The best TV shows, while entertaining, also function as historical references of their respective eras. Even examples such as “Mad Men” – which takes place decades in the past – deliver coded commentary on contemporary trends, in addition to its production values and acting styles. To watch the best TV show released the year you were born is, therefore, to take away certain impressions and anachronisms of that very same year.
Even without historical context or commentary, the best TV shows are generally a pleasure to behold. Classic sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy” or “Seinfeld” are as laughter-inducing now as ever before, regardless of their dated qualities. Along similar lines, Looney Tunes cartoons are essentially timeless and so too is the classic anthology series “The Twilight Zone.” (On the other hand, these are the best tv shows that lasted just one season.)
Then there are the shows that haven’t necessarily aged well but continue to inspire modern adaptations. Examples include “Star Trek: The Original Series” and “The Addams Family,” both of which persist in the culture through assorted incarnations. It all makes for a vast television landscape with no shortage of viewing options. (These are 100 best TV dramas of all time)
To determine the best TV show released the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience rating from the Internet Movie Database. Television shows were ranked based on average IMDb user rating as of January 2022. Only shows with at least two seasons regularly aired in the United States were included. Shows with fewer IMDb user reviews than the average across all shows that premiered in the year the series premiered were excluded from consideration. Data on series run and cast information also came from IMDb. Not enough data was available to rank shows for the 1953 premiere year.
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