From sitcoms and mockumentaries to dramas and sci-fi, television series have shaped the face of contemporary culture. To give you an idea of what shows have been most influential, here's a roundup of the top 10 greatest TV shows of all time.
- Breaking Bad
When Breaking Bad first hit screens on January 20 2008, it received a hugely positive reception from TV critics across the globe. However not even the show’s eclectic producer Vince Gilligan could have predicted that it would go on to win status as one of the US’s most watched cable TV shows of all time. Gilligan had a creative vision of turning the protagonist into the antagonist, a concept that saw cancer stricken chemistry teacher Walter White slowly transform into a hot shot drug lord. Thanks to the engaging cast and original storyline, the show was awarded 16 primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes and a handful of other prestigious industry honours.
- Game of Thrones
Based on George RR Martin’s bestselling fantasy drama novels, Game of Thrones has become one of the hottest TV shows of the decade. With spectacular scenery, state-of-the-art graphics, enthralling storylines and the occasional raunchy scene thrown in for good measure, GOT has it all! If you’re planning on getting hooked on GOT, do the series justice by viewing all the action on a state-of-the-art Toshiba smart TV. With crystal clear HD display and a plethora of high spec features, there is simply no better way to watch the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros battle it out for the Iron Throne.
Spanning over 10 seasons, Friends is one of NBC’s defining sitcoms. The show originally aired in 1994 and introduced the world to Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross. Together, the gang went on to win the hearts of viewers across the globe.
Going to air in 1972, M*A*S*H follows the ins and outs of working life in a Korean war army hospital. Described by critics as a ‘satirical black comedy,’ the show’s producers managed to turn dark subject matter into light hearted comedy. M*A*S*H racked up 256 episodes across eleven seasons, making it one of the longest running US TV shows in history.
Who would have thought that a ‘show about nothing’ would go on to become one of the greatest comedy sitcoms of all time? Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the show ran for nine seasons between 1989 and 1998. Against all odds, David and Seinfeld turned the everyday experiences of a New York stand-up comedian into 180 clever and captivating episodes.
- The Sopranos
Created by David Chase, The Sopranos is an American crime drama series revolving around head New Jersey mobster, Tony Soprano. While some shows look at relatable everyday existence, this masterpiece examines the struggles of balancing family life with gangland drama. The show ran for six seasons and is still talked about to this day.
- The Simpsons
First aired in December 1989, this American animated sitcom is now celebrated as the longest running scripted TV show in the history of television. Creator Matt Groening is now a household name and has overseen the production of 552 episodes which shed comic light on the human condition. As well as featuring celebrity appearances from superstars such as Paul McCartney and Liz Taylor, The Simpsons has also won itself 31 Primetime Emmy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Homer’s iconic catchphrase “D’oh” has even been officially accepted in the Oxford English Dictionary!
- Dr Who
Produced by the BBC, Dr Who is renowned as one of the best long running British TV shows of all time. The Doctor has been portrayed by 12 different actors including the original William Hartnell and the most recent instalment, Peter Capaldi. The hit sci-fi series first aired in 1963 and has gone on to become a British cult classic.
- Mad Men
Launched in 2007, Mad Men is widely regarded as one of TV’s modern greats. The show is set in the swinging sixties at a fictional New York advertising agency, Sterling Cooper. The brilliantly talented Don Draper heads the firm while characters such as Joan Harris bring curves, class and a whole lot of sex appeal.
- The Office
Another BBC classic, The Office redefined the content of contemporary television. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant were the creative masterminds behind the clever mockumentary which portrays day to day life in the fictional Wernham Hogg Paper Company.
Armed with a smart TV, high spec sound system and plenty of snacks, it’s time to go forth and educate yourself on some of the greatest TV shows ever made!
Do you agree with these? Which television show do you think should be added?