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The 100 greatest TV series of the 21st Century



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 1 month ago '18        #1
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The 100 greatest TV series of the 21st Century
 

 
How many have you seen? Do you agree? Don't necessarily agree with the order but not a bad list image

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By BBC Culture
18th October 2021

BBC Culture polled 206 TV experts from 43 countries in order to find the greatest TV of the 21st Century – here’s the top 100

In recent years, BBC Culture has conducted an annual poll of film critics, experts and industry figures from around the world to decide on the greatest films in a particular category: you may have come across our 100 greatest films directed by women list in 2019 and our 100 greatest non-English language films in 2018, among others. However, this year, it felt about time that we turned our attention to another art form: television. That's in part because TV has played such a crucial role in many of our lives over the past 18 months, when we have relied on it for information, entertainment, solace and inspiration in equal measure.

But also it felt like the right time to survey the television landscape because arguably it has been the defining art form of the past 21 years: where once, rightly or wrongly, it was largely patronised as cinema's younger, more rough-and-ready sibling, today its artistic credibility is unassailable, while the advent of streaming platforms has also given shows the ability to reach unprecedented global audiences all at once. And so, in order to mark TV's ascendancy, we have decided to ask the question: what are the greatest TV series of the 21st Century?

While in no way definitive, the answers we have collated are fascinating – and, we hope, will inspire TV lovers everywhere to both seek out titles they haven't seen before, and further reflect on and discuss ones they have. In total, 460 different series were voted for by 206 TV experts – critics, journalists, academics and industry figures – who came from 43 countries, from Albania to Uruguay. Of these voters, 100 were women, 104 were men, and two were non-binary. Each voter listed their 10 favourite TV series of the 21st Century, which we scored and ranked to produce the top 100 listed below.

The result is a list that stands as a true testament to the power, versatility and innovation of the medium over the last two decades, from smalltown saga Gilmore Girls and caustic meta-comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, which both kicked off in the immediate shadow of the new millennium in October 2000, to the most recent entry, Barry Jenkins' transcendent adaptation of alt-history epic The Underground Railroad, which premiered in May 2021. At the same time, while the list is wide-ranging by some metrics, there are also ways in which it reflects significant biases. Ninety-two series feature English as their primary language, with Danish, Swedish, French, Spanish and German among the other languages featured. Meanwhile 79 shows in the top 100 were created by men, and just 11 by women, with 10 by a combination of men and women. Both these statistics speak to systemic industry inequities: however with non-English language series increasingly amassing huge international audiences, and a more diverse range of voices, in terms of race, gender and s*xual orientation being given creative control, the TV landscape could shift once again in crucial and inspiring ways in the future – and it will certainly be interesting to see what the results of a similar poll might be in five, 10 or 20 years' time.

To accompany the results of the poll below, you can also read a series of features reflecting on the century of TV so far. These include an essay exploring how our relationship with TV has fundamentally changed; a piece on why the poll winner, contemporary American epic The Wire, is such an enduringly powerful and insightful work; an article looking at why the most recent entry in the top 10, I May Destroy You, represents the future of TV; and an article picking out 25 other shows from the top 100 that we feel really define the 21st Century. And that’s not all: in coming weeks, we will publish further pieces reflecting on particular aspects of the post-millennial TV landscape, from the revolutionising of the period drama, to the future of the cop show, to modern comedy’s exploration of pain and trauma.

As ever, this list is designed not as an end in itself but merely as a starting point for discovery, discussion and debate. Tell us what you think – and what you think is missing – using the hashtag #TVOfTheCentury on BBC Culture's social channels. We hope you are as inspired and exhilarated by reading the results as we are – as collectively, they not only offer a celebration of TV itself, but a view of the modern era like few others:

1 The Wire (2002-2008)
2 Mad Men (2007-2015)
3 Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
4 Fleabag (2016-2019)
5 Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
6 I May Destroy You (2020)
7 The Leftovers (2014-2017)
8 The Americans (2013-2018)
9 The Office (UK) (2001-2003)
10 Succession (2018-)
11 BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)
12 Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
13 Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)
14 Atlanta (2016-)
15 Chernobyl (2019)
16 The Crown (2016-)
17 30 Rock (2006-2013)
18 Deadwood (2004-2006)
19 Lost (2004-2010)
20 The Thick of It (2005-2012)
21 Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-)
22 Black Mirror (2011-)
23 Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
24 Veep (2012-2019)
25 Sherlock (2010-2017)
26 Watchmen (2019)
27 Line of Duty (2012-2021)
28 Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
29 Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
30 Girls (2012-2017)
31 True Detective (2014-2019)
32 Arrested Development (2003-2019)
33 The Good Wife (2009-2016)
34 The Bridge (2011-2018)
35 Fargo (2014-)
36 Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
36 Band of Brothers (2001)
38 The Handmaid's Tale (2017-)
39 The Office (US) (2005-2013)
40 Borgen (2010-2022)
41 Schitt's Creek (2015-2020)
42 Peep Show (2003-2015)
43 Money Heist (2017-2021)
44 Community (2009-2015)
45 The Good f*ght (2017-)
46 Homeland (2011-2020)
47 Grey's Anatomy (2005-)
48 Inside No 9 (2014-)
49 The Bureau (2015-)
50 Halt and Catch Fire (2014-2017)
51 Small Axe (2020)
52 This is England 86, 88 and 90 (2010-2015)
53 Call My Agent! (2015-2020)
54 Happy Valley (2014-)
55 The Shield (2002-2008)
56 The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)
57 The Young Pope (2016)
58 Dark (2017-2020)
59 The Underground Railroad (2021)
60 House of Cards (2013-2018)
61 Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)
62 The Good Place (2016-2020)
62 Pose (2018-2021)
64 Detectorists (2014-2017)
65 Orange is the New Black (2013-2019)
66 Mare of Easttown (2021)
67 RuPaul's Drag Race (2009-)
68 Stranger Things (2016-)
69 24 (2001-2010)
70 Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
71 Enlightened (2011-2013)
72 Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
73 Planet Earth (2006)
74 Utopia (2013-2014)
75 Babylon Berlin (2017-)
76 Rick and Morty (2013-)
77 American Crime Story (2016-)
78 The k*lling (Denmark) (2007-2012)
79 Mindhunter (2017-2019)
80 House (2004-2012)
81 OJ: Made in America (2016)
82 Big Little Lies (2017-2019)
83 Insecure (2016-2021)
84 Normal People (2020)
84 Narcos (2015-2017)
86 How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
87 The Comeback (2005-2014)
88 The OA (2016-2019)
89 Dexter (2006-2013)
90 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-)
91 Westworld (2016-)
92 Show Me a Hero (2015)
93 Treme (2010-2013)
94 Louie (2010-2015)
95 Luther (2010-2019)
96 Catastrophe (2015-2019)
97 Hannibal (2013-2015)
98 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019)
99 Steven Universe (2013-2020)
100 The Queen's Gambit (2020)
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140 comments
 

 1 month ago '05        #2
pr0n- 
Props total: 2506 2 K  Slaps total: 587 587
there's some of these that i would have much higher.
+13   

 1 month ago '04        #3
miamisports 
Props total: 1597 1 K  Slaps total: 219 219
Ru Paul’s Drag race beat out House, Mindhunters, Insecure, Westworld and Narcos….the f*g**ts and trannys are really trying to normalize their lifestyle….Dave had it right (give them gays their own country, own flag, own states, everything this America not it)
+33   

 1 month ago '16        #4
Ravishing  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
Props total: 20117 20 K  Slaps total: 1966 1 K
Def watch Fleabag if you haven’t done so already.

BX put me on to Leftovers and Six Feet Under so shoutout to y’all


I still haven’t finished Six Feet Under, some sh*t in there was tough to watch.



Good f*ght is dope and I prefer it to the Good Wife. Wenworth should be on this list

Guardian did something similar 2 years ago for those curious:


Last edited by Ravishing; 10-22-2021 at 01:46 PM..
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 1 month ago '06        #5
sj808 
Props total: 2443 2 K  Slaps total: 393 393
Is it me or is Mr Robot not on here?


That's a top 5 show
+18   

 1 month ago '04        #6
Essentials72 
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List would be good with a different title. Some of these shows started out strong them faded noticeably. Some have ended but the list leaves it open as if more episodes will be made. List was made by lame white people because no sitcoms for minorities and no way Atlanta better than Martin, Living single, Wayne Bros, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, or Paranthood.
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 1 month ago '16        #7
Ravishing  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 Essentials72 said
List would be good with a different title. Some of these shows started out strong them faded noticeably. Some have ended but the list leaves it open as if more episodes will be made. List was made by lame white people because no sitcoms for minorities and no way Atlanta better than Martin, Living single, Wayne Bros, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, or Paranthood.
I was trying to think of some Black shows that I would put on this list. For the heads up, this list is for shows that started in or after 2000. Not that I would necessarily add these to the list but you have the Bernie Mac Show, Everbody Hates Chris, My Wife and Kids, Black AF, and Blackish to name a few
+7   

 1 month ago '04        #8
Essentials72 
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 Ravishing said
I was trying to think of some Black shows that I would put on this list. For the heads up, this list is for shows that started in or after 2000. Not that I would necessarily add these to the list but you have the Bernie Mac Show, Everbody Hates Chris, My Wife and Kids, Black AF, and Blackish to name a few
Agreed but I ignored the 21st part cause you can't judge shows if you serperaye them cause technology makes them seem better than they really are. Bladeruner 2049 wasn't sh*t special outside the sound and cinematography. Same with Disney products and Etc. "It's so clear " "I can see their acne" " this sounds amazing" blah blah blah but the story is bad, awful writing, terrible character development. But hey! It looks and sounds amazing 👏
-3   

 1 month ago '17        #9
QdobaCasanova 
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Mad Men is the second greatest show of all time?

Lls ok.

I watched all of Mad Men while it was on air; Mad Men is not top 25 — let alone top 5 lmao

Edit:
Nvm they got the Leftovers on this list. Who the fu*k wrote this.
+8   

 1 month ago '15        #10
Drakehotel  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 QdobaCasanova said
Mad Men is the second greatest show of all time?

Lls ok.

I watched all of Mad Men while it was on air; Mad Men is not top 25 — let alone top 5 lmao

Edit:
Nvm they got the Leftovers on this list. Who the fu*k wrote this.
I a*sume it’s shows that started after 2000, not all time. Mad men is definitely top 5 in this century at least
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 1 month ago '17        #11
QdobaCasanova 
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 Drakehotel said
I a*sume it’s shows that started after 2000, not all time. Mad men is definitely top 5 in this century at least


Absolutely not.
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 1 month ago '15        #12
Drakehotel  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 QdobaCasanova said
[/B]

Absolutely not.
That’s your opinion buddy. It absolutely is
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 1 month ago '04        #13
jsmooth-117 
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The shield being 55th is pure unadulterated horse sh*t.

Its definitely top 15 material.

Top 10 for myself.
+13   

 1 month ago '15        #14
Drakehotel  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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It’s always sunny at 90 tho? Best comedy of the last 20 years
+17   

 1 month ago '09        #15
Chalky  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x8
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Hold Up, Hold Up please tell me i'm tripping. and that i don't see Prison Break or Heroes?
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 1 month ago '16        #16
Negusis  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x2
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 Chalky said
Hold Up, Hold Up please tell me i'm tripping. and that i don't see Prison Break or Heroes?
Heroes had 1 good season that ended like sh*t. And rest was a clusterfu*k.

Prison Break had 2 good seasons and several mediocre ones.

Neither belong in this conversation.
+10   

 1 month ago '09        #17
Chalky  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x8
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 Negusis said
Heroes had 1 good season that ended like sh*t. And rest was a clusterfu*k.

Prison Break had 2 good seasons and several mediocre ones.

Neither belong in this conversation.
but rupal drag race does? majority of the shows on there has sh*t seasons.

Hereos Season 1 was one of the best shows ever, "Save the cheerleader, Save the world" literally one of the most iconic lines of television of the 00's

and Prison Break doesn't even need to be explained.. come tf on now
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 1 month ago '12        #18
Superstarbrown7  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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No sopranos
+33   

 1 month ago '20        #19
BlacksAndLatins  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 Superstarbrown7 said
No sopranos
this list is invalid

Lost made the cut but Sopranos didn't?
+15   

 1 month ago '20        #20
BlacksAndLatins  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 miamisports said
Ru Paul’s Drag race beat out House, Mindhunters, Insecure, Westworld and Narcos….the f*g**ts and trannys are really trying to normalize their lifestyle….Dave had it right (give them gays their own country, own flag, own states, everything this America not it)
On God

this list is dripping with pure bussy sauce

from now it must be remembered that Britain is the headquarters of f*g**try

 1 month ago '16        #21
Ravishing  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 Superstarbrown7 said
No sopranos
 BlacksAndLatins said
this list is invalid

Lost made the cut but Sopranos didn't?
Sopranos came out in ‘99. List is for shows that came out >=2000


Last edited by Ravishing; 10-22-2021 at 04:28 PM..
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 1 month ago '18        #22
DUCEDUCE  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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No LOST get the fu*k outta here. Nothing will compare to LOST and the way it changed things.
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 1 month ago '16        #23
BathWaterMelody  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x8
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1 The Wire (2002-2008)
2 Mad Men (2007-2015)
3 Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

5 Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

10 Succession (2018-)
11 BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)

14 Atlanta (2016-)

23 Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
24 Veep (2012-2019)

29 Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)

32 Arrested Development (2003-2019)

38 The Handmaid's Tale (2017-)
39 The Office (US) (2005-2013)

44 Community (2009-2015)

60 House of Cards (2013-2018)

76 Rick and Morty (2013-)

84 Narcos (2015-2017)

90 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-)
91 Westworld (2016-)

94 Louie (2010-2015)
cosign.

missing:

The Sopranos (1999–2007) even though '99 is 20th century, it should still be recognized.

Eastbound & Down (2009–2013) GOAT comedy tier.

TURN: Washington's Spies (2014–2017) GOAT period piece tier alongside Mad Men. based on a true story. arguably one of the most underrated, untold stories of American history.

Archer (2009-present) top level comedy tier alongside Rick & Morty.

Daredevil (2015–2018) GOAT TV series of the MCU, bar none. fucc Loki, WandaVision, Agents of SHIELD, Falcon/Winter Soldier, all that other bullsh*t. Daredevil still has yet to be topped by Marvel. imo he's the Captain America of the MCU TV series.
+16   

 1 month ago '20        #24
MrDarkCloud  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x5
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 Superstarbrown7 said
No sopranos
Sopranos is technically not a 21st century show.
+2   

 1 month ago '12        #25
Superstarbrown7  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 MrDarkCloud said
Sopranos is technically not a 21st century show.
I mean lowkey it is but I understand



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