TV.com Top Ten: Best ensemble casts of 2008

Could you imagine Cheers without Norm? Seinfeld without Newman? Twin Peaks without that dancing midget? These shows of the past were rare in that their casts were practically perfect, top to bottom. Now, strong ensembles are all over the place.

When searching for our favorite 10 ensemble casts, we were awestruck at how many we nominated and had a very tough time trimming the list. Are these the absolute best? No, but they're our personal favorites. Your comments have been great so far in our other lists, and we want to hear what you sleuths think we missed. Let's get on with it!

10. One Tree Hill

Led by Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty, One Tree Hill boasts one of the best young casts on television. Plus, we've watched them grow up before our eyes and they haven't missed a step.

9. 30 Rock

I know, I know, 30 Rock at number nine? Like we said, the field is packed. Alec Baldwin is sublime as Jack, but what really makes this show work is the way all the zany characters pop in and out of Liz Lemon's daily routine with ease.

8. Gossip Girl

They're young. They're hot. No wonder they're all hooking up with each other offscreen. Did we mention they're hot? This guilty pleasure sits at number eight because we can't keep our eyes off them.

7. Mad Men

Almost no one knew who John Hamm was a few years ago. Now he's everywhere thanks to playing Don Draper, and he owes a lot to those who work daily with him. The men are 1960s men (Tullamore Dew on the rocks for lunch, please), and the women--oh my, the women--are 1960s women (I'm talking about you, Christina Hendricks).

6. Lost

ABC's best product helped redefine the ensemble cast thanks to its spectacular diversity. Where else can you watch an hour of television that looks like a Benetton ad? And with Michael Emerson, Ken Leung, Jeremy Davies, and Rebecca Mader joining the cast as the show progressed, it only got better.

5. Pushing Daisies

Imagine you are casting a show about a pie-maker who brings the dead back to life and solves crimes with a money-hungry P.I. Add a dead crush, a pint-sized waitress, and synchronized swimming aunts. Yeah, we couldn't do better either. This is perfection.

4. The Office

Each piece of this comedy puzzle is a perfect fit. Could Andy, Creed, Angela, or Oscar have their own show? Probably not. But then again, Michael Scott probably couldn't either (yes, Dwight could). The Office is a team effort, and the finest example of a comedy ensemble.

3. Battlestar Galactica

Producers have been circling the Battlestar cast like bloodthirsty sharks ever since an end date to this sci-fi epic was announced, and it's easy to see why. They're all moving on to big roles with no problems. The Emmys have ignored them, but we haven't.

2. The Wire

Bunk. McNulty. Stringer. Avon. Carver. Herc. Daniels. Bubbles. Michael. Dukie. Greggs. Freamon. Prez. Bodie. Carcetti. Marlo. Chris. Snoop. And of course, Omar. The best show ever on television also has one of the best casts ever. Again, the Emmys have ignored them, but we haven't.

1. Friday Night Lights

If you've never seen Kyle Chandler (can any other actor say more without speaking a word?) and Connie Britton on the screen at the same time, you've never seen a drama about everyday people. And let's not forget how far Landry has come. Each performer is their character--this is acting. Emmys? Hello?


Honorable Mention: The Simpsons, Dirty Sexy Money, Rescue Me, Brothers & Sisters, Chuck

Think your list is better?It probably is! Let's hear it below!

Comments (148)
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Apr 16, 2009
No True Blood!
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Feb 10, 2009
I love Pushing Daisies but higher than Lost??? I don't think so.
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Jan 24, 2009
lost should be number 1
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Jan 15, 2009
lol, i didnt like pushing daisies, it was too child like with the narration
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Jan 07, 2009
I agree strongly with your comments on Pushing Daisies but would have ranked it at the top because it was my favorite show, however I would also have included NCIS & Bones on this list. Thankfully those two are not cancelled.
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Jan 06, 2009
The most important show that should be on here is CSI!!! The last time they will be together, and "For Warrick" should win an award. That episode was amazing! Grissom, Catherine, Nick, Greg, Brass (of course), and the new Riley Adams have an amazing chemistry on set. The only reason it doesnt seem real is because it comes out on DVD. Also, NCIS, Bones, and Criminal Minds should be on this list. Yeah, im a crime geek =)
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Jan 05, 2009
Would like to see NCIS on this list since all the characters work so well together but I'm guessing everyone wants their favourite on the list. Also Brothers & Sisters have a great cast.
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Jan 05, 2009
Bones should definitely be up there!!!
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Jan 03, 2009
10. chuck
9. reaper
8. the office
7. dirty sexy money
6. lost
5. weeds
4. supernatural
3. terminator: the sarah connor chronicles
2. heroes
1. one tree hill
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Jan 02, 2009
Monk should definitely get a mention.
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Jan 02, 2009
True Blood should be up there. Sookie, Bill, Sam, Eric, Pam, Jason, Tara, Tara´s mum, Eddie, Gran, Rene, Arlene, Hoyt, Andy Bellefleur, the sheriff, the mortuary gay and his apprentice, the bold headed vampire and his gang and the unforgettable Lafayette. Really it is so refreshing to see a show with so many good characters and actors that can do them justice.
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Dec 31, 2008
Great list, but it isn't complete without Bones and Criminal Minds.
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Dec 31, 2008
The Wire and FLN as number 1 and 2, I couldn't agree more!! Actually the whole top 5 were dead on in my book. Nice work staff. To bad 4 of the 5 of them are done or on the brink of being done. Oh I hope some other network picks up pushing daisies and someone figures out how to keep FLN going.
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Dec 31, 2008
Like everyone else I have my own I would put on the list-
like How I Met Your Mother! Also, Supernatural .. those 2 are their own "ensemble" TYVM. (thank you though for giving "Chuck" an honorable mention).
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Dec 29, 2008
I am so excited to see Friday Night Lights getting recognized but I think brothers & sisters as well as chuck should be on the list. I also think big bang theory should be acknowledged.
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Dec 27, 2008
Great, or for the more mature audience, you could list NCIS and TSCC.
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Dec 26, 2008
No Bones, no Chuck, no Boston Legal, no BURN NOTICE?!?! This list is a total sham.



Leverage is too new to put on this list, but the cast is quite fun.
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Dec 24, 2008
Where is Bones?????????????????
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Dec 24, 2008
Pushing Daisies and Lost - definitely! And how bout How I Met Your Mother and Desperate Housewives? I know a Top10 list cannot match every good series... but I do feel that HIMYM are the new friends and everyone knows team chemistry equals Friends cast!
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Dec 24, 2008
3 words: Big Bang Theory
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Dec 24, 2008
I'm suprised Lost only came in 6th. I always felt that the cast has unparalleled chemistry.
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Dec 23, 2008
I love PD, the cast is the best, they should be number one and should have never been cancelled, ABC will regret the choice they made, that is for sure. I hope they dont find a show that can fill the spot and then they may just order more PD
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Dec 23, 2008
What about house! Before the team split up.
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Dec 23, 2008
I cant believe nobody has suggested THE SHIELD, from all the regulars to ALL guest stars, quality is unmatched
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Dec 23, 2008
Chuck should be in the list, inside the first ten. The cast is very good and they work very welll together! And 30 Rock works better than Pushing Daisies...
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Dec 23, 2008
yay for pushing daisies!! #5 and yet it's still getting canceled... *sigh*
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Dec 23, 2008
gossip girl is my fav but i didnt see a few others on the list that i needed to see but i love the wire i bought the collection thing off of http://www.tycromedia.com/products_new.php
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Dec 22, 2008
I love how I keep seeing supernatural pop up (even tho it's not really an ensemble cast since it's basically just Sam and Dean -- and usually Bobby who's just awesome) but where is How I Met Your Mother?!?!?!?! That show is one of the best ensemble casts period! Oh, and Greek is great too!
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Dec 22, 2008
One Tree deserves this honor. A great cast with amazing chemistry. Underrated in my opinion.
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Dec 22, 2008
Your kidding, right???? Where is CSI, Bones, Criminal Minds, House, Numb3rs? Who makes these lists???
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Dec 22, 2008
I think Brothers & Sisters needed to make the list, but other than that, TV.com is spot on.
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Dec 22, 2008
Mad Men & Pushing Daisies
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Dec 21, 2008
I can forgive skipping over just about every HBO drama of the last 10 years (Not "understand", just "forgive"), but c'mon.....no ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT? Seriously? Wow.
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Dec 21, 2008
I'm not so sure about One Tree Hill, but good call on Pushing Daisies :D
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Dec 21, 2008
With teh exception of Lost and GG, where is Heroes, Bones, Supernatural, Criminal Minds, Chuck.....?

10)Gossip Girl, 9)Brothers & Sisters, 8)Desperate Housewives, 7)Chuck, 6)Prison Break, 5)Bones/House 4)Criminal Minds, 3)Lost, 2)Supernatural, 1)Heroes.
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Dec 21, 2008
CSI, until recently, when Sara, Warrick and Grissom hadn't left/are about to leave, had possibly the greatest ensemble cast on TV.
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Dec 21, 2008
Personally, I can only give a thumbs up for Lost and Battlestar Galactica, I haven't a desire to watch the others, except a few of Pushing Daisies and it's pushing up daises now.
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Dec 21, 2008
from this list i'd say the office only cause its a comedy.
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Dec 21, 2008
Where's Chuck!!
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Dec 21, 2008
Once again, Oz is left out of this. So disappointing
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Dec 21, 2008
I think Chuck should certainly be in the Top Ten and not just mentioned. All the actors pull off their characters with perfection, I'm not saying they must be number 1, but at least Top 5, come on! :)
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Dec 20, 2008
I agree with Gossip Girl and Pushing Daisies. I can not vision anyone else than the actors casted for the roles.
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Dec 20, 2008
I don't agree with the list except for number 1, where is Supernatural, Criminal minds, dexter, prison break, bones, house. All shows with (in my eyes) a better cast. And what is with one tree hill and gossip girl in the top 10. I do watch both and no they do not have a strong cast, just a hot one....
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Dec 20, 2008
With the exception of Pushing Daisies and Friday Night Lights, the list is rediculous.
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Dec 20, 2008
Finally Friday Night Lights get some deserved recognition. I still don't get why people doesn't watch that show. It is amazing. Start watching, I want more episodes. :)
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Dec 20, 2008
Finally Friday Night Lights get some deserved recognition. I still don't get whay people doen't watch that show. It is amazing. Start watching, I want more episodes. :)
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Dec 20, 2008
NCIS doesn't even rate a mention? It should be number 1!
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Dec 20, 2008
Where's Prison Break and Supernatural? And, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights? C'mon!
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Dec 20, 2008
Yay for Gossip Girl :)
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Dec 20, 2008
Yay for Gossip Girl :)
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