Network: Fox
Air Dates: January 9, 1999–May 20, 2005
Stars: Frankie Muniz, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Masterson, Justin Barfield, Jane Kaczmarek, Erik Per Sullivan

You might catch Malcolm in the Middle on syndication these days, see Bryan Cranston playing Malcolm’s dad Hal, and think, “Hey, it’s Walter White playing a suburban dad. LOLZ!”

Bryan Cranston's always been a great actor. The pent up rage that he exhibits as Walter White germinated in his Hal character, especially in scenes that have him talking about his job. Of course, Hal wasn’t the star of the show, neither was Jane Kaczmarek, even though she played Malcolm’s mother, Lois, and nabbed seven Emmy nods and three Golden Globes in her breakout role.

No, the star of the show was Frankie Muniz, who played the fourth-wall breaking title character, Malcolm. Malcolm was a genius, a regular in gifted classes, making   Malcolm in the Middle one of the few shows where you got to see smart people on television.

What the title song says is true: Life is unfair. And like so many kids, Malcolm suffered the injustice and humiliation of everything from bullying to his first kiss to a bat-shit crazy mom. In other words, the injustice and humiliation of being a kid. —IA