Off Topic: Rank Your Top Three TV Shows Of All Time

Like many of the off topics I post on Kotaku, I recently had this argument in real life: what are the best TV shows of all time and how do you rank them? Where do you even begin? What are your top three TV shows of all time?

For the longest time I had a very steady top three. It went...

1. The Wire 2. Deadwood 3. Mad Men

Now, after watching and loving True Detective, I wonder if it might crack the top three? Hard to say.

But the argument I had was based on this question: how do we assess quality? The Wire has the broad scope of a show focused on larger issues. Deadwood and The Wire are similar in that regard. A show like True Detective is smaller in scope — it's essentially a brilliantly polished character study within the framework of a traditional 'whodunnit'. Does that mean it's less culturally significant? I dunno. I don't think it's something you can criticise the show for.

But that's just me.

Anyway — let's get to the lists. What are your top three favourite shows? Let us know in the comments below.


    1. Breaking Bad
    2. Burn Notice
    3. Lie To Me

      Lie to me! Thank you! That show was severely under-appreciated.
      Sure the first season acting was a bit hammed up, but the stories and characters throughout the entire show were awesome.

    1. Game Of Thrones
    2. The Walking Dead
    3. Homeland

    1. The Office US seen every episode of every season at least 5 times its my fallback its amazing and i love it
    2. Doctor Who
    3.Angel Beats emotive, musical, full of action and so heartwarming no better anime in my opinion

    1. Sopranos.
    2. FireFly.
    3. Game Of Thrones

    1. Arrested Development
    2. Breaking Bad
    3. The IT Crowd

    I wish there was more IT Crowd :(

    1 - Star Trek - TNG
    2 - Sons of Anarchy
    3 - Elementary

    3rd one is a difficult one, castle, hustle, NCIS, stargate, supernatural or black books maybe? If anime is included add death note to the list

    Nooooo too hard! But yes, True Detective is a huge contender. The Wire is unshakeable.

    1. Breaking Bad
    2. Frasier
    3. M*A*S*H

    Random, I know. Scrubs (9th season doesn't count) almost made the list. As did Futurama.

    Edit: Crap! I forgot about Arrested Development. This is too difficult.

    Last edited 25/03/14 11:28 am

    Six Feet Under
    Battlestar Galactica
    The West Wing

    Six Feet Under
    The Shield
    The Sopranos

    Honourable mentions:
    * The Wire
    * Treme
    * M*A*S*H
    * Gilmore Girls
    * Sons of Anarchy
    * Friends

    Last edited 25/03/14 11:43 am

      Yeah, @markserrels if you liked The Wire you should probably check out Treme. It's by the same guy!

      Last edited 25/03/14 11:30 am

        The newsroom as well

          Newsroom is by the same guy who created The West Wing: Aaron Sorkin.

          Treme and The Wire were written by David Simon and Eric Overmeyer.

          Last edited 25/03/14 11:42 am

            You know, I realized my mistake after I hit reply :(

              All good. They're all excellent shows, and worthy of the recommendation :)

      I really should watch The Shield because of Kurt Sutters ties to it, since I like Sons of Anarchy so much.

      Must say it's funny how Sutter only have 2 shows under his belt as a writer and they're both masterpieces.

        Although SoA at its peak is pretty hard to topple, it's also pretty silly in places. The Shield is much more consistent, and its ending is probably my all-time favourite TV finale (and the season 5 finale is one of my favourite TV eps ever). Couldn't recommend it more highly.

        Last edited 25/03/14 1:01 pm

          Hmm I like the sound of that. I'll get around to it one day I reckon!

    The Big Bang Theory

    Runners Up:

    The Walking Dead
    Sons of Anarchy

    Last edited 25/03/14 11:33 am

    I'm making my list "Top three tv shows which aren't Breaking Bad" ;-)

    1. Farscape
    2. The Office
    3. Malcolm in the Middle [gotta get Brian Cranston in the list at least :p]

    1. Futurama (Seasons 1 - 4)

    Um, I think that's about it. I don't really watch TV shows.

    Stargate SG1 & Atlantis
    One Piece anime (minus filler)

    1. The Simpsons
    2. Son's Of Anarchy
    3. Supernatural

    1. Arrested Development
    2. Scrubs
    3. Will & Grace

    1. Seinfeld
    2. The Wire
    3. The Shield

    Could easily name a top 10 but those were the clear top 3

    1. Firefly
    2. Kill la Kill
    3. Dead like me

      Dead Like Me doesn't get enough love. Such a brilliant show. Really didn't like the movie though.

        Yeah, it is pretty awesome. I'm a big fan of anything Bryan Fuller does, so it was tough not to put Hannibal or Pushing Daisies up as well, but Dead like me still makes me grin like a doofus. The movie was a bit unnecessary, but it was good to see George, Roxie and Mason again considering there was no chance of a third season

          No mention of Wonderfalls? I think it was Fuller's best, TBH.

          Dead Like Me was pretty cool guy, though! First season was amazing.

            I wasn't aware of wonderfalls, my clever ruse has crumbled at my feet.

            Definitely looks awesome though, I'll have to have a look at it tonight


              It's very, very, very funny, and clever too.

    Way WAY to hard lol:

    1. Star Trek: DS9
    2. Scrubs
    3. Seinfeld

    Could add so many others though...Dexter, The IT Crowd, The Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, Frasier, Friends, Fringe. Star Treks...I could go on forever lol

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now