Entertainment News

Entertainment News

Entertainment News

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' LOKI exclusively on Disney+.

In a world of streaming services, where every show created is now accessible at your fingertips, content has become even richer and more diverse than ever before. To celebrate the history of great television, we’ve compiled a definitive list of the 38 best TV shows of all time by analyzing data from IMDb. Shows were ranked by IMDb user ratings, with at least 50,000 votes.

See if your favorites made the cut, and discover some great new series!

  • 38. The Witcher

    IMDb user rating: 8.2
    Years on the air: 2019–present

    The Witcher, Netflix’s popular fantasy series, follows monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) and his destiny connected to Princess Ciri (Freya Allan). Based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, the eight-episode first season satisfied fans of dark fantasy (and fans of the 2007 role-playing video game) and generated high viewership, though even Cavill’s praiseworthy performance has not overcome its mostly average critical reception. The show garnered several Saturn Awards nominations, including Best Actor on Television for Cavill.

  • 37. Sense8

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    Years on the air: 2015–2018

    Though Netflix cancelled its sci-fi drama Sense8 following season two, fans and critics praised its striking visuals and LGBTQ+ thematic/character representation. Eight strangers find themselves psychically connected for unknown reasons and battle both this mystery and their hunters, the Biologic Preservation Organization, who, ever-applicably, despise the sensate breed’s differences. The show was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy for cinematography.

  • 36. Loki

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    Years on the air: 2021–present

    Loki is a 2021 Marvel series created by Michael Waldron for Disney+ that picks up where the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame leaves off. The show features Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the titular character. Additionally, the show broke barriers when the Marvel star was revealed to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

  • 35. Scrubs

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    Years on the air: 2001–2010

    Bill Lawrence’s medical drama/sitcom Scrubs ran for nine seasons over a decade. It follows, and is narrated by, J.D. (Zach Braff), as he navigates his hospital career and romantic life alongside best friend Turk (Donald Faison), on-again-off-again partner/friend Elliot (Sarah Chalke), and the intimidating, patronizing Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Largely praised by critics and fans in its earlier seasons, the often comedic and sometimes deeply emotional Scrubs was one of the more well-liked major network products of the 2000s. Additionally, Scrubs received 17 Emmy nominations.

  • 34. Prison Break

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    -Years on the air: 2005–2017

    Prison Break follows one brother (Dominic Purcell) falsely sentenced to death and the brother (Wentworth Miller) who intentionally joins him in jail to hatch an escape plan. Coinciding with Fox’s success of 24, this five-season drama fit in with national audiences attuned to primetime heart-pumping action. In 2006, the show received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music. Although talks of reviving the series were happening as early as 2018, no reboot has come to fruition.

  • 33. Lost

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    Years on the air: 2004–2010

    Even non-viewers of Lost could not escape the prevalent narrative and fascination of its massive fan base. The supernatural/sci-fi hit ran from the mid-2000s to 2010 for six seasons, as viewers pieced together what happened to the island survivors of a plane crash. Lost was nominated for hundreds of awards, including the Best Drama Emmy for its first season. The show also claimed a Golden Globe for its second season and is partly responsible for igniting J.J. Abrams’ career and inspiring a crop of nonlinear narrative shows.

  • 32. How I Met Your Mother

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    Years on the air: 2005–2014

    The hugely popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother ran for nine seasons beginning in the mid-2000s. It introduced with it a unique narrative style and blend of humor and romance to millions. In the future, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) recounts to his children how he met their mother when he was younger and living in New York City with his friends (Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan, and Neil Patrick Harris), experiencing the typical and atypical highs and lows of 20-somethings. The show received 30 Emmy nominations, winning 10.

  • 31. The Legend of Korra

    IMDb user rating: 8.4
    Years on the air: 2012–2014

    The Legend of Korra is Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino’s sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show follows the titular female protagonist as she navigates her complex universe which has found itself in conflict. The four-season animated series was praised for its production, writing, and, with respect to its youthful audience, thematic ambition. Among five Daytime Emmy nominations, the show took home one.

  • 30. Outlander

    IMDb user rating: 8.4
    Years on the air: 2014–present

    This Starz time travel drama sees a World War II nurse transported back to 18th-century Scotland, where she becomes a key player in the Jacobite rebellions. The series was adapted from a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon and developed by Ronald D. Moore, whose previous project was Battlestar Galactica. The series garnered four Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Period Costumes and Outstanding Music Composition For A Series.

  • 29. The Handmaid's Tale

    IMDb user rating: 8.4
    Years on the air: 2017–present

    Based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, this acclaimed Hulu show stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman struggling for freedom in a misogynistic, alternate-reality version of America that has been taken over by religious extremists. Far more critically and commercially successful than the ill-fated 1990 feature film of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale has received critical acclaim.

  • 28. Futurama

    IMDb user rating: 8.4
    Years on the air: 1999–2013

    Fox’s animated show from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening follows the adventures of an interplanetary delivery outfit, parodying movies and TV shows from all corners of science fiction along the way. Although it never rose to the level of popularity of The Simpsons, the show received almost universal critical acclaim, with 14 Emmy nominations and six wins over the course of its run. Among them included the award for Outstanding Animated Program, which the show took the Emmy for several times.

  • 27. Flight of the Conchords

    IMDb user rating: 8.5
    Years on the air: 2007–2009

    New Zealand musicians and comedy performers Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie star as fictionalized versions of themselves in Flight of the Conchords. Unlike in real life, the duo are struggling musicians, uprooted from New Zealand in an attempt to make it big in New York City. Kristen Schaal co-stars as the duo’s only fan, with Rhys Darby as their incompetent manager. The show was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics in 2008.

  • 26. Big Little Lies

    IMDb user rating: 8.5
    – Years on the air: 2017-2019

    This HBO drama, based on the best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty of the same name, features an A-list cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern. The show is set in a wealthy coastal town in California where deception and murder lurk beneath the picture-perfect surface. Despite initially being billed as a miniseries HBO brought it back for a second season, adding Meryl Streep to the stacked cast. The series received 21 Emmy Awards nominations, winning eight.

  • 25. Boardwalk Empire

    IMDb user rating: 8.5
    Years on the air: 2010–2014

    This crime drama starred Steve Buscemi as an Atlantic City mob boss during the Prohibition era. While not a hit on the same level as HBO’s contemporary Mafia series The Sopranos, the show received positive reviews. What’s more, it won 20 Primetime Emmy Awards over its run, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Television Series–Drama in 2011.

  • 24. Shameless

    IMDb user rating: 8.5
    Years on the air: 2011–2021

    A remake of a British series, this Showtime dramedy takes on the struggles of a Chicago family headed by a deadbeat patriarch (William H. Macy) whose only concerns are what his next scheme will be and where his next beer will come from. Although some critics initially thought Macy was miscast, he has racked up three Screen Actors Guild awards for his performance in the role. The show’s ninth season made it the longest-running Showtime show in the network’s history. Emmy Rossum, who plays Macy’s eldest daughter Fiona, did not return as a regular for the 10th season, and the show concluded with its 11th and final season in 2021. During the show’s decade-long run, Shameless took home four of its 16 Emmy Awards nominations.

  • 23. Sons of Anarchy

    IMDb user rating: 8.5
    Years on the air: 2008–2014

    This FX crime drama revolved around a motorcycle gang based out of Central California. Critics appreciated the uncompromising grittiness of the show and the strength of the ensemble cast, which included Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam, and Katey Sagal. For the sake of authenticity, the producers even cast Oakland Hell’s Angel David Labrava to play one of the biker gang members, in addition to his role as a consultant for the show. Sons of Anarchy earned five Emmy Awards nominations during its six-year run.

  • 22. Adventure Time

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    – Years on the air: 2010–2018

    This Cartoon Network show follows the adventures of a boy and his best friend, a talking dog who can change his size and shape at will, in a mystical and magical realm. While the premise may sound familiar, the show’s sweet but strange tone sets it apart. Creator Pendleton Ward has acknowledged influences as far-ranging as Dungeons and Dragons, Beavis and Butthead, and Ren and Stimpy. Another unusual aspect of the show is its approach to voice casting. While many animated shows employ adult actors for their child characters, Adventure Time cast an actual child actor (Jeremy Shada) to voice the character of Finn. As such, Finn’s voice deepened through the show’s run, as Shada progressed through puberty. The beloved animated series received 15 Emmy Awards nominations, winning eight trophies in total.

  • 21. The Haunting of Hill House

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    Year on the air: 2018

    Horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan created and directed The Haunting of Hill House. The show is based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel, with the show focusing on two different time periods revolving around a family’s paranormal experiences in the Hill House. The ensemble cast includes actors Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, and Victoria Pedretti. The show was succeeded with a new story called The Haunting of Bly Manor in 2020.

  • 20. Mad Men

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    Years on the air: 2007–2015

    When HBO famously rejected his series pitch, creator Matthew Weiner took the show over to AMC, where it redefined the network as a viable destination for prestige television. Set in the halls of a New York advertising agency in the 1960s, the acclaimed show was praised for its period authenticity, social commentary, and strong performances. Standout actors among the cast included Jon Hamm, who played the smooth-but-tortured leading man Don Draper, and Elisabeth Moss, who played a secretary who manages to rise up the ranks in the agency despite rampant misogyny in the workforce. The show garnered a whopping 116 Emmy Awards nominations during its eight-year run, winning 16 in total.

  • 19. Parks and Recreation

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    Years on the air: 2009–2015

    The brainchild of the creator and the head writer of the U.S. version of The Office, this workplace comedy employed that show’s same mockumentary style to depict the workings of a quirky parks and recreation department in Pawnee, Indiana. Critics initially found the show lacking compared with its predecessor, but warmed to the charms of the ensemble cast (headed up by Amy Poehler). After a shaky start, the show found its groove and became a hit for NBC. In its entire run, the show received 14 Emmy Awards nominations.

  • 18. The Queen's Gambit

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    Year on the air: 2020

    The Queen’s Gambit, based on the 1983 Walter Tevis novel of the same name, centers on the character of an orphan and chess prodigy called Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy). Harmon is taught to play chess by a janitor at the orphanage, and by age 20 is headed to Moscow to compete against the world’s best Grandmaster. But besides the pressure of training for such a title, Harmon battles demons—from drug and alcohol addiction to emotional problems—all along the way. Despite being short-lived, the show won 11 of the 18 Primetime Emmy Awards for which it was nominated in 2021.

  • 17. The Simpsons

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    Years on the air: 1989–present

    America’s longest-running animated show was originally adapted from a series of shorts sandwiched between sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show in the late 1980s. The series has come a long way since then, spawning toys, comic books, albums, video games, a feature film, and even its own theme-park ride at Universal Studios. At the peak of its success, the show’s main cast members earned $400,000 per episode, though they’ve since agreed to multiple rounds of pay cuts in order to keep the show financially feasible for Fox.

  • 16. Westworld

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    Years on the air: 2016–present

    Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name, Westworld is the hit HBO sci-fi series about the fictional, technologically advanced “Old West” amusement park hosted by androids. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden, its debut in 2016 earned the highest ratings for the network for a premiere since True Detective, and its first season ranked as the most-watched of any HBO original series.

  • 15. Curb Your Enthusiasm

    IMDb user rating: 8.7
    Years on the air: 2000–present

    Seinfeld creator Larry David plays a fictionalized version of himself in this heavily improvised, award-winning HBO comedy. David’s onscreen persona has a talent for generating awkward, uncomfortable, and hilarious situations that have long delighted audiences and critics alike. Offscreen, David has declared himself done with the character numerous times, sometimes taking long hiatuses between seasons, which is why it took him 17 years to make the first nine seasons of the show.

  • 14. Dragon Ball Z

    IMDb user rating: 8.7
    Years on the air: 1996–2003

    Possibly the most famous anime series of all time is Dragon Ball Z, with its equally famous protagonist Goku. A sequel to the original Dragon Ball anime and a continuing adaptation of the manga of the same name, Z portrayed Goku’s adult life as he and his companions defended the world from a host of villains and enemies. The show had two other sequel shows, as well as a remastering called Dragon Ball Kai.

  • 13. The Boys

    IMDb user rating: 8.7
    Years on the air: 2019–present

    This Amazon Prime original imagines a world where superheroes are immoral and instruments of corporate capitalism. “Hughie” Campbell plays an everyman whose girlfriend is killed as collateral damage to a speedster superhero, who is a member of “The Seven,” the world’s most famous superhero team. Hughie then joins a group of vigilantes led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), whose goal is to take down the “Supes” through violence and uncovering their dark hidden secrets. The show, which has received numerous accolades, won Best Superhero Television Series at the Saturn Awards in 2021.

  • 12. Stranger Things

    IMDb user rating: 8.7
    Years on the air: 2016–present

    The Duffer brothers created this phenomenally successful ’80s original thriller series for Netflix in the summer of 2016. It sparked a cultural revolution that boosted sales of Eggo waffles, left fans worried about Barb, and had audiences begging for more after binge-watching sessions. Among the 38 nominations the beloved show earned at the Emmys, Stranger Things has since claimed seven honors at the awards.

  • 11. Ted Lasso

    IMDb user rating: 8.8
    Years on the air: 2020–present

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple TV+ delivered its sentimental comedy Ted Lasso, which follows an earnest American football coach (Jason Sudeikis) brought on to lead the floundering AFC Richmond, an English Premier League soccer club.

  • 10. Twin Peaks

    IMDb user rating: 8.8
    Years on the air: 1990–1991, 2017

    It’s astounding that a show this strange was able to land a network TV time slot in the early 1990s. The show follows the investigation of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of a homecoming queen in a Washington logging town. While the premise makes it sound like a run-of-the-mill primetime procedural, the delivery from creators Mark Frost and David Lynch was truly bizarre. Combining surrealism, melodrama, horror, and comedy with movie-quality visuals, Twin Peaks stands as one of the most original pieces of American television ever made. The show was resurrected by Showtime in 2017 for a limited-run series featuring many of the original cast members to the delight of fans everywhere. Following its overall run, the show claimed two Emmy Awards.

  • 9. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

    IMDb user rating: 8.8
    Years on the air: 2005–present

    Its main characters may work in a bar, but this show is no Cheers. Caustic, cynical, crass, and hilarious, It’s Always Sunny delights in pushing the boundaries of good taste far beyond what would fly in a network show. The first season took a while to find its comedic footing, but since season two, which kicked off with Danny DeVito joining the cast, the show has received universal acclaim from critics. Among its accolades include three consecutive Outstanding Stunt Coordination For A Comedy Series Or A Variety Program Emmy nominations. When it was renewed for a 15th season in 2020, it became the longest-running live-action comedy series in American history.

  • 8. True Detective

    IMDb user rating: 8.9
    Years on the air: 2014–present

    In this critically acclaimed anthology crime drama series, new cast ensembles take on challenging crime investigations each season. The first season, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was called one of the best drama series of the year, while other critics said it was one of the strongest in recent memory. Season two stars Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch; Mahershala Ali served as lead in the third season, with Carmen Ejogo, Stephen Dorff, Scoot McNairy, and Ray Fisher co-starring. The show has taken home five Emmy Awards.

  • 7. Batman: The Animated Series

    IMDb user rating: 9.0
    Years on the air: 1992–1995

    Bruce Timm co-developed “Batman: The Animated Series,” which became the first show in a larger animated universe that ended with “Justice League Unlimited.” The show focused on Bruce Wayne, voiced by Kevin Conroy, and his exploits as the Caped Crusader. It is the source of actor Mark Hamill’s most famous voice performance as the Joker. The animated series took home several Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program in 1993.

  • 6. The Sopranos

    IMDb user rating: 9.2
    Years on the air: 1999–2007

    The late James Gandolfini led this megahit, award-winning HBO series as Tony Soprano, an Italian-American mobster who had to balance family life with organized crime. Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler co-starred in what some critics consider one of the most groundbreaking series ever made because of its effect on the industry in elevating the art form. With 112 Emmy nominations overall, The Sopranos took home 21 honors.

  • 5. Rick and Morty

    IMDb user rating: 9.2
    Years on the air: 2013–present

    Cartoon Network’s adult animated sci-fi comedy “Rick and Morty” follows the adventures of Rick Sanchez, a mad scientist, and his daughter (Sarah Chalke) and her children. It has received high marks from critics for its creativity, scientific accuracy, and general wackiness, and has a massive cult following. The cartoon series has since received two Emmy awards, including Outstanding Animated Program in 2020.

  • 4. Game of Thrones

    IMDb user rating: 9.2
    Years on the air: 2011-2019

    Based on George R.R. Martin’s beloved series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, this megahit HBO series essentially took on a life of its own. The award-winning medieval fantasy epic followed the deadly adventures of two powerful families as they battled for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. It frequently challenged The Sopranos in viewership ratings during its first four seasons. The show inspired licensed merchandise, games, replica armor, and boosted sales of the original novels. With a whopping 160 nominations, the show took home 56 Emmys.

  • 3. Avatar: The Last Airbender

    IMDb user rating: 9.3
    Years on the air: 2005–2008

    Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino co-created this anime-inspired American animated show, with the backstory involving the “Avatar,” a person who can “bend” and manipulate all four main elements of air, water, fire, and earth. Aang is the current Avatar, found by Water Tribe siblings Katara and Sokka 100 years after Aang froze in an iceberg, leaving the world under siege by the Fire Nation. The show was followed up by The Legend of Korra, a show set 70 years later about the next Avatar. The beloved animation earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Program (for programming less than one hour) in 2007.

  • 2. The Wire

    IMDb user rating: 9.3
    Years on the air: 2002–2008

    Still cited as one of the greatest TV shows ever made, The Wire went off the air more than 10 years ago. The acclaimed HBO drama featured a black ensemble cast, helping to launch the careers of Michael B. Jordan, Idris Elba, and Michael K. Williams, and took a realistic look at Baltimore and its drug scene, police department, schools, and media. Following its run, the show was twice nominated at the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

  • 1. Breaking Bad

    IMDb user rating: 9.4
    Years on the air: 2008–2013

    The critically acclaimed AMC series Breaking Bad turned Walter White into an icon. The show also catapulted Bryan Cranston into cult status for his portrayal of the high-school-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin. Cranston won four Primetime Emmy Awards for the role. It’s considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time, having become the most-watched cable TV show on American television, and most critically acclaimed of all time.

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