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The 50 Best TV Shows of All Time




by Xtreme HD IPTV

In the past few decades, television went from being seen as a detriment to intellectualism to becoming a new kind of literacy, at least in terms of the amount of time very smart people now spend watching screens. Just as literary classics likePride & Prejudice or The Grapes of Wrath can spend years on people’s lists without them ever actually reading the literature, ‘prestige’ TV has become simultaneously treasured and laborious to the average viewer who used to just unwind after work with a sitcom.


Now, with different new series dominating the cultural landscape seemingly every week, keeping up with television can almost become a chore. Regardless, certain shows that have stood out from the ever-expanding televisual territories have done so through pure artistry, innovation, or cultural influence (or have simply perfected a traditional form), earning their prized positions in culture just as murals on the Santa Maria delle Grazie or athletic games in the Colosseum have in the past — they’re what we as a society revolve around at their point in time, and they’re what reflects us.

Does a person need to watch these shows? No. Are these series culturally significant, and do they give people a wider experience of the human condition, as well as being entertaining? Yes. There are quite literally more hours of television to watch than someone would have in numerous lifetimes, so a viewer might as well watch the best of the best. A list like this is an invitation to get upset; there are obviously countless TV shows that could be included here because all of this is subjective. Instead of lamenting what isn’t presented here or where a certain title is located on the list, though, let’s celebrate what is actually included.

Excluding news- and sports-related programs, game shows, and very young children’s series, these are some of the best American television series of all time.

50 Gravity Falls (2012-2016)

Gravity Falls poster

Gravity Falls

Release Date
June 15, 2012

Seasons
2

Creator
Alex Hirsch

The rare kids’ show that’s also perfect for adults, Gravity Falls feels like The X-Files and Twin Peaks had a Disney cartoon baby. It’s an addictive, incredibly fun series that tells a very satisfying overarching story over a tight two seasons, mixed with some spooky monster-of-the-week action, and it’s got some of the most fleshed out and relatable characters in cartoon history. The plot is shaped by these characters and their secrets, which makes it even better. It concerns one summer that a pair of siblings spend at their Grukle Stan (their great-uncle), and the strange secrets he and his town harbor.

A Compelling Mystery with Deep Emotion

While the show is often laugh-out-loud funny, even for adults, it’s the supernatural mystery that the siblings investigate and how Stan is connected which become the most entertaining aspects of the show. The supporting characters throughout the titular town are given time to shine as well, creating a truly developed world where characters learn and grow, and an ancient evil threatens them all. Do yourself a favor and check out Gravity Falls, even if you don’t have kids to watch it with. It’s a blast.

49 Miami Vice (1984-1990)

miami vice

Miami Vice

Release Date
September 16, 1984

Creator
Anthony Yerkovich and Michael Mann

Seasons
5

Sonny and Rico, Crockett and Tubbs. Whatever you call them, they made for one of the coolest pairs of detectives in TV history. The way Miami Vice incorporates Cuban-American culture, beautiful beaches, bodacious babes, seedy drug underworlds, and Jan Hammer’s score all add up to a very entertaining cop show, one that inspired culture at large, from fashion and music to the future of police procedurals. It’s that aesthetic foundation which makes the series so important and watchable.

Miami Vice Helped Shape the ’80s

Michael Mann helped define the aesthetic of the 1980s with Thief and his landmark TV series, Miami Vice. Glossy neon and pastels, oversized jackets, tense and slightly cheesy synth rock, sunglasses, beautiful but spurned women, and antisocial men of few words — this was Mann’s ’80s. And Anthony Yerkovich may have created the series with Mann as producer, but after just six episodes, it was essentially Mann running the show. Moody, consistent, and iconic (even ironically), Miami Vice is pure ’80s fun. Miami Vice can be rented on most digital platforms.

48 Married … With Children (1987-1997)

In Married with Children, Al Bundy, the patriarch, is a misogynistic shoe salesman whose wife, Peggy, is a housewife who does no work around the house. To say that their children, Kelly and Bud, do not have a lot going for them would be an understatement. This biting, acidic comedy focuses on the couple’s constant verbal sparring over their slacker kids and each other, and their lack of money, success, and intimacy. In this way, it was much more relatable than the picture-perfect families on television.

The Average American Family

The Bundys could certainly stand on the Mount Rushmore of sitcom families. There has never been another brood quite like them, before or after their hugely successful 11-season run. Arriving before the long-running series The Simpsons, Married with Children built Fox into the fourth network, which in the ’80s only consisted of ABC, NBC, and CBS.

The flipside of the loving Cosby Show family, Married … With Children focused on the Bundys, a suburban Chicago family who would rather eat nails than say a kind word to one another. The series reflects the reality of most American families, the ones who don’t learn lessons together and aren’t overflowing with love. No, the Bundys reflect the typical banal, bitter, and bland American household, with just a bit more absurdity. Married… with Children is available to stream on Hulu, and two seasons are available to stream for free on Pluto TV.

47 Bob’s Burgers (2011-Present)

Bob’s Burgers is a special show despite being so similar to other shows. It’s like Married… With Children in the way it focuses on a lower-class, somewhat sloppy American family. It’s like The Simpsons in that it’s not overly crass like Family Guy or South Park, but it still manages to be consistently funny and celebrate toilet humor like few other sitcoms. The plot follows the often struggling Belchers, a family of five dealing with the quirky fellow residents (not that they’re free of quirks themselves) of a seaside town, none of whom seem to be interested in coming in to purchase a burger (except Teddy, that is).

A Hilarious Cast of Voice Artists

While Bob’s Burgers has proven to be a bit of a case of diminishing returns over the course of its decade-plus on air, that’s to be expected with any series, animated or live-action. This is particularly true of comedy, and while some may fault Bob’s Burgers for softening its edges over time, it’s hard to be too angry when the show is still so accessible. Bob’s undoubtedly took more risks in its first few seasons, but it’s never lost its charm.

Plus, it has some of the greatest voice acting in an animated series, thanks to the great H. Jon Benjamin (Bob), Dan Mintz (Tina), Kristen Schaal (Louise), Eugene Mirman (Gene), and the incredible John Roberts as fan-favorite matriarch, Linda Belcher. This isn’t even mentioning the wonderful guest stars throughout the show, such as a hilarious turn from Kevin Kline as the Belchers’ landlord, Zach Galifianakis, Sam Seder, Sarah and Laura Silverman, Molly Shannon, Tim Meadows, Megan Mullally, Bill Hader, Ken Jeong, Jenny Slate, and more. Bob’s Burgers is available to stream on Hulu and on FOX.

46 Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007)

Stargate SG-1 is an incredibly enjoyable sci-fi series with a great sense of humor and imagination. Set roughly a year after the underrated James Spader film Stargate, in this show, the government has essentially perfected the portal to other planets. One of the Air Force’s teams (which includes an alien among them) is tasked with traveling to other galaxies and attempting to find new information, technology, and species. It’s a set-up for essentially infinite episodes, so it makes sense that this surprisingly popular series led to four spin-off series.

Stargate SG-1 Has Characters You’ll Follow Anywhere

An episodic series is only as good as its characters and cast; if there are no main plot threads to follow across seasons, than we need strong characters we enjoy spending time with from week to week. That’s what Stargate SG-1 excels in more than most hour-long sci-fi dramas — incredible characters. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), George Hammond (Don S. Davis), and especially Teal’c (Christopher Judge) make for one of the best main casts in TV history, and even if occasional episodes felt like filler, it was simply a joy to spend time with these people. Stargate SG-1 can be streamed on Prime Video and for free on Pluto TV.

45 The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1991-1996)

There are many great kids’ shows, but not too many qualify as great television. Great television can certainly appeal to kids, but it has to have something much more meaningful and special to it than being a TV babysitter. In the 1990s, Nickelodeon was mastering these kinds of brilliant shows with bigger themes and ideas, from Rocko’s Modern Life to Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, but the pinnacle of their decade was The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Long before the Disney Channel attempted live-action for kids programming, this series forsook animation to tell a relatable but surreal story of one regular family in one regular town. What they achieved was anything but regular.

Finding Absurdity in Everyday Life

The Adventures of Pete & Pete often split its stories up, but it never really mattered who had the A-plot — every character was wonderful, and the writing was always unique. Narrated by the older Pete with a kind of poetic wonderment, the show would tackle mundane things like snow days, shop class, daylight savings time, ordering a pizza, or riding the bus, and then inject it with just the right amount of surrealism so that it was very funny and memorable but never too outlandish. It remains one of the most deeply relatable TV shows of all time. The Adventures of Pete & Pete can be rented on Prime Video.

44 The Muppet Show (1976-1981)

Jim Henson learned a lot from his time doing sketches on the first year of Saturday Night Live, so when he decided to take his Muppets from Sesame Street and the kids’ table to Sunday night for primetime audiences, he was ready. Where Sesame Street instilled unconditional empathy, The Muppet Show instilled wit. Where Mr. Rogers taught kindness, Beaker taught loss (again and again). It became an immediate hit, airing in over 100 countries within a year of its premiere.

Classic Vaudeville Comedy with a Twist

Leave it to The Muppets to reinvigorate the dance halls of vaudeville. Instead of another variety show retread, The Muppet Show took great influence from the early days of comedy, mixing it with a more meta approach which detailed the production of the episodes themselves (in a way, it’s a progenitor of 30 Rock). Meanwhile, a ton of legendary celebrities were itching to appear on the show. The guest list speaks for itself:

Steve Martin, Sylvester Stallone, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Liza Minnelli, Christopher Reeve, Raquel Welch, Dom DeLuise, Ethel Merman, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Don Knotts, Liberace, Peter Ustinov, James Coburn, Lena Horne, Zero Mostel, Vincent Price, Elton John, Diana Ross, Harry Belafonte, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Alice Cooper, Paul Simon, Debbie Harry, John Denver, and many more. The Muppet Show is available to stream on Disney+.

43 Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-Present)

Yes, each episode is technically a movie, but between episodic and season-long arcs and its distinct characters, Mystery Science Theater 3000 totally qualifies as a TV series. It’s had a strange history as one, going from public access television to Comedy Central, then to The Sci-Fi Network, and eventually to Netflix before its current iteration as a self-released series. It’s survived a lot of hubbub, and that’s because its foundation is just so structurally perfect — a person is stuck in space being tortured by mad scientists and forced to watch bad movies; he and the robot friends he built provide snark commentary while the film plays out.

MST3K Is a Celebration of Bad Movies and Endurance

Often shortened to MST3K, the series has introduced a variety of obscure, cheap movies to audiences everywhere, the kind that are often so bad they’re good. But they’re almost all a blast to watch thanks to the live commentary by the astronaut (originally the great Joel, then Mike, then Jonah) and his robot buddies, Crow and Tom Servo. It’s the kind of set-up that has inspired other comedy series like Rifftrax and even the live-stream medium itself, but nothing else can compare to Manos and the special chemistry in MST2K. You can watch episodes of MSTRK at the Gizmoplex, and check out the Forever-athon on YouTube, where episodes are played back to back with a great community in the chats.

42 Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)

After gifting TV viewers with The Office, Michael Schur returned with the equally solid Parks and Recreation. Like The Office, there are some seasons that are wildly superior to others, but the fact remains, Parks and Recreation is one of the most heartwarming and enjoyable TV series out there, part of a new movement of sincerity in comedy. The plot follows a chipper but low-paid government worker who strives to make her quirky little city’s parks an idyllic oasis…with waffles everywhere.

An Optimistic Team Gives Us Hope

Amy Poehler is perfect as Leslie Knope, the ever-optimistic civil servant with a heart of gold. But not even Poehler alone is enough to carry a series, so, also like The Office, she’s ably supported by a group of government workers (AKA cast members) who are as good in their roles as Poehler is as Knope, e.g. Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer, and Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate. While each individual isn’t a beam of sunshine like Knope, she brings the best out of each of them in different ways, creating a warm, sunny, and genuinely hopeful show. Parks and Recreation is available to stream on Peacock.

41 Justified (2010-2015)

Of all the Elmore Leonard adaptations out there, even including Out of Sight and Get Shorty, there’s arguably none better than FX’s Justified. No one could have inhabited the stetson-wearing Raylan Givens like Timothy Olyphant, and thank goodness he’s held the role close enough to his heart to reprise it for the sublime Justified: City Primeval. The plot of the original FX series follows Givens as he solves crimes in Kentucky, many of which were caused by his sometimes pal and sometimes adversary (usually the latter) Boyd Crowder, played wonderfully by Walton Goggins.

One Show with Six Great Seasons

There were six seasons of Justified, and each one of them felt simultaneously separated from the other and in line with the series’ established tone. So, in essence, Justified gives viewers what amounts to six filmed Elmore Leonard novels (not that all of them were explicitly based on a Leonard novel) with his best protagonist leading the charge. Justified is available to stream on Hulu.

40 BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)

Bojack Horseman poster

BoJack Horseman

Release Date
August 22, 2014

Seasons
6

Creator
Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Who would’ve thought that one of the most heartbreaking and depressing TV shows of all time would be about talking animals and the fading acting career of a horse? Leave it to creator and ingenious writer Raphael Bob-Waksberg, who maps out a tragicomedy about the possible redemption of a deeply narcissistic and alcoholic actor in the Netflix series, BoJack Horseman. Will Arnett perfectly voices the titular character, with Alison Brie, Paul F. Thompkins, Amy Sedaris, Aaron Paul, and a variety of other great actors forming the complex supporting cast.

A Hilarious Tragedy

With its imaginative animation (filled with visual puns that make rewatching it a delight) and snappy dialogue, BoJack Horseman is very colorful and funny, which is a great counterbalance to the seriously sad themes and moments throughout. Tackling addiction, regret, suicide, codependency, asexuality, and nihilistic hedonism, BoJack Horseman is the kind of show that will destroy your heart and soul, and then gently piece it back together with added profound meaning. BoJack Horseman is streaming on Netflix.

39 Atlanta (2016-2022)

Atlanta poster

Atlanta

Release Date
September 6, 2016

Seasons
4

Creator
Donald Glover

Atlanta would spend whole episodes deviating from its plot, or insert hallucinogenic scenes that spoke to bigger themes. In short, it did whatever Glover wanted it to do, whether that was investigating the music industry or the prison system, or talking with Liam Neeson about racism, or spending some creepy time with a Michael Jackson lookalike.

Black Auteurs Celebrates Atlanta

Atlanta is one of the few series in the history of television to have an all-Black writers’ room, with everyone familiar with Glover and his auteurist vision. Director Hiro Murai gorgeously translates that vision into memorable, often bizarre visuals, grounded by an incredible cast of legitimate stars (Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz). With great music to match, the series is a love letter to Atlanta but also a dizzying study of what it’s like to be Black in America. Atlanta is streaming on Hulu.

38 The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)

When people think of the proverbial “good old days,” they probably think of The Andy Griffith Show. And for good reason — like Parks and Recreation (50 years prior), the show features people who genuinely care about their community, jobs, government, and neighbors. The main character, Andy Taylor (Griffith), represents our highest ideals (at least after season one), and is still probably the best cop on television (at least in terms of community policing and personal ethics). This doesn’t mean that The Andy Griffith Show shied away from some difficult topics, exploring them through single father Andy’s relationship with his son, Opie.

The Colorful Cast of Mayberry

After the first season, The Andy Griffith Show is surprisingly complex in its portrayal of rural life in America, and comically navigates myriad facets of living in a small town community, in this case, Mayberry. Don Knotts is hilarious if you enjoy silly, dumb comedy, and Floyd the barber and Otis the alcoholic are always a joy. There’s something immensely comfortable, almost archetypal and mythical, about this show, something deeply human and compassionate about just trying to be a good neighbor, a good father, a good servant. It’s a humbling, humorous classic. The Andy Griffith Show is streaming on Paramount+ and can be streamed for free on Pluto TV.

37 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains one of the most successful horror series of all time, with Joss Whedon and his team developing some truly scary and disturbing villains that the titular teenage hero has to face down. The spunky Sarah Michelle Gellar is easy to root for, and pretty much everyone had a crush on at least one of the many lovable and relatable characters (played by a charming cast including Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter, Anthony Stewart Head, David Boreanaz, Seth Green, James Marsters, and many more.

Irony the Language Slayer

Perhaps the biggest legacy of Whedon’s greatest series (Firefly comes close, but it’s just one season and a film) is how it influenced a generation of snark. Yes, other TV shows worked to eliminate sincerity (think Seinfeld with its “no hugging, no learning” mantra), but it was arguably Buffy the Vampire Slayer that made cynicism and irony mainstream. It was aimed at younger generations, syndicated in the afternoons, and featured incredibly attractive and cool people, making it the perfect bait for high schoolers and college students.

You can still see its influence in mainstream culture, from the MCU to The Big Bang Theory; when a character experiences something supernatural or wild, and they react with an eye-rolling “Well that just happened,” you can credit Buffy. There’s even a book on the subject, Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon. As Michael Adams writes, “Buffy needs slang, as a means of shrugging off millennial expectations, as a weapon, and as an expression of personality officially denied her by her role: in a sense, she IS slang, as are those who associate with her.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer is streaming on Hulu.

36 Space Ghost: Coast to Coast (1994-2008)

Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Release Date
April 15, 1994

Creator
Mike Lazzo

Cast
George Lowe , C. Martin Croker , Andy Merrill

Seasons
8

It’s a bit hyperbolic, but you can essentially trace the history and success of Adult Swim all the way back to April 15, 1994, when the first episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast aired. The first series produced by Williams Street (the default Adult Swim company), Space Ghost Coast to Coast was created by future Adult Swim executive Mike Lazzo, and would pioneer the ultra-ironic, deconstructionist nostalgia that later Adult Swim shows would continue.

Absurd, Adult, Alternative, Animated Comedy Talk Show

Essentially, Space Ghost becomes a talk show host, with the series having a surprising array of great guests, yet screwing with the interview format to a cringe, surreal degree. The guest roster really represented the alt scene (Beck, Bob Odenkirk & David Cross, Kevin Smith, Jim Jarmusch, Pavement, Weird Al Yankovic, Jon Stewart, Rob Zombie, Michael Stipe, David Byrne, Thurston Moore, Elvira, Janeane Garofalo, Laurie Anderson), but also featured a bizarre mix of classic and modern stars (Charlton Heston, Jim Carrey, the cast of Gilligan’s Island).

Transforming obscure Hannah-Barbera cartoons into an absurd, alternative talk show format was ingenious, and paved the way for many great comedy series since. The show would directly lead to Adult Swim’s formation and inspire Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law, and the direct spin-offs The Brak Sow and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Very funny, very weird, and very hip, Space Ghost Coast to Coast was the pinnacle of cool and one of the progenitors of today’s adult animated comedy scene. Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is streaming on the Adult Swim site and is available to stream with a Live TV account on Hulu and Sling TV.

35 Babylon 5 (1994-1998)

babylon 5

Babylon 5

Release Date
January 26, 1994

Seasons
5

Sometimes, sci-fi or fantasy shows bite off more than they can chew, losing their narrative thread after a few seasons (Lost, Heroes). Babylon 5 is an immaculate example of how meticulous planning and plotting can create an airtight and perfectly paced show. An epic sci-fi space opera, Babylon 5 knew from its very first episode where it wanted to go; small details in the first season would have major consequences in the fifth. This meant that, far from your average Star Trek Babylon 5 demanded your full attention and your commitment to every episode. The payoff, however, was more than worth it.

An Operatic Sci-Fi Series

Taking place on an intergalactic space station where diplomats and political figures of different worlds and species reside, Babylon 5 was filled with political intrigue; swap out the funky looking aliens with business suits, and this could be a study of the UN and global politics. But it’s much more entertaining than that, with a great sense of humor, lovable characters, and the aforementioned brilliant plotting. It’s a perfect space epic. Babylon 5 is streaming for free on Tubi and The Roku Channel.

34 30 Rock (2006-2013)

30 rock

30 Rock

Release Date
October 11, 2006

Creator
Tina Fey

Seasons
7

The ultimate companion piece to Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock is effectively the even better version of Tina Fey taking over for Lorne Michaels. Once Lorne calls it quits, most fans agree so should the series, but they’ll still have 50 years of intermittently effective sketches to binge. They’ll also have seven seasons of 30 Rock, all of which are worthwhile, even if it can feel like a case of diminishing returns with some episodes. The narrative shows viewers the life of TGS‘ head writer, Liz Lemon, as she deals with a flagging love life, childish stars, and poor ratings. It’s a brilliantly meta, zany, and sharp series with one of the highest joke success rates in sitcom history.

A Perfect Cast (and Awesome Guests)

As far as the first few seasons of Fey’s brainchild go, it’s a rewatchable masterwork. A big part of the success is casting, with Alec Baldwin a particularly strong addition as right-leaning business tycoon Jack Donaghy, who is perpetually a sounding board for the ever-struggling Liz Lemon. Scott Adsit is also humorously sad in the best way possible as Pete Hornberger, Tracy Morgan is huggable and hysterical as Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski makes vanity endearing as Jenna Maroney, and Jack McBrayer steals every scene as the ever-chipper Kenneth Parcell.

30 Rock also had some of the greatest guest stars in TV history, not just in name power, but in how the show incorporated them into its meta structure. Some of the most memorable? Paul Reubens, Carrie Fisher, Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Martin, Julianne Moore, James Marsden, Alan Alda, Buzz Aldrin, and, of course, Matt Damon as Captain Carol Burnett. Guest stars clearly relished their time on the series, often returning, with 30 Rock feeling like must-watch TV for anyone interested in pop culture. 30 Rock is available to stream on Hulu and Peacock.

33 Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

One of the big hits of HBO’s second wave of programming (alongside The Sopranos, Oz, and The Wire), Six Feet Under captured the anxiety and melancholy lurking beneath the surface of suburban, post-9/11 American life at the dawn of a new century. Focused on death more than arguably any other series (following a family of morticians), Six Feet Under expertly tapped into the uncertainty, fragility, and absurdity of mortality.

Alan Ball’s Portraits of Sex, Death, and Dysfunctional Family

American Beauty and True Blood may be the more popular Alan Ball titles to focus on sex, death, and the meaning of family, but Six Feet Under is arguably the most timeless and artistic. It also has a truly great cast, with especially great work coming from Frances Conroy and Michael C. Hall as a mother and son having to take over the funeral business after the father of the family dies. If you have the patience for its philosophical musings and heavy emotional episodes, it’s often very funny and sexy, too. Six Feet Under is streaming on Max and Netflix.

32 Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

Gunsmoke

Gunsmoke

Release Date
September 10, 1955

Cast
James Arness , Amanda Blake , Dennis Weaver , Ken Curtis , Milburn Stone , Woody Chambliss

The first episode of Gunsmoke was introduced by none other than John Wayne (“No, I’m not in it. I wish I were, though, because I think it’s the best thing of its kind that’s come along, and I think you’ll agree with me. It’s honest, it’s adult, and it’s realistic,” Wayne said). The episodic western drama followed Marshal Matt Dillon of Dodge City and his good-natured sidekick Chester, who protect their town from a variety of threats.

The First Mature Television Show

The show certainly was “adult” for its time, as Wayne alluded to — brothels and prostitution, murder and alcoholism, sexual assault and the first television antihero protagonists stood in stark contrast to the televisual world of The Honeymooners and Leave it to Beaver. The show was a hit, dominating television as the most-watched show for numerous years throughout its legendary 20-year run, and remains endlessly influential to this day. Gunsmoke is available to stream on Paramount+ and Pluto TV.

31 Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999)

Homicide: Life on the Street is in many ways the progenitor of prestige police procedurals such as The Shield, The Wire, and later seasons of NYPD Blue, and for good reason — it avoided one-dimensional characters and ‘bad guys,’ opting for a more complicated understanding of bureaucracy, policing, criminality, and the human condition. This was epitomized in its wonderful main characters, detectives portrayed by Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Daniel Baldwin, and Melissa Leo.

David Simon Enters Television with Homicide

Homicide is also the first TV series that the great David Simon (The Wire, Treme, Generation Kill) would work on, and it was based on his book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. His trademark complexity, melancholy, and grittiness is all on display here, paired with the suspenseful and accessible eye of showrunner Paul Attanasio, the great writer behind Quiz Show and Donnie Brasco. The series came to a wonderful conclusion with Homicide: The Movie.Homicide: Life on the Street is not available on streaming but can be purchased here.

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