14 Editors on Their Favorite TV Shows of All Time

Going on record to declare your favorite TV show of all time is a bit like naming a favorite child. It’s a big and—as some complained—impossible ask. But we forced our editors to cull their options and really think back to confirm the show that had the biggest impact on their lives. Here, a must-watch list of their top picks.

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gossip girl
The CW

“gossip Girl”

The Editor: Brianna Lapolla

The Reason: “I love that it's so ridiculous (ahem, 15-year-olds at swanky NYC bars?) and also never lacking drama. I was obsessed with Blair, mainly because I'm nothing like her and loved that the characters were my age at the time it aired. It was kind of that dream world you could picture being a part of in another life. And the fashion! I mean, Blair's headbands are still iconic. I regularly re-watch it when I want a pick-me-up.”

The Best Episode: “The very last episode ever because—spoiler alert: if you’ve never seen it—my two favorite characters Chuck and Blair finally get married and it’s so unconventional, but so totally them. (Obviously, there’s a motive behind it.)”



The Editor: Lauren Gniazdowski

The Reason: “It's smart. It's funny. It's about everything and nothing. It's totally absurd. It's supremely quotable. And it’s one of the few shows that actually makes me LOL. I also live for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her portrayal of Elaine Benes. She's a strong, imperfect female heroine, and I'll refer you to this piece about the significance of it all. She is—hands-down—the best part of the show. *does the Elaine dance*”

The Best Episode: “Confession: I usually like to re-watch the series in order. But if I cherry-pick an episode to watch, it's typically ‘The Hamptons,’ ‘The Opposite,’ or ‘The Marine Biologist.’”

beverly hills 90210

“beverly Hills, 90210”

The Editor: Rachel Bowie

The Reason: “It feels silly to say, but this show was my looking glass into high school, college, dating and more at a time when I was angsty and feeling my way through so many coming-of-age experiences. Yes, it was soapy; yes, it was materialistic; but the drama that played out—from the Kelly/Brenda/Dylan plotline to ‘Donna Martin Graduate’—had so much depth and heart. It was appointment TV for me.”

The Best Episode: “I feel like ‘Slumber Party’ when Brenda invites all the gals to spend the night at Casa Walsh was a turning point for me as a viewer. You start the episode feeling like it’s just a replay of Mean Girls, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It really solidified the friendships of of Brenda, Donna, Andrea and Kelly. The show took off from there.”

Amazon Studios


The Editor: Dara Katz

The Reason: “I watched Fleabag at first because I had nothing else to watch and Amazon was pushing it on me. All I knew about the show was what I saw in the thumbnail: Phoebe Waller-Bridge with mascara running down her face. The first couple of episodes hit me like OK, this is very British. But the straight-to-camera asides, flashbacks and fact that the main character’s name is unknown to us—we only know her as Fleabag—hint that there’s something deeper going on. (Spoiler alert: there is.) Once you meet the characters and understand Fleabag’s wit, charm and grief, you will laugh with her, but you will also cry. I was blown away by the pay-off of sticking with this show. There are only two seasons and they each only have six episodes. You could watch it all in a weekend. And you should.”

The Best Episode: “The second season is a masterpiece, but that first episode in season two is…perfect? Also, if you have the chance to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show, which the TV show is adapted from, DO IT.”

mad men

“mad Men”

The Editor: Katherine Gillen

The Reason: “I think I've seen it about seven times start to finish (kidding—kind of). A few (but not all) reasons why I love it: Every character is deeply flawed in some way, but also never past the point of redemption. The historical accuracy is on-point. The look of the show (costumes, set design, etc.) is visually arresting. And even though it's a dramatic period piece, the writing is surprisingly humorous and often absurd.”

The Best Episode: “I couldn't possible pick a single favorite episode, but ‘The Wheel’ (season 1, episode 13) and ‘The Gypsy and the Hobo’ (season 3, episode 11) are two that stand out in my mind. If I had to choose, it might be ‘The Suitcase’ (season 4, episode 7). And don't even get me started on the finale.”

30 rock v2

“30 Rock”

The Editor: Sarah Stiefvater

The Reason: “It's endlessly re-watchable and I find myself quoting it at least four times a week—still. It's so smart and so filled with jokes (seriously—I've seen every episode a minimum of seven times and I still pick up on new ones) and it cemented Tina Fey's status as an absolute legend.”

The Best Episode: “I have to go with season two’s ‘Rosemary's Baby,’ which gave us Carrie Fisher as a nutty writer and the line ‘Never go with a hippie to a second location.’”

30 rock 2

“30 Rock”

The Editor: Jillian Quint

The Reason: “I've watched 30 Rock in its entirety three times in my life. Once, as it was actually airing. Once, in crazy binge-mode after a traumatic breakup. And once over the course of a few months while I was breastfeeding a newborn. All three times were a testament to the power of smart lady humor, and the understanding that dorky, funny women can find a happy ending.”

The Best Episode: “Night cheese!”

the office

“the Office”

The Editor: Rachel Gulmi

The Reason: “Honestly, in today’s world where literally everything has to be so politically correct and super-inclusive, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a show that does kind of the opposite. I know that might be controversial, but people these days are way too serious and it's nice to be able to laugh at this ridiculous and amazing show. Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute are probably two of the best characters on TV. I’m obsessed with the way the show is shot with the confused glances towards the camera every time Michael says something. Each of the characters bring something different to the table. It’s a show I never (and will never) get tired of and I watch it every single day.”

The Best Episode: “‘Dinner Party’ is one of the best episodes of the entire series.”

the comeback

“the Comeback”

The Editor: Phil Mutz

The Reason: “Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish is one of the greatest performances of all time. The fact that it got canceled after season one was a TRAVESTY. Luckily, HBO had the good sense to bring it back 10 years later for a second season. I just don't know if I could decide which I love more—season 1 or season 2.”

The Best Episode: “Lisa Kudrow dressed as a giant cupcake = comedy gold.”



The Editor: Chelsea Candelario

The Reason: “It’s based on the hit UK show and it’s a comedy/drama that never misses a beat. It’s going on its 9th season and it still keeps me on my toes. I’ve been a loyal fan since it aired in 2011 and it was my first Showtime series. There was something about the trailer that intrigued me, so I tuned in every Sunday with my mom (which is rare for many since the show is very NSFW at times). I love how unpredictable the show can be. Every time I think they can’t possibly top last season, they do something completely insane. The Gallaghers are such a dysfunctional yet relatable family that you can’t possibly dislike any of them (especially Frank, who’s an alcoholic and a terrible father, but you grow to love him anyway). There are so many plot lines and arcs that somehow bring the family even closer together.” 

The Best Episode: “There are too many episodes that had my jaw on the floor: Monica dying, Liam accidentally trying drugs, Lip getting kicked out of college, Fiona getting custody of her siblings, Frank passing out basically everywhere in Chicago, must I go on?”

downton abbey

“downton Abbey”

The Editor: Roberta Fiorito

The Reason: “I love being transported to a time and place that’s completely different from my own, and Downton’s upstairs-downstairs premise created a world so beautiful, lavish and proper while also down to earth and real, a true feat to pull off. I also loved that Downton made you feel like part of the family (nanny’s jokes, Lady Mary’s sass, Edith’s stubbornness)...yes, of course I cried at the finale.”

The Best Episode: “Any episode where Maggie Smith had a ton of lines.”

grey s anatomy

“grey’s Anatomy”

The Editor: Greta Heggeness

The Reason: “I’ve watched it since day one and can’t get enough. 16 seasons is no joke. There’s something about Meredith and McDreamy’s love story that gets me every. single. time.”

The Best Episode: “The one where McDreamy dies will forever be a classic. It’s called ‘How to Save a Life.’”

gilmore girls
The CW

“gilmore Girls”

The Editor: Kara Cuzzone

The Reason: “I love Lorelai and Rory's witty banter (and amazing mother-daughter relationship). Watching Rory navigate her high school years helped me get through mine. I love to re-watch episodes when I'm in between Netflix binges.”

The Best Episode: “For me, it’s just the arc of Lorelia and Luke finally getting together. The writers really took their time on making that happen, which made it even better once they finally started dating.”

boy meets world

“boy Meets World”

The Editor: Abby Hepworth

The Reason: Boy Meets World was the first show I ever truly fell in love with and tuned into whenever I could. (I wasn't allowed to watch TV during the school week, so had to catch it on the weekends.) The characters were so lovable and hilarious and felt real in a way that no other characters or show had for me yet. I wanted to be Topanga, thought Eric was quite possibly the funniest person on earth and truly looked up to Mr. Feeny. Even today, I get a warm nostalgic feeling re-watching old episodes. It's like visiting an old friend.”

The Best Episode: “It’s really tough to pick a favorite, but I particularly love the Halloween episode from season 5, ‘And Then There Was Shawn.’ It shows the characters at peak silliness and they just got to have so much fun with it. Plus, who doesn't love a special appearance from Jennifer Love Fefferman?”

Rachel Bowie Headshot

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...