TV at its Best

by theclintdavis | created - 05 Mar 2016 | updated - 6 days ago | Public

These shows raised the bar for television. They were ambitious, thoughtful and creative.

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1. The Sopranos (1999–2007)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama

New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life that affect his mental state, leading him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.

Stars: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

Votes: 259,391

2. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.

Stars: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

Votes: 62,935

3. Louie (2010–2015)

TV-MA | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

The life of Louie C.K., a divorced comedian living in New York with two kids.

Stars: Louis C.K., Hadley Delany, Ursula Parker, Pamela Adlon

Votes: 71,138

4. The Wire (2002–2008)

TV-MA | 59 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement.

Stars: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce

Votes: 251,313

5. 60 Minutes (1968– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary, News

The classic long-running prime time TV investigative news magazine.

Stars: Lesley Stahl, Andrew Rooney, Steve Kroft, Morley Safer

Votes: 2,796

6. Breaking Bad (2008–2013)

TV-MA | 49 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

Votes: 1,247,407

7. Oz (1997–2003)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants.

Stars: Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen, Dean Winters

Votes: 82,544

8. Seinfeld (1989–1998)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York City stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York City friends.

Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander

Votes: 229,508

9. The Simpsons (1989– )

TV-PG | 22 min | Animation, Comedy

The satiric adventures of a working-class family in the misfit city of Springfield.

Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer, Julie Kavner

Votes: 337,734

10. South Park (1997– )

TV-MA | 22 min | Animation, Comedy

Follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado.

Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Mona Marshall

Votes: 304,413

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

TV-MA | 27 min | Comedy

This is a sketch-comedy show. The twist here is that all of the sketches (even the monologue) are connected in some strange way.

Stars: Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis, Jay Johnston

Votes: 8,230

12. NYPD Blue (1993–2005)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Detectives from NYPD's 15th Precinct investigate homicides within their precinct.

Stars: Dennis Franz, Jimmy Smits, Gordon Clapp, James McDaniel

Votes: 10,733

13. Frontline (1983– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Documentary

Investigative journalist documentaries.

Stars: Will Lyman, Sarah Childress, Arun Rath, Priyanka Boghani

Votes: 1,401

14. American Masters (1985– )

TV-14 | 90 min | Documentary, Biography

Since its premiere in 1986, this Emmy-winning documentary series has presented hundreds of hours comprising profiles of outstanding American cultural artists. Past subjects have included ... See full summary »

Stars: Martin Scorsese, Tony Bennett, Peter Bogdanovich, Lee Grant

Votes: 672

15. American Experience (1988– )

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A series showcasing documentaries on American history.

Stars: David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Oliver Platt, Michael Murphy

Votes: 1,399

16. Mad Men (2007–2015)

TV-14 | 47 min | Drama

A drama about one of New York's most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm's most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper.

Stars: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones

Votes: 184,090

17. The Larry Sanders Show (1992–1998)

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy

A comedic behind the scenes look at a late night talk show.

Stars: Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, Wallace Langham, Rip Torn

Votes: 6,992

18. 30 for 30 (2009– )

60 min | Documentary, Biography, History

ESPN Films' 30 for 30 is an unprecedented documentary series featuring today's finest storytellers from inside and outside of the sports world. What started as a celebration of ESPN's 30th ... See full summary »

Stars: Ice Cube, Dick Vitale, Brent Musburger, Mike Tyson

Votes: 3,804

19. Fargo (2014– )

TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and murder in and around frozen Minnesota. Yet all of these tales mysteriously lead back one way or another to Fargo, North Dakota.

Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks

Votes: 280,295

20. Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

TV-MA | 57 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Nine noble families fight for control over the mythical lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for thousands of years.

Stars: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey

Votes: 1,580,143

21. Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019)

TV-MA | 59 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Convicted of a decade old crime of transporting drug money to an ex-girlfriend, normally law-abiding Piper Chapman is sentenced to a year and a half behind bars to face the reality of how life-changing prison can really be.

Stars: Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning, Emma Myles

Votes: 262,277

22. Six Feet Under (2001–2005)

TV-MA | 55 min | Comedy, Drama

A chronicle of the lives of a dysfunctional family who run an independent funeral home in Los Angeles.

Stars: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose

Votes: 111,904

23. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

TV-14 | 290 min | Drama, Thriller

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet Agent within MI6's echelons.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, George Sewell

Votes: 6,999

24. Pushing Daisies (2007–2009)

TV-PG | 44 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A pie-maker, with the power to bring dead people back to life, solves murder mysteries with his alive-again childhood sweetheart, a cynical private investigator, and a lovesick waitress.

Stars: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Jim Dale

Votes: 51,524

25. Tales of the City (1993)

Unrated | 360 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

The stories of several colorful characters living in San Francisco. Based on the book by Armistead Maupin (Is A Man I Dreamt Up).

Stars: Olympia Dukakis, Donald Moffat, Chloe Webb, Laura Linney

Votes: 2,874

26. The Temptations (1998)

150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Biography of the singers who formed the hit Motown musical act, The Temptations.

Stars: Charles Malik Whitfield, D.B. Woodside, Terron Brooks, Christian Payton

Votes: 3,680

27. Emma (2009)

240 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, to have a loving father whom she cares for, friends and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors ... See full summary »

Stars: Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, Jonny Lee Miller, Jodhi May

Votes: 13,627

28. The Hour (2011–2012)

60 min | Drama

A behind-the-scenes drama and espionage thriller in Cold War-era England that centers on a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman for an investigative news programme.

Stars: Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, Anna Chancellor

Votes: 8,954

29. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

TV-PG | 327 min | Drama, Romance

While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.

Stars: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Susannah Harker, Julia Sawalha

Votes: 68,978

30. How to Get Away with Murder (2014– )

TV-14 | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A group of ambitious law students and their brilliant criminal defense professor become involved in a twisted murder plot that promises to change the course of their lives.

Stars: Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King

Votes: 106,018

31. Better Call Saul (2015– )

TV-MA | 46 min | Crime, Drama

The trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer, Jimmy McGill, in the time leading up to establishing his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, Patrick Fabian

Votes: 255,678

32. Bodyguard (2018– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A contemporary thriller featuring the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London's Metropolitan Police Service.

Stars: Richard Madden, Sophie Rundle, Vincent Franklin, Ash Tandon

Votes: 70,606

33. Dekalog (1989–1990)

TV-MA | 572 min | Drama

100 Metascore

Ten television drama films, each one based on one of the Ten Commandments.

Stars: Artur Barcis, Olgierd Lukaszewicz, Aleksander Bardini, Olaf Lubaszenko

Votes: 18,921 | Gross: $0.10M

34. The Thorn Birds (1983)

460 min | Drama, Romance

In the arid 1920s Australian Outback, a Catholic priest and the beautiful granddaughter of a vast sheep station owner stand powerless before God's will, tormented by desire. How far are they willing to go in the name of love?

Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Christopher Plummer, Bryan Brown

Votes: 7,433

35. The Staircase (2004– )

TV-MA | 629 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

The high-profile murder trial of American novelist Michael Peterson following the death of his wife in 2001.

Stars: Michael Peterson, David Rudolf, Ron Guerette, Tom Maher

Votes: 13,603

36. The Night Of (2016)

TV-MA | 525 min | Crime, Drama

After a night of partying with a woman he picked up, a man wakes up to find her stabbed to death and is charged with her murder.

Stars: Riz Ahmed, John Turturro, Bill Camp, Amara Karan

Votes: 101,729

37. World on a Wire (1973– )

Not Rated | 212 min | Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi

76 Metascore

Somewhere in the future there is a computer project called Simulacron one of which is able to simulate a full featured reality, when suddenly project leader Henry Vollmer dies. His ... See full summary »

Stars: Klaus Löwitsch, Barbara Valentin, Mascha Rabben, Karl Heinz Vosgerau

Votes: 4,733

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

TV-PG | 23 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The Dark Knight battles crime in Gotham City with occasional help from Robin and Batgirl.

Stars: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings

Votes: 76,771

39. Sharpe's Eagle (1993 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 100 min | Action, Adventure, History

Sharpe is a Captain saddled with the South Essex, a battalion run by incompetents, and filled with soldiers who have never been in battle. When the South Essex loses its colors (its ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Clegg | Stars: Sean Bean, Assumpta Serna, Brian Cox, Daragh O'Malley

Votes: 2,769

40. Threads (1984 TV Movie)

112 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, War

92 Metascore

The effects of a nuclear holocaust on the working class city of Sheffield, England and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization.

Director: Mick Jackson | Stars: Karen Meagher, Reece Dinsdale, David Brierly, Rita May

Votes: 10,144

41. The Office (2001–2003)

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

The story of an office that faces closure when the company decides to downsize its branches. A documentary film crew follow staff and the manager David Brent as they continue their daily lives.

Stars: Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook, Lucy Davis

Votes: 88,227

42. Miranda (2009–2015)

30 min | Comedy

Socially inept Miranda always gets into awkward situations; working in her joke shop with best friend Stevie, being hounded by her pushy mother, and especially when she's around her crush Gary.

Stars: Miranda Hart, Patricia Hodge, Tom Ellis, Sarah Hadland

Votes: 11,210

43. Transparent (2014– )

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

An L.A. family with serious boundary issues have their past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone's secrets to spill out.

Stars: Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Duplass

Votes: 19,924

44. The Glass Menagerie (1973 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 100 min | Drama

Amanda Wingfield dominates her children with her faded gentility and exaggerated tales of her Southern belle past. Her son plans escape; her daughter withdraws into a dream world. When a "... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Harvey | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Sam Waterston, Joanna Miles, Michael Moriarty

Votes: 994

45. Wild Ireland: The Edge of the World (2017)

118 min | Documentary

Ireland's Wild Coastis a journey along one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, featuring the wildlife and wild places that makeitso special. Thisseries features Ireland's west coast and wildlife wonders.

Star: Colin Stafford-Johnson

Votes: 44

46. The Iceman Cometh (1960 TV Movie)

240 min | Drama

Theodore Hickman, a hardware salesman, makes by-yearly visits to Harry Hope's 1910-era waterfront bar for his periodical drinking binges. But on this visit he has decided to try to save the bar's patrons from their "lying pipe dreams."

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Jason Robards, Myron McCormick, Tom Pedi, James Broderick

Votes: 273



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