I saw this poll in the Guardian yesterday and it seemed like the kind of thing people could get their teeth into, so what do you reckon?
For me the answer is definitely The Wire. Anyone who hasn't seen it yet should stop reading this and go and do so now. Really. Off you go now. It's just brilliant; like modern Shakespeare with epic, arcing tragedies, fantastically realised and developed characters and far more insight and intelligence than you can reasonably expect from your television.
I do also bloody love Doctor Who though. It's the complete opposite of The Wire in that it's pure escapism, but it's glorious escapism and at its best represents genuinely atmospheric and affecting adventure. Honourabe mentions go to Arrested Development, one of the very best comedies of modern times, and The West Wing. I still haven't gotten round to watching Battlestar Galactica about which I've heard so many good things.
(I'll make a poll of the twenty highest scoring programmes from the Guardian list as that's the limit here)