The Best TV Show Released the Year You Were Born

The Best TV Show Released the Year You Were Born

The best TV shows, while entertaining, also function as historical references of their respective eras. Even examples such as “Mad Men” – which takes place decades in the past – deliver coded commentary on contemporary trends, in addition to its production values and acting styles. To watch the best TV show released the year you were born is, therefore, to take away certain impressions and anachronisms of that very same year. 

Even without historical context or commentary, the best TV shows are generally a pleasure to behold. Classic sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy” or “Seinfeld” are as laughter-inducing now as ever before, regardless of their dated qualities. Along similar lines, Looney Tunes cartoons are essentially timeless and so too is the classic anthology series “The Twilight Zone.” (On the other hand, these are the best tv shows that lasted just one season.)

Then there are the shows that haven’t necessarily aged well but continue to inspire modern adaptations. Examples include “Star Trek: The Original Series” and “The Addams Family,” both of which persist in the culture through assorted incarnations. It all makes for a vast television landscape with no shortage of viewing options. (These are 100 best TV dramas of all time)

Here are the best TV shows from the year you were born

To determine the best TV show released the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience rating from the Internet Movie Database. Television shows were ranked based on average IMDb user rating as of January 2022. Only shows with at least two seasons regularly aired in the United States were included. Shows with fewer IMDb user reviews than the average across all shows that premiered in the year the series premiered were excluded from consideration. Data on series run and cast information also came from IMDb. Not enough data was available to rank shows for the 1953 premiere year.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1948: The Ed Sullivan Show
> IMDb rating: 7.8/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,346
> Series run: 1948-1971
> Cast: Ed Sullivan, Johnny Wayne, Frank Shuster, Topo Gigio

Ed Sullivan’s epochal variety show ran every Sunday night over the course of 23 years. It remains best known for its live musical performances from artists such as Elvis and The Beatles.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

1949: The Lone Ranger
> IMDb rating: 7.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 2,380
> Series run: 1949-1957
> Cast: Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart, Chuck Courtney

The lone survivor of an ambush and his Indian companion traverse the Old West and help those in need in this classic TV series. ABC’s highest-rated show by the early 1950s, it was also the network’s first bona fide hit.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1950: What’s My Line?
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,525
> Series run: 1950-1967
> Cast: John Daly, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen

It’s a guessing game on all sides in this long-running game show, which featured regular contestants, a celebrity panel, and a famous mystery guest. The show aired every Sunday night before switching over to syndication and running five nights a week. Numerous revival attempts have failed to get off the ground.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1951: I Love Lucy
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 24,832
> Series run: 1951-1957
> Cast: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

One of the most influential sitcoms of all time follows Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz) through countless New York-based misadventures. The most-watched show on American television for four out of six seasons, it’s been a stalwart of syndication ever since.

Source: Courtesy of Motion Pictures for Television

1952: Adventures of Superman
> IMDb rating: 7.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 3,753
> Series run: 1952-1958
> Cast: George Reeves, Noel Neill, Jack Larson, John Hamilton

An unreleased film called “Superman and the Mole Men” became the pilot for this wildly popular TV series. It expanded upon the superhero’s mythology as introduced in previous radio shows, novels, movies, comic books, and animated shorts.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1954: Lassie
> IMDb rating: 6.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 3,217
> Series run: 1954-1974
> Cast: Lassie, Jon Provost, June Lockhart, Hugh Reilly

Arguably the most iconic dog in media history, Lassie was played by a Rough Collie named Pal in a string of films throughout the 1940s. It was Pal’s original owner and trainer who went on to co-create this long-running TV series, which ran for 19 seasons.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1955: Alfred Hitchcock Presents
> IMDb rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,430
> Series run: 1955-1962
> Cast: Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams, Patricia Hitchcock

Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock was world famous by the time he introduced this anthology TV series and its iconic opening sequence. He directed 17 episodes in total, two of which were nominated for Emmy Awards. Some of the best episodes were based on stories by British author Roald Dahl.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1956: As the World Turns
> IMDb rating: 6.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 2,017
> Series run: 1956-2010
> Cast: Elizabeth Hubbard, Don Hastings, Colleen Zenk, Jon Hensley

Soap opera pioneer Irna Phillips created this seemingly endless drama as a companion piece to “Guiding Light.” Its cumulative storyline clocks in at 13,763 hours, which is the longest total running time of any TV show.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1957: Perry Mason
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 7,909
> Series run: 1957-1966
> Cast: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, Ray Collins

This gripping legal drama was based on previous detective fiction by creator Erle Stanley Gardner. A cunning criminal defense attorney, Perry Mason takes on innocent clients and then defends them in a court of law. Star Raymond Burr reprised the role for a string of TV movies in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

1958: The Rifleman
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 3,974
> Series run: 1958-1963
> Cast: Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix, Joe Benson

Armed with a customized Winchester rifle, a rancher and his son embark on a series of Wild West adventures. The show takes place in the 1880s and features guest appearances from over 500 actors, including Dennis Hopper and Sammy Davis Jr.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1959: The Twilight Zone
> IMDb rating: 9.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 78,338
> Series run: 1959-1964
> Cast: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

Creator and host Rod Serling wrote over 80 episodes of this groundbreaking anthology series. Best known for its sci-fi elements and twist endings, it spawned small-screen revivals and a disastrous 1983 film adaptation. Similar anthology shows such as “The Outer Limits” and “Black Mirror” wouldn’t exist without it.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Stringer / Getty Images News

1960: The Bugs Bunny Show
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 32,682
> Series run: 1960-1975
> Cast: Mel Blanc, June Foray, Jim Backus, Bea Benaderet

Mainly composed of previous Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, this beloved animated series debuted on ABC in a primetime slot. It became a Saturday morning fixture soon after and existed in one form or another for nearly four decades.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1961: The Diсk Van Dyke Show
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 9,992
> Series run: 1961-1966
> Cast: Diсk Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam

Created by Carl Reiner, this classic series alternated between the professional and personal struggles of a harried TV writer (Van Dyke). Winner of 15 Emmy Awards, it helped pave the way for the workplace sitcom sub-genre.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1962: The Beverly Hillbillies
> IMDb rating: 7.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 9,212
> Series run: 1962-1971
> Cast: Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Irene Ryan, Max Baer Jr.

A poor Ozarks family strikes it rich and heads to Beverly Hills in this fish-out-of-water sitcom. It was later remade as a 1993 film with a guest cameo by Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett in the original series.

Source: Courtesy of BBC Video

1963: Doctor Who
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 36,812
> Series run: 1963-1989
> Cast: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker

This pop culture cornerstone holds Guinness World Records for the longest-running sci-fi TV series in the world and the “most successful” sci-fi series of all time. Follow the title character as he (or she in the most recent iteration) explores the furthest reaches of space and time in a conspicuously British-looking vessel. The show was relaunched in 2005 and continues to air new episodes.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

1964: The Addams Family
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,679
> Series run: 1964-1966
> Cast: John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy

Single-panel comics by cartoonist Charles Addams laid the groundwork for this sitcom about America’s creepiest and kookiest family. It only ran for two seasons but eventually spawned an ongoing franchise, complete with shows, films, and Broadway musicals.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1965: Get Smart
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 12,007
> Series run: 1965-1970
> Cast: Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt, Robert Karvelas

“An insane combination of James Bond and Mel Brooks comedy” is how Brooks himself once described this parodic series (which he co-created). It centers on clumsy secret agent Maxwell Smart and his partner Agent 99 as they take on the evil spy organization KAOS. Multiple film adaptations and a short-lived series revival would follow.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1966: Star Trek: The Original Series
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 79,307
> Series run: 1966-1969
> Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols

Long before the ever-expanding franchise there came this original sci-fi series, which sends the crew of the USS Enterprise on various space-based adventures. Cancelled after just three seasons due to low ratings, it was later rediscovered through syndication. It remains to this day an ongoing cultural force with representation in virtually every medium.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1967: The Carol Burnett Show
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 5,891
> Series run: 1967-1978
> Cast: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, The Ernie Flatt Dancers, Harvey Korman

Broadway star turned TV comedian Carol Burnett headlined this Emmy-winning variety show, the first of its kind to have a female as host. It featured high-profile guest appearances along with a number of iconic sketches, including a famous parody of “Gone With the Wind.”

Source: Courtesy of National Educational Television

1968: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,462
> Series run: 1968-2001
> Cast: Fred Rogers, Betty Aberlin, David Newell, Joe Negri

From 1968 to 2001, the amiable Fred Rogers welcomed young viewers into his warm home and charming neighborhood. His memorable guest characters and approachable style made education seem effortless. This was the longest-running children’s television series of all-time until “Sesame Street” broke the record in 2003.

Source: Courtesy of A&E Home Video

1969: Monty Python’s Flying Circus
> IMDb rating: 8.8/10
> IMDb user votes: 71,800
> Series run: 1969-1974
> Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle

Arguably the most influential comedy troupe of all time, Monty Python debuted on the BBC and proceeded to break every convention. Later airings on PBS helped expose the group’s particular brand of absurdity to American audiences. The legend would continue with a number of classic films, including the immortal “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1970: The Mary Tyler Moore Show
> IMDb rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,163
> Series run: 1970-1977
> Cast: Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Valerie Harper

Mary Tyler Moore plays Mary Richards in this seminal comedy series, which broke ground for the depiction of women on television. Single and career-minded, Richards works as associate producer for a fledgling news program. The show won 29 Primetime Emmy Awards over the course of seven seasons.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1971: Columbo
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 32,679
> Series run: 1971-2003
> Cast: Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan, Bruce Kirby

This celebrated series put a clever twist on the standard procedural, revealing the crime and often the perpetrators at the beginning of the story. It was then up to blue-collar homicide detective Columbo (Peter Falk) to crack the case. The season one episode “Murder by the Book” was directed by Steven Spielberg.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

1972: MАSH
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 54,428
> Series run: 1972-1983
> Cast: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr

An acclaimed Robert Altman film inspired this similarly iconic series about medical workers during the Korean War. Its legendary finale drew an estimated 125 million viewers and remained the most-watched TV broadcast in American history until 2010.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1973: Star Trek: The Animated Series
> IMDb rating: 7.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 6,664
> Series run: 1973-1975
> Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei

This animated sci-fi series attempted to capitalize on the growing popularity of its live-action predecessor, lasting only two seasons. A number of original cast members returned to provide voice-overs for their respective characters.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1974: The Rockford Files
> IMDb rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,154
> Series run: 1974-1980
> Cast: James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos, Luis Delgado

This still-syndicated crime series chronicles the dangerous cases solved by a wrongfully convicted felon turned private investigator (James Garner). It was co-created by Roy Huggins, who’d previously created the hit show “Maverick” (also starring Garner). Ballooning expenses and a personal injury resulted in an abrupt mid-season cancellation in 1979.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1975: Saturday Night Live
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 46,904
> Series run: 1975-present
> Cast: The Saturday Night Live Band, Don Pardo, Darrell Hammond, Lenny Pickett

This sketch comedy series debuted under the name of “NBC’s Saturday Night” and struggled to gain enough ratings during its first season. Now a cultural institution, it’s helped launch countless high-profile careers. It’s currently in the midst of a 47th season.

Source: Courtesy of Syndicated

1976: The Muppet Show
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 23,938
> Series run: 1976-1981
> Cast: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz

After the failure of two separate pilots, creator Jim Henson found a home for his muppets on British television and later in U.S. syndication. Presented as a variety show, the series also took viewers behind the curtain as assorted characters interacted backstage. A thriving franchise would follow.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

1977: Soap
> IMDb rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 6,672
> Series run: 1977-1981
> Cast: Katherine Helmond, Rod Roddy, Richard Mulligan, Cathryn Damon

This serialized comedy received heated backlash over its tawdry depictions of sex and infidelity only to become a ratings smash. A send-up of soap operas, it follows the melodramatic escapades of two sisters and their respective families. Billy Crystal plays the openly gay Jodie Dallas in an early breakout role.

Source: Matthew Lewis / Getty Images

1978: Top Gear
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 24,832
> Series run: 1978-2002
> Cast: Tiff Needell, Jeremy Clarkson, Quentin Willson, Chris Goffey

Modern fans of this British series might be surprised to discover that its origins date back to the late 1970s. Each episode features a handful of presenters and reporters, who review different cars and talk about all things automobile-related. A brief cancellation in the early aughts was followed by a series revival, which continues to this day.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television

1979: The Dukes of Hazzard
> IMDb rating: 7.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 12,762
> Series run: 1979-1985
> Cast: Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach, Denver Pyle

This countrified action-comedy series depicts the hard-living and fast-driving ways of the irrepressible Duke family. Often blamed for crimes they didn’t commit, the Dukes outrun the law while trying to clear their name. It was later adapted as a 2005 film starring Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, and Jessica Simpson.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1980: Magnum, P.I.
> IMDb rating: 7.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 24,283
> Series run: 1980-1988
> Cast: Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley, Larry Manetti

Tom Selleck and his famous mustache star as Hawaii-based P.I. Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV in this popular crime drama. It debuted soon after the conclusion of “Hawaii Five-0” and reportedly takes place in the same TV universe. Recent CBS remakes capitalized on the connection with a two-part crossover event in 2020.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1981: Hill Street Blues
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,439
> Series run: 1981-1987
> Cast: Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz, James Sikking

From co-creator Steven Bochco – the man behind a number of law-themed classics – comes this gritty depiction of life at an inner city police precinct. It’s widely regarded as a turning point in television, which influenced a number of subsequent hour-long dramas.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1982: Cheers
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 51,898
> Series run: 1982-1993
> Cast: Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt

This hugely popular sitcom welcomes viewers to the Cheers bar in Boston, owned and operated by former baseball player Sam Malone (Ted Danson). It struggled to find an audience during the first season but soon became one of the most successful shows ever produced. Bar regular Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar) moved to Seattle for the hit spin-off “Frasier.”

Source: Toby Canham / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

1983: Fraggle Rock
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 7,244
> Series run: 1983-1987
> Cast: Karen Prell, Gerard Parkes, Kathryn Mullen, Steve Whitmire

Muppet master Jim Henson dialed up the zaniness for this musical fantasy show, which centers on a group of underground creatures. While lighthearted, the show did cleverly tackle heavy themes such as bigotry and spirituality. A highly-rated reboot is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Source: Courtesy of Avid Home Entertainment

1984: The Transformers
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 21,422
> Series run: 1984-1987
> Cast: Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Corey Burton, Christopher Collins

Long before the live-action franchise there came this animated series about alien robots, who often took the form of vehicles. Co-produced by Marvel, it yielded a feature-length film called “The Transformers: The Movie” in 1986.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television

1985: The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,204
> Series run: 1985-1986
> Cast: Mel Blanc, June Foray

This Saturday morning cartoon was a continuation of “The Bugs Bunny Show,” which debuted in 1960 and migrated between networks. It was later renamed “The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show” with an extended full-hour runtime.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1986: ALF
> IMDb rating: 7.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 33,719
> Series run: 1986-1990
> Cast: Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros, Paul Fusco, Max Wright, Anne Schedeen

The letters ALF stand for “Alien Life Form” and pertain to the gabby title character of this beloved sitcom. Hailing from the planet Melmac, the alien – real name Gordon Shumway – shacks up with a suburban family. A made-for-TV movie called “Project: ALF” doubled as the series finale.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1987: Star Trek: The Next Generation
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 112,410
> Series run: 1987-1994
> Cast: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton

Putting a new crew aboard a next generation USS Enterprise, this space-based adventure picks up nearly 100 years after Captain Kirk went where no one had gone before. Like its predecessor, the series inspired countless adaptations across a host of mediums. Patrick Stewart recently reprised the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard for the Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Picard.”

Source: Courtesy of KTMA

1988: Mystery Science Theater 3000
> IMDb rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 24,028
> Series run: 1988-1999
> Cast: Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy

Join host Joel Hodgson and his robot friends as they skewer history’s worst movies in hilarious fashion. Thanks to crowdfunding, additional episodes have recently emerged on the online platform Gizmoplex. Former cast members have also created similar endeavors such as the popular comedy series “Rifftrax.”

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1989: Seinfeld
> IMDb rating: 8.8/10
> IMDb user votes: 288,434
> Series run: 1989-1998
> Cast: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander

Refusing to exhibit the slightest semblance of sentimentality, this immortal sitcom upended TV norms and societal ones alike. Follow comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his three closest friends as they navigate the New York City single life. Through their misadventures, an entire pop culture iconography was born.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

1990: Twin Peaks
> IMDb rating: 8.8/10
> IMDb user votes: 188,253
> Series run: 1990-1991
> Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen, Dana Ashbrook

Auteur David Lynch put his surrealist stamp on the soap opera format and briefly grabbed the zeitgeist with this idiosyncratic drama. Infusing various sub-genres with a dreamlike tonality, it centers on the vicious murder of mysterious teen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). A recent third season picks things up 25 years after the events of the original series.

Source: Courtesy of Syndicated

1991: Darkwing Duck
> IMDb rating: 7.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 15,806
> Series run: 1991-1992
> Cast: Jim Cummings, Terence McGovern, Christine Cavanaugh, Katie Leigh

This short-lived animated series made up part of The Disney Afternoon programming block before moving to Saturday mornings on ABC. It chronicles the adventures of its title character, a regular duck who moonlights as a superhero. A reboot is reportedly in the works at Disney+.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

1992: Batman: The Animated Series
> IMDb rating: 9.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 95,723
> Series run: 1992-1995
> Cast: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings

This boldly stylistic series eventually sparked a full-blown DC Animated Universe across multiple mediums. Dispensing with a noirish tone and complex themes, it depicts the Dark Knight’s crime-fighting adventures. Critics and fans alike consider it to be one of the greatest animated shows ever created.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

1993: The X-Files
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 213,078
> Series run: 1993-2018
> Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis

The truth is out there, and FBI Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are going to find it in this blockbuster sci-fi series. Featuring both standalone episodes and a serialized arc, it grappled with aliens and other strange phenomena. Spin-offs, film adaptations, comic books, video games, and a TV reboot would follow.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1994: Friends
> IMDb rating: 8.8/10
> IMDb user votes: 924,474
> Series run: 1994-2004
> Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc

This insanely popular sitcom takes place in Manhattan and follows the exploits of six close friends. Top-notch writing and expert casting kept the quality bar impressively high over the course of 10 seasons. In 2020, HBO Max reportedly paid over $400 million for streaming rights.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1995: NewsRadio
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 14,904
> Series run: 1995-1999
> Cast: Dave Foley, Stephen Root, Andy Diсk, Maura Tierney

This clever workplace sitcom takes viewers behind the scenes at WNYX NewsRadio, New York’s No. 2 news radio station. Comedy legend Phil Hartman tragically died during a production hiatus between the fourth and fifth season, making the character of Bill McNeal his final regular role.

Source: Courtesy of Cartoon Network

1996: Dragon Ball Z
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 116,101
> Series run: 1996-2003
> Cast: Doc Harris, Christopher Sabat, Scott McNeil, Sean Schemmel

This Japanese anime series adapts a popular manga and picks up where a 1980s predecessor left off. Now an adult, hero Son Goku and his cohorts must defend Earth from alien invaders. It helped spawn an ongoing franchise, which consists of movies, shows, video games, and more.

Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

1997: South Park
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 351,209
> Series run: 1997-present
> Cast: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Mona Marshall

Welcome to South Park, Colorado, home to four foul-mouthed grade kids and an endless supply of absurd events. Still going strong after 24 seasons, the show continues to provide a much-needed dose of uncompromising satire. A recent (and lucrative) deal with Paramount+ called for more episodes and 14 direct-to-streaming movies.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

1998: Whose Line Is It Anyway?
> IMDb rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 42,062
> Series run: 1998-2007
> Cast: Drew Carey, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Laura Hall

This improvisational comedy smash adapted a British show of the same name and initially ran for eight seasons. Working in tandem with the audience, host Drew Carey throws out prompts for a panel of performers to enact. The show has since been revived by CW and is now in the midst of an 18th overall season.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

1999: The Sopranos
> IMDb rating: 9.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 355,142
> Series run: 1999-2007
> Cast: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

This seminal HBO series depicts the daily struggles of mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as he deals with two separate families. A new era of serialized adult drama with anti-heroes as protagonists quickly arose in its wake. The show’s once-controversial finale has aged ever so gracefully, still invoking discussion nearly 15 years later.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

2000: Curb Your Enthusiasm
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 119,219
> Series run: 2000-present
> Cast: Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman

“Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David steps in front of the camera for this subversive follow-up, which leaves no social convention unscathed. Holding a thinly veiled mirror up to David’s own life, each episode trails him through a series of awkward predicaments. Viewers can’t help but find it hilarious, if only because it’s not happening to them.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

2001: Six Feet Under
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 129,216
> Series run: 2001-2005
> Cast: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose

Creator Alan Ball presents this acclaimed drama about the dysfunctional Fisher family, who run an independent funeral home. Brought to life by a talented ensemble cast, the show garnered constant acclaim and numerous major awards over the course of six seasons. It also yielded one of the most iconic finales ever produced.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

2002: The Wire
> IMDb rating: 9.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 313,676
> Series run: 2002-2008
> Cast: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce

Former journalist (and co-creator) David Simon examines his native Baltimore from every angle in this heralded crime drama. The city itself functions as both a central character and a microcosm of America’s socio-political landscape. Not initially a ratings smash, the show has since found a wider audience and become known as one of TV’s greatest achievements.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

2003: Arrested Development
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 291,950
> Series run: 2003-2006, 2013-2019
> Cast: Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett

An unseen narrator (voiced by Ron Howard) tells the story of the Bluth family, who try to retain their lavish lifestyle in the wake of a scandal. The show’s hyperkinetic pacing and unforgettable characters didn’t necessarily result in high ratings but did help fuel a massive cult following.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

2004: House
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 439,244
> Series run: 2004-2012
> Cast: Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jesse Spencer

Part medical drama and part procedural, this hit series follows misanthropic genius Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) as he begrudgingly saves lives. Despite his abrasive behavior, House’s ability to diagnose elusive ailments earns him the respect of his patients and his peers alike.

Source: Courtesy of Nickelodeon Network

2005: Avatar: The Last Airbender
> IMDb rating: 9.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 281,908
> Series run: 2005-2008
> Cast: Dee Bradley Baker, Zach Tyler, Mae Whitman, Jack De Sena

This animated adventure takes place in a fully-realized fantasy world, where gifted avatars can control the elements. A critical and commercial darling, it makes up part of a much larger franchise. Netflix is currently producing a live-action adaptation.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

2006: Dexter
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 697,258
> Series run: 2006-2021
> Cast: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar

Miami blood splatter analyst and serial killer Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) murders criminals as a way to satiate his twisted desires in this grim series. It was heralded early on but then dragged over the coals for its underwhelming conclusion. Showtime hoped to mend at least some viewer pains with a recent reboot called “Dexter: New Blood.”

Source: Courtesy of AMC+

2007: Mad Men
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 225,046
> Series run: 2007-2015
> Cast: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones

AMC was best known as a movie channel until it debuted this period drama about advertising executives in the 1950s and 1960s. At the story’s heart is mysterious ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm), who conceals his dark past beneath a veneer of absolute coolness.

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics

2008: Breaking Bad
> IMDb rating: 9.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,633,865
> Series run: 2008-2013
> Cast: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

Pants fly over the New Mexico desert and set the stage for this wild TV drama about high school teacher turned meth kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Infusing outrageous action with palpable pathos, the show slowly seduces its viewers over to the dark side. The prequel series “Better Call Saul” is coming up on its sixth and final season.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

2009: Parks and Recreation
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 239,344
> Series run: 2009-2020
> Cast: Amy Poehler, Jim O’Heir, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt

This mockumentary-style comedy chronicles the absurdist exploits of an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department. It was co-created by Greg Daniels (of “The Office”) and “The Good Place” creator Michael Schur. Virtually every lead star went on to have a successful career in film or television.

Source: Courtesy of HBO Max

2010: Sherlock
> IMDb rating: 9.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 868,894
> Series run: 2010-2017
> Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves

Benedict Cumberbatch plays famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes to Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson in this British adaptation. It won multiple awards over the course of four seasons, the third of which was the most-watched drama series in U.K. history.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

2011: Game of Thrones
> IMDb rating: 9.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,927,269
> Series run: 2011-2019
> Cast: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey

This sprawling adaptation of a best-selling book series became the most quintessential example of event TV from the last decade. Viewers are plunged into a medieval world with fantasy elements, whereby legendary characters battle for the throne.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

2012: The Newsroom
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 110,975
> Series run: 2012-2014
> Cast: Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill

From award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin comes this fast-paced look at cable news in the modern era. In addition to the main cast, it featured supporting or guest performances by Jane Fonda, Terry Crews, BJ Novak, Hope Davis, and others.

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim

2013: Rick and Morty
> IMDb rating: 9.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 451,457
> Series run: 2013-present
> Cast: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, Sarah Chalke

Ill-mannered genius Rick Sanchez takes his grandson Morty on a variety of sci-fi adventures in this beloved animated series. The show is so popular among loyal fans that the release of a “Rick and Morty”-themed ​​szechuan sauce sparked riots over its scarcity. On IMDb’s list of Top Rated TV, this one lands at #14.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

2014: True Detective
> IMDb rating: 8.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 532,625
> Series run: 2014-2019
> Cast: Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch

Telling a different detective story every season, this acclaimed anthology series kicked off with its strongest outing to date. Co-stars (and co-producers) Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson flirt with madness as they investigate an elusive serial killer. HBO is reportedly in talks with new writers about an upcoming fourth season.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

2015: Narcos
> IMDb rating: 8.8/10
> IMDb user votes: 393,144
> Series run: 2015-2017
> Cast: Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook, Alberto Ammann

This Netflix crime drama depicted the rise and fall of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar during its first two seasons. The series is produced and occasionally directed by José Padilha, the Brazilian helmer behind the blockbuster “Elite Squad” movies.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

2016: Stranger Things
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 949,535
> Series run: 2016-present
> Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour

A group of young friends contend with supernatural forces in this sci-fi smash. Its synth-based soundtrack is one among a number of purposeful homages to the 1980s, which is when the story takes place. The series has paid it forward by influencing subsequent works, including the recent movies “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “It.”

Source: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

2017: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 95,783
> Series run: 2017-present
> Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle

“Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino presents the inspiring and hilarious story of Mrs. Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan). Against the backdrop of 1950s New York, the Jewish mother and divorcee defies convention by pursuing a career in stand-up comedy. The show has won 20 Primetime Emmys to date, including Outstanding Comedy Series.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

2018: Succession
> IMDb rating: 8.8/10
> IMDb user votes: 103,517
> Series run: 2018-present
> Cast: Nicholas Braun, Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox

This expertly-written dramedy doubles as a clever satire about wealth and power in the modern age. It follows the members of the dysfunctional Roy family as they battle for control of a waning media empire. The second and third seasons hold a critic score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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