10 Best TV Shows of All Time According to a Film Graduate

As a self-proclaimed geeky film graduate, my love for TV series is both deep and critically informed. In this post, I present my take on the 10 best TV series of all time, examining what makes each stand out, their impact on popular culture, and why they hold a special place in my film-filled heart.

Photo Credit: Seinfeld Castle Rock Entertainment.

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad took a wild premise and turned it into a masterpiece of television. Its success lies in its incredible storytelling and the transformation of Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, from a sympathetic character to a notorious drug lord.

The show’s ability to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, episode after episode, with its intense drama and unexpected twists, was nothing short of brilliant.

Personally, the reason it’s one of the best is its deep dive into the human psyche, exploring themes of morality, consequence, and desperation. It’s a show that makes you question, “What would I do in his shoes?”

The Sopranos

The Sopranos gave us a peek into the life of Tony Soprano, a mob boss juggling the demands of his crime family and his personal life.

It offered an accurate portrayal of mob life filled with brutal violence and mundane family issues, all while exploring Tony’s struggles with mental health. This mix of elements made it a groundbreaking show.

For me, it’s the complexity of Tony’s character that sets it apart. He’s a tough mob boss with a soft side, making him one of the most intriguing characters ever on TV.

Game of Thrones

Epic battles, dragons, political intrigue – “Game of Thrones” had it all. Based on George R.R. Martin’s novels, this fantasy series captured the imagination of the world with its rich storytelling and vast world-building. While the ending may be controversial, there’s no denying the impact “Game of Thrones” had on pop culture.

To me, its real triumph was in making fantasy mainstream, appealing to audiences who wouldn’t normally give dragons a second thought.


This sitcom about six friends living in New York City was a cultural phenomenon in the ’90s and continues to be beloved today. The show is considered one of the most successful TV shows of all time, thanks to the chemistry between the cast.

Friends made us laugh, cry, and wish we had a hangout spot like Central Perk. Why is it one of the best? It’s simple: It feels like home. No matter how many times you watch it, it’s always there for you, with a joke you’ve heard a dozen times that still makes you laugh.

The Wire

The Wire took a hard look at the city of Baltimore through the lens of the drug trade, the police force, and the various institutions affected by it. Its strength lies in its realistic portrayal of societal issues, complex characters, and moral ambiguity. It’s a show that doesn’t shy away from the truth, no matter how ugly.

For me, “The Wire” is unparalleled in its storytelling and its ability to provoke thought about the world we live in.

The Office (U.S.)

A mockumentary about the everyday lives of office employees at Dunder Mifflin, “The Office” found humor in the mundane. The show was a huge success thanks to its quirky characters, led by the painfully awkward Michael Scott, and its unique approach to comedy. What makes it one of the greatest is its heart. Amid the jokes and pranks, it’s a show about people just trying to find their way, making it incredibly relatable.

Stranger Things

“Stranger Things” tapped into ’80s nostalgia while introducing us to the mysterious world of Hawkins, Indiana. Its mix of sci-fi, horror, and adventure, along with a lovable group of kids, struck a chord with audiences. The show’s charm and the sense of camaraderie among the kids makes it truly special and it’s easily one of my favorite TV shows of all time.

Mad Men

Set in the 1960s, Mad Men offered a stylized look at the lives of the ad men and women of Madison Avenue. The character-driven stories and commentary on American culture are why Mad Men continued to capture audiences’ attention. I think it is a show that transports you to another time while holding up a mirror to the present and the depth of its characters and the beauty of its storytelling earn it a spot on this list.

The Simpsons

The longest-running American sitcom, “The Simpsons,” has become an integral part of pop culture. Its success can be attributed to its satirical look at the American family, society, and virtually every aspect of life. What makes it one of the best is its timeless humor and the way it’s stayed relevant through decades of change.


Dubbed “a show about nothing,” “Seinfeld” turned everyday life into comedy gold. The concept was unique, the characters were memorable and it offered hilarious observations on life’s trivialities. For me, “Seinfeld” is genius in its simplicity, finding humor in the situations we all find ourselves in.