Music has always had such a crucial role to play in TV and film. Shows centred around music, however, are less common. Sometimes very teeny and often very cheesy, musical TV shows can be perceived as immature and ‘cringy’. We’re here to tell you that’s not always the case! In this article, we will present you with 10 of the best music tv shows.
Okay, we admit it. Musical TV shows can be very cheesy. Focused on a broadway fanatic type of audience, the appeal can be lost on the rest of us. Nevertheless, this is certainly not the only style of musical television series out there.
To try to change your misconceptions about music TV shows we wanted to share with you a wide variety of options. Some are the typical style you would expect, some bring an alternative view of music. No matter the story, they all contain amazing songs.
Let’s kick things off and get into our top 10 best music tv series!
Make sure to stay until the end to see which takes the number 1 spot.
Let’s get the cheesy one out of the way. You either love it or hate it, but Glee is one of the most significant music TV shows of recent times.
Glee may not have aged well, but its impact at the time was huge. The 6 season show, partly created by Ryan Murphy, was nominated for 190 awards during its running. This included 19 Emmy Awards and 3 Golden Globes. For this reason alone, Glee had to make it onto our top 10.
Glee at first appeared to be nothing special, it gained fans but was critiqued as unoriginal. Then we enter “Don’t Stop Believing”. Glee swept the world with this cover becoming a number one hit.
Galavant is a very alternative pick compared to the other shows on this list. Another American comedy, but this time a fantasy musical too.
Galavant is a night is searching for his ‘happy ever after’. His narrative is based around the Antagonist, King Richard, who kidnapped the love of Galavant’s life, Queen Madalena.
Writer Dan Fogelman, renowned composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater joined their efforts to create this musical fairytale.
This show received a big mix of reviews. Positive overall, but the final season out of the two was the most successful. A 100% rotten tomatoes score and a 77/100 Metrics score is impressive. Despite being nominated for multiple awards it did not receive any. With outstanding reviews and a big following, it’s still a prominent contender.
This show is a heartwarming but unusual take for a musical tv show. We follow the life of Nick Foley, a self-centred millionaire who cares for nobody but himself. To try and improve his image, he adopts 6 young orphaned girls to appear caring and a family man. Nick ends up falling for the girls and adopting them permanently.
Throughout the show, the 6 girls burst into song to express their thoughts and feelings. Going from living in an orphanage to a mansion is a big adjustment and one they express through song.
Created by Bernie Kukoff, the show was released in 1987 for only 2 seasons, ending in 1988. Despite not running for very long, it still managed to grab the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in 1988.
This show is based loosely on The Cowsills band who were popular in the late 60s. The story follows a family and their pursuit to become musicians. The family is made up of 5 siblings and their widowed mother, Shirley Partridge played by Shirley Jones.
The family end up finding a manager who gets one of their songs on the charts. Following this, the family goes on tour in an old school bus around America.
The show was released in the 70s and turned David Cassidy, the oldest of the siblings, into a nationwide star. Their biggest hit, “I Think I Love You” reached number one on the billboards and the whole group were nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 1971! The show later went on to be nominated for the best TV show at the Golden Globes.
Despite its numerous nominations, The Partridge Family only won the TV Land Awards for Hippest Fashion and Favourite Teen Dream. Still, this biographical musical tv show is a wonderful look into the life of The Cowsills.
Musician Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement make up the New Zealand comedy duo Flight Of The Conchords. In the show, these two play fictionalised characters of themselves with the same names. The show follows the two and their journey for fame and success in New York.
The show has an 8.5/10 IMDb rating as well as 80/100 on Metacritic. In 2018, The Guardian published its list of top 100 TV shows of the 21st century with Flight Of The Conchords reaching number 65!
The show was entered for multiple Emmy’s and Satellite Awards but unfortunately didn’t receive any. However, the two did receive their hometowns award for Wellington’s of the Year, making them local heroes.
The Get Down is based around disco and hip hop. The story follows the dreams of a group of teenage boys who band together to become the next musical legends. Right in the heart of the Disco era, The Get Down is a great look into the life of black and Latin teenagers in the Bronx in the 70s. The show represents the rise of hip hop and how it influenced people’s lives at the time.
The first season was split into two parts which both generally did well. However, the show was criticised for falsely portraying the hardships of black and Latin teens during that time. Despite this, it is still a narrative that has been left in the past. Due to this, The Get Down is still a respectful show for highlighting the influence of these communities on the music genres.
The show only ran for a mere single season finishing in 2016. The show’s music on the other hand was widely praised and still makes it a good watch today. Even though it might not have done the best job, we love this show for sharing the narrative of minority groups.
Being the only cartoon on our list, Jem was a much-loved product of the 80s. This crazy musical tv show is outrageous, colourful, charismatic and everything a young music lover could ask for in the 80s.
Jerrica Benton is the owner of a music production company. In secret, Jessica uses a holographic computer to live her life as the lead singer of Jem and the Holograms, a pop-music group.
Their amazing fashion, strong female leads and catchy songs make this a unique piece of television. No other musical show has done it quite as Jem did. If you’re looking for some nostalgic 80s TV with some just as era fitting music, Jem is a perfect show to start.
Our musical tv series seem to be hitting the ratings out of the park with another 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. No matter your age, Jem is a show that any music fan can enjoy.
This American musical-comedy drama aired in 2015 and became quite successful. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 98%, this show ranks higher than most, musically related or not.
The story is focused around Rebecca Bunch, who leaves her life in New York behind to pursue her ex-boyfriend in California. After meeting him at a summer camp when they were sixteen, Rebecca relates their time together as the happiest time of her life.
Like with many shows about music, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gained a strong cult following. The show ran for 4 seasons and aired its final episode in 2019. Season 2 even gained a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Overall, the show received the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics as well as numerous other wins. With such strong reviews and ratings, this show holds a strong spot on our list.
Empire of course is a huge show. This American Drama takes a fictional look into music production giants and their battle for power within the industry.
This musical tv show ended up becoming the most-watched show on Fox, airing for a total of 6 seasons.
Lucious Lyon is a hip hop tycoon running a music company called Empire Entertainment. Lyon knows he will be gone soon due to an illness, in response to this he must choose a successor. His 3 sons are the options, turning against each other as a result of the pressure to rise to power. Cookie Lyon, Lyon’s ex-wife, is released from prison and also joins in on the battle to become the next CEO of Empire Entertainment.
Empire is a brilliant show focused around the battle for power within the music industry, an all too real situation. It was widely recognised for its success gaining awards such as the Golden Globes award for Best Actress and the American Film Institute’s top 10 TV shows. With another 52 nominations and a total of 13 wins, Empire has stated its claim as a much-loved TV show between music fans and general audiences alike.
We’ve reached our number one musical tv show! Treme had to take this spot for its portrayal of the hardships the main characters experienced. Based in New Orleans in 2005, we follow a group of people trying to rebuild their lives following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Although the characters are fiction, this show factually recreates the hardships people experience after the devastating hurricane. This, combined with its accurate representation of New Orleans culture makes it such an outstanding contender.
As locals attempt to rebuild their town, they never lose focus of the musical roots of New Orleans and how it has impacted all of their lives. With New Orleans having such significance within music, this narrative is a beautiful but tragic reminder of what the city went through.
Treme has an 8.2/10 IMDb rating as well as a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score. In 2014, the show won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries and rightfully so. If you haven’t seen Treme, we strongly suggest you give it a go.
That was our 10 best music shows on tv. We hope you enjoyed reading and are ready to go sing along to your favourite TV musical.
The list of musical shows is typically smaller than for other genres of TV. Their response can vary greatly but each seems to gain a cult following of sorts. You may be more of a fan of the teen high school dream that is Glee, or Treme’s historical representation of New Orleans. Whichever you are, there are some great, and often forgotten musical tv series out there.
If you’re looking for some other musical related information, A Review Of The Best Musical Movies Of All Time, 10 Inspiring LGBTQ+ People Of Color In Music, A Review Of The Best TV Ad Songs Ever are all great places to start!