12 TV Shows That Are Often Called “The Best TV Show Ever”

This is such a subjective topic. While I’d love to share my thoughts on the best TV show ever, I thought it would be better to scour the internet to find out what, in your opinion, is the best show ever from a variety of fans.

These are the top 12 that came up most often or have the most upvotes. I’ve gotta say, I don’t find this list incredibly shocking – these are some really great TV shows!

The Wire

Sonja Sohn in The Wire (2002)
Image Credit: HBO.

I’m going to be honest with you here: this is the only show on this list I haven’t seen. An HBO show, the Wire was written and created by a former police reporter and it shows. Lauded for its realism, the Wire earned top ratings from both fans and critics when it came out and is considered by many to be one of the best shows ever made.

Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke HBO Game of Thrones Season 8 - Episode 6
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO.

I don’t know too many people who haven’t watched Game of Thrones. Although the series was rocky in a few places, especially once they caught up to the books, it told an amazing story overall. Some fans really hated the ending, but that hasn’t stopped GoT from being considered the best TV show ever by many of its fans.

Fun fact: Game of Thrones is also HBO’s most watched series, to date.


Central Perk cafe set from “Friends” TV show at Warner Brothers Studio in Los Angeles, California.
Image Credit: Mariia Illiashevych/Shutterstock.

A classic comfort show that’s still popular today, even with the younger generation, Friends is regarded as a favorite show by so many people. Even Prince Harry talks about binge watching the show in his book!

The Sopranos

The Sopranos
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO.

What The Sopranos did not just in the show, but for TV as a whole, has made a lasting impression. The series won 21 Emmy awards over the 6 season run and is often regarded as the show that cemented HBO’s reputation for delivering stunning 1 hour dramas.


Image Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment.

I recently re-watched Seinfeld and I can honestly say that it still holds up. What makes Seinfeld so funny, and so revered, is that the humor comes from exaggerating stupid, everyday situations that we can all relate to.

The Simpsons

Image Credit: Fox.

One could argue that the Simpsons set the stage for the family and adult-oriented animated comedy shows that followed. Every fan of the show (like myself) regularly quotes it. Even if some of the seasons are kind of mid, there are so many great moments that this show is hard not to love.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Image Credit: CBS.

“Nothing makes me so proud and hopeful to be human.” one Redditor said of Star Trek TNG.

Starring the iconic Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, this series really did boldly go where no man went before. Interesting and profoundly ahead of its time in terms of social issues, The Next Generation is worth a watch (or re-watch) even today.

The Twilight Zone

Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone (1959)
Image Credit: CBS.

One of my personal favorites, the Twilight Zone told stories that had tremendous lasting power. Despite airing over 60 years ago the Twilight Zone still appeals to a modern audience.

“Twilight zone 101%>. Every episode still stands to this day.” one commenter said of the show.


Michael C. Hall, David Zayas, and Jaime Murray in Dexter (2006).
Image Credit: CBS.

The show that made serial killers part of the mainstream long before those Netflix documentaries started getting popular! Dexter is regarded by many as one of the best TV shows ever, and I’m inclined to agree.


Image Credit: Walt Disney Television.

If you don’t get why this show is regarded so highly I’m sorry to say, you just had to be there. While the show really is fantastic, I’m convinced that we see this one through rose-tinted glasses because of how enthralling it was to see the mysteries unfold slowly over weeks, even years. Plus the unique marketing made it feel like we were part of something big!

Mad Men

Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris in Mad Men.
Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC.

Man Men is regarded as the best TV show ever by so many people for a multitude of reasons. It wasn’t just the plot, characters, acting, and setting, but the way all these came together in this period drama. While we can’t all relate to Don Draper himself, there isn’t a person who hasn’t been affected by the work his real-life counterparts do every day.

Breaking Bad

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad - Season 2, Episode 1.
Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.

I admit that I was reluctant to watch Breaking Bad at first. After I finally caved it quickly became one of my favorite TV shows, and I would definitely agree that it’s one of the best TV shows ever – at least in my opinion. The pacing, the drama, the fall of a “regular” man into the criminal world… No show has done it better than this series.

Honorable Mentions

Doctor Who
Image Credit: AMC/BBCA.

While we decided to stop this list at 12, the next few shows that came up frequently were:

  • The West Wing
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The X-Files
  • Firefly
  • Doctor Who
  • The Office (US)
  • Cheers
  • Arrested Development
  • Better Call Saul

There were too many great cult classics listed that I couldn’t leave them out!

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Timothy Olyphant, Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet Season 2
Image Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix.

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Marco Polo
Image Credit: Phil Bray/Netflix.

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Outer Banks. Rudy Pankow as JJ in episode 303 of Outer Banks

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Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. Sarma Melngailis in Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Netflix.

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Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in episode 205 of Bridgerton

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Everett has been writing about media, technology, and parenting since 2014. His work has been featured on MIT Technology Review, HuffPost, and various blogs. When not writing or binge watching TV shows, you'll find him playing video games or spending with with his kids.