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100 best TV shows of all time

  • #90. Billions

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 2016–present

    This Showtime drama pits billionaire hedge-fund manager Bobby (Damian Lewis) opposite the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Paul Giamatti). The former is loosely based on Steven A. Cohen and the latter on Preet Bharara, as the world of New York City culture and finance is explored through insider trading, bribery, connections, affairs, and of course power. “Billions” has been well received for all four of its seasons; its fifth begins in May.

  • #89. American Crime Story

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 2016–present

    This acclaimed anthology series from Ryan Murphy recounts the stories of famous American crimes. The first season, which was nominated for 22 Emmy Awards, tackled the O.J. Simpson case, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. taking on the role of “The Juice” himself. Critics praised his performance alongside those of his fellow cast members, including John Travolta, Courtney B. Vance, and David Schwimmer. Season two, which focused on the murder of Gianni Versace, lacked the star power of the series’ initial outing, but still received favorable reviews overall. The third season, "Impeachment," will focus on the scandal between former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (who is producing the season); it is scheduled to air Sept. 27, 2020.

  • #88. The Americans

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 2013-2018

    This popular FX show, set during the Cold War, stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as two undercover KGB officers living with their children near Washington D.C. From the outset, critics praised the show’s compelling concept and thrilling storylines, and the show continued to receive rave reviews through its sixth and final season.

  • #87. Banshee

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 2013–2016

    From Alan Ball, the creator of “True Blood,” came a show that was just as heavy on the sex and violence, though without the supernatural elements of his HBO hit. “Banshee” chronicles the twisty dealings of an ex-con who assumes the identity of a small town’s new sheriff. Critics were split on the show, with some finding it too lurid and preposterous to recommend, while others recommended it for precisely those qualities.

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  • #86. Stargate SG-1

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 1997–2007

    This series, based on the 1994 film “Stargate,” debuted on Showtime in 1997 and then moved to the Syfy channel in 2002 to conclude its run. Its storyline follows a military team that uses an ancient archway to travel the universe and battle alien threats. The leader, Col. Jack O’Neill (portrayed by Kurt Russell in the movie), is played by “MacGyver” star Richard Dean Anderson.

  • #85. The Legend of Korra

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

    “The Legend of Korra,” Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino’s sequel to “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” 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.

  • #84. 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”; this reboot of the 1970s original series had been a huge hit for the Syfy channel.

  • #83. Entourage

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 2004–2011

    This HBO guilty pleasure follows the career of Vincent Chase, an actor from Queens who brings a tagalong crew of friends from the old neighborhood with him for his ride to Hollywood stardom. Reviewers enjoyed Jeremy Piven’s portrayal of Vince’s slimy Hollywood agent, but criticized the shallow characters and plotlines, while audiences were happy to live vicariously in Chase’s hedonistic world. A 2015 movie that tied up some loose ends from the show garnered poor reviews and underperformed at the box office.

  • #82. Person of Interest

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 2011–2016

    Like several shows on this list, the first season of “Person of Interest” received a mixed response from critics for its shallow character development, while later seasons seemed to remedy the issue. The story sees an ex-CIA operative and a scientist teaming up to try to prevent crimes before they occur. The show’s creator, Jonathan Nolan, is the brother of director Christopher Nolan.

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  • #81. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Years on the air: 2013–present

    This goofy cop show stars former “SNL” cast member Andy Samberg as a juvenile and irreverent detective who’s forced to shape up when a strict new commanding officer (Andre Braugher) takes over his precinct. Critics praised the show’s easygoing humor along with Samberg’s charming performance, and following its debut season “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” clinched Golden Globes for best series and best actor in the Musical/Comedy category. It was canceled by Fox, but NBC picked it up for sixth, seventh, and eighth seasons.