The medium of television has certainly never been stronger than it is today, to the extent that it's often difficult to justify a trip to the cinema when the world of TV can now maintain the same immersive, cinematic, artistic style. The premium production quality of shows on networks such as HBO and AMC has helped attract many of Hollywood's finest performers, to the point that TV is certainly no longer seen as the graveyard where washed-up movie stars go to live out their final days. This list celebrates the 30 greatest TV shows in the history of the medium, those shows that innovated and revolutionised small-screen entertainment, by way of outrageous, ground-breaking concepts, award-winning acting, and ambitious storytelling that toyed with the very idea of exactly what could or couldn't be talked about and shown on TV. Whittling this list down to 30 wasn't easy, but we've tried to include a little of everything: we've got timeless animation, classic sci-fi, shows that were unceremoniously cancelled long before their time should have been up, immaculate period drama, and even a show for kids. That said, there are certainly more than 30 amazing shows out there, so did we miss any of your favourites? Do you object to any of our picks? What about our coveted #1 spot? Let us know in the comments!
30. FuturamaWith our first entry comes immediate proof that Fox don't know a great thing when it smacks them right in the face. Matt Groening's success with The Simpsons gained him the power to branch out with the ambitious animated sci-fi show Futurama, following pizza boy Philip J. Fry, who finds himself awakening 1000 years in the future after being accidentally cryogenically frozen. Futurama came into existence in 1999, just as The Simpsons' quality was beginning to nosedive. Its quirky, geeky tone, outrageous characters and futuristic setting made it an instant hit with viewers, yet Fox ended up essentially cancelling it in 2003, before it was revived by Comedy Central in 2008. With all-time classic episodes of TV such as Jurassic Bark and Luck of the Fryish (both devastating and unexpectedly emotional), and a number of wonderful homages to pop-culture staples such as Star Trek, Futurama cemented itself as not just unmissable animation, but unmissable TV full stop, even if Fox didn't necessarily agree.