50 Best American TV Series

by Channing_F | created - 09 Oct 2011 | updated - 15 Oct 2018 | Public
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1. Person of Interest (2011–2016)

TV-14 | 43 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An ex-CIA agent and a wealthy programmer save lives via a surveillance AI that sends them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes. However, the details of the crimes--including the civilians' roles--are left a mystery.

Stars: Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman, Michael Emerson

Votes: 157,393

2. The Following (2013–2015)

TV-14 | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

A brilliant and charismatic, yet psychotic serial killer communicates with other active serial killers and activates a cult of believers following his every command.

Stars: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore, Valorie Curry

Votes: 82,119

3. Flashforward (2009–2010)

TV-14 | 42 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A special task force in the FBI investigates after every person on Earth simultaneously blacks out and awakens with a short vision of their future.

Stars: Courtney B. Vance, Joseph Fiennes, Jack Davenport, Zachary Knighton

Votes: 58,197

4. Threshold (2005–2006)

60 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

A team of experts are assembled after the U.S. Navy discovers an extra-terrestrial object briefly appeared near a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Stars: Carla Gugino, Brian Van Holt, Brent Spiner, Rob Benedict

Votes: 5,141

5. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)

TV-PG | 44 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

Set almost 100 years after Captain Kirk's five-year mission, a new generation of Starfleet officers set off in the U.S.S. Enterprise-D on their own mission to go where no one has gone before.

Stars: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton

Votes: 93,378

6. Grey's Anatomy (2005– )

TV-14 | 41 min | Drama, Romance

A drama centered on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors.

Stars: Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Justin Chambers

Votes: 230,417

7. The Sopranos (1999–2007)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama

New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life that affect his mental state, leading him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.

Stars: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

Votes: 272,806

8. Breaking Bad (2008–2013)

TV-MA | 49 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

Votes: 1,326,957

9. Malcolm in the Middle (2000–2006)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Family

A gifted young teen tries to survive life with his dimwitted, dysfunctional family.

Stars: Frankie Muniz, Bryan Cranston, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan

Votes: 111,689

10. How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014)

TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy, Romance

A father recounts to his children - through a series of flashbacks - the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother.

Stars: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris

Votes: 567,832

11. Numb3rs (2005–2010)

TV-PG | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Working for the F.B.I., a mathematician uses equations to help solve various crimes.

Stars: Rob Morrow, David Krumholtz, Judd Hirsch, Alimi Ballard

Votes: 38,268

12. The X-Files (1993–2018)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Two F.B.I. Agents, Fox Mulder the believer and Dana Scully the skeptic, investigate the strange and unexplained, while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.

Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis

Votes: 190,236

13. Criminal Minds (2005–2020)

TV-14 | 42 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation's most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.

Stars: Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, A.J. Cook, Joe Mantegna

Votes: 147,662

14. Third Watch (1999–2005)

44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The exploits of a group of men and women who serve New York City as police officers, firemen, and paramedics in the fictional 55th Precinct.

Stars: Coby Bell, Skipp Sudduth, Jason Wiles, Molly Price

Votes: 8,659

15. ER (1994–2009)

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Romance

The lives, loves and losses of the doctors and nurses of Chicago's County General Hospital.

Stars: Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, Eriq La Salle

Votes: 47,830

16. The Unit (2006–2009)

TV-PG | 60 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

Hour long show which looks at the life of American super-secret operators.

Stars: Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Audrey Marie Anderson, Robert Patrick

Votes: 19,355

17. Babylon 5 (1993–1998)

TV-PG | 45 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In the mid 23rd Century, the Earth Alliance space station Babylon 5, located in neutral territory, is a major focal point for political intrigue, racial tensions and various wars over the course of five years.

Stars: Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Stephen Furst, Andreas Katsulas

Votes: 26,940

18. V (2009–2011)

TV-14 | 42 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

An extraterrestrial race arrives on Earth with seemingly good intentions, only to slowly reveal their true machinations the more ingrained into society they become.

Stars: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Logan Huffman

Votes: 51,952

19. Picket Fences (1992–1996)

120 min | Crime, Drama, Family

An aging Sheriff tries to keep the peace in Rome, Wisconsin, a small town plagued by bizarre and violent crimes.

Stars: Kathy Baker, Tom Skerritt, Lauren Holly, Costas Mandylor

Votes: 3,648

20. Boston Public (2000–2004)

60 min | Comedy, Drama

The lives of 10 faculty members at a high school in Boston weave in and out of dealing with trouble-makers, having a personal life, and keeping sanity.

Stars: Loretta Devine, Anthony Heald, Fyvush Finkel, Chi McBride

Votes: 5,211

21. Fame (1982–1987)

60 min | Drama, Music, Musical

The stories of the students and faculty of the New York City High School for the Performing Arts.

Stars: Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray, Debbie Allen, Albert Hague

Votes: 2,961

22. Hill Street Blues (1981–1987)

TV-14 | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The lives and work of the staff of an inner city police precinct.

Stars: Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz, James Sikking

Votes: 6,885

23. Cold Case (2003–2010)

TV-14 | 44 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The Philadelphia homicide squad's lone female detective finds her calling when she's assigned "cold cases", older crimes that have never been solved.

Stars: Kathryn Morris, Danny Pino, John Finn, Jeremy Ratchford

Votes: 23,303

24. The District (2000–2004)

44 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Despite having over 30 law enforcement agencies, Washington DC still has the highest crime rate in the US. With politics and indifference being a large factor in this, the city hires Newark... See full summary »

Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Roger Aaron Brown, Sean Patrick Thomas, Elizabeth Marvel

Votes: 1,318

25. In the Heat of the Night (1988–1995)

60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The cases and adventures of the police forces in and around Sparta, Mississippi.

Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Alan Autry, David Hart, Hugh O'Connor

Votes: 3,234

26. Magnum, P.I. (1980–1988)

TV-PG | 48 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The adventures of a Hawaii based private investigator.

Stars: Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley, Larry Manetti

Votes: 20,848

27. Miami Vice (1984–1989)

TV-14 | 48 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Resplendent with authentic 1980's music, fashion and vibe, "Miami Vice" follows two undercover detectives and their extended team through the mean streets of Miami.

Stars: Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago, Olivia Brown

Votes: 21,951

28. Twin Peaks (1990–1991)

TV-MA | 47 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An idiosyncratic FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.

Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook

Votes: 163,611

29. Falcon Crest (1981–1990)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Romance

Set in the vineyards of California, this primetime soap opera featured the conflict within the powerful Gioberti family, owners of the vast Falcon Crest Winery.

Stars: Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, Chao Li Chi, David Selby

Votes: 3,060

30. 24 (2001–2010)

TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, races against the clock to subvert terrorist plots and save his nation from ultimate disaster.

Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard, Dennis Haysbert

Votes: 166,436

31. Millennium (I) (1996–1999)

45 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

A former FBI profiler with the ability to look inside the mind of a killer begins working for the mysterious Millennium Group which investigates serial killers, conspiracies, the occult, and those obsessed with the end of the millennium.

Stars: Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn, Brittany Tiplady

Votes: 9,499

32. Chicago Story (1982)

90 min | Drama

This is the story of three lawyers, a street cop, two detectives, and two doctors in the Windy city. And how an incident or person's life is affected by one or more of these people.

Stars: Maud Adams, Vincent Baggetta, Molly Cheek, Dennis Franz

Votes: 34

33. Lady Blue (1985–1991)

60 min | Drama

Katy Mahoney patrols the grittier streets of Chicago, dispatching the seamier elements before reporting to her boss Terry McNichol. Katy's intensity about her job interfered with her social life.

Stars: Jamie Rose, Danny Aiello, Ralph Foody, Ron Dean

Votes: 211

34. Hack (2002–2004)

60 min | Crime, Drama

When corruption charges strip him of his job, his family and his pride, former cop Mike Olshansky forges a new identity as a Philadelphia cab driver, patrolling the city as a roving vigilante who works with local police.

Stars: Andre Braugher, David Morse, Matthew Borish, George Dzundza

Votes: 843

35. Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Family, Romance

The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the nineteenth century American Midwest.

Stars: Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Rachel Lindsay Greenbush

Votes: 15,497

36. The Munsters (1964–1966)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A family of friendly monsters have misadventures, never quite understanding why people react to them so strangely.

Stars: Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis, Yvonne De Carlo, Butch Patrick

Votes: 11,477

37. Highway to Heaven (1984–1989)

Not Rated | 60 min | Drama, Fantasy

A probationary angel, sent back to Earth, teams with an ex-cop to help people.

Stars: Michael Landon, Victor French, James Troesh, Margie Impert

Votes: 4,082

38. The Guardian (2001–2004)

60 min | Crime, Drama

Nick Fallin is a hotshot lawyer working at his father's ultrasuccessful Pittsburgh law firm. Unfortunately, the high life has gotten the best of Nick.

Stars: Simon Baker, Alan Rosenberg, Raphael Sbarge, Dabney Coleman

Votes: 4,477

39. The Commish (1991–1996)

60 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Slightly offbeat television police comedy-drama. Tony Scali is the Police Commissioner in a small town, where solutions to difficult situations often require considerable creativity. Tony's... See full summary »

Stars: Michael Chiklis, Theresa Saldana, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Geoffrey Nauffts

Votes: 1,688

40. The Simpsons (1989– )

TV-PG | 22 min | Animation, Comedy

The satiric adventures of a working-class family in the misfit city of Springfield.

Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer, Julie Kavner

Votes: 348,602

41. Band of Brothers (2001)

TV-MA | 594 min | Action, Drama, History

The story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, and their mission in World War II Europe, from Operation Overlord, through V-J Day.

Stars: Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Shane Taylor

Votes: 348,145

42. Justified (2010–2015)

TV-MA | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens's reassigned from Miami to his childhood home in the poor, rural coal mining towns in eastern Kentucky.

Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts

Votes: 81,036

43. Mike & Molly (2010–2016)

TV-14 | 30 min | Comedy

A couple meets at an Overeaters' Anonymous meeting.

Stars: Billy Gardell, Melissa McCarthy, Reno Wilson, Katy Mixon

Votes: 22,038

44. Blue Bloods (2010– )

TV-14 | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Revolves around a family of New York cops.

Stars: Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Len Cariou

Votes: 30,521

45. True Detective (2014– )

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Seasonal anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.

Stars: Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch

Votes: 470,205

46. Law & Order (1990–2010)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Follows a crime (usually a murder), usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points, the police investigation and the prosecution in court.

Stars: Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina, S. Epatha Merkerson

Votes: 30,342

47. The Blacklist (2013– )

TV-14 | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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