Top 50 TV shows all-time ranking sees Apple TV Plus hit Severance make the cut — even before season 2 has hit screens

Severance Apple TV Plus
(Image credit: Apple)

We all have our favorite TV shows, those comfort views that get rolled out again and again when we’re chilling out, sick in bed, or just bored out of our minds. But do our personal top picks match up with the true greats of all time?

Now you can find out. X / Twitter user NikMilanovic has shared a smart chart ‘ranking the best TV shows of all time.’ The methodology sees critic and user scores and votes tallied from aggregate sites including IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and Just Watch to figure out an overall picture of TV’s greatest hits.

And, arguably surprisingly, Apple TV Plus TV show hit Severance has made the cut in a pretty healthy position.

But first… what came out on top?

Innie and Outtie of the top 50 TV shows

It’s a pretty inarguable top tier here — drug-trafficking drama Breaking Bad sits comfortably in first position, followed by Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, The Sopranos, and Band of Brothers. All classics.

But it's position 27 that Apple’s Severance finds itself in, sandwiched between Heartstopper at 26, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia at 28. This is before Severance season 2 even has a release date!

Is the Apple TV Plus show’s position justified, given its run has only lasted a single season so far? Well, according to this list, it’s in good single-season company — Chernobyl was a limited-run series, and The Last of Us hasn’t reached its second season yet either and still makes the cut in position 32. There are a few shows here that definitely are riding on the early success of formative seasons, too — True Detective (position 47) never really reclaimed the magic of its first season, even after making it to season 4. And Lost (position 35) went wacky as it dragged on long after the show’s best period.

There are some huge shows missing here, though — no matter what you think about its later seasons, you can’t deny the global appeal of The Simpsons or the influence of comedies like Curb Your Enthusiasm and South Park. X-Files? I Love Lucy? Both missing. There’s definitely a bias towards drama, live-action, and English-speaking audiences here, while with the single exception of The Twilight Zone, there’s only one show present from before the mid-1980s.

But as a crude subsection analysis of modern TV popular culture, the list is representative of the taste of today. And by its measurement, Apple has a bonafide hit on its hands with Severance. 

The full top 50 TV shows of all time, according to the list, are as follows…

  1. Breaking Bad
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Chernobyl
  4. The Sopranos
  5. Band of Brothers
  6. The Wire
  7. Better Call Saul
  8. Stranger Things
  9. Sherlock
  10. Peaky Blinders
  11. The Twilight Zone
  12. Fleabag
  13. Fargo
  14. House
  15. Friends
  16. Dark
  17. The Office
  18. Succession
  19. Battlestar Galactica
  20. Freaks and Geeks
  21. Mad Men
  22. Narcos
  23. Mind Hunter
  24. Mr. Robot
  25. Black Mirror
  26. Heartstopper
  27. Severance
  28. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  29. The Boys
  30. Seinfeld
  31. Peep Show
  32. The Last of Us
  33. When They See Us
  34. The Mandalorian
  35. Lost
  36. Line of Duty
  37. Deadwood
  38. Mare of Easttown
  39. Hannibal
  40. The Bear
  41. Boardwalk Empire
  42. Atlanta
  43. Vikings
  44. Twin Peaks
  45. The Shield
  46. Happy Valley
  47. True Detective
  48. The Haunting of Hill House
  49. The Americans
  50. Justified

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Gerald Lynch
Editor in Chief

Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 15 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. 

Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar,, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews,, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.

  • Ledsteplin
    I tried watching Severance, but just couldn't get into it. I couldn't follow the story. Maybe it was over my head.
  • Just_Me_D
    Ledsteplin said:
    I tried watching Severance, but just couldn't get into it. I couldn't follow the story. Maybe it was over my head.

    It's weird as heck, but everything falls in place by the end of Season 1. When I initially started watching it, I almost stopped watching it during the first episode, but I was intrigued by it and kept watching. I'm glad I did.

    With that being said, I'm looking more forward to season 2 of 'Silo' than I 'Severance'.