Chances are you have a favorite TV series—and it’s probably not the same as what your friends would pick. With so many shows to choose from, and so many different tastes, it would be impossible to find one consensus choice. That doesn’t mean some series aren’t more universally well-liked than others, as a poll of Americans’ television tastes found. In fact, based on polling, you can easily determine the most popular TV shows of all time.
We drew our ranking from a YouGov poll, which lists the percentage of respondents who liked any given show. In order to keep things clear, we combined any entries that seemed to be different phrasings of the same series and went with the most likely pick. Did your favorite show make the cut? Read on to find out. And for a ranking of more recent series, these are The 50 Best Netflix Shows Ever, According to Critics.
Before the detectives from Law&Order were solving crimes, it was tough to compete with LAPD homicide detective Frank Columbo, memorably played by Peter Falk.
Laverne&Shirley may have started off as a spin-off of Happy Days, but the winning dynamic between the title characters—Penny Marshall’s Laverne and Cindy Williams’ Shirley—made it a hit of its own. And for some more recent favorites, revisit these 20 Beloved TV Shows You Won’t Believe Are 20 Years Old.
Mork and Mindy
Another Happy Days spin-off that found major success outside of the original series, Mork and Mindy let audiences fall in love with Robin Williams, who played an alien from the planet Ork.
The Brady Bunch
The pinnacle of ’70s nostalgia, The Brady Bunch was the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls—and, well, you know the rest. And for a look back at the grooviest decade, check out these 50 Things Only People Who Lived in the 1970s Will Remember.
Everybody Loves Raymond
With 210 episodes airing over the course of nine seasons, Everybody Loves Raymond‘s title might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Leave It to Beaver
Few series capture quintessential 1950s Americana like Leave It to Beaver, a very wholesome look at the Cleaver family and youngest son Theodore—better known as “The Beaver.”
Married… with Children
On the less wholesome end of the spectrum, there’s the Bundy family, led by Ed O’Neill’s Al and Katey Sagal’s Peggy. And for more series that ran for many years, these are The 40 Longest-Running American TV Shows of All Time.
All in the Family
Dealing with the controversial issues of the day, All in the Family was a vehicle for creator Norman Lear’s incisive social commentary, filtered through the bigoted mouth of Archie Bunker.
The longest-running scripted primetime series of all time, The Simpsons has aired nearly 700 episodes about everyone’s favorite yellow-hued family.
Seinfeld changed the course of the modern sitcom by being a “show about nothing,” focusing on life’s little annoyances and finding plenty of fans along the way. And for more fun content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Little House on the Prairie
Based on the autobiographical book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie ran for nearly a decade, starring Melissa Gilbert as Laura herself.
Skeptic Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) teamed up with alien enthusiast Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) in this long-running sci-fi series that spawned two feature films and a disappointing reboot.
Archie Bunker would be sour to learn that audiences preferred The Jeffersons, a spin-off of All in the Family in which the titular family moved on up to the East Side from Queens.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Starring Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was groundbreaking for centering an independent, unmarried female character in the ’70s.
America’s Funniest Home Videos
From Bob Saget to Tom Bergeron to Alfonso Ribeiro, America’s Funniest Home Videos has showcased the best and worst of embarrassing physical comedy caught on camera for the past 30 years.
Given how mean the title character of Dr. Gregory House was, it’s impressive that Americans still rate this series so highly—a testament to star Hugh Laurie’s undeniable charm.
Sorry, The Simpsons: When it comes to all primetime shows (including unscripted series), 60 Minutes—which has been airing since 1968—is the longest-running.
Sanford and Son
Another Norman Lear series that earned kudos for tackling tough subject matter, Sanford and Son was also hugely influential as a Black-led sitcom, predating The Jeffersons by a few years.
Whether they’re fans of the children’s books, the ’80s series, or the current iteration, Americans can’t get enough of this inquisitive ape and his keeper, The Man with The Yellow Hat.
The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
You might have a current favorite talk show host, but it’s tough to beat Johnny Carson, who defined the genre for the majority of Americans.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The Master of Suspense made plenty of critically-acclaimed films, but Alfred Hitchcock also gave us this spooky anthology series that ran from 1955 to 1965.
The Price Is Right
It’s not surprising that a large number of Americans rate The Price Is Right as one of their favorite shows when so many of us grew up watching it while home from school on sick days.
While the still-running Special Victims Unit might get most of the attention nowadays, it doesn’t get much better than the O.G. Law&Order, a formative procedural series.
The Addams family may have been creepy and kooky, but the Munsters are ultimately more beloved when it comes to American audiences.
Produced during the golden age of American animation, Looney Tunes introduced some of pop culture’s most enduring characters: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, and, of course, Bugs Bunny.
The Beverly Hillbillies
Before the Jeffersons moved on up, the Clampett family struck oil and headed to Beverly Hills to start a new life for themselves in this iconic sitcom.
Another game show that’s delighted audiences for decades, Family Feud now gets a lot of attention for the show’s hilariously wrong answers—and host Steve Harvey’s priceless reactions.
Tim Allen starred as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on this family sitcom that made him one of the most famous actor-comedians of the ’90s.
From Sherwood Schwartz, creator of The Brady Bunch, came this equally kitschy series about a gang of castaways trying and failing to escape the island where they’ve been shipwrecked.
The workplace sitcom may have peaked with Cheers, thanks to the memorable characters and the will-they-or-won’t-they romance between Ted Danson’s Sam Malone and Shelley Long’s Diane Chambers.
With the twitch of her nose, witch Samantha could make magic happen, and Elizabeth Montgomery cast a spell on audiences in the role.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
This fish-out-of-water comedy helped make Will Smith a household name, and gave us one of the greatest theme songs of all time.
Given that its most popular spin-offs made the list, it’s only fair that Happy Days—Garry Marshall’s nostalgic look at the ’50s and ’60s—earns its due.
Based on the Robert Altman film of the same name, M*A*S*H is best known for expertly blending comedy and drama, and for its record-breaking series finale.
One of the most famous TV characters of all time isn’t little Timmy, but his dog, a Collie named Lassie who always saves the day.
The Carol Burnett Show
Carol Burnett is best known for this series that bears her name, which had incalculable influence on the sketch comedy and variety shows that followed.
Wheel of Fortune
The gameplay is simple, but audiences have never tired of watching Vanna White turn those letters as contestants spin that wheel.
I Dream of Jeannie
When it comes to fantasy heroines, it turns out American audiences favor Barbara Eden’s genie Jeannie over Bewitched‘s witch Sam.
The Golden Girls
Thank you for being a friend, The Golden Girls, a series that reminded audience how funny, vibrant, and, yes, promiscuous, older women could be.
The Muppet Show
Jim Henson’s Muppets have appeared in plenty of movies and TV series over the decades, but they were never better served than in this classic variety show.
The Andy Griffith Show
Just whistle the theme to The Andy Griffith Show, and you’ll find yourself transported back to a simpler time and the idyllic town of Mayberry.
Misters Rogers’ Neighborhood
Where would so many of us be if we hadn’t been taught important lessons of friendship and compassion by Fred Rogers on the formative Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?
The Twilight Zone
Endlessly imitated, parodied, and rebooted, there’s nothing quite like the original Twilight Zone, Rod Serling’s anthology series that included potent morals amid its fantasy and horror.
In retrospect, The Jetsons‘ view of the 2060s seems remarkably dated, but the show colored the way a lot of us thought about the future—which is why we’re still upset about the lack of flying cars.
The Bugs Bunny Show
It’s not just Looney Tunes that people love, and the character of Bugs Bunny—created in the late 1930s—has had particularly long-lasting appeal.
Another childhood staple, Sesame Street introduced iconic characters like Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Grover alongside essential lessons—lessons it’s still teaching now, in its 50th season on the air.
I Love Lucy
One of the most remarkable things about I Love Lucy is how funny the show is, which speaks to the impeccable comic timing and real-life chemistry of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, not to mention the great writing.
Trivia buffs and not-quite-buffs have found themselves hooked on Jeopardy! over the years, whether because of the fun categories, the quirk of answering in the form of a question, or the deadpan style of host Alex Trebek.
Tom and Jerry
The simplicity of the (quite literal) cat-and-mouse game between Tom and Jerry has made the cartoon series one of TV’s most enduring classics.
The most popular show ever among American audiences: The Flintstones, which was made in the ’60s, inspired by a ’50s sitcom, and set in the Stone Age. Talk about timeless.