When we asked Gen Z & Millennials their favorite shows of all time, this is the series that won out among both generations…
Despite their cord-cutting and rampant social media use, fears that young viewers would abandon TV have proven unfounded. Instead, TV shows are arguably more important to them than ever before. YPulse’s research shows that the amount of time that Gen Z and Millennials spend watching TV content is actually increasing: in 2018, they reported watching an average of roughly 11 hours of TV content per week, and in 2019 that jumped to nearly 14 hours weekly. In fact, 72% of young consumers tell us that they’ve watched TV shows or movies on their phones—showing that even their migration to mobile screens to watch content hasn’t stopped them from watching TV content, it’s only given them another screen to watch it on.
Gen Z and Millennials have more shows available to them, at any time, than any generation that proceeded them, and entertainment is impacting them in very different ways. They’re treating media like medicine for their stress and anxiety, and creating fandoms around shows they love. When these generations decide they love a TV show, it has very real implications for the industry, with bidding wars over favorites breaking out, a new industry of merch emerging, and networks racing to release reboots to cater to their content nostalgia. So it’s with good reason that we keep tabs on their most-beloved shows—not just among those that are currently airing, but of among the TV content available to them now. In our recent survey on TV and entertainment, we asked 13-37-year-olds, “What is your favorite TV show of all time?” These are there top 15 responses—and the top favorite was unanimous across the generations:
Their Favorite TV Shows of All Time
- The Office
- Game of Thrones
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Breaking Bad
- Criminal Minds
- Parks and Recreation
- SpongeBob Squarepants
- The Good Place
- The Simpsons
- South Park
- Stranger Things
- The Big Bang Theory
Get out your “World’s Best Boss” mug and toast to The Office, which sits at the top of the list of their favorite shows of all time—among both Gen Z and Millennials. The Office is also in the top five ranking of the last TV shows that they binge watched, and when we look at respondents’ reasons for naming the series as a favorite, its re-watchability is a major factor. They’re watching the show again and again. One 29-year-old male explains that he “can watch episodes over and over again,” and a 15-year-old female tells us, “It is hilarious and never fails to cheer me up, no matter how many times I watch it, it never gets old.”
She wasn’t the only respondent to talk about the show as a reliable mood-booster. An 18-year-old female explained, “[The Office] is like therapy to me. I watch it whenever I’m bored or sad or I’m doing homework. It always cheers me up.” Other respondents said the show “picks me up when I’m down,” and “brings me comfort.” Our Content Cure research explored the trend of young consumers turning to specific shows, videos, movies and more as an intentional mood-altering fix, and found that the rise in comfort TV—rewatching reliable, safe old reruns to treat stress—is directly related to this shift in their entertainment behavior. We reported that The Office and Friends are two of the top shows that they turn to when they’re stressed, and it has made them favorite shows among these generations.
These viewers comfort watching the show “over and over” has also made The Office and Friends two of Netflix’s most-viewed titles, ranking alongside original content like Stranger Things and Bird Box, according to Adweek. The popularity of both shows among young consumers—has created bidding wars among networks who are vying to become their streaming home. In June, NBC paid $500 million for the rights to stream The Office, with the hopes that the show’s fans will need to subscribe to their upcoming SVOD The Peacock in order to keep binging it.