popular opinion The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

508k votes 311k views 531 items Embed

List Rules Only series that have aired new episodes since 1997

This best TV show list represents the combined opinions of thousands of TV fans. Anyone can vote on this list of the best TV shows of recent memory, making this list a truly trustworthy way to find the best TV show. You can even add your own list to these TV show rankings.

Including shows like Friends and The X-Files, the best TV shows ever in the past 20 years features the latest television series as well as classics such as Seinfeld and Frasier. From sitcoms to dramas and animations to miniseries,  this list has got them all. If your favorite recent shows are missing, go ahead and add them!

What are the best TV shows of recent memory? Whether you're looking for the best TV shows to add to your Netflix queue or you just want to share your picks for the best TV series of the last few decades, this is the place to tune in to the tastes of TV fans around the world.

1
+ - 4,286 3,678
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Simpsons 1989 - The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the ...more

The Greatest TV Shows of All Time The Best Series Finales

2
+ - 4,769 3,376
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Breaking Bad 2008 - Breaking Bad is an American crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, ...more

3
+ - 4,483 2,340
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Game of Thrones 2011 - Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created for HBO by showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's series ...more

4
+ - 4,595 3,390
Friends is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Friends 1994 - Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which originally aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004. It lasted ten seasons and is now in ...more

5
+ - 3,872 3,198
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Seinfeld 1989 - Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally ran for nine seasons on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a ...more

6
+ - 3,458 3,234
Lost is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Lost 2004 - Lost is an American television drama series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 episodes. ...more

7
+ - 3,125 2,277
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The X-Files 1993 - The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine seasons ...more

8
+ - 3,184 3,000
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Dexter 2006 - Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a ...more

9
+ - 2,780 2,772
The Office is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Office 2005 - The Office is an American television comedy series that aired on NBC from March 24, 2005 to May 16, 2013. It is an adaptation of the BBC series of the same name. The Office was adapted for American ...more

10
+ - 4,274 2,803
The Big Bang Theory is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Big Bang Theory 2007 - The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom serve as executive producers on the show along with Steven Molaro. All three also serve as head writers. ...more

11
+ - 3,406 2,383
House is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
House 2004 - House is an American television medical drama that originally ran on the Fox network for eight seasons, from November 16, 2004 to May 21, 2012. The show's main character is Dr. Gregory House, a pain ...more

12
+ - 2,628 2,123
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Sopranos 1999 - The Sopranos is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase. Revolving around the fictional New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano, the show portrays the ...more

13
+ - 3,127 2,852
South Park is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
South Park 1997 - South Park is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude ...more

14
+ - 3,723 2,400
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1997 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, ...more

15
+ - 2,874 2,714
Family Guy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Family Guy 1999 - Family Guy is an American adult animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their ...more

The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History 8 TV Actors Who Turned Out Just Like Their Characters

16
+ - 3,336 2,152
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Walking Dead 2010 - The Walking Dead is an American horror drama television series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. ...more

17
+ - 2,441 2,401
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Arrested Development 2003 - Arrested Development is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz, which originally aired on Fox for three seasons from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006. A fourth season of 15 ...more

18
+ - 2,685 2,325
Modern Family is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Modern Family 2009 - Modern Family is an American television sitcom that premiered on ABC on September 23, 2009, which follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his family, all of whom live in suburban Los Angeles. ...more

19
+ - 2,890 2,572
How I Met Your Mother is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
How I Met Your Mother 2005 - How I Met Your Mother is an American sitcom that originally ran on CBS from September 19, 2005, to March 31, 2014. The series follows the main character, Ted Mosby, and his group of friends in ...more

20
+ - 2,475 1,989
That '70s Show is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
That '70s Show 1998 - That '70s Show is an American television period sitcom that originally aired on Fox from August 23, 1998, to May 18, 2006. The series focused on the lives of a group of teenage friends living in the ...more

21
+ - 2,300 2,058
Scrubs is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Scrubs 2001 - Scrubs is an American medical comedy television series created by Bill Lawrence that aired from October 2, 2001 to March 17, 2010 on NBC and later ABC. The series follows the lives of employees at the ...more

22
+ - 2,110 1,362
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Sherlock 2010 - Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars ...more

23
+ - 2,163 2,237
The Daily Show is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Daily Show 1996 - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a parody TV program.

24
+ - 2,087 1,873
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Firefly 2002 - Firefly is an American space western science fiction drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label. Whedon served as an executive ...more

25
+ - 1,902 1,719
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Doctor Who 1963 - Doctor Who is a 2005 TV series.

26
+ - 1,601 1,989
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Mad Men 2007 - Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on July 19, 2007 on the cable network AMC and is produced by Lionsgate Television. The seventh and ...more

27
+ - 1,733 1,861
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Wire 2002 - The Wire is an American crime drama television series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was ...more

28
+ - 2,049 1,866
Futurama is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Futurama 1999 - Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures ...more

29
+ - 1,717 1,540
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Supernatural 2005 - Supernatural is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. It was first broadcast on September 13, 2005, on The WB and subsequently became part of successor The CW's lineup. ...more

The Best TV Shows to Rewatch Books That Changed My Life

30
+ - 1,830 1,725
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Saturday Night Live 1975 - Saturday Night Live is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, ...more

31
+ - 1,394 1,700
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Battlestar Galactica 2004 - Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore and executive produced by ...more

32
+ - 1,444 1,307
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Law & Order 1990 - Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It originally aired on NBC and, in syndication, on ...more

33
+ - 1,666 1,372
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Band of Brothers 2001 - Band of Brothers is a 2001 American war drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, ...more

34
+ - 1,450 1,584
The Colbert Report is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Colbert Report 2005 - The Colbert Report is an American late-night talk and news satire television program hosted by Stephen Colbert that aired on Comedy Central from October 17, 2005 to December 18, 2014 for 1,447 ...more

35
+ - 1,187 1,239
Parks and Recreation is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Parks & Recreation 2009 - Parks and Recreation is an American television sitcom starring Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a perky, mid-level bureaucrat in the parks department of Pawnee, a fictional town in Indiana. Created by ...more

36
+ - 1,169 1,030
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Law and Order SVU 1999 - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American police procedural, legal, crime drama television series set in New York City, where it is also primarily produced. In the style of the original Law ...more

37
+ - 1,339 1,555
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Fringe 2008 - Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox Broadcasting network on September 9, 2008, and concluded on ...more

38
+ - 1,411 1,842
30 Rock is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
30 Rock 2006 - 30 Rock is an American satirical television sitcom that ran on NBC from October 11, 2006, to January 31, 2013, and was created by Tina Fey. The series, which is loosely based on Fey's experiences as ...more

39
+ - 1,317 1,046
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Criminal Minds 2005 - Criminal Minds is an American police-procedural television program that premiered September 22, 2005, on CBS. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit based in ...more

40
+ - 1,365 1,258
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
NCIS 2003 - NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts criminal investigations ...more

41
+ - 1,614 1,415
Frasier is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Frasier 1993 - Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, premiering on September 16, 1993, and concluding on May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, ...more

42
+ - 1,367 1,626
It's Always Sunny in Philadelp... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 2005 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an American television sitcom that premiered on FX on August 4, 2005, and moved to FXX beginning with the ninth season. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia was ...more

43
+ - 1,271 1,349
Monk is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Monk 2002 - Monk is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series created by Andy Breckman and starring Tony Shalhoub as the eponymous character, Adrian Monk. It originally ran from 2002 to 2009 ...more

The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made The Best Rock Bands of All Time

44
+ - 1,143 1,483
Community is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Community 2009 - Community is an American television sitcom created by Dan Harmon that premiered on NBC on September 17, 2009. The single-camera series follows an ensemble cast of students at a community college in ...more

45
+ - 969 1,322
Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Six Feet Under 2001 - Six Feet Under is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on June 3, 2001, and ended on August 21, ...more

46
+ - 1,567 1,425
Malcolm in the Middle is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Malcolm in the Middle 2000 - Malcolm in the Middle is an American sitcom created by Linwood Boomer for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series was first broadcast on January 9, 2000 and ended its six-year run on May 14, 2006, ...more

47
+ - 1,147 1,170
ER is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
ER 1994 - ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994, to April 2, 2009. It was produced by Constant c Productions and Amblin ...more

48
+ - 1,078 1,658
Ranker Video v
True Blood 2008 - True Blood is an American television drama series produced and created by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the co-existence of ...more

49
+ - 1,173 1,332
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2000 - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an American crime drama television series that premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is ...more

50
+ - 1,215 1,485
24 is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
24 2001 - 24 is an American television series produced for the Fox network created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each 24-episode ...more