Long before streaming led audiences to binge-watch entire series in a single weekend, there was just plain old primetime-television-watching bliss—and fan favorites such as “The West Wing” and “The Sopranos” kept fans glued to their sofas week after week, year after year, to find out what would happen next. Some shows were so good, fans would purchase TV box sets on VHS or DVD to watch them again and again in order to relive the drama or bask in the laughs.
Now that we have a multitude of streaming services at our fingertips—Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+—and can watch TV anytime, anywhere, the content has become even richer and more diverse, pleasing both fans and critics alike, with original hits like “The Mandalorian” and “Game of Thrones” and revivals of shows like “Arrested Development.”
To celebrate the history of great television, Stacker compiled this definitive list of the 100 best TV shows of all time, using data from IMDb. Shows were ranked by IMDb user ratings, with ties broken by the number of votes. For this list, a series had to have at least 50,000 votes.
Some shows of this list may seem obvious to television-lovers: “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” or “Dragon Ball Z,” as a few examples. But you’ll encounter many other surprises that cracked the top 100, whether because they saw a limited run, attempted extremely niche genres, or were released very recently yet generated enough acclaim to appear here alongside historic staples.
Read on to see how all 100 shake out, refresh your pop-culture memory, remind yourself of an epic binge, or add to your watch list. But do so with caution—this list contains some spoilers.
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