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This TV show has been voted reigning champion of the last 20 years

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Megan Murray
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Hollywood may have reigned supreme once upon a time, but viewers, critics and those in the industry are paying more attention to the small screen than ever before. But, with our TV schedules packed to the brim with powerful female-led dramas (think Big Little Lies, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black, and countless others), it can be hard to know which one to watch first.

Ideally, you’d dedicate your time to the very best show of the lot. So, in a bid to help us do just that, entertainment ratings website Rotten Tomatoes has asked its community of users, to narrow down just one favourite out of the thousands that have been created over the last 20 years.

The results were… well, let’s just say they were surprising.



Yes, cult classics like Friends and Breaking Bad did appear in the overall line-up. However, it was Game of Thrones that walked away with the top spot after scoring a cool 11% of the vote.

Sansa Stark

Sophie Turner playing Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones

Over the last seven seasons of the show, we’ve watched as houses Lannister, Tyrell and Targaryen (to name a few) have fought to sit on The Iron Throne and rule over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. We’ve marveled as Jon Snow has fended off terrifying White Walkers as King of the North, Daenerys has resurrected the long-lost dragons, and countless beloved characters have been bumped off.

Most importantly, though, the show has made a name for itself with its strong, central female characters and important feminist themes, including infertility, mental healthgenital mutilation, cunnilingus, rape, consent, and the patriarchy. Indeed, actors from the show have spoken candidly about her opinion on the shows attitude to women.

In a previous interview with Stylist, Sophie Turner – who plays Sansa Stark – said: “I stand by my view that Game of Thrones is feminist, considering it’s loosely based on the medieval and Tudor times where women didn’t really have much say.

“To give these women voices and the power they have shows to me it is quite a feminist show.”



As much as we love the twisting plotlines and jaw-dropping CGI effects, this in our opinion makes the show an even more worthy winner.

Although Game of Thrones has clearly stolen the hearts of the internet, among the top ten shows there was indeed some stiff competition, with favourites such as The West Wing and Buffy The Vampire Slayer as runners up. 

The top 10 TV shows of the last 20 years as voted by Rotten Tomatoes users:

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. The Big Bang Theory 
  4. Friends
  5. Seinfeld
  6. Law & Order
  7. Downton Abbey
  8. The West Wing
  9. Doctor Who
  10. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The full list lays out the top 40 voted best shows as voted by Rotten Tomatoes users, and does include some other female-centric mentions such as Orange is the New Black which came in at 31 and Sex and the City which ranked 25, but unfortunately no The Handmaid’s Tale - which we can tell you is a firm favourite in the Stylist.co.uk office.

Now excuse us while we settle in for an evening of watching box set-bingeing. 

Images: Rex / NBC

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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