TV Guide Compiles the Top “Cult” Shows of All-Time

Written by: Michael Hickerson (SoSF Staff Journalist)

Three years ago, TV Guide gave us their top 25 cult shows of all-time. Now, the magazine is back with 30 of the top cult shows of all-time. *New entries on the list include Jericho, Stargate SG-1 and other hit shows. Here’s their list.

30 – Strangers with Candy (1999-2000)*
29 – Abolutely Fabulous (1994-2003)
28 – Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007)*
27 – H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-1971)
26 – Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1975-1978)
25 – Firefly (2002-2003)*
24 – Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
23 – Dark Shadows (1966-1971)
22 – Doctor Who (1963-present)
21 – Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

20 – The Avengers (1966-1969)
19 – Quantum Leap (1989-1993)
18 – Veronica Mars (2004-2007)*
17 – Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990)
16 – Babylon 5 (1994-1998)
15 – Family Guy (1999-present)
14 – Battlestar Galactica (2003-present)*
13 – Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1989-1999)
12 – Jericho (2006-present)*

10 – Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)
9 – Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
8 – The Simpsons (1989-present)
7 – The Prisoner (1967-1968)
6 – Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974)
5 – Lost (2004-present)*
4 – Farscape (1999-2003)
3 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
2 – The X-Files (1993-2002)
1 – Star Trek (1966-1969)

Looking at the list, I must respectfully disagree with the high placement of Jericho. Yes, they had their letter writing campaign that saved the show, but I think TV Guide is giving in to the current, popular sentiment for the show. Any list that has Jericho higher than Doctor Who — a show that will be remembered and probably still be running five years from now doesn’t hold much water with me.

Also, while I love Lost, I’m not sure it should rate in the top five… ten yes.

Anyway, I’m sure everyone will have their own comments about not only the list but my blind-love for my favorite Time Lord.

Jump on in and let’s discuss!


  1. Hy Tang says

    I have to agree with Michael about Doctor Who, it should be much higher on the list.

    They are missing The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (Bruce Campbell rocks!) and South Park.

  2. raul says

    this list a joke
    i mean seriously pee wee’s playhouse over doctor who or even jericho?
    give me a break.

  3. Alisa says

    If you look at the year (1963-present) they are including all of Dr. Who. I didn’t learn about Dr. Who until I was old enough to stay up late on a Saturday night after midnight. If Dr. Who was shown at a time where more people could watch it, it might have a far larger following and maybe even be higher on the list than it is. I don’t count Pee Wee’s Playhouse because it was a Saturday morning kids show. I don’t consider it a cult classic. However, I am please to see Dark Shadows and The Avengers on that list. I would watch Dark Shadows whenever I was sick and home from school or during the summer. The Avengers I would watch because I like Patrick McNee and I was getting interersted in James Bond, though I was catching the show when it was in syndication. I also would watch Monty Python’s Flying Circus and loved that as well. Except for Dark Shadows, all of those shows I mentioned were shown after 10:00 PM, and Friday and Saturday nights were the only nights I could stay up late (as a kid). I am glad those shows are being released on DVD so I can enjoy them again (Dark Shadows will be released in July).



  4. lisa in Indiana says

    My definition of a “Cult Favorite” is a show that if you talk to 100 people, only 10 of them would even know what the show was. But if you meet somebody and they actually loved, let’s say, Firefly, you know you’ve met a kindred spirit and the two of you have an instant connection. By that definition, The Simpsons doesn’t even belong on this list since everybody knows what that show is about even if they don’t watch it. But mention HR Puff’n’Stuff and most people will look at you funny. If by chance you meet another fan of that show, the 2 of you go out for a beer and talk all night. You might even propose marriage.

    This is a dumb list.

    • James says

      HR Puff and Stuff, where you go when things get rough… that stupid song… along with the Bugaboos and Sigmund the Seamonster

  5. says

    I agree with Alisa about Dark Shadows. Definitely glad to see that one make it on the list. I would love watching it, soap opera or not. Jonathan Frid made that show well worth the one hour a day I spent on it. The best Dracula type since the man himself – Bela Lugosi.

  6. says

    I think they needed to add a nod to the 1978 version of Battlestar Galactica under #14 because without its “die hard” fans we would not have seen the Moore/Eick version.

  7. says

    Does Soap qualify as a cult favorite? If Twilight Zone is on the list, how does Outer Limits not make it on the list? Or Night Gallery? Wouldn’t My So-Called Life and Arrested Development be true cult favorites?

    Hell, I’d put The Pretender on there over The Simpsons any day.

  8. says

    The “joy” of lists like this is that no two people will ever agree on all of what should be on it.

    That said, I kind of agree with Summer in that I’m not sure how cult-like the Simpsons is since it’s such a big mainstream hit. I’d say Futurama is more deserving of the cult status than The Simpsons.

  9. Mark in St. Louis says

    I have to agree with lisa‘s definition of “cult classic”. That being said, I think “Lost” would be off the list, too. Yeah, it’s sort of sci-fi, but almost anyone you talk to would at least know about it.

    Also, I had the same thought as Summer about “Soap”. I love that show!

  10. says

    Does any1 know when the original Air Date/Broadcast Date was for Quantum Leap in Australia?.

    I know we are at least 6months behind, it would of been way after it Aired in May of 1989 in the USA, but i cant remember when this 1 actually came on here.


  11. Melissa says

    Have to Love Veronica Mars, wished it got into at least top 10, with all the others, were just great as well, i just dont think things like the simpsons, or family guy belong in such a list. VERONICA MARS is one of those shows that will never get truely appreciated by it’s viewers, because, people are,(Most are not too bright) & need things spilled out for them, while Veronica Mars Insisted on being intelligent. Which was it’s downfall. While even Stephen King& critics alike praised it, Even Josh Wheadon, whos show came no.3, said it was his favourite show. Yes.. i am long winded. Just really wanted to get that off my chest..

  12. Shawn says

    I’m pleased with Buffy;s number. My favorite show of all time. Joss Whedon is a genious. I also really love Veronica Mars.

  13. Nikos says

    Great to see Star Trek and The X-Files in the first and second place, they are the best cult shows of all time! I also think that Lost is too high on the list, I believe its cult following will drop as the show will go off air.

  14. Kailee says

    Yay, Buffy!!!!! Tottaly deserves it’s high placing, my favorite show ever. If you look past the weird and off-putting name and the less-than-stellar first season, its the most AMAZING show ever!

  15. Dylan says

    well this is a ridiculous list…. why is Stargate SG-1 and firefly so low? those are probably some of the most cultist shows ever! both of those shows should of at least of been in the top 10 positions along with B5 and doctor who. not to mention 4 of the shows on this list aren’t even cult hits (lost, family guy, the Simpsons)

  16. Will loves Dr. Who and Farscape says

    Ok Doctor who is my favourite show of all time but you can;t really consider this icon of British and Sci-fi tv to be cult, a cult show is somethign that not everybody knows. Personally I think Farscaep should be number one because it has aloyal but limited fanbase and btw where’s Red Dwarf?

  17. Louis says

    .. hum .. cult show .. for me, star trek, doctor who, outer limits and twillight zone are the 60s favorites.. space 1999, oscar and felix and the little house on the prairie are the favorites in the 70s, what about ‘Dallas’.. ya sure its a soap.. a cult show i think too… anyway then the stargate franchise is beginning to be a cult today.. when u say star trek you think of the most cult show ever because its still running full time somewhere, on the net … 45 years that show runs people.. but for let say Jericho.. first aired in 2006.. so 5 years.. hum. a cult show.. i dont think so.. being ‘cult’ the show must run at least everyday for at least 20 years. (‘My definition’) …. thank you all… ho can we say what are the best cult cinema nights too…. in the 70s – CBS late night at the cinema.. great movies… bye

  18. david says

    While I disagree with many of the choices made and placement of them on the list, probably caused by a general disagreement on what “cult” exactly engenders, it is sad that the short lived PBS show, which covers probably the oldest cult following in history, something around 100 years +, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, did not make the list.


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