Chuck Connors wears a cowboy hat as Lucas McCain on 'The Rifleman.'

Best TV show released the year you were born

Written by:
October 1, 2021
Silver Screen Collection // Getty Images

Best TV show released the year you were born

The past 20 years or so are known as the "New Golden Age of Television," or "Peak TV." Options abound for great TV—from network and cable channels to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+—there's a little something on the small screen for everyone these days, and there looks to be no end in sight.

While not every year of television has been part of either the first (1940s–1950s) or current Golden Age, there have always been outstanding and award-winning shows. Between the comedic brilliance of Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy" and Westerns like "The Rifleman" to contemporary favorites like "Game of Thrones" and "Stranger Things", TV has produced a wealth of noteworthy programs.

With the recent proliferation of on-demand and streaming, we have access to a variety of domestic and international series now more than ever—whether full runs, limited, or anthology. The best part of enjoying these shows (or reviewing them) is that we need not be present at the original time of airing, with the option to watch days, weeks, months, and even years after the fact.

Stacker has compiled a list of the best TV shows released over the last 70 years, pulling data from IMDb and ranking series by user ratings. To be considered, shows from 1950 to 1989 had to have at least 1,000 IMDb user votes, and shows from 1990 to 2019 had to have at least 5,000 user votes. Any shows that shared top ratings for a single year were chosen based on which had the most IMDb votes. The year 1953 had to be calculated using a lower vote threshold since there were no shows with 1,000 user votes or more. The ratings were current as of January 29, 2020.

Taking it all the way from 1950 to 2019, keep reading to discover the top shows for each year.

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1950: What's My Line? (1950–1967)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 1,272
- Stars: John Daly, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen

One of the longest-running game shows in prime time network television, "What's My Line?" captivated audiences by having a panel of leading professionals ask contestants yes or no questions to determine their occupation. There was always a celebrity mystery guest, and panelists were required to don a blindfold while the celebs attempted to disguise their voices.

1951: I Love Lucy (1951–1957)

- IMDb rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 21,400
- Stars: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

Long before women comedians were the norm, Lucille Ball was keeping viewers in stitches with her crazy antics and perfectly-timed wit. With her sidekick, Ethel (Vivian Vance), and real-life husband Desi Arnaz, Lucy's weekly escapades were always a hoot, and the series has remained a favorite through the years.

1952: Adventures of Superman (1952–1958)

- IMDb rating: 7.7
- IMDb user votes: 3,163
- Stars: George Reeves, Noel Neill, John Hamilton, Bill Kennedy

Running from 1952 to 1958, the series featuring the Man of Steel was one of the first shows to bring superheroes directly into people's homes. Episodes aired in black and white for the first two years, then went to color for the final four. Actor George Reeves made history as the first "real" Superman, which inspired the feature film "Hollywoodland," a dramatization of the creation of the show and of Reeves, who died in 1959.

1953: Person to Person (1953–1961)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 116
- Stars: Edward R. Murrow, Charles Collingwood

While it might seem like celebrity interviews started with Jack Paar and "The Tonight Show," "Person to Person" was actually one of the first popular television talk shows. Originally hosted by Edward R. Murrow, the show's weekly guests included the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, and John F. Kennedy. The show made a brief attempt at reviving in 2012, starring co-stars Charlie Rose and Lara Logan.

1954: The Magical World of Disney (1954–1997)

- IMDb rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 1,566
- Stars: Walt Disney, Paul Frees, Clarence Nash, Slim Pickens

"The Magical World of Disney," which aired under several names over the course of its broadcast, was intended as a prelude to Disneyland resort. Episodes highlighted places such as Adventureland and Frontierland, with everything from documentaries on Disney films to cartoons to musical acts. The show became a staple for families across America and is just another example of the many ways Walt Disney made his brand a household name.

1955: Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962)

- IMDb rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 14,171
- Stars: Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams, Patricia Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock is widely considered one of the greatest directors of all time—so it's little wonder that the series was immensely popular. Each week, the episodes—some of which Hitchcock directed himself—told a different story, from dramas to thrillers to mysteries. It starred famous actors from both the big and small screen, including Robert Redford, Jessica Tandy, and Bette Davis.

1956: The Gumby Show (1956–1969)

- IMDb rating: 7
- IMDb user votes: 1,346
- Stars: Bobby Nicholson, Dal McKennon, Norma MacMillan, Art Clokey

It might seem hard to believe that a piece of green clay could become a beloved animated character, but "The Gumby Show" became an iconic part of television history. Gumby explores the world with his best friend, Pokey, a flesh-colored horse with googly eyes and a sweet demeanor. The series developed a huge following of children and adults alike, expanding to a line of toys and games, as well as a movie in 1995.

1957: Have Gun - Will Travel (1957–1963)

- IMDb rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 2,220
- Stars: Richard Boone, Kam Tong, Hal Needham, Stewart East

Westerns were a common genre for television in the '50s, and "Have Gun - Will Travel" was one of the best. The cerebral gunslinger Paladin makes his way around the country, getting paid large amounts of money to do pretty much anything his clients might need and always finishing the job with flourish. The show became the inspiration for a radio series of the same name, which ran from 1958 to 1960.

1958: The Rifleman (1958–1963)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 2,970
- Stars: Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix, Joe Benson

Another famous Western series, "The Rifleman" is the story of a rancher trying to make it in the Wild West of the 1880s. Chuck Connors stars as Lucas McCain, who battles outlaws, brings justice to the frontier, and never seems to miss a shot with his trusty Winchester rifle—all while raising his son alone. Surprisingly, the show also became popular in Russia and was one of the few American television series permitted there during that time.

1959: The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

- IMDb rating: 9
- IMDb user votes: 67,242
- Stars: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

The memorable and somewhat chilling voice of Rod Serling was always the introduction to these unusual and often frightening sci-fi tales, which took regular people on extraordinary journeys. While the series itself only ran from 1959 to 1964, it spawned a franchise of movies as well as two revivals: one in the 1980s and a new one, hosted by Jordan Peele, that aired on CBS All Access.

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1960: The Bugs Bunny Show (1960–1975)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 30,348
- Stars: Mel Blanc, June Foray, Jim Backus, Bea Benaderet

From 1960 to 1975, the animated series "The Bugs Bunny Show" was a prime time favorite, featuring the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies characters. Created by Warner Brothers and originally with the voice of Mel Blanc, Bugs has remained one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, outpaced only by Mickey Mouse.

1961: The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 8,266
- Stars: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam

Winner of 15 Emmy Awards during its five-year run, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was a sitcom that took viewers into the life and home of television writer Rob Petrie, played by Dick Van Dyke. Mary Tyler Moore played Petrie's wife, and the show helped launch both actors into what would become long and illustrious careers.

1962: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962–1965)

- IMDb rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 3,647
- Stars: Alfred Hitchcock, Hinton Pope, Jimmy Joyce, Lew Brown

Originally the 30-minute series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," the show was renamed "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" when it was extended to a full one-hour time slot. Featuring Hitchcock's same penchant for dark mystery, the show ran from 1962 to 1965.

1963: The Outer Limits (1963–1965)

- IMDb rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 6,929
- Stars: Bob Johnson, Ben Wright, William Douglas, Robert Culp

This sci-fi favorite came on the heels of "The Twilight Zone," offering a deeper look into alien dark forces and outer space. Created by writer-producers Leslie Stevens and Joseph Stefano, the one-hour series ran for only two years, but earned a huge fan base that still stands today. In 1995, the series was revived by Showtime, eventually ending up on Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel), where it aired until 2002.

1964: The Addams Family (1964–1966)

- IMDb rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 13,525
- Stars: John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy

"The Addams Family" got its start as the cartoon creation of Charles Addams for The New Yorker magazine. Featuring John Astin and Carolyn Jones as the bizarre Gomez and Morticia Addams, alongside their equally odd children, Pugsley and Wednesday, the family's ghoulish ways displaced the notion of the traditional nuclear family while still being eminently lovable. The series ran from only 1964 to 1966, but spawned a cartoon series, as well as feature and television movies.

1965: The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974)

- IMDb rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 1,125
- Stars: Dean Martin, Sandahl Bergman, Dom DeLuise, Norm Crosby

Rat Pack crooner Dean Martin hosted this television variety show, which ran from 1965 to 1974. A combination of song medleys, skits, and comedy sketches, Martin brought in guest stars such as Liberace, Dom DeLuise, Bob Newhart, and John Wayne. Each week, the laid-back Martin would open the show by sliding down a fireman's pole, drink in hand, and his weekly celebrity guest was always a surprise to both audience and host.

1966: Star Trek (1966–1969)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 70,208
- Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols

"Star Trek" debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons, but no one could have anticipated that it would go where few TV shows have gone. The enormously successful franchise for both television and film even generated its own demographic, otherwise known as Trekkies. Starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk, the crew of the Starship Enterprise explored the galaxy and interacted with the various inhabitants they found.

1967: The Carol Burnett Show (1967–1978)

- IMDb rating: 8.8
- IMDb user votes: 4,522
- Stars: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner

With a tug on her earlobe and a rollicking sense of humor, Carol Burnett kept viewers laughing from 1967 to 1978. The comedy show included skits performed by Burnett and her co-stars, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway, as well as a variety of celebrity guests. Burnett was honored at the 2019 Golden Globes as the first recipient of the Carol Burnett Award, celebrating the highest level of achievement in television.

1968: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 6,890
- Stars: Fred Rogers, Betty Aberlin, David Newell, Joe Negri

Teaching the world at large what it really means to be a good neighbor, "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" wasn't just an educational children's show; it was also a quiet slice of social commentary that addressed current events and sent a message of peace and acceptance to adults and children alike. Creator and star Fred Rogers became known for his soft-spoken demeanor and intelligent dialogue, treating children with respect while maintaining a sense of wonder about the world. In 2018, a documentary about Rogers went on to win a variety of awards, including a Critics' Choice Award.

1969: Sesame Street (1969–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 11,522
- Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, Jerry Nelson

PBS's "Sesame Street," which debuted in 1969, is an educational children's series that has woven itself firmly into the fabric of American culture. Lovable characters such as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Elmo help children learn songs and rhymes, play counting games, and explore other languages. The recipient of over 80 Emmys, the show continues to thrive. It moved to HBO in 2015, with episodes also still appearing on PBS.

1970: NFL Monday Night Football (1970–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 1,319
- Stars: Frank Gifford, Al Michaels, Howard Cosell, Dan Dierdorf

"Monday Night Football" became part of ABC's weekly lineup in 1970, shortly after the New York Jets were the first American Football League team to win the Super Bowl. The show has remained an American staple, currently airing on ESPN.

1971: All in the Family (1971–1979)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 13,423
- Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers

The '70s were a time of radical social change, and "All in the Family" told the story of a working-class family that consisted of a bigoted father, a downtrodden mother, and their progressive daughter and son-in-law. The show managed to expose issues relating to race relations, war, poverty, and politics, combining humor with a realistic look at America's melting pot and struggles that went beyond stereotypes.

1972: M*A*S*H (1972–1983)

- IMDb rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 48,776
- Stars: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr

Set during the Korean War, "M*A*S*H" was much more than a war series. Based on the novel and movie of the same name, the show focused on the lives of the doctors and patients of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Alternately hilarious and poignant, the doctors struggled to escape the terrible things they witnessed daily while treating wounded soldiers.

1973: Match Game (1973–1969)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 1,623
- Stars: Gene Rayburn, Johnny Olson, Brett Somers, Richard Dawson

This comedy game show originally premiered in 1962 on NBC, running until 1969. It was revived on CBS in 1973 with a different format and higher cash stakes. The new formula proved to be a success, with contestants trying to answer a series of questions, often with hilarious results. The show has enjoyed a number of resurgences over the years on various networks.

1974: Nova (1974–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 2,194
- Stars: Jay O. Sanders, Craig Sechler, Lance Lewman, Will Lyman

First airing in 1974, the long-running PBS documentary series focuses on science, nature, and history. The award-winning show has covered topics such as volcanic eruptions, global warming, the Great Pyramids, space exploration, and evolution.

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1975: Ellery Queen (1975–1976)

- IMDb rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 1,089
- Stars: Jim Hutton, David Wayne, Tom Reese, John Hillerman

Everyone likes a good whodunit, and the "Ellery Queen" series proved to be one of the most popular shows of its time. Starring Jim Hutton as the famous sleuth, each week the show brought a new murder and mystery to solve. It ran for only one season, but devotees can still catch episodes via Amazon's streaming services.

1976: SCTV (1976–1981)

- IMDb rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 1,986
- Stars: Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Dave Thomas

Canadian comedy series "Second City Television," or "SCTV," initially ran from 1976 to 1981. Its storylines all took place at a fictitious TV station, with various skits that consisted of news pieces, commercials, game shows, and sitcoms. First produced in Toronto, running from 1976 to 1981, it made a successful leap to American television via NBC, where it ran until 1983 as "SCTV Network," and then "SCTV Channel" from 1983 to '84.

1977: Soap (1977–1981)

- IMDb rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 5,655
- Stars: Katherine Helmond, Rod Roddy, Richard Mulligan, Cathryn Damon

A satirical look at daytime soap operas, "Soap," written and created by producer Susan Harris, ran on ABC from 1977 to 1981. Telling the story of the wealthy Tate family and their working-class relatives, the series provided a smart, humorous, and sometimes dark view of the human condition. Actor Billy Crystal played an openly gay man, which was controversial at the time, but became a breakout role that catapulted his career.

1978: The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show (1978–1985)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 1,726
- Stars: Mel Blanc, June Foray, Larry Storch

Bugs Bunny brings back all his friends in this popular '70s animated series. With classic cartoons from Bugs and the gang, as well as the notorious Road Runner trying to escape Wile E. Coyote, the show was a merging of "The Bugs Bunny Show" with the Saturday morning series "The Road Runner."

1979: SportsCenter (1979–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 2,191
- Stars: Neil Everett, Jalen Rose, Jenn Brown, Antonietta Collins

Premiering on ESPN in 1979, "SportsCenter" quickly became one of the most-watched sports series on television. The show features highlights from various sporting events, as well as commentary, interviews, and game previews. It can be seen daily on ESPN and is newly available on the ESPN app.

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1980: Cosmos (1980)

- IMDb rating: 9.3
- IMDb user votes: 34,694
- Stars: Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn, Alan Belod

The PBS documentary series "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" explored the universe with creator and host Carl Sagan. Winner of two Emmys and a Peabody Award, it has been broadcast in more than 60 countries and remains popular today. The series was revived by producer and actor Seth MacFarlane in 2014 and was nominated for 12 Emmys in its first season. New episodes can be seen on the National Geographic channel.

1981: SCTV Network (1981–1983)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 1,518
- Stars: John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin

NBC took on this popular Canadian comedy show in 1981, and it quickly gained a big following. It went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program in both 1982 and 1983 and helped actor John Candy make the leap to the big screen.

1982: Police Squad! (1982)

- IMDb rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 15,148
- Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Alan North, Rex Hamilton, Ed Williams

The comedic genius of Leslie Nielsen shines in this short-lived but hilarious spoof on police shows. The series played off of serious police dramas, poking fun via slapstick, gags, and silly commentary. While the show made it through only six episodes before being canceled, it did go on to become the premise of "The Naked Gun" film franchise in the late '80s and early '90s.

1983: The Joy of Painting (1983–1994)

- IMDb rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 3,982
- Stars: Bob Ross, Steve Ross, Dana Jester, Peep

In this PBS series that aired from 1983 to 1994, painter Bob Ross taught viewers how to create beautiful oil landscapes with step-by-step instructions that made it look all too easy. The show won three Emmys over the years and can still be seen on Hulu.

1984: Jeopardy! (1984–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 5,602
- Stars: Alex Trebek, Johnny Gilbert, Jimmy McGuire, Sarah Whitcomb Foss

Still a much-watched game show, "Jeopardy!" first aired from 1964 to 1975, then came back permanently in 1984. Longtime host Alex Trebek, who became almost a member of many households, guided contestants as they competed to find the questions that go with the presented answers until he passed away from pancreatic cancer in November 2020.

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1985: Robotech (1985)

- IMDb rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 3,287
- Stars: Robert Axelrod, Bill Capizzi, Frank Catalano, Richard Epcar

An American adaptation of three similar Japanese anime series, "Robotech" aired in 1985, showing a futuristic view of a world where robot technology is created from the ruins of an alien battleship that crash lands on earth. The series can be available for streaming via Amazon Prime and Netflix.

1986: At the Movies (1986–2010)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 1,773
- Stars: Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Richard Roeper, Michael Phillips

Offering what became their trademark "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" for newly released movies, critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel gave weekly rundowns of the latest films. The series was nominated for several Emmys and ran from 1986 to 2010, with Ebert hosting the show on his own after Siskel passed away in 1999.

1987: Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 94,871
- Stars: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton

A continuation of the "Star Trek" franchise, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" made its debut in 1987. It starred Patrick Stewart as the fearless Jean-Luc Picard, leading his crew on new adventures aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. The series ran from 1987 to 1994 and can be available to watch on Netflix.

1988: Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988–1999)

- IMDb rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 22,577
- Stars: Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy

In what could easily be considered one of the most unusual show premises of all time, an innocent janitor is taken hostage by two crazed scientists and forced to watch sci-fi movies. The janitor builds himself some robot companions to keep him company, and the group interjects their own funny commentary and opinions into the movies they watch. The show originally was on from 1988 to 1996, and creator Joel Hodgson ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to renew the series at Netflix in 2017.

1989: Seinfeld (1989–1998)

- IMDb rating: 8.8
- IMDb user votes: 242,558
- Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander

Running for nine seasons on NBC and depicted as a "show about nothing," this series starred comedian Jerry Seinfeld as himself, navigating daily life in New York with his friends and cohorts. The show had an incredible influence on American culture, with its quirky themes and dialogue, and was nominated for a total of 68 Emmys. Episodes can be available on TBS and for streaming on Hulu.

1990: Northern Exposure (1990–1995)

- IMDb rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 14,565
- Stars: Rob Morrow, Janine Turner, Barry Corbin, John Cullum

"Northern Exposure" tells the story of Dr. Joel Fleischman, a big-city doctor who ends up working in a remote Alaska town. Surrounded by a host of strange and unusual characters, Fleischman, played by Rob Morrow, initially can't wait to get back to New York, but finds himself growing attached to the community and its odd inhabitants.

1991: The Adventures of Tintin (1991–1992)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 16,227
- Stars: Colin O'Meara, Thierry Wermuth, Christian Pellissier, Henri Labussière

Based on a series of books by Belgian cartoonist Georges Prosper Remi, "The Adventures of Tintin" ran for three seasons on HBO. Telling the story of a young reporter and his best friend and furry sidekick, Snowy, the animated series takes the two on heroic exploits and adventures. The books were not as popular in the U.S. as they were in Europe, but the television show was nominated for several awards. It inspired a 3D computer-animated movie of the same name in 2011.

1992: Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995)

- IMDb rating: 9
- IMDb user votes: 82,506
- Stars: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Robert Hastings

"Batman: The Animated Series" ran from 1992 to 1995, bringing to life a favorite hero of DC comic books. Portraying the same level of darkness as was seen in Tim Burton's feature film versions of the Caped Crusader, the show offered as much for adults as it did for kids. Episodes can be available to stream on the Warner Brothers digital service, DC Universe.

1993: The X-Files (1993–2018)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 191,967
- Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis

FBI agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) investigate alien activity in this long-running series. Created by writer-producer Chris Carter, the series was nominated for 61 Emmys and won 15. The series, which ran from 1993 to 2002, came back for another season in 2016, and had its final season in 2018. Fans can still stream the series on Hulu or catch episodes on Fox.

1994: Friends (1994–2004)

- IMDb rating: 8.9
- IMDb user votes: 765,916
- Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc

Another sitcom series that had a permanent impact on American culture, "Friends" debuted on NBC in 1994 and portrayed six young 20-somethings trying to make their way in New York City. Created by writer and producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the show ran for 10 seasons and was nominated for 62 Emmys, although it only won a total of six.

1995: Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995–1998)

- IMDb rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 8,486
- Stars: Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis, Jay Johnston

This comedy series appeared on HBO from 1995 to 1998, and featured an ensemble cast and often bizarre comedic skits. In addition to hosts Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, the show's rotating cast members included a variety of comedians and writers, including Jack Black, Sarah Silverman, and Tom Kenny. All four seasons can be streamed via Amazon Prime.

1996: Dragon Ball Z (1996–2003)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 64,241
- Stars: Doc Harris, Christopher Sabat, Scott McNeil, Sean Schemmel

Getting its start as a popular Japanese anime series, "Dragon Ball Z" premiered in the U.S. in 1996, and continued on Cartoon Network from 1998 to 2003. With some help from his friends, young hero Goku fights to defend the earth from a variety of creatures and villains. In addition to the animated series, the "Dragon Ball" franchise included movies, video games, and two sequel television shows.

1997: South Park (1997–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 320,092
- Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Mona Marshall

Irreverent, crass, and always funny, no one was safe from the special brand of humor of "South Park." Created by writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the animated (but not for children) show depicts the life of kids Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman, while also mocking celebrities, politicians, and public figures on a regular basis. Premiering in 1997, it continues to amuse and offend audiences everywhere, with current seasons showing on Comedy Central.

1998: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1998–2007)

- IMDb rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 39,088
- Stars: Drew Carey, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady

Adapted from the British television series of the same name, this comedy improv show ran from 1998 to 2007. Hosted by Drew Carey, each episode consisted of four performers who created skits, songs, and games via prompts from the audience or Carey. Two of the cast members, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles, also appeared in the U.K. series. Episodes can be found on The CW network's streaming service, CW Seed.

1999: The Sopranos (1999–2007)

- IMDb rating: 9.2
- IMDb user votes: 279,411
- Stars: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

This HBO hit (in more ways than one) show debuted in 1999 to raves. It showcased the lives of mob boss Tony Soprano and his family as he takes to therapy to deal with the stress of being both a criminal and a family man. Created by writer David Chase, the series ran until 2007. Full seasons can be available via streaming on Amazon Prime.

2000: Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 96,663
- Stars: Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman

Dealing with all of life's little annoyances in the worst way possible, "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David plays himself in this HBO comedy series. Winner of several awards and nominated for hundreds more, the show took a six-year hiatus between 2011 and 2017, and after a successful ninth season, it is currently in production for season 10.

2001: Six Feet Under (2001–2005)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 116,495
- Stars: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose

An HBO drama series about a family who owns a funeral home, "Six Feet Under" ran from 2001 to 2005. The show received extensive acclaim, winning nine Emmys, three SAG awards, and a Peabody. It ca be available for streaming via Amazon Prime and Hulu.

2002: The Wire (2002–2008)

- IMDb rating: 9.3
- IMDb user votes: 268,620
- Stars: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce

HBO just kept getting it right with yet another successful series. "The Wire," a gritty drama about the lives of law officers, drug dealers, and addicts in Baltimore, aired from 2002 to 2008. Written and created by former police reporter David Simon, the show maintained a steady following despite never winning any awards. Episodes can be streamed via Amazon Prime and Hulu.

2003: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2003–2008)

- IMDb rating: 9.2
- IMDb user votes: 218,088
- Stars: Dee Bradley Baker, Zach Tyler, Mae Whitman, Jack De Sena

An animated series that appeared on Nickelodeon, "Avatar: The Last Airbender" tells the story of Aang, a young boy gifted with the ability to manipulate and control air. Together with his friends, he fights to bring peace to his world, a place where the elements of air, fire, earth, and water rule. The series won several awards, including an Emmy and a Peabody, and inspired the live-action movie, "The Last Airbender."

2004: House (2004–2012)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 398,869
- Stars: Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jesse Spencer

Combining medicine, mystery, and some good old-fashioned sleuthing, "House" was a medical drama series that had an eight-season run on Fox. The show starred Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, whose often controversial methods left him at odds with the hospital and staff. The good doctor always seemed to be right in the end, however, diagnosing complex conditions that other staff missed. The show received numerous awards, including five Emmys and two Golden Globes.

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2005: The Office (2005–2013)

- IMDb rating: 8.9
- IMDb user votes: 361,295
- Stars: Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson

The American version of the BBC series of the same name, "The Office" debuted in 2005 and ran for nine seasons. Showing a comedic view of office life for the employees at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, the series turbocharged the careers of several actors, including Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Mindy Kaling.

2006: Dexter (2006–2013)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 623,963
- Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar

"Dexter" is a series about one of the most likable serial killers to ever grace the small screen. Played by Michael C. Hall, Dexter is a killer with a conscience. He can't prevent himself from wanting to murder, but keeps his desires in check by taking out only the bad guys. Adapted from the novel "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" by Jeff Lindsey, the show was created by writer James Manos Jr. and ran from 2006 to 2013. Full seasons can be available to watch on Netflix.

2007: Mad Men (2007–2015)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 196,439
- Stars: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones

Set in a 1960s New York ad agency, "Mad Men" explores the dynamics between ad executives, their work, and their families. Jon Hamm plays Don Draper, the complicated, conflicted, but brilliant creative director of a successful agency. The show ran for seven seasons on AMC. Episodes can be viewed on Netflix or via AMC Premiere.

2008: Breaking Bad (2008–2013)

- IMDb rating: 9.5
- IMDb user votes: 1,359,579
- Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

A high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides the only way to leave his family financially solvent is to run his own underground meth lab. Starring Bryan Cranston as Walter White, the show ran on AMC for five seasons and won 16 Emmys. The entire series can be available on Netflix.

2009: Archer (2009–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 131,885
- Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell

This adult animated series debuted on the FX network in 2009, featuring the somewhat questionable adventures of secret agent Sterling Archer and his motley associates. Created and written by Adam Reed, the show was moved to FX's other network, FXX in 2017, and aired season 10 on that network in 2019.

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2010: Sherlock (2010–2017)

- IMDb rating: 9.1
- IMDb user votes: 764,931
- Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves

This BBC-produced series is a modern-day take on the famed London sleuth created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The show ran from 2010 to 2017 with actor Benedict Cumberbatch playing the role of Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. The series won several awards and while there has yet to be a confirmation, rumor has it fans just might get a fifth season.

2011: Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

- IMDb rating: 9.3
- IMDb user votes: 1,679,823
- Stars: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey

Based on the best-selling book series by George R. R. Martin, "Game of Thrones" debuted on HBO in 2011. Featuring the bloody battles and dark espionage of several noble families as they try to claim the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, the series has been nominated for 47 Emmys. Its final season ran in 2019 on HBO.

2012: Gravity Falls (2012–2016)

- IMDb rating: 8.9
- IMDb user votes: 64,624
- Stars: Jason Ritter, Alex Hirsch, Kristen Schaal, Linda Cardellini

Disney's animated series "Gravity Falls" ran from 2012 to 2016. The story of two siblings who spend the summer with their great-uncle amidst spooky and supernatural happenings, the show won two Emmys during its run and was nominated for several other awards.

2013: Rick and Morty (2013–present)

- IMDb rating: 9.2
- IMDb user votes: 341,044
- Stars: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, Sarah Chalke

Part of Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" lineup, Rick and Morty features the animated adventures of a mad scientist and his grandson as they divide their time between family life and traveling to other planets and dimensions. The series is in its fourth season and is currently available on Hulu and on Adult Swim's streaming service.

2014: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014)

- IMDb rating: 9.3
- IMDb user votes: 105,745
- Stars: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stoney Emshwiller, Piotr Michael, André Sogliuzzo

A follow-up to the acclaimed PBS series, "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" was a science-based documentary show that ran from March to June 2014. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the show explores various facets of the universe, to include the planets, astronomy, light, and man's evolution.

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2015: Narcos (2015–2017)

- IMDb rating: 8.8
- IMDb user votes: 333,034
- Stars: Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook, Alberto Ammann

This Netflix series about the Colombian drug cartel tells the story of the infamous Pablo Escobar, who made billions off the cocaine trade, and the DEA's fight to shut down his cartel and its competitors. Actor Wagner Moura plays Escobar, a role that earned him his first Golden Globe nomination. The series ran for three seasons, with Netflix creating a spin-off titled "Narcos: Mexico," which premiered in 2018.

2016: Stranger Things (2016–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.8
- IMDb user votes: 743,325
- Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour

Another successful Netflix original, "Stranger Things" is the creation of the Duffer Brothers, who also wrote the Warner Bros. horror film "Hidden." Part sci-fi, part horror, the story starts with the disappearance of a young boy and the eerie events that follow. Premiering in 2016, the series released a third season in 2019 with a fourth forthcoming in 2022.

2017: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 68,625
- Stars: Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhoub

Renewed for a third season, Amazon's hilarious series about a young divorcee trying to make it as a comedian in 1950s New York has become a major hit for Amazon Studios. Armed with nothing more than an unflinching, confessional sense of humor, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) struggles to find her way in the male-dominated world of comedy while navigating life as a newly single mom. The first and second seasons can be made available on Amazon Prime.

2018: The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 147,087
- Stars: Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser

Created by writer and director Mike Flanagan, known for horror films such as "Hush" and "Ouija," Netflix's "The Haunting of Hill House" promises terror and doesn't disappoint. The series, an adaptation of the novel by Shirley Jackson, follows a family who moves to Hill House to renovate and flip it, only to find themselves in the thick of paranormal events that follow them long after they leave the house behind.

2019: The Mandalorian (2019–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 172,706
- Stars: Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Rio Hackford, Gina Carano

"The Mandalorian" was released on streaming platform Disney+ in November 2019 and created by Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan in "Iron Man" and "Avengers"; producer/director of "The Lion King" remake). Set in the time frame a few years after "Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi" and 25 years before "Episode VII—The Force Awakens," Pedro Pascal ("Narcos") stars as the titular bounty hunter with questionable morals navigating the galaxy between the fall of the Empire and the rise of the First Order. Of course, he does so while protecting the memeable Baby Yoda. Season one received a 95% consensus from Rotten Tomatoes, and the first live action "Star Wars" series will premiere a second season in late 2020.

2020: Ted Lasso (2020–present)

- IMDb rating: 8.8
- IMDb user votes: 89,850
- Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Stephen Manas, Hannah Waddingham

This charming comedy, which follows a small-time football coach named Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), was the show the world needed during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States in 2020. The enthusiastic Lasso is hired in a small act of subterfuge to take over coaching for a struggling, professional soccer team in England even though he has no soccer-coaching experience whatsoever. Delivering high doses of positivity and wholesomeness, the unremarkable premise delivers remarkably on plot, acting, writing, and—maybe most importantly in today's climate—overall good vibes.

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