Best TV shows of all time

by Clockwork-Avacado | created - 26 Oct 2012 | updated - 14 Feb 2014 | Public

My absolute favourite TV series, each of which I strongly recommend if you've never seen. Looking at this list, I have ridiculously diverse taste in TV shows. Oh, well...

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1. The Office (2001–2003)

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

The story of an office that faces closure when the company decides to downsize its branches. A documentary film crew follow staff and the manager David Brent as they continue their daily lives.

Stars: Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook, Lucy Davis

Votes: 82,357

Pricelessly funny, richly absurd and full of classic characters, this is easily the smartest comedy show of the Millenium

2. Hancock's Half Hour (1956–1960)

30 min | Comedy

TV version of the popular BBC radio show of the same name, with Tony Hancock as the modern man of the world (in his own eyes). Sid James is there to bring him back to earth.

Stars: Tony Hancock, Sidney James, Johnny Vyvyan, Alec Bregonzi

Votes: 411

Still funny after all these years. Groundbreaking, responsible for inventing the modern sitcom, and almost every great joke ever written. Hancock is still the master of working class comedy, which he handles so masterfully.

3. Lip Service (2010–2012)

60 min | Drama

Lives, loves & lusts of Lipstick Lesbians in Scotland.

Stars: Fiona Button, Heather Peace, James Anthony Pearson, Natasha O'Keeffe

Votes: 3,560

Brilliant characterisation, superlative acting, and a cast of outstanding young actors and actresses. BBC drama at it's best, with plaudits to Ruta Gedmintas, Natasha O'Keefe, Emun Eliot, and Heather Peace. Like all great shows though, the BBC had to muck it all up by cancelling it after only two seasons. Season 1 is totally flawless. Season 2 is far more enjoyable, but gets rid of all the great things about season 1. Essential viewing, nonetheless.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003)

TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

A young woman, destined to slay vampires, demons and other infernal creatures, deals with her life fighting evil, with the help of her friends.

Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head

Votes: 114,551

Cult classic, massively demonised as a "geeky" show, but this is compulsive viewing, with real vampires, a great cast and consistently high scripts. A timeless piece of TV history

5. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974)

TV-14 | 30 min | Comedy

The original surreal sketch comedy showcase for the Monty Python troupe.

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle

Votes: 55,623

Anarchic humour at it's best - much better than any of the movies, and one of the most consistently funny sketch shows of all time. Fourth series is a bit ropy, but the rest are classic television.

6. Columbo (1971–2003)

TV-PG | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Los Angeles homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo uses his humble ways and ingenuous demeanor to winkle out even the most well-concealed of crimes.

Stars: Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan, Bruce Kirby

Votes: 22,740

One of the best characters to ever emerge from American Tv of the seventies, qurky, likeable and believable, Sherlock Holmes in a tatty coat. Each script is like a movie, and are so expertly written that even the later series are still classics.

7. Wentworth (2013– )

TV-MA | 45 min | Crime, Drama

Bea Smith is locked up while awaiting trial for the attempted murder of her husband and must learn how life works in prison.

Stars: Kate Atkinson, Celia Ireland, Robbie Magasiva, Katrina Milosevic

Votes: 13,233

Excellent, contemporary remake of a cult favourite, "Wentworth" is female-centric drama at its' very best, with one of the most perfect ensemble casts of all time, with Nicole Da Silva, Danielle Cormac, Kate Atkinson, Kris McQuade, Shareena Clanton, Aaron Jeffrey and more, all giving five star turns. Hopefully set for a long, and happy life.

8. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series (2006– )

Animation, Comedy

Imagine Yu-Gi-Oh!, condensed into about 5 minutes. That's what this is.

Stars: Martin Billany, Curtis Arnott, Chris Niosi, Anthony Sardinha

Votes: 1,417

The single funniest, most ridiculous piece of watching ever. Even if you've never watched the original, watch this. Every single line is insane, offensive, irreverent and pricelessly hilarious. Outstanding parodic humour...

9. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

TV-14 | 290 min | Drama, Thriller

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, George Sewell

Votes: 6,448

Mini series, and some of the most intelligent, thought provoking TV you're likely to ever watch. Absolutely outstanding, with one of the greatest casts ever assembled

10. Sherlock (2010– )

TV-14 | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st century London.

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves

Votes: 663,166

Witty and stylish, Sherlock never shies away from good old fashioned adventure and excitement, and somehow manages to work just as well as the classic. My only problem is, Freeman continually underwhelms me as Watson, but the storytelling is of such a high standard, this remains TV drama to be thoroughly enjoyed. With Lip service cancelled, and Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who, this could maybe be the best show on British television right now.

11. Fringe (2008–2013)

TV-14 | 46 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

An F.B.I. agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.

Stars: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole

Votes: 201,210

Perfect production values, enticing storylines and brilliant acting. Walter Bishop makes this one of the best TV shows of all time, and definitiely the best thing still on (although, again, sadly, I hear it's reached the end at last...)

12. Kung Fu (1972–1975)

60 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

The adventures of a Shaolin Monk as he wanders the American West armed only with his skill in Kung Fu.

Stars: David Carradine, Radames Pera, Keye Luke, Philip Ahn

Votes: 4,432

Another classic, tackling an amazingly diverse array of issues, courtesy of several brilliantly written scripts. Carradine, an actor I usually dislike, is perfect, proving that Kane is really an actor proof role. Thought provoking and professional

13. Boston Legal (2004–2008)

TV-14 | 44 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Boston Legal is a spin-off of the long-running David E. Kelley series The Practice (1997), following the exploits of former Practice character Alan Shore (James Spader) at the legal firm of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt.

Stars: James Spader, William Shatner, Candice Bergen, Rene Auberjonois

Votes: 39,236

Sharply written, ascerbically funny and with a pair of wonderfully diverse heroes, courtesy of Spader and Shatner. Cynical American humour at its' very best.

14. Blake's 7 (1978–1981)

50 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

A group of convicts and outcasts fight a guerrilla war against the totalitarian Terran Federation from a highly advanced alien spaceship.

Stars: Michael Keating, Paul Darrow, Peter Tuddenham, Jan Chappell

Votes: 2,789

Doctor Who, but with real characters, a likeable bunch of anarchic misfits. Great writing, and one of the best villainesses ever from Jacqueline Pearce. Eminently watchable.

15. Return of the Saint (1978–1979)

TV-PG | 60 min | Adventure, Crime

This series chronicles the swashbuckling exploits of Simon Templar, a modern day Robin Hood of sorts.

Stars: Ian Ogilvy, Gayle Hunnicutt, Stratford Johns, Derren Nesbitt

Votes: 254

Again, gets bad press, and compares badly with the original show, but this is a great little series, fast paced, great looking and with an instantly memorable theme tune. Ogilvy is a good hero, and has a usually strong supporting cast.

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