Best Emmy-nominated shows of all time

Published 3:36 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Ruby’s Tuna

Best Emmy-nominated shows of all time

The first Emmy Awards show took place at the Hollywood Athletic Club in 1949. Hosted by Walter O’Keefe, tickets to the show were $5, and just six awards were handed out—one of which went to a ventriloquist.

Named after the image-orthicon camera tube, or “immy,” which was instrumental in capturing images for television, the Emmys were created by the Television Academy to award excellence in the television industry. The Emmy Award statue was designed to be a winged woman, representing the arts, holding up an atom, representing science. It was modeled after television engineer Louis McManus’ wife Dorothy McManus. As time went on, the Emmy Award gained acclaim and grew into one of the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry.

In celebration of the Emmy Awards, Stacker compiled a comprehensive ranking of the best Emmy-nominated shows based on IMDb user ratings, with ties broken by votes. Data was sourced in May 2022. All drama, comedy, competition, variety, anthology, and limited series that have been nominated for at least one Emmy and have over 2,500 IMDb user votes were considered in the ranking. Nature documentary series were not considered in this list.

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Over the years, the Emmys have become an awards show where anything might happen. From an impromptu make-out between “Veep’s” Julia Louis-Dreyfus and “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston to an unsuccessful prank to steal Betty Thomas’ award to Viola Davis’ powerful speech on diversity in the entertainment industry—the Emmy Awards have always brought together visionaries and artists with diverse perspectives.

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Group of actors seated in a scene from ‘Six Feet Under.’

Home Box Office (HBO)

#50. Six Feet Under

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2001-2005

The dark HBO series “Six Feet Under” captures the lives of a dysfunctional family who own a funeral home in Los Angeles. Led by Oscar-winning “American Beauty” screenwriter Alan Ball, the show received 23 Emmy nominations in its first season alone. The same year, the series won a Golden Globe for best drama series and a Peabody Award for entertainment.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge looks over her shoulder in a scene from ‘Fleabag.’

Two Brothers Pictures

#49. Fleabag

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2016-2019

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s British dramedy follows Fleabag, a complicated, viciously funny Londoner played by a magnetic Waller-Bridge. While season one explored Fleabag’s trauma, its second season delivered a transcendent and devastating love story as Fleabag falls in love with an attractive priest (Andrew Scott). The Academy took notice, with the second season nominated for 11 Emmy awards and taking home six, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress for Waller-Bridge, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.

Two actors in a scene from Battlestar Galactica.

British Sky Broadcasting

#48. Battlestar Galactica

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2004-2009

“Battlestar Galactica” tells the story of a society obliterated by their android enemies, the Cylons. The last of this society remains to venture forth to the fabled 13th planet: Earth. As a much-loved sci-fi series, it’s no surprise that this show earned several nominations in special effects, but the show also earned a notable number of nominations for its strong writing.

A group of actors in a scene from ‘Rome’.

Home Box Office (HBO)

#47. Rome

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2005-2007

This historic drama set in the last days of the Roman Republic stars Kevin McKidd as Lucius Vorenus, a Roman soldier serving the republic as it transitions to an empire. It features many well-known figures of the Roman era including Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, making it an easy favorite for history buffs. With recurring nominations in costume design, makeup, and visual effects, this show excels at its ability to transport viewers back in time.

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in a scene from ‘The Crown’.

Left Bank Pictures

#46. The Crown

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2016-present

While “The Crown” is most notable for its exorbitant production budget of $130 million, making it the most expensive TV series ever made, the Netflix show has earned its place as a TV heavy hitter. Following the intriguing life of Queen Elizabeth II (played by Claire Foy in the first two seasons and Olivia Colman in the upcoming third season), “The Crown” takes the audience through the difficult ins and outs of navigating royal life. The show’s impressive cast and dedicated following earned it 13 Emmy nominations in 2018, with the show winning five that year.

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Maggie Smith in a scene from ‘Downton Abbey’.

Carnival Film & Television

#45. Downton Abbey

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2010-2015

This BBC creation took the U.S. by storm, quickly gaining a massive cult following from American audiences. This unlikely hit transports audiences back to the post-Edwardian era and into the Grantham family’s sprawling estate, from which the show gets its title. Led by notable British stars including Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville, the show also helped launch the careers of newcomers like Michelle Dockery.

Cast of ‘Mad Men’ in a publicity still.


#44. Mad Men

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2007-2015

A period drama that centers on a 1960s New York City ad agency and its talented (and complicated) employees, “Mad Men” aired on AMC for seven seasons. The show earned dozens of Emmy nominations for its acting, writing, and visual style over the course of its run, but its most significant win came when it took home the trophy for Outstanding Drama Series after its first season, making it the first basic cable program to do so.

Jason Bateman and Will Arnett in a scene from ‘Arrested Development.’

20th Century Fox Television

#43. Arrested Development

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2003-2019

“Arrested Development” follows the misadventures of the Bluth family in Orange County, California. The once-wealthy family faces trouble when its patriarch is charged with a white-collar crime, which leaves them all penniless. Through five seasons and one movie, “Arrested Development” charmed audiences with its somewhat frustrating humor, and it solidified the careers of many of its actors, including Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, and Portia de Rossi.

A scene from the animated series ‘South Park.’

Comedy Central

#42. South Park

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 1997-present

From the comedic minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, this long-running animated series follows the boisterous, troublemaking adventures of foul-mouthed friends Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle. The show often borders on the offensive but has kept viewers engaged by putting a comedic spin on topical political and social issues that are otherwise very serious.

Cast of 'The Boys’ in a publicity still.

Amazon Studios

#41. The Boys

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2019-present

After an avalanche of superhero films and series over the past decade, show developer Eric Kripke swooped in to capture the anti-hero sentiment. The dark show investigates questions like, “What happens when a superhero kills an innocent bystander in the process of saving the city?” and other unaddressed aspects of caped crusading. Karl Urban leads the principal cast. 

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A scene from the animated series ‘The Simpsons.’

20th Century Fox Television

#40. The Simpsons

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 1989-present

Premiering in 1989 and still going strong, “The Simpsons” follows the suburban lives of the Simpson family from Springfield, Illinois, with some offbeat twists and turns. The show is the longest-running, prime-time scripted series in the history of television.

Three actors pose in a scene from ‘The Mandalorian.’

Fairview Entertainment

#39. The Mandalorian

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2019-present

Disney’s first live-action TV show in its ever-growing roster of adventures set in a galaxy far, far away, “The Mandalorian” follows Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and “Baby Yoda”—a colloquial name for the adorable puppet creature that is not actually Yoda but another creature of the same species who is a toddler at age 50. “The Mandalorian” was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series and won several Emmys in the award show’s creative categories, including Visual Effects, Production Design, and Sound Editing.

Actor Hugh Laurie in a scene from ‘House.’

Heel & Toe Films

#38. House

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2004-2012

Actor Hugh Laurie’s highly referenced role as Dr. Gregory House earned him six Emmy nominations. The always-skeptical Dr. House brought the flawed world of medical diagnosis into people’s homes while winning audiences over with his keen sense of humanity.

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in a scene from ‘House of Cards.’


#37. House of Cards

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2013-2018

Based on the BBC series of the same name, this U.S. version follows Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina who is passed over for secretary of state and exacts his revenge with his equally manipulative wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright).

After sexual assault allegations against Spacey surfaced, the show made the executive decision to remove his character from the script, moving Wright into the starring role.

Michael C. Hall in a scene from ‘Dexter.’

Showtime Networks

#36. Dexter

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2006-2013

A show about everyone’s favorite murderer with a heart of gold, “Dexter” made gruesome crime scenes complex and bingeable. Michael C. Hall stars as psychopathic Dexter, a blood-spatter analyst by day and killer of wrong-doers at night. Miami has never looked the same. Hall earned five nominations for his starring role.

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Cast of ‘Stranger Things’ in an episode from the series.


#35. Stranger Things

– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Years on the air: 2016-present

This beloved Netflix show satisfied the country’s craving for ’80s sci-fi kitsch. The story follows a group of childhood friends in a typical Midwestern town, complete with government labs, alternate realities, and monsters.

Isobel Yeung in an episode of ‘Vice.’

Vice Media

#34. Vice

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2013-2018

Each episode of the documentary series “Vice” tells a different story, from bonded laborers to political assassins. Vice Magazine journalists Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi hosted the deep-dive program alongside contributors Ryan Duffy and Thomas Morton. For most of its run, the HBO series earned more Emmy nominations in the news and documentary categories than any other program.

John Hurt with Brian Henson in dog costume in a scene from ‘The Storyteller.’

Henson Associates

#33. The Storyteller

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 1987-1989

This oft-forgotten Jim Henson gem features an old, nameless storyteller (John Hurt) who relays various European folk tales to his talking dog. Like most Henson productions, the children’s show featured a mix of human actors and puppets. The short-lived program originally aired on NBC during “The Jim Henson Hour,” but was rerun on HBO in the ‘90s where it gained a much bigger audience.

Deion Sanders in an episode of ‘30 for 30.’


#32. 30 for 30

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2009-present

It may not have been a hit from the jump, but over the years, ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series has become one of the most successful sports shows on television. Each 60-minute episode highlights a different athlete, game, or moment in sports history, often shining a light on stories frequently overlooked or generally unknown. The original show has done so well that it has spawned a series of spinoffs, shorts, and podcasts that give fans more of the stories they crave.

Anthony Bourdain in an episode of ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.’


#31. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2013-2018

World-renowned chef Anthony Bourdain’s final TV series, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” introduced viewers to unique foods eaten by some of the world’s more unexplored cultures. The travelog won 31 Emmy nominations over the course of its 12-season run, and in 2019 Bourdain earned a posthumous Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series.

The last episode of the show, which was completed after his death, returns Bourdain to his stomping ground on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, resulting in a particularly emotional and poignant episode of TV.

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Dave Chappelle in an episode of ‘Chappelle’s Show.’

Comedy Central

#30. Chappelle’s Show

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2003-2006

Regarded as one of the greatest comedy sketch shows of all time, “Chappelle’s Show” became the avenue through which the world met Dave Chappelle. Known for his boundary-pushing comedy that cuts to the socioeconomic core of America’s racist past and present, Chappelle was nominated for two Emmys for Writing and Outstanding Variety or Comedy Series.

Larry David in an episode of ‘Curb your Enthusiasm.’

Home Box Office (HBO)

#29. Curb Your Enthusiasm

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2000-present

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” took “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David out from behind the camera to spotlight his signature deadpan comedy style. Only winning a couple of Emmys out of its many nominations, what the comedic series lacks in awards, it makes up for in very quotable dialogue.

Brian Cox in an episode of ‘Succession.’

Home Box Office (HBO)

#28. Succession

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2018-present

“Succession” is a satirical comedy-drama about a family fighting each other for control of their massive media and entertainment conglomerate. The series was created by British icon Jesse Armstrong and has won Emmy awards for Outstanding Drama.

Samm Levine and Martin Starr in an episode of ‘Freaks and Geeks.’

Apatow Productions

#27. Freaks and Geeks

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 1999-2000

The show that launched a thousand careers, “Freaks and Geeks” remains a one-season legend. Conceived from the mind of a young Judd Apatow, the series captured the uncomfortable angst and confusion of teens growing up in 1980s suburbia. The cast includes James Franco, Busy Phillips, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Linda Cardellini.

A scene from the animated series ‘Gravity Falls.’

Tornante Company

#26. BoJack Horseman

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2014-2020

Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s animated dramedy “BoJack Horseman” is an imaginative blend of self-deprecation, snappy pop-culture wit, and thorough character development. Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Paul F. Tompkins round out the stacked principal cast, but the series has even more star power in its long list of A-list guests.

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Brendan Hunt, Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein and Nick Mohammed in a scene from ‘Ted Lasso.’

Ruby’s Tuna

#25. Ted Lasso

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2020-present

The ultimate feel-good show, “Ted Lasso” is about an American football coach who moves across the pond to lead a struggling soccer club. His optimistic demeanor and lack of knowledge alienate the professional athletes at first, but his persistence eventually wins them over. When the Jason Sudeikis series was nominated for 20 Emmys after its first season, it broke a record, becoming the most-nominated freshman comedy in Emmy history.

Sherilyn Fenn and Kyle MacLachlan in a scene from ‘Twin Peaks.’

Lynch/Frost Productions

#24. Twin Peaks

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 1990-1991

David Lynch’s iconic first television series follows an FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigates the murder of a young woman in the town of Twin Peaks. Known for its unconventional narrative and surreal tone, this series introduced the masses to what is now David Lynch’s signature filmmaking style.

Members of the cast of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia’ in a scene from the show.

3 Arts Entertainment

#23. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2005-present

This sitcom follows the depraved and scheming exploits of Dee, Mac, Charlie, Dennis, and Frank—a group of friends dubbed “The Gang.” With many of the outlandish, moral-bending plotlines resulting in slapstick humor, it’s not surprising this show earned its Emmy nominations in stunt coordination.

Wagner Moura sits on a swing in a scene from ‘Narcos.’


#22. Narcos

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2015-2017

This Netflix series chronicles the life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and other drug cartels throughout the region. With the rise of the cocaine trade, the cartels gained power they enforced through bloodshed. The series has been followed by another centered on the drug trade in Mexico, titled “Narcos: Mexico.”

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in an episode of ‘Better Call Saul.’

AMC Network Entertainment LLC

#21. Better Call Saul

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2015-2022

An off-shoot of TV sensation “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” follows the life of Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) before the events of “Breaking Bad.” Prior to being Saul Goodman, Walter White’s morally corrupt lawyer, he was small-time lawyer Jimmy McGill just trying to survive in an exploitative world.

While the spinoff gained recognition through the success of “Breaking Bad,” it earned accolades in its own right, pulling in dozens of Emmy nominations over the course of the show.

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Bryce Dallas Howard in an episode of ‘Black Mirror.’


#20. Black Mirror

– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Years on the air: 2011-2019

Netflix’s sci-fi anthology of dystopian, technology-based scenarios earned a cult following with its particular brand of psychological storytelling. From killer robot bees to a cartoon bear elected to office, each episode encapsulates a different fear that audiences didn’t know they had. In 2018, Netflix released a film in addition to the series titled “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” with multiple endings. This was the streaming service’s first foray into interactive entertainment.

Martin Sheen in a scene from ‘The West Wing.’

John Wells Productions

#19. The West Wing

– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Years on the air: 1999-2006

Written by Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin and Emmy-winner Felicia Wilson, “The West Wing” took audiences inside the personal lives of White House staffers in the presidential West Wing. Over seven seasons, the show earned an incredible 95 nominations with 26 wins.

John Oliver in an episode of ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.’

Home Box Office (HBO)

#18. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Years on the air: 2014-present

After earning an Emmy for his work as a writer and contributor on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” John Oliver’s distinct voice got the attention of HBO. The series includes Oliver’s comedically British take on world news from the prior week.

A scene from the animated series ‘Gravity Falls.’

Disney Television Animation

#17. Gravity Falls

– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Years on the air: 2012-2016

The Disney series “Gravity Falls” follows the story of twins who are sent to spend the summer with their great uncle in the mysterious town of Gravity Falls. The animated children’s show has an unlikely star-studded cast, including Jason Ritter and Linda Cardellini.

Jerry Seinfeld in a episode of ‘Seinfeld.’

Castle Rock Entertainment

#16. Seinfeld

– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Years on the air: 1989-1998

A live-action sitcom written by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, “Seinfeld” follows four single friends battling the absurdities of living in New York City. Solidifying the term “New York humor,” the show grew a strong national audience and maintains its devoted following decades later.

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Two actors in a scene from ‘Fargo.’

MGM Television

#15. Fargo

– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Years on the air: 2014-present

Based on the Coen brothers’ feature film of the same name, this anthology series follows various stories of crime that inevitably lead back to Fargo, North Dakota. In fact, the Coen brothers co-produced the series with writer Noah Hawley, who wrote each season to exist in a different era with an entirely new cast and story. The show has featured a number of highly acclaimed actors including Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, Ewan McGregor, and Ted Danson.

Stephen Dorff and Mahershala Ali in a scene from ‘True Detective.’

Home Box Office (HBO)

#14. True Detective

– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Years on the air: 2014-2019

Much like “Fargo,” “True Detective” is a crime anthology series that switches up stories and casts each season. Written and created by Nic Pizzolatto, the HBO series follows detectives over various eras and has earned excellent reviews from critics for its strong casts and unique cinematography. Casts over various seasons have featured Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Mahershala Ali, Woody Harrelson, and Rachel McAdams.

The cast of ‘Friends’ in an episode of the show.

Warner Bros. Television // Getty Images

#13. Friends

– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Years on the air: 1994-2004

With a whopping 62 nominations, “Friends” launched the careers of some of the biggest stars of the 1990s and 2000s, including Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, and Courteney Cox. Throughout all the years since the show has seemingly only gained fans.

Leah Remini in an episode of ‘Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.’

No Seriously Productions

#12. Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Years on the air: 2016-2019

A former member of the Church of Scientology (she joined alongside her family at the age of 9), actress Leah Remini has become an outspoken critic of the divisive movement in recent years. This A&E documentary series digs into the darker side of the religion through the experiences of Remini, her co-host Mike Rinder, and other former members. Each season of the series was nominated for the Outstanding Informational Series or Special Emmy award (it won twice).

An illustration of the comic character ‘Batman.’

Warner Bros. Animation

#11. Batman: The Animated Series

– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Years on the air: 1992-1995

This iconic show from the DC Universe followed the escapades of the dark, moody protagonist, Batman, and his trusty sidekick Robin. While the Batman series of the 1960s largely represented its main characters as campy crime-fighters, this show was praised for its film noir aesthetic and the complexity of its characters.

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Three actors in an episode of ‘Firefly.’

20th Century Fox Television

#10. Firefly

– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Years on the air: 2002-2003

In an odd mashup of genres, “Firefly” is a Western space drama set in the year 2517, when humans have occupied a new star system. It follows the ragtag renegade crew who live aboard a spaceship named Serenity. The show gained accolades for its stunning narrative and its popularity led to the creation of a feature film titled “Serenity.”

Steve Carell seated at desk in a publicity still for ‘The Office.’

NBC Universal Television

#9. The Office

– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Years on the air: 2005-2013

Welcome to the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Under the guidance of branch manager Michael Scott, a group of oddball office workers brings humor (and heart) to the workplace. Shot as a single-camera mockumentary, the show earned itself 42 nominations and launched the comedy careers of huge stars like Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Mindy Kaling.

Actors in an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone.’

CBS Television Network

#8. The Twilight Zone

– IMDb user rating: 9.1
– Years on the air: 1959-1964

With a two-note theme song that instantly makes your heart race and raises the hairs on your neck, “The Twilight Zone” set the precedent for shows that blur the boundaries between horror, sci-fi, and drama. With an impressive 156-episode run, the series has become a prominent part of pop culture.

The cast of ‘Sherlock’ in a publicity still.

Hartswood Films

#7. Sherlock

– IMDb user rating: 9.1
– Years on the air: 2010-2017

This modern update of British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original series of stories stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the ever-perceptive detective Sherlock Holmes. Set in current times, “Sherlock” brings his Victorian-era archetypal detective expertise into today’s forensic landscape. A TV movie titled “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” was also released in relation to the series.

Members of the cast of ‘The Sopranos’ in a publicity still.

Home Box Office (HBO)

#6. The Sopranos

– IMDb user rating: 9.2
– Years on the air: 1999-2007

“The Sopranos” was an iconic precedent-setting drama from HBO that changed how television shows portray nuanced and complex stories with character development that rivals feature films. 2019 marked the show’s 20th anniversary and the announcement of a prequel named “The Many Saints of Newark” starring James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini.

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A scene from the animated series ‘Rick and Morty.’

Harmonius Claptrap

#5. Rick and Morty

– IMDb user rating: 9.2
– Years on the air: 2013-present

After sociopathic scientist Rick Sanchez reunites with his adult daughter and moves in with her family, he takes his grandchildren traveling through alternate dimensions. The adult animated series is created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland and is broadcast on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in a scene from ‘Game of Thrones.’

Home Box Office (HBO)

#4. Game of Thrones

– IMDb user rating: 9.2
– Years on the air: 2011-2019

Based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” “Game of Thrones” took the world by storm. Arguably one of the most iconic shows of the decade, “Game of Thrones” integrated strong visual effects, character development, and sophisticated writing to create cliffhangers that left viewers on the edge of their seats until the following week. With a whopping 160 nominations, the show won 47 Emmys total in its lifetime of airing.

A scene from the animated series ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender.’

Nickelodeon Animation Studios

#3. Avatar: The Last Airbender

– IMDb user rating: 9.3
– Years on the air: 2005-2008

This animated series portrays a world divided into four nations—the Water Tribe, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads—with the Fire Nation hoping to overthrow the other three. The Avatar, who can control all four elements, has disappeared but returns to bring back peace to the world. The Nickelodeon series has become known for its innovative incorporation of the Japanese tradition of anime with Western animation.

Idris Elba, Wood Harris, and Michael Kostroff in a scene from ‘The Wire.’

Home Box Office (HBO)

#2. The Wire

– IMDb user rating: 9.3
– Years on the air: 2002-2008

Created by former police reporter David Simon, “The Wire” portrays the lives of criminals and corrupt police in West Baltimore. The show, which takes on the perspectives of both drug dealers and law enforcement, gained a dedicated following over its five seasons.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in a scene from ‘Breaking Bad.’

High Bridge Productions

#1. Breaking Bad

– IMDb user rating: 9.5
– Years on the air: 2008-2013

The best Emmy-nominated show of all time according to IMDb users is Vince Gilligan’s drama “Breaking Bad.” Following the story of high school-chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin Walter White, “Breaking Bad” introduced viewers to the ultimate antihero of our time. Pushed into cooking meth by the financial burden of his inoperable lung cancer, the series juggles Walt’s unfortunate situation with the moral slippery slope that eventually destroys his life.

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