Best TV Shows and Series Synopsis with Reviews
Written and Ranked By: C. A. Ponch
As a Reminder – To qualify for the list I followed these basic guidelines:
- I watched at least three to five episodes of each show finishing most first seasons of every series on this list. Some shows were so bad that it was not worth watching more than three to five episodes. I gave them a chance. For the majority of the series, I have seen every episode.
- Each of the best TV shows could not have more than 30 episodes a season. That eliminated all late-night shows like “The Tonight Show”, variety of programs like “Sports Center”, and singing competitions like “American Idol” and “The Voice”. Also, I didn’t include morning shows like “The Today Show”, etc. If it were a series that aired more than once a week, it was unfortunately just too much content for me to review.
- Each series had to have at least three episodes air/stream per season to qualify. This eliminated event TV and made for TV movies but did include some great mini-series.
- No reality competitions or junk reality TV. That is not acting, and they show no real craftsmanship to judge. Those series are almost impossible to review. Variety shows with actual writers like SNL were included.
- Documentaries were accepted, but only if they were season-long documentaries with more than three episodes. I decided the difference between what qualified as a documentary series and a reality series. Reality series generally create situations and observe those situations for the entertainment of the viewer in an on-going manner much like life itself. A documentary series attempts to educate the viewer by presenting facts through a series of observations that are a full product having a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a fine line, but documentaries tend to inform or educate while entertaining.
- Each program had to have at least three episodes air during the past decade (2010-2019) that I actually saw, but I ranked the best TV shows from their full body of work of which that I have seen since their inception. This eliminated anything that didn’t have an episode air after 2009 but it also eliminated a few shows like “The Simpsons”, and “NCIS” which although I have seen more than three episodes of; I haven’t seen enough episodes of those shows in the past ten years. In fact, a few series on this list would have been ranked higher, had they just ended earlier before the quality of the show deteriorated.
- Lastly, there is one exception on this list of the shows I have watched this decade but can’t rank: “Sesame Street”. It’s still one of the greatest children’s best TV shows of all time. If you have young children, “Sesame Street” should be #1 on this list, if you don’t have young children, why are you watching “Sesame Street”? That’s strange and you may want to seek help.
Don’t see your favorite show below? Check out our Binge Watch – 400 Ranked TV Shows #50-#41
40. Parks and Recreation (NBC – 2009 to 2015): Ponch: 10/10
“Parks and Recreation” oftentimes called “Parks and Rec” by the network and fans is a political satire comedy created by Greg Daniels (“The Office”, “The Simpsons” and “SNL”) and Michael Schur (“The Office”,” The Good Place”, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Master of None”). The series is about mid-level government officials in the Parks Department of the fictional town of Pawnee, IN. Amy Poehler plays the main lead Leslie Knope who is an enthusiastic deputy director in the department. The ensemble and supporting cast features Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins, Leslie’s neighbor, and a nurse who demands that the construction pit beside her house created by an abandoned condo development be filled in, after her boyfriend, Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), fell in and broke his legs. Knope promises to turn the pit into a park, even though the parks director Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) an anti-government libertarian tries to persuade her not too. Leslie and city planner Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider) and her staff, including her assistant Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), and intern April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), try encouraging community members to show interest in the park project. Character Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) were added to the main cast in the second season as government officials and potential love interests for Leslie and Ann. Other cast members are Jim O’Heir as Garry “Jerry” Gergich, Retta as Donna Meagle, and Billy Eichner as Craig Middlebrooks. “Parks and Recreation” was nominated for 14 Emmy’s with Poehler being nominated six years in a row as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
“Parks and Recreation” was considered by many critics and fans from 2011 to 2014 as the best comedy on television even though it kept losing out on Emmy’s to “Modern Family” and although I slightly prefer “Modern Family” a lot of those viewers depending on taste would not be wrong. Daniels and Schur laid the blueprint for other creators on; listening to your audience and producing better seasons every year. “Parks and Rec” kept progressing and peaked in its third through fifth seasons staying strong until the very end. It’s a show that has extremely strong character work that is matched by its heart and caring. Most witty and snarky shows are not this good-natured. I, like many viewers, always felt great after watching “Parks and Rec” and a lot of that comes from Leslie’s optimism portrayed wonderfully by Poehler, who deserved all the credit she gets for the series. Fortunately or unfortunately, Poehler is often overshadowed by Offerman’s iconic Ron Swanson, who is one of the greatest created characters in sit-com history and stands out in every scene of every season. “Park and Rec” also introduced us to and grew the popularity of Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, and Aubrey Plaza who all went on to bigger things and are still having huge careers. Schur knows how to find great comedic actors and turn them into stars. “Parks and Recreation” is one of the greatest comedy series of the decade and will always be in the discussion as one of the greatest of all time.
IMDB 8.6/10 – RT 92% – Metacritic NA%
39. House of Cards (Netflix – 2013 to 2018): Ponch: 10/10
“House of Cards” is a political thriller series based in Washington D.C. It is one of Netflix’s first original productions originally based on a 1990’s British miniseries. It stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as Democrat U.S. Rep. Francis Underwood of South Carolina and his wife Claire. Underwood is a ruthless politician and House Majority WHIP. After being passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, he starts a well thought out plan to attain power with his wife Claire’s help. The series gives us an in-depth look at the government that deals with themes of manipulation, sex, and power. House of Cards has received 33 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor for Spacey, and Outstanding Lead Actress for Wright, for each of its first five seasons.
“House of Cards” is the first original online-only television series to receive major Emmy nominations. The rise of Netflix is tied very closely to the success of “House of Cards”. With its superb plot, extremely accurate political dialogue, and very high production value, it is one of the first television series to really prove that creatively TV can be an equal to most movies being produced. It is a landmark original series that really helped the rise of streaming services. The show is very sophisticated and cynical; it may be hard to watch for some light-hearted viewers. This show is dark and shows us a side of politics we may not want to fully believe or want to see. As the Underwood’s, Spacey and Wright are outstanding and put on an acting clinic every episode, but they are not the only great actors on the show. Although the show is based on the American government, there are other aspects of the show that really add to its appeal like the look into credible news and how it affects politics. The first three seasons have been better than the last few seasons, but that’s only because the first three seasons are about the Underwood’s rise in power and what lengths they will go to obtain the Presidency; which is just a more interesting topic, than a politician trying to keep that power. I really wish this show would have ended after the fourth season. The last two seasons were by far the weakest, and as ruthless as Frank is, he is still very likable in the first three seasons.
In the later seasons, it’s very hard to cheer for him even though the caliber of the show doesn’t dip. Unfortunately, Frank’s likeability does (which may unconsciously have to do with real-life circumstances). Following sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey, Netflix announced that the sixth season, would be the final season without him. With this very dark cloud over the head of this show, I would understand why someone may want to skip it and not support Spacey. Wright is superb and carries the final season, but I would be lying if I said the series was just as good, it just wasn’t the same without Spacey. If viewers can separate real life from fiction, then they will witness one of the greatest political stories ever written. “House Of Cards” was one of the main reasons Netflix original programming succeeded, thriving on the back of the subscription money made by the popularity of this series.
IMDB: 8.8/10 – RT 84% – Metacritic 73%
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
38. Arrested Development (FOX/Netflix – 2003 to 2019): Ponch: 10/10
“Arrested Development” is a situational comedy created by Mitchell Hurwitz (“The Ellen Show”, “Golden Girls”) about the wealthy and very dysfunctional Bulth family who loses all their money after the patriarch of the family goes to prison. The show is narrated by Ron Howard, who is also an executive producer. The series’ main characters are Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) who is cast as the shows straight man, and does the best to keep the family together and afloat financially even though everyone else in the family seems to get in his way of doing this. His son George Michael is played by Michael Cera who loves his father and tries to be good but always seems to fall short of expectations. George Michael also has a crush on his cousin Maeby Funke (Alia Shawkat), because of a prank in which she gave him his first kiss. Michael’s father George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) is a corrupt real-estate developer who is arrested for white-collar crime. Michael’s mother Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) is a manipulative and materialistic drunk who consistently belittles her children. Michael’s brothers are Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) and George “GOB” Oscar Bluth II (Will Arnett). Buster is a momma’s boy and although educated has very little street smarts and is completely reliant on his mother and other family members. GOB is an unsuccessful professional magician who sometimes gets into competition and arguments with Michael over the family business and women. Michael’s twin sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) has never had a job and struggles with no longer being wealthy, striving to be the center of attention. Lindsay is married to Tobias Funke (David Cross); Maeby’s father who is an aspiring actor and former psychiatrist who was discredited. “Arrested Development” has received 25 Emmy nominations winning 6 times including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2004. Although it was critically acclaimed “Arrested Development” always suffered from low ratings and viewership on FOX for three seasons, and was picked up many years later and streamed in 2013 by Netflix who released the last two seasons of the series.
“Arrested Development” is a cult comedy that was ahead of its time and influenced multiple single-camera comedies. The series is one of the funniest shows of all time. “Arrested Development” is also one of the best-written comedies of the decade winning two Emmy’s for Outstanding Writing in A Comedy Series in its first two seasons. This show helped Jason Bateman become known as one of the greatest straight-men of his generation. As good as Bateman’s performance is, it’s his supporting cast that brings all the laughs. They are so ridiculous and out of touch that you can’t help but feel for Michael during the whole series. The creativeness and quality did drop a little bit but that is only because the first three seasons were so good, it would have been hard to keep at that level forever. I am so glad that Netflix picked it up, not only so I could have it on this list to let people know about it, but also because the characters are so well thought out and endearing that I wanted to see more of them. If you are into wacky well-written comedies, this should be one of the first shows you binge. “Arrested Development” will be remembered and remain on many critic’s top 100 best TV series of all time lists.
IMDB 8.7/10 – RT 75% – Metacritic 78%
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
37. The Crown (Netflix – 2016 to Present): Ponch: 10/10
“The Crown” is a British historical period drama about Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family throughout her reign. New actors are cast to play the roles every two seasons. The first two seasons start with Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) marrying Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh (Matt Smith) in 1947, portraying their marriage and the relationship her sister Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) had with Group Captain Peter Townsend (Ben Miles), whose engagement she broke off in 1955 eventually marrying photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, Duke of Snowdon (Matthew Goode). The first season covers events like the Suez Crisis in 1956, the retirement of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (Anton Lesser) in 1963, and the birth of their three sons and daughter, ending season two with the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. The Royal family is portrayed by all new actors in the third season: Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman), Prince Phillip (Tobias Menzies), and Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter). The third season covers 1964 to 1977, beginning with Harold Wilson’s (Jason Watkins) election as prime minister and ending with the Queen’s 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee. The series has an ensemble cast with numerous actors including, John Lithgow playing Winston Churchill during the first three seasons. “The Crown has been nominated 26 times with eight wins for its first two seasons, twice being nominated for Outstanding Drama series with Foy winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2018 and Lithgow winning Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2017. I imagine the third season will also be highly recognized.
“The Crown” is as beautiful and engaging as the actresses who play the royal family, and as serious and regal as Queen Elizabeth herself. The cinematography is as close to perfect as you will find in any series in history and I believe along with the “The Handmaid’s Tale” as having the best camera work of any show on this list. There are so many powerful performances in the first two seasons from the young actors and storylines are told in a very interesting, sometimes scandalous way for a historical piece about the Royal Family. I find “The Crown” far better paced than most other British period dramas. Just when you want to see more of Foy and the cast in the first two seasons, it moves forward in time but doesn’t skip a beat in the third season. Coleman and Bonham Carter are outstanding and I have actually enjoyed the show as much, if not more after the cast change. If you enjoy British dramas or historical pieces then “The Crown” should be near the top of your list to binge. “The Crown” is going to keep climbing up lists like this as they produce more seasons and will be considered one of the best historical dramas of all time.
IMDB 8.7/10 – RT 89% – Metacritic 84%
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
36. American Crime Story (FX – 2016 to Present): Ponch 10/10
FX started a True Crime Anthology series called “American Crime Story” with the first season called “The People V. O.J. Simpson” and the second season called “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”. The first season was far better than the second season in my opinion but both were critically acclaimed, the first season alone is worth watching and I would put this show higher on the list if the second season never existed.
This first season is about the infamous O. J. Simpson murder case and is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book ‘The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson”. It’s the trial of the century and FX gives us the inside story behind the trail with Cuba Gooding Jr. as O. J. Simpson, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, Kenneth Choi as Judge Lance Ito, Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Christian Clemenson as William Hodgman, Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian. The show received 22 Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2016, in 13 categories, winning nine awards (which was more than any other show that year) including Outstanding Limited Series. Paulson, Vance, and Brown (before his “This is Us” days) all won Emmy’s.
Anyone old enough to remember the trail and verdict knows what this series is about, we all lived it. We remember where we were, when we heard the verdict. This show is way better than anything we saw on TV. It’s the inside story of what these people were really like. This show was pure entertainment and put a lot of people involved in the trail, in a new light. We got to see different sides of these real-life people. Sterling K. Brown and Sarah Paulson both gave their characters so much heart and then aguish. We truly feel for the prosecutors. The defense team led by Courtney B. Vance (who gives us a dead-on Johnnie Cochran) is fascinatingly ruthless, looking for anything to use against the prosecution. You truly start to hate them. Except for Vance, somehow he is as charismatic as Cochran was in real life. You respect his wit, humor, and strategy and he almost makes you want to laugh; almost, until you are reminded he helped get a guilty man off. This show gives you a full range of emotions without making the show too dark; it is truly a great retelling of events. The first season of “American Crime Story” is serious, can’t miss television.
The second season is about the infamous murder of the fashion mogul and icon Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez) at the hands of his ex-lover Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) based on the book “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History”. Rounding out the main cast is Ricky Martin as Versace’s boyfriend Antonio D’Amico, Judith Light as Marilyn Miglin, and Penelope Cruz as his sister Donatella Versace. The second season was also highly regarded receiving 18 Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2018, winning seven awards including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Series or Movie won by Darren Criss.
The second season is good; it’s just not as entertaining as the first season. The acting was pretty incredible especially by Criss and Cruz, and the time period was captured extremely well by the show-runners. I just feel the second season was a little bit of letdown compared to the first. It was far less engaging and its road on the back of Criss’ strangely compelling performance, but if you like shocking true crime murder stories than this is the show for you. Most of the time, you just can’t believe he gets away with it and doesn’t get caught for a long period. Some viewers may find they like this season better than the first and I do think the creators once again put out a product of very high caliber; it just didn’t fit my taste. The design, makeup, hairstyling, and sound mixing were all highly acclaimed.
IMDB 8.4/10 – RT 93% – Metacritic 82%
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
35. BoJack Horseman (Netflix – 2014 to 2020): Ponch: 10/10
“BoJack Horseman” is an adult animated dramedy series about cynical alcoholic drug-using anthropomorphic horse created by Raphael Bob-Wasberg and designed by cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt. BoJack voiced by Will Arnett is a washed-up actor from a 1990’s sitcom who plans a comeback and yearns to return to the glory years of being a relevant celebrity. He hires a very intelligent ghostwriter Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) to write his autobiography, who he instantly has romantic feelings for, even though she is married to an extremely nice, likable, and successful (although dim-witted) anthropomorphic dog named Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins). He is typically aided by his roommate Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul) and his agent anthropomorphic cat, Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) who he used to date. We meet many new characters as the series progresses touching on subjects like sexism, depression, racism, addiction, trauma, celebrity, and mental health. Although “BoJack Horseman” has never won an Emmy, it has been nominated twice and is considered by many critics as one of the greatest TV series of all time.
In five of the six seasons that it streamed in the past decade, “BoJack Horseman” was the best-animated series of all time. Those five seasons reached higher heights than any five seasons of “South Park”, “The Simpsons” or any other of its contemporaries during that time. Many critics will tell you “BoJack Horseman” had the perfect amount of seasons, but I feel “South Park” had more of a cultural impact and was stronger for a much longer period of time, but that doesn’t take away from what the creators accomplished in those six seasons. All the episodes are less than a half-hour long and the amount of emotion the writers are able to pack into those half-hour shows is phenomenal. BoJack will make you laugh and cry in the same episode, most TV shows animated or not, do not have that range. Most other adult animated shows are; darkly funny, heartwarming, or ridiculous and BoJack is somehow all three at the same time in almost every episode. If you are a fan of animation or 80’s and 90’s sit-coms, you will absolutely love this series. If you don’t like cartoons, just watch a few episodes and you may change your mind. Bob-Wasber and Hanawalt were able to carve out their own piece of television history, creating one of the top five animated series of all time.
IMDB 8.7/10 – RT 93% – Metacritic 85%
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
34. Better Call Saul (AMC – 2015 to Present): Ponch 10/10
“Better Call Saul” is a crime drama set in the early 2000s in the “Breaking Bad” universe. It’s a prequel and spin-off of “Breaking Bad” staring the show’s character, Saul Goodman. The series follows Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) who starts out as a con-man trying to be a lawyer, and eventually leading to his name change and transformation into his persona Saul Goodman, a criminal lawyer for hire who we see fully formed in “Breaking Bad”. Jimmy meets his romantic interest Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), also a lawyer in the mailroom of the law firm of Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill, where his brother Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) and his foil Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) are both partners. As Jimmy starts to fall from grace and dive deeper into his Saul Goodman persona, he becomes the lawyer for former Philadelphia police officer and hitman Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). Mike’s skills and toughness gets him involved in drug trafficking cartels in Albuquerque, NM, where we come across “Breaking Bad” favorite drug lord Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and small-time drug runner Nacho Varga (Michael Mando). “Better Call Saul” has been nominated for 32 Emmys with Odenkirk and Banks being nominated every year they were eligible. Although it has never won an Emmy, the show has received high critical acclaim including being nominated four times for Outstanding Drama Series of the four seasons it was eligible.
“Better Call Saul” is far more than just a simple spin-off. This isn’t “Fear the Walking Dead” or “Joanie Loves Chachi”, “Better Call Saul” is the best prequel and spin-off in the history of television. I do admit that it would be better for viewers to watch “Breaking Bad” first, but this series definitely stands on its own and you do not need to watch “Breaking Bad” if you want to enjoy this series. It has more humor than its predecessor. Odenkirk, Banks, and Esposito are all masters of their craft. As a whole, including McKeam, Seehorn, and others this is possibly the best acting by a full cast on TV right now. Everyone is so sincere and realistic, not one of them misses a pause or line. Every viewer will passionately want Jimmy to succeed while still knowing he is heading down a path of darkness and crime. “Better Call Saul” also has some of the best writing and camera work on TV, it’s similar to “Breaking Bad” in that it creates a gritty realism, setting an atmosphere that makes you feel a little sleazy. If you are a fan of “Breaking Bad” and just haven’t given “Better Call Saul” a chance yet, this should be the next series you binge. If you are a fan of crime dramedies with laser-sharp wit and writing, then this should be the next series you binge, because “Better Call Saul” is one of the best crime series ever.
IMDB 8.7/10 – RT 97% – Metacritic 85%
33. The Affair (Showtime – 2014 to 2019): Ponch 10/10
“The Affair” is an emotional drama based around the lives of two couples. The series follows the effect extramarital activities have on their families and lives. Dominic West who many viewers will know from “The Wire”, plays Noah Solloway, an arrogant writer who seems to be either unhappy in his marriage to his wife Helen (Maura Tierney) or at least unsatisfied. Noah gets involved in an affair with a waitress he meets in the beach town of Montauk, NY named Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson). Alison is still reeling and emotionally damaged by the accidental death of her son and she is trying to get her life back together with her husband Cole (Joshua Jackson). Each episode is broken up into two parts from different character perspectives, but mostly those parts are from the perspective of one of the four main cast members, mainly Noah and Alison. The series tries to point out people’s memory bias and their perceptions of what happened. Each person’s view is depicted in different parts almost as completely different scenarios by the creators to the viewing audience. Although the Affair was only ever nominated for one Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Tierney, the series was loved by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association winning multiple Golden Globes including Best Drama TV Series in 2015, Best Actress in Drama TV Series for Wilson and Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series for Tierney.
“The Affair” is far greater and more interesting than its premise would indicate. It may seem at first glance that this series would be very similar to a soap opera and although people who do watch daytime dramas I am sure would love “The Affair”, it is far from that simplistic. This is a show that is sometimes hard to watch because it deals with marital topics that people do not generally want to think about. It is the creator’s ability to treat those topics with such precision, balancing both perspectives, which make the show one of the most engaging series of the last ten years. Even though West has had some great performances in some very highly regarded TV shows and films, I believe this is his best work to date. He does a great job of still making Noah likable or at least charismatic enough that you never turn on him or shut off the TV, even after he keeps mistreating and lying to the loved ones in his life. Bailey and especially Tierney get all of the well-deserved accolades, but I believe West carries the series. “The Affair” although very sexy and compelling is profoundly serious in tone; it’s full of very deep material and messages. The one message it sends loud and clear is to always be honest and try to be a good person in every decision of your life no matter your situation because one bad decision can lead you down a much worse path than the one you are on and it will keep having lasting ramifications long after that decision is resolved. This isn’t’ the first TV series and won’t be the last to discuss the effects of extramarital actives, but “The Affair” is by far the best show to deal with those issues to date.
IMDB 8/10 – RT 86% – Metacritic 81%
Streaming On: Showtime Subscription
32. Sherlock (PBS/BBC – 2010 to Present): Ponch: 10/10
Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, “Sherlock” is a modern crime drama series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” detective stories. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the title character Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman stars as Doctor John Watson. Part of PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery series, “Sherlock Holmes” recreates the old Doyle stories for a modern audience set-in present-day England. The show has been nominated for over 40 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning 9 awards with Cumberbatch and Freeman both taking home wins. It also has been nominated for several British Academy Television Awards and Golden Globes.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are cast perfectly and always in sync. They have almost married couple like chemistry as they trade witty British banter back and forth. “Sherlock” is a masterpiece. Cumberbatch and Freeman are two of the greatest actors working today, and it’s great that they got together for this project on the small screen. Their entertaining relationship is the core of the show. Just incredibly thought out and detailed TV. The episodes are exceedingly long, almost movie type length, but it never gets slow or boring. I love that “Sherlock” does not dumb itself down for the audience. These are complex stories for a smart audience who love mysteries and whodunits! It’s got a sense of those old stories but is very modern. The graphics the series uses to show how Sherlock’s brain works in solving a mystery is so cool. It really visualizes his thinking for the audience. This makes for great TV for any detective and mystery fans. It’s Sherlock Holmes for the 21st century and the greatest adaptation of that classic character I have ever seen. I have seen Sherlock in dark grimy universes before, but this is the first time London is portrayed as a modern thriving city, and it makes the difference in keeping the show light. It is definitely worth the time to binge and one of the best-imported shows from Britain that we have gotten in the last ten years.
IMDB 9.1/10 – RT 78% RT – Metacritic 88%
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
31. The Office (NBC – 2005 to 2012): Ponch: 10/10
“The Office” is the adapted American version of a mockumentary comedy series that was originally broadcasted in the UK, with all the roles redesigned to better fit the American show. The series depicts the everyday lives of a group of people who work in the Scranton, PA branch of Dunder Mifflin, a fictional paper company. “The Office” was shot in a single-camera set up with no laugh track or studio audience to look like a documentary, making it really unique at the time. Although mockumentaries date back to the 60’s in film and internationally on TV like “Trailer Park Boys”, the American version of “The Office” was the first time a mockumentary experienced that level of popularity, and it spawned multiple mockumentary series about different aspects of American life shortly after, due to its success. “The Office” had a large ensemble cast that changed numerous times throughout its nine seasons, but the main cast primarily consisted of Steve Carell as the ridiculously out-of-touch idiotic Manager Michael Scott, who craves friendship and attention. The two very down to Earth love-interests are salesperson Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and receptionist Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), Jim is very witty and is the audience’s point of view character. Jim is very romantically interested in the shy and already engaged Pam. Both of them team up to play practical jokes on the intense almost psychotic Dwight Schrute played by Rainn Wilson. Dwight has a complete lack of social skills and common sense pitting him against all of the other characters of “The Office”. Most of the cast is made up of former improv comedians and writers: Angela (Angela Kinsley), Ryan (B.J. Novak), Meredith (Kate Flannery), Oscar (Oscar Nunez), Stanley (Leslie David Baker), Kevin (Brian Baumgartner), Kelly (Mindy Kalling), Phyllis (Phyllis Smith), Creed (Creed Bratton), Darryl (Craig Robinson), Toby (Paul Lieberstein), Roy (David Denmen) Pam’s finance, and Jan (Melora Hardin) as Michael’s manager and occasional love interest. In later seasons the cast added Andy (Ed Helms), Karen (Rashida Jones), and Erin (Ellie Kempler) as regulars. It also had many guest appearances from actors like Will Ferral and James Spader. “The Office” is often mentioned on critics list as one of the best comedies of all time and was nominated for 42 Emmys, winning five times including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2006.
“The Office” is one of the funniest shows of all time and one the best pure comedy series ever. It’s a travesty that Steve Carrell has never won an Emmy after being nominated six times. Carrell built one of the most iconic comic characters of all time in Michael Scott. Although there were signature moments by almost every supporting cast member, this was Carrell’s show. When he departed the show in the seventh season, the series was never the same. The last two seasons weren’t bad but they weren’t nearly as impressive as the first seven. Seasons two through five were the glory years and there may have not been a better comedy on TV during those seasons. “The Office” is completely relatable somehow, even though it takes a slice of every day American office life to the extreme. The viewer can identify with a lot of the characters no matter how ridiculous they are. Krasinski and Fischer really help ground the show giving the series some romance and straightness to the other cast members ridiculousness. Some viewers may find the series uncomfortable at times or at least uncomfortable for some of the characters but I think it would be hard to find any viewer who doesn’t find the first six seasons immensely humorous. “The Office” is a modern classic and is a top ten pure comedy of all time.
IMDB 8.9/10 – RT 81% – Metacritic 72%
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
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