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Artículo The 100 greatest TV shows of all time according to Rolling Stone Culture


The 100 greatest TV shows of all time according to Rolling Stone



david perez

05 Noviembre 2016 18:46

We are in a golden era of TV shows.  Online streaming sites have changed the way we consume television, offering more practical alternatives and a different level of quality that  attract an increasingly wider audience.

TV shows have become the main cultural reference of the 21st century, breaking barriers to reach everyone with the same force.  The 2016 Emmys have shown the sheer amount of contemporary programmes capable of rivalling the greatest productions in TV history.

But are these award shows a true sign that we are living in a golden age of TV,  or just an illusion that make us think of the programmes of today as better than those that came before?

To resolve this doubt, Rolling Stone Magazine has reviewed the history of American television, compiling a list of the 100 greatest programmes of all time.  They achieved this with the opinions of various critics, show runners and other big names in the industry.  And, surprise surprise, the majority of the latest Emmy winners made the cut.


  1. The Sopranos

Naturally, first place goes to The Sopranos, a six season series (1999-2007) that revolves the New Jersey mafia.  Referencing classic gangster films like The Godfather, the result is a brilliant and reflective drama about crime and the desire for power.


  1. The Wire

Coming in close second is The Wire, another HBO production that portrays drug trafficking on the streets of Baltimore.  Based on true stories from within the city, the series delves into all aspects of drug trafficking in order to create an in-depth portrayal of the subject.

It's no surprise that The Wire makes second place: its Filmaffinity rating is one of the highest in history.  Considering the period in which it was aired (from 2002 to 2008), you could say that these were the best years in television history.


  1. Breaking Bad

Shortly after The Wire came Breaking Bad. The revelation that brought Brian Cranston's career to new heights while distancing him from the image of 'Malcom's dad', also showed that the theme of drug trafficking left much to be explored.

AMC's masterpiece aired for five seasons (2008-2013) and was one of the great precursors which changed our way of consuming TV and transformed a television show into a social phenomenon.  Despite losing to The Wire and The Sopranos, there's no doubt that the first three positions could be easily interchanged.


  1. Mad Men

The most recent series in the Top Five is Mad Men, produced by AMC, a close competitor with HBO in the ranking.  It follows the life of Don Draper (Jon Hamm), one of the top publicists in New York of the 1960s.  Through American ad agencies, the series heavily critiques the American way of life of the period, something which helped to win an array of awards during its seven seasons (2007-2015).



  1. Seinfeld

Before “the great age of TV” of the 21st century was a comedy which paved the way for what would follow.  Seinfeld, an NBC production which boasts a dizzying total of 180 episodes (9 seasons from 1989 until 1998), took the sitcom model to the new a new level.  With a multitude of storylines that seamlessly intertwine, its everyday humour entertained all manner of audiences.

  1. The Simpsons

In a conversation between millennials, it's likely that a reference to the Simpsons will appear in every ten to twelve sentences.  The FOX show, due to its twenty seven seasons, has become a cultural point of intersection for various generations. Its unique style, characteristic humour and ability to entertain all ages has earned it the title of sixth best TV series in history.

  1. The Twilight Zone

Between 1959 and 1964, one TV series paved the way for what would happen later on in general culture all over the world.  The Twilight Zone brought science fiction and horror to every corner of the globe, using fantastical storylines to explore social problems that were seriously affecting the United States at the time.



  1. Saturday Night Live

NBC has had a date with millions of viewers from around the world every Saturday night since 1975.  Saturday Night live forever changed the way entertainment programmes were created.  With its roguish style, talented comedians and a structure which has been shown to work in any period, the programme,  currently narrated by Darrell Hammond, doesn't look like it will go out of style any time soon.


  1. All in the Family

Another sitcom which managed to secure a place in the top ten is All in the Family.  During a period that was extremely controversial in the United States (1971-1979), the series dared to explore serious themes with an outlandish style of humour that has served as comedy inspiration ever since.

  1. The Daily Show

Another programme which arrived at the end of the 90s (1999) and continues to air today is The Daily Show, a parody of news programmes that satirize US current events with the use of cameos and the biggest names in Hollywood.  In 2015, after 16 years as the show's presenter the show, Jon stewart left and was replaced by Trevor Noah.  The programme's unique spirit has, however, remained intact.


Is there any doubt that we're in a golden age of TV?

The rest of the list includes some of the most popular contemporary TV series, like Game of Thrones (12) or Fargo (51).  And although many of the programmes listed are icons of the 20th century, contemporary series have managed to carve out a great space of their own.

Here's the complete list:

100- Eastbound and Down 99- Oz 98- The Golden Girls 97- Portlandia 96- Gunsmoke 95- Key and Peele 94- Jeopardy 93- Mystery Science Theatre 3000 92- American Idol 91- Broad City 90- The Dick Van Dyke Show 89- Homeland 88- Party Down 87- Doctor Who 86- Good Times 85- The Real World 84- Real Time With Bill Maher 83- House of Cards 82- The Jeffersons 81- Dallas 80- The Fugitive 79- In Living Color 78- Thirtysomething 77- The Walking Dead 76- Late Night With Conan O’Brien 75- American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson 74- The Ren & Stimpty Show 73- Transparent 72- Girls 71- Mr Show 70- Roseanne 69- The Ed Sullivan Show 68- The State 67- The Odd Couple 66- Dowton Abbey 65- Happy Days 64- Chappelle’s Show 63- The Wonder Years 62- Sex and the City 61- Your Show of Shows 60- Beavis and Butt-Head 59- Hill Street Blues 58- Roots 57- Fawlty Towers 56- 24 55- Six Feet Under 54- The Muppet Show 53- The Bob Newhart Show 52- The Colbert Report 51- Fargo 50- ER 49- Taxi 48- The Office (USA) 47- The Rockford Files 46- The Mary Tyler Moore Show 45- Battlestar Galactica 44- Columbo 43- The Americans 42- NYPD Blue 41- The Honeymooners 40- The Shield 39- Lost 38- Buffy the Vampire Slayer 37- Orange Is the New Black 36- Law & Order 35- My So-Called Life 34- 30 Rock 33- South Park 32- I Love Lucy 31- Sesame Street 30- The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson 29- Monty Python’s Flying Circus 28- The X-Files 27- Arrested Development 26- Friends 25- Veep 24- Friday Night Lights 23- Deadwood 22- Louie 21- The Office (UK) 20- Cheers 19- Curb Your Enthusiasm 18- Star Trek 17- Twin Peaks 16- M.A.S.H. 15- The West Wing 14- The Larry Sanders Show 13- Late Night with David Letterman 12- Game of Thrones 11- Freaks and Geeks 10- The Daily Show 9- All in the Family 8- Saturday Night Live 7- The Twilight Zone 6- The Simpsons 5- Seinfeld 4- Mad Men 3- Breaking Bad 2- The Wire 1- The Sopranos