Best 20 TV shows of all time that you should watch right now

by Mihail Angelov
best tv shows of all time, tv series, must watch

There’s never been a creative boom for TV like the one we are living through right now. Ever since The Sopranos changed the game at the turn of the century, we’ve been in a gold rush that gives no signs of slowing down.

What better moment to look back and celebrate the greatest shows in the history of the art form?

As watching TV channels becomes less popular and boring, we are in The “Golden Age” of television because of the rise of the streaming services.

But in the past decade, as viewing options exploded and audiences fragmented, there is more quantity than quality television

However, the great TV shows that have made an impact haven’t left any TV show fanatic untouched and the good recommendations spread fast.

There is more television content than ever, and it is not an easy job to pick something good to watch. I have successfully filtered all the picks and that will save you ton of time and effort.

Here is my list of TV shows you should definitely see in your lifetime.

1. Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013)

IMDB Score: 9.5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

The incredible inspirational story about a chemistry teacher and his former student becoming the biggest meth producers in the U.S. and South America.

2. The Wire (2002 – 2008)

IMDB Score: 9.3

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

The Wire is one of the best crime drama TV shows that explores and presents the situation in the city of Baltimore. It focuses mostly on how society and politics are connected, and the realistic impact of urban life.

3. The Sopranos (1999 – 2007)

IMDB Score: 9.2

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

A story about Tony Soprano, the New Jersey mob boss and the way he deals with his family and business life struggling to maintain balance.

4. Game of Thrones (2011 – 2019)

IMDB Score: 9.3

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

A fantasy drama set on the continents of Essos and Westeros, Game of Thrones follows the story and the conflict and civil wars among the Houses, each battle to take control of the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms.

5. Fargo (2014 – )

IMDB Score: 8.9

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

Inspired by the movie Fargo in 1996 by the Cohen Brothers, every season of this TV show covers different events of murder, deception and intrigue around the state of Minnesota, always leading back to the same place, Fargo, North Dakota.

The events in this TV show are based on a true story – that is what the producers say.

6. Mindhunter (2017 – )

IMDB Score: 8.6

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

Mindhunter is a crime drama series based on the story of the FBI man who pioneered the science of profiling serial killers. This series is based on some real events and focuses on the professional and private lives of two FBI agents becoming the early founders of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.

They use particular methods and analyses of previous serial killers to predict the next ones.

7. Hannibal (2013 – 2015)

IMDB Score: 8.5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

A psychological horror–thriller television series, inspired by the movie and the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist and a cannibal at the same time.

8. Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014)

IMDB Score: 8.6

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

SOA is an American TV show following the lives of an outlaw motorcycle club that operates in a town called Charming. The series revolves around the main character, Jax Teller and how he is trying to find a balance between being a newlywed father and a gang leader.

9. Mad Men (2007 – 2015)

IMDB Score: 8.6

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Mad Men is a television drama series that follows the lifestyle of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising in the 1960s, in New York. The action revolves around the main character, Don Draper, which is one of the most successful people in the advertising business.

Note: This TV show is highly recommended for those who are or want to start a career in marketing and advertising.

10. DARK (2017 – )

IMDB Score: 8.7

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

DARK is a German-language sci-fi drama, with a mind-melting approach and spanning through three timelines following the lives of specific individuals in a small town in Germany.

Note: This TV show requires full attention and challenges you to find answers and read about it after watching.

11. Stranger Things (2016 – )

IMDB Score: 8.8

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Stranger Things is a very popular relatively new sci-fi TV show about the mysteries that take place in a fictional rural town Hawkins in Indiana in the early 80s, following the lives and adventures of few children and their families.

12. Battlestar Galactica (2004 – 2009)

IMDB Score: 8.7

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Battlestar Galactica is one of the best sci-fi TV series, set in a distant star system of planets called the Twelve Colonies where the civilization of humans had been in a war with another race, known as the Cylons.

This TV show is part of one of the biggest sci-fi franchises that were created in 1978, following a 1980 follow-up and getting a complete reboot in 2003.

13. Black Mirror (2011 – )

IMDB Score: 8.8

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Black Mirror is a unique British science fiction and drama series about the world of tomorrow. Every episode is different from the others and explores the future of modern society and the impact and consequences of new technologies.

14. Boardwalk Empire (2010 – 2014)

IMDB Score: 8.5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Boardwalk Empire is an American crime drama TV show set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the period of the Prohibition era of 1920, presenting the betrayal, corruption, and questions of loyalty between the active gangs in the American Mafia. 

Note: This TV show is created by the creators of The Sopranos.

15. Peaky Blinders (2013 – )

IMDB Score: 8.8

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

As similar to Boardwalk Empire, this TV series is focused on the story of an urban street family gang based in Birmingham, England in the early 1900s and their criminal operations from the end of the 19th century and after the First World War.

16. Suits (2011 – )

IMDB Score: 8.5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Suits is very exciting business drama TV show about a fictional New York law firm including the character of one of the best lawyers, Harvey Specter who hires a talented college dropout named Mike Ross that has never attended a law school. The TV show focuses on how these two lawyers close cases while trying to keep Mike’s secret out of the public.

17. La Casa De Papel Money Heist (2017 – )

IMDB Score: 8.4

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Money Heist is a Spanish crime drama series about a criminal mastermind recruiting eight people with specific abilities to pull off a plan of the biggest heist in history and printing billions of euros. The TV show focuses on the personal lives and the sacrifice they should experience in order to successfully finish the heist.

Note: This is one of the best new shows and has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

18. Vikings (2013 – )

IMDB Score: 8.6

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

This TV show represents a historical drama that follows the exploits and adventures of a legendary Nordic hero, Ragnar Lothbrok, who as a small farmer rises to become a fearless commander of the Viking tribes.

19. Narcos (2015 – 2017)

IMDB Score: 8.8

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Narcos is an American crime drama television series where seasons 1 and 2 are focused on the life of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and his operations in Columbia.

The drama continues in Mexico, created as a separate show under the same franchise, which is also excellent.

20. House (2004 – 2012)

IMDB Score: 8.7

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

A series that follows the controversial life of an antisocial maverick doctor who despite his dependence on pain medication, does everything to solve patients’ illnesses while leading a crack team of diagnosticians.

Final thoughts

To be honest, there many other great TV shows but some of them are ruined by a bad ending or cancelation or maybe lack of creativity in the last seasons.

This list is a composition of user reviews and critics around the web with the additional analysis done by myself. Although you may have watched or already watching some of these, there are TV shows that may have never occurred in your mind or they have been on your watchlist for a long time.

What other all-time-best TV shows you would recommend and why?

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