Thursday Apr 27

The 100 Most Essential Modern TV Programs

User Rating: / 0
PoorBest 
Couple ground rules.  For starters, we'll be using 1990 as the demarcation line for what should be considered modern.  This seemed like a natural cutoff point, as the Cheers generation was giving way to the Seinfeld generation and cable channels were beginning to gain some footing.  When we say 1990, we mean that the first season of a show had to, at its earliest, at least span the turn of the decade.  This means The Simpsons is still good as its first season started in the latter half of 1989 and ended in 1990.  However, this disqualifies still active shows that started any earlier; as great as SNL and 60 Minutes are, you won't see them on this list.  Tough call but we ultimately decided that we didn't want to be handing out too many greatness points for longevity alone.  Furthermore, with all apologies to Freaks and Geeks, miniseries or single-season programs will not eligible.  Though we don't want to over award for longevity, there's something to be said for sustaining greatness across multiple years.  Beyond that it's wide open--dramas, sitcoms, talk shows, sketch comedy, British shows--if it comes on the small screen and could be considered essential viewing, it has a spot on this list.
  1. The Wire (2002-2008, 60 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Simon
  2. The Simpsons (1989-Present, 601 episodes over 28 seasons)  FOX  Created by Matt Groening
  3. Seinfeld (1989-1998, 180 episodes over 9 seasons)  NBC  Created  by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
  4. Breaking Bad (2008-2013, 62 episodes over 5 seasons)  AMC  Created by Vince Gilligan
  5. The Daily Show (1996-Present, 3000+ episodes)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Madeleine Smithberg and Lizz Winstead
  6. Game of Thrones (2011-Present, 60 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  7. The Sopranos (1999-2007, 86 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Chase
  8. Mad Men (2007-2015, 92 episodes over 7 seasons) AMC Created by Matthew Weiner
  9. South Park (1997-Present, 267 episodes over 19 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone
  10. The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998, 89 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by Garry Shandling and Dennis Klein.
  11. The Colbert Report (2005-2014, 1447 episodes over 10 seasons.  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Stephen Colbert, Ben Karlin, and Jon Stewart
  12. Family Guy (1999-Present, 273 episodes over 15 seasons)  FOX  Created by Seth McFarlane
  13. Law and Order (1990-2010, 496 episodes over 20 seasons) NBC Created by Dick Wolf
  14. The West Wing (1999-2006) NBC Created by Aaron Sorkin
  15. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present, 80 episodes over 8 seasons) HBO  Created by Larry David
  16. Arrested Development (2003-Present, 68 episodes over 4 seasons)  FOX/NETFLIX  Created by Mitchell Hurwitz
  17. Louie (2010-Present, 61 episodes over 5 seasons)  FX  Created by Louie CK
  18. Friends (1994-2004, 236 episodes over 10 seasons)  NBC  Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman
  19. Chappelle's Show (2003-2006, 28 episodes over 3 seasons)  Comedy Central.  Created by Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan.
  20. 30 Rock (2006-2013, 138 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Tina Fey
  21. Lost (2004-2010, 121 episodes over 6 seasons)  ABC  Created by JJ Abrams
  22. NYPD Blue (1993-2005, 261 episodes over 12 seasons) ABC  Created by Steven Bochco and David Milch
  23. The X-Files (1993-2002, 208 episodes over 10 seasons) FOX Created by Chris Carter
  24. Deadwood (2004-2006, 36 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Milch
  25. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present, 124 episodes over 11 seasons)  FX  Created by Rob McElhenney
  26. The Shield (2002-2008, 88 episodes over 7 seasons)  FX  Created by Shawn Ryan
  27. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011, 76 episodes over 5 seasons)  NBC  Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger
  28. Key and Peele (2012-2015, 53 episodes over 5 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele
  29. Six Feet Under (2001-2005, 63 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by Alan Ball
  30. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-Present, 205 episodes over 10 seasons)  NICKELODEON  Created by Stephen Hillenburg
  31. Oz (1997-2003, 56 episodes over 6 seasons) HBO Created by Tom Fontana
  32. Twin Peaks (1990-1991, 30 episodes over 2 seasons)  ABC  Created by Mark Frost and David Lynch
  33. Frasier (1993-2004, 264 episodes over 11 seasons)  NBC  Created by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee
  34. Black Mirror (2011-Present, 13 episodes over 3 seasons)  CHANNEL 4/NETFLIX  Created by Charlie Brooker
  35. Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999, 122 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Paul Attanasio and based on the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
  36. 24 (2001-2014, 204 episodes over 9 seasons) FOX Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran
  37. ER (1994-2009, 331 episodes over 15 seasons) NBC Created by Michael Crichton
  38. Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993-2009, 2,725 episodes over 14 seasons)  NBC  Created by Conan O'Brien
  39. Fargo (2014-Present, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  FX  Created by Noah Hawley
  40. Atlanta (2016-Present, 10 episodes over 1 season)  FX  Created by Donald Glover
  41. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003, 144 episodes over 7 seasons)  THE WB/UPN  Created by Joss Whedon
  42. The Office (British) (2001-2003, 12 episodes over 2 seasons)  BBC  Created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
  43. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009, 75 episodes over 4 seasons)  SCI-FI  Based on TV series Battlestar Galactica by Glen A. Larson and developed by Ronald D. Moore
  44. Real Time with Bill Maher (2003-Present, 400+ episodes over 14 seasons  HBO  Presented by Bill Maher
  45. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996, 148 episodes over 6 seasons) NBC  Created by Andy and Susan Borowitz
  46. Mr. Robot (2015-Present, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  USA  Created by Sam Esmail
  47. The Leftovers (2014-Present, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  HBO  Created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta and based on the novel The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  48. Sex and the City (1998-2004, 94 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by Darren Star
  49. 30 for 30 (2009-Present, 91 episodes)  ESPN  Created by Bill Simmons and Connor Schell
  50. The Americans (2013-Present, 52 episodes over 4 seasons)  FX  Created by Joe Weisberg
  51. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015, 125 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Shur
  52. American Crime Story (2015-Present, 10 episodes over 1 season)  FX  Developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
  53. Sherlock (2010-present, 10 episodes over 3 seasons)  BBC  Created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat
  54. Pardon the Interruption (2001-Present, 3500+ episodes)  ESPN  Starring Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
  55. The Office (American) (2005-2013, 201 episodes over 9 seasons)  NBC  Developed by Greg Daniels and based on The Office by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
  56. Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000, 293 episodes over 10 seasons)  FOX  Created by Darren Star, Aaron Spelling, and E. Duke Vincent
  57. The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (1992-2014, 4,610 episodes over 22 seasons)  NBC  Presented by Jay Leno
  58. Justified (2010-2015, 78 episodes over 6 seasons)  FX  Developed by Graham Yost and based on the short story "Fire in the Hole" by Elmore Leonard
  59. Modern Family (2009-Present, 171 episodes over 8 seasons)  ABC  Created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan
  60. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015, 337 episodes over 15 seasons)  CBS  Created by Anthony E. Zulker
  61. In Living Color (1990-1994, 127 episodes over 5 seasons)  FOX  Created by Keenan Ivory Wayans
  62. Beavis and Butthead (1993-1997, 2011, 222 episodes over 8 seasons.  MTV  Created by Mike Judge
  63. Hannibal (2013-2015, 39 episodes over 3 seasons)  NBC  Developed by Bryant Fuller
  64. Chicago Hope (1994-2000, 141 episodes over 6 seasons)  CBS  Created by David E. Kelley
  65. Dexter (2006-2013, 96 episodes over 8 seasons)  SHOWTIME  Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay an developed by James Manos Jr.
  66. The Knick (2014-2015, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  CINEMAX Created by Jack Ariel and Michael Begler
  67. The Real World (1992-Present, 591 episodes over 32 seasons)  MTV  Created by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray
  68. Northern Exposure (1990-1995, 110 episodes over 6 seasons)  CBS  Created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey
  69. Veep (2012-Present, 46 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by Armando Iannucci
  70. Orange is the New Black (2013-Present, 52 episodes over 4 seasons)  NETFLIX  Created by Jenji Kohan
  71. Broad City (2014-Present, 30 episodes over 3 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Illana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson
  72. Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006, 151 episodes over 7 seasons)  FOX  Created by Linwood Boomer
  73. Better Call Saul (2015-Present, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  AMC  Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould
  74. Vice (2013-Present) 58 episodes over 4 seasons HBO  Created by Shane Smith
  75. Rick and Morty (2013-Present, 21 episodes over 2 seasons)  ADULT SWIM  Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon
  76. Transparent (2014-Present, 30 episodes over 3 seasons)  AMAZON  Created by Jill Soloway
  77. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014-Present, 560+ episodes over 3 seasons  Presented by Jimmy Fallon
  78. That 70's Show (1998-2006, 200 episodes over 8 seasons)  FOX  Created by Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, and Mark Brazill.
  79. Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014, 56 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by Terence Winter
  80. Community (2009-2015, 110 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO/YAHOO  Created by Dan Harmon
  81. The Walking Dead (2010-Present,  85 episodes over 7 seasons)  AMC  Developed by Frank Darabont and based on the comic book series The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
  82. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005, 210 episodes over 9 seasons)  CBS  Created by Phillip Rosenthal
  83. King of the Hill (1997-2010, 259 episodes over 13 seasons)  FOX  Created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels
  84. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-Present, 73 episodes over 4 seasons)  FOX  Created by Dan Goor and Michael Shur
  85. Futurama (1999-2013, 140 episodes over 7 seasons)  FOX/COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Matt Groening
  86. Homeland (2011-Present, 60 episodes over 5 seasons)  SHOWTIME  Based on the Israeli drama Prisoners of War by Gideon Raff and developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
  87. House of Cards (2013-Present, 52 episodes over 4 seasons)  NETFLIX  Created by Beau Willimon and based on British series and novel of same name
  88. In Treatment (2008-2010, 106 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Developed by Rodrigo Garcia and based on the Israeli series BeTipul
  89. Last Week Tonight (2014-Present, 87 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Presented by John Oliver
  90. Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014, 92 episodes over 7 seasons)  FX  Created by Kurt Sutter
  91. Jackass (2000-2002, 25 episodes over 3 seasons)  MTV  Created by Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine
  92. Silicon Valley (2014-Present, 28 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler, and Dave Krinsky
  93. Newsradio (1995-1999, 98 episodes over 5 seasons)  NBC  Created by Paul Simms
  94. Picket Fences (1992-1996, 88 episodes over 4 seasons)  CBS  Created by David E Kelley
  95. Animaniacs (1993-1998, 99 episodes over 5 seasons)  FOX/THE WB  Created by Tom Reugger
  96. The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991-1995, 52 episodes over 5 seasons)  NICKELODEON  Created by John Kricfalusi
  97. Eastbound & Down (2009-2013, 29 episodes over 4 seasons)  HBO  Created by Ben Best, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride
  98. Party Down (2009-2010, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  HBO  Created by John Enborn, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd.
  99. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014, 208 episodes over 9 seasons)  CBS  Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas
  100. Inside Amy Schumer (2013-Present, 39 episodes over 4 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Amy Schumer and Daniel Powell

Honorable Mentions: Gilmore Girls, Enlightened, True Detective, Scrubs, Girls, Mr. Show, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, Sports Night, House, The Practice, Veronica Mars, Black-ish, Portlandia, Rescue Me, Saved by the Bell, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Home Improvement, Family Matters, Flight of the Conchords, Nathan For You, Bojack Horseman, American Crime, Jessica Jones, Melrose Place, Nurse Jackie, The Man Show, Master of None, Rectify, Da Ali G Show, You're the Worst, Grey's Anatomy, Prime Suspect, Survivor

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

 

Greatest SNL Cast Members
All Time Winningest Athletes
The Classic Movie Quote Compendium
Music's Greatest Game Changers
50 Greatest Hip Hop Albums
100 Greatest Modern Actors
Awesome Upcoming Movies
Sensational Sports Crimes
Greatest Drama Series
Top Sports Cities
Baseball's Mount Rushmore
Greatest MLB Broadcasters
Greatest Multi-Sporters
All Time NBA Earners
Soccer's Greatest Club Teams
Greatest Movie Franchises
Sports Moments That Shook The World
Greatest Movie Murders
Greatest South Park Moments
Greatest Solo Acts
100 Greatest Movie Quotes
Greatest Golden Age Directors
20 Biggest Movie D-Bags
Hilarity Rankings
Greatest Movie Characters
Greatest Chappelle's Show Skits
Greatest College Football Schools
Greatest Heisman Winners
Greatest Modern Directors
Playing Careers of NFL Coaches
Greatest Seinfeld Quotes
50 Greatest Modern Actresses
© Copyright Definitive Dose.  All Rights Reserved.