The Second to None: The Most Iconic TV Series According to Rolling Stone
Looking for the second best TV series of all time? Look no further. In this article, we'll dive into the television gems that have captivated audiences and gained critical acclaim throughout the decades. From the classic favorites like "I Love Lucy" and "The Twilight Zone" to the modern hits like "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad," we'll explore the shows that have left an indelible mark on pop culture. So, buckle up and prepare to embark on a thrilling journey through the captivating world of television. You won't want to miss this ultimate guide to the second-best TV series, as deemed by none other than Rolling Stone.
"The Sopranos" is a TV series that follows the New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano as he navigates personal and professional challenges in both his home and business life. These challenges greatly impact his mental well-being, leading him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.
"Downton Abbey" depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era. The series explores how major historical events impact their lives and the British social hierarchy.
American Crime Story
"American Crime Story" is an award-winning anthology series that delves into some of America's most notorious crimes. Each season focuses on a different true event, presenting it as a self-contained mini-series.
"Transparent" follows the story of Mort and his three adult children - Ali, Sarah, and Joshua - as they come together to discuss their future. To their surprise, the conversation reveals that it's not a financial inheritance at stake, but rather the revelation of Mort's secret life as a trans woman. This revelation profoundly impacts everyone's relationships with themselves, each other, and the world, exploring themes of boundaries, intimacy, sex, and gender.
"Girls" portrays the various humiliations, disasters, and occasional triumphs experienced by four young women in their twenties. The main characters are Hannah, an aspiring writer; Marnie, an art gallery assistant; and cousins Jessa and Shoshanna.
"Roseanne" explores the realities of life, death, and everything in between through the relatable and hilariously honest lens of the working-class Conner family. The show is set in the fictional exurb of Langford, Illinois, and centers around the matriarch Roseanne Barr. With her husband Dan and their children D.J., Darlene, and Becky, Roseanne tackles current issues through fresh stories and plenty of laughs. Roseanne's sister, Jackie, completes the core of the family with her warm yet neurotic personality.
The Wonder Years
"The Wonder Years" follows the journey of Kevin Arnold as he navigates the trials and tribulations of youth during the 1960s. The show is narrated by an adult Kevin, providing insight into his experiences with relationships, friendships, and the challenges of growing up.
Sex and the City
"Sex and the City" revolves around the life of Carrie Bradshaw and her three best friends - Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York, and Samantha Jones. The show explores their discussions about sexual desires, fantasies, and their personal journeys in love, life, and lesbianism. It also features candid conversations about romance and sexuality, along with interviews of people living in New York City.
Beavis and Butt-Head
"Beavis and Butt-Head" follows the lives of two high school students, Beavis and Butt-head, whose lifestyles revolve around TV, junk food, shopping malls, heavy metal music, and their attempts to "score with chicks". The show features short cartoons that center on the duo and their bizarre and outrageous adventures. Throughout the episodes, Beavis a nd Butt-Head also watch and make fun of music videos.
The Ed Sullivan Show
"The Ed Sullivan Show" aired on CBS from 1949 to 1971, making it one of the few shows to have the same weekly time slot on the same network for more than two decades. The show showcased various forms of entertainment, including opera singers, popular artists, songwriters, comedians, ballet dancers, dramatic monologues, and circus acts. Its format resembled vaudeville, and the show featured many ex-vaudevillians. The first eight seasons are listed under the series "Toast of the Town".
The Ren & Stimpy Show
"The Ren & Stimpy Show" revolves around the lives of Ren Höek, an angry and insane chihuahua, and his brain-dead sidekick cat, Stimpy. The duo embarks on bizarre and outrageous adventures, often accompanied by characters such as George Liquor, Mr. Horse, Powdered Toast Man, Muddy Mudskipper, and more.
Your Show of Shows
"Your Show of Shows" was an influential variety program that starred Sid Caeser and Imogene Coca. It aired from February 1950 to June 1954, with a total of 153 episodes. The show featured various sketches and comedic performances, making it one of the top-rated shows during its run.
"The State" was a sketch comedy TV show that aired on MTV from December 1993 to July 1995. The show appealed to a teenage audience and featured bizarre characters and scenarios in its sketches. The cast consisted of eleven comedians who created, acted, wrote, directed, and edited the show.
The Muppet Show
"The Muppet Show" is a British-American television program that features Jim Henson's Muppets. The show premiered in 1976 and ran for five series until 1981, totaling 120 episodes. It showcases a song-and-dance variety show in the style of vaudeville or music hall, as well as behind-the-scenes glimpses. Kermit the Frog serves as the show's showrunner, trying to manage the antics of the other Muppet characters while keeping the guest stars happy. The show is known for its physical slapstick, absurdist comedy, and humorous parodies. It also frequently features human guest stars.
The Larry Sanders Show
"The Larry Sanders Show" is a comedic series created by Garry Shandling. It draws on Shandling's own experiences as a talk show host to create the character of Larry Sanders, a paranoid and insecure late-night talk show host. Larry's obsequious TV sidekick, Hank Kingsley, and his fiercely protective producer, Artie, join him in navigating the behind-the-scenes world of television. The show offers a glimpse into the life of a talk show host and presents a convincing portrayal of the challenges that arise.
The Colbert Report
"The Colbert Report" features Stephen Colbert's unique take on current issues and events. As the host, Colbert presents his satirical views and critiques of the day's news, often contrasting them with his own opinions. The series parodies opinionated cable news personalities like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Joe Scarborough.
Late Night With David Letterman
"Late Night with David Letterman" was a popular late-night comedy/talk-show hosted by David Letterman. The show often featured location visits and phone pranks, along with iconic segments like the "Top Ten" lists and "Stupid Pet Tricks." Dave's use of unique camera placements, such as Sky-Cam and Guest-Cam, added to the show's distinctive style. Supporting cast members such as Paul Shaffer, Chris Elliott, and Larry Bud Melman also contributed to the show's success. Many famous guests and bands made appearances on the show.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" is a late-night variety/news show hosted by Conan O'Brien. Known for its smart-alecky, ribald, and whimsical humor, the show quickly gained popularity after a rocky start in 1993. The series features recurring characters like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Vomiting Kermit, Eyeballs O'Shaughnessy, and NASCAR-driving gun-toting Jesus, showcasing various comedy bits that entertain viewers. New episodes air from Tuesday to Friday, with reruns on Mondays and occasional breaks featuring reruns all week long. The show airs at 12:37 a.m. ET/PT and is simulcast in HDTV. Next-day encores air on CNBC at 7 p.m. ET.
The Daily Show
"The Daily Show" is a comedic take on recent news headlines and political figures. Hosted by Trevor Noah, the show presents satirical monologues, segments by correspondents, and interviews with guest celebrities and political figures. "The Daily Show" is filmed in New York City.
Real Time with Bill Maher
"Real Time with Bill Maher" features Bill Maher and a panel of guests discussing current events and political topics. The show brings together politicians, actors, comedians, musicians, and more to provide viewers with a broad perspective on what's happening in the world.
All in the Family
"All in the Family" centers around the conservative working stiff Archie Bunker and his daily struggles amidst a changing society. The show humorously explores his relationship with his flighty wife Edith, their daughter Gloria, and Gloria's left-leaning husband Michael Stivic.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" is an unscripted series created by Larry David. It follows a fictionalized version of Larry in a parallel universe where he can't seem to do anything right. The show humorously portrays his daily interactions and the comedic mishaps that ensue. It also offers a satirical take on the challenges of life and social interactions.
"Seinfeld" is a sitcom that has become known as the "show about nothing." It follows the comedic adventures of Jerry, along with his sardonic friends, George, Elaine, and Kramer. The show finds humor in both mundane and ridiculous situations.
"Friends" revolves around the lives of six friends in their twenties living in New York City. The main characters - Rachel Green, Ross Geller, Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing, and Phoebe Buffay - navigate through various challenges, including family drama, past and future romances, fights, laughter, tears, and surprises. The show explores the true meaning of friendship and the ups and downs that come with it.
I Love Lucy
"I Love Lucy" follows the life of Lucy Ricardo, the wife of the Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo. Lucy's desire to perform at Ricky's workplace, the Tropicana, leads to comical and often frantic situations in their shared apartment building. The show also features their landlords and best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz.
"The Simpsons" is set in the fictional town of Springfield and follows the daily adventures of the Simpson family - Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie - along with various supporting characters. The show has become a pop culture icon, attracting numerous celebrity guest stars. It is known for its fearless satire of politics, media, and American life in general.
"South Park" is an animated series that revolves around four boys living in the Colorado town of South Park. The show incorporates frequent odd occurrences and combines humor with satire. It started as a short film called "The Spirit of Christmas," created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. "South Park" has become an award-winning show known for its unique blend of humor and social commentary.
Monty Python's Flying Circus
"Monty Python's Flying Circus" is a groundbreaking comedy program that has had a profound influence on television and comedy. Combining their talents, five Englishmen and one American created this show in spring 1969. The series aired on BBC-1 and presented a variety of sketches, often with unexpected endings and moral lessons. The show is known for its imaginative and absurd humor, making it a favorite among audiences.
The Twilight Zone
"The Twilight Zone" is an iconic American anthology series that consists of various tales ranging from tragic to comedic. The show explores scary and thought-provoking themes and often features unexpected twists and a moral lesson. It is known for its opening narration describing the show as "a journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are that of the imagination."
"M*A*S*H" is set during the Korean War and follows the lives of the personnel at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Despite the challenging circumstances they find themselves in, the characters find ways to make their own fun, often resorting to practical jokes and seeking revenge. The show humorously depicts the daily adventures of the doctors, nurses, administrators, and soldiers stationed at the hospital.
The Golden Girls
"The Golden Girls" is a TV series about four women who were previously married and now live together in Miami. Despite facing challenges, they share their experiences and enjoy life to the fullest.
"Breaking Bad" follows the story of Walter White, a chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given a prognosis of two years to live. In order to secure his family's financial stability, he enters the dangerous world of drugs and crime.
"Mad Men" is set in 1960s New York and revolves around Don Draper, an alpha male who strives to stay at the top of the advertising industry on Madison Avenue. While being a successful ad man, he also tries to balance his role as a family man with young children.
"NYPD Blue" provides a gritty portrayal of life in a New York City police unit.
"Fargo" tells various stories of deception, intrigue, and murder in frozen Minnesota, all of which somehow connect back to Fargo, North Dakota.
Friday Night Lights
"Friday Night Lights" is set in Dillon, Texas, where high school football serves as a unifying force for the community. The show explores the drama of small town life that threatens to tear the community apart.
"The Shield" is the story of an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct, where some of the cops are willing to break the rules and work against their colleagues in order to keep the streets safe and protect their own interests.
"ER" follows the lives of medical personnel and patients in the emergency room of Chicago's fictional County General Hospital. The show highlights the daily challenges faced by the doctors and nurses, including overcrowded waiting rooms, staffing shortages, and the impact of life-and-death decisions. While they train the next generation of doctors, they also navigate their own personal lives.
The West Wing
"The West Wing" provides a glimpse into presidential politics in Washington, D.C. The show tells the stories of the members of a fictional presidential administration, highlighting their humor, dedication, and their discussions on politics and everyday life.
"The Wire" follows a single drug and homicide investigation that spans across an entire season. Set in inner-city Baltimore, the series presents the perspective of both the criminals and the police officers as they navigate the drug culture and strive to bring justice.
"Deadwood" is set in the Black Hills Indian Cession and depicts a town that violates treaty obligations, serving as a violent and unruly outpost attracting outlaws, entrepreneurs, soldiers, racketeers, and various other characters.
"Lost" tells the story of the survivors of Oceanic Air flight 815, which crashes on a mysterious deserted island. As they adjust to their new surroundings, they soon discover that they are not alone.
"The Fugitive" follows the journey of Dr. Richard Kimble, who is wrongly accused of murdering his wife. He escapes custody and becomes a fugitive, determined to find the real killer.
House of Cards (US)
"House of Cards" is a political drama that centers around Congressman Francis Underwood and his wife Claire, who will stop at nothing to gain power. The show delves into the world of greed, corruption, and sex in modern-day Washington, D.C.
Game of Thrones
"Game of Thrones" depicts the power struggles between seven noble families vying for control of the mythical land of Westeros. As tensions rise, a looming ancient evil threatens the realm, while a neglected military order known as the Night's Watch stands as humanity's last defense.
"Veep" offers a satirical look into American politics through the eyes of former Senator Selina Meyer, who is unprepared for the realities of being Vice President of the United States. The show explores the gap between expectations and reality in the world of politics.
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
"Battlestar Galactica" is set in a distant part of the universe where humans live on planets known as the Twelve Colonies. They have been at war with a cybernetic race called the Cylons. After 40 years of peace, the Cylons launch a devastating attack, pushing humanity to seek a fabled refuge called Earth.
Doctor Who (2005)
"Doctor Who" follows the adventures of the Doctor, an alien Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels through time and space in a unique ship called the TARDIS. The Doctor has the ability to regenerate and take on a new form, allowing the character to continue the journey with different personalities.
"Doctor Who" is a sci-fi series that follows the adventures of the Doctor, a mysterious traveler in space and time. With the help of his companions, the Doctor explores different planets and encounters various forms of evil wherever he goes.
"Homeland" focuses on a bipolar CIA operative who becomes convinced that a prisoner of war has been turned by al-Qaeda and is planning a terrorist attack on American soil.
"Arrested Development" centers around Michael Bluth, the level-headed son who takes over the family business after his father is imprisoned. However, his dysfunctional and spoiled family members make his job incredibly challenging.
The Walking Dead
"The Walking Dead" is set in a post-apocalyptic world where an epidemic has turned the dead into zombies who feed on the living. Society crumbles, and a group of survivors must navigate the dangers of this new world.
Orange Is the New Black
"Orange Is the New Black" follows the story of Piper Chapman, a public relations executive who ends up in a women's prison after her past catches up with her. Piper must navigate the challenges of prison life while forming relationships with fellow inmates.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" revolves around the life of Buffy Summers, the chosen one with the strength and skill to fight vampires, demons, and forces of darkness. With her friends Willow, Xander, and her Watcher Giles, Buffy balances her duties as a slayer with her personal relationships.
"24" is a TV thriller that unfolds in "real time," with each minute on air corresponding to a minute in the lives of the characters. The show features fast-paced and complex stories with unexpected plot twists. Each season focuses on thwarting a terrorist attack, with interwoven story threads that unfold over the course of one day.
"Sesame Street" is a children's TV series set on an inner-city street. The show features a mix of human and Muppet characters who teach preschool subjects through comedy, cartoons, games, and songs.
The Real World
"The Real World" aims to unite people from different backgrounds by placing them in a shared living environment and encouraging them to find common ground.
"Roots" is a historical drama that follows the journey of one family as they navigate American slavery and strive to survive while carrying on their legacy.
"Portlandia" is a sketch comedy show that stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. The series is based on the oddball characters and settings of Portland, Oregon.
The Office (US)
"The Office" is a mockumentary that follows a group of office workers and their daily experiences filled with ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and the tedium of office life.
"The Office" is a mockumentary set in a mid-sized suboffice paper merchant in a bleak British industrial town. The show revolves around manager David Brent, who considers himself the coolest and most popular boss, although he often embarrasses himself. The series also explores the dynamics between Tim and Dawn, as well as the insufferable Gareth.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" is a highly acclaimed sitcom from the 1970s. The series revolves around Mary Richards, a single career woman who moves to Minneapolis after a breakup. She works as an assistant producer on a local news show and represents the independent woman of the era.
The Rockford Files
"The Rockford Files" stars James Garner as Jim Rockford, an ex-con-turned-private investigator who prefers fishing to fighting. Despite his unconventional methods, Rockford has a knack for solving cases using his sharp instincts. The show takes place in Los Angeles and showcases the city's sun-baked streets and seamy alleys.
Law & Order
"Law & Order" is a blended police procedural and courtroom drama. The show follows NYPD homicide detectives as they investigate crimes, often inspired by real-life headlines, and apprehend suspects. The second half of each episode shifts focus to the courtroom, where the district attorney prosecutes the defendant.
Dallas was the world's first mega-soap and remains one of the most popular TV shows ever produced. It boasted a captivating mix of beautiful women, luxury cars, and individuals playing Monopoly with real buildings. The show became famous for its unforgettable cliffhangers, with the most notable being the question of "Who shot J.R.?" Dallas started off slowly but gained momentum in its second season, thanks to its complex storylines and well-developed characters. It dominated the airwaves throughout the 1980s.
Taxi owes its success to its exceptional writing, award-winning directing by Burrows, who used an innovative four-camera technique, and the talented but relatively unknown cast. One of the standout characters was Louie DePalma, played by Danny DeVito, who quickly became one of the most despised men on television. He was possibly the most irredeemable and worthless louse ever to grace the small screen. The show also featured the over-the-top comedic performance of Andy Kaufman as the foreign mechanic Latka Gravas, in an ensemble that emphasized subtle character humor.
Columbo, a Los Angeles homicide detective, uses his humble demeanor and shrewd personality to outsmart even the most careful criminals.
Good Times depicts the struggles of the Evans family as they try to survive in the tough South Side Chicago ghetto. The series stars Esther Rolle and John Amos as parents Florida and James, with breakout comedy star Jimmie Walker portraying J.J., the oldest of the three Evans children, who became known for his catchphrase "dyn-o-mite."
Cheers revolves around Sam Malone, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, who owns and runs a cozy bar in Boston. The show introduces the beautiful and intelligent Diane, who is forced to become a waitress at Cheers after her fiancé leaves her. Sam and Diane constantly engage in witty banter and their relationship eventually blossoms into love. The bar serves as a gathering place for a variety of eccentric characters, including the sarcastic waitress Carla, the beer-loving Norm, and the know-it-all Boston letter carrier Cliff.
The Honeymooners is one of the most influential situation comedy television series in American history. It depicts the sincere efforts of two men trying to improve their lives and the frustrations that arise when their schemes to strike it rich inevitably fail.
Saturday Night Live
Each week, Saturday Night Live features a famous guest host who appears in sketches and parodies alongside a roster of up-and-coming comedians. The show also includes a popular musical guest, short films, and Weekend Update, a recurring satirical newscast. It is recognized as one of the most influential and culturally significant TV shows in history.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
"Keep Cool My Babies!" With its smart-alecky, ribald, and whimsical humor, Late Night with Conan O'Brien overcame a rocky start in 1993 to become a critical darling and a favorite among college students. The show features recurring characters such as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Vomiting Kermit, Eyeballs O'Shaughnessy, NASCAR-driving gun-toting Jesus, and the Masturbating Bear. It also includes comedy bits like New State Quarters, What in the World, Celebrity Survey, Actual Items, and Conan Hates My Homeland. New episodes air Tuesday through Friday, with reruns on Mondays and occasional breaks where reruns air all week long. Late Night with Conan O'Brien airs weekdays at 12:37 a.m. ET/PT, and encores air on CNBC at 7pm ET.
Friends follows the lives of Rachel Green, Ross Geller, Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing, and Phoebe Buffay, a group of 20-something-year-olds living in the heart of New York City. Over the course of ten years, this close-knit group experiences mayhem, family troubles, past and future romances, fights, laughter, tears, and surprises, teaching them what it truly means to be a friend.
After their plane, Oceanic Air flight 815, crashes thousands of miles off course, the survivors find themselves on a mysterious deserted island where they discover they are not alone.
Law & Order
Law & Order combines elements of a police procedural and a courtroom drama. Each episode is divided into two parts: the first half focuses on NYPD homicide detectives investigating a crime, often inspired by real-life headlines, and apprehending a suspect, while the second half takes place in the courtroom, with the district attorney prosecuting the defendant.
ER follows the medical personnel and patients in the emergency room of Chicago's fictional County General Hospital. The doctors and nurses of County's ER face the daily challenges of a busy urban hospital, including overcrowded waiting rooms, staffing shortages, and the weight of life-and-death decisions. As they teach the next generation of doctors, the ER staff must also navigate the demands of their personal lives, often with mixed success.
The Shield tells the story of an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct where some of the cops are willing to break the rules or work against their colleagues to maintain a balance between keeping the streets safe and protecting their own interests.
The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone was a popular American anthology series that presented a collection of tales ranging from tragedy to comedy. The episodes could be scary or thought-provoking, often featuring unexpected endings and moral lessons. No matter what the subject, The Twilight Zone always took viewers on a journey into a wondrous land, limited only by the imagination.
"The truth is out there," and FBI agents Scully and Mulder are on a mission to uncover it. The X-Files explores their quest to explain the seemingly unexplainable, from UFO sightings to alien abductions and everything else paranormal.
The Daily Show
The Daily Show is the best fake news show in the world, providing viewers with all the news they can handle. This comedic program offers a satirical view of recent news headlines and political figures, presented through monologues, segments by correspondents, and interviews with guest celebrities and politicians. The show is filmed at 733 11th Avenue, New York, NY.
I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy centers around the life of Lucy Ricardo, the wife of Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo. Lucy constantly strives to perform at the Tropicana, the club where Ricky works, often resulting in comical chaos in their shared apartment building. Their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz, who also happen to be their best friends, are often caught up in Lucy's antics.
The West Wing
The West Wing offers a glimpse into presidential politics in the nation's capital. The show tells the stories of the members of a fictional presidential administration, showcasing their humor, dedication, and struggles as they navigate the world of politics, which often touches on everyday life.
Game of Thrones
In the mythical land of Westeros, seven noble families compete for control. Their conflicts lead to full-scale war, all while an ancient evil awakens in the far north. Amidst the chaos, the neglected military order known as the Night's Watch is humanity's only defense against the icy horrors beyond the Wall.
New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano balances personal and professional issues in his home and business life, all of which take a toll on his mental state. Seeking guidance, Tony turns to professional psychiatric counseling.
Fargo features various tales of deception, intrigue, and murder in and around frozen Minnesota. These stories all somehow connect to the city of Fargo in North Dakota.
When a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given a prognosis of two years left to live, he decides to enter the dangerous world of drugs and crime to secure his family's financial future.
The Ren & Stimpy Show
The Ren & Stimpy Show revolves around the lives of Ren Höek, an angry and insane chihuahua, and his brain-dead "eediot" sidekick cat, Stimpy. Together, they embark on bizarre and outrageous adventures, often accompanied by characters like George Liquor, Mr. Horse, Powdered Toast Man, Muddy Mudskipper, Mr. and Mrs. Pipe, Mrs. Buttloaf, and Svën Höek.
Orange Is the New Black
Orange Is the New Black follows the story of Piper Chapman, a woman with a successful career and a fiancé, whose past catches up with her. After being sentenced to a minimum-security women's prison in Connecticut for her involvement with a drug runner ten years prior, Piper trades power suits for orange prison uniforms. She navigates the corrections system and forms relationships with a diverse group of eccentric inmates.
Eastbound & Down
Relief pitcher Kenny Powers had all the potential to become the star of the Big Leagues, but his fading fastball and insufferable personality stood in his way. After a spectacular fall from grace, Kenny returns to his hometown of Shelby, NC, where he takes a job as a substitute gym teacher, determined to make a comeback, one beer at a time.
The Walking Dead
The world as we knew it is gone. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled. In this world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.
Set in the Black Hills Indian Cession, Deadwood is a lawless and uncivilized town that violates treaty obligations. It attracts outlaws, entrepreneurs, ex-soldiers, racketeers, Chinese laborers, prostitutes, city slickers, and gunfighters.
American Crime Story
American Crime Story is an award-winning anthology series that examines some of America's most famous crimes. Each season presents a self-contained mini-series based on unrelated true events.
Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks follows two distinct groups of teenagers as they navigate high school during the 1980s. Lindsay Weir rebels against her perfect student image and starts hanging out with a crowd of burnouts known as the "freaks," while her younger brother Sam Weir experiences the challenges of being a nerdy teenager with his group of friends, the "geeks."
The Americans (2013)
Set during the Cold War in the 1980s, The Americans tells the story of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American married couple in the suburbs of Washington D.C. The show explores their complicated lives as undercover agents, as well as their relationship with their neighbor, Stan Beeman, an FBI Counterintelligence agent.
The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years follows the story of Kevin Arnold as he navigates the trials and tribulations of youth while growing up during the 1960s. Narrated by an adult Kevin, the show explores the difficulties of maintaining relationships and friendships on the enthralling journey into adulthood.
Beavis and Butt-Head
Beavis and Butt-Head are high school students whose lives revolve around TV, junk food, shopping malls, heavy metal music, and trying to "score with chicks." The show features short cartoons centered on the duo, who live in the fictitious town of Highland, Texas. The episodes are interspersed with breaks where Beavis and Butt-Head watch and make fun of music videos.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
In the not-too-distant future, Joel Robinson is held captive by Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank, and forced to watch B-grade movies on the Satellite of Love with his robot friends: Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot.
Mort gathers his three adult kids – Ali, Sarah, and Joshua – for a conversation about the future. However, they are all taken aback when they find out that it's not about money or inheritance, but rather the intricate legacy of a secret life as a trans woman. This revelation is about to change everyone's relationships with the world, themselves, each other, and their understanding of boundaries, intimacy, sex, and gender.
The show follows the various humiliations, disasters, and occasional triumphs in the lives of four very different women in their twenties. Hannah is an aspiring writer, Marnie works at an art gallery, and they're joined by cousins Jessa and Shoshanna.
My So-Called Life
"My So-Called Life" is a realistic teen drama series from the mid-nineties. It follows the life of a 15-year-old girl and explores her struggles and experiences as a teenager dealing with friendships, romance, parents, and school.
In this series, comedian Louis C.K. plays a fictionalized version of himself—a newly divorced father raising his two daughters in New York City.
The Evans family struggles to survive in their tough South Side Chicago neighborhood. Florida and James, portrayed by Esther Rolle and John Amos respectively, play the parents, and Jimmie Walker portrays J.J., the oldest of the three Evans children, who became a breakout comedy star with his catchphrase "dyn-o-mite."
"The Wire" follows a single drug and homicide investigation over the course of an entire season. Set in inner-city Baltimore, the series provides perspectives from both the criminals dominating the streets and the determined police officers aiming to bring them down.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
This unscripted series showcases the off-kilter comic vision of Larry David. He portrays a fictionalized version of himself, navigating a parallel universe where everything seems to go wrong, not just for him but also by his standards, for everyone else.
After his father is imprisoned, Michael Bluth becomes the level-headed son who takes charge of the family business. But his spoiled and dysfunctional family members make his job nearly impossible.
"Party Down" follows a Los Angeles catering team made up of aspiring Hollywood actors longing for their big break. Each episode showcases a different event they cater and the amusing and bizarre encounters they have with the guests.
"Broad City" chronicles the daily lives of two women living in New York City. The show finds humor and absurdity in the smallest and most mundane events, creating a hysterical and sometimes disturbing viewing experience.
In Living Color
"In Living Color" is an American sketch comedy series created, written, and starred in by Keenen Ivory Wayans. The show, which aired on the FOX Network from 1990 to 1994, was produced by Ivory Way Productions and gained international recognition. It won a Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series" in 1990. Notably, it garnered high ratings after airing a special live episode as counterprogramming for Super Bowl XXVL.
Key & Peele
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele present a thought-provoking and irreverent examination of life through a combination of filmed sketches and live stage segments.
Monty Python's Flying Circus
"And now for something completely different..." Monty Python's Flying Circus stands as the most influential comedy program in television history. Five Englishmen, who had previously collaborated on The Frost Report, joined forces with an expatriate American in 1969 to create a show that broke all the rules. First airing on BBC-1 on October 5, 1969, the series has since influenced countless individuals in the world of media and comedy.
"The Jeffersons" centers around a black couple, led by the opinionated and outspoken George Jefferson. They move from a modest neighborhood in Queens to a deluxe apartment in Manhattan's ritzy East Side.
The Larry Sanders Show
Comic Garry Shandling draws from his own experiences hosting a talk show to create the character of Larry Sanders, an insecure and paranoid late-night talk show host. The show, with the assistance of Larry's obsequious TV sidekick Hank Kingsley and his fiercely protective producer Artie, offers a behind-the-scenes peek into the lives of those working in television.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
"Keep Cool My Babies!" That's the catchphrase of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," a smart-alecky, ribald, and whimsical late-night comedy/talk show that gained popularity after a challenging start in 1993. The show features recurring characters like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Vomiting Kermit, Eyeballs O'Shaughnessy, NASCAR-driving gun-toting Jesus, and Masturbating Bear. It also includes various comedy segments such as New State Quarters, What in the World, Celebrity Survey, Actual Items, and Conan Hates My Homeland. New episodes air Tuesday through Friday, with reruns on Mondays and occasional weeks consisting entirely of reruns. The show airs weekdays at 12:37 am ET/PT and is simulcast in HDTV. Encores air the next day on CNBC at 7 pm ET.
Late Night With David Letterman
David Letterman hosted this popular late-night comedy/talk show. The program was known for its pranks, including on-location stunts and phone call antics. Memorable features of the show include "Top Ten" lists and "Stupid Pet Tricks" (often shown in slow motion). Other notable aspects were unconventional camera placements such as Sky-Cam and Guest-Cam, adding to the show's distinct style. Dave had a dedicated supporting cast, including Paul Shaffer, Chris Elliott, and Larry Bud Melman. "Late Night With David Letterman" hosted numerous famous guests and musical performances.
From the groundbreaking dramas like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, to the beloved comedies like Friends and The Office, the list of incredible TV series is extensive and diverse. Each show has left its mark on popular culture, captivating audiences with its compelling storytelling and unforgettable characters. Whether you're a fan of intense crime dramas, witty sitcoms, or thought-provoking shows, there's something for everyone in the world of television. And as we eagerly await the next best series to sweep us off our feet, we can't help but be grateful for the incredible entertainment that has come before. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and let the magic of television continue to transport us to extraordinary worlds.
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