The requirements are:
Minimum 5 years, only 1 jump the shark moments, has to be a continuous plot (this eliminates shows like Fargo, True Detective)
#5 – Lost
This was prior to DVR so missing a show and you were SOL. It barely survived the Jump the Shark requirement, barely. This is the only show that was on major network television, probably the first show that had its own Wiki set up for it, and had a spin-off show to discuss the show. There were some great characters, but it came down to Jack vs Sawyer. Which guy was your guy? I ended up with Jack but man could he be a whiny bitch.
#4 – The Americans
Unbelievable show, so underrated. Set during the cold war 1980’s, secret Soviet spies living in Washington DC. Keri Russel, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich knocked it out the park. The more I write, the more I want to move this up. Zero jump the shark moments that I recall and a really solid ending. If this would have gone 7 or 8 seasons, it had the potential for #1.
#3 – Mad Men
I literally started drinking Manhattans, Old Fashions and eating big steak dinners because of this show. Be it Don Draper, Roger Sterling, or even fucking Pete, this show was it. Some interesting twists and turns kept it hot and really made you want to go back to the 50’s and 60’s on some nights. Incredible writing and character development.
#2 – The Wire
Probably #1 or #2. Nothing beats The Wire, except BB…maybe. A semi-realistic set of inner-city Baltimore from the late 90’s. Besides season #2, which wasn’t good, it was must-see TV. What guy are you Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell, or Marlo? Gotta be Stringer Bell. Favorite character has to be Omar – You come at the king, you best not miss.
#1 – Breaking Bad
Tough call, #1 or #2. Breaking Bad goes #1 because of season #2 of the Wire. Breaking Bad had zero bad seasons and realistically zero bad episodes. Incredible writing, with plot points connecting through out the seasons. Things that happened in season #1 came back other seasons and vice versa. It was a web of interlocks that hasn’t been pulled off since. The ending did it self justice. The acting was top notch with Bryan Cranston, Bob Odenkirk Dean Norris, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Jonathan Banks, and even Todd! That list goes on and on. Take a bow all the writers and cast, you are #1.