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The top TV show from the year you were born

From The Golden Girls to Friends and Game of Thrones, there's always one television series that stands out for a particular reason each year

Anjelica Oswald
Insider
Tuesday 15 August 2017 13:30 BST
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Woody Harrelson in Cheers
Woody Harrelson in Cheers

There's too much good television.

It's hard to keep up with every new or returning show, but some shows stand out each year, whether it's a particular season or a strong debut.

George Clooney won hearts on ER, the dysfunctional folks at Dunder Mifflin made The Office memorable, and Game of Thrones is still one of the best shows on TV.

Aiming to name a different programme every year, we used Nielsen ratings, award nominations, and our own takes to choose the most popular show airing on TV from every year since 1967.

Here are the most popular shows from every year you were born:

1967: “The Andy Griffith Show”

The eighth and final season of Andy Griffith took place during the 1967-1968 TV season, and it rated No. 1.

1968: “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

The Andy Griffith Show spin-off ranked No. 2 during its final year.

1969: “Bonanza”

This Western hit consistently rated high, usually between No. 1 and No. 3 on the ratings.

1970: “Gunsmoke”

Gunsmoke

It ran for 20 seasons, from 1955 to 1975, and was No. 2 in 1970.

1971: “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

The second season ranked No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings.

1972: “All in the Family”

The hit show premiered in 1971 and resulted in numerous spin-offs and was the highest-rated show for five seasons.

1973: “Hawaii Five-O”

The show earned an Emmy nomination for best drama in 1973 and was at its height during season five.

1974: “M*A*S*H”

A spin-off from the movie, the show ran from 1972 to 1983, and it ranked at its highest in 1974 at No. 4.

1975: “Sanford and Son”

The groundbreaking show ran from 1972 to 1977 and ranked No. 2 from 1974 to 1975.

1976: "Happy Days”

Henry Winkler as Fonzie in 1970's sitcom Happy Days (Getty) (Getty Images)

Happy Days became the No. 1 programme in 1976.

1977: “Laverne & Shirley”

The sitcom became No. 1 in its second year.

1978: “Mork & Mindy”

Robin Williams in 1980 with Pam Dawber, his co-star in the Mork and Mindy TV series (Rex)

The hit show was a Happy Days spin-off and hit No. 1 in the ratings by its second season.

1979: “Three's Company”

The show ran from 1977 to 1984 and became No. 1 in 1979.

1980: “Dallas”

The soap opera was filled with drama during its 1978-1991 run and became the highest-rated in 1980.

1981: “The Jeffersons”

The show had 11 seasons from 1975 to 1985 and reached No. 3 in 1981.

1982: “Magnum, P.I.”

Tom Selleck played a private investigator in the series that ran from 1980 to 1988, and it consistently rated in the top 10.

1983: “The A-Team”

The action series premiered in 1983 and was quickly on its way to No. 1.

1984: “Dynasty”

The soap opera hit its stride in its fifth season.

1985: “Murder, She Wrote”

The crime show ran from 1984 to 1996 and began to dominate the ratings in 1985.

1986: “Family Ties”

Michael J. Fox won three Emmy awards for lead actor in a comedy from 1986 until 1988.

1987: “The Golden Girls”

The ladies were a hit from 1985 to 1992 and won best comedy series at the Emmys in 1987.

1988: “A Different World”

The Cosby Show spin-off was a hit on its own.

1989: “Roseanne”

Roseanne was an instant hit and went straight to the top of the ratings.

1990: “Cheers”

Woody Harrelson in Cheers

Cheers ran from 1982 to 1993 and hit its stride in 1990.

1991: “Murphy Brown”

The journalism sitcom ran from 1988 to 1998 and broke CBS records in 1991.

1992: “The Larry Sanders Show”

The influential sitcom started in 1992 and consistently received high ratings.

1993: “Home Improvement”

The show was a success during its 1991-1999 run and its 1993-1994 season was a huge part of it.

1994: “Seinfeld”

The cast of Seinfeld (George Lange/NBCU Photo Bank)

Seinfeld finally hit No. 1 in its sixth season.

1995: “ER”

ER was a smashing success and consistently ranked No. 1.

1996: “NYPD Blue”

It ran from 1993 to 2005 and had one of its best seasons in 1996, ranking in the top 10.

1997: “The X-Files”

The drama hit its stride in later seasons and hit its peak in 1997.

1998: “Frasier”

The show started as a spin-off from Cheers and was at No. 3 on the Nielsen ratings.

1999: “The Sopranos”

The Sopranos (HBO)

The show was groundbreaking when it debuted in 1999.

2000: “The West Wing”

The show won four Emmys in a row for best drama starting in 2000.

2001: “Will & Grace”

Will & Grace was a beloved sitcom and TV’s highest-rated sitcom among adults ages 18 to 49 from 2001 through 2005.

2002: “Friends”

By the end of season eight, Friends was the most-watched TV programme.

2003: “Arrested Development”

The Bluth family earned five Emmys for the first season.

2004: “Desperate Housewives”

The drama went on for eight seasons after its 2004 premiere, which was ABC's most popular debut.

2005: “Lost”

Between the season one finale discovery of the hatch and the subsequent explorations on season two, 2005 was a good year and followed its 2004 popularity.

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2006: “The Office”

Season three of the comedy was acclaimed by critics.

2007: “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

Curb Your Enthusiasm's sixth season aired in 2007 and was consistently ranked high.

2008: “The Wire”

The critically-acclaimed show wrapped in 2008 with sensational reviews.

2009: “Mad Men”

The third season was universally acclaimed.

2010: “Parks & Recreation”

The second season established Parks & Rec as one of the best shows, even though it wasn't necessarily the best critically.

2011: “Game of Thrones”

Games of Thrones (HBO)

The hit HBO show premiered in 2011, and while its ratings weren't the best, the show established itself as a front-runner for years to come.

2012: “Homeland”

Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin were stunning on season two, which received high praise.

2013: ”Breaking Bad'

One of the best shows of the decade ended in 2013 with a near perfect critic's score.

2014: “The Leftovers”

Even though other season of the The Leftovers were higher rated, the debut was astounding and set the bar for what was to come.

2015: “Fargo”

Season two was incredible with a 96 rating on Metacritic.

2016: “Atlanta”

Atlanta was a standout, proven by its high ratings and awards, including a nomination for Critics' Choice and an Emmy.

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