With the Sopranos final season winding to a close, a friend recently suggested that it has been the best show in the history of television. That’s a bit of a stretch. Sopranos is a great show, but in my mind, not even top five. The argument did get me thinking about what are best shows I’ve ever watched. Pop culture geek that I am, I started making notes on the subway the other night and ranking shows I’ve watched regularly in my lifetime. Which leads to this, my official list of the ten best TV shows ever to hit the screen:

Titus PulloHonorable Mention: Two recent HBO classics and two, forgotten, overlooked comedy gems: Deadwood, Rome, Get a Life, and TV Funhouse. Deadwood and Rome were both superb historical dramas with complex characters, great writing, brutal realism, and incredible acting. With both, it was easy to lose yourself in semi-historical events and believe you were seeing ancient Rome or South Dakota in the 19th century. Titus Pullo, Lucius Vorenus, and Al Swearengen, all real historical figures, were brought to life as fascinating, complex, and memorable characters. Meanwhile, Chris Elliot’s 1990 sitcom, Get a Life and Comedy Central’s TV Funhouse were short-lived, one-season-and-done shows that were brilliant, tragically overlooked comedies. Both comedies were random, surreal, bizarre, and hilarious. The oddball humor of both shows was way too unconventional to ever sustain a wide enough audience to survive. Sadly, I think I was one of about fifty people who watched either show.

10. South Park.
Comedy often seems to do a much better job tackling the difficult political and cultural issue of our times than the news media or “serious” drama. South Park might be the best example of this, with foul-mouth grade-schoolers taking on everything from consumerism, religion, political correctness, war, homelessness, drugs, and celebrity culture. South Park pushes the edge of what’s tasteful or appropriate week after week. It’s not easy to do that and be funny at the same time, yet South Park is consistently funny, relevant, and amazingly timely. One recent episode parodied the Terry Schaivo controversy and the release of the Sony PSP in the same week that Schaivo died and the PSP hit the market. I’ll never know how they managed to combine these unrelated topics, within days of being in the news, animate the show, and make it one of their best, funniest episodes. And finally, there may be no better animated character ever than Eric Cartman, the most horrible nine-year-old on the planet.

I Want to Believe Poster9. The X-Files. It’s easy to forget that before the show ran out of gas, having gone on for about three too many seasons, X-Files was one of the most original, compelling, and entertaining science fiction shows ever made. Fox and Scully, the believer and the skeptic, made for a fantastic dynamic each week as the two FBI agents explored UFO’s, the paranormal, and supernatural phenomenon. X-Files was well-written, suspenseful, and peppered with enough humor to lighten up the show. For those of us grew up fascinated with UFO’s, the Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot, and countless other paranormal myths, Fox Mulder’s “I Want to Believe” office poster spoke for us. Mulder stood in for us would-be believers and relentlessly sought “the truth,” week after week, even though it always seems just out of his grasp. After the fifth or sixth season, sadly, the endless mysteries and unresolved plot twists began to get too tangled and complex to keep many of us interested. (Lost producers, please take note…). After half a decade, the never-ending teases and hints at the bigger conspiracy storylines stopped being interesting and just became tiresome. And after David Duchovny (Mulder) left the show following the seventh season, the X-Files lost whatever heart and soul that was left. Still, for the first four or five seasons, X-Files was a hell of a good show. Few shows ever had as many “did you just see that?!?” moments as the X-Files. The best two dozen X-Files episodes are still classics that stand the test of time.

8. The Sopranos. While I don’t agree with those who put Sopranos on the highest pantheon of television shows, it was, and is, a classic show. Sopranos was the first truly great HBO show that showed how much better television could be when unshackled by the limitations of network censorship and commercial breaks. In typical HBO fashion, the show delivered complex, multi-layered characters that straddle the notions of good and evil. Taking some of the best elements of Goodfellas, the Godfather films, and Donnie Brasco, Sopranos mixed themes of family, loyalty, and morality to tell a Mafia story that was simultaneously familiar and shocking. In one scene, Tony Soprano is a likable, flawed father with whom we can identify with, in the next, he’s a cruel, calculating sociopath you’d hope to never meet. And that’s always been the brilliance of the show — on one hand, the Sopranos remind us of every day family life and personal challenges, while on the other hand, we see a world that’s cruel, shockingly violent, and governed by a dark, unfamiliar moral code. The audience wants to root for Tony, but he and his “family” don’t make it easy.

Homer Simpson7. The Simpsons. Eighteen years on the air and still running, the Simpsons has become a fixture of American pop culture. Creator Matt Groening, whose brilliant Life in Hell comics sparked some of the early concepts for the Simpsons, managed to create a show that rivals any “real” sitcom on television. Before South Park came along, the Simpsons paved the way with rich cartoon humor that poked fun at every facet of American life — politics, religion, work, family life, you name it. There’s almost no facet of modern life that the show hasn’t addressed, parodied, or winked at in an episode. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie have become iconic characters to a generation of Americans. Although the show’s writers and producers may struggle with new ideas now and then after nearly 400 shows, the Simpsons has been a clever, funny look at American life for nearly two decades. Homerisms have worked their way into our vocabulary. The countless characters that populate Springfield are as familiar to most Americans as anyone who has lived on Sesame Street or Mayberry.

6. Seinfeld. Very few sitcoms deserve to be considered “great.” Rarely does a studio-filmed comedy with canned laugh-tracks elevate to the level of greatness. Most sitcoms are formulaic, predictable, and filled with cookie-cutter characters, recycled plot elements, cheeseball humor, and bad child actors. Some classic sitcoms, like All in the Family, M*A*S*H*, and Cosby, stand out for their innovation and impact on popular culture in their day. But, honestly, how often do you want to watch an old episode of M*A*S*H* or Cosby these days? My bias may be a generational one, but to me, Seinfeld stands out apart from these highly-regarded sitcoms. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created a show “about nothing” — a post-modern sitcom that emphasized that its characters would abide by unofficial “no hugging, no learning” rules. There was never “a very special episode” of Seinfeld, where the producers would force some heavy-handed theme or issue on its audience. The show was about four self-absorbed, superficial thirty-somethings who lived in New York. And freed from all the typical expectations of what a sitcom should be about, the show delivered episode after episode of great comedy about little, stupid everyday things like people who talk too softly, long waits at restaurants, parking problems, dry cleaners who shrink clothes, bad dates, pants that make swooshing noises, rude salespeople, annoying relatives, and hundreds of other mundane things. Mix in the comedic talents of Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Julia Louise-Dreyfuss, and Jason Alexander, and Seinfeld delivered nine seasons of original, unconventional, and memorable comedy.

Captain Jean Luc Picard5. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sequels rarely improve upon originals, but when Star Trek: The Next Generation was launched nearly twenty years after the original cult classic Star Trek had been canceled, it was the start of something special. Patrick Stewart, a bald, middle-aged British stage actor, seemed to be an odd choice as the star of a second Trek series, stepping into the shadow of William Shatner’s iconic Captain James T. Kirk. But what made ST:TNG a truly great show is that it took the core ideas and themes of Gene Roddenberry’s original show and made it smarter, better, and much more interesting. The idea to make Patrick’s Captain Jean Luc Picard vastly different than Kirk was a stroke of brilliance. Picard was thoughtful, literate, and disciplined. He could handle himself in a fistfight, but that was rarely his first, second, or third option to solve a problem. And Stewart set the tone for a show that featured vastly superior acting and writing to the original ’60s series. Some of the best episodes were quiet and thoughtful, exploring fascinating ideas of understanding, belief, self-identity, and facing one’s own fears. “Darmok“, “Family,” and “The Inner Light” were all powerful, moving episodes that easily exceeded anything from the original series. At the same time, the show featured some of the most dramatic, exciting sequences in sci-fi history. The final moments of the third season cliff-hanger, “The Best of Both Worlds” remains perhaps the most jaw-dropping moment of television I’ve ever seen. The Star Trek franchise tried three more series after ST:TNG came to a close in 1994, but none of them managed to re-create the balance of great acting, writing, and storytelling that made this show truly classic.

4. Twilight Zone. Although this show originally aired before I was born, as a kid, it was constantly on the air in syndication. And no show sparked my sense of imagination and wonder as a child more than Rod Serling’s classic Twilight Zone. Talking dolls. Aliens. Monsters. Time travel. Alternate dimensions. Angels. Devils. Magic wishes. Evil kids with special powers. It’s probably not fair to describe the show as “science fiction,” since Twilight Zone was more than that. It was a creative, amazingly original series that explored countless “what if” scenarios and possibilities. Twilight Zone used metaphor and symbolism to touch on political and social issues during the 1950’s, when censorship was crushing Hollywood. The show explored ideas of fear, morality, social change, and death though short, gripping 30-minute stories. Rod Serling was also a master of the twist ending. So many episodes led viewers one way for twenty-five minutes, only to shock the audience in the final moments with an unexpected, stunning twist. There’s a reason that more than fifty years after the series was originally aired, marathon showings of the Twilight Zone are still popular on holiday weekends on American television. Serling’s classic show remains timeless, relevant, and thrilling.

The Cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus3. Monty Python’s Flying Circus. No show has forever altered my sense of humor in the way Monty Python has over the years. I still dream of eavesdropping on a session where these guys came up with some of the ideas they created for this show. The All-England Summarize Proust Competition. Self-defense against fresh fruit. Albatross vendors. News for Parrots. Olympic Hide-and-Seek. I honestly view all five of the original Python cast members — John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, and Terry Jones — as geniuses. Those five Brits created a silly, absurd, stream-of-consciousness brand of humor that shattered all conventions for how comedy was supposed to work. They did it all — clever wordplay, physical humor, absurd situations — and mixed it all up in unpredictable episodes that had no real beginning, middle, or end. Sketches were tied together through surreal cartoons by Terry Gilliam or random connections that came out of nowhere. Monty Python was to comedy what the Beatles were to pop music. They changed the rules and did things no one had done before.

Scene from The Wire2. The Wire. Each season of this HBO drama feels like a great novel. The show looks at life in Baltimore, from the highest halls of government to the lowest level of the streets — cops, drug dealers, kids, teachers, blue-collar workers, and politicians. It’s one part cop show, one part urban drama, one part Greek tragedy. Brilliantly written and acted, few shows have ever created so many rich, complex characters and woven such engaging storylines as The Wire. The show does everything that the Sopranos does, but better. Almost all of the characters, even the drug dealers, are interesting and, at some level, sympathetic. There are no absolute good guys or bad guys. Episodes rarely wander into random plot holes or side-stories that go nowhere. From the street corners, to the docks, to city hall, to the public schools, The Wire looks at struggles over power, greed, ambition, and pride. It’s a dark show, but not without moments of triumph, humor, and hope. And The Wire has never been more powerful and moving than in Season Four, which focused on four young boys, struggling to survive the streets and public schools, against a system that seems to fail them each step they take. From the first episode to the nail-biting finale each season, producers David Simon and Edward Burns tell a powerful story that is hard to forget. I’d be quick to call The Wire the best TV show I’ve ever seen, if not for the number one show on my list.

Six Feet Under photo1. Six Feet Under. 99% of the time, television is just entertainment. It exists to amuse you, to take your mind off of other concerns and worries, or to make you laugh. It’s hard to imagine a show that can change the way you view life altogether, but that’s exactly how I see HBO’s Six Feet Under. Following the lives of the Fishers, a family that runs a Los Angeles funeral home, the show explored issues of life, death, and the decisions people make in between. What was always brilliant about Six Feet Under is that unlike Sopranos, or The Wire, or Rome, it was never about big things — wars, turf battles, an FBI investigation. Instead, Six Feet Under was about the little things in every day life — decisions about relationships, career dilemmas, tensions with family — that everyone can relate to. It showed how painful those small things could be to individuals, and how they often added up to larger problems.

With death as an over-arching theme in the show, there was always a looming reminder that life is short, often shorter than we expect. While that would seem like a depressing theme, ultimately Six Feet Under felt like an affirmation for living life as best you could. The closing moments of the fourth season embodied this key idea as David, who had recently experienced a horrible trauma, imagines a conversation with his late father:

Nate Sr.: You hang on to your pain like it means something. Like it’s worth something. Well, let me tell you – it’s not worth shit. Let it go! Infinite possibilities, and all he can do is whine.
David: Well, what am I supposed to do?
Nate Sr.: What do you think? You can do anything you lucky bastard – you’re alive! What’s a little pain compared to that?
David: It can’t be that simple.
Nate Sr.: What if it is?

That quiet exchange captured a simple, key message of the show: life it short, so make it count. Yes, maybe it is that simple.

After the five seasons of the series, you watched various characters struggle with big and small life decisions, and the consequences of those choices. And when it was all over, it was hard not to think about your own life  and wonder if it should be something different, something better.

Not bad for a TV show.


Andy · May 25, 2007 at 10:11 pm

none of the shows come close to Seinfeld. It was far more influencial and just straightout funny & enjoyable to watch than any of the other shows above. its a cut above the rest, im afraid. Deserves to be 1st. Granted 6 feet under is a fantastic show… but still not even in seinfelds league. Seinfeld is the ultimate show for dealing with the “little things in everyday life”

andrew · June 17, 2007 at 8:26 pm

You are so right about Six Feet Under. It changed the way I view life. But, I’d put Sopranos at 2 or 3.

Spook Larsen · July 2, 2007 at 2:28 am

Almost as though you read my mind. And kudos for put The Wire at the top where it belongs, though so few people have experienced it.

Rebecca Weber · September 2, 2007 at 8:51 pm

Great list! I don’t watch a huge amount of television so I wouldn’t be able to say with authority whether you are leaving off any great stuff, but I agree with a lot of the things on your list. I enjoy Six Feet Under, although I don’t thing it deserves the #1 spot. I also love Rome, Seinfeld and Monty Python. Simpsons and South Park are pretty good too. However, I would definitely put Rome in the top 10. I sometimes find historical fiction pieces boring, but this show has never bored me for a second. The sets and costumes are so elaborate and really help bring you back to the time period. The visual impact is really something. The acting is great too, as you said. I’m going to have to check out Deadwood, Twilight Zone and The Sopranos. I had already just started The Wire and so far it is really good. Anyways, these kind of lists really help to steer me towards good stuff. I don’t want to waste any time on all of the rubbish out there like American Idol (and generally all reality TV)!

Ria · September 9, 2007 at 8:30 pm

Agree with Andrew that The Sopranos should be higher up the list – but it is your list. Kudos on The Wire summary though – I couldn’t agree more. Note – as brilliant as Monty Python were with movie comedy, the Firesign Theater matched it in audio comedy.

Wrong list · October 25, 2007 at 4:07 am

Wow friends is on the list? i mean the show has been for 10 years its ratings are all in Top 5 except the first season it was much more influential than most of these shows….jeez!

Nathaniel · November 11, 2007 at 1:03 am

You have great taste, especially Six Feet Under. I would agree with all you said about it, except that my #1 will always be Northern Exposure, with SFU #2, I suppose. My friends in Cicely, Alaska…

Mr. Bruno · December 20, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Those are the best shows? DAMN! “Seinfeld” will NEVER match “I Love Lucy” of the fifties. NEVER!

agree · December 24, 2007 at 8:11 am

i agree…it’s a totally messed up list its your personal choice though…i agree with “wrong list” and with bruno great shows like FRIENDS and I LOVE LUCY should be in…i love lucy was the first show to be aired in front of live audience and FRIENDS was a MAJOR ratings power-house

govind · January 29, 2008 at 12:08 pm

there is Seinfeld and then there is the rest..TV guide rated it as the best tv show of all time..and i have no arguments..

noah · February 4, 2008 at 3:04 am

Good Choices for the most part…would have put Battlestar Galactica and Lost on there myself

margaret · February 22, 2008 at 5:32 pm

four words: mary tyler moore show. the best ever.

hostile17 · February 22, 2008 at 6:52 pm

This list doesn’t have “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on it, so come on how can you expect me to take it seriously??

Dean · July 4, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Cheers doesn’t make the list?
I’m curious how old the author is – must be young because everything’s relatively recent.

Frankly, I don’t think 6 feet under should even be in the top 20, but that’s just my $.02


Annie · July 17, 2008 at 4:30 am

M*A*S*H was the greatest show ever.

Tyler · August 1, 2008 at 10:54 pm

I Believe that Seinfeld should be number 1 but i also believe i love lucy deserved a spot but Seinfeld has got to be the number 1 show of all time it changed pop culture

Tyler · August 1, 2008 at 10:55 pm

and i think that freinds which is a great show is just a little to predictable in the later years running

Angela · October 7, 2008 at 10:37 am

I agree with that Star Trek the Next Generation was an amazingly good show. I cannot even watch the first Star Trek because it is so silly and bad, but the Next Generation was brilliant– in acting, writing, imagination, etc.

Rather than debase humanity with crass, crude, unimaginative, animalistic and abysmal story lines which most of today’s television displays, it elevated mankind to a plateau of civility, refinement, intelligence and advancement.

Peter from Belgium · November 13, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Almost 2:30 in the morning in rainy Belgium but just feel an uncontrolable urge to react on some comments.
First of all: GREAT list, Matt, except for Star Trek which would never reach my top-20.
I think I can have a humble opinion because I’m a real tv-show addict and I’ve watched almost ALL shows ever shown on tv and I’m the proud owner of over more than 2000 dvd’s!
For me it’s to difficult to make a top 10 because I think you have to look each show in his own genre.
Two of the best stuff I’ve ever seen on tv are getting only an honorable mentions (Deadwood (!!!) & Rome (!!!)) and those things really knocked me out.
And I’m sad that NOBODY mentions precious diamants like ‘Carnivale’, ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘The Shield’, ‘Band of Brothers’, ‘Oz’ or ‘The Kingdom’ (by Lars Von Trier, possibly not available everywhere) cause I’ve watched them over and over & I’m still deaply impressed…
But offcourse, all just a personal opinion and your top 2 is definately SUPERB!!!

Revanth Challagalla · November 24, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Good list mate, but im sorry sir seinfeld is flat out no. 1. It revolutionised tv shows in the sense that every show in those days was so overly dramatized and revolved around a story. This was a show about “nothing”. Thats phenomenal and creativity at its very best.

Revanth Challagalla · November 24, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Also, I completely disagree with all those arguing FRIENDS’s case. In what way was friends different from all the other lousy sitcoms of those years? I think friends was good, but quite certainly not top 10 worthy.

Kailee · December 4, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Four words. Buffy. The. vampire. Slayer. What every list needs. =P

RainmanCT · December 20, 2008 at 2:45 am

there is no excuse for Twin Peaks not being on this list.

olivia · January 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm


Carmella · February 11, 2009 at 7:17 am

Sopranos 4 ever!

Blank · March 8, 2009 at 3:31 am

This is why people should require a license to have a blog.

David · March 29, 2009 at 5:00 am

Obviously it’s your list and you can put any show on it you wish…also, any list like this – that’s been constructed with some thought – naturally provokes discussion, which is probably more important than the list to begin with. Still, my choice would be shows that had significant cultural impact – I’m not at all convinced yours does that. In my humble opinion any list of top TV shows of all time is fundamentally flawed if it fails to include: All in the Family, Hills Street Blues, M*A*S*H, Seinfeld (which you have included), Friends, Star Trek, and possibly most important of all – The West Wing.

John · April 2, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Excellent list, Six Feet Under belongs on top no question, that last episode is one of the finest things I’ve ever seen on any media. I appreciate your avoidance of ratings powerhouses (which are usually middling or worse) and your attention to true originality. But, I must say, The West Wing belongs in the top five of any list about TV. As for Seinfeld, it’s almost painful to watch in reruns, unlike The Simpsons which is really proving that it has the power to last. Thanks for sharing.

Noah · April 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

How is Arrested Development not on this list?!?!?! easily one of (if not THE) best show ever written! seriously!

Andrew · May 7, 2009 at 11:22 pm

wtf were is friends. sopranos is way to low

Anna · May 11, 2009 at 3:49 am

Oh my god! Where is Buffy on this list? Buffy is the best show EVER!!

Darrian · June 16, 2009 at 10:46 pm

wrong, wrong, wrong!!!!!

scrubs should be number 1! that show has it all!. it’s funny, serious, sad, everything!.

wojtky · June 19, 2009 at 7:04 am

Great list. My god, I agree with Six Feet Under. I agree.
My list:
1. Six Feet Under
2. Sopranos
3. Twin Peaks (it’s should be on your list!)
4. The Wire
From your list I haven’t seen Twilight Zone, Monty Python’s and Seinfeld, X-Files, Simpsons. And I’m sure that these shows will be on places 5-10, or even higher, but I’m sure that nothing can beat SFU (and Sopranos) 😀

eiovass · June 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm

This is a great list. Six Feet Under and The Wire are the perfect top choices. I am convinced there will be no other show with such an impact as SFU, and I’m pretty sure that people who don’t think it should be on the list don’t like to think very hard or reflect on their own lives. Same goes for The Wire. If I had done this list, I would have definitely included My So-Called Life and Northern Exposure. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to check out some of these that I haven’t seen yet, for sure.

very nice · July 7, 2009 at 4:16 am

lovely scrolling down the list 2 see SFU number 1. amazing show, but comon…wheres dexter? michael c hall is a stud

babyrims · August 16, 2009 at 4:30 am

wheres buffy the vampire slayer at?! this show was one of the greatest shows of all time!

Robert S. · September 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Based on a similar list, I downloaded all 5 seasons of The Wire, a show I’d previously never heard of. I started to watch with hopes of discovering a terrific show but was greatly disappointed. I found it to be disjointed and hard to follow. I found that I didn’t care about the characters at all and still can’t figure out the high acclaim given it. I feelit is not only not a great show, but unwatchable. Oh well. I intend to give Six Feet Under a shot.

On the other hand, I think you missed a few great shows, albeit I realize there was room for only 10. The most glaring omissions to me are: The Practice, Hill Street Blues, and Northern Exposure, followed closely by Criminal Minds and CSI (the original, set in from Las Vegas). Opinions, everyone has them.

Hugo · November 17, 2009 at 12:13 am

Great list but i would put The Sopranos number three and switch The Wire and Six Feet Under around. Six Feet Under has the greatest finale of all time though.

Chris · December 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm

As usual, the author of such a list is VERY short sighted. 8 of the 10 were from the last 20 yrs. TV Shows have existed since the 50’s. How can any list possibly be without ALL IN THE FAMILY, for example?!? That show revolutionized television forever.

Aubrey · December 31, 2009 at 2:26 am

I would have included the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Office and FREAKS AND GEEKS!

Etchasketchist · January 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm

The Wire is the greatest show ever made. Six Feet Under is a good show about sad white people.

tom · January 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

The Shield & Dexter would be on my top 10… easily! I think they should have been given an honorable mention at least for this post. The same with the Family Guy & Friends.

tom · January 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Peter from Belgium, I agree, I was dissapointed that The Shield was not on the list! I think it was one of the best shows, ever! I was sad to see it end!

Eric · January 31, 2010 at 3:46 am

I think it’s wrong to rate TV series in this sort of pecking order. They are all narratives focusing in social relation ships and human insight perhaps in a more or less clever way. What additional factors manage to catch public attention and relate to the individuals sensitivities have mostly to do with issues like gender, personal taste, and social conditioning.

Javier · March 12, 2010 at 2:12 am

The Wire is without question the best show of all time. Seinfeld is a great show. But it just entertains us, so many shows are just shows that take our minds out of everyday life. I still watch Seinfeld episodes today and i love it. But it doesn’t hold a candle to The Wire. The Wire is the greatest show of all time.

50 years from now, when people look back and see where we went wrong, all you have to do is look at The Wire. Season 4 is the perfect example of this.

I admit that i have never seen Six Feet Under (and i plan to). But i have a hard time believing that it will top The Wire. Sopranos is about one family, The Wire is about an entire city and the people who manage it. Each season delves into another world, from the politicians to the education system and everything in between. It’s not even a cop show and Time magazine said it was “the most realistic cop show of all time.”

That’s probably because the creator was a crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun and his writer was a homicide detective at the Baltimore Police Department for more then 20 years and became disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the department.

It’s a story of Baltimore but it can be a story of any city.

Do the right thing. The Wire is #1 forever.

boo · April 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Stunned that no one mentionned Oz. I’d also put BSG and Twin Peaks in that list.
Putting a number before is kind of useless imho, as all these shows have so different flavors.


Laura · April 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm

None of those above can be compared to FRIENDS

Diana · May 8, 2010 at 11:58 pm

To each his own…there will always be those who agree with some and not others, since it is a matter of personal taste. I’ve never seen “The Wire” (either it doesn’t air on HBO Canada, or I’ve just never been watching tv when it airs), but judging from the comments, I’m now curious to see it. Sopranos…I might put in my vote for it, if I’d seen more than a handful of episodes. From what I saw it looked great; I just didn’t watch enough of it to form a full opinion. (Same thing with True Blood and Entourage…I hear that they are great shows, but haven’t really seen any more than an episode or two of both.)

As for top shows, here’s my personal list:

10. Dallas (sappy soap, but I still love watching reruns)
9. Star Trek: The Next Generation
8. The Simpsons
7. Frasier
6. Friends
5. Weeds
4. Breaking Bad
3. Dexter
2. Six Feet Under
1. X-Files

I agree totally with the review of Six Feet Under (and it’s even worth it to watch the entire series just to see the final moments of the final episode…best ending for a series, ever). The only reason I put X-Files ahead of it on my list is because X-Files is a bit more the genre I would tend to watch…but Six Feet Under…superb writing and acting, absolutely. A gem.

Adam · June 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I am happy that Seinfeld and Monty Python is on the list. I think that you are forgetting one show that has changed TV since its first airing. The show started its own genre which now dominates every single network. COPS was the first reality TV show and its aired for over 20 years and still going strong. How many of these other shows can say the same?

hjb III · June 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Homicde:life on the street should definitely be on the list. Lost is definitely among the top two or three shows ever made. Thanks for introducing me to Six Feet Under – I will definitely be buying it on DVD.

Mikey · August 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Nice list. Well everyone’s going to have different thoughts on the subject. cough cough with that being said here’s my list!

10. Tales From The Crypt

9. Twilight Zone

8. Oz

7. The Simpsons

6. Seinfeild

5. The Wire

4. Dexter

3. Lost

2. X-files

1. The Sopranos

Jeremy · December 5, 2010 at 2:41 am

Not a bad list, but everything on here is very recent, and I always thought Six Feet Under was very overrated. Better list would look like this:
1) The Wire- no question about this one, most intelligent, gritty series ever seen on TV
2) Seinfeld- best sitcom ever
3) Sopranos- changed television, there is simply TV before Sopranos and TV after Sopranos
4) Simpsons- (first 10 seasons) Singlehandely built an entire network by itself
5) All in the Family- my Dad’s favorite show ever, still funny on viewings even 40yrs later, Archie Bunker is probably the greatest TV character ever
6) SNL- no show has ever created more stars
7) Law & Order- (the original)
8) Tie – Cheers and M.A.S.H
9) Chapelle’s Show- shortlived, but my list of favorites will always include this show, first 2 seasons were absolute genius
10) Jeopardy!- greatest gameshow ever

Honorable mention: Deadwood(simply for the character of Al Swearingen), Arrested Development, I Love Lucy, Twilight Zone, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Battlestar Galactica (much better and smarter than Buffy) Carol Burnett Show

ryandavis123 · March 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Seinfeld is hands down best show of all time. what show is more quotable or memorable? what show can you watch old reruns of over and over? the contest? that episode alone is better than every episode of six feet under combined. other than that the list was pretty good. personally id put south park higher. no one else did what south park did. its a truely one of a kind show. but it was nice to see it made the list.

Ownage · June 2, 2011 at 8:04 am

My personal list:

10. Mind your Language
9. Full House
8. House
7. Grey’s Anatomy
6. South Park
5. The Simpsons
4. Seinfeld
3. Friends
2. How I met your mother
1. Glee

lastminutenews.org | The worst TV shows of all time · September 6, 2007 at 12:33 pm

[…] (no offense to Poniewozik) we see these lists all the time. What we need are more lists devoted to the WORST shows of all time. (Here’s one […]

TrickyBuddha Studios | Seinfeld · June 14, 2009 at 12:35 am

[…] reading those lists, by the way, I found one reviewer write this (which I love) about Seinfeld: Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created a show “about […]

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