The Top Ten TV Shows Of All Time

Last week we posed the question: What Is The Best TV Show Of All Time? and asked you guys to cast your vote from a lengthy shortlist (longlist?) we came up with. After receiving an aggregate total of 1,416 votes (from the poll on this website and scores tallied via a Facebook poll), we’ve collated the data* and come up with the Top Ten TV Shows Of All Time as voted by you.

*Please note by ‘collated’ we really mean ‘arranged in descending order the shows that got most votes and the number of votes those shows got’. No thorough analysis has been performed on the data due to time constraints, my own poor abilities in statistical analysis, and what was referred to in the Nineties as “care factor”.

Check out the result below, followed by some observations and notes.

Total Votes in The Top Ten

The Breakdown


Seinfeld was the runaway winner.

Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s beautiful and hilarious creative lovechild about ‘nothing’ took out more than 24% of allocated votes in the Top Ten. Turns out we all love spending time with Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer. Their idiosyncrasies and their take on everyday, mundane situations have stood the test of time. Seinfeld has had a resurgence in the past few years thanks to the DVD release, as well as the advent of the torrent shop. A critical favorite, commercial blockbuster and cultural phenomenon, Seinfeld, quite simply is the best television program of all time. Well played, voters.

While Seinfeld clearly dominated, there was only 11 votes separating the shows which were ranked second and third: 22-year-old animated procedural The Simpsons (14.964% of votes) pipped the – disgracefully short lived – cult-like serial about family dysfunction, Arrested Development (13.381% of votes).

Voters steered more toward comedy rather than drama with seven of the Top Ten ranked shows designed for laughs (we don’t include Buffy The Vampire Slayer as it leans more toward sci-fi/comedy/drama than strictly comedy).

The Wire was the highest ranked drama taking out the fifth spot. This leads us to purport that several voters either enjoy regular bouts of ABC2, or else get a lot of their television watching done through Civic Video or the torrent shop. It also means you are pretty cool with liberal use of language. I like the part where he says ‘fuck’.

American made television dominated the votes taking out 16 of the Top 20 voted spots. The other 4 were British shows. What- no Neighbours or Home & Away?

Incidentally, the shows that voters ranked 11-20 were also ‘comedy-heavy’, with some more cult-ish programming making an appearance in the form of Twin Peaks, The Mighty Boosh and Black Books.

There’s so many problems with the validity of this data I don’t know where to start.

Human Error: When we made the initial short list (which you can view here) there were a few very embarrassing omissions. To start with, we somehow forgot about Alan Ball’s phenomenal, game-changing mortality drama Six Feet Under. And, as one commenter, David Barrett pointed out: “This is a very Gen Y list.” Indeed. We also forgot about some classics like The Young Ones and Monkey Magic.

“Why don’t you like me?”

F.R.I.E.N.D.S wtf: Another show that we had kind of intentionally left off was the insanely popular 1990’s show Friends – which we were reminded of by a lot of commenters. Truthfully, after some conversation we didn’t really believe Friends has stood the test of time – the jokes have aged very poorly and Ross is a hugely punchable wet blanket. However, you’ll notice that the show that launched a million haircuts actually made the Top Ten. Here’s why…

Facebook: The Facebook poll generated a lot of votes but the controls were minimal. Unlike the Pedestrian.TV poll, we could only make a shortlist of 10 programs and the rest were added by you, the voters. This proved problematic – i.e. it resulted in the inclusion of shows like The Big Bang Theory???

In a way, that actually had a positive impact on the reliability of the data as being representative of Pedestrian’s readers because it gave us a better idea of voters’ true choices…

But! On the other hand this also increased the potential for unreliable votes. I’m fairly certain that Hommer Simpson (1 vote) and poopoo (1 vote) are not legitimate nominations.

Despite all it’s faults and questionable results, I think we can all agree that the poll was successful in revealing the TV show that has had a greater impact on our culture than any other. Seinfeld is a genuine original and truly post-modern. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Seinfeld is one television show that we would happily put in a time capsule to represent us a thousand years from now. It’s not about gimmicks or art or driving plotlines. It’s about… nothing.