drama

House, M.D. (Fox, 2004) is an American television medical drama created by David Shore. An antisocial maverick doctor (Hugh Laurie) who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes ...more

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The Best Seasons of 'House' #14 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #3 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

17
The Andy Griffith Show ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts

Premiered: 1960

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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#8 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcoms #19 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

18
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Dark comedy, Police procedural

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Michael C. Hall And Jennifer Carpenter On 'Dexter' #12 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #21 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

19
Gilligan's Island is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus

Premiered: 1964

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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Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From The Set Of 'Gilligan's Island' #140 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #34 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

20
Happy Days is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross

Premiered: 1974

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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#382 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #5 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

21
The Flintstones is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl

Premiered: 1960

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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'The Flintstones' Actually Took Place In A Post-Apocalyptic Hellscape #139 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Animated Series

22
Lost is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, + more

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

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The Best LOST Characters #32 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #82 of 331 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time

23
The Carol Burnett Show ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman

Premiered: 1967

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Variety show, Sketch, Comedy

The Carol Burnett Show is an American variety/sketch comedy television show starring Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner. It originally ran on CBS from September 11, ...more

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#63 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #75 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #120 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

24
Monty Python's Flying Ci... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

Premiered: 1969

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Satire, Comedy

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British sketch comedy series commissioned by David Attenborough, created by the comedy group Monty Python and broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The shows ...more

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#212 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #43 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #316 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

25
The Bugs Bunny Show is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time
Mel Blanc, June Foray, Jim Backus

Premiered: 1960

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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#10 of 733 The Best Cartoons of All Time #154 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #12 of 200 The Best Adult Cartoon Shows in TV History