I suppose I should start this with the disclaimer that the following list is my opinion. These shows are what I think are the 15 best shows of all time. I decided this based on a) my personal taste, b) binge-ability, c) storytelling, d) characters, and e) would I watch it again. Using these five criteria, I have agonized over this list. This was a lot harder than I had anticipated as sometimes I had to ask myself, “Do I actually like this show or is it just popular so I feel like I need to like it and put it on the list?”. At the end of the day though, this is my list so I can do what I want.
So neither The Office nor Friends, even though I have watched and enjoyed both, did not make the list. I skip whole seasons in both series when I decide to watch them, so they didn’t earn a spot. I have to be able to watch the whole thing.
Don’t @ me. Now on with the list and in no particular order.
1. Avatar the Last Airbender
I absolutely LOVE this series. With it’s recent arrival to Netflix I have been LIVING for the discussions and hot takes that have been cropping up on the internet. The storytelling and characters are some of the best I have ever seen anywhere, and I will fight anyone who says differently. I’m currently on a big Avatar kick, reading all of the books and comics as well as watching the show on a loop.
The series follows a young boy named Aang, the Avatar who is able to wield all four elements as opposed to just one. He is joined by Katara, a waterbender, and her brother Sokka, a water tribe warrior, on his quest to master all four elements to defeat the Fire Lord and end the 100 years war. Along the way they pick up Toph, a young girl who is a blind earthbending master, and Zuko, the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation and enemy turned friend. I can’t say enough good things about this show, everyone just needs to watch it.
2. Gilmore Girls
I didn’t watch Gilmore Girls all the way through until it was put on Netflix, but once it was I am not exaggerating to say that I watched it on a loop for about a year. I have no idea how that happened, it just dawned on me one day that I couldn’t remember watching any other show recently. There are seven seasons, and I was working, so it makes sense that it would take me some time to cycle through the show but wow. The show is just that good.
The show follows the eponymous Gilmore Girls, mother Lorelai and daughter Rory, as they navigate life in the small town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut and life in the elite circles of society that Lorelai ran away from. The show is just so comforting, there’s an air of familiarity that follows the show even when it’s your first time watching it and it’s just fun.
3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brookly Nine-Nine, a workplace comedy about an imaginary precinct staffed with an eclectic group of cops, is so insanely ridiculous and endearing. Yes it’s copganda, but I think as long as people are willing and open to honest discussion there’s a world where you can enjoy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You do this by acknowledging the harm it creates by perpetuating the “good cop” myth in the face of such rampant police brutality in our society and working to end it. Listen and uplift the voices that are speaking up.
This show has a great and talented diverse cast, which is part of why I love the show and have watched it through 6 or 7 times at this point. I really hope that when it return they will address the issues that we have seen come to the forefront in the last few months. They haven’t shied away in the past about discussing serious topics, and done it well and with respect considering they are a comedy, so I believe that they can continue to do so now.
4. Bob’s Burgers
Bob’s Burgers is also on my constant re-watch rotation. The show is hilarious and well written, the humor striking just the right balance of absurd and genius. There have been an increasing amount of musical numbers in these later seasons that i absolutely love. They’re super catchy and the lyrics are funny and relatable. One that comes to mind is Mr. Fischoeder’s song in season 9 “Nothing Makes Me Happy”, I immediately cracked up and was texting my friends about it.
Bob’s Burgers is about the wacky and inconvenient adventures of restaurateur Bob Belcher and his family as they try to keep their burger restaurant afloat.
5. Parks and Recreation
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Parks and Recreation. It’s gotten to the point that when I start re-watching it the sound of the theme song causes eye rolls in my household and pleas to watch something new.
I love Leslie Knope and her endeavors to make life in Pawnee, Indiana better for everyone, even as they dig in their heels. The members of the Parks and Rec department are some of the most quotable out there, and the humor of the show is *chef’s kiss*. Nothing I say can do it justice, just go watch the show for yourself.
6. One Day At A Time
I never watched the original show, but this reboot starring Rita Moreno was everything I didn’t know I was missing. One Day At A Time is about the Alvarez family, a Cuban-American family living in the Echo Park area of L.A. Penny, the mom played by the amazing Justina Machado, is a badass veteran turned nurse raising her kids Elena and Alex with the help of her mother Lydia (Moreno) following her divorce. I absolutely love watching a Latinx family that reminds me so much of my own, which goes to show how much representation matters and that Hollywood needs more of it.
OH MY GOD GALAVANT. I LOVE GALAVANT. It combines all of my favorite things: fantasy, adventure, musical numbers, characters that are at once charming and dumb, and self-aware humor. UGH I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH, AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE ABC FOR CANCELING IT AFTER TWO SEASONS. I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL. ALL THE *CHEF’S KISSES*.
8. The Golden Girls
If you don’t like The Golden Girls you’re wrong and Deadpool would agree with me.
9. Schitt’s Creek
I only just started watching Schitt’s Creek in the last year, but I’m hooked and convinced everyone needs to see it. The characters have a believable growth over the course of the series without losing their unique personalities. It’s really fun to watch because you’re rooting for all of them to come out ahead. The drama is over done or drawn out the way some shows do, which I really appreciate. There’s nothing more annoying than watching drama go on for four or five episodes when it could have been resolved in less. This show is a gem.
10. The Legend of Korra
People like to rag on The Legend of Korra to which I say you are also wrong. It’s constantly compared against Avatar the Last Airbender (ATLA), which I understand, but it’s its own thing separate from it. If they had tried to repeat what they did in ATLA, people would have complained that they were just retelling the story (you know it’s true, look at the sequel Star Wars trilogy). The Legend of Korra takes on the social issues that were largely absent from ATLA that’s what I feel makes it so interesting. How much of that do we see reflected in our own society and how do we do our part to make change? I can’t wait for this to come to Netflix.
11. Game of Thrones
I’m not even going to get into this one because people will argue citing the last season and I’ve already written a whole article about that. Whatever your feelings, you can’t deny that Game of Thrones was a television phenomenon and it got that way because it’s good. Maybe it’s not always great, but it’s at least good. Action, romance, dragons, and ice zombies, what more could you ask for?
12. Digimon Adventure 01 and 02
The original Digidestined are the best, and Digimon Adventure 01 and 02 deserve more recognition than it gets. That first season alone has so many arcs that as a kid I thought it went o forever. As an adult I can see that it’s just masterful storytelling and compelling characters at work. I won’t talk about the sequel shows. This is another *chef’s kiss*.
I haven’t watched the new reboot but I will.
13. Kim’s Convenience
This was a Netflix find that quickly became a favorite. I impatiently await each season after it finishes airing in Canada (it’s a Canadian show). It follows a Korean family in Toronto that owns a convenience store. At the start of the series father and son, Appa and Jung, are estranged. Appa and Umma, Korean for dad and mom, are running their convenience store and just living their life. Daughter Janet tries to strike a balance between respecting her parents and taking charge of her own life. It’s a heartwarming family story, filled with ups and downs, and the bonds between the characters keep you coming back for more.
Shawn and Gus are the best Sherlock/Watson duo out there and you can fight me on that. Psych is the best modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation period.
15. Mr. Iglesias
A newer addition to the Netflix Original shows line up, this sitcom stars Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias as a history teacher at a high school in Long Beach, CA. The show is equal parts funny and serious as Iglesias tries to guide his students through high school and its many obstacles. There’s only 1.5 seasons up (the rest of season 2 should come out in the fall), but the easy banter between characters and the way it addresses personal and social issues have quickly made it a favorite.
What do you think the best shows of all time are? Let me know in the comments below?
Featured Image via Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/671528994421655073/
I'm a writer based in California. I received my Bachelor's and Master's in Literature from San Francisco State University. I dream of one day writing books of my own and maybe even being part of a writer's room for a show! I love to talk about pop culture, books, and travel to anyone willing to listen. Some of my favorite topics in those categories are "Avatar the Last Airbender", "Gilmore Girls", the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mexico, and Paris. My favorite thing in the world though is my dog, he's just the cutest!