15 TV Shows in the GOAT Conversation

What makes a great TV show? Hard to say. Different people love different shows for different reasons. It could be you’re drawn to a particular genre (crime, sci-fi, sitcoms, etc.). It could have to do with when you watched a show or who you watched it with. Or it could relate to how innovative a show is perceived as being in its time and how much it influences everything that comes after. All these factors are valid.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the TV shows we love on an individual basis are highly subjective. What hits one person strongly in the brain, heart and gut won’t necessarily do the same for the next person. But when it comes to the collective conversation about the greatest TV shows of all time, there are a handful of series that come up time and time again.

While other shows may sporadically get noted as possible GOAT (greatest of all time) candidates, these shows get mentioned frequently and consistently… 

TV Series Regularly Talked About as the #BestEver

Here are the <1% of TV shows regularly mentioned in discussions about the best series ever—along with a brief description of why people love them and a single tweet reinforcing that perception:  

1. The Sopranos

Considered the grandaddy of modern TV, “The Sopranos” kickstarted the idea that a show could essentially be one long, quality movie. It also had an iconic performance from James Gandolfini. 

2. Cheers

For decades viewers have been dropping in to grab a cold one with the colorful characters of this Boston bar. The template for many sitcoms to come, this series might also have the best theme song of all time.  

3. Game of Thrones

“GoT” is the biggest show we’ve ever had, with dragons and battles unlike anything we’ve ever seen on TV. Of course, there’s also those draw-dropping episode like the Red Wedding that stay with you for days.

4. Seinfeld

Has any show had as many pop-cultural references as “Seinfeld”? Festivus. Hello, Newman. Close talker. Soup Nazi. Mulva. The list is endless, as are the Easter eggs… 

5. Breaking Bad

“Breaking Bad” was a show that built up its audience (and its reputation as one of the best) via Netflix binge watches. It’s known for its meticulous construction and some incredibly intense episodes. 

6. LOST

Premiering with a bang, “LOST” did things unprecedented for a TV show (especially a network show)—combining genres, flashing through time in innovative ways, and sparking tons of viewer theories and conversations. 

7. Friends

There may be no show that goes down easier than “Friends”, which was incredibly popular during its 10-season run and has enjoyed renewed popularity with successive generations via streaming. 

8. The Wire

Taking a unique approach to telling the typical crime story, “The Wire” cast a wide net showing not just the police and criminals but also neighborhood kids, politicians, dock workers, journalists, and the systems we set rigidly in place. 

9. Friday Night Lights

There’s a lot of shows about criminals, cops, and mysterious creatures/worlds. What’s far rarer is a show that focuses on the struggles of everyday people in our everyday world. “Friday Night Lights” is that show. And you don’t need to care an ounce about football to love it.

10. Battlestar Galactica

An update of a 1970s show with some solid actors and interesting ideas for a fledgling cable network that somehow built a loyal fanbase and became an obsession. 

11. Twin Peaks

This 1990s show (revived again in 2017) was the first hint that something more cinematic and serialized could work on TV. It was also weird and mysterious enough that it stuck in people’s minds. 

12. The Office

Capturing the awkwardness of workplace exchanges like no other, this great sitcom also boasted an amazing roster of talent—most notably Steve Carrell as constantly cringe-inducing boss, Michael Scott.

13. Mad Men

Though the fever has died down a little since it finished its run in 2015, people who love “Mad Men” really love “Mad Men”—with many citing its writing, acting, and depth as being beyond compare. 

14. The Simpsons

For three decades, “The Simpsons” has been making people chuckle. That’s an incredible run. Ask anyone who’s ever watched the show for an extended period and they can name at least a few classic episodes.

15. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

A show unlike any other, “Buffy” came along just before the peak TV movement and created a world and characters that many fans still hold super close to their hearts like a vampire-stabbing stake.

AUTHOR: Shad Connelly
ORIGIN: Communications Director @ MONSTERS Unlimited

If you'd like to follow Shad on Twitter  /  @shadconnelly