Entertainment

The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time  

Ranker TV
2.8k votes 499 voters 6.9k views 30 items

List Rules Vote up the series that tried to be groundbreaking in their form or message, but in a self-indulgent way that makes you roll your eyes.

When it comes to the most pretentious TV shows of all time, things tend to get tricky due to the subjective nature of the question. How exactly does one define what some might call a pretentious TV series (or pretentious film), after all? For the purposes of this particular list, one might consider a TV show in question to fit the bill if it accidentally comes across as condescending, preachy, not as earth shattering as it thought it'd be, and/or amassed a following largely consisting of a hipster population. 

Here you'll find a collection of shows that some might just peg under the title of pretentious television. Whether they tend to be shows for TV snobs, hipster television series, or ultimately proved to miss the mark, it's up to you to decide which of these shall inherit the not-so-coveted title of the most pretentious TV shows of all time.

Take your revenge by voting up the most self-indulgent shows and feel free to add any of your own that you feel belong on the list.

list ordered by
1
Girls is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke
Girls is an American television series that premiered on HBO on April 15, 2012. Created by and starring Lena Dunham, Girls is a comedy-drama following a close group of twenty-somethings living ...more
2
The Real Housewives of Potomac is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
shellywin672 added
The Real Housewives of Potomac (abbreviated RHOP) is an American reality television series that premiered on January 17, 2016, on Bravo. The show was developed as the 8th installment of The Real ...more
3
The Big Bang Theory is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Pretentious 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
4
The Newsroom is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr.
The Newsroom is an American television political drama series created and principally written by Aaron Sorkin that premiered on HBO on June 24, 2012, and concluded on December 14, 2014, ...more
5
Sex and the City is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
kikibeth34 added Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis
This show is an American television romantic sitcom created by Darren Star and produced by HBO. Broadcast from 1998 until 2004, the original run of the show had a total of 94 episodes. ...more
6
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright
House of Cards is a 2013 American political drama television series developed and produced by Beau Willimon. It is an adaptation of the BBC's mini-series of the same name and is based on the ...more
7
Keeping Up with the Kardashian... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Down in Florida added Kris Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian
Keeping Up with the Kardashians (E!, 2007) is an American reality television series focusing on the personal and professional lives of the Kardashian-Jenner blended family.
8
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser
Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on July 19, 2007 on the cable network AMC and is produced by Lionsgate Television. The ...more
9
Frasier is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce
Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, premiering on September 16, 1993, and concluding on May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David ...more
10
Lost is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Pretentious 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
11
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Down in Florida added 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
12
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn
Twin Peaks (Showtime, 2017) is a miniseries that follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in a continuation of the original 1990 series, created by David Lynch.
13
Westworld is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright
Westworld (HBO, 2016) is an American science fiction western thriller television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and based on the 1973 film. In a technologically advanced Wild ...more
14
The First is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Sean Penn, Natascha McElhone, LisaGay Hamilton
The First (Hulu, 2018) is an American-British drama web television series created by Beau Willimon. A team of astronauts become the first humans to visit Mars.
15
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Izzy Van Leesten added 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
16
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas
Hannibal is an American psychological thriller–horror television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by ...more
17
Rick and Morty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer
Rick and Morty (Adult Swim, 2013) is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. Cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his fretful, easily ...more
18
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan
True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.
19
The Blacklist is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff
The Blacklist is an American crime drama television series that premiered on NBC on September 23, 2013. Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S Navy officer turned high-profile ...more
20
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Pretentious 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
21
The Mist is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Morgan Spector, Alyssa Sutherland, Gus Birney
The Mist (Spike, 2017) is an American science fiction-horror thriller television series developed by Christian Torpe. Based on Stehphen King's horror novella, the series centers on a small town ...more
22
House is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Pretentious 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
23
Marvel's Inhumans is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Anson Mount, Iwan Rheon, Serinda Swan
Marvel's Inhumans (ABC, 2017) is American superhero series based on the Marvel Comics race of the same name. After a military coup, Black Bolt (Anson Mount), his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan), ...more
24
Gotham is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz
Gotham (Fox, 2014) is an American drama television series developed by Bruno Heller, based on the DC Comics characters from the Batman franchise. The story behind Detective James Gordon's (Ben ...more
25
Star Trek: Enterprise is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Pretentious TV Shows Of All Time
Scott Bakula, John Billingsley, Jolene Blalock
Star Trek: Enterprise is a science fiction TV series and a prequel to the original Star Trek. The series premiered September 26, 2001, on the UPN television network with the final episode airing ...more