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What are the Top Cult TV Shows of All Time?

Some TV shows have fans. Others have fanatics. They dissect every moment of the series, learn to speak Klingon, even send tons of nuts to the network when they hear their show is in danger. Those are the cult shows, and TV Guide has just released its updated list of the top 30 cult shows of all time.

It's a broad list, spanning comedy ("Absolutely Fabulous"), drama ("Freaks and Geeks") and sci fi ("Star Trek," unsurprisingly taking the No. 1 spot). I always think of "cult" shows as being low-rated and obsessed over by only a very small group, but the TV Guide list takes a broader definition, putting "Lost" and "The Simpsons" on the list. At first, I was taken aback — can a cult show also be one of the most popular shows on TV? — but then I thought about all the "Lost" backwards scenes I've watched and all the times I've been stuck in a car with people who only speak in "Simpsons" quotes, and I decided they deserved their spots.

But on the other hand, there were some pretty surprising exclusions. I think "The Office" has all the hallmarks of a cult show: It's low-rated, but you'd never know it from the way its fans obsess over it, and I think having a convention automatically qualifies a show as cult-like. "My So-Called Life," which made the first list three years ago, has apparently "not withstood the test of time" — though given the reaction to the news of a DVD release, I bet some of you would beg to differ. "Arrested Development" has a particularly devoted, die-hard fan base that continues to mourn the show long after its cancellation — words that could also apply to "The State" and "Kids in the Hall."

Which shows do you think qualify for cult status? To see TV Guide's full list,

*Denotes newcomer to the list

30) Strangers with Candy (1999-2000)*
29) Absolutely 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) Pee-Wee's Playhouse (1986-1991)
11) 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)

"Star Trek," "Absolutely Fabulous" and "Lost" photos Source

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Join The Conversation
schoolgirl867869 schoolgirl867869 7 years
Sad :( with the level of Firefly seriously 25 I mean I watched it and a week later I had convinced 10 people to watch it and they had become obsessed with it! I love Firefly so much I own a Jayne Hat have a cafepress shop dedicated to it and a website!!!!
veronicaraye veronicaraye 8 years
SEX & the CITY!!!
elanakat elanakat 8 years
ok The Office definitly sooo should be there! There is a huge cult following and I am one of them! And of course Arrested Development!!! am happy they included Lost though totally agree with that one!
alillee alillee 8 years
omg South Park should be on this list!
mcmcgoogles mcmcgoogles 8 years
I'm glad Veronica Mars is here -- any show with fans (myself included) insane enough to rent a plane to save the show, as well as sending pounds upon pounds of mars bars and marshmallows deserves cult status!!
MeRsal MeRsal 8 years
No way Lost should be in the 1st place!!!
MissEnglish07 MissEnglish07 8 years
I saw someone say they miss "Dead Like Me".... I think that was a great show, too, though not big enough to have a cult following. Having said that, it is so reassuring to see many shows that I love on this list. And of course, Star Trek is in my top list, too. My friends think I am crazy, but what do they know? :p
amz amz 8 years
word - both "the state" and "kids in the hall" should be on here. but "buffy" is definitely my favorite, so i'm glad it's #3.
NOLA2SoCal NOLA2SoCal 8 years
Oh Sienfeld too!
NOLA2SoCal NOLA2SoCal 8 years
Matlock!!! Quantum Leap, MaGyuver, and duh, Sex and the City!!!
Un-Jour-ici Un-Jour-ici 8 years
Dead Like Me is a HUGE cult show. It had such an underground uprising that it was put on Sci-Fi and it is now getting a straight to DVD movie made!!! (It is also the best show that was ever made :-( RIP DLM.) Also- Arrested Development.
jewelsugar jewelsugar 8 years
Undeclared, Arrested Development, and Sealab 2021 should all be on here. Definitely agree with Freaks and Geeks as well as Battlestar Galactica and Monty Python!
Lorelei-Spirit Lorelei-Spirit 8 years
My So-Called Life should be on that list...
buffyrulez buffyrulez 8 years
Buffy on 3rd place!!! i agree. it could be even higher!
katygirlthing katygirlthing 8 years
spock!
ikitty13 ikitty13 8 years
BUFFY! Yeah it should be #2. Buffy rocks ...."spuffy forever!"
buffybot buffybot 8 years
I agree brunettefury, I'm just glad it's on there. But obviously it should be number 1! :)
Phil Phil 8 years
I just have to geek out and say that we obsessed AD fans call ourselves Devotees, par Ron Howard's narration in the season 3 episode "Fakin' it." Howard speaks of Michael's on stage litigation in the school play "The Trial of Captain Hook" which first appeared on the season 2 episode "Altar Egos." *adjusts glasses*
MeRsal MeRsal 8 years
I'm a big fan of Lost and mathew fox
brunettefury brunettefury 8 years
Buffy at #3 is fine by me! I might just have low standards but that's pretty good. On some lists it doesn't even make it that high. I'm so easy to please lol.
malzie89 malzie89 8 years
ohhh i loved buffy. such amazing writing and acting...i have the whole series on dvd..lol im such a dork...but i love smg
Performita Performita 8 years
my list would look like this: (only first 10. ) 1. STAR TREK - The CULT and the way of living :D I am a Trekkie 2. DYNASTY/DALAS (Biggest Soap operas of all times and the role model for other shows) 3. Monty Pyton's FC (More than a cult) 4. Alo-ALo - (guess this is our Euro-Cult :P ) 5. Only fools and horses - (again European cult) 6. Dr House - (It's new but it is becoming a cult) 7. Sex and the city - (there are girls that still imitate the way of life those 4 had) 8. Melrose place/Beverly Hills - Teen soaps that everybody watched 9. Sesame Street/Mupet show - (children's cult) 10. Teletubies/Pokemon (controversy love/hate children's shows)
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