100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

From time-capsule sitcoms to cutting-edge Peak-TV dramas — the definitive ranking of the game-changing small-screen classics

23. 'Deadwood'

2004-06
Al Swearengen's moral philosophy: "You can't cut the throat of every cocksucker whose character it would improve." Spoken like a true Founding Father. He's the villain of David Milch's epic Western set in the mud and slime of an 1870s South Dakota gold-mining camp. At the center of it all (i.e., the saloon), Ian McShane's Al glowers, pours drinks, counts money and slices jugulars, in a frontier hellhole full of prospectors, whores, drunks and lost freaks looking for one last fatal fight to get into (and often finding it at Al's place). It was like McCabe & Mrs. Miller with more depressing sex scenes. The first two seasons are solid gold, the third, flimsier, but Deadwood is about how communities get built – and all the dirty work that involves. 

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