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100 best TV shows of all time

  • #50. Daredevil

    - IMDb user rating: 8.6
    - Years on the air: 2015–2018

    A blind lawyer fights crime by night in this Netflix adaptation of the Marvel comic. Much better received than the poorly reviewed Ben Affleck movie from a decade earlier, the success of this series was an early indicator that Marvel’s media empire could extend its bounds beyond feature films.

  • #49. Dexter

    - IMDb user rating: 8.6
    - Years on the air: 2006–2013

    A psychopathic forensic expert takes his violent urges out on evildoers. Critics loved the novel premise, though they warned that some viewers might find the show’s gore repellant. Not too many did, apparently: The show’s finale drew 2.8 million viewers, a record for Showtime.

  • #48. Friday Night Lights

    - IMDb user rating: 8.7
    - Years on the air: 2006–2011

    After adapting the non-fiction book “Friday Night Lights” into a 2004 film, filmmaker Peter Berg brought this story to the small screen. Focusing on a high school football team in a small town in Texas, the series tackled a number of contemporary American societal issues. The show also accelerated the careers of actors Kyle Chandler, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons, and Michael B. Jordan.

  • #47. The Grand Tour

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

    After being firing from the BBC and the popular show “Top Gear” for disciplinary reasons, presenter Jeremy Clarkson took a similar series to Amazon Prime. Clarkson brought his “Top Gear” co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May along for a show that focuses on automobiles, with a mixture of pre-taped segments and live-audience segments. The show also came to video game consoles as an interactive experience.

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  • #46. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    - IMDb user rating: 8.7
    - Years on the air: 2017–present

    Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has garnered enough major awards to leave no doubt as to its universal acclaim (Golden Globes or Emmys for the series, directing, writing, lead actress, supporting actress, and supporting actor). Rachel Brosnahan plays Midge Maisel, a 1950s–60s New York City housewife who breaks the confines of her gender role via stand-up comedy. Amazon renewed the wildly popular period dramedy for a fourth season.

  • #45. The Shield

    - IMDb user rating: 8.7
    - Years on the air: 2002–2008

    “The Shield” surpassed most prime-time cop shows by favoring shades of gray over clear-cut moralism. In a career-defining role, Michael Chiklis played the volatile, corrupt, and yet somehow principled leader of an elite Los Angeles detective squad. He won a Primetime Emmy for his performance after the first season.

  • #44. Oz

    - IMDb user rating: 8.7
    - Years on the air: 1997–2003

    HBO’s first one-hour drama, set in a maximum security prison, rewrote all the rules of television and set the table for the network’s future as the go-to destination for prestige television. While it’s a little rough around the edges by today’s standards, the show holds up as a gritty, uncompromising, character-driven look into life inside a correctional facility. J.K. Simmons gives a standout performance as an alpha-male white supremacist inmate.

  • #43. This Is Us

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

    This popular NBC dramedy from Dan Fogelman about three siblings struggling through adulthood is all about tugging heartstrings. Although some critics have found the proceedings too saccharine to recommend, the show has been nominated for, and has won, a number of awards in its first three seasons, and received nine nominations at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards (Sept. 22, 2019). The fourth season aired two days later on Sept. 24.

  • #42. BoJack Horseman

    - IMDb user rating: 8.7
    - Years on the air: 2014–2020

    In this animated Netflix series, a former sitcom star voiced by Will Arnett attempts to reignite his showbiz career. Oh, and he happens to be an anthropomorphized horse. While many reviewers found the show’s first season too short on laughs to justify its bizarre premise, subsequent seasons added surprising depth to the BoJack character and drew acclaim from audiences and critics alike.

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  • #41. 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 nine seasons of the show. The 10th season is currently airing.