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100 best TV shows of all time

  • #20. Arrested Development

    - IMDb user rating: 8.8
    - Years on the air: 2003–2006, 2013–2019

    Debuting in 2003 and revived in 2013 by Netflix, the quirky comedy “Arrested Development” followed the dysfunctional Bluth family as they navigated life after the family patriarch was imprisoned. Starring Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, Portia De Rossi, and Jessica Walter, the critically acclaimed show won six Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, though it was canceled due to low ratings on Fox in 2006. Some critics have said that “30 Rock” and “Community” were inspired by the show’s offbeat sensibility.

  • #19. Narcos

    - IMDb user rating: 8.8
    - Years on the air: 2015–2018

    One of the most popular original shows on Netflix, “Narcos” was a gripping drama that followed the real-life stories of the Colombian drug trade of the late 1980s. While seasons one and two focused on the infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, season three picked up after his fall and the rise of Cali Cartel. The series has been nominated for a number of awards, and spawned a spinoff in Narcos: Mexico. 

  • #18. The Office (U.S.)

    - IMDb user rating: 8.8
    - Years on the air: 2005–2013

    Based on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s hit BBC show, the American version starred Steve Carell as the well-meaning but painfully awkward boss of the Dunder-Mifflin paper company. The show turned Carell, who up until then was best known as a “Daily Show” correspondent, into a household name and led to a film career.

  • #17. House of Cards

    - IMDb user rating: 8.8
    - Years on the air: 2013–2018

    “House of Cards,” which is often referenced as the case study for Netflix and the new era of television developed based on “big data,” was an adaptation of the 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name. The acclaimed political thriller, which starred Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, suspended production after allegations of sexual assault and harassment came out against Spacey, then severed ties with the actor for good. Its final season dropped in November 2018.

  • #16. Stranger Things

    - IMDb user rating: 8.8
    - 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.

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  • #15. Gravity Falls

    - IMDb user rating: 8.9
    - Years on the air: 2012–2016

    The fictional town of Gravity Falls, Ore., is the setting of this popular Disney television show by Alex Hirsch. Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal provide the voices of twins who are dropped off at the home of their great uncle Grunkle Stan, which eventually leads to hijinks in the strange and supernatural town. The show ended after two seasons but is still beloved for its charm, animation style, and appeal to all ages.

  • #14. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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

    When fans of Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” were looking for a new voice of reason when he retired in 2015, John Oliver was there. Oliver, who won an Emmy for his work on “The Daily Show,” now serves as host of his own popular weekly primetime show on HBO. It has been nominated for, and has won, a number of awards.

  • #13. Fargo

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

    Based on the Coen brothers film of the same name, “Fargo” is a darkly comedic anthology show about quirky characters in small towns. The award-winning series has received top marks from critics for its originality and dedication to the absurd.

  • #12. Friends

    - IMDb user rating: 8.9
    - Years on the air: 1994–2004

    When Joey, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, and Phoebe—played by the unforgettable ensemble cast of Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, and Lisa Kudrow—got together in “Friends,” it was television magic. One of the most popular sitcoms of all time, the show earned 62 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002. It launched the TV and film careers of all of its cast members, and sparked the short-lived spinoff, “Joey.”

  • #11. The Twilight Zone

    - IMDb user rating: 9.0
    - Years on the air: 1959–1964, 1985–1989, 2002–2003, 2019–present

    Rod Serling’s iconic, critically acclaimed “The Twilight Zone” series took on issues of prejudice, war, government, and morality. Blending fantasy, thriller, and science fiction, many of the themes and lessons from the memorable (albeit super creepy) storylines resonate today. While the original black-and-white, Serling-led series ran from 1959 to 1964, the first reboot arrived in 1985, followed by other revivals and a film version produced by Steven Spielberg in 1983.

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