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

58. 'Roots'

1977
Roots ran for only eight episodes, but it changed the way America saw its own history – the topic of slavery was an unspeakable taboo in U.S. culture until this miniseries brought the horrifying details to life. Roots set ratings records in January 1977 – a 100 million Americans tuned in live as it followed Alex Haley's family history from Africa to the slave ship to the plantation, without any attempt to water down the violence for mainstream appeal. 

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