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Best TV shows of all-time: ‘Friends’ beats out ‘Seinfeld’ as greatest ever!

[Jan 31, 2022: Chris Melore]

According to a survey of 2,000 adults, TV shows from the end of the 20th century are still better than anything on the air today. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)

They don’t make ’em like they used to — especially when it comes to TV shows. According to a new poll, Americans say the ‘80s and ‘90s are the best decades for television.

According to a survey of 2,000 adults, TV shows from the end of the 20th century are still better than anything on the air today.


Is the ‘golden age’ of TV behind us?

Nearly a fifth of respondents (19%) claim the ‘80s and ‘90s were prime for television, with the 2000s (15%), 2010s (10%), and ‘70s (10%) trailing not too far behind. In fact, only seven percent believe that we’re currently living in the best era for television.

Out of a list of 35 iconic TV shows, the two most-watched and beloved TV shows are ‘90s giants: “Friends” (43%) and “Seinfeld” (40%). Other shows people will stop to watch are “Game of Thrones” (37%), “Three’s Company” (36%), “Frasier” (36%), “The Office” (36%), and “MASH” (35%).


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Commissioned by YouTube TV and conducted by OnePoll, the study revealed three in four respondents will always stop to watch their favorite TV shows, no matter how they’re feeling.

What makes a show ‘good’?

The survey also explored the factors that make some TV shows more appealing than others. Sixty percent care more about a show’s cast and writing than they do the aesthetic (46%) or plot (46%). Interestingly, two in three Americans claim their lives could be the plot of a new TV sitcom.


Another 65 percent say they think of the people in their lives when they watch their favorite TV shows — claiming characters often remind them of family members (62%), close friends (59%), or their significant others (52%). Close to three-quarters (72%) always associate their favorite shows with good memories.

Game of Thrones major characters. (CREDIT: ZYNGA INC)

“It’s not surprising to see that so many people still love and watch TV shows from decades ago,” says Kimberly Taylor, product communications manager at YouTube TV, in a statement. “There’s a sense of nostalgia and comfort when you watch your favorite older show, but we’re just as excited about all the great TV airing live now. No matter if you like older classics or modern sagas, people want to be able to watch their favorite shows whenever they want.”


‘You gotta watch this’

Sixty-nine percent will try to convince all their friends and family to watch a show they discovered or found interesting. In fact, many Americans found their favorite TV shows through recommendations from their friends (48%), family members (41%), and significant others (41%).

While a third of the poll (37%) note their favorite show is no longer on air, 21 percent wish they could go back in time to watch them live on TV or in person. Nearly half of Americans (45%) still have recordings of their favorite TV show episodes on VHS tapes or DVDs. Of them, 92 percent still occasionally watch those recordings. Three in four love watching reruns of their favorite shows on TV or streaming platforms whenever they can.


The Greatest TV Shows of All Time:

  1. Friends – 43%

  2. Seinfeld – 40%

  3. Game of Thrones – 37%

  4. Three’s Company – 36%

  5. Frasier – 36%

  6. The Office – 36%

  7. MASH – 35%

  8. Battlestar Galactica – 30%

  9. The Simpsons – 29%

  10. The Wire – 28%

  11. Twin Peaks – 27%

  12. Family Guy – 27%

  13. The Sopranos – 26%

  14. Sex and the City – 24%

  15. American Dad – 23%

  16. Law and Order – 23%

  17. Grey’s Anatomy – 23%

  18. Bob’s Burgers – 23%

  19. Community – 21%

  20. Big Brother – 21%

For more celebrity good news stories check out our Celebrities section at The Brighter Side of News.


Note: Materials provided above by Chris Melore. Content may be edited for style and length.


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