The Greatest Modern Television Shows

Couple ground rules.  For starters, we’ll be using 2000 as the demarcation line for what should be considered modern.  This seemed like a natural cutoff point, as premium TV was emerging and the medium was elevating to another level.  When we say 2000, we mean that the peak of the show had to, at its earliest, at least span the turn of the decade.  This disqualifies still active shows that started any earlier; as great as The Simpsons were at one time, you won’t see them on this list.  Furthermore, with all apologies to Freaks and Geeks, miniseries or single-season programs will not eligible.  Though we don’t want to over award for longevity, there’s something to be said for sustaining greatness across multiple years.  Finally and most importantly, we’re limiting this list to scripted, English-language series only.

  1. The Wire (2002-2008, 60 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Simon
  2.  The Sopranos (1999-2007, 86 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Chase
  3.  Breaking Bad (2008-2013, 62 episodes over 5 seasons)  AMC  Created by Vince Gilligan
  4.  Succession (2018-2023, 39 episodes over 4 seasons)  HBO  Created by Jessie Armstrong
  5. Mad Men (2007-2015, 92 episodes over 7 seasons) AMC Created by Matthew Weiner
  6. The Office (American) (2005-2013, 201 episodes over 9 seasons)  NBC  Developed by Greg Daniels and based onBritish series The Office by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
  7. The West Wing (1999-2006, 156 episodes over 7 seasons) NBC Created by Aaron Sorkin
  8. Game of Thrones (2011-2019, 73 episodes over 8 seasons)  HBO  Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  9. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present, 110 episodes over 11 seasons) HBO  Created by Larry David
  10.  Lost (2004-2010, 121 episodes over 6 seasons)  ABC  Created by JJ Abrams
  11. Deadwood (2004-2006, 36 episodes over 3 seasons + movie in 2019)  HBO  Created by David Milch
  12. South Park (1997-Present, 318 episodes over 25 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone
  13.  The Leftovers (2014-2017, 28 episodes over 3 seasons)  HBO  Created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta and based on the novel The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  14.  Parks and Recreation (2009-2015, 125 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Shur
  15. Better Call Saul (2015-2022, 63 episodes over 6 seasons)  AMC  Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould
  16. Chappelle’s Show (2003-2006, 28 episodes over 3 seasons)  Comedy Central.  Created by Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan
  17. Black Mirror (2011-Present, 27 episodes over 6 seasons)  CHANNEL 4/NETFLIX  Created by Charlie Brooker
  18. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present, 170 episodes over 16 seasons)  FX  Created by Rob McElhenney
  19. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011, 76 episodes over 5 seasons)  NBC  Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger
  20. Oz (1997-2003, 56 episodes over 6 seasons) HBO Created by Tom Fontana
  21. 30 Rock (2006-2013, 138 episodes over 7 seasons)  NBC  Created by Tina Fey
  22.  The Americans (2013-2018, 75 episodes over 6 seasons)  FX  Created by Joe Weisberg
  23. Arrested Development (2003-2019, 84 episodes over 5 seasons)  FOX/NETFLIX  Created by Mitchell Hurwitz
  24. Atlanta (2016-2022, 41 episodes over 4 seasons)  FX  Created by Donald Glover
  25. Veep (2012-2019, 65 episodes over 7 seasons)  HBO  Created by Armando Iannucci
  26.  Six Feet Under (2001-2005, 63 episodes over 5 seasons)  HBO  Created by Alan Ball
  27. Justified (2010-2015, 78 episodes over 6 seasons)  FX  Developed by Graham Yost and based on the short story “Fire in the Hole” by Elmore Leonard
  28. Family Guy (1999-Present, 389 episodes over 20 seasons)  FOX  Created by Seth McFarlane
  29.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003, 144 episodes over 7 seasons)  THE WB/UPN  Created by Joss Whedon
  30. The Office (British) (2001-2003, 14 episodes over 2 seasons)  BBC  Created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
  31. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009, 75 episodes over 4 seasons)  SCI-FI  Based on TV series Battlestar Galactica by Glen A. Larson and developed by Ronald D. Moore
  32.  Community (2009-2015, 110 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO/YAHOO  Created by Dan Harmon
  33. Sex and the City (1998-2004, 94 episodes over 6 seasons)  HBO  Created by Darren Star
  34. 24 (2001-2014, 204 episodes over 9 seasons) FOX Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran
  35. Key and Peele (2012-2015, 53 episodes over 5 seasons)  COMEDY CENTRAL  Created by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele
  36. The Shield (2002-2008, 88 episodes over 7 seasons)  FX  Created by Shawn Ryan
  37. Fleabeag (2016-2019, 12 episodes over 2 seasons)  Amazon Prime. Created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
  38. Fargo (2014-Present, 41 episodes over 4 seasons)  FX  Created by Noah Hawley
  39. The Knick (2014-2015, 20 episodes over 2 seasons)  CINEMAX Created by Jack Ariel and Michael Begler
  40. BoJack Horseman (2014-2020, 77 episodes over 6 seasons)  NETFLIX  Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
  41.  Rick and Morty (2013-Present, 51 episodes over 5 seasons)  ADULT SWIM  Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon
  42. Modern Family (2009-2020, 251 episodes over 11 seasons)  ABC  Created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan
  43.  SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-Present, 277 episodes over 13 seasons)  NICKELODEON  Created by Stephen Hillenburg
  44. The Walking Dead (2010-2021,  177 episodes over 11 seasons)  AMC  Developed by Frank Darabont and based on the comic book series The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
  45.  Gilmore Girls (2000-2007, 153 episodes over 7 seasons)  WB/CW  Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino.
  46. Sherlock (2010-present, 13 episodes over 4 seasons)  BBC  Created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat
  47.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021, 153 episodes over 8 seasons)  FOX/NBC  Created by Dan Goor and Michael Shur
  48. House of Cards (2013-2018, 73 episodes over 6 seasons)  NETFLIX  Created by Beau Willimon and based on British series and novel of same name
  49.  Mr. Robot (2015-2019, 45 episodes over 4 seasons)  USA  Created by Sam Esmail
  50. The Good Place (2016-2020, 53 episodes over 4 seasons)  NBC  Created by Michael Schur


Honorable Mentions: The Bear, Reservation Dogs, Futurama, The Crown, Bluey, Hannibal, Sons of Anarchy, Eastbound and Down, Schitt’s Creek, The White Lotus, Girls, Homeland, Master of None, CSI, Louie, Dexter, Better Things, Euphoria, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Ozark, How To With John Wilson, Enlightened, Orange is the New Black, Broad City, Barry, Nathan For You, Malcolm in the Middle, That 70’s Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, Stranger Things, Peaky Blinders, In Treatment, The Deuce, True Detective, Halt and Catch Fire, The Handmaid’s Tale, Scrubs, Transparent, I Think You Should Leave, Party Down, How I Met Your Mother, Downton Abbey, The Thick of It, Veronica Mars, Black-ish, Portlandia, Top Boy, Mr. Show, The Good Wife, Killing Eve, House, American Crime Story, Yellowstone, The Practice, Rescue Me, The O.C., Alias, Big Mouth, Flight of the Conchords, American Crime, The Big Bang Theory, Nurse Jackie, Ted Lasso, The Man Show, High Maintenance, Rectify, Silicon Valley, Da Ali G Show, Grey’s Anatomy, Mindhunter, Dave, Mr. Inbetween