Fans of TV shows over the years have engaged in countless arguments over which TV series is the best. Well in this article, I will try my best to end the debate on the top 10 TV series of all time once and for all.
Criteria for selection will be based on critical acclaim, Emmy awards success, and impact on TV culture. This promises to be an exciting piece.
Top 10 TV series of all time
1. Breaking Bad
The 5 season crime thriller is in my opinion one of the greatest TV series of all time. Winning a total of 16 Emmy awards with its lead actor Bryan Cranston winning the award for outstanding lead actor in a drama four times. He became one of the first actors to win the award three times consecutively.
The show is based on the life of Walter White, a genius chemist who settles for the job of a high school chemistry teacher. Upon discovering that he has stage 3 lung cancer, Walter decides to go into the drug dealing business with his former high school student and drug dealer Jesse Pinkman in order to leave enough money for his family upon his death.
Supporting actor Aaron Paul who plays the role of Jesse Pinkman won the Emmy award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama three times while Anna Gunn who plays the role of Skyler White (Walt’s wife) won the Emmy award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama twice. The show has also won a host of other awards including two Golden Globe awards, it was named as the most critically acclaimed show of all time by the Guinness World Record in 2014.
2. The Sopranos
Based on the life of Tony Soprano, an Italian Mob boss in America, and his struggles trying to juggle his life of crime and family. Rated by The Rolling Stones magazine as number one on the top 100 greatest series of all times, it ran for 6 years and within that time won multiple Emmy awards, Peabody awards, and Golden Globe awards. The show’s lead actor James Gandolfini and actress Eddie Falco won the Emmy Awards Best outstanding actor in a drama category 3 times each, while the show itself won 6 Emmy Awards for outstanding writer for a drama series.
3. Game of Thrones
An adaptation of the fantasy novel “A song of fire and ice” written by George R.R. Martin. Game of thrones is the most successful fantasy drama ever made in TV series. It is also the most successful series in the history of the Emmy Awards with a total of 59 Emmy awards. Game of Thrones was set in medieval times. It’s a political satire based on the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and Essos. It takes us through the journey of different characters and their families, noble houses, Knights, maidens, bastards, outcasts, and of course dragons all at war for the Iron Throne.
Shot in over 6 different countries with thousands of casts and crew members, the show is one of the most expensive TV series ever made. The show which had eight seasons was estimated to cost over 50 million dollars per season in its first 3 seasons and by the 6th season, its production budget was estimated at 100 million dollars. The eight season which had six episodes was estimated to cost 15 million dollars per episode.
Friends started its TV run in 1994 and ended Ten seasons later in 2004. It is regarded as one of the most popular TV shows of all time. The spectacular sitcom revolves around six friends living in New York City and their struggles with finding love and their careers. Friends was nominated for a total of 62 Emmy awards and won 6 Awards during its ten-year run. Cast members Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow won one Emmy award each.
5. The Office
The documentary-style comedy series premiered in 2005 and ran for 9 seasons, winning 4 Emmy awards, 1 Golden Globe award for lead actor Steve Carrel and many more. It revolves around the lives of employees of a paper mill company and the shenanigans they get up to at the office.
6. How to Get Away With Murder
In my opinion, this is one of the best-written TV series of all time. With a superb cast of fantastic actors led by Oscar award winner Viola Davies in the starring role as Annalise Keating. The crime/legal thriller is based on the life of a criminal lawyer and defense attorney and professor Annalise Keating and 5 of her favorite students known as the Keating 5.
The plot of the series is basically Annalise Keating doing her best and risking her life and career in order to save her students from going to jail after one of them incidentally murdered her husband. The show, during its five-season run, contains many plot twists and character arcs that are bound to keep viewers at the edge of their seats. The TV series received praises for its writing but most of the praises went to the lead actress Viola Davies for her stellar performance. She became the first black woman to win the Emmy award for Outstanding lead actress in a drama series.
7. Orange is the New Black
This TV series is an adaptation of the novel “Orange is the new black: My year in a women’s prison” written by Piper Kierman. It is based on the real-life experience of the author after being sentenced to a minimum-security prison for a drug charge. The show premiered on Netflix in 2013 and ended after seven seasons in 2019.
Orange is the New Black revolves around the life of Piper Kierman and her prison mates which also includes her lesbian lover. It tells the story of some of the inmates and the situations that led them to prison. The show received 16 Emmy nominations during its run, supporting actress Uzo Aduba won the Emmy Award for Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series.
The Simpsons animated TV series is currently the longest-running animated TV series in history. It premiered in 1989 and is still going strong 33 seasons later. The sitcom is based on the life of a fictional family “The Simpsons” and the crazy activities they get upto in the fictional town of Springfield. During its run, several real -ife characters and socio-political events have been parodied on the show. Over the years, it has recorded huge success at award shows, winning 34 awards at the Emmys.
9. The Wire
Premiered in 2004 and is loosely based on the life of Ed Burns, a former American police detective, and co-writer on the show. The crime drama is based on the lives of the residents of the city of Baltimore. Disappointingly, the show never won a single major award during its four years run. It is considered by many as one of the best TV series ever, with many critics praising its writing. Rolling Stones magazine ranked it as the second greatest TV show of all time.
10. Saturday Night Live
The comedy and variety show is one of the longest TV series in America. It premiered in 1975 and is currently on its forty-seventh season. The show employs a host of celebrity casts to perform comic sketches, each episode is hosted by a different celebrity guest. The show has gone on to win 86 Emmy Awards, making it one of the most successful TV series at the prestigious award ceremony.