The 50 Best TV Series of All Time To Watch Right Now – Show Recommendations
You know what your favorite TV shows are, and you also know what your friends’ favorite shows are, particularly if they’re vocal on social media. But have you ever asked how the people producing the series felt about all the TV history projects?
Years before streaming prompted viewers to watch the whole series in a single weekend, there was only plain old primetime-television-watching bliss—and fan favorites like “The West Wing” and “The Sopranos” had people glued to their sofas week after week, year after year, to figure out what will happen next. Such shows were so fantastic that viewers would buy TV boxes on VHS or DVD to replay them repeatedly to relive the drama or revel in the laughter.
There may be more entertainment on the air than ever before. Still, the fact is that television has always been a great means of telling insightful, slow-burning character stories or of slowly unraveling a tight-wound mystery. ’90s shows like The West Wing or The X-Files are just as fun and important today as when they premiered. And our course is almost difficult to overstate the significance and impact of wonderful people like I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show.
Choosing our list of all-timers was not a simple feat because there were a few rules involved in the process. E.g., there are no documentaries here, and we have opted for shows that have left a permanent impact on the cultural conscience. Read on to find out which TV shows we think to merit a coveted spot in our list of the greatest TV shows of all time.
1. Breaking Bad
Remember the emotional collapse in the room of the crawl?! Or maybe the train heist?! This pink teddy bear?! I’m sure that there are at least half a dozen equally memorable “Breaking Bad” moments that I’m omitting. It’s tempting to view this whole review as an effusive rundown of the most explosive scenes in the season, but I’d also end up going way over my word maximum. “Breaking Bad,” which chronicles the volatile transition of chemistry instructor Walter White (Bryan Cranston) into a merciless meth kingpin, is undeniably a slow burn: the show never shies away from spending several episodes leading up to any of the above-mentioned high points. But that’s not much of a concern because the scenes are filmed too well and followed by such tense and sometimes heart-wrenching dialogue. You know that, and I know that. That’s why “Breaking Bad” has been at the center of pop-culture popularity during its five-season run, and that’s why we’re still talking about the show for years to come.
2. The Sopranos
The sopranos are often shown as rather ambiguous images, from the quacking ducks to the Russian hiking gangster in the forest. Yes, the rich psychological version of the dream and therapy scenes between Tony and his psychiatrist Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), but the David Chase mafia theme, 87 in the time 1999 to Bush’s conclusion, is still filled with surface spaces: Little Carmine’s voice, coining a new malapropism, and Soprano wakes up and discovered his eyes. Perhaps you don’t know them, but you know their humor and love. You know that’s people. The series circle is a strange and sounding place for the characters who cover the horribly tragic Adriano La Cerva and the absolutely disgusting Ralph Cifaretto, produced by Gandolfini’s ingenious leading performance.
3. The Wire
The wire is HBO’s finest job ever before you hear that. During its five seasons, David Simons Baltimore Drama faced various critiques and cover-ups, but it is rare to have a poor appreciation and seasonal disappointment. It’s plain to see how inventive and complex this is. After the first season, the Avon Barksdale team and the detectives had the role of investigating it. To reflect other controversies in the Society, from the docks to the City Hall, the Wire reverses the anthology approach. It discusses divisive concepts such as the Drug Legalization Scheme in Season 3. The Wire is all about politics, laws, narcotics, race, and crimes, all of which fall together in line with Avon, Bell Stringer, McNulty, Greggs, Bunny, Bunk, of course, Omar.
Joss Whedon made memorable television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly before he was the genie behind Marvel’s film kingdom. Although the latter lasted only for a season before the film Serenity was finally canceled and resurrected, it was followed by a ferocious cult. The science-fiction series is set up just after an interplanetary civilian war, where society resembles American West, between the conquered inner system worlds and the outer planets. The series is well-known for its fun caste like the ship’s captain and probably the coolest space since Han solo, Nathan Fillion’s Mal Reynolds.
Fleabag is a genuine, frank, and at times atrocity portrait of a young single wife’s life in London, and somehow manages to avoid all the conventions and falls of the genre from Playwright Phoebe Waller-excellent Bridge’s half-hour series. Waller-Bridge looks at the main character, says about her life, offers the camera a good smile, makes us trustees and crime partners, and admonishes us of our biases and the situation’s mockery. And while Fleabag likes to point out other people’s shortcomings, it isn’t easy on its own. She struggles through modern-day dating (where much humor is found), but eventually, in the first six-season, she’s still troubled by her closest friend’s sudden and surprising loss. It’s a dark river that flows through the season and floods at unforeseen moments, like in real life.
Veep’s the funniest TV show at the moment. During the five seasons of the show, belly laughs abundantly. It continues, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus acting spectacularly profanely as a far-off vice president forced to face up to the triviality of daily employment in the lead second. Showrunner Armando Iannucci (In the Loop) is really brilliant, and the show’s team is a killer’s line of comics, quicker and more accurately fascinating profanity ladders and tirades. Veep gives you the most laughter from any television show right now, minute by minute, so do it for yourself and catch up with this gem.
7. Castle Rock
This year, Stephen King had some comeback, at least on television, but Hulu’s Castle Rock seemed the most powerful and frightening band of all adaptations from different streaming services. In the film, with Sissy Spacek, Andre Holland, and Bill Skarsgard, the death row prosecutor who has called him home following the discovery of a young guy imprisoned under Shawshank Gaol is explored. Henry also has a tumultuous past which involves the unspeakable killing of his father – an event he doesn’t recall – and an odd event that is escalating around the city, as The Kid (Skarsgard) becomes clear and has to figure out how he has to do with Henry, his family, and history. It’s just as smart and terrifying as anything in a King adaptation you would look for. The second episode is almost as compelling as Lizzy Caplan goes into the nurse’s orthopedic shoes before her days of sorrow.
8. The Office
While this Office owes its survival to the original, it is a prime example of the rare achievement of the American remake of the emblematic British property. The United Kingdom, guy. The version was the first cringe comedy featuring Ricky Gervais as a clueless manager, David Brent, whose vain efforts to interact with his underlings are a frustrating exercise in futility. Steve Carell plays his American counterpart, while his Michael Scott, who is equally awkward, becomes more sympathetic as time passes by. Some will never see the U.S. version as anything more than a pale imitation of its British predecessor, although it is true that its over-extended life (it truly should have ended when Carell left in season 7) takes the shine out of the show. Yet both should and should be taken on their own terms, and when enjoyed as such, they should have moments of equal, cringe-inducing brilliance.
The story tells that a family in Chicago who had to escape to the Ozarks to wash money for the drug cartel in Mexico is familiar. Still, Jason Bateman really took a path when the show premiered in 2017, leading not just as a leading actor but also as an excellent producer. It is the epitome of a binge dignified TV, the last Netflix weekend display, so it smoothly goes down. Not without uncertainty in topics and feelings. In reality, the show was raised to a higher level by Bateman, Laura Linney, and Janet McTeer, and the third stage included the breakthrough of Tom Pelphrey. Maybe the plot of Breaking Bad was not reached, but in its own way, it is certainly interesting, violent, and emotionally upsetting.
Mindhunter is a mystery thriller with no action, but a fascinating premise, one of a kind of crime drama. The program focuses on criminals’ various physiology and shows interviews with or among the key figures and the various criminals. In collaboration with the psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), agents Holden Ford (Marie Jonathan Groff), and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) organize the FBI Composition Research Program run by FBI Academy; their goal is to use this expertise to crack active crimes and interview the serial killers. David Fincher is one of the managing directors and managers who make powerful films from Crime Thriller.
11. True Detective
True Detective’s mystery anthology burst onto the TV scene in 2014 and sent viewers to lead Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson on a profoundly dark and winding path. Nic Pizzolatto and Cary Fukunaga, a director, tells a story of murder, deception, and faith, and science’s polarity throughout the eight-hour broadcast. This is undoubtedly not the first show to test these thematic elements, but few reveal that the first True Detective hit all the cylinders with conviction. Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) remained the tour de force for the third season, while the next seasons did not perform well until the first season.
12. BoJack Horseman
What can be said about this show is this one of Netflix’s best contents in all genres on the website. It has a stellar voice cast led by Will Arnett, who played BoJack, and Aaron Paul, Alison Brie. Raphael Bob-Waksberg produces the series. The series contains numerous genres such as black comedy, Surreal comedy, and tragic comedy, which you can watch in any mood. The series tells BoJack, a horse of anthropomorphic origin, a promising popular man in the 1990s, who has now made a break. Now He plans to come back with a ghostwriter’s autobiography. It addresses different issues of everyday life and emergencies such as trauma, depression, etc.
13. Killing Eve
It is a spy tale, a murder mystery, an exhilarating character drama, and a gloriously evil comedy. All of them are together to make one of the most delightful and thrilling series of the year, with Sandra Oh as a bored, tight-knit MI-5 agent, as well as Jodie Comer as a lovely, mysterious, and absolutely unblocked international murderer. The two female destinies will soon be intertwined, and their cat-and-mouse game is between two European cats rounded each other. The series comes from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator and star of Fleabag, and it is based on Luke Jennings’s romances in Villanelle. It refreshes women, or at least one person is usually involved, in posts that are generally reserved for men.
14. Curb Your Enthusiasm
A comedy master, Larry David. Too much is evident. Who could have created Seinfeld other than a man of superior comics? However, he is still a remarkably reliable comedy star. Curb Your love for David’s talents is the perfect forum. He is the unhappiest man in the world. He is like himself. Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm has more money than he knows, has a career he likes, and a lovely, patient girlfriend. He sees life more as distress than a joy today. It’s a lovely, dark, tragic sitcom, which never ends in eight seasons.
The now-legendary Rembrandts intro set the stage for a joyous, rejoicing yet thorough friendship test. Of course, the two of you could never afford it without the control of your grandmother, Monica (Courteney Cox), and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), no, most friends are not sufficiently fortunate to find their neighbors over a café with sofa, which is always available, but Marta Kaufman and David Cranes sights NBC sitcom’s wish-fulfillment aspects only helped to make the character more appealing If “Friends,” with each imaginable obstacle, might confront their friends: spurned romance, long distances, troubled money, losing loved ones, changes to work, and more. Timeless jokes have been very well written by “Friends” – the 10 strong seasons are yet to be discovered by new generations.
The so-called Emmy-winning ‘nothing show’ is nothing. Still, it showed exactly that Jerry Seinfeld explored the situations of life through his special observational lens for nine glorious seasons and played a fictionalized version of himself. Seinfeld and Larry David created in this social satire that broke most sitcom norms their own New York universe in which Jerry’s core friends unessentially and egotism reign, in particular: the weakly willing George Constanza (Jason Alexander), exuberant ex-girlfriend Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and oddball neighbor Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), whose talents created his own New York City world. The show was turned into a comedy of ouroboros that created its own rich and self-reported universe full of pop culture references. It is also one of the most quotable, unified, and sponge-worthy comedies ever.
17. 30 Rock
30 Rock didn’t start life as a hit for surefire. It takes some time to see the first episodes of Tina Fey’s fictionalized retrospective look at an NBC sketch-comedy program. But as the other men and women working for ‘TGS’ get a description of Liz Lemon (Fey), Kenneth the Page (Jack Donaghy) and the other men and women, Liz Jordan (Tracey Morgan), Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), Kenneth the Page (Jack McBrayer), their beautiful, strange world will be a living and dynamic one. Legend for her phrases like “I want to go there” (“I want to go there”), the amazing guest stars (Elaine Stritch) and the unusual point-of-view, “30 Rock” is a jokes show which we still unpack up a decade later and which all come with people who had come to catch our hearts by the end of her seven-season running.
18. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Amazon Prime Video is probably the best Amazon series ever to have been created in the latest. It focuses at the end of the 1950s on a woman who decided to become a comic book in New York after being abandoned. The show secured the 2018 Emmy Award for Best Comedy Series and won the best comedy actress this year by its star, Rachel Brosnahan. It won or was nominated in the last few years for a host of other major awards. The Wonderful Ms. Maisel has plenty of action, while it’s called a comedy, as you might imagine from her manufacturer Amy Sherman-Palladino, who was making Gilmore Girls. It is also a beautiful look back in time to the fifties’ end when the workforce just noticed the women. Now we are streaming the first three seasons of the show.
19. Dexter Laboratory
In 1996 Dexter (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh, the “Rugrats” alumni), a boy of genius with a huge clandestine laboratory, was introduced to viewers by Cartoon Network. Each episode will see Dexter plan a wonderful experiment, only to be broken by Dee Dee, his angry girlfriend (voiced by Allison Moore and Kat Cressida). With the Primetime Emmy Award in 1996, the series will become one of the Cartoon Network ratings. The series made Tartakovsky one of the animation’s premier voices. In 1999, he eventually left work on his next project, “Samurai Jack,” and in 2001, “Dexter Laboratory” was to have a revival until it was done in 2003 for good. Although it has been out of the air for over 15 years, its mysterious animation style and its quotable main character still attract viewers. Not many spectacles revealed that a whole episode could only say “cheese omelet” in French from its main character.
Godless is a hitting western thriller, headed by the women’s series, with an exceptional cast including Merritt Wever, Jeff Daniels, and many more. You can count the quantity of the show with certain audacity, and one of them is godless. What a wonderful plot, structure, narrative, and characters for this episode you will find, and don’t forget La Belle’s awesome performances. It takes place in a city with just a handful of males left, all of whom are dead or crippled by the awful event of a few years ago that Scott McNairy plays Bill McCue, La Belle sheriff who loses sight every day and is out of town for so long. This film varies in many ways from other Wests and represents not cheesy prohibition, but the complexities of the wild western world.
21. South Park
“South Park” doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop. Given the Season 22 hashtag’s strictly promotional pleas, Comedy Central does not attempt to cancel its longstanding, groundbreaking, and Emmy-winning comedy. Any more like those who have already stuck with it are already calling for an end. Why do episodes still doggedly track everything from America’s gun issues to South Park’s past false steps? Why should this be done? The persistent satire that Trey Parker and Matt Stone pursue in the not so calm Colorado town of four young boys splashes all without fear of reproach. If there is a Kanye-isms attack that is too preposterous to disregard or an epidemic of a politically correct society that threatens to neglect anything, “South Park.” The South Park is well placed to reframe conversations for years to develop a specific innovative process leading to fast transitions from creation to airing.
22. Dr. Who
Doctor Who is a long-term series from Britain which follows Time Lord’s and his companion’s exploits as they go around TARDIS space and time. The doctor may be a little cheesy, but it also shows that you cannot participate absolutely. When you start, Viewers who don’t even think of themselves as a science fiction geek should try, for this film could change them. It’s a series of love, heartbreak, loneliness, the coming of age, humanity, loss, and more than just a science-fiction film. Maybe more than that, he is a cultural program, one of the few shows that can unite people worldwide. Doctor Who is not just a television experience.
A mysterious girl who wears a guitar as a shield runs him over with her Vespa, and Naota Nandaba’s regular life becomes nothing but normal. Up to that point, Naota just had to look after her brother’s bed, and after he left Japan and played baseball for America, Mamimi Samejima, his brother’s girlfriend. Since that time, Mamimi has clung to Naota poorly and remained a handful alone. After his fateful entry to Haruko, a horn appears on his forehead, and he becomes a robot; it is evident that the life of Naota will never return to its original worldliness and that Mamimi will be his least worry. Because of its unusual past and artistic practice, this short OVA has long divided its audiences. The plot is not easy, and the narrative is wild and wild, while the visual style can be surreal and experiential. At the source of a lot of symbolism and pictures is a little slapstick humor.
24. Game Of Thrones
Game of Thrones is one of those things that only occur once in a lifetime, like celebrating your 21st birthday or gliding in an active volcano. Everyone in the world was part of this goddamn show, and the final season eventually ended the amazing tale and wrapped up several mysteries and lost ends. Game of Thrones managed to snatch both of us by the throat and refused to let go for almost a decade. The feeling of sitting down to watch the next chapter of the film, which almost every single person I know was profoundly involved in, was special and, frankly, also a little profound. Dissecting every episode, trading ideas, and making assumptions was just something you did when interacting with friends and colleagues. We just gave a fuck about Westeros, Jon Snow’s kin, and Dany’s dragons. And while the final may have felt a little like being swept up in a 400-story window into a city-wide trash burning by a drunk ogre, Game of Thrones was one of the most epic fantasy stories ever told in any form. Throughout the series, the sense of culture tas at the level of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and those are completely insane heights for the cable TV show to achieve.
25. The Boys
One of Amazon Prime Video’s greatest TV series is the original one, too. The Boys simply try to suggest, “What if in the real world there were superheroes? Many of the superheroes in this series are still very medium-sized men. You see, you should do anything you want to do. The children are built on a single, superheroic ethos, the Seven and the Red Party activities, often by ordinary people (The Adults). The Boys know the truth, and they want these strong creatures to be torn down. It’s a really mature TV show (not to make your kids look pretty sure), but if you’re looking at superheroes more authentically and brutally, it’s a must-see in Amazon Prime Video.
26. The Good Place
Having a network of sitcoms embedded in the concepts of morals and philosophy is a daunting challenge. Having it sing of the same empathic motors and celebrating silence is a tremendous accomplishment. With an ambitious first season that not only tested stereotypes about serialized humor but built on one of the most rewarding conclusions of any season in recent memory, it’s also a perfect example of a producer leveraging cachet to avoid doing more of the same thing. Taking advantage of the same basic effort to be decent that fuelled “Parks and Rec” and hiring a wide number of writers who worked on both shows to help make it possible, Michael Schur’s most recent TV effort is yet another reminder of how great humor and human integrity so much go hand-in-hand.
27. Big Mouth
Big Mouth is sure to make you a little awkward, but, like many other adult-themed cartoons, that’s sort of a point. The show—Netflix has produced three seasons so far and has already revived the show for three more—see producer Nick Kroll and his friends basically jumping into an animated time machine to play for younger versions of themselves, underage tweens starting to date, watch porn, and grapple with their feelings and sexuality. With a no-holds-barred style and a liberating animation model, the show seems to really get there (see: sexy Hormone Aliens, Michael Stipe tampons, the shame wizard), putting it in the same tabou-busting category as Netflix’s other animated adult comedies.
28. Schitt’s Creek
Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara star in this Canadian comedy about a rich family forced to cut down their lavish lifestyle with amusing results. Levy plays Johnny Rose, a wealthy video-store magnate who loses his money after his sales manager fails to pay his taxes. O’Hara plays his character, Moira, a former soap opera star who has to relocate to Schitt’s Creek town. Along with her husband and two twins, Johnny bought the town as a joke when the family had more money than they could spend, but now the community and its residents act as a comedy wake-up call for the family. Over six seasons, the series has given us iconic characters—Dan Levy’s David and Annie Murphy’s Alexis stand out—and memorable stories that, oddly enough, have made us rooted in this chaotic brood. You’re not going to find a better feel-good watch on this site. Or, a more continental one.
29. Cowboy Bebop
Is there something at this stage that has yet to be said about Cowboy Bebop? This is the only anime capable of grappling with the popularity and cultural value of Dragon Ball Z outside Japan. Influenced by Western culture and effortlessly incorporating a range of genres such as neo-noir, humor, and horror, Shinichirō Watanabe’s anime has boosted the industry. Cowboy Bebop centers on the trials and tribulations of the bounty hunters crew for those two people who are not familiar with Sunrise’s series. When talking to the former hitman Spike Spiegel or the sensual Faye Valentine, the anime’s whole roster of characters is well-written, three-dimensional, and classical. Dealing with the themes of existentialism, loneliness, and regret, Cowboy Bebop reaches far past its pulpy roots to construct a highly engaging and emotional story. This anime is more than the eye can reach.
30. Jane the Virgin
This genre-defying telenovela send-up has one of the strangest concepts of any film, ever: Jane Villanueva, a devout Catholic who has promised to remain a virgin before marriage, is mistakenly artificially inseminated during a routine gynecological appointment and becomes pregnant. It seems more soap-operatic than comic, but that’s where Jane proves the wrong of the naysayers, infusing the main character’s unexpected story with numerous hilarious laugh-out moments that stun and thrill the audiences at every turn. Although Gina Rodriguez’s radiant performance as Jane is at the heart of the film, her comic popularity is largely attributed to two characters: her long-lost father, the celebrity telenovela Rogelio de la Vega, and the narrator (brilliantly voiced by Anthony Mendez), whose supportive explanations and precisely timed interjections make her an important part of the show as Jane herself. The Narrator is both a stand-in listener and a true insider.
31. The Queen’s Gambit
You don’t have to be interested in chess to fall for the seven-episode limited series The Queen’s Gambit, so the show’s core isn’t about chess at all. It’s an incredibly emotional tale of a young orphan struggling through her tragedy to find some sort of joy anywhere she can, and the people she encounters along the way. Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) reveals in the leading role of Beth Harmon, a teenage chess prodigy, adding calm confidence to the character and nailing the complexities of her emotional complexity. Scott Frank, who scripts and directs every episode, brings the 1950s and 1960s to life in vivid fashion with beautiful production designs and gorgeous costumes, but it’s the way he captures the chess matches that really makes this thing soar. They’re exciting and captivating, not because of particular movements, but because the show is doing such a wonderful job of getting you so engaged in Beth’s plot. And with seven episodes and a full-on conclusion, you don’t have to think about it – it’s a complete story.
32. Steven Universe
In this coming-of-age novel, Steven Universe (based on Rebecca Sugar’s own brother and animator in the series) is a young boy who lives with the magical humanoid aliens known as Crystal Gems. As a half-Gem himself, he learns to tap into his own abilities as he and his friends embark on an adventure. This heart-warming series has received praise for its style, music, and voice acting, while its LGBTQ-friendly and body-positive themes and storylines are what truly set it apart. Cartoon Network’s revolutionary series is the first to be produced exclusively by a woman who later showed herself non-binary. With this artistic pedigree, it’s no surprise the Emmy-nominated “Steven Universe” is one of the most multicultural series ever.
Right up, Damon Lindelof took the thermodynamic miracle off with Watchmen. Is it brave enough to adapt the landmark comic book of writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, yet to create a sequel set 30 years later that radically shifts the original work facets? That’s the closest you can get to heresy in the comic book world. But Watchmen just fits, and on a few different occasions. Driven by Regina King’s strong performance as superhero Sister Night, the show continues to dissect the superhumanly unequal racial divide through all of American history while unraveling a warped puzzle-box mystery all wrapped up in spandex. (All set to the excitement of a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.) Jeremy Irons is stuck in a castle with an army of clones, chewing the scenery to bits. There’s a villain Lube Man on the loose. Guards are a lot, but the crazy trip is worth every step of the way.
34. Band of Brothers
Band of Brothers is far from the mini-series version of Saving Private Ryan (despite Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg), takes a long view of the World War II arc. The series begins all the way back to the “Easy” Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Seeing these men steadily chipped away at what everyone would agree was a “necessary” war is a stirring and insightful experience. Men who are teased as heroes come down with a shock of shells. It’s all about the pain these men have endured and the expense of essentially saving the world from tyranny. The Band of Brothers acts as a potent reminder that there is no such thing as a good war show.
This is a science-fiction series full of brilliant concepts that are often well performed, but even though you find yourself confused or confounded by storytelling, it’s hard to fight the temptation to find out what happens next. Based on the same name’s film, Westworld takes place in a future where a theme park has been created, where humans can communicate with robot hosts who look exactly like them and are programmed to be friends, antagonists, and yes, romantic companions. It’s a show that doesn’t fear tackling bold ideas that still feature some excellent production value and more surprises than you can count on. If you’re still semi-engaged with the pilot, stick with it. You’ll actually like the remainder of the trip.
36. Ray Donavan
It’s a mixture of gritty action, scandal, and strong emotional baggage in this crime drama based on the life of the main character (Liev Schreiber), who acts as a “fixer” for the Hollywood establishment, politicians—anyone of distinction (and obscene wealth) who can afford his exorbitant fees. If there is a concern that threatens to sully their name, one call to Donovan, and they can be sure that the problem will go away. Ray’s as tough on the job as they’re going. But under the surface, his childhood tragedy, including the loss of his sister and contempt for his neglectful, con-father man’s (Jon Voight), causes him to do horrible things, from consistent cheating to persistent drinking. Although the series is just about a depressed guy struggling to grips with his past, plenty of punches and grotesque murders provide ample entertainment value.
37. Arrested Development
Arrested Development is a contemporary comedy classic, a screwball farce masquerading as a parody of an obviously foreign clan of rich people who are out of control (how much will a banana cost – ten dollars?) as they are unstable (Motherboy XXX). As Patriarch George Sr. is indicted for theft, he throws the incompetent Bluths into a tailspin, desperately attempting to cling to their remaining cash and the few remains of their luxurious lifestyle, propping up the myth (tricks are a slut for money) in increasingly ludicrous ways (and prompting increasingly exasperated commentary from narrator Ron Howard). Breakfast Family can be the most important thing, but when it’s packed with hop-on, never-nudes who blue themselves, and Franklin the puppet, can you blame Michael for his continuing threat of bail? Luckily, you’re not going to have any doubts about sticking to the Bluths, particularly the first three seasons.
38. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
The title might initially put you off – as well as its reputation as a rom-com/musical hybrid airing on The CW – but as the heroine, Rebecca Bunch, will tell you, the situation with Mad Ex-Girlfriend is far more complicated than that. The genre-bending show spends almost as much time churning out toe-tap melodies as it does expose the depths of mental illness, even at the same time. Still, it falls just shy of becoming a total drama due to its stellar cast’s impeccable humor, headed by Rachel Bloom as Rebecca and Donna Lynne Champlin as Bex’s coworker and BFF, Paula. There’s a lot of humor to mine from his music (songs like “Settle for Me,” “Emergency,” “West Covina,” and “Dream Ghost” are as infectious as they are the keys to story development). Still, it’s the moments that really make the show pop: Paula the singing raccoon, Daryl confidently calling himself a “both-sexual,” Heather’s professional understanding of mating signs, all apart from Father Brah.
39. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This cheerful series has little to do with being so sunny, particularly with its pitch-black premise: Kimmy, abducted as a child and forced to live in an underground shelter, is eventually rescued and is struggling to restore her life. But as the effervescent Ellie Kemper put it, this lady is as tough as hell and ready to make the best of her independence. A ragtag roster of supporting characters guides her through her transformation (her roommate Titus the most adorable of them, but almost everyone she meets is comedy gold), whether she figures out which slang is out of date or how best to kill the sentient robot that you think is sleeping with your husband. Special shout-out to the lovely guest star Tina Fey co-created the show with Robert Carlock, her 30-year-old Rock partner.
The original Netflix series GLOW has one of the original sites from TV history recently: It depicts the life of a new professional promotion called the Beautiful Ladies of Wrestling, like numerous aspiring actresses and women, in general, agree to compete in a completely new field. The producer for the b-movie is Marc Maron, who plays to make GLOW into a show. Alison Brie takes it too seriously and takes it too seriously as a playwright, and Betty Gilpin plays former Brie acquaintance of Brie’s soap opera star. Stage 1 is fine, but Stage 2 is one of Netflix TV’s greatest seasons ever. It’s purely joyful, concentrated, rich in character, and highly entertaining.
Cancel any hopes you might have had of the Netflix series of Matt Groening, a bubbling medieval fantasy. While it may seem like his fellow men (duh: The Simpsons, Futurama), Disenchantment paces its jokes to the top of a horse cart and drags out to a fatal degree his first arc: to marry the defiant, adolescent Princess Tiabeanie Mariabeanie De La Rochambeaux Drunkowitz. The first two episodes are rewarded as Princess Bean’s misadventures and her team of misadventures—the demon Luci (Eric Andre) and naïve elf Elfo (Nat Faxon)—are gradually linked to Bean’s mysterious, possibly occult destiny. Once your quest for binge-watching hits the even better season 2, Groening is now making a series transmogrifying this unusual beast of a televised show, which you will see for many seasons.
42. Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation is the rarest of the breeds: an entirely conflict-free sitcom. There are certainly small conflicts that motivate Parks and Rec’s action: city council sessions that get out of control, contentious campaigns (now a scary echo of the 2016 presidential elections), and the death of a perfect, angel miniature horse. But much of the time, Parks and Rec is a sitcom about competent, ambitious people who appreciate each other. The true power is the characters: the irascible Deputy City Councilwoman Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the libertarian Dour Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), and Aziz Ansari. It doesn’t hurt that all these people lived in the funniest and richly-realized fictitious town since Springfield. Pawnee is a weird place… and it also needs to be your perfect place for seven eminently bingeable seasons.
It’s hard to explain precisely what Barry is, except to say that it’s just amazing storytelling. It’s sort of a surreal comedy, but it’s still kind of a thriller. The stakes sound true, and this show will make you cry, but it’s also funny. Bill Hader co-created, writes, directs, and stars in the series like Barry, a hitman who has had enough of this job and decides to try a career in acting. He starts taking acting lessons from a charismatic trainer (Henry Winkler) but soon learns that putting the past behind is better said than done. Anything about Barry is on the next stage. Comedy and writing, sure, but also filmmaking and filmmaking. Again, it’s a show that questions simple categorization, but just believe me. Watch Barry, and you’re not going to be disappointed.
44. Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies could serve as a prototypic high-profile TV product. The adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel was shepherded by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, who produced and starred in this story of ugly secrets concealed within the mothers of Monterey’s culture. In season 1, they took their other big-screen pals and director Jean-Marc Vallée and actresses Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, and Shailene Woodley. The ante was lifted as Meryl Streep signed up for Season 2. Better than mere high-watt star power? Big Little Lies really turned out to be some of the tastiest TV ever. Season 2 took a step back against American Honey author Andrea Arnold’s best efforts, but it somehow managed to be both pulpy—Dern and Streep’s performances are made for memes—and destructive. The show slices through its gossipy shell to tie a delicate portrait of domestic violence, and Kidman, in particular, does the best job in his career.
Compared to the other two big early HBO dramas produced by “David,” men, Deadwood can be a tougher sale to casual, prestigious TV audiences looking to brush up on the 21st-century canon. Like David Chase’s Mafia drama The Sopranos and David Simon’s police Saga The Wire, Deadwood is a spin on the familiar Hollywood genre—a Western full of boots, spurs, and cowboy hats—but the author David Milch’s profanity-packed, quasi-Shakespearean dialog takes a while to get used to. Now, Deadwood is not a dusty homework assignment on the premium cable syllabus: vulgar wit, white-knuckle suspense, and genuinely impeccably preserved facial hair in every perfectly plotted episode. Ian McShane’s bar owner, Al Swearengen, is still one of the most thoroughly realized, beautifully illustrated HBO characters. He’s a violent guy who struggles to hold order in a land of conflicting moral codes and a debt of financial interests.
46. Eastbound & Down
A relief pitcher Kenny Powers, co-creator and star Danny McBride brought us one of the funniest and profane TV shows of all time. Kenny is a peculiar anti-hero whose self-destructive impulses are capable of damaging whatever upward momentum he’s caught, whether he’s dealing with fame or beating drugs and alcohol, wasting money on items like jet skis and pet wolves, or treating the nearest to him with utter disrespect. His intense dickishness leads to some dark places. Still, it’s just how deep Kenny Powers can fall when we think he’s done the worst thing he might do that pushed us to watch him teach high school gym, transfer to Mexico City, fake his own death, open a baked-potato restaurant with sidekick Stevie Janowski hosting a sports show, etc. The supporting cast—April, brother Dustin and his wife Cassie are attempting to rescue Kenny from himself, with no success; he’s a maelstrom of self-loathing.
47. Boardwalk Empire
When Boardwalk Empire premiered, it was seen as an attempt at a soprano-like hit, but with a nostalgic flair. Created by Terence Winter—who wrote for Tony and the gang—Boardwalk looked at the life of gangsters in Prohibition Era Atlantic City. The Martin Scorsese-directed pilot set the tone for the film based on Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson. The first season may have been too gratuitous, too bloody, too sluggish, and too masculine for others, but Boardwalk compensated those who were stuck with it. Yeah, she stayed violent and sex-filled, but she also got further into roles like Michael K. Williams’ Chalky White, Richard Harrow’s Jack Huston, and Gillian Darmody’s Gretchen Mol. It was an early history lesson with a decent amount of pathos and a top-notch set of character actors, including Dabney Coleman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Shannon, and a few others.
Enlightened, about a chief executive who is demoted to basement-dwelling jobs after self-destruction in dramatic fashion, and who has received microscopic ratings during his two-season tenure before he gets to the ax. The series, produced and written by Mike White (School of Rock), gives Dern absolute freedom to stand on the verge of breakdown while claiming manically that she’s learned how to manage her demons, and the result is a funny melancholy change of both the wellbeing subculture and the corporate dual-speak. Dern’s Amy Jellicoe so badly wants to be in control of her life—which has been blown up by alcohol, an affair with her boss, and a miscarriage, among other things—that she’s constantly threatening to make her condition worse, considering the new-age strategies she’s learned in rehab. Jellicoe’s troubled relationship with her mother (played by Diane Ladd, Dern’s real-life mom) is particularly interspersed with the whole season’s emotional depth.
50. The Deuce
HBO has long offered David Simon the space to discuss urban decay and revitalization. Ex reporter and Homicide: Life on the Street Writer has rolled down every sketchy street and bought drinks at every dive bar in Baltimore (The Wire), New Orleans (Treme), and Yonkers (Show Me a Hero). The Deuce is Simon’s vision of New York City—specifically Times Square in the 1970s, perhaps the seediest time and place in the city’s seedy past. The show often includes uncharacteristically what might be called two gimmicks, but which never feel gimmicky in Simon’s hands: James Franco portrays twins involved in the Mafia-connected nightlife and casino scene and free sex scenes as a product of a sex industry context. Though all deliver a measure of comedic relief—whether in the form of Franco’s Fonzie—the french image of Frankie Martino, or the use of potato soup that you never considered imaginable.