A commenter recently asked me what my favourite shows of all time were, and I immediately set to work remembering all the fantastic series I’ve seen. By my count, there are 20 that really blew my socks off.
I haven’t seen every show under the sun, and to be honest some of the bigger series (that shall go unnamed) just didn’t do it for me. This list is purely off the top of my head, so hopefully I haven’t missed one of my favourites!
Honourable mentions go to Mock the Week, Fawlty Towers, Come Fly With Me and Mr. Bean. These are great shows that I can put on and always have fun with, but I thought these other 20 are more significant and more worth a mention.
Before you check out my top 20, you can find some of my related blog posts below:
20 – The Witcher
Is Netflix’s “The Witcher” a perfect show? Absolutely not – in fact, Season 2 was a bit tame on the whole.
I would be lying to myself if I said the show’s inclusion wasn’t based purely on the videogame – The Witcher 3 is my favourite game ever, and I thought Season 1 of the show did a great job capturing the essence of it. Hopefully Season 3 can be a step in the right direction again.
19 – The Legend of Vox Machina
I recently got into Critical Role when they started their third campaign, and I was pleasantly surprised to find they had their own Amazon show on the way. When it finally released, I immediately loved it.
I’m not too familiar with Vox Machina’s journey during the livestreams, so their adventures here were fresh and exciting. The first two episodes were a little slow, but the subsequent ten blew my socks off. I’m eagerly anticipating Season 2!
18 – Family Guy
I was torn whether to include Family Guy or not, as I don’t think I’ve ever sat down to watch a full episode (other than the ones randomly on TV).
For the amount of times it made me laugh, and for the fun me and my schoolmates had while watching the cutaway gags, I think it has to make my top 20.
17 – Black Mirror
Black Mirror is my ideal TV show – an episodic look at some of the world’s biggest issues whilst highlighting technology of the future? Sign me up.
Consistency is Black Mirror’s main problem, as for every stunning episode you get a mediocre one. The good definitely outweighs the bad, though.
16 – Sherlock
Sherlock is as mixed a bag as we’re ever likely to see. Season 3 was a bit meh, and Season 4 was some of the most awful television I’ve ever seen.
Luckily, Seasons 1 and 2 more than make up for it. The Sherlock vs Moriarty battle is one of my favourite TV feuds, and the writing was always surprising. It all went tits up after “The Reichenbach Fall”, so maybe they should’ve just had that as the series finale.
15 – Castlevania
The opposite of Sherlock, I thought Seasons 1 and 2 of Castlevania were average (ignoring the finales) before Seasons 3 and 4 blew me away.
This is adult cartoon done brilliantly, and each character felt fleshed out and alive. Also vampires, so that earns it bonus points.
14 – The Mandalorian
I’m a sucker for anything set in the Star Wars universe, and the Mandalorian rivals the films as being the most entertaining story of them all.
Mando and Grogu have such a wholesome relationship, and the various adventures they go on are both exciting and visually stunning. The other Star Wars shows have been a bit naff, but at least their flagship series is still going strong.
13 – Demon Slayer
DISCLAIMER – I’ve only seen Season 1 of Demon Slayer (not even the movie!), as that’s the only one available on Netflix in the UK. I’m desperate for the rest of the story!
I was hesitant going into Demon Slayer as I’m not an anime fan, but Tanjiro’s story completely entranced me. The animation is sensational, and the battles between the titular slayers and the fearsome demons never disappointed.
12 – The Simpsons
Like with Family Guy, I’ve never actually sat down to watch a string of Simpsons episodes. Just like before, however, they never fail to make me laugh whenever they’re on TV.
All of the characters have become ingrained in pop culture history, and the earlier seasons especially were chalked to the brim with funny jokes and visual gags. They probably shouldn’t still be airing new episodes, though.
11 – Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty basically became everyone’s favourite show overnight, and I’m no exception.
The writing is some of the best I’ve seen in all of television, and they use their animated medium to great effect every time. The past couple of seasons have been a little underwhelming, but those first three are golden.
10 – Cowboy Bebop
A show I’ve only just finished recently, and yet upon reflection Cowboy Bebop amazingly makes it into my top ten.
I believe it to be the best anime of all time – the care and attention that went into the characters and visuals is nothing short of sensational. If there was more than one season, this might have ranked amongst my absolute favourites.
9 – The Office (U.S.)
As a born and bred Englishman, it’s considered blasphemy to have the American Office over the original UK version. Unfortunately, if I’m being impartial, the remake is better.
The UK Office only has one proper good season (Season 2), but the US Office is fantastic from Seasons 2-7. If (spoilers) Michael Scott didn’t leave, this could have been my favourite comedy ever.
8 – Avatar: The Last Airbender
I went into Avatar: The Last Airbender expecting it to be a simple kids show, but it ended up being so much more.
This has some of the best character and worldbuilding of ANY show I’ve seen, regardless of the target audience. Book 1 can be a little too childish at times, but Book 2 & 3 are GOATed television.
7 – Stranger Things
Stranger Things would have only just made the top 20 a year ago, but Season 4 reminded me just how much I love this show.
Seasons 2 & 3 are cool enough, but 1 & 4 are some of the best action / mystery / coming-of-age storytelling I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. It’s nostalgic, and I wasn’t even alive in the 80’s.
6 – Friends
The most comforting show of all time, it’s no exaggeration to say that Friends got me through some tumultuous teenage years.
All six of the main characters are people that you’d accept into your friendship group in a heartbeat, and the wacky shenanigans and interpersonal relationships never got stale (well, maybe the last two seasons were a little stale).
5 – Hannibal
I love “The Silence of The Lambs” and consider it to be one of the best thrillers of all time, so I had high hopes going into Hannibal. Luckily, it somehow managed to exceed all my expectations.
All of the acting is sensational, and the artsy approach of the direction kept me entranced throughout all three gripping seasons. The grisly murders were always unique, and you could tell they went all out in the gore department. I’ll be frustrated that they never made more seasons for the rest of my days.
4 – Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul was always going to be a great show, but throughout its six seasons I was thoroughly impressed with how the writers managed to both tell a perfect story AND retroactively improve Breaking Bad.
All of the actors turn in career-defining performances, and Season 3 onwards is success after success. Time will tell if I still hold it in this high regard, but for now it’s an all-timer.
3 – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
My favourite comedy show of all time, more often than not It’s Always Sunny had me rolling from laughter.
All five of the main characters are some of my favourite TV characters ever, and the side characters consistently steal the show. Season 1 is a bit meh, but Season 2 onwards is great – Seasons 3 to 9 is the longest peak of any show in this list.
2 – Doctor Who
Doctor Who isn’t the “best” show I’ve ever seen, and there are some episodes (and even entire seasons) that are borderline unwatchable, but it’s the show of my childhood.
It has the perfect premise – a quirky British genius travelling through time and space, battling the monster of the week using his mind rather than his strength. Eight-year-old me instantly fell in love with its cheesy charm, and I can dip into any episode from the Tenth Doctor’s run and have a blast.
1 – Breaking Bad
Loads of people told me prior to watching that Breaking Bad was one of the best shows of all time, but despite that it managed to exceed my lofty expectations and then some.
It has the best acting, characters, writing, action set-pieces and finales of any TV show I’ve ever seen, and it’s the only show I can rewatch countless times without getting bored. Nothing will ever come close to this level of perfection, and I’m okay with that.
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