There is no doubt that since the year 2000 numerous hit shows have graced our TV screens. So, for this reason, it’s not exactly easy to determine which of these TV shows should be considered among the best. Some would consider the highest rated shows to be among the best while others would claim that shows that have been running for exceptionally long periods of time demand the most recognition. Others would argue that shows with high critical acclaim are the most important ones, whereas some individuals would consider shows with stellar casts to be the greatest.
It is for this reason that many things must be considered when choosing the best shows and that it does not simply come down to one defining factor. With so much entertaining and gripping television available to us at the touch of a button, it is no surprise that everyone out there seems to have their own favourite show. With such a diverse number of genres to choose from, personal preferences and opinions will often clash. Nevertheless, over the years there have been some stand-out shows that we can all agree offer something extra to their audiences. These shows provide something a little more special, and attract a multitude of viewers and fans.
This epic political-thriller which premiered on October 2nd, 2011, follows the life of CIA agent Carrie Mathison on her relentless pursuit to put a stop to al-Qaeda’s next terrorist attack. After U.S soldier Nicholas Brody returns after spending the last eight years as a prisoner of war, Carrie is sure that he has been “turned” by the terrorist organisation and fears he will be involved in an attack on the U.S. The show became so popular with viewers due to its griping psychological aspect that keeps the audience guessing throughout; it is impossible to know who to trust. On December 9th, 2015, it was revealed that Homeland would have a sixth season set to air in early 2017.
CW’s American fantasy series Supernatural, first graced our TV screens on September 13th, 2005. The plot follows demon- hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, as they embark on a quest to concur the supernatural. The show is North America’s longest running supernatural drama and has incredibly been renewed for a twelfth season which will air in 2017. Not only this but Supernatural is known for having one of the most dedicated fandoms out there with loyal viewers still sticking with the Winchester brothers, even after all these years.
13 Grey’s Anatomy
This medical drama that has spanned an incredible 12 seasons still remains a favourite among fans. The series follows the lives of five surgical interns as they struggle to thrive in their jobs while balancing all of life’s other commitments. As the seasons progress, audiences get to accompany these characters on their individual transitions into gifted surgeons. Greys Anatomy’s long life-span is most likely down to its gripping storylines, completely relatable characters and let’s not forget, its inspirational voice-overs. With a thirteenth series currently in production, it’s clear we’ll be seeing more of our favourite doctors very soon.
12 True Detective
The gritty and sensational crime drama which aired on January 12, 2014, has made quite some noise in the past couple of years. The series is composed in an anthology style with each season telling a different story and centering around a different set of characters. The show's first season, which was met with high critical acclaim, focuses on two homicide detectives as they pursue a serial killer over a 17-year period. The second season revolves around three detectives from separate departments as they attempt to prove a link between a series of crimes and the murder of a dodgy politician. The show's prestige is most likely down to its incredible acting; with a stand-out cast including Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell, this is hardly a surprise.
11 House of Cards
This political drama that aired its entire first season at once on February 1, 2013, on Netflix, has continued to go from strength to strength throughout its duration. The show centres around Frank Underwood, a politician who after being passed over for appointment as Secretary of State conducts a manipulative and cunning plan to ensure he gets into a position of power, one way or another. Frank is accompanied by his equally conniving wife as the pair go to ruthless lengths all for the sake of supremacy. House of Cards' captivating storyline and characters saw it become the only online series to gain Emmy nominations. The fourth season of the show aired in March of this year and it has been announced the series will return in 2017 with a fifth season.
This medical drama aired on Fox in 2004, and ran for eight seasons until its conclusion in May 2012. The show's renowned plot revolves around Dr. Gregory House, a pain-killer addicted medical genius who heads a team of diagnosticians at a teaching hospital in New Jersey. Dr. House makes for an intriguing character and a fan favourite as he often clashes with his associates due to his unconventional methods of diagnosing patients. House had a huge audience and was actually listed as the most watched TV show of 2008. Amongst other awards the show has received five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes.
9 The Walking Dead
This zombie-based horror drama which aired on the 31st of October 2010, has gained itself a cult following of devoted fans. The show, based off the comic book saga of the same name, follows the lives of a group of survivors struggling to stay alive in the wake of a zombie virus wiping out the world. The survivors soon learn that other people can prove as much of a threat as the zombies; questions of morality in the face of an apocalypse are incorporated cleverly by the show’s writers. The series is currently approaching the commencement of its seventh season. In 2015, a spin-off series titled Fear The Walking Dead, aired which concentrates more on the biological elements of the virus and how it originated.
This FX crime-drama which aired on April 15th, 2014, has been making quite a name for itself in the last two years; the show's black comedy and renowned cast have definitely made it a hit with viewers. Fargo, which was inspired by the 1996 movie of the same name, takes on an anthological format with each of its two seasons telling a different story, set in a different era. The show's first season, set in 2006, stars Martin Freeman, Allison Tollman and Billy Bob Thornton. The second season is set much further back in 1979 and stars Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Patrick Wilson; this season went on to receive three Golden Globe nominations. In late 2015, it was revealed the series would return with a third season that will be set in 2010; this is due to air in 2017.
7 Mad Men
This period drama beloved by many premiered on July 19, 2007. The show not only revolves around the various business dealings of The Sterling Cooper advertising agency in New York, but also the personal trials and tribulations of the characters. The show realistically portrays life in The United States throughout the 60s. At the commencement of the show the year is 1960, however by the show's conclusion in season seven, the year is 1970. Mad Men is considered an all-round success with praise for its acting, writing and realistic depiction of history. At the time that its final episode was aired, Mad Men had sixteen Emmys and five Golden Globe wins under its belt.
Crime drama Sherlock first appeared on screens in 2010 with a three-part mini-series that was met with extremely positive reviews. The show produced a further two of these three-part series, which aired in 2012 and 2014. The show has gained a huge following due to its gripping storylines and infamous cliff-hangers which leave viewers eagerly awaiting its return. Sherlock has also been praised for writing, directing and excellent acting performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Filming for the fourth season of the show began in April of this year and will be released in 2017.
This ABC drama that originally aired on September 22, 2004, and spanned over six seasons was a favourite among critics and fans alike. With the first season gaining over 16 million viewers per episode, the show soon gained a cult following with fans obsessing over numerous theories regarding the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Not just a show about survival on a desert island, Lost also contained supernatural and science-fiction elements and remained one of TV’s most intriguing mysteries for six years. The show was not always the easiest to follow with flashbacks, flash-forwards and even flash-sideways, often all happening at once; however, it was definitely worth it. The final episode of Lost aired on May 23, 2010.
4 Game of Thrones
Let’s be honest, these days it’s hard to find someone not completely obsessed with this HBO Fantasy Drama. The show which first aired on April 17th, 2011, has gained itself legions of fans over the last few years and is currently on air with its sixth season. Game of Thrones interlinks several gripping storylines as seven noble families fight for the Iron Throne. A series that is fearless and not afraid to shock its viewers, it’s no wonder it has an immense number of international fans with people from all corners of the globe tuning in for their next fix. On April 16th, the show announced that it is set to return for a seventh season which will air in 2017.
3 Breaking Bad
The much loved crime-drama which originally aired on January 20th, 2008, and lasted five seasons, is definitely one people won’t be forgetting anytime soon. The show's incredible storyline revolves around the escapades of Walter White, a retired Chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer and his former pupil Jesse Pinkman; in desperate times, the pair turn to a life in the drug trade, not only manufacturing but also selling crystal meth. With both characters constantly dodging the dangers of a life of crime, Breaking Bad makes for very entertaining television. The show's final episode aired on September 29, 2013.
2 The Wire
The HBO crime drama which premiered in June of 2002, is widely considered one of the best police dramas of all time. The Wire, which is set in Baltimore, introduced with each of its five seasons a new element of corruption in the town; some of these problematic institutions included the illegal drug trade, the city government and bureaucracy and the school system. While it was on air, The Wire maintained a steady but average following and never received any awards; however, the show has since come to be held at the highest esteem by critics.
1 The Sopranos
This American crime drama which premiered on January 10th, 1999, has not only won numerous Emmy awards and Golden Globes, but is also widely regarded the best television series of all time. The ingenious plot line follows Italian American Mobster Tony Soprano (the late James Gandofini), as he tries to balance his home life, including his overbearing mother with his work within his criminal organisation. The plot also features storylines revolving around Tony’s family member and colleagues within the Mafia. The Sopranos became a staple of 2000s popular culture and its success still lives on today through its legion of adoring fans. The final episode of the series aired on June 10, 2007, after six terrific seasons.