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The 15 Best TV Shows Of All Time, According To IMDb

There was a time when the world of television was considered to be a lesser medium than movies. Things have changed, and many believe we're currently in the golden era of TV. While today there are more great shows than ever before, stellar television dates back decades.

RELATED: The 10 Best TV Shows That Debuted In , Ranked According To IMDb

A good place to use as a reference point for the best series of all time is IMDB. Based on hundreds of thousands of user ratings on IMDB, we've compiled a list of the top scripted shows ever created. That means the only series not included here are documentaries like Blue Planet or Cosmos.

Updated September 30th By Rhys McGinley: There is absolutely no doubt that there has been a golden age of television over the past ten years, with streaming services, the new digital age of binging, and bigger budgets leading to television overtaking film in a lot of ways for audiences. Over the years, there have been some unbelievable TV shows, too many to limit to just ten, and there have also been extra seasons hurting or helping beloved series' standings in TV history — according to IMDb, that is.

15 The Twilight Zone ()

The Twilight Zone is one of the most iconic television shows to ever air. From until , the original iteration ran and blew the minds of viewers everywhere. It worked as an anthology series, with each episode focusing on different characters and a different situation.

Traditionally, the episodes were sci-fi or horror related, but some dove into the worlds of fantasy, suspense, and thrillers. It often did things that no other show was capable of at the time. The Twilight Zone is widely regarded as legendary. So much so that it has been revived several times, including most recently on CBS All-Access, hosted by Jordan Peele.

14 Batman: The Animated Series ()

To many people, the best Batman is not Christian Bale, nor even Michael Keaton, but rather Kevin Conroy for his outing in what is undoubtedly the most outstanding animated superhero show of all time. There are even people who believe Mark Hamill's incredible Joker is the best of all time, over the likes of Ledger, Nicholson, and Phoenix.

The show is pretty much a dream for every fan of the Caped Crusader, with an incredible collection of heroes, villains, and side characters being a part of the series, which is littered with fantastic Batman stories. To many, it is the best era of Batman on screen thus far, and it is hard to argue against that opinion given how great it is.

13 Death Note ()

Another all-time great animated show is Death Note, which definitely is not a superhero based series, but a Japanese manga adaptation — its fans love its single-season and thirty-seven episodes.

The series revolves around a high school student who goes on a criminal killing crusade after discovering a powerful notebook and is continuously thrilling, exciting, and expertly crafted, earning its place on this list as not just one of the best anime of all time, but one of the best series ever.

12 Firefly ()

Fireflyis a special show, not solely for its extremely high quality, but its incredible popularity, reaching an extreme level of a cult classic, with a devoted fan base around the world.

Despite the very best efforts of its fandom, Firefly ran for one season in with fourteen episodes. However, it did get a direct follow-up film in titled Serenity, much to the joy of the fans.

11 True Detective ()

True crime documentaries are wholly ingrained in the binging culture of today, but there is still a market for incredible crime dramas, something which True Detectiveproves with its first season alone.

RELATED: True Detective: Every Episode In Season 1, Ranked (According To IMDb)

Season two of the anthology show shook things up, but not to great results, undoubtedly being the worst of the three seasons despite having some great stuff within it. Season three did a lot better but still could not reach the heights of season one, which alone is one of the greatest seasons of television ever.

10 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ()

Going back to the animated side of things, particularly the anime side, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the greatest anime of all time thus far, and the third-best animated show in general.

The show follows two brothers in search of the Philosophers Stone (no, not that one) to restore their physical forms after an attempt to revive their deceased mother went awry. The characters are outstanding, the writing is on point, the animation is great, and overall through its sixty-nine episodes, it manages to impress time after time.

9 Sherlock ()

Sherlock Holmes is a character who has had his story told in a variety of mediums. There are books and films, as well as the CBS show Elementary. However, it's the BBC version simply titled Sherlockthat scored highest on IMDB. This is what launched the successful careers of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who are both beloved as Sherlock and Watson.

Every episode lasts about 90 minutes, making each mystery Sherlock uncovers feel like a film. It is masterfully shot, brilliantly acted, and features some plot twists that will leave you yearning for more. The series two episode, "The Reichenbach Fall," was met with critical praise and spawned months of online speculation about the big twist ending, proving how impactful Sherlock is to its fans.

8 Avatar: The Last Airbender ()

You may be surprised to find an animated show on this list. You'd be even more stunned if you only knew of Avatar: The Last Airbender from the widely panned film made by M. Night Shyamalan. The show included 61 episodes and ran on Nickelodeon from until , gaining all sorts of praise.

Avatar: The Last Airbender followed the adventures of a young boy on a quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar, which would bring peace to a warring world filled with elemental magic. It was more advanced than your typical Nickelodeon show, with viewers celebrating its art direction, action, humor, and character development. If only the film could have captured the magic.

7 The Sopranos ()

Get ready for a lot of HBO on this list. This intense series followed the story of a New Jersey mob boss as he dealt with balancing his family issues and his business problems, all while seeking psychiatric help. The Sopranos was groundbreaking, especially when it premiered back in

Led by the excellent performances from the likes of  James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, The Sopranos took the world by storm. It was almost always mired in some controversy, yet people kept coming back for more. During its run, the show racked up the awards, including over 20 Emmys.

6 Rick And Morty ()

Here we have our second animated entry. Airing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim network, Ricky and Mortyis the definition of a cultural phenomenon. The show centers around a mad scientist (Rick) and his grandson (Morty), as they go on wacky interdimensional adventures. It always leaves fans wanting more, taking lengthy breaks in between seasons.

RELATED: Rick & Morty: The 15 Best Episodes So Far (According To IMDb)

Ricky and Morty is the brainchild of Justin Rolland. He is the co-creator but also acts as director, writer, and producer. Rolland is also the voice of both of the titular characters, proving how many hats he wears. The show has a unique comedic style that has captivated audiences and formed an almost unmatched cult following.

5 The Wire ()

Back to the world of HBO for The Wire. Set in Baltimore, it surrounded the intertwining lives of law enforcement and criminals and realistically told the story. The creator of the show, David Simon, had experience as a journalist for the Baltimore Sun, which played a part in why the show felt so honest and raw.

This crime drama is considered by many to be in the conversation for the best show of all time. Despite that feeling, The Wire never won any significant awards during its run. It did help launch the careers of Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, Michael K. Williams, and more. It's nearly impossible to find a better cop show.

4 Game Of Thrones ()

It's the most ambitious television show ever created. Game of Thrones was an epic scale series that ranked among the most expensive in history. More often than not, a fantasy story like this wouldn't catch on with the masses, but it became a crossover hit that broke ratings records.

Game of Thrones gave us iconic characters like Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Arya Stark. It also provided us with unforgettable moments like the infamous Red Wedding and the Hodor origin story. The final season wasn't well received, and had this ended stronger; it would've probably ranked higher. Regardless of feelings on the ending, Game of Thrones was a remarkable accomplishment and one of the most decorated shows of all time.

3 Band Of Brothers ()

The scope of Band of Brothers was wildly impressive. The HBO miniseries lasted ten episodes and had a budget of $ million that you would expect from a blockbuster motion picture. Based on the book of the same name, it dramatized the history of a United States Army platoon during World War II.

It helped that the miniseries was created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who had collaborated on the critically acclaimed World War II film Saving Private Ryan. They nailed all the aspects they needed to and gave viewers an experience that felt authentic. Band of Brothers took home both the Emmy and Golden Globe for Best Miniseries.

2 Chernobyl ()

Interestingly, the most recent show on the list also tops it. Another HBO production, Chernobyl, was a five-episode miniseries depicting the nuclear disaster and the excruciating cleanup that followed. This is not a show you binge watch due to the heavy nature of the subject matter.

Chernobyl is a fascinating nightmare of a mystery, but its real strength lied in how it portrayed the danger and agony that comes with radiation. It managed to work as both a tragedy and a tribute to those who lost their lives from this event. Fans and critics lauded the miniseries.

1 Breaking Bad ()

There may have never been a more tightly written drama in the history of television. For five seasons, Breaking Bad made sure every scene in every episode mattered and built towards something. The show told the story of Walter White, a chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer, who partners with his former student to cook and sell meth.

Watching White become hungry with power and get driven to do terrible things made for one of the most interesting character arcs ever witnessed. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul won several awards for their incredible portrayals of the two lead characters. Throughout its entire run, Breaking Bad never experienced a dip in quality.

NEXT: Breaking Bad's 10 Best Story Arcs, Ranked


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About The Author
Kevin Pantoja ( Articles Published)

Born and raised in New York City, I eventually went on to attain my Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University as Valedictorian. I have written in the past for various websites covering celebrities, pop culture, sports, movies, television, and wrestling. You can always find me on my Twitter, @the_kevstaaa.

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The 10 Best Movies That Are Continuations Of TV Shows, Ranked By IMDb

Every now and then, when a TV show ends, the story is extended with a feature-length movie. Not including movies where the series was still ongoing, these films continue their TV shows in a way that is often satisfying for fans and even ties up some loose ends. Some even became more popular than their respective series, which had vanished into obscurity long before the movies went into production.

RELATED: The 10 Best Scenes In El Camino - A Breaking Bad Movie, Ranked

However, though these movies are some of the greatest ever endings to long-running series, they still aren’t rated too highly on IMDb. Perhaps this is because it’s hard for viewers to understand what’s going on if they haven’t seen the TV shows, especially when some of those shows have close to 10 years' worth of character development.

10 Entourage () -

Just like the network did with Sex and the City, HBO followed the final series of Entourage with a movie, and though it wasn’t as successful, it was more acclaimed. The movie follows movie star Vincent Chase, who is currently struggling with his directorial debut, but just as it always did in the TV show, everything works out perfectly for the actor.

The film was essentially a feature-length episode of the show, but it was full of everything that fans of the series loved, including the fly on the wall look at Hollywood and all of the exclusive parties. And as Entourage was known for its celebrity cameos, the movie is full of similarly surprising appearances, as it features Liam Neeson, Warren Buffet, Pharrell Williams, and many others.

9 The Inbetweeners () -

British comedy is fairly niche for those outside of the U.K., which is why The Inbetweeners is a fairly unknown TV show and movie in the United States. There was a U.S. remake of the show, but it was canceled after just one season due to low ratings. However, The Inbetweeners is the ultimate British teen comedy, and it was a huge success in its native country.

The series follows four friends navigating teenage life who are generally outcasts and socially awkward around women. After the show ended in , the movie was quickly greenlit and it sees the gang go on vacation to Malia, a popular destination amongst British men for a “lads’ holiday.” It carried over the show’s comedy perfectly, and there was even a sequel that came out three years later.

8 Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa () -

Alan Partridge is a long-running U.K. fictional TV character played by Steve Coogan who has led several different TV shows over the years. The character is a parody of British television personalities, and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a direct continuation from the series, I’m Alan Partridge. And just like The Inbetweeners, it carries that classic British humor of self-deprecation and satirizing everyday life.

RELATED: I'm Alan Partridge - Every Episode Ranked By IMDb Score

However, the movie ups the stakes and gives Alan Partridge a real action hero send-off, as he must save 12 hostages in a period of 24 hours. Partridge goes about it in the most haphazard way possible, and it’s a delight to watch. But it might not land as well with viewers who don’t know the character.

7 Jackass Number 2 & Jackass 3D ( & ) -

Amazingly enough, Jackass has become more famous thanks to the movies. The TV series of the pranksters getting up to dirty tricks and pulling vulgar stunts was nothing more than a cult show on MTV, but the first movie opened up the flood gates for millions of more fans. However, the second and third movies are considered much better than the original, as they have a shared score of on IMDb.

Jackass Number Two saw the crew attempting stunts that were more death-defying than ever before. And the third film saw the series use the novelty of 3D, which ironically ended up being one of the best 3D movies ever. And the franchise isn’t over yet, as the series is returning with Jackass Forever.

6 El Camino () -

El Camino follows Jesse after he escapes captivity from Uncle Jack’s clubhouse and attempts to make enough money to get a new identity from The Disappearer. Breaking Bad was wrapped up so neatly, with an ending so flawless that it achieved the impossible by satisfying every fan who had their own very specific theories.

But that meant that a follow-up movie might have been unnecessary and could have possibly even undone the show’s legacy. However, as El Camino picks up just seconds after where the finale left off, the film wasn’t just a feature-length episode, but it was more of a tasteful epilogue to Breaking Bad. It tied up Breaking Bad’s loose ends and was a perfect farewell for some of the fan-favorite characters who didn’t get a goodbye in the movie.

5 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me () -

As Twin Peaks is all about the mystery of who murdered Laura Palma, Fire Walk With Me is a prequel that explores the last seven days of Laura’s life. Though movies that continue the narrative of TV shows are going to be hard to follow, Fire Walk With Me is on another level, as the film is confusing even to fans of the series.

RELATED: Twin Peaks - 10 Best Quotes From Season 1

The confusion may have something to do with the fact that there were a ton of scenes deleted from the movie. There were so many that they even made up their own minute movie, Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces, which came 22 years later. However, Fire Walk With Me is still full of classic Lynchian surrealism and oddities that are still captivating, despite how disorienting the narrative is.

4 Deadwood: The Movie () -

HBO continuing their beloved cinematic TV series with follow-up movies has become common practice. Though it’s looking as if the Many Saints of Newark is going to supersede it, Deadwood: The Movie is one of the best HBO original movies and the network’s best continuation of a series in a movie format.

Deadwood: The Movie is the greatest example of this practice, as it has the magnificent vistas of the desert and epic production value that only a movie budget could allow. And as the finale of the TV show wasn’t wholly satisfying, the film gives the fans closure in a way that few other TV show-turned-movies can.

3 The Naked Gun () -

The Naked Gun is a continuation of The Police Squad, and against all odds, the movie has become more well known than the TV show. The series was way ahead of its time, as not everybody was immediately on board with the idea of a parody of procedural police shows filled with absurd non-sequiturs.

The Police Squad was canceled after six episodes, but the movie was so successful that it led to two sequels. Even to this day, the movie has the legacy of being one of the greatest comedies of all time, and it’s being discovered by younger audiences who don't necessarily even know that it’s based on a TV show from

2 Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm () -

Few kids’ morning shows come with the sheer prestige that Batman: The Animated Series does. The show has gone on to influence movies, and showrunner Paul Dini even created Harley Quinn. Mask of the Phantasm was the perfect finale to The Animated Series’ legacy.

Just like the show did with Harley Quinn, the movie again creates a new villain, the Phantasm, and it tells Batman’s origin story in a way that’s unique to any of the live-action portrayals. Because Mask of the Phantasm is an animated movie, people might not be expecting the mature and adult themes, but it delivers them in such a cohesive narrative, and it’s even in the running for the best Batman movie.

1 Serenity () -

Though his television shows tend to have a dedicated cult following, most of Joss Whedon’s series tend to get canceled before the full story is told. For example, Angel, the spin-off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ended on a huge jaw-dropping cliffhanger that was never resolved.

However, while the space Western series Firefly was canceled too early, Universal jumped at the chance to produce a follow-up movie, and it was the most satisfying conclusion to a TV show that almost never happened. Serenity is one of the most gripping and action-packed sci-fi movies of the s, and it makes sense to viewers who have never even heard of Firefly too.

NEXT: Firefly - 10 Most Memorable Quotes From Serenity


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Thanks to the streaming revolution and the birth of binge-watching, we have access to more TV than ever before. And with the likes of Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon Prime constantly dropping new, original content, our 'to watch' list is ever growing at a rate we just can't keep up with.

We don't mean to sound ungrateful, though. We don't know what we would have done without the likes of Tiger King, Too Hot To Handle and Hollywood to see us through the past weeks of lockdown. Netflix, we thank you.

But there is something to be said for revisiting the absolute classics. Those critically acclaimed dramas that you haven't seen in years, or those old school gems you've never actually seen because you're too young to remember them (jealous, us?)

And what better place to turn for a definitive list of the top-rated TV shows than the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), which ranks films and series based on reviews from fans and critics. As users can leave reviews and star ratings at any time, their 'Top Rated TV Shows' compilation can sometimes change order, but at the time of writing there's quite an eclectic mix of shows that make it into the top

As well as some much-loved wildlife documentaries (national treasure David Attenborough really can do no wrong), there's plenty of high intensity drama from the '90s and the s, a few animations, and of course, everyone's favourite meth-cooking, hazmat suit-wearing science teacher.

So, if you fancy tuning in to some of the best TV shows of all time, you've come to the right place. From '90s hit The Sopranos to 21st century cult fantasy sensation Game of Thrones, these are the top 20 highest rated TV series of all time

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