The Good Wife (2009)
A big part of having a great series is nailing the timing. The Good Wife nailed the timing. The show focuses on Julianna Margulies’ character Alicia Florrick, the wife of the Cook County State’s Attorney who returns to her career in law after the events of a public sex and political corruption scandal involving her husband played by Chris Noth. The Good Wife also stars Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi, Josh Charles, Matt Czuckry and Alan Cumming. With seven seasons, you get a significant legal and political drama that examines the role of women and mothers in the workplace and does it so genuinely well.
 The Big Bang Theory (2007)
 Dead Like Me (2003)
Can Mandy Patinkin do anything wrong? No, he can’t. Just look at the comedy-drama television series Dead Like Me where he plays the head grim reaper who resides and works in Seattle, Washington. Eighteen-year-old George Lass, played by Ellen Muth, dies in the pilot episode by getting hit by a toilet seat from the space station that falls to planet earth. George becomes one of the undead grim reapers whose job it is to remove the souls of people, preferably before they die, and escort them into their afterlife. With only 29 episodes, Dead Like Me is yet another example of series a bit ahead of its time.
 Jack & Bobby (2004)
Only 22 episodes ran on this brilliant WB television series that chronicled the present-day teenage years of two brothers, Jack & Bobby, one of whom would become the President of the United States from 2041 to 2049. It starred Christine Lahti, Logan Lerman, Matt Long, Jessica Pare, and John Slattery and was wrongfully canceled in 2005 that all these years later, we are still pissed with the former WB Network.
 BoJack Horseman (2014)
 Gilmore Girls (2000)
Perhaps the best The WB television show not to get canceled will always be Gilmore Girls. The series focus is on a relationship between a young single mother Lorelai Gilmore played by the ingenious Lauren Graham and her daughter Rory played by Alexis Bledel who live in the fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hallow filled with some of the most colorful characters to grace our TV screens. The dialogue was consistently fast-paced and filled with the same type of pop culture reference you see in shows like Family Guy and South Park. It also stars the excellent Melissa McCarthy before her film fame. It is ultimately the creator Amy Sherman-Palladino who is the ultimate heroine in this series.
 Handmaid’s Tale (2016)
Speaking of Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale is an American dystopian drama following a Second American Civil War wherein a totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called “Handmaids,” into child-bearing slavery. Bledel plays one of the Handmaid’s, but it is Elisabeth Moss who plays the heroine June who owns this series. The Handmaid’s Tale is hard to watch at times. Frustrating as hell. It also at times feels like it could quickly happen, especially with our current political climate and who the current occupier of the White House is. The show also stars Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley, and Max Minghella.
 The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017)
Is there anything better than a period comedy-drama television series created by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino that stars Rachel Bresnahan as Midge Maisel, a housewife in 1958 New York City who discovers she has a knack for stand up comedy? The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is delightfully dazzling with more laugh out loud moments than one can count. Sherman-Palladino is a genius with dialogue and its so much fun to watch her navigate 1950s and 1960s New York Jewish culture.
 The Good Place (2016)
The Good Place is a fantasy comedy series by Michael Schur that focuses on Eleanor, played by Kristen Bell, who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael, played by Ted Danson, to “The Good Place,” a highly selective heaven-like utopia he designed, as a reward for her “righteous” life. However, not everything is as it seems. The cast is rounded out by the insanely good William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jami, Manny Jacinto, and D-Arcy Carden. The twists and turns alone make this comedy series unlike anything else you have ever seen. Pure enjoyment!
 30 Rock (2006)
This is Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and Alec Baldwin at their best. 30 Rock is based on Fey’s experiences as head writer for Saturday Night Live and takes place behind a sketch comedy show at NBC’s headquarters 30 Rock. The surreal humor comedy show can at times be odd, but ultimately it is an extremely hilarious, topical and polished series. However, sometimes we have nightmares of Jack McBrayer’s Kenneth Parcell the NBC page whom we think may have been a serial killer. Are we the only ones?
 Hard Knocks (2001)
What do you get when HBO partners with the NFL to deliver a behind the scenes look at an NFL team during training camp? You get a pretty remarkable documentary series narrated by Liev Schreiber. The series shows the personal and professional lives of the players, coaches and the staff, including family life and position battles. SO far 14 teams have been showcased. We just wished the show delved a bit more into some of the problems with the NFL — but we get that the NFL isn’t going to be hypercritical of themselves. This show paved the way for Homegrown on YES network following Yankees minor league system and because of that I am forever grateful.
 Weeds (2005)
It might not feel like a big deal anymore, but when it premiered in 2005, a show that openly talked about and showed the black market weed business in California was a big deal. Today, weed is legal in California, but when Nancy Botwin, played by Mary-Louise Parker, a widowed mother of two boys, begins selling marijuana to support her family, it was taboo. Throughout the series Nancy finds herself engaged in more and more illegal activity. At times the Jenji Kohan series becomes too much but overall this series paved the way for more shows like it that address and accept weed culture. Additionally, anything that stars Mary-Louise Parker is going to be terrific.
 The Affair (2014)
The Affair looks at the emotional effects an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway, played by Dominic West and Alison Lockhard, played by Ruth Wilson, has on their families, their community and themselves. There is also a murder mystery at play. What makes this series so intriguing is how its filmed. Not often do we get to see multiple perspectives of the same incident. The Affair we get to see his side and her side, and through it, we try to learn what the truth is. The show is rounded out by Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson.
 Modern Family (2009)
Modern Family is a mockumentary family sitcom that follows the lives of Jay Pritchett, played by Al Bundy himself Ed O’Neill, and his family, all of whom live close to one another in Los Angeles. The series takes a look at modern families and employs an ensemble cast that by now makes a ton of cash. They include Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriquez, and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. This look at modern families has had a significant impact on how we look at same-sex relationships and marriage, especially in communities that weren’t so open to the idea. Modern Family, in many ways, has provided a peephole for many into how ordinary and relatable modern families are.
The J.J. Abrams spy drama, Alias followed Sydney Bristow, played by Jennifer Garner, a double agent for the CIA posing an operative of SD-6, a worldwide criminal espionage organization. Her father, Jack Bristow, played by Victor Garber, is also an operative at SD-6. Throughout the series, we see Sydney’s obligation to conceal her actual career from her friends played by Bradley Cooper and Merrin Dungey. As well as navigate her relationships with CIA handler turned love interest Michael Vaughn, played by Michael Vartan, and her relationship with her parents who are spies. Alias inspired numerous spy dramas that followed and helped J.J. Abrams career skyrocket. We hope a reboot is coming.
 Da Ali G Show (1999/2003)
Okay, this show technically premiered in 1999, but it was in Great Britain. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that Da Ali G Show made its way to America and on HBO in 2003. Da Ali G Show was a satirical series created by Sacha Baron Cohen who brought characters such as Ali G, Borat Sagdiyve, and Bruno Gehard into our homes. These characters conducted real interviews with unsuspecting people, many of whom were celebrities and elected officials. Sacha Baron Cohen ushered in a new comedy style that also tended to break news and make those who he interviewed look like idiots. One even went on to become President of the United States…go figure.
 Transparent (2014)
Transparent is a comedy-drama series that revolves around a Los Angeles family and their lives following the discovery that their father Mort, played by Jeffrey Tambor, is a trans woman named Maura. If Modern Family helped shine a light for may on same-sex couples, Transparent did the same for trans individuals. It is quite unfortunate that Transparent ended the way it did, with Jeffrey Tambor’s sexual assault allegations. In some ways, it undid some of the fantastic progressive work this show was a part of. That families today look so many different ways, and that is not only okay but should be embraced. The rest of the cast, Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, Judith Light and Kathryn Hahn, are just as good and just as talented.
 Fringe (2008)
 Dexter (2006)
 Mr. Robot (2015)
Mr. Robot is a thriller series created by Sam Esmail. It stars Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer, and hacker who has a social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Elliot finds himself recruited by an anarchist known as Mr. Robot, played by Christian Slater to join a group called “fsociety.” Their objective is to destroy all debt records by encrypting the financial data of the largest conglomerate in the world: Evil Corp. This series has benefited from its timing. It’s the little guy vs. the banks, hackers vs. the world. Sound at all familiar? Let’s just say this show fucks with your head. Most of the time in a good way.
 Parks and Recreation (2009)
 Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)
 Game of Thrones (2011)
Let me guess: you’re upset that this show isn’t higher on the list? Yes, Game of Thrones is a great show, but it’s not the best. Games of Thrones finds its way on this list because of it being a cultural phenomenon. Many felt they needed to watch it participate in a conversation at work or at cocktail parties. At its core, Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama series with several plots and an enormous ensemble cast. Game of Thrones also has a massive budget which allowed it to cover up some of its faults with CGI. The main arc of the show is about the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Who is going to get to sit on that throne and rule all of the kingdoms?
 No Reservations (2005)
 Justified (2010)
 The Walking Dead (2010)
For the first few seasons, The Walking Dead was a cultural phenomenon. Ratings for this post-apocalyptic horror series based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard were some of the highest ever seen on cable news. The series features a large ensemble cast as survivors of a zombie apocalypse, trying to stay alive under near-constant threat from the mindless zombies (walkers), and other survivors. At its core, the series is about its characters and how each of them handles threats and adversity. It is a show about humans, not zombies; it is a show about life, not death.
 The Shield (2002)
The Shield is a police crime drama starring Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey and follows the activities of an experimental (and at times corrupt) division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Mackey and his team operate out of a converted Church, known as The Barn, and they work to maintain the peace in a district rife with gang-related violence, drug trafficking, and prostitution. The Shield is as gutsy as a police drama can get with a bit too many cliffhangers to bear at times.
 Homeland (2011)
 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a comedy series that follows the exploits of “The Gang,” a group of self-absorbed friends who run the Irish bar Paddy’s Pub in South Philadelphia. The series is a black comedy that stars Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney who also serve as executive producers and creators. Rounding out the cast are the super talented Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito. It’s Always Sunny is often called one of the best comedies on television. The New Yorkers Emily Nussbaum said it best, “not merely the best sitcom on television but one of the most arresting and ambitious current TV series, period.”
 Luther (2010)
 Master of None (2015)
Master of None is a comedy series created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, and stars Ansari in the lead role of Dev Shah, a 30-year-old actor, mostly following his romantic, professional, and cultural experiences. With Master of None, Ansari can call himself the voice of the millennial generation. He tackles issues such a race and religion in ways only a child of immigrants can and he does so so masterfully and confidently. Ansari doesn’t hide from more significant issues in Master of None; he confronts them. Finds the humor in it but also exposes the human angle. He gives us a lot to relate to.
 Orange is the New Black (2013)
 Better Call Saul (2015)
 Californication (2007)
 The Killing (2011)
The Killing is a crime drama series set in Seattle, Washington and follows the various murder investigations by homicide detectives Sarah Linden played by Mireille Enos and Stephen Holder played by Joel Kinnaman. Like any good crime drama, detectives Linden and Holder get too close to the crimes they are investigating. The Killing has sticking similarities to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks without the weirdness, just all the horror and creepiness. At times The Killing comes off as one of the smartest crimes dramas ever and other times you are left disappointed, but overall The Killing is a solid show.
 Ray Donovan
 The Americans (2013)
 Arrested Development (2003)
Arrested Development is a laugh out loud sitcom that follows the Bluths, a formerly wealthy dysfunctional family. It is presented in a sterilized format, incorporating handheld camera work, voice over narration by Ron Howard, archival photos, and fictional historical footage. Arrested Development stars Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawakat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter and sometimes Henry Winkler and Liza Minelli. Arrested Development is one of the defining comedies of the 2000s and without a doubt of the best TV shows of all time.
 Louie (2010)
 Fleabag (2016)
Fleabag is a British comedy-drama series created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also stars in the title role. Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag is an angry, confused, sexually voracious young woman living in London. Fleabag is super intelligent but not too smart that American audiences won’t understand. It is also a surprising, poignant comedy that will have you awkwardly laughing out loud. The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum called it “a precision black-humor mechanism, a warped and affecting fable about one single woman’s existence.”
 Battlestar Galactica (2014)
 Catastrophe (2015)
 Mad Men (2007)
Mad Men is a period drama series created by Matthew Weiner, creator of The Sopranos. Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on New York’s Madison Avenue. The plot focuses on the day-to-day business of advertising agencies as well as the personal lives of the characters, depicting the changing moods and social mores of the United States during the 1960s. It has an ensemble cast of heavyweights like Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and Jon Slattery. Mad Men won 16 Emmys and 5 Golden globes during its 92-episode run.
 Fargo (2014)
 Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights is an American drama series about a high school football team in the fictional town of Dillon, a small, close-knit community in rural Texas. The show is led by the extraordinary couple football coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami Taylor played by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton. Friday Night Lights uses the small-town backdrop to address many issues facing contemporary American culture, including family values, school funding, drugs, abortion, rape, income inequalities, and the lack of economic opportunities. In many communities across this country, high school football is the only game in town, especially in Texas. Texas Forever? We suggest you watch this series with a box of tissues. Trust us, watch this series with clear eyes, full hearts, and you can’t lose.
 The Staircase (2004)
 The Leftovers (2014)
 Chappelle’s Show (2003)
 Lost (2004)
 Better Things (2015)
Better Things is a comedy-drama television show starring Pamela Adlon as a divorced actress who raises her three daughters on her own (much like her life). As we noted earlier this year, life is just better with Better Things. Since 2015 Better Things highlights the sheer beauty in the mess that is life. It can be complicated and ugly, but at the end of the day, it’s quite funny, remarkable, and beautiful. With Better Things, Adlon can do now wrong. Better Things is a gem that takes you on an emotional journey filled with self-reflection, understanding, confidence, and clarity. We cannot say better things about Better Things. It is hands down one of the best television shows currently on the air and very much so can stand up to any other show in the past two decades.
 The Office (UK 2001; US 2005)
The series that has nailed the mockumentary comedy style the best is The Office. First in the U.K. with Ricky Gervais series that centers on themes of social clumsiness, the trivialities of human behavior, self-importance and conceit, frustration and desperation. The U.S. version perfected the U.K. version. The series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company during a time more and more people were going paperless. Both series use single-camera setups without a studio audience or a laugh track — which at first makes it uncomfortable knowing what really to laugh at. BUT that is the whole point. It’s a series of tons of awkward moments. And that is awesome. Ricky Gervais and Steve Carrell nail it at the boss of their companies. However, it is Carrell who becomes a much more lovable character as the series goes on than Gervais can ever be. The U.S. version brought us stars such as Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Ed Helms, BJ Novack, and Rashida Jones, to name a few.
 Atlanta (2015)
Atlanta is a comedy-drama created by and starring Donald Glover. The series portrays two cousins navigating the Atlanta hip hop scene to improve their lives and the lives of their families. Glover has an uncanny way of presenting a haunting yet funny look at America. Over its two seasons, Glover has delivered an American gothic masterpiece, even if he hasn’t realized it yet. It’s that rare gem where art and entertainment collide without being overly pretentious or condescending. We want more of this show!
 Six Feet Under (2001)
 Breaking Bad (2008)
 Rectify (2013)
We will not be surprised if you have never heard of Rectify. Rectify is one of those shows that was so good it was too good for more audiences. It also premiered on the Sundance Channel which at the time was not easily accessible. The series explores the life of a man after he’s released from prison after nearly 20 years on death row following a wrongful conviction. The adjustments and events in the lives of Daniel Holden, played by Aden Young, his extended family, and the townsfolk gets explored as a character study in a slowly unfolding Southern Gothic story. The series also stars Abigail Spencer, J. Smith-Cameron, Adelaide Clemens, Clayne Crawford, and Luke Kirby. We do not doubt once you consume this show you will be asking why you didn’t do it earlier. You will also ask why hasn’t Aden Young been nominated for an award for his role as Daniel Holden.
 The Wire (2002)
Television does not get any better than The Wire. We will fight anyone who disagrees! Or send Omar after you! Set and produced in Baltimore, Maryland (you heard that right, President Trump), The Wire introduces a different institution of the city and its relationship to law enforcement in each season while retaining characters and advancing storylines from previous seasons. The subjects include illegal drug trade, the seaport system, the city government and bureaucracy, education and schools, and the print news medium. The Wire is about the American City and how we live together — and sometimes ignore one another. The Wire stays truthful to who we are, which can be uncomfortable, especially since this is a series from the early 2000s and is more topical today than ever before. The Wire is the greatest television series of all time. You heard that right. Sheeeeiiit.