Let me start by saying that bringing you a list of 11 highest rated TV shows of all time was a devil’s work. Sure it’s easy naming one’s favorite TV shows straight out of one’s head, but we often forget that not everyone has the same taste. More importantly, we often forget to compare the new TV shows with older ones, or entirely forget about the latter altogether. So when you ask why there’s no The Vampire Diaries or The Walking Dead on this list, remember that these are relatively fresh TV shows and that not everyone enjoys the fantasies and zombie apocalypses. Then ask yourself: “Do they really deserve to enter the top 11 club”? There are so many great TV shows out there that will fail to make an appearance on this list (but we’ll try to at least give them some kind of credits). With that in mind, it’s not the end of the world if your favorite one hasn’t been mentioned. Not only that – but it is rather hard to separate a great TV show from the one that has a cult following and showcases the most arguments for making this list. We, however, have tried our best.
One of the criteria that we have used is a number of Golden Globe awards. As you know, there are few categories in which Golden Globes are awarded, but when it comes to TV shows, most important ones are those for the best drama and comedy series. Speaking of comedy, you can take a look at our list of 20 highest rated comedy movies of all time as well. While the number of overall rewards certainly speaks in respective shows’ favor, it can’t be considered as a major factor. Same as with any awards, competition varies from season to season, and some shows might have earned more Golden Globes have they been more lucky and others have been unjustly snubbed way too many times. We have set the bar to at least one won Golden Globe award if the TV show is about to make an appearance on this list. This doesn’t count towards animated shows and other TV shows that don’t really classify as either drama or comedy. We have also taken the number of Emmy and other awards into consideration, but yet again this wasn’t the main factor in our ultimate decision. TV.com’s and IMDb’s user ratings also can’t be taken seriously. If you take a close look at best-rated TV shows on these services, you’ll certainly note that most of them are relatively new or foreign even. The lists are definitely biased in that respect, and not as reputable as they should be. Another of the limits is a number of seasons that the TV show had. While we certainly could have set the bar at 5 or more, we have decided to go with at least two running seasons. Before you ask: “Yes, it’s because of Twin Peaks”. You’ll notice that this excludes all one-season miniseries like Band of Brothers, for instance, which would otherwise likely deserve a spot.
Ultimately, what we have done is to carefully consider all of the aforementioned factors and compile a close-knit list of 11 highest rated TV shows of all time, even though we have had our work cut out for us. We have decided to divide the number of seasons with the number of total awards, thus creating a certain index of respective TV show’s critical acclaim. This was done separately for Golden Globes, Emmys, and other rewards respectively. The higher the index, the higher the critical acclaim of the TV show in question. This isn’t fair towards animated shows and other shows that don’t qualify for the Golden Globes, hence we have had to use correctional factors as well. Apart from applying up to ten points in these three categories, we have also decided to apply the points for IMDb overall rating. While it’s subjective and biased to some extent, IMDb tends to normalize user opinion by requiring a certain minimum of votes before the show is rated. Everyone can make a list of his/her’s favorite TV shows, and there are certainly many ways to do that. We have tried not to be subjective, and even though this kind of rankings might be flawed, it certainly is a start. All in all, this list of 11 highest rated TV shows of all time allows as much as 40 total points and in the case of a tie, TV show with the highest Golden Globe/number of seasons ratio gets an advantage. In the end, we will name honorable mentions as squeezing only 11 TV shows in a list with “the best” in front of it is utterly unfair. Believe me – I have had my share of sleepless nights because of it.