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Top 10 Current Network TV Shows

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Nick Spake. Who says this golden age of television must be restricted to premium channels and cable? Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 current network TV shows. For this list, we’re taking a look at American TV shows airing new episodes on network TV as of 2015. Cable or premium cable shows need not apply. Who says a TV show has to be on a channel like HBO to be good. Special thanks to our users NickSpake for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.

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Script written by Nick Spake.

Top 10 Current Network TV Shows

Who says this golden age of television must be restricted to premium channels and cable? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 current network TV shows.

For this list, we’re taking a look at American TV shows airing new episodes on network TV as of 2015. Cable or premium cable shows need not apply.

#10: “Scandal” (2012-)

Of all the primetime soaps on the air, “Scandal” likely has the most viewers tweeting throughout the show’s broadcast, then talking about the juicy developments at the water cooler the next day. Chances are you either adore the power couple of Olivia Pope and President Fitz or you’re official tired of watching them make googly eyes at one another. But there’s much more to Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal” than a will-they-won’t-they romance, with titillating subplots involving Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene, Olivia’s SOB father and scene-stealing First Lady Mellie Grant.

#9: “Gotham” (2014-)

Much like how “Smallville” depicted a teenage Clark Kent’s journey from man to Superman, “Gotham” portrays Bruce Wayne’s transition from scared, orphaned boy to Dark Knight. Of course, the show is even more about a young James Gordon and his partner Harvey Bullock crossing paths with the people who will evolve into The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, and other classic Batman baddies. With interesting characters, a foreboding atmosphere, and a corrupt backdrop that almost feels alive, “Gotham” has the potential to become one of the best comic book-inspired shows of recent times.

#8: “New Girl” (2011-)

Everyone’s favorite manic-pixie-dream-girl Zooey Deschanel brings her adorkableness to network TV in this sitcom. Beginning the series as a recently cheated-on mess searching for a place to live, Jess Day’s perky, optimistic, and in full control of her quirk factor. However, “New Girl” relies not only on its star, but also on its stellar supporting cast – including the breakout character, douchey yet lovable Schmidt. Popular since day-one and hailed as this generation’s “Friends,” the show went through a rough patch when Nick and Jess got together, according to many die-hards. But hey, a quick breakup fixed that, and now “New Girl”’s back to its offbeat version of normal.

#7: “How to Get Away with Murder” (2014-)

“Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes as producer and Oscar-nominee Viola Davis as star have been two major selling points of the soapy legal drama, “How to Get Away with Murder.” Davis does indeed dominate the small screen as Annalise Keating, a criminal defense lawyer/university professor who takes on several wide-eyed protégés to work at her firm. The whole cast of mostly newcomers shines too, particularly “Harry Potter”’s Alfred Enoch as Wes Gibbins. While the cases of the week are fun, it’s the overarching mystery regarding Annalise’s students’ connection to a future murder that has us hooked.

#6: “Modern Family” (2009-)

Any show that wins the Emmy for five consecutive years is bound to receive some backlash from cynics. Although it’s easy to deem what’s popular as overpraised, reigning comedy champ “Modern Family” absolutely deserves every award it takes home. Smartly-written, sharply directed, and exceptionally timed, this sitcom continues to show no signs of being any less funny of heartfelt half a dozen seasons in. Let’s not forget the show’s diverse cast of actors, who play off each other so perfectly it’s hard to believe they aren’t a family in real life.

#5: “Criminal Minds” (2005-)

Of all the never-ending police-procedural dramas on TV, “Criminal Minds” continues to be most consistently entertaining even after over ten seasons. The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit has given us a number of enduring characters over the years, like A.J. Cook’s Jennifer Jareau, Matthew Gray Gubler’s Dr. Spencer Reid, and Kristen Vangsness’ breakout favorite Penelope Garcia. Every week offers a fascinating new case and an even more fascinating new psychopath or unsub for our heroes to unravel. Thrilling, psychological, and always there for you, “Criminal Minds” is an unlikely example of comfort food.

#4: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-)

Just as “Scrubs” found comedy in doctors, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” finds a similar brand of over-the-top humor in the lives of police officers. Aside from the unique setting that lends itself to a surprising number of comedic possibilities, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” really distinguishes itself through its ensemble cast. Unlike most sitcoms that continually pair the same people together every week, this show isn’t afraid to explore new character dynamics and try different things. There’s no shortage of great duos here from Jake and Captain Holt, to Hitchcock and Scully, to Boyle and Gina.

#3: “The Big Bang Theory” (2007-)

Renewed through its tenth season, “The Big Bang Theory” has not only gotten funnier over time, it’s also demonstrated significant maturity through the inclusion of characters like Sheldon’s girlfriend Amy and Howard’s wife Bernadette. But even as the characters grow, the show’s never lost what made it great to begin with: its heart and, of course, its nerd humor. The same could be said about many fanboys who eventually grow up, but still enjoy comics, videogames, and “Star Wars.” In that sense, maybe “The Big Bang Theory” is smarter and wiser than any of us ever realized.

#2: “The Good Wife” (2009-)

Powerfully acted and brilliantly scripted, “The Good Wife” completely transcends every other legal drama on television today. Emmy-winner Julianna Margulies gives the best performance of her career as Alicia Florrick, a woman who goes from wife of a shamed politician to lawyer you don’t screw with over the show’s run. Alicia is surrounded by superb supporting players like the mysterious Kalinda Sharma and the neurotic Eli Gold, not to mention a slew of outstanding recurring guest stars like Michael J. Fox’s Louis Canning. Just don’t get too attached because the creators aren’t afraid to kill characters off – with a bang.

Before we change the station to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Mindy Project” (2012-)
- “Once Upon a Time” (2011-)
- “Arrow” (2012-)
- “The Middle” (2009-)

#1: “Hannibal” (2013-)

With hellish imagery and graphic gore hidden in atmospheric shadows, it’s kind of shocking that “Hannibal” isn’t on a cable network. Bryan Fuller’s interpretation of Hannibal Lector is so sophisticated and dark it could even pass for a movie. Unlike most of the films in the franchise, however, this show sees Hannibal outside of a jail cell and in the midst of his killing spree, partaking in unspeakable evil while also helping the paranoid Will Graham catch other serial killers. The relationship between Hannibal and Will is equally captivating and terrifying, leading to a spellbinding confrontation in the season two conclusion – that we’ll try not to spoil.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite network show currently on the air? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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