100 Best TV Shows of All Time, According to Critics

Televisions have been fixtures in American homes for decades, so choosing the 100 best shows of all time is no easy feat. Stacker compiled the data for all TV reviews available on Metacritic, averaging reviews for each season and ranking shows according to the highest average.

100 best TV shows of all time, according to critics
Two Brothers Pictures

Certain names appear over and over, like acclaimed writer David Simon, who started out as a newspaper reporter in Baltimore, where he later set his hit shows "The Corner" and "The Wire." He appears again as the writer of "Treme," set in New Orleans, and "Show Me a Hero," set in a New York City suburb.

Many of the acclaimed shows tackle issues of race, giving viewers an opportunity to relate, debate, and even learn from what they are watching. "P-Valley" portrays the lives of Black dancers at a Mississippi Delta strip club, and "When They See Us" uncovers the wrenching stories of five Black and Latino teenagers in New York City whose lives were destroyed by a racist justice system. "A Black Lady Sketch Show" takes on race, as does "The Night Of" in its recounting of a Pakistani-American college student accused of murder.

Others paint eerie and dystopian futures, like "Watchmen," and the last of humanity ravaged by war in "Battlestar Galactica." Shows like "Justified" and "Deadwood" reckon with America's present by showing its troubled past.

Megahits like "Breaking Bad," "The Sopranos," and "Mad Men" made the cut, yet other runaway successes like "Game of Thrones" are absent. Beloved classics like "M*A*S*H," "Seinfeld," "I Love Lucy," "Friday Night Lights," "Cheers," and "Law and Order"—with all its spin-offs—are examples of popular shows that, according to critics at least, aren't in the top 100.

To find a television show's cumulative Metascore, Stacker averaged the reviews for each season and ranked shows according to the highest averages. Live-action series, animated series, docuseries, miniseries, and series with only one season were included. The "Series Metascore" represents the Metascore for all seasons that had data available, with the most recent available date from Aug. 31, 2020.

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#100. Treme
Blown Deadline Productions

#100. Treme

- Series Metascore: 84
- Highest-rated season: 1

HBO's mini-series "Treme" is set in New Orleans post-Katrina, where residents grapple with the hurdles of rebuilding. The cast includes Wendell Pierce, Melissa Leo, Kim Dickens, Clarke Peters, and John Goodman.

#99. Dear White People
SisterLee Productions

#99. Dear White People

- Series Metascore: 84
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Dear White People" is a comedy following students of color as they handle racism at a mostly white Ivy League college. It started on Netflix in 2017.

#98. Rescue Me
Apostle

#98. Rescue Me

- Series Metascore: 84
- Highest-rated season: 3

Denis Leary plays a troubled firefighter in "Rescue Me," as he and the rest of his New York City firehouse crew face issues of life and death. It ran for seven seasons on FX.

#97. Curb Your Enthusiasm
HBO

#97. Curb Your Enthusiasm

- Series Metascore: 84.2
- Highest-rated season: 3

Larry David stars in HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as a caustic curmudgeon, based on himself, as he manages to irritate and antagonize friends and strangers on a regular basis. David also created "Seinfeld," making hundreds of millions of dollars from the show's syndication rights.

#96. The Good Wife
Scott Free Productions

#96. The Good Wife

- Series Metascore: 84.3
- Highest-rated season: 2

Julianna Margulies heads the cast of "The Good Wife," which also includes Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth. She plays the wife of a disgraced and imprisoned politician going back to work as an attorney. It was loosely inspired by the case of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, whose wife Silda Spitzer stood at his side when he resigned and admitted patronizing sex workers.

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#95. Pushing Daisies
Jinks/Cohen Company

#95. Pushing Daisies

- Series Metascore: 84.5
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Pushing Daisies" is a comedy about a pie maker who can bring the dead back to life, a talent that carries certain drawbacks and helps solve murder cases. It ran for two seasons on ABC.

#94. Extras
BBC

#94. Extras

- Series Metascore: 84.5
- Highest-rated season: 2

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant created, produced, and starred in "Extras" on the BBC, a deadpan comedy of actors landing roles as extras while trying to build their careers. The pair also created the original British version of "The Office."

#93. Enlightened
Rip Cord Productions

#93. Enlightened

- Series Metascore: 84.5
- Highest-rated season: 2

Laura Dern plays the lead in "Enlightened," a show about a self-destructive employee who moves from the top rung to the bottom at a company and tries to repair her havoc-filled life while plotting revenge. Set in a cookie-cutter California suburb, it features Diane Ladd, Dern's real-life mother who plays her fictional mother, and Luke Wilson.

#81. Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (tie)
Endeavor Content

#81. Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85

The four-part series "Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men" follows the career of the hip-hop stars, with interviews, performances, and archive footage. It shows their talent helping them emerge from the violence and poverty of their New York home.

#81. Wonderland (tie)
Touchstone Television

#81. Wonderland (tie)

-Series Metascore: 85
-Highest-rated season: 1

Filmed like a documentary, "Wonderland" is a drama set in a fictional hospital, based on Bellevue in New York City, that specializes in psychiatric care. It was canceled in 2000 by ABC after just eight episodes. The show was hailed by some critics for its unflinching approach and criticized by others for negative, often violent, portrayals of mental illness.

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#81. Watchmen (tie)
DC Comics

#81. Watchmen (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85

"Watchmen" made its debut in 2019 on HBO. Leaping in time, it depicts a fictional world of violent racism, masked vigilantes, and secret police. With Regina King, Louis Gossett Jr., and Jeremy Irons, it is based on a graphic novel.

#81. Unorthodox (tie)
Studio Airlift

#81. Unorthodox (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85

In "Unorthodox", an Orthodox Jewish woman flees her arranged marriage and stifling life in Brooklyn for a fresh start in Berlin but cannot shake her past. The four-episode series takes an unflinching, intimate look at the guarded community.

#81. Undeclared (tie)
Apatow Productions

#81. Undeclared (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85

Created by producer and comedian Judd Apatow, "Undeclared" ran for one season on Fox but drew a passionate following. It takes a humorous look at college students fumbling their way through their freshmen year, getting comic boosts from Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, and Loudon Wainwright III.

#81. Show Me a Hero (tie)
HBO

#81. Show Me a Hero (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85

"Show Me a Hero" is a six-episode dramatization of the true story of residents in Yonkers, New York, facing a court order to build low-income housing in a white neighborhood. Adapted from a book by a reporter for The New York Times, it was written by David Simon, creator of "The Wire," and starred Oscar Isaac, Catharine Keener, Alfred Molina, and Winona Ryder.

#81. Rick & Morty (tie)
Green Portal Productions

#81. Rick & Morty (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85
- Highest-rated season: 1

The main characters in the animated "Rick & Morty," on the Adult Swim channel, are a crazed scientist and his none-too-clever grandson taking intergalactic adventures around a sci-fi universe. It was awarded a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program in 2018.

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#81. P-Valley (tie)
Chernin Entertainment

#81. P-Valley (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85

Starz in late July announced a second season for the critically acclaimed "P-Valley," a drama set in a Mississippi Delta strip club. It is based on the play Pussy Valley by showrunner Katori Hall and in its first season used only female directors.

#81. Nashville (tie)
ABC Studios

#81. Nashville (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Nashville" revolves around a fading country music legend played by Connie Britton and a rising star played by Hayden Panettiere. Executive producer Callie Khouri won an Oscar in 1992 for writing the "Thelma & Louise" screenplay. "Nashville" ran for four seasons on ABC and two seasons on CMT before it was canceled in 2017.

#81. Little America (tie)
EPIC Magazine

#81. Little America (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85

"Little America," which streams on Apple TV+, recounts stories of immigrants journeying to the United States, based on narratives that appeared in Epic Magazine. The anthology show was launched in January 2020 and has been renewed for a second series.

#81. Lady Dynamite (tie)
The Hurwitz Company

#81. Lady Dynamite (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85
- Highest-rated season: 1

Netflix's "Lady Dynamite" features comic actress Maria Bamford playing a fictional comic actress trying to put her life back together and grappling with her mental health. The two-season show includes Fred Melamed as her manager, Mary Kay Place as her mother, and Ed Begley Jr. as her father.

#81. House of Cards (tie)
MRC

#81. House of Cards (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85
- Highest-rated season: 1

"House of Cards," a political drama on Netflix, stars Golden Globes winners Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as a married couple employing vengeance and treachery to fulfill their ambitions. Spacey was written out of the sixth and final season after he was accused of sexual assault. The criminal case against Spacey was dropped in 2019.

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#79. Ramy (tie)
A24

#79. Ramy (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Ramy" stars Ramy Youssef, the millennial son of Egyptian immigrants living in New Jersey. It follows his conflicts, confusion, and comic angst over his faith, his culture, his family's expectations, and his sexual appetite. Youssef won a Golden Globe for his performance, and the show's second season features two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as his spiritual guide.

#79. Barry (tie)
Alec Berg Productions

#79. Barry (tie)

- Series Metascore: 85
- Highest-rated season: 2

The dark comedy "Barry" stars Bill Hader, formerly of "Saturday Night Live," as a discontented hitman from the Midwest who moves to Los Angeles and takes up a new career as an aspiring actor. His previous employers, however, don't let him go easily. "Happy Days" star Henry Winkler plays his acting teacher.

#78. Twin Peaks
Lynch/Frost Productions

#78. Twin Peaks

- Series Metascore: 85
- Highest-rated season: 1

Kyle MacLachlan plays FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper investigating a murder in the strange Pacific Northwest town of "Twin Peaks." The mysterious show was created and written by David Lynch, director of "Blue Velvet," and Mark Frost, who worked on "Hill Street Blues." It became a cult hit. The show won a Golden Globe for Best Television Drama, and MacLachlan and supporting actress Piper Laurie won Golden Globes for their performances.

#77. The Deuce
Blown Deadline Productions

#77. The Deuce

- Series Metascore: 85.5
- Highest-rated season: 2

Actor James Franco plays twin brothers working in the mob-controlled sex industry in "The Deuce" on HBO, set in seedy Times Square in the 1970s. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a sex worker building a business as a pornography director. It ran three seasons, ending in 2019.

#76. Better Call Saul
High Bridge Productions

#76. Better Call Saul

- Series Metascore: 85.8
- Highest-rated season: 5

"Better Call Saul" is the comic spin-off prequel to the runaway hit "Breaking Bad," featuring Bob Odenkirk as a hustling and at times sympathetic lawyer with a rented office in the windowless backroom of a nail salon. It features Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, a former crooked cop turned parking lot attendant before he becomes the flinty eyed hitman of "Breaking Bad."

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#66. Wolf Hall (tie)
Company Pictures

#66. Wolf Hall (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

"Wolf Hall" is a historical drama about Thomas Cromwell, a close advisor to Henry VIII, played by Mark Rylance. The ambitious Cromwell helps the king, who is trying to end his marriage to Katharine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn, but his alliance with the temperamental monarch puts him in danger. "Wolf Hall" won a Golden Globe for Best Television Limited Series in 2016 as well as British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards for Best Drama Series and for Rylance's performance as Lead Actor.

#66. When They See Us (tie)
ARRAY Filmworks

#66. When They See Us (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

"When They See Us" is a four-part series about the Central Park Five, the Black and Latino teenagers wrongfully accused and convicted of a rape and assault of a white woman in New York City that left the victim severely brain damaged. While the story has been highly publicized, the series explores aspects of their experience, such as the effect on their families and their prison years, in heart-wrenching and agonizing detail. It won two Emmys and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award.

#66. Undone (tie)
Amazon Studios

#66. Undone (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

The adult animated series "Undone" revolves around a young heroine who can travel in time following a near-fatal car crash. She is guided by her father, played by Bob Odenkirk of "Better Call Saul." The show uses the technique of rotoscoping, in which animation is traced over live footage to create arresting imagery.

#66. The Pacific (tie)
DreamWorks

#66. The Pacific (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86
- Highest-rated season: 1

"The Pacific" is HBO's 10-part miniseries portraying U.S. Marines in the Pacific theater in World War II. It is an accompaniment to "Band of Brothers," a show about the U.S. Army paratroopers landing in Europe. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks were executive producers of both critically acclaimed shows.

#66. Prohibition (tie)
Florentine Films

#66. Prohibition (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

"Prohibition" chronicles the reform crusade to ban alcohol in the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s and the legal and criminal fallout from the 18th Amendment, later repealed.

The three-part documentary directed by heralded filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick has narration by such names as John Lithgow, Patricia Clarkson, Campbell Scott, Sam Waterston, Tom Hanks, Blythe Danner, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L Jackson, and Amy Madigan.

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#66. Modern Family (tie)
Levitan / Lloyd

#66. Modern Family (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Modern Family," an 11-season comedy on ABC, tackles issues of family life from gay parenting and multi-cultural adoption to raising teenagers and sibling rivalry. The winner of a Golden Globe in 2012 for Best Television Series Comedy or Musical stars Ed O'Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonetreet, Sarah Hyland, and Ariel Winter.

#66. Immigration Nation (tie)
Reel Peak Films

#66. Immigration Nation (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

"Immigration Nation" is a 2020 documentary about migrants and asylum seekers, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, border detentions, undocumented workers, deportations, and underlying political aims and consequences. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency gave the filmmakers behind-the-scenes access but then tried to block release of the show and its unsavory revelations until after the November 2020 election.

#66. I May Destroy You (tie)
BBC

#66. I May Destroy You (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

"I May Destroy You" premiered this year on HBO. It's the story of a young woman in London whose promising life is upended by a sexual attack. Michaela Coel created, wrote, co-directed, and stars in the show, which is based in part on her personal experience and explores issues of consent, victim support, blame, trauma, healing, and justice.

#66. Howards End (tie)
Playground Entertainment

#66. Howards End (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

Based on the 1910 novel of the same name by E.M. Forster, "Howards End" brings to the screen the lives of two sisters in post-Victorian England. Its four episodes ran on PBS in 2017. Writer Kenneth Lonergan had won an Oscar for his screenplay of "Manchester by the Sea," released the previous year.

#66. Band of Brothers (tie)
DreamWorks

#66. Band of Brothers (tie)

- Series Metascore: 86

Winner of six Emmys and a Golden Globe, "Band of Brothers" dramatizes the courage and the dangers faced by the U.S. Army paratroopers landing behind enemy lines in Europe in World War II. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg were executive producers of the show and of its companion piece, "The Pacific," both on HBO.

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#65. Hannibal
Dino De Laurentiis Company

#65. Hannibal

- Series Metascore: 86
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Hannibal" conjures up the early life of Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who has among his patients a criminal profiler for the FBI. Lecter also has a penchant for committing gruesome murders. The show, a prequel, draws from Lecter's more fully formed marque of evil in "Red Dragon" and "The Silence of the Lambs." Danish movie actor Mads Mikkelsen plays Lecter, and Hugh Dancy plays his patient in the three-season television series.

#64. Insecure
3 Arts Entertainment

#64. Insecure

- Series Metascore: 86
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Insecure," which appears on HBO, stars its creator, Issa Rae, playing the lead character. She and her best friend are two Black women dealing with relationships, romance, and work in Los Angeles. The character development and story lines over four seasons raised issues such as friendship, ambition, racism, and mental health.

#63. Deadwood
CBS Paramount Network Television

#63. Deadwood

- Series Metascore: 86
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Deadwood" is a drama set in a lawless, violent South Dakota town in 1876. It is a dangerous place of bars and brothels, criminals, and fortune-seekers. The intense, profanity-filled show was canceled by HBO after three seasons.

#62. Murder One
Steven Bochco Productions

#62. Murder One

- Series Metascore: 86
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Murder One" is a legal procedural, focusing on fictional high-profile crimes, with engaging twists and dramatic courtroom showdowns. It was created by Steven Bochco, known for wildly popular television hits "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law," and "NYPD Blue."

#61. Mad Men
Lionsgate Television

#61. Mad Men

- Series Metascore: 86.1
- Highest-rated season: 4

The megahit "Mad Men'' was set in the stylized world of advertising in the early 1960s, with a cast led by Jon Hamm as the enigmatic, womanizing advertising genius, Don Draper. The show—teeming with office affairs, high-flying business deals, riveting betrayals, and seemingly endless cocktails—became a cultural touchstone, reviving tastes for old-fashioneds, pencil skirts, and cat-eyed liner. It was created by Matthew Weiner, a writer of the hit show "The Sopranos."

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#60. Silicon Valley
3 Arts Entertainment

#60. Silicon Valley

- Series Metascore: 86.3
- Highest-rated season: 3

"Silicon Valley" is a satire of Northern California's high-tech industry. It features computer whizzes, hackers, and a fictional startup called Pied Piper. The dark comedy ran six seasons on HBO, concluding in 2019.

#59. American Crime
LiveLikeLisa

#59. American Crime

- Series Metascore: 86.7
- Highest-rated season: 3

"American Crime" used a top-notch cast of actors who each season played roles in a different storyline: a racially charged murder, a coverup of a sexual assault at a prestigious school, and the abuse of undocumented workers. Among the actors were Felicity Huffman, Timothy Huttong, Regina King, and Lili Taylor. The show got critical raves but poor ratings, and it was canceled by ABC after three seasons.

#51. The Baby-Sitters Club (tie)
Paulilu Productions

#51. The Baby-Sitters Club (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87

"The Baby-Sitters Club" is based on a series of young-adult books about a group of adolescent girls who organize a baby-sitting service in a fictional Connecticut town. It follows their travails growing up, coping with friendships, school, boys, and family dramas. Its 13 episodes ran on HBO in 1990.

#51. Mrs. America (tie)
Dirty Films

#51. Mrs. America (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87

In "Mrs. America," Cate Blanchett plays Phyllis Schlafy, the highly conservative activist waging a battle to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. On the opposing side are the feminists—Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisolhm, and Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan. It started running in April 2020 as part of "FX on Hulu," an undertaking for FX content to stream on Hulu.

#51. Lenox Hill (tie)
Netflix Studios

#51. Lenox Hill (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87

"Lenox Hill" is a documentary on Netflix about four doctors at an elite New York City hospital, balancing their professional and personal obligations. The two neurosurgeons, an emergency room physician, and an OB-GYN doctor carry out critical procedures, deliver dire diagnoses, and care for their patients while coping with their own private issues. The series was capped off this year with an episode made during the outbreak of COVID-19.

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#51. Felicity (tie)
Touchstone Television

#51. Felicity (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Felicity" stars Keri Russell as a young woman who tosses her plans aside to follow the unsuspecting object of her high-school crush to New York City, where she and a gaggle of new friends attend the fictional University of New York. Russell was awarded a Golden Globe for her performance in 1999.

#51. Ed (tie)
Worldwide Pants

#51. Ed (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87
- Highest-rated season: 1

Ed is the title character of this show about a New York City lawyer whose life falls apart, so he returns to his hometown of Stuckeyville, Ohio. There, he buys the local bowling alley and sets up a legal practice inside. It stars Tom Cavanagh and Julie Bowen, who later appeared in "Modern Family." "Ed" was co-produced by David Letterman's Worldwide Pants Inc.

#51. City of Men (tie)
Central Globo de Produção

#51. City of Men (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87
- Highest-rated season: 1

Brazil's "City of Men" depicts Rio de Janeiro through the lives of children living in its slums, or favelas. They are street-smart and adept at begging and crime. The series, which raises discomfiting issues of inequality and hopelessness, follows up on "City of God," a 2000 movie also set in a Rio favela.

#51. Boston Med (tie)
ABC Studios

#51. Boston Med (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87

"Boston Med" on ABC documents staff and patients at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Children's Hospital Boston in an eight-part series. Filmmakers shot for four months, getting a behind-the-scenes look at patient care, surgery, and professional and personal relationships.

#51. Back to Life (tie)
Two Brothers Pictures

#51. Back to Life (tie)

- Series Metascore: 87

"Back to Life" is a dark British comedy series about a woman who returns home after 18 years in prison. She bumbles through, trying to repair old friendships, making a mess of new ones, and looking for work, a task not made easier after she inadvertently gives herself a startlingly bad home haircut. Actress and writer Daisy Haggard created the show and plays the lead.

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#50. The Returned
Haut et Court

#50. The Returned

- Series Metascore: 87

"The Returned," shown on A&E, is set in a small town where dead people start coming back to life. Their return is greeted by a mix of joy, puzzlement, and fear, and the phenomenon has dire consequences. It is based on a 2012 French television series entitled "Les Revenants'' which, in turn, was based on a 2004 film, also called "Les Revenants."

#49. Justified
FX Productions

#49. Justified

- Series Metascore: 87.2
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Justified" stars Timothy Olyphant as a U.S. marshal whose style and job performance earns him a posting back to the town where he grew up in rural eastern Kentucky. The series is based on a short story called "Fire in the Hole" by the crime writer Elmore Leonard.

#43. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (tie)
Florentine Films

#43. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (tie)

- Series Metascore: 88

"The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" on PBS is a portrait of the nation's historic political powerhouse family: Theodore, Franklin Delano, and Eleanor Roosevelt. It was directed by highly respected documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and Peter Coyote won an Emmy as Outstanding Narrator.

#43. Russian Doll (tie)
3 Arts Entertainment

#43. Russian Doll (tie)

- Series Metascore: 88

Natasha Lyonne stars in "Russian Doll," coming on the heels of her recurring role in "Orange is the New Black." In "Russian Doll," on Netflix, her character is caught in a time loop, dying and reliving her 36th birthday party over and over again.

#43. Malcolm in the Middle (tie)
Satin City Productions

#43. Malcolm in the Middle (tie)

- Series Metascore: 88
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Malcolm in the Middle" is a sitcom about a gifted teenager and his not-so-gifted family, starring Frankie Muniz as Malcolm, Bryan Cranston as his father, and Jane Kaczmarek as his mother. The series is unusual in having the character of Malcolm speak directly to viewers, shooting with a single camera, and using cold opening scenes not related to the episode to follow.

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#43. Freaks and Geeks (tie)
Apatow Productions

#43. Freaks and Geeks (tie)

- Series Metascore: 88

"Freaks and Geeks" is a single-season comedy about teenage life that gained a cult following. Created by Paul Feig, who would go on to direct "The Office" and "Nurse Jackie," and with frequent collaborator Judd Apatow as executive producer, "Freaks and Geeks" helped launch the acting careers of Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, and James Franco.

#43. Everybody Hates Chris (tie)
Chris Rock Entertainment

#43. Everybody Hates Chris (tie)

- Series Metascore: 88
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Everybody Hates Chris," narrated by comedian Chris Rock, recounts the humorous tale of a Black teenager in Brooklyn with a complicated family life and a daily trek to a white school in an Italian neighborhood, where he has to learn to use his wits and his comic charm.

#43. Brooklyn Bridge (tie)
Paramount Television

#43. Brooklyn Bridge (tie)

- Series Metascore: 88
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Brooklyn Bridge" is a nostalgia-filled series set in the 1950s in the New York City borough about a Jewish American family with immigrant roots. It was based on the real-life experiences of its creator Gary David Goldberg, whose show "Family Ties" had helped make Michael J. Fox a star. "Brooklyn Bridge" won a Golden Globe award in 1992 for Best Television Series Comedy or Musical.

#42. Sherlock
Hartswood Films

#42. Sherlock

- Series Metascore: 88
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Sherlock" sets the classic detective story in modern-day London, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, with Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson, a wounded Afghan war veteran. In the version that aired on PBS Masterpiece Mystery, selected letters in red in the closing credits would spell out a word linked to the episode.

#41. Breaking Bad
High Bridge Productions

#41. Breaking Bad

- Series Metascore: 88.2
- Highest-rated season: 5

The enormously popular and acclaimed "Breaking Bad" tells the story of high school chemistry teacher Walter White who becomes a murderous and merciless drug lord. Set in the cinematic beauty of the New Mexico desert, the tense, ruthless show offers up unforgettable characters like his partner played by Aaron Paul, his wife played by Anna Gunn, and his DEA brother-in-law played by Dean Norris. Other gripping characters are the lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks' menacing hitman, and Giancarlo Esposito as a cunning criminal rival.

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#40. The Shield
Fox Television Network

#40. The Shield

- Series Metascore: 88.5
- Highest-rated season: 1

For seven seasons on FX, "The Shield" told the story of dangerous gangs and corrupt police waging battle in Los Angeles. The profiteering Strike Team of police is headed by a hard-edged detective played by Michael Chiklis. In 2002, Chiklis was the first lead actor on a cable show to win an Emmy.

#35. Visible: Out on Television (tie)
Push It Productions

#35. Visible: Out on Television (tie)

- Series Metascore: 89

"Visible: Out on Television," released in 2020 on Apple TV+, is a documentary series that looks at the LGBTQ+ movement on American television. It addresses stereotypes, the evolution of LGBTQ+ characters and entertainment figures, public acceptance, groundbreaking moments, and backlash.

#35. Succession (tie)
Gary Sanchez Productions

#35. Succession (tie)

- Series Metascore: 89
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Succession," with two seasons under its belt on HBO, portrays members of a dysfunctional family that controls a global media empire as they jockey for power. They form alliances, plot against one another, stage backroom deals, and commit vicious betrayals, all while hoisting the family business to heights of power or pushing it to the brink of collapse.

#35. Olive Kitteridge (tie)
HBO

#35. Olive Kitteridge (tie)

- Series Metascore: 89

Frances McDormand stars as the protagonist of "Olive Kitteridge," a dour and complex retired school teacher in Maine with troubled relationships in her family and her hometown. The four-episode series swept the Primetime Emmys in 2015, winning for Outstanding Limited Series and awards going to McDormand, lead actor Richard Jenkins, supporting actor Bill Murray, director Lisa Cholodenko, and others.

#35. Boomtown (tie)
NBC Studios

#35. Boomtown (tie)

- Series Metascore: 89
- Highest-rated season: 1

Every episode in the innovative series "Boomtown" portrays a crime, set in Los Angeles, from an array of perspectives–the criminals, victims, police, paramedics, reporters, prosecutors, and politicians. The lead detectives are played by Donnie Wahlberg and Mykelti Williamson. Executive producer Graham Yost would go on to successes including "Justified" and "The Americans."

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#35. A Black Lady Sketch Show (tie)
3 Arts Entertainment

#35. A Black Lady Sketch Show (tie)

- Series Metascore: 89

On "A Black Lady Sketch Show," featuring Robin Thede, its creator and star, all the show's writers are Black women, as are its leading cast members. The show first ran in 2019 on HBO, which has renewed it for a second season. Thede has written for Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, and Chris Rock, and Angela Bassett appeared as a guest star in the first episode.

#34. The Leftovers
Film 44

#34. The Leftovers

- Series Metascore: 89
- Highest-rated season: 3

At the start of "The Leftovers," 2% of the population disappears, leaving the rest of the world broken, mystified, and afraid. The surreal, mystical series follows an array of characters trying to make sense of what happened, rebuilding families, joining cults, drowning in grief, and getting lost in delusions. Appearing in the three-season show on HBO are Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Scott Glenn, Liv Tyler, Regina King, and Ann Dowd.

#33. Catastrophe
Avalon Television

#33. Catastrophe

- Series Metascore: 89.3
- Highest-rated season: 3

The British farce "Catastrophe" revolves around an American businessman and a London school teacher whose one-week fling results in her pregnancy. They try to make the best of it by moving in together, with comical consequences. The show is available in the U.S. on Amazon Prime Video.

#32. My Brilliant Friend
Fandango

#32. My Brilliant Friend

- Series Metascore: 89.5
- Highest-rated season: 2

Set in Naples, HBO's "My Brilliant Friend" is the story of a friendship between two young girls, recounted by one of them as an elderly woman looking back at the paths of their lives. The show is based on the popular Neapolitan quartet of novels by Elena Ferrante.

#31. Battlestar Galactica
BSkyB

#31. Battlestar Galactica

- Series Metascore: 89.5
- Highest-rated season: 3

"Battlestar Galactica" is a science fiction tale of survivors of a war in outer space who travel the universe, being hunted and facing their own possible destruction, as they search for the lost colony of Earth. The futuristic saga ran four seasons on the Syfy Channel.

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#30. The Americans
Amblin Television

#30. The Americans

- Series Metascore: 89.8
- Highest-rated season: 4

"The Americans" series on FX portrayed a seemingly typical couple who were in fact Soviet spies raising their children in a benign D.C. suburb. Secretly, the husband and wife in the KGB-arranged marriage, played by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, were donning disguises, stealing U.S. state secrets, and killing enemy agents while eluding discovery, especially by their neighbor, an FBI agent. The show was inspired by the real-life arrests and deportations of several suspected Soviet agents in 2010, including a couple living under false names with their children in a New Jersey suburb.

#25. The Vietnam War (tie)
Florentine Films

#25. The Vietnam War (tie)

- Series Metascore: 90

Award-winning documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick made "The Vietnam War" looking at its history, U.S. and global politics, American public opinion, the anti-war movement, POWS, the lasting impact on survivors and veterans, and views from contemporary Vietnam. The 18-hour, 10-part PBS series took a decade to make, drawing on dozens of interviews and rare footage.

#25. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (tie)
Ryan Murphy Productions

#25. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (tie)

- Series Metascore: 90

"The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" was the Emmy award-winning first season in 2016 of the series on FX showcasing true crime dramas, and it recreated the historic murder case against the legendary football star. The following season depicts the manhunt for killer Andrew Cunanan, murderer of designer Gianni Versace. The third season, not yet released, is based on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

#25. The Night Of (tie)
BBC Drama Productions

#25. The Night Of (tie)

- Series Metascore: 90

"The Night Of" recounts the story of a Pakistani-American college student whose planned evening at a party in Manhattan goes devastatingly awry, and he faces murder charges. His grim and hapless descent into the criminal justice system takes a terrible toll on his family but captures the notice of a down-on-his-luck defense lawyer played by John Turturro. Riz Ahmed, a British-Pakistani actor and rapper who goes by Riz MC, plays the accused killer.

#25. The Corner (tie)
Blown Deadline Productions

#25. The Corner (tie)

- Series Metascore: 90

"The Corner" is a chronicle of life in impoverished Baltimore, riddled with dealers and addicts alongside families craving better lives and children tempted by the instant gratification of drug use and crime. It is based on a book of the same name by David Simon, who later wrote "The Wire," and Edward Burns, a New York police veteran.

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#25. Big Mouth (tie)
Danger Goldberg Productions

#25. Big Mouth (tie)

- Series Metascore: 90
- Highest-rated season: 2

The animated "Big Mouth" features adolescent friends facing puberty, beset by hormones, sexual urges, maturing bodies, and confused emotions. The show's creators Andrew Goldberg and Nick Kroll have said they hope the show dispels some of the secrecy and shame attached to the process of growing up.

#23. Fargo (tie)
MGM Television

#23. Fargo (tie)

- Series Metascore: 90
- Highest-rated season: 2

The dramatic stories of "Fargo" bring together a memorable set of characters, including local gangsters, drifters, police officers, and migrant workers, often causing havoc or plotting crime in the small town. The darkly funny series was inspired by the 1995 film "Fargo" by Joel and Ethan Coen, who were executive producers for the show.

#23. Better Things (tie)
FX Productions

#23. Better Things (tie)

- Series Metascore: 90
- Highest-rated season: 2

In the FX raw comedy "Better Things," Pamela Adlon plays a blunt-talking single mother of three daughters who works as an actress in Los Angeles and takes care of her eccentric mother living across the street. The first two seasons were a writing and creative collaboration of Adlon with comedian Louis C.K. He left the show in 2017 following accusations of sexual misconduct, which he admitted, and Adlon took creative control.

#22. Rectify
Gran Via Productions

#22. Rectify

- Series Metascore: 90.5
- Highest-rated season: 4

"Rectify" is a Southern Gothic story of a man returning to his small hometown in Georgia after spending 19 years on death row. Back home but out of place, the haunted and taciturn former inmate played by Aden Young struggles to build a new life surrounded by damaged family members and unforgiving townspeople. He is battered by nightmares and the threat of being sent back to prison.

#17. The Last Dance (tie)
ESPN Films

#17. The Last Dance (tie)

- Series Metascore: 91

"The Last Dance," released in 2020 on Netflix, follows the career and ascendancy of basketball star Michael Jordan playing for the Chicago Bulls. With fellow players Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman and coach Phil Jackson, the documentary chronicles the team's string of six NBC championships in the 1990s.

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#17. The Hollow Crown (tie)
Neal Street Productions

#17. The Hollow Crown (tie)

- Series Metascore: 91
- Highest-rated season: 1

"The Hollow Crown" is a set of four stories adapted from the history plays by William Shakespeare and made by British television. Its stellar cast includes Jeremy Irons,Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Bonneville, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Judi Dench, and Sally Hawkins.

#17. Master of None (tie)
3 Arts Entertainment

#17. Master of None (tie)

- Series Metascore: 91
- Highest-rated season: 1

Aziz Ansari won a Golden Globe for his lead performance in the comedy "Master of None" on Netflix. His character, Dev, tries to work as an actor, meet women, and keep his immigrant family happy, with mixed success. The show ran for two seasons, but its fate has not been announced publicly, following accusations of Ansari's sexual misconduct.

#17. Frozen Planet (tie)
BBC

#17. Frozen Planet (tie)

- Series Metascore: 91

Made by the BBC, "Frozen Planet" is a cinematographically stunning look at the Earth's polar regions and the impact of global warming in the Arctic and Antarctic. It is narrated by naturalist Sir David Attenborough, and it offers images from underneath the ice, inside an erupting volcano, and on the trail of wildlife whose existence is in grave danger.

#17. Borgen (tie)
DR Fiktion

#17. Borgen (tie)

- Series Metascore: 91
- Highest-rated season: 1

The award-winning Danish political drama "Borgen" follows the rise to power of a prime minister amid the ambitions of a chorus of politicians, strategists, and journalists. Netflix purchased rights to the show with plans to bring the cast and crew together for a fourth season in 2020.

#16. The Wire
Blown Deadline Productions

#16. The Wire

- Series Metascore: 91.8
- Highest-rated season: 4

Police and drug dealers, all portrayed in shades of corruption, spar in "The Wire," created by the celebrated writer David Simon. Each of its five seasons on HBO approaches life in Baltimore from a different angle—from loading docks to failing schools. The show stars Dominic West, Wendell Pierce, and Idris Elba.

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#14. The Simpsons (tie)
Gracie Films

#14. The Simpsons (tie)

- Series Metascore: 92
- Highest-rated season: 2

The animated satire "The Simpsons" has been on Fox television for 31 seasons, and the characters of Bart, Lisa, Homer, Marge, and Maggie Simpson, along with other Springfield residents like neighbor Ned Flanders, school principal Seymour Skinner, and Krusty theClown, are fully ingrained in popular culture. It has won 34 Emmy awards.

#14. My So-Called Life (tie)
The Bedford Falls Company

#14. My So-Called Life (tie)

- Series Metascore: 92

"My So-Called Life" stars Claire Danes as a teenager negotiating high school, family, friends, and boys. It was canceled after one season, but lasting fans still admire the show's willingness to tackle issues like sexuality, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental health.

#13. Louie
3 Arts Entertainment

#13. Louie

- Series Metascore: 92
- Highest-rated season: 3

Comedian Louis C.K. created, wrote, and started in "Louie," a series whose main character, a divorced father raising two daughters, is loosely based on the creator's real life. It ran on FX, which severed its ties after Louis C.K. was accused of and admitted to sexual misconduct in 2017.

#12. Fleabag
Two Brothers Pictures

#12. Fleabag

- Series Metascore: 92
- Highest-rated season: 2

The two-season British comedy "Fleabag" was created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, based on her 2013 one-woman show. Waller-Bridge stars as its candid, unedited protagonist, who runs a struggling guinea pig-themed cafe. It won six Emmys in 2019.

#11. Bleak House
BBC

#11. Bleak House

- Series Metascore: 93

Television's "Bleak House," set in 19th century England, was an award-winning 15-episode BBC miniseries in 2005. It is based on a novel of treachery and mystery by Charles Dickens of the same name. The show stars Gillian Anderon and Carey Mulligan.

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#10. Atlanta
FX Productions

#10. Atlanta

- Series Metascore: 93.5
- Highest-rated season: 2

"Atlanta," created by actor and musician Donald Glover, features cousins Earn (Glover) and Alfred making their way in the Southern city's rap scene. As they do, they grapple with issues like racism and poverty. Two seasons have been released, and FX has ordered up two more.

#9. Homicide: Life on the Street
Baltimore Pictures

#9. Homicide: Life on the Street

- Series Metascore: 94
- Highest-rated season: 1

"Homicide: Life on the Street" is based on a nonfiction book written by David Simon when he was a reporter covering Baltimore police. It was produced by movie director Barry Levinson and helped build the acting careers of Richard Belzer, Melissa Leo, Yaphet Kotto, and Andre Braugher.

#8. The Sopranos
HBO

#8. The Sopranos

- Series Metascore: 94.5
- Highest-rated season: 3

Considered by many critics to be one of television's best shows ever, "The Sopranos" centers on the personal and professional lives of organized crime families in northern New Jersey. It stars the late James Gandolfini as a complicated, gruff mob boss; Lorraine Bracco as his therapist, and Edie Falco as his wife. "The Sopranos" won numerous Emmys and Golden Globes during its six-year run on HBO.

#7. The Staircase
Maha Productions

#7. The Staircase

- Series Metascore: 95

"The Staircase" is a 13-episode Netflix documentary about author Michael Peterson, who was accused of murdering his wife in 2001. Years of legal twists and turns followed as he fought for and insisted upon his innocence.

#6. The Larry Sanders Show
Brillstein-Grey Entertainment

#6. The Larry Sanders Show

- Series Metascore: 95
- Highest-rated season: 4

"The Larry Sanders Show" is a comedic look at a fictionalized late-night talk show. It features dry humor and the talents of Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, and Rip Torn. The show ran for six years on HBO until 1998.

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#3. Planet Earth II (tie)
NHU

#3. Planet Earth II (tie)

- Series Metascore: 96

The BBC's "Planet Earth II" travels to spectacular heights and remote places to capture images of wildlife and nature. Viewers meet tiny pygmy three-toed sloths, jungle dolphins, and locust swarms, courtesy of its inventive and innovative camera work. The narration is provided by naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

#3. O.J.: Made in America (tie)
ESPN Films

#3. O.J.: Made in America (tie)

- Series Metascore: 96

"O.J.: Made in America" is a documentary made by ESPN about the infamous murder trial of professional football legend O.J. Simpson. It looks at the case, media, race, and criminal justice, using interviews with more than 70 people. It won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2017.

#3. America to Me (tie)
Participant

#3. America to Me (tie)

- Series Metascore: 96

"America to Me" is a 10-part documentary released in 2018 by filmmakers who spent a year at an elite high school in suburban Chicago. They collected the unscripted stories of students and faculty in more than 1,400 hours of footage while looking at issues of class and race.

#2. The Office (U.K.)
BBC

#2. The Office (U.K.)

- Series Metascore: 96.3
- Highest-rated season: 3

The British mockumentary "The Office" depicts workers in a nondescript town at a nondescript company, where manager David Brent, played by comedian Ricky Gervais, mistakenly considers himself clever, popular, and going places. Fellow office workers entertain themselves with childish behavior, unrequited loves, and worries that the office will be closed down. It's the basis of the hugely successful U.S. version of "The Office'' that stars Steve Carell.

#1. Planet Earth: Blue Planet II
NHU

#1. Planet Earth: Blue Planet II

- Series Metascore: 97

"Planet Earth: Blue Planet II," with naturalist Sir David Attenborough (who won a 2018 Emmy for his narration) gives viewers an extraordinary window into life in the world's oceans. The documentary took about four years to make, shooting such scenes as octopus chased by pyjama sharks, cannibal squid, and fish called wrasse that change their gender. It is a sequel to Planet Earth from a decade earlier.

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100 Best TV Shows of All Time, According to Critics | Culture