Since we’re now nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century—and the TV industry has evolved rapidly during that time—BBC Culture decided to find out which shows experts consider the greatest ones so far.
After asking “critics, journalists, academics, and industry figures” from across the globe to rank their 10 favorite programs released in 2000 or later, the publication used that data to come up with an overall list of the 100 best ones. In terms of genre, the top 25 has something for everyone: fantasy epics like Game of Thrones, dark comedies like Fleabag and Six Feet Under, period dramas like The Crown and Deadwood, and more. Topping the list is a trio of dramas so acclaimed and widely watched that you might get scolded if you mention that you haven’t seen them: The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad.
If you're wondering where The Sopranos landed, it's not on the list—not because it's not beloved by critics, but because the list was restricted to series that premiered in 2000 or beyond. Which is why you won't see Friends on the list either. The U.S. version of The Office, meanwhile, did make the top 100—but it came in 39th place, a solid 30 spots below its UK predecessor.
In short, there’s plenty of opportunity to disagree with the rundown, which BBC Culture is encouraging you to do. If you share your hot takes on social media, tag @bbc_culture (on Instagram and Twitter) and hashtag #TVOfTheCentury to join the discourse. If your take is that the list mostly comprises male-created English-language shows, you’re correct. In fact, BBC Culture calculated that 79 of the top 100 shows were made by men, and 92 of them are mainly in English—stats that “[reflect] significant biases” and “speak to systemic industry inequities.”
See the top 25 below, and find out how your personal favorites fared on the full list of 100 here.
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