All 109 Golden Globes best TV series winners, ranked from worst to best

AMC‘Breaking Bad’ won a Golden Globe in 2014.
  • Some older series have aged better than others – as is often the case, even with ones that are critically acclaimed and highly awarded.
  • Others, like “The Golden Girls,” are still beloved and finding new audiences via reruns and streaming services today.
  • Many classic TV series don’t have a large body of critical writing about them, especially when compared with classic films of similar age.
  • From “All In The Family” to “Mad Men,” some important and groundbreaking TV series were multiple Golden Globe winners for different seasons across their runs.

Ranking TV series according to critical acclaim is bit different from movies – because there are multiple seasons, a show might appear more than once on this list.

It also might have completely different ratings from season to season – among critics and fans alike. After all, isn’t half the fun of being a fan of a show arguing over which season is the best, and exactly where your favourite jumped the shark?

Seasons of TV shows are rated individually on Rotten Tomatoes – but in some cases, no critical scores are listed for quite a few Golden Globes winners. These are listed in their own category and are not included in the rankings.

Because the Golden Globes dates so far back, some TV shows do not have written critic reviews.


“My Three Sons” remains one of the longest-running live-action sitcoms of all time.

ABC‘My Three Sons.’

Category: Television series

Year: 1962

Starred: Fred MacMurray, Stanley Livingston, Don Grady, Barry Livingston

Paul Mavis of DVD Talk wrote:

“After watching these first outings, I was suitably impressed with these rather remarkable episodes. Network TV series, just like films, are a collaborative effort, but it must be noted that producer and director Peter Tewksbury deserves the lion’s share of the credit for these beautifully crafted episodes. Directing every single episode of this first season (a sizeable logistical feat, even had the episodes turned out to be mediocre – which they most certainly are not), Tewksbury displays a fluid camera style (and, by design I would imagine, the footage for seamless editing) that resembles a particularly accomplished feature film, not a rushed, weekly TV series.”


“The Dick Powell Theatre,” also known as “The Dick Powell Show,” was an anthology series hosted by Powell.

NBC‘The Dick Powell Theatre.’

Category: Television program

Year: 1963

Starred: Dick Powell and many guests, since it was an anthology series.


“Mister Ed” is one of those shows where the theme song is probably known by people who have never seen it.

CBS‘Mister Ed.’

Category: Television series – Comedy

Year: 1963

Starred: Mister Ed, Alan Young, Connie Hines

Paul Mavis wrote for DVD Talk:

“I’ve never understood why Mister Ed, as well as other series from the later, so-called “fantasy period” of middle-60s network television programming, has garnered only grudging respect at times from critics and historians. Is it because the central plot element – a talking horse – is just too ridiculous to be taken seriously? Stretching that point a bit, I don’t see why that should be, when logic-straining fantasies like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are regarded with almost Talmudic reverence today (if you’re wondering whether or not I’m directly comparing Mister Ed to Harry Potter, I’m not…but I know which one I’d prefer to watch, too, ten times out of ten). Maybe it’s because it’s a sitcom – probably the least well-regarded genre on television (next to game shows), owing to that age-old prejudice here with American critics where comedy somehow is seen as intrinsically less “worthy” than drama. Maybe these critics and historians are suspicious of the experience itself.”


“The Danny Kaye Show” saw the star of big-budget Technicolor musicals bring his talents to a small-screen weekly variety show.

CBS‘The Danny Kaye Show.’

Category: Television series – Variety

Year: 1964

Starred: Danny Kaye

Justin Remer wrote for DVD Talk,

“The first disc highlights three episodes from the show’s Emmy-winning first season. With a writing staff that included some of Sid Caesar’s former writers, Mel Tolkin and M*A*S*H‘s Larry Gelbart, plus up-and-comers like the team of Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice), this early stretch of the show is heavily focused on comedy sketches. And they’re sharp too.”


“The Richard Boone Show” was renowned playwright Clifford Odets’ final project before his death.

NBC‘The Richard Boone Show.’

Category: Television series – Drama

Year: 1964

Starred: Richard Boone, Robert Blake, Lloyd Bochner

Decades before Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk dreamed up the repertory anthology premise of “American Horror Story,” Richard Boone tried to do something similar with his own stable of actors on NBC – but it only lasted one curiosity-piquing season.

Stephen Bowie wrote a fascinating piece for the AV Club exploring the backstory, in which he wrote:

“Television’s boneyard has crooked its gnarled, beckoning finger toward The Richard Boone Show,” wrote one gloomy critic in February 1964. It makes sense to begin at the end with The Richard Boone Show, which became famous in its time less for the show it was than for the heated, unhappy debate it inspired over the idea of television as art. Did experimental work have a place in primetime? Or was it doomed to fail-indeed, were there forces in the industry that wanted it to fail? And how much quality did a show have to muster in order to count as quality television?”


“The Dick Van Dyke Show” made both its stars household names, and is fondly remembered to this day.

CBS‘The Dick Van Dyke Show.’

Category: Television series – Comedy

Year: 1964

Starred: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore

Robert David Sullivan wrote for the AV Club:

“[The season three premiere] has one of the most famous twist endings-and one of the longest laughs from a studio audience-in sitcom history. And in contrast to many “most memorable” TV moments, it flows perfectly from a funny and well-paced story.”


“The Rogues” made a positive impression on members of the HFPA, although it would go on to only last a single season.

NBC‘The Rogues.’

Category: Television series

Year: 1965

Starred: Robert Coote, Gig Young, Charles Boyer, David Niven


“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in season two maintained some of its momentum from season one — despite a change from black-and-white to colour.

NBC‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’

Category: Television program

Year: 1966

Starred: Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll

Noel Murray wrote for the AV Club, “When the show switched to colour in season two, the producers began to make the villains more cartoony.”


“I Spy” broke major ground in TV as the first drama that featured a black co-star.

Michael Ochs Archives / Handout‘I Spy.’

Category: Television series

Year: 1967

Starred: Robert Culp, Bill Cosby

Sergio wrote for IndieWire:

“It premiered at a time of great traumatic political and social upheaval in the country, and a lot people felt that a new era was dawning. Though there had been a few TV comedies headlining black performers such as Amos and Andy and Beulah, ‘I Spy’ was the first drama with a black co-star.”


“Mission: Impossible” was an ensemble TV spy show long before it was an action film franchise starring Tom Cruise.

CBS‘Mission: Impossible.’

Category: Television series

Year: 1968

Starred: Peter Graves, Greg Morris, Peter Lupus, Barbara Bain

Noel Murray wrote for the AV Club:

“When ‘Mission: Impossible’ debuted on CBS in 1966, the post-James Bond mania for spies and secret agents in the mass media had already begun to take a turn toward mod fashions and general flippancy. Mission: Impossible stood out from the pack because it was more high-toned and buttoned-down. Originally developed in the early ’60s by writer Bruce Geller as a pitch for a classy caper film (similar to director Jules Dassin’s contemporaneous worldwide hits Rififi and Topkapi), Mission: Impossible was itself something of an impossibility: a weekly hour-long adventure series about a loose-knit group of covert agents with unusual specialties, working together to defuse insanely complicated international crises. Geller-who only wrote the pilot-left his show’s creative team with a difficult weekly challenge, to come up with thorny problems and clever solutions. Yet for 171 episodes spread across seven seasons, from ’66 to ’73, the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) busted up terrorist cells, humiliated mob bosses, and thwarted communist dictators by using disguises, deception, split-second timing, and switcheroos.”


“Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” brought a new rapid-fire style of comedy to American households.

NBC‘Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.’

Category: Television series

Year: 1969

Starred: Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens

Joe Corey wrote for Inside Pulse:

“When Ernie Kovacs passed away in 1962, comedy on television stepped back from pushing the boundaries of technology and settled back into a comfort zone. Most variety shows followed the simple formula of host monologue, long sketches with celebrities, guest musical act and stand up routine. It was the classic put on a stage show mentality. All of that changed on September 9, 1967 when NBC threw away the recipe and gave an hour of primetime to two nightclub comics and a supporting cast of around a dozen players. The show was rapid fire as it would cut away to gags and jokes that didn’t require a six-minute sketch to get to the punchline. ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In’ was a shock to the system, but quickly became a hit and changed the way comedy was approached. The fast edits pushed video editing.”


“Marcus Welby, M.D.” featured one of Steven Spielberg’s earliest turns at directing during its first season.

ABC‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’

Category: Television series

Year: 1970

Starred: Robert Young, James Brolin, Elena Verdugo

Noel Murray wrote for the AV Club:

“Much of what makes Marcus Welby, M.D. compelling even now has to do with those circa-1970 courses of treatment, delivered by a man who seemed to have a surprising amount of free time on his schedule, given his ever-growing roster of patients. Welby would encourage the mother of an autistic child to spank the boy frequently, he’d freely offer tranquilizers to a newly pregnant woman, and he’d order Brolin to lie to their patients for their own good… in short, he was an arrogant hothead, playing a risky game of “Doctor Knows Best.” But given the turbulence of the times, there was something wonderfully escapist about the show. The divorce rate was rising and kids were getting more disrespectful, but no matter whether people voted for Nixon or dropped acid in the Haight, they all got sick just the same. And while Marcus Welby couldn’t heal society, he could heal the people in it, one knee-jerk diagnosis at a time.”


“The Carol Burnett Show” is still beloved among fans of sketch shows.

CBS‘The Carol Burnett Show.’

Category: Television series – Musical or Comedy

Years awarded: 1970, 1971

Starred: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner

UK TV fan site Television Heaven wrote:

“For an hour each week, Carol Burnett and her talented co-stars (Vicki Lawrence; Lyle Waggoner; Harvey Korman and (later) Tim Conway) spoofed everything from movies to commercials; performed in slice-of-life skits (one of which would later be a TV series of its own); and generally cracked each other up before the live studio audience that came for the taping of what became one of the USA’s best loved comedy sketch shows of all time.”


“Medical Center” starred James Daly and featured Edward G. Robinson in its pilot.

CBS‘Medical Center.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1971

Starred: James Daly, Chad Everett, Chris Hutson

Paul Mavis wrote for DVD Talk:

“Dreamy Dr. Joe can crack my chest open anytime. In fact, he already did…when he first flashed those cold, cold baby blues at me. Warner Bros.’ increasingly addictive Archive Collection, their exclusive online outlet for M.O.D. (manufactured on demand) discs of their library titles, has rescued from obscurity one of the best TV dramas from the 1970s: CBS’s Medical Center. Starring heartthrobs Chad Everett and James Daly (you bet Daly was also a heartthrob―my granny would get the vapors whenever he adjusted his stethoscope), Medical Center: The Complete First Season is a six-disc, 26-episode collection of the popular, long-running medico show’s premiere outing, and it’s just what you’d expect from a network A-list series from that time period: beautifully written, performed and produced. No extras, unfortunately, for this terrific-looking series (the original TV pilot, U.M.C., starring Daly and Edward G. Robinson, and retitled Operation Heartbeat for release, is available separately from Warner’s Archive Collection).”


“Mannix” was one of several private eye shows that populated early ‘70s television schedules.

CBS‘Mannix.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1972

Starred: Mike Connors, Gail Fisher, Ward Wood

Stephen Bowie wrote for the AV Club”

“A private eye-in the classical tradition,” was Joe Mannix’s modest self-description, delivered with a wry smile. It was a throwaway line from an early episode, repurposed ad nauseam in clever TV Land ads that touted the series’ twice-a-day reruns during the late 1990s. But it captured the ethos of Mannix, a no-frills detective drama that was the template for a glut of crime series that choked the airwaves during the early ’70s (and Mannix was more a show of the ’70s than the ’60s, even though it debuted in 1967). Cannon was the fat private dick, Barnaby Jones was the old one, Longstreet was the blind (yes, blind) one. Mannix was the original model. Like the early seasons of ER or C.S.I., Mannix was put together with skill and care, but its mainstream success made it easy to take for granted.”


“Columbo” became one of TV’s most memorable, relatable private detectives of all time.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution‘Columbo.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1973

Starred: Peter Falk

Gwen Ihnat wrote for the AV Club:

“Falk made the detective’s underdog appeal unforgettable. So much credit must be given to the way he completely inhabited the character; within an episode or two, viewers learned Columbo’s every idiosyncrasy. Not just his trenchcoat, his cigar, and his car, but his stooped posture, his gestures, his tendency to pull random objects out of his pockets, and his unfailing politeness, even when speaking to a party he knows is guilty. Unlike gritty cops of the era, he didn’t even carry a gun. Falk described the character in his 2007 autobiography (Just One More Thing, the title adapted from Columbo’s personal catchphrase) as “a guy with a mind like Einstein who sounded like the box boy at Food Giant.” Falk hand-selected Columbo’s permanent wardrobe-including the legendary raincoat as well a tie and shoes from his own closet-and picked out the beat-up 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible right out of the lot. All of these elements fleshed out this original character in a wholly three-dimensional way, creating an irrepressible, relatable everyman.”


“All in the Family” is still regarded as one of the most influential, medium-changing shows in television history.

Sony Pictures Television‘All in the Family.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Years awarded: 1973, 1974, 1978

Starred: Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers, Mike Evans

Robert David Sullivan wrote for the AV Club:

“‘All In The Family’ wasn’t the first TV series to tackle controversial subjects such as racism, rape, and homophobia. What was groundbreaking about the series, which ran from 1971 through 1979 and was the highest-rated show on television for five seasons, is that it mined comedy from hot-button issues, and it explored them through characters we got to know every week, as opposed to guest stars on heavy-handed dramas like The Defenders or Marcus Welby, MD.”


“The Waltons” helped establish the family drama genre on the small screen.

CBS‘The Waltons.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1974

Starred: Jon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott, Judy Norton

Television Heaven wrote:

“In December of 1971, CBS aired a television special ‘The Homecoming’ which won strong critical acclaim and audience response. Due to its surprising success, CBS turned to ‘The Homecoming’ screenwriter Earl Hamner, Jr., to develop his story into a full hour, weekly series, and in September of 1972, we saw the birth of what is lovingly known as the granddaddy of all family-themed dramas. Like the television special the show was based on, ‘The Waltons’ was inspired by the lifetime kept diary of its head writer, Earl Hamner, Jr. Hamner was joined by John McGreevey (whose writing credits would take a story of their own), Marion Hargrove and Nigel McKeand. The story of ‘The Waltons’ chronicled the everyday life of the Walton family, a family of 11 living in rural Virginia during the depression. The series nearly mirror imaged the early life and experiences of its creator, who had been one of 18 children, growing up near Schuyler, Virginia, before leaving home in the late 1930s to pursue writing. The origin of the series had been the Hamner scripted motion picture, Spencer’s Mountain, set in Wyoming, and starring Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara, and James MacArthur.”


“Upstairs, Downstairs” is now regarded by many as the spiritual predecessor to “Downton Abbey.”

ITV‘Upstairs, Downstairs.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1975

Starred: Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Jean Marsh

Todd VanDerWerff wrote for the AV Club:

“Belying ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ reputation as typically stodgy PBS Masterpiece Theatre material, the new 40th-anniversary complete-series collection reveals the show as an important missing link between the anthology dramas of the earliest days of television and the serialized dramas that became popular in the years after it left the airwaves. Now it’s easy to draw a direct line between the kinds of cumulative stories Upstairs, Downstairs told and the similar storylines on modern-day classics like The Sopranos and Mad Men. Produced by British broadcasters, Upstairs, Downstairs found success on PBS in the States, winning the Emmy for drama series or limited series every year it was on the air.”


“Rhoda” gave beloved “Mary Tyler Moore Show” character Rhoda Morgenstern her own series.

CBS‘Rhoda.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1975

Starred: Valerie Harper, Julie Kavner, Lorenzo Music

Todd VanDerWerff wrote for the AV Club:

“The story of Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff ‘Rhoda’ is one of a show that debuted huge and really did find ways to differentiate itself from its parent series, then found itself falling apart as its producers kept trying to mess with what had worked because it simply wasn’t as good of a show as the series could have been. There are episodes of ‘Rhoda’ as good as anything on the parent show, and there are episodes that flail about wildly, looking for something to do. But at every turn, it’s evident all involved are trying to make something different both from Mary and from TV’s other sitcoms.”


“Kojak” was a star vehicle for Telly Savalas, but also featured guest appearances from Harvey Keitel, Hector Elizondo, and Christopher Walken.

CBS‘Kojak.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1976

Starred: Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson

Scott Holleran wrote for Box Office Mojo:

“The first season of the CBS show has plenty of mojo, which was actually the title of the 20th episode, when Lt. Theo Kojak dons a laboratory coat to go undercover as a chemist. Relishing the role of his career, Savalas smolders with anger, passion and irony. He is a policeman of purpose, showing up for work like the rest of us, groaning about the lousy coffee, but dedicated to masterful detective work through his street skills and logic. Forget lollipops and catch phrases. Kojak thrives on thinking.”


“Barney Miller” changed cop shows forever.

Sony Pictures Television‘Barney Miller.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Years awarded: 1976, 1977

Starred: Hal Linden, Abe Vigoda, Max Gail, Ron Glass

Thomas Vinciguerra wrote for the New York Times:

“On ABC from 1975 to 1982, ‘Barney Miller’ rewrote the rules of cop shows and sitcoms alike. Its principals weren’t heroes; they were jaded lifers contending with assorted wackos, like the beggar who earned enough to pay for a maid. Or the messianic who thought a new Ice Age was upon us. Or the nut job who threatened to turn into a werewolf.”


“Rich Man, Poor Man” was an important milestone in the evolution of TV miniseries.

ABC‘Rich Man, Poor Man.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1977

Starred: Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely

Paul Mavis wrote for DVD Talk, “Although not “the first-ever dramatic miniseries to appear on American television, as A&E incorrectly states on the back cover of this set, was certainly the first sustained blockbuster of the genre.”


“60 Minutes” broke new ground for TV news magazines.

CBS’60 Minutes.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1979

Starred: Andrew Rooney, Morley Safer, Mike Wallace, Dan Rather

Harry Stein wrote in 1979 for the New York Times:

“What started out as a ‘Mum and Pop’ television shop, with two reporters and six line producers, has grown into a factory, employing more than 70 people, including 21 producers and 16 film editors, turning out about 120 segments annually. The ’60 Minutes’ team, occupying a labyrinth of offices and technical facilities at the CBS Broadcast Center on Manhattan’s West 57th Street, working in what seems to be a constant state of controlled chaos, is now in full operation 12 months a year, using the summer months when the show for the most part consists of reruns – to refill the story bank for the grind of the winter.”

Within television circles, the program inspires a respect that approaches awe.

“Network executives,” said the just‐departed president of CBS News, Richard Salant, “don’t quite understand it. This isn’t the way things are supposed to happen in television quality and numbers.”


“Lou Grant” was a spinoff of “The Mary Tyler Moore” show that focused on Los Angeles Tribune city editor Lou Grant.

CBS‘Lou Grant.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1980

Starred: Edward Asner, Robert Walden, Mason Adams

Stuart Galbraith IV wrote for DVD Talk:

“A lot of people remember Lou Grant as television’s answer to the popular and acclaimed All the President’s Men (1975). There’s some truth in that, but Lou Grant is less about reporters chasing a topical story than it is about something American television rarely attempts to realistically dramatize much at all: ethics in journalism.”


“Alice” brought the plight of working class women to televisions — and households — everywhere.

CBS‘Alice.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1980

Starred: Linda Lavin, Beth Howland, Vic Tayback

Susan King wrote for the LA Times:

“While starring in the popular 1976-85 CBS series ‘Alice,’ based on the 1974 Martin Scorsese film ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,’ Lavin became a kind of spokesperson for blue- and pink-collar working women who identified with her character Alice Hyatt, a widow with a young son who worked at Mel’s Diner, a roadside eatery just outside of Phoenix.”


“Taxi” introduced television viewers everywhere to the delights of its fantastic ensemble cast — and especially to Danny DeVito.

ABC‘Taxi.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1981

Starred: Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza

The Hollywood Reporter wrote this in its review of the pilot in 1978:

“Often as not, it’s said the true magical moments on TV occur quite by accident; and often as not, that’s true. Which is why a show like Taxi is so rare. Not only does it have magic, it is completely under control, making one believe that week after week, we will continue to be treated to ensemble comedy performances at their near best.”


“Hill Street Blues” brought multi-episode story arcs to the medium, revolutionising TV series across genres in ways that still resonate today.

NBC‘Hill Street Blues.’

Category: Drama

Years awarded: 1982, 1983

Starred: Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

Todd VanDerWerff wrote for the AV Club, “Essentially every show on television now follows the ‘Hill Street Blues’ template-even most of the sitcoms. The show could be plopped down in the middle of the CBS primetime lineup and, with a handful of cultural references updated, feel right at home.”


“M*A*S*H” the TV series went on to be more well-remembered than the movie that preceded it — but not everyone was convinced when it premiered.

20th Television‘M*A*S*H.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1982

Starred: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr

Shows that are adapted from successful movies – and yet feature a completely different cast from those movies – are always met with a certain amount of scepticism upon their premieres.

This review from the Hollywood Reporter after the “M*A*S*H” tv series premiere sums it up:

“The same absurd attitude that prevailed in the movie is in the series, and it should have a fine run. Gene Reynolds produced and directed from a script by Larry [Gelbart]. Alan Alda stars as Hawkeye, and he is very good. This show, as a whole, is not as well cast as it could be, but that shouldn’t impede the overall success.”


“Fame” was a triple entertainment threat, wowing audiences on stage and silver screen, as well.

MGM Television‘Fame.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1983, 1984

Starred: Debbie Allen, Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray

John J. O’Connor wrote for the New York Times in 1983, “Written by William Blinn, ”Fame” remains an uncommonly appealing show, offering something a bit different from the usual sitcom or action- adventure romp. Each week, it turns into a kind of miniature musical, with roots going back to ”42d Street” and the like.”


“Dynasty” helped make prime-time soaps appointment television.

CBS Television Distribution‘Dynasty.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1984

Starred: John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins, Diahann Carroll

Fiona Sturges wrote for the Independent:

“Improbable as it sounds, Esther Shapiro has said that the series was partly inspired by Robert Graves’s I, Claudius, with Alexis’s character based on the scheming Livia. At its peak it was the No 1 show both [in the UK] and in the US, and even had cameos from Henry Kissinger, and Gerald and Betty Ford. The acting could be dodgy, but the drama was thrilling and the cliffhangers the best in the business.”


“Murder, She Wrote” brought writer-turned-amateur-detective Jessica Fletcher into living rooms for over twelve years.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution‘Murder, She Wrote.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1986

Starred: Angela Lansbury, William Windom, Ron Masak

Stuart Galbraith IV wrote for DVD Talk:

“A Sunday night staple for most of its 12-season, 264-episode run, ‘Murder, She Wrote’ drew 23 million viewers weekly during its peak years, spawning a spin-off (The Law & Harry McGraw) and innumerable imitators, including the long-running Diagnosis Murder (with Dick Van Dyke) and related shows such as ‘The Father Dowling Mysteries’, which starred ‘Murder, She Wrote’regular Tom Bosley. The series was a Top 15 show for eleven of its twelve years, and in the Top Ten for eight, peaking at #3 during its second season. Though she never won, Lansbury was nominated for a record 12 Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actress in a drama series, one nomination for each year the show was on the air, and the series itself won two Golden Globes as Best TV Series in the drama category.”


“L.A. Law” featured bonkers cases, workplace drama, and legal minutia in one handy weekly package.

20th Television‘L.A. Law.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1988

Starred: Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, Alan Rachins, Harry Hamlin, Susan Dey

Todd VanDerWerff wrote for the AV Club:

“‘L.A. Law’ was such a seismic event in the late 1980s TV landscape that it inspired many other legal series. Where the show was once seen as hugely original for abandoning a case-of-the-week structure in favour of ongoing legal and personal storylines-while simultaneously delving into the minutiae of the legal profession-it’s since been bested by its own descendants at both of those games.”


“The Golden Girls” continued to delight audiences throughout its entire run — even season three, which has no critical ratings, still is loved by 100% of audiences who reviewed it on Rotten Tomatoes.

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1988

Starred: Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty

Ashley Ray-Harris wrote for the AV Club, “The heart of The Golden Girls was always the experiences and emotions shared by this group of women. The sex puns and St. Olaf references were grounded by the show’s dedication to honesty around its central characters.”


“Thirtysomething” attempted to find the epic in small moments — and was a constant source of debate while it was on the air.

ABC‘Thirtysomething.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1989

Starred: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris

Ginia Bellafante wrote for the New York Times, “Until ‘Thirtysomething’ babies were virtually absent from the landscape of serial television, and it is the show’s examination of the nascent obsession with child care that remains its most prescient and meaningful legacy.”


“China Beach” was a Vietnam war drama that featured characters who grew and changed over the course of the series in ways many others didn’t at the time.

Warner Bros. Television Distribution‘China Beach.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1990

Starred: Dana Delany, Michael Boatman, Robert Picardo

Richard Burst-Lazarus wrote for IndieWire:

“ABC’s ‘China Beach,’ nearly forgotten today, was an incredibly ambitious show for its time. It aired from 1988-1991, long before our current ‘golden age’ of dramas, and is tends to be brought up in context of the longer running series writer/producer John Wells served as showrunner on in its wake – ‘E.R.’ A network drama set in the Vietnam War with a large, strong cast, a big set and a budget that covered helicopters and a prodigious amount of period music, ‘China Beach’ was most celebrated for an ensemble led by strong women characters at a time when this was still a rare thing indeed.”


“Murphy Brown” in 1990 was much more in step with its times than the more recent reboot.

Warner Bros. Television Distribution‘Murphy Brown.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1990

Starred: Candice Bergen, Grant Shaud, Robert Pastorelli

Meredith Blake wrote for the Washington Post:

“In fall 1988, the sitcom about a brash, unmarried, 40-something news anchor and recovering alcoholic premiered on CBS. Although it was slow to build into a hit, ‘Murphy Brown’ became a top five show, won 18 Emmys over 10 seasons and sparked a contentious national dialogue about single motherhood, thanks to a certain vice president.”


“Cheers” was an uncommonly good place for star Ted Danson back in the early ‘90s.

CBS‘Cheers.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1991

Starred: Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, Kirstie Alley

Martin Chilton wrote for the Telegraph”

“What makes the show highly watchable three decades on is the cracking quality of the dialogue, the comic acting and the weird, yet likeable characters. The pleasant, cheesy theme tune (‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’) opened a programme set almost exclusively in a bar in Boston called Cheers. Being filmed ‘before a live studio audience’ was an element that seemed key to its energy. The actors were kept on their toes, and the cast seemed to derive an energy from instant laughter at well-delivered quips rather than canned laughter added later.”


“Northern Exposure” was a fish-out-of-water drama featuring quirky characters set in a small town in Alaska — and as of 2018, is currently being remade.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution‘Northern Exposure.’

Category: Drama

Years awarded: 1992, 1993

Starred: Rob Morrow, Janine Turner, Barry Corbin

Brian Doan wrote for RogerEbert.com:

“The program’s success would help to make the summer debut-and its corollary, an established show airing new episodes-a growing TV model for everything from teen programs like ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ (which only found its audience by airing new episodes in the summer of ’91) and ‘The OC,’ to light-hearted/light-headed USA dramas like ‘Covert Affairs,’ to ‘Golden Age of TV’ prestige bait like ‘True Detective.'”


“Brooklyn Bridge” was an autobiographical labour of love for creator Gary David Goldberg.

CBS‘Brooklyn Bridge.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1992

Starred: Marion Ross, Danny Gerard

Ken Tucker wrote for Entertainment Weekly in 1991, “‘Brooklyn Bridge’ is beguiling, simultaneously the warmest and most intelligent new show of the season. It’s also a vindication of artistic control in the TV industry.”


“Roseanne” — in its original incarnation — brought the ups and downs of a working class family into homes everywhere, and was seen as groundbreaking at the time.

ABC‘Roseanne.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1993

Starred: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf

Genevieve Koski wrote for the AV Club:

“The show was a hit out of the gate, reaching No. 2 in the ratings in its première season, hitting No. 1 in its second, and never falling out of the top 10 in the first seven of its nine seasons. Roseanne’s success further emboldened Barr and her writers (whose ranks included Joss Whedon and Amy Sherman-Palladino, among other notables), who used the Conner family to tell the sorts of stories that weren’t often being told on sitcoms, at least not in the ’80s. In addition to storylines informed by Barr’s feminist stance and facilitated by a cast with two teenage girls-featuring issues like birth control, menstruation, PMS, and teenage sex-the show was and remains one of very few successful sitcoms to engage, routinely and enthusiastically, with the struggles of the working class.”

The show was renewed in 2018 but Barr’s character was killed off by an opioid overdose after she posted a racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. The show changed from “Roseanne” to the “The Conners” amidst the loss of its main character.


“Mad About You” was all about the excellent chemistry between Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt.

Columbia TriStar Television Distribution‘Mad About You.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1995

Starred: Paul Reiser, Helen Hunt

Marc Hirsh wrote for NPR:

“There was a time, long ago, when I swore to a friend that ‘Mad About You’ was the perfect relationship sitcom. Not the single best or the single funniest, just a perfect specimen. I can’t remember why that was, precisely, except for one thing that seems pretty important in retrospect: it made me laugh, and consistently. That’s usually enough.”


“Party of Five” was a drama about five kids who had to learn to care for each other and themselves after their parents perished in a terrible accident.

Fox‘Party of Five.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1996

Starred: Matthew Fox, Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell

Todd VanDerWerff wrote for the AV Club:

“Centered on the Salingers, a family of five children, the show chronicled how they tried to take care of each other after the death of their parents in a car accident. ‘Party Of Five’ straddled the lines of young-adult drama, offering up love triangles and tragedies for the Salingers in their late teens and 20s, and teen drama, with sweeter, smaller stories for the younger characters. Second, the show figured out fairly early on that it could successfully graft its premise onto a social-issues melodrama. With each season, the Salingers confronted the sort of small-scale problem-abortion, alcoholism, cancer, domestic violence-they might believably run into in real life. These issues gave the show a sense of external stakes other family dramas of its type sometimes lacked.”


“Cybill” was a return to television for Cybill Shepherd.

Carsey-Werner Distribution‘Cybill.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1996

Starred: Cybill Shepherd, Christine Baranski, Alicia Witt

John J. O’Connor wrote for the New York Times, “The makers of ‘Cybill,’ which is laden with five executive producers, clearly get a kick out of the BBC sitcom ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and its off-the-wall portrait of two women boozing their way through New Age lunacies.”


“The Practice” is regarded by some as one of writer-producer David E. Kelley’s best series.

20th Television‘The Practice.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1999

Starred: Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle

Noel Murray wrote for the AV Club:

“Debuting in the spring of 1997 with a six-episode run, ‘The Practice’ started out following the ethical quandaries of a low-rent Boston law firm, while featuring cases equally informed by John Grisham’s underdog legal thrillers and the post-O.J.-trial fascination with defence-attorney guile.”


“Ally McBeal” launched Calista Flockhart to stardom.

20th Century Fox Television‘Ally McBeal.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1999

Starred: Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski

Margaret Lyons wrote for Vulture:

“‘Ally McBeal’ premiered in 1997, just after its creator David E. Kelley left day-to-day operations at Chicago Hope to begin ‘The Practice,’ his much more serious other lawyer show. Calista Flockhart starred as the neurotic lead character, a Boston lawyer who finds herself working alongside her ex-boyfriend and his wife at an eccentric – so very eccentric! – law firm. Ally’s frequent fantasy sequences, cartoonish asides, and, above all, sexual politics, made it the water-cooler show of the moment.”


“Desperate Housewives” started out rough, but thankfully improved over its run.

ABC‘Desperate Housewives.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2006

Starred: Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2005, is 38% rotten with 3 fresh and 5 rotten reviews

Maureen Ryan wrote for the Chicago Tribune, “The show is adrift in silly contrivances (as opposed to inventive situations), painful dialogue and obvious wheel-spinning.”


“3rd Rock from the Sun” had a bumpy first season — but survived long enough to become beloved in later years of its run.

Carsey-Werner Distribution‘3rd Rock from the Sun.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1997

Starred: John Lithgow, Jane Curtin, Kristen Johnston

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1996, is 42% rotten, with 5 fresh and 7 rotten reviews

Caryn James wrote for the New York Times, “The cast deserves more consistently funny material. Even extraterrestrials shouldn’t have to work this hard for laughs.”


“Grey’s Anatomy” season three didn’t impress critics — but it wasn’t considered as bad as season one.

ABC‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2007

Starred: Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Sandra Oh

Tomatometer rating: Season 3, which aired in 2006, is 50% rotten with 4 fresh and 4 rotten reviews

While the show would go on to impress critics and audiences alike for the majority of its run, even beloved fictional worlds can have their missteps.

Gillian Flynn wrote for Entertainment Weekly, “‘Grey’s Anatomy’ never pretended to be as deep as ‘Lost.’ At its best, it’s a serious guilty pleasure: death, disease, hot bodies swaddled in scrubs. But, frankly, the women are awful.”


“All in the Family” came out of the gate with an impressive first season.

CBS‘All in the Family.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1972

Starred: Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers, Mike Evans

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1971, is 60% fresh with 3 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

AJ Aronstein wrote for Vulture, “It’s not sincere in the way that so many of our contemporary representations of all kinds of differences. Rather, its frank portrayals of the rhetoric of bigotry… encourage conversations that extend outside of the episode.”


“Sex and the City” didn’t start out winning over critics, but things got better in the second season.

IMDb/HBO‘Sex and the City.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2000

Starred: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 1999, is 60% fresh with 3 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Terry Kelleher wrote for People magazine, “‘Sex and the City’ is definitely striking me as funnier this time around, thanks in part to lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and her unfortunate choice of male companions.”


“The X-Files” was running smoothly by season five, according to critics.

Shane Harvey/FOX‘The X-Files.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1998

Starred: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

Tomatometer rating: Season five, which aired in 1997, is 67% fresh with 4 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Eric Mink wrote for the New York Daily News, “If this season of ‘The X-Files’ can operate consistently at this level of quality, we fans will have no complaints.”


“Sex and the City” continued to get stronger in its third season.

HBO‘Sex and the City.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2001

Starred: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon

Tomatometer rating: Season three, which aired in 2000, is 67% fresh with 4 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Tamara Ikenberg of the Baltimore Sun wrote, “Expect some of the tightest writing, expert acting and mature sensibilities on TV.”


“Ally McBeal” started off incredibly strong in its first season, according to critics.

20th Century Fox‘Ally McBeal.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1998

Starred: Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1997, is 71% fresh with 10 fresh and 4 rotten reviews

Margaret Lyons wrote for Vulture, “‘Ally McBeal’ is still a surprisingly good show, particularly in its first and second seasons.”


“Desperate Housewives” came out of the gate strong in season one, according to critics.

ABC‘Desperate Housewives.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2005

Starred: Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2004, is 80% certified fresh with 20 fresh and 5 rotten reviews

IndieWire ranked the pilot number 19 on its list of the best pilots of the 21st century:

“You have to admire a pilot that’s capable of setting up five different families, each dealing with a different massive family struggle – while also crafting a mystery compelling enough to hook an entire nation.”


“Glee” continued to win over critics and fans alike in its second season.

Fox‘Glee.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2011

Starred: Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2010, is 80% fresh with 8 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Euan Ferguson wrote for the Observer, “The script, and the acting, make it work, brilliantly so: writers and cast have soared high on a very fine cusp and never quite slipped to banal or mawkish.”


“The West Wing” was strong in season two.

NBC‘The West Wing.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2001

Starred: Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2000, is 81% fresh with 13 fresh and 3 rotten reviews

Jennifer Allen wrote for Paste Magazine, “An entertaining mixture of poignancy, tension, and humour-and a strong reminder that this group is essentially a family.”


“Shogun” was epic in size and scale for a TV miniseries — and featured voiceover narration from Orson Welles.

Paramount Television‘Shogun.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1981

Starred: Richard Chamberlain, Toshiro Mifune, Yoko Shimada

Tomatometer rating: This miniseries is 83% fresh, with 5 fresh and 1 rotten review

This epic made-for-TV miniseries was huge at the time – but may not have aged particularly well.

Sarah Boslaugh wrote for PopMatters:

“Despite being filmed entirely in Japan and featuring an impressive cast of Japanese actors (among them Toshiro Mifune, Yoko Shimada, and Furanki Sakai) ‘Shogun’ is concerned primarily with Blackthorne’s [played by Richard Chamberlain] story while the distinguished Japanese cast is reduced to being supporting players in the heroic tale of a white guy making good in a foreign land. On the one hand this seems appalling (in what sane universe would Richard Chamberlain receive top billing over Toshiro Mifune?), but on the other hand it’s completely understandable given the context. ‘Shogun’ was made for broadcast television and needed to attract large numbers of viewers, not just the few who might have seen ‘The Seven Samurai’ or ‘Yojimbo’ at an art house cinema. ‘Shogun’ was a resounding success both in terms of popularity (contemporary estimates are that 70 million people watched the initial episode) and critical acclaim (it won three Emmys and three Golden Globes).”


“Mad Men” continually impressed critics and fans over the entire series run, right from the beginning.

AMC‘Mad Men.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2008

Starred: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2007, is 84% certified fresh, with 32 fresh and 6 rotten reviews

Mary McNamara wrote for the Los Angeles Times, “With snappy writing, hepcat style and a leading man to swoon over, the ’60s series pilot closes the deal.”


“Roots” is a miniseries accomplishment that has not diminished in power over time.

Warner Bros.‘Roots.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1978

Starred: LeVar Burton, Robert Reed, John Amos, Louis Gossett Jr., Olivia Cole, Ben Vereen

Tomatometer rating: This miniseries is 86% fresh, with 6 fresh and 1 rotten review

Daniel Bettridge wrote for the Guardian, “‘Roots’ landed a slew of awards but its lasting legacy is in bringing its unflinching portrayal of American slavery into a nation’s living rooms.”


“L.A. Law” started off strong in its first season, according to critics.

20th Century Fox‘L.A. Law.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1987

Starred: Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, Alan Rachin, Harry Hamlin, Susan Dey

Tomatometer rating: Season one is 86% fresh, with 6 fresh and 1 rotten review

Emelia Fredlick wrote for Paste magazine, “In a sense, L.A. Law paved the way for ‘Law & Order,’ ‘Boston Legal,’ ‘The Good Wife’ and many of the other legal dramas that later came to television. But in the ’80s, it was all about ‘L.A. Law’ and the drama-tastic moments it provided us.”


“Sex and the City” continued to improve in its fourth season, according to critics.

HBO‘Sex and the City.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2002

Starred: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon

Tomatometer rating: Season four, which aired in 2001, is 86% fresh with 6 fresh and 1 rotten review

Sonia Saraiya wrote for the AV Club, “I will stand by the idea that it did what it could in a world that didn’t really have a place for it when it first started out, except for curious audiences in New York who had an expensive HBO subscription.”


“Nip/Tuck” had a strong second season according to critics.

Category: Drama

Year: 2005

Starred: Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, Joely Richardson

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2004, is 86% fresh with 12 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Robert P. Laurence wrote for the San Diego Union-Tribune, “One of TV’s most adult, provocative, outrageous and thought-provoking dramas — and the bloodiest and most sex-drenched — ‘Nip/Tuck’ doesn’t just push the envelope, it heaves it clear over the cliff.”


“Extras” wrapped things up nicely for both critics and fans with its series finale.

BBC‘Extras.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2008

Starred: Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant

Tomatometer rating: The series finale, which aired in 2007 on HBO, is 86% fresh with 12 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Daniel Sperling wrote for Digital Spy, “All the themes covered throughout the series are pulled together into one impassioned essay warning about the dangers of celebrity culture…It’s a beautiful moment and makes for a fitting, thought-provoking curtain call.”


“Mozart in the Jungle” stayed absolutely confident in its niche for season two.

Amazon Studios‘Mozart in the Jungle.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2016

Starred: Gael García Bernal, Malcolm McDowell, Bernadette Peters

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2015, is 86% fresh with 12 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Cory Barker wrote for TV.com, “Most [shows] seek to get it with flashy action sequences, stunt casting, or tenuous connection to some previously popular intellectual property, ‘Mozart In The Jungle’ is a breath of fresh air because it so clearly has no interest in any of that.”


“Glee” quickly won the hearts of both critics and fans when it premiered.

FOX‘Glee.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2010

Starred: Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2009, is 88% certified fresh with 23 fresh and 3 rotten reviews

Adam Sweeting wrote for the Arts Desk, “‘If you shoved High School Musical,’ ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Breakfast Club ‘in a blender, you’d be in the right ballpark, though you still wouldn’t quite have captured ‘Glee’s’ unique tone of sweetness, campness, tragic teenage confusion, and satire.”


“The X-Files” was hitting its stride in its second season.

Fox‘The X-Files.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1995

Starred: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 1994, is 88% fresh with 7 fresh and 1 rotten review

Jonathan Hatfull wrote for SciFiNow, “By the time the show really hits its stride with the second and third season, the writers had found a near-perfect balance between its arc plot and its monsters of the week.”


“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is yet another masterfully funny series from “Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place” creator Michael Schur.

John P. Fleenor/Fox‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2014

Starred: Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Chelsea Peretti

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2013, is 89% certified fresh with 47 fresh and 6 rotten reviews

Joanne Ostrow wrote for the Denver Post, “If the quality continues, Emmy-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (‘Parks and Recreation’) will have locked up a hit.”


“30 Rock” was frequently regarded by critics as one of the smartest, funniest shows on the air.

NBC’30 Rock.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2009

Starred: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski

Tomatometer rating: Season three, which aired in 2008, is 89% fresh with 17 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Evan Sawdey wrote for Pop Matters, “Is the show flawless? Of course not. Yet if you can think of another network sitcom that has been as consistently and effortlessly entertaining as ’30 Rock’ has been, well, you can just put it right in your Fun Cooker.”


“The Affair” was referred to by one critic as “Fifty Shades of Rashomon” because of its unique combination of storytelling choices.

Showtime‘The Affair.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2015

Starred: Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Joshua Jackson

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2014, is 90% certified fresh with 48 fresh and 3 rotten reviews

Brian Tallerico wrote for RogerEbert.com, “Most notably, the cast clicks. West and Wilson, both so great on ‘The Wire’ and ‘Luther,’ respectively, are perfect here.”


“The Crown” featured lush production values and sterling acting performances to match upon its premiere.

Category: Drama

Year: 2017

Starred: Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby, Matt Smith

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2016, is 90% certified fresh with 60 fresh and 7 rotten reviews

Gabriel Tate wrote for the Telegraph, “Matt Smith and Claire Foy share a touching, easy chemistry that makes the longevity of the union easy to understand, and renders the couple not just sympathetic but human.”


“The Cosby Show” was groundbreaking at the time of its release.

NBC‘The Cosby Show.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1985

Starred: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1984, is 90% fresh with 9 fresh and 1 rotten review

Todd Gilchrist wrote for IGN, “Unlike any other show in my long and illustrious history of television viewing, Cosby’s sitcom registers at such a deep level of recognition that it doesn’t merely seem like a show, but my own life.”

In recent years, the show has been overshadowed by accusations of sexual misconduct against Bill Cosby. In April 2018, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison.

He was additionally accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women.


“NYPD Blue” helped define the idea of a gritty cop show.

ABC‘NYPD Blue.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1994

Starred: Dennis Franz, Jimmy Smits, Gordon Clapp, David Caruso

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1993, is 90% fresh with 9 fresh and 1 rotten review

John J. O’Connor wrote for the New York Times,”‘N.Y.P.D. Blue’ has the drive, intelligence and compelling authenticity of the best of Mr. Bochco’s television work, and that includes ‘Hill Street Blues’ and ‘L.A. Law.'”


“The Shield” was a gritty, brutal police drama that earned consistently high praise from critics during its run.

FX‘The Shield.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2003

Starred: Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2002, is 91% fresh with 10 fresh and 1 rotten review

Tim Goodman wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, “The writing is superb, the acting performances top notch, and there are plenty of other nuances that, compacted, make this cop show one painful punch in the gut.”


“The Golden Girls” entertained critics and fans right out of the gate — and continues to delight new fans in reruns.

NBC‘The Golden Girls.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1986

Starred: Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1985, is 92% fresh with 11 fresh and 1 rotten review

Chris Morgan wrote for Paste Magazine,”‘Golden Girls’ proved that, shockingly, as long as you write good characters you can make a good show about just about anybody.”


“The Office (UK)” delighted viewers.

BBC‘The Office (UK).’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2004

Starred: Ricky Gervais, MacKenzie Crook, Martin Freeman

Tomatometer rating: The Christmas Special, which aired in 2003, is 92% fresh with 11 fresh and 1 rotten review

Todd VanDerWerff wrote for the AV Club, “Gervais and Merchant’s series disguise themselves as comedies of cruelty, but after a while, they reveal themselves to be comedies of dignity, series that are about people who continue to be crushed by the world but finally rise above their circumstances.”


“Modern Family” has largely entertained critics and fans alike since it started in 2009.

ABC‘Modern Family.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2012

Starred: Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen

Tomatometer rating: Season three, which aired in 2011, is 92% fresh with 12 fresh and 1 rotten review

Sean Kernan wrote for We Got This Covered, “‘Modern Family’ has become, if not the most original comedy on TV, the finest executed comedy on TV. That brilliant execution was on full display as the series kicked off its third season with an hour-long premiere filled with big laughs.”


“Twin Peaks” remains one of the most unique shows to ever air on network television.

Showtime‘Twin Peaks.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1991

Starred: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Grace Zabriskie

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1990, is 93% certified fresh with 26 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Greg Dawson wrote for the Orlando Sentinel, “‘Twin Peaks’ is like the horrific, teasing fever nightmare that takes you to the head of the darkened staircase and throws you off, leaving you frozen in mid-flight at an exquisite peak of terror and wordless exhilaration.”


“Girls” garnered much critical acclaim during its six-season run — and not insubstantial criticism as well.

HBO‘Girls.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2013

Starred: Lena Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2012, is 93% certified fresh with 43 fresh and 3 rotten reviews

Lisa-Marie Ferla wrote for the Arts Desk, “Dunham’s own Hannah is a young Carrie Bradshaw for the 21st century comprised, as they so often are, of equal parts ego, foolishness, and spite.”


“Ugly Betty” won hearts thanks to America Ferrera and her strong supporting cast.

ABC‘Ugly Betty.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2007

Starred: America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Vanessa Williams

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2006, is 93% fresh with 14 fresh and 1 rotten review

Melanie McFarland summarized the series nicely for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Like the lovely Betty, its brilliance is not to be underestimated.”


“Six Feet Under” featured a superb cast and an intimate exploration of various kinds of loss, rarely equalled.

HBO‘Six Feet Under.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2002

Starred: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Rachel Griffiths

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2001, is 94% certified fresh with 30 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Sarah Terez Rosenblum wrote for PopMatters, “Maybe ‘Six Feet Under’ isn’t the first series to unfurl like a novel, painstakingly, artfully destabilizing our understanding of the point-of-view character, but if another one as successful exists, I can’t think of it.”


“The Handmaid’s Tale” has raised the stakes for drama since it first hit Hulu exclusively in 2017.

KRAYCHYK/HULU‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2018

Starred: Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2017, is 94% certified fresh with 116 fresh and 3 rotten reviews

Julie Hinds wrote for the Detroit Free Press, “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ raises Hulu’s standing as a source of original drama content. And it raises the bar for what TV can accomplish, even in the middle of the medium’s current golden era.”


“Boardwalk Empire” wowed critics and fans of gangland dramas alike — and also featured a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese.

Macall B. Polay / HBO‘Boardwalk Empire.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2011

Starred: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2010, is 95% certified fresh with 62 fresh and 3 rotten reviews

Ethan Anderton wrote for Collider, “This world of underground crime in Atlantic City has substance, drama, romance and plenty of action for everyone.”


“Homeland” remained a firm favourite with fans and critics in its second year.

JoJo Whilden/Showtime‘Homeland.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2013

Starred: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2012, is 95% certified fresh with 39 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

Matt Zoller Seitz wrote for Vulture:

“More than anything else, ‘Homeland’ is about trust. What makes people trust each other? Do we give people our trust for rational, defensible reasons or because they’re deceiving us, pushing our buttons, telling us what they know we want to hear? Can we trust the show’s main characters to do the right thing – to be ethical and patriotic and act in the country’s (and their own) best interest?”


“The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel” has been winning fans as well as awards since its auspicious 2017 debut.

Amazon‘The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2018

Starred: Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen, Alex Borstein

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2017, is 95% certified fresh with 74 fresh and 4 rotten reviews

Ben Travers wrote for IndieWire:

“In addition to its admittedly impressive on-screen attributes, ‘The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel’ could pull off something even more marvellous: Amy Sherman-Palladino’s new series is so charming, so smart, and so exuberantly feminine, it very well could unite fans who are still raging over Rory Gilmore’s final four words and those who insist she should never speak again. Maybe, just maybe, everyone who watches can agree to leave Sherman-Palladino in peace to make a few more seasons of ‘Mrs. Maisel’ before bothering her about reviving ‘Gilmore Girls’ yet again.”


“Mad Men” continued to gather acclaim in its third season.

AMC‘Mad Men.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2010

Starred: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Tomatometer rating: Season three, which aired in 2009, is 97% certified fresh with 28 fresh and 1 rotten review

Adam Sweeting wrote for the Arts Desk, “What the show accomplishes mesmerisingly well is rooting itself in a finely textured network of character and circumstance, then shooting out flares which illuminate the social turbulence of the early Sixties.”


“Atlanta” was the subversive series fans and critics couldn’t get enough of in 2016.

Guy D’Alema/FX‘Atlanta.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2017

Starred: Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2016, is 97% certified fresh with 71 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Hanh Nguyen wrote for IndieWire, “The show is masterful in eliciting a range of feelings – a combination of joy and horror, tension and relief – but none more so than surprise.”


“Transparent” has been regarded as creator Jill Soloway’s stealth masterpiece by some.

Amazon‘Transparent.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2015

Starred: Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Melora Hardin

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2014, is 98% certified fresh with 58 fresh and 1 rotten review

Emily Nussbaum wrote for the New Yorker,

“Jill Soloway’s stealth masterpiece ‘Transparent,’ which is now in its second season, on Amazon, is a different kind of seducer, a TV series that makes revolutionary art seem both irresistible and inevitable. The story of a Los Angeles family whose elderly father comes out as transgender, transitioning from Mort into Maura (and from Poppa into Moppa), ‘Transparent’ would have won polite praise even if it were merely a piece of well-made agitprop-a ted Talk on trans identity.”


“Mr. Robot” was a unique psychological thriller that some regarded as the best program ever put out by the USA network.

NBC Universal‘Mr. Robot.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2016

Starred: Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Carly Chaikin

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2015, is 98% certified fresh with 58 fresh and 2 rotten reviews

John Powers wrote for NPR’s Fresh Air, “Painstaking in its photography and musical choices, [creator Sam] Esmail’s show pulls off the tricky feat of telling a gripping story about keyboard tappers that doesn’t make computer geeks cringe.”


“Lost” kept viewers and critics alike on the edges of their seats in season two.

ABC‘Lost.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2006

Starred: Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O’Quinn, Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin, Dominic Monaghan

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2005, is 100% fresh with 10 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Josh Tyler summarized for CinemaBlend, “Season two wasn’t quite as brilliant as season one, but for the most part ‘Lost’ avoids that second-year slump so many new shows fall into and continued to deliver some of the best stories on television.”


“24” continued to ignite viewer excitement in its third season.

Fox’24.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2004

Starred: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

Tomatometer rating: Season three (aka Day 3) which aired in 2003, is 100% fresh with 13 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Cynthia Fuchs wrote for PopMatters, “’24’ now seems an efficient thrill machine that repeatedly threatens to veer off in cockamamie plot torques: in taking such risks, it’s not always perfect, but it is consistently admirable and frequently excellent fun.”


“Curb Your Enthusiasm” delighted nearly everyone who saw it for most of its entire run.

HBO‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 2003

Starred: Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Richard Lewis

Tomatometer rating: Season three, which aired in 2002, is 100% fresh with 10 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Tom Shales wrote for the Washington Post, “It’s just a darn funny show put together by proverbial consummate old pros. Regardless… each episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ flies by in a dizzying blur of neurotic delight.”


“The X-Files” continued to draw in audiences in droves during its fourth season.

Ed Araquel/FOX‘The X-Files.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1997

Starred: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

Tomatometer rating: Season four, which aired in 1996, is 100% fresh with 6 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Steven Horn wrote for IGN, “To be sure, season four does have some pretty spectacular moments and some of the most beloved ‘X-Files’ shows to date.”


“Seinfeld” was a hit for most of its run, including this fifth season — but divided fans immensely in its final year.

IMDb/NBC‘Seinfeld.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1994

Starred: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander

Tomatometer rating: Season five, which aired in 1993, is 100% fresh with 5 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Joe Reid wrote for the Atlantic, “The best seasons of ‘Seinfeld’ spiral out from the middle, and that’s just all there is to it.”


“The Wonder Years” was a coming-of-age sitcom that warmed many hearts in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

ABC‘The Wonder Years.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1989

Starred: Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Danica McKellar, Jason Hervey

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1988, is 100% fresh with 8 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Todd VanDerWerff summarized the entire series for the AV Club, “For roughly half its run, ‘The Wonder Years’ was a genuinely terrific show.”


“The Golden Girls” reached the height of its critical acclaim in season two.

NBC‘The Golden Girls.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1987

Starred: Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 1986, is 100% fresh with 5 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Joe Reid wrote for Decider, “Not only does the show nail the kind of devastatingly dry shade-based humour that gay viewers tend to flock to, but the show was a beacon in the 1980s for network television dealing with gay themes in even a halfway progressive manner.”


“Murder, She Wrote” charmed critics from the start.

CBS‘Murder, She Wrote.’

Category: Drama

Year: 1985

Starred: Angela Lansbury, William Windom, Ron Masak

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1984, is 100% fresh with 12 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Elena Nicolaou wrote for Refinery 29, “Jessica’s charm, sass, and moral guidance make her the TV grandma we all need in our lives.”


“Taxi” was a brilliant comedy showcase from its first episode — a rarity even today.

CBS Television Distribution‘Taxi.’

Category: Musical or Comedy

Year: 1979

Starred: Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1978, is 100% fresh with 6 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Stuart Galbraith IV wrote for DVD Talk, “Even the best situation comedies generally need a season or so to find their rhythm… But ‘Taxi’ somehow hit the ground running, getting off to perhaps the best start of any sitcom in the history of American television.”


“Breaking Bad” seemed to only get stronger as each season progressed — and went out with an incomparable bang at the end.

AMC‘Breaking Bad.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2014

Starred: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Bob Odenkirk

Tomatometer rating: Season five, which ended in 2013, is 100% certified fresh with 51 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Michael Walsh wrote for Nerdist, “The second and third to last episodes of the series might be the two best in ‘Breaking Bad’ history.”


“Homeland” made for compelling viewing from the start.

Stephan Rabold/Showtime‘Homeland.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2012

Starred: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 2011, is 100% certified fresh with 30 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Adam Sweeting wrote for the Arts Desk, “The amount of information packed into this pilot episode, which still managed to sustain an urgent dramatic pace while creating a shivery sense of foreboding, is a testament to the quality of the writing and performances”


“Mad Men” dove deeper — and got even stronger — in season two.

Mad Men‘Mad Men.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2009

Starred: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Tomatometer rating: Season two, which aired in 2008, is 100% certified fresh with 27 fresh and 0 rotten ratings

Brian Tallerico wrote for Hollywood Chicago:

“With just two seasons, AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ has already cemented its place on any list of the best television programs of the ’00s. The Golden Globe-winning series for Best Drama became arguably richer and deeper in season two as the characters at advertising agency Sterling/Cooper moved deeper into one of the most significant eras of change in our country.”


“The Sopranos” made viewers care deeply about all of its characters over the course of its widely acclaimed run.

HBO‘The Sopranos.’

Category: Drama

Year: 2000

Starred: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

Tomatometer rating: Season one, which aired in 1999, is 100% certified fresh with 21 fresh and 0 rotten reviews

Todd VanDerWerff wrote for the AV Club, “There are gleefully entertaining moments of mob violence, but the big sense the pilot gives off is of a thing in decline, of a world that is no longer as it was and is sliding toward destruction.”

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