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Sometimes when we start a show, we have no idea what sort of impact it’s going to have on us, let alone the world. Every once in a while, we come across a show that’s truly impactful, whether it’s a comedy tackling tough issues, a seamlessly written drama, or an unexpected work from a genre series.

Each of these shows sparked a cultural phenomenon, whether it was a few months ago or a few decades ago. Across our team, we’ve chosen the top 25 TV shows of all time and will update this list to reflect new shows every quarter. Check back to find out which shows made our list, which ones didn’t, and which one is our editor’s favorite!

‘Fleabag’ (2016 to 2019) — Editor’s Top Pick

A woman talks to a young priest in this image from Two Brothers Pictures.
Let us give thanks to Season 2, which gave us Hot Priest. (Image: Two Brothers Pictures)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Comedy Drama | Length: 2 seasons, 12 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.7/10 | Metacritic Rating: 92

Cast: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott

Watch the trailer for “Fleabag”

There are very few shows that have made me tear up as often as they make me laugh out loud, and “Fleabag” is one of them. Based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show, “Fleabag” follows a woman as she navigates grief, love, and the use of humor to cope with all of it. Even though it was only two seasons, the series picked up nearly 20 major awards.

Stream “Fleabag” on Amazon Prime Video

‘Parks and Recreation’ (2009 to 2015)

A man and woman talk to a man on the other side of glass doors in this image from Deedle-Dee Productions.
Although the show received 16 nominations without any wins, plenty of the cast and crew won awards for individual achievements for their work on the series. (Image: Deedle-Dee Productions)

Rated: TV-14 | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 7 seasons, 126 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10 | Metacritic Rating: 67

Cast: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Jim O’Heir

Watch the trailer for “Parks and Recreation”

“Parks and Recreation” follows Pawnee’s public officials as they try to improve their city one hilariously executed project at a time. Shot in a documentary style, the blend of characters and intermingling of different types of comedy are a huge reason why “Parks and Recreation” has won its way into so many hearts. It may have taken me a season to learn to love these characters, but “Parks and Recreation” is a fan favorite for a reason.

Stream “Parks and Recreation” on Peacock

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (2013 to 2021)

Two men handcuffed to each other wearing Easter Bunny suits stand in a police department in this image from Fremluon.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is known for having some of the best cold opens in history. (Image: Fremulon)

Rated: TV-14 | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 8 seasons, 153 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10 | Metacritic Rating: 73

Cast: Andy Samberg, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio,

Andre Braugher

Watch the trailer for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

When “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” hit our screens in 2013, this comedic police procedural defied the formula of the typical sitcoms of the time. The show was groundbreaking for its open discussion of topics that deserved a platform (like racism, feminism, and LGBTQ+ representation) without marginalizing or tokenizing any of the characters. Set in a modern-day Brooklyn police department, each character is complex, well-rounded, and very easy to love.

Stream “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” on Netflix

‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ (2020 to Present)

A close-up of an animated man with dark hair talking to a man with white hair and blue eyes in this image from MAPPA.
Although not the only reason, Season 2 of “Jujutsu Kaisen” influenced Japan to shut down any Halloween gatherings in the Shibuya district. (Image: MAPPA)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Supernatural | Length: 2 seasons, 47 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10 | Metacritic Rating: N/A

Cast: Adam McArthur, Robbie Daymond, Kaiji Tang, Anne Yatco, Lex Lang

Watch the trailer for “Jujutsu Kaisen”

Admittedly, I’m very new to the wonderful world of anime, so I was surprised by how quickly I became obsessed with this show. After swallowing a cursed talisman, a boy must share his body with a demon fighting for control. To free himself, he enrolls in a shaman’s school with the aim of performing an exorcism. With its artful narratives, stunning animations, and unforgettable characters, it’s no surprise that “Jujutsu Kaisen” won the Anime of the Year award at the 2024 Crunchyroll Anime Awards.

Stream “Jujutsu Kaisen” on Crunchyroll

‘The Americans’ (2013 to 2018)

A mother and father with their two children talk to new neighbors in this image from Amblin Television.
Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, who play Elizabeth and Philip Jennings on the show, are a real-life couple. (Image: Amblin Television)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Spy Thriller | Length: 6 seasons, 75 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10 | Metacritic Rating: 89

Cast: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor

Watch the trailer for “The Americans”

“The Americans” follows two Cold War-era Russian agents disguised as a typical American couple with two kids, a white picket fence, and a mission to help their home country no matter the cost. There’s so much to love about this show, from the costuming to the storytelling, and to this day the series finale is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Stream “The Americans” on Hulu

‘Sex and the City’ (1998 to 2004)

Four women sitting next to each other all looking at something in this image from Darren Star Productions.
Are you Samantha, Carrie, Miranda, or Charlotte in your friend group? (Image: Darren Star Productions)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Comedy Drama | Length: 6 seasons, 94 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10 | Metacritic Rating: 64

Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon

Watch the trailer for “Sex and the City”

For over 25 years, “Sex and the City” has been a cultural phenomenon celebrated for its relatable characters as they explore the highs and lows of relationships with humor and style. It presents a realistic portrayal of modern women, embracing their complexities, sexuality, and the challenges they face — all set in the glamorous backdrop of New York City.

Stream “Sex and the City” on Max

‘Band of Brothers’ (2001)

Two soldiers carry a third soldier between them in this image from DreamWorks.
“Band of Brothers” won 14 awards. (Image: DreamWorks)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: War Drama | Length: 1 season, 10 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9.4/10 | Metacritic Rating: 87

Cast: Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Shane Taylor

Watch the trailer for “Band of Brothers”

“Band of Brothers” is an acclaimed miniseries lauded for its authentic portrayal of the Easy Company during World War II. The series masterfully combines historical accuracy with powerful storytelling, creating a gripping, emotional narrative full of stellar performances, intense war sequences, and profound explorations of the human experience.

Stream “Band of Brothers” on Netflix

‘M*A*S*H’ (1972 to 1983)

A soldier wearing a helmet and a red gown prepares to hit a sign with a rifle in this image from 20th Century Fox Television.
“M*A*S*H” was one of the first sitcoms. (Image: 20th Century Fox Television)

Rated: TV-PG | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 11 seasons, 256 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10 | Metacritic Rating: 72

Cast: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr

Watch the trailer for “M*A*S*H”

Considered a classic for its unique blend of humor and poignant commentary on the harsh realities of war, “M*A*S*H” is a beloved series that follows Army hospital personnel as they discover that humor is the most effective coping mechanism amid the Korean War. Although it hasn’t aged well in all regards (a lot has changed in 50 years), its ability to balance comedy and drama is the key to its lasting popularity.

Stream “M*A*S*H” on Hulu

‘Saturday Night Live’ (1975 to Present)

A band performs in a recording studio with guitars, drums, and a cowbell in this image from NBC Studios.
The 49th season of “SNL” aired in October 2023. (Image: NBC Studios)

Rated: TV-14 | Genre: Sketch Comedy | Length: 49 seasons, 962 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8/10 | Metacritic Rating: N/A

Cast: Changes depending on season

Watch the trailer for “Saturday Night Live”

We have “SNL” to thank for so many iconic moments, from hilarious sketches like “More Cowbell!” and “Van Down by the River” to Sinéad O'Connor’s protest during her musical performance. While many other shows on this list are scripted productions, it wouldn’t be complete without “Saturday Night Live.” Not only is it one of the longest-airing shows on TV, but it has also given rise to many of comedy’s best and brightest throughout the years.

Stream “Saturday Night Live” on Peacock

‘Twin Peaks’ (1990 to 1991)

An FBI agent holding a mug looks at a young woman with brown hair in this image from Lynch/Frost Productions.
“Twin Peaks” turns the classic “whodunit” drama in its head. (Image: Lynch/Frost Productions)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Mystery Drama | Length: 2 seasons, 30 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10 | Metacritic Rating: 83

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn

Watch the trailer for “Twin Peaks”

With its unique and fever-dream-ish blend of mystery, drama, and supernatural elements, the strange and bizarre “Twin Peaks” instantly captivated audience members everywhere with its surreal and atmospheric storytelling. Whether you’re looking for some good, weird TV or you genuinely want to know what happened to Laura Palmer, strap in for curious characters, eerie cinematography, and plenty of plot twists.

Stream “Twin Peaks” on Paramount Plus

‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ (1970 to 1977)

A woman in an orange dress talks on the phone while typing on a typewriter in this image from MTM Enterprises.
This show often discussed premarital sex, homosexuality, and equal pay for women — shocking topics for ’70s TV. (Image: MTM Enterprises)

Rated: PG | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 7 seasons, 168 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10 | Metacritic Rating: N/A

Cast: Mary Tyler Moore, Lou Grant, Gavin MacLeod, Valerie Harper

Watch the trailer for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is a classic sitcom that, to this day, stands out for its portrayal of an independent, career-focused woman in the 1970s. Mary Tyler Moore’s charismatic performance and the ensemble cast’s chemistry make it a timeless classic, and the show’s progressive nature still stands to this day. That may be why it didn’t initially do well in syndication, but it has definitely stood the test of time.

Stream “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” on Hulu

‘The Twilight Zone’ (1959 to 1964)

A piglike nurse and doctor hold back a pretty woman while a hand holding a syringe approaches her in this image from Cayuga Productions.
“The Twilight Zone” was created and narrated by Rod Serling. (Image: Cayuga Productions)

Rated: TV-PG | Genre: Sci-fi Horror | Length: 5 seasons, 156 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9.1/10 | Metacritic Rating: N/A

Cast: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

Watch the trailer for “The Twilight Zone”

One anthology series that’s cemented itself as one of the best shows of all time is “The Twilight Zone.” Each thought-provoking and mind-bending episode showcases ordinary people thrust into unusual, sometimes dangerous situations. Some of the most memorable episodes include “Eye of the Beholder,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” and, my favorite, “Time Enough at Last.”

Stream “The Twilight Zone” on Amazon Prime Video

‘Game of Thrones’ (2011 to 2019)

A large dragon places its head next to a blonde woman in this image from HBO Entertainment.
Apparently, there was an alternate pilot episode of “GoT” that has never been aired. (Image: HBO Entertainment)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Fantasy Drama | Length: 8 seasons, 73 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9.2/10 | Metacritic Rating: 86

Cast: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey

Watch the trailer for “Game of Thrones”

“Game of Thrones” is an epic fantasy series that intricately weaves political intrigue, power struggles, and mythical elements as noble families vie for control of the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The series had its audience in a chokehold during its run and garnered plenty of awards. There are also a few spinoffs in the works, including Season 2 of “House of the Dragon.”

Stream “Game of Thrones” on Max

‘Friends’ (1994 to 2004)

Two men and two women sit on a couch listening intently in this image from Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions.
What’s your favorite line from “Friends” and why is it “How you doin’?” (Image: Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions)

Rated: TV-14 | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 10 seasons, 236 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.9/10 | Metacritic Rating: 65

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer

Watch the trailer for “Friends”

See, no one told you life was gonna be this way — but we were all able to learn plenty of life lessons from “Friends.” This timeless sitcom is renowned for its humor, memorable characters, and lasting appeal, mostly thanks to performances from the core cast. The show navigates the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives, creating a funny and binge-able story that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Stream “Friends” on Max

‘Succession’ (2018 to 2023)

An elderly man in a suit sits at a table in a restaurant in this image from Gary Sanchez Productions.
Leave it to Logan Roy to coin “F*** off” as an official catchphrase. (Image: Gary Sanchez Productions)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Comedy Drama | Length: 4 seasons, 34 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10 | Metacritic Rating: 85

Cast: Brian Cox, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, Peter Friedman

Watch the trailer for “Succession”

Known for its sharp writing, complex characters, and outstanding cast performances, “Succession” is a gripping series that delves into the cutthroat world of a wealthy and dysfunctional media mogul family as they battle for control of their global media conglomerate. The show features intense family dynamics, moral ambiguity, and the exploration of power and ambition — no one was shocked that it became an instant classic.

Stream “Succession” on Max

‘The Bear’ (2022 to Present)

A woman and man cooking in an apartment kitchen in this image from FX Productions.
With only two seasons under its belt, “The Bear” has already earned almost 30 awards. (Image: FX Productions)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Comedy Drama | Length: 2 seasons, 18 episodes in total

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10 | Metacritic Rating: 91

Cast: Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Lionel Boyce

Watch the trailer for “The Bear”

After a tragedy, a young chef from the world of fine dining returns to Chicago to run his late brother’s sandwich shop. However, “The Bear” is much more than a story of a restaurant — it’s an in-depth character study with painfully honest looks into family dynamics, friendships, and what it means to live for your passions.

Stream “The Bear” on Hulu

‘Seinfeld’ (1989 to 1998)

Four friends sit in a diner booth in this image from West/Shapiro Productions.
While the show made a huge impact, it’s important to note that the series definitely shows its age with microaggressions and casual prejudices. (Image: West/Shapiro Productions)

Rated: TV-PG | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 9 seasons, 180 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.9/10 | Metacritic Rating: 84

Cast: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander

Watch the trailer for “Seinfeld”

Set in New York City, “Seinfeld” is a classic sitcom known for its innovative “show about nothing” concept. It focuses on the everyday experiences and neurotic humor of its four main characters, the perfect platform to showcase the show’s quick-witted writing and observational humor, all surrounding the minutiae of everyday life.

Stream “Seinfeld” on Netflix

‘Mad Men’ (2007 to 2015)

A close-up shot of a woman with red hair and a man with dark hair in this image from Lionsgate Television.
Hate the misogyny, love the outfits. (Image: Lionsgate Television)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Period Drama | Length: 7 seasons, 92 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.7/10 | Metacritic Rating: 86

Cast: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Watch the trailer for “Mad Men”

Set in the 1960s, “Mad Men” revolves around a prestigious New York ad agency with a particular emphasis on one of the firm’s enigmatic yet exceptionally skilled advertising executives. Sophisticated, meticulous, and critically acclaimed, “Mad Men” won the hearts of audience members with its masterful portrayal of the time period, but it was the characters that kept us coming back for more.

Stream “Mad Men” on AMC Plus

‘The Office’ (2005 to 2013)

Three men standing in an office in this image from Deedle-Dee Productions.
Catch “The Office” SuperFan episodes on Peacock. (Image: Deedle-Dee Productions)

Rated: TV-14 | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 9 seasons, 201 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9/10 | Metacritic Rating: 66

Cast: Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski

Watch the trailer for “The Office”

The U.S. version of “The Office” is without a doubt one of the most beloved TV shows of all time — it’s hard to come across a person who hasn’t seen at least a few episodes (but let’s face it, most of us have watched it at least twice all the way through). Shot in a documentary style, the show follows the employees of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company and all of their hilarious high jinks, particularly those of a certain branch manager.

Stream “The Office” on Peacock

‘The Simpsons’ (1989 to Present)

Three animated children playing with a toy in the back seat of a car in this image from Gracie Films.
If you’re looking for a rabbit hole to go down, check out how many times “The Simpsons” has predicted the future. (Image: Gracie Films)

Rated: TV-14 | Genre: Animated Sitcom | Length: 35 seasons, 762 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.7/10 | Metacritic Rating: 87

Cast: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer

Watch the trailer for “The Simpsons”

With 35 seasons under its belt, “The Simpsons” is one of the most well-known animated sitcoms ever. Following the misadventures of a working-class family in the unusual town of Springfield, “The Simpsons” has brought heart, humor, satire, and social commentary to the small screen for an impressive run of 35 years — touching multiple generations throughout its syndication.

Stream “The Simpsons” on Disney Plus

‘I Love Lucy’ (1951 to 1957)

Two couples taking a drive in a car in this image from Desilu Productions.
“I Love Lucy” was the first major television program to feature a pregnancy — a much too risqué topic for midcentury TV. (Image: Desilu Productions)

Rated: TV-Y | Genre: Sitcom | Length: 6 seasons, 180 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10 | Metacritic Rating: N/A

Cast: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

Watch the trailer for “I Love Lucy”

Timeless humor, unparalleled comedic performances, and a revolutionary influence on the sitcom genre are just a few of many reasons why “I Love Lucy” is one of the greatest TV shows in history. The series contributed so much to TV, namely its three-camera filming technique and Lucille Ball’s comedic brilliance, and gave us hilarious moments like “Vitameatavegamin,” a failed workday at a chocolate factory, and more.

Stream “I Love Lucy” on Amazon Prime Video

‘Better Call Saul’ (2015 to 2022)

A man sits in a lawyer’s office decorated with the Declaration of Independence in this image from High Bridge Productions.
The “Breaking Bad” writers used to joke about creating a Saul Goodman series. (Image: High Bridge Productions)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Crime Drama | Length: 6 seasons, 63 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9/10 | Metacritic Rating: 86

Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks

Watch the trailer for “Better Call Saul”

“Better Call Saul,” the origin story of a morally ambiguous lawyer and spinoff of “Breaking Bad,” is praised for its excellence for several reasons, including its intricate storytelling and character development, its truly stellar performances, and its deep exploration of ethics. Much like its predecessor, “Better Call Saul” pays meticulous attention to storytelling — offering the audience plenty of style and substance in every episode.

Stream “Better Call Saul” on Netflix

‘The Wire’ (2002 to 2008)

A man wearing all black sits on a bench in this image from Blown Deadline Productions.
Barack Obama said “The Wire” was one of his favorite TV shows. (Image: Blown Deadline Productions)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Crime Drama | Length: 5 seasons, 60 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10 | Metacritic Rating: 91

Cast: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

Watch the trailer for “The Wire”

“The Wire” tells the story of the Baltimore narcotics trade through the eyes of law enforcement and dealers. It unfolds as a rich and nuanced tapestry that mirrors the intricacies of modern-day society. It’s intense, complex, and fascinating — it blurs the lines between good and evil and no characters can be neatly defined — all of which make it highly bingeable and unforgettable.

Stream “The Wire” on Max

‘Breaking Bad’ (2008 to 2013)

Two men examining a chemical reaction in this image from High Bridge Productions.
“Breaking Bad” has garnered almost 30 major awards. (Image: High Bridge Productions)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Crime Drama | Length: 5 seasons, 62 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9.5/10 | Metacritic Rating: 87

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Watch the trailer for “Breaking Bad”

Frequently praised as one of the best TV series ever made, “Breaking Bad,” the story of a high school chemistry teacher who begins cooking meth, unquestionably lives up to its reputation. The show excels in cinematography, direction, acting, and writing, offering a rare combination of excellence in all aspects. The show also avoids any unnecessary and unsatisfying filler episodes — every moment is intentional.

Stream “Breaking Bad” on Netflix

‘The Sopranos’ (1999 to 2007)

Five men standing in front of a deli in this image from HBO.
The series is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2024. (Image: HBO)

Rated: TV-MA | Genre: Crime Drama | Length: 6 seasons, 86 episodes total

IMDb Rating: 9.2/10 | Metacritic Rating: 94

Cast: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

Watch the trailer for “The Sopranos”

“The Sopranos” is about a New Jersey mob boss grappling with personal and professional challenges — both of which impact his mental well-being and prompt him to pursue psychiatric counseling. While the writing and acting are incredible, the characters are what make the show what it is. We get a close-up look at how messy, ugly, and beautiful their lives are and follow them as they navigate their personal developments.

Watch “The Sopranos” on Max

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