Not every show can achieve the broad appeal of The Office or Seinfeld; some are destined to attract a small, but loyal, fanbase that doesn't need the wisdom of the crowd to tell them what quality television looks like. These so-called cult shows nevertheless exert outsize influence on the medium, pushing the boundaries of what's possible on TV.
What exactly makes a show "cult"? Short runs, limited but dedicated audiences, and influential work are good qualities to start with, but for the purposes of this list, we've excluded many formerly "cult" shows that in the United States have made a considerable dent on the public consciousness and aired for longer than a typical cult show -- think The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Battlestar Galactica. Likewise, we've included a few long-running British shows that haven't quite found a wide American audience, but the following series all have one thing in common: Despite their cult status, everyone -- even you, streamer of Friends on Netflix -- should watch them.
Make sure to check out the best TV shows of 2019, which includes cult faves and mainstream hits alike.