I included one show that I haven’t seen on this list as an ode to everything I haven’t seen, but there are a bunch that I still haven’t seen and therefore was unable to rank. With that said, here are the honorable mentions that I haven’t seen:
Now onto my list:
10. Game of Thrones
I’ve never seen Game of Thrones in full – just a couple episodes here and there – but it’s the show I haven’t seen that makes it on the list. It’s one of the most watched shows ever, and aside from the final season, there doesn’t seem to be a complaint about it anywhere. HBO came to the rescue, as it was really the only network that would have been able to give the show a home, what with the rampant sex, violence, and language that happens throughout.
9. The Office (U.S.)
As much as it pains me to further glorify everyone who makes liking The Office their main personality trait, I think the fact that there are more people would say they love The Office than voted in the last election speaks for itself. It’s funny with lovable characters, and it’s the most famous sit-com since Seinfeld. Sure, it fell off after Michael left, but there’s some really great television packed in before that happens, so it’s more than earned it’s spot on this list.
8. South Park
Matt Stone and Trey Parker created a masterpiece, and it still remains brilliant all the way through its twenty-five seasons. The Simpsons fell off hard, and even though Family Guy can still be entertaining, there’s no denying that it has gone well past its prime. South Park on the other hand has remained relevant since its release, and the quality has remained consistent for more than twenty years. It’s rare that any show can stay great through its entire run, but there’s no doubt Stone and Parker will stop making episodes before they let it become shitty TV.
7. Stranger Things
There may be some recency bias in this ranking with the new season’s debut happening just a week ago, but Stranger Things is one of the most widely appealing shows to ever come along. The main characters being young makes it easily digestible for younger viewers, and since the language and gore factors aren’t terrible (I’m not saying that a six-year-old could watch it), it means that anyone from middle school on can enjoy the humor and handle the fear. Couple that with a brilliantly written story that engages older viewers, and you’ve got an absolutely amazing show.
Though I think Curb Your Enthusiasm is a much funnier show, the real genius comes from Larry David’s first child: Seinfeld. It paved the way for cable TV as we know it today, and yet nothing better – no, not Friends, not The Office, not anything – has come along since. The “show about nothing” hasn’t faded from widespread love almost twenty-five years after the series finale. It was great all the way through, and it holds up better than any show ending before the year 2000 ever has.
5. Peaky Blinders
It’s violent, filled with nudity and the worst language imaginable, and it’s unbelievably entertaining. Every ounce of writing put into this show is genius, and the 1900s England setting gives an amazing backdrop for a great story. Tommy Shelby is definitely one of the coolest characters to ever grace the screen, and watching Cillian Murphy throughout the series is borderline addicting.
I don’t know if there’s ever been a better combination of comedy, mystery, drama, and thrill in a television show. Every actor in Succession is perfectly cast, and with brilliant writers, we’re consistently given some of the best on-screen chemistry in TV history. Combine all that with the insane abilities of the actors to ad-lib and improvise lines, and you get the best show on TV today. With only three seasons completed, there’s still time to get on the train for what is fast becoming one of the greatest of all time.
3. The Wire
Known for being the most accurate depictions of crime, police, and drugs ever, The Wire is the show that your uncle will tell you to watch your entire life, and even though he’s an asshole and you couldn’t care less what he has to think, when you eventually give it a go, you realize that he was right: it’s fucking brilliant. It’s odd to realize that the main character actually is the city of Baltimore (something that obnoxious fans will talk to you all day about), but it really fits the show and makes for great TV.
2. Breaking Bad
Walter White is probably the most famous TV character of the 21st Century, and there’s no doubt that Breaking Bad is one of, if not the most popular show of all time. Rooting for a meth dealer is something most people would never anticipate doing, but as sick and twisted as Walt gets, you can’t help but want him to come out on top the hole time. Plus, that end scene… it’s a freaking masterpiece.
1. The Sopranos
The Sopranos paved the way for TV as we know it. Pretty much every other show on this list doesn’t exist without David Chase’s brainchild. James Gandolfini is addicting to watch as the mobster in therapy, and think what you want about the infamous ending, but there’s no question The Sopranos is the GOAT. End of story.