popular opinion The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1M votes 45.8k voters 510.2k views 379 items

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. Figure out what much see TV you have to catch up on below and cast your votes for the best television in recent history. 

list ordered by

1
13,912 6,933
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more

2
12,880 8,166
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn 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 ...more

3
9,092 8,592
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Simpsons Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner 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

4
8,098 6,501
The Office is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Office Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer 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 ...more

5
9,382 9,146
Friends is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Friends Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow 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

6
8,344 8,029
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards 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 ...more

7
7,584 6,146
South Park is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
South Park Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman South Park (Comedy Central, 1997) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In the small town of South Park, four boys get caught up in all sorts of bizarre ...more

8
6,991 6,942
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Dexter Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas 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 ...more

9
6,364 5,124
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Sopranos James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco 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

10
6,189 8,302
Lost is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Lost Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia 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 ...more

11
7,627 5,564
House is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
House Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard 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 ...more

12
6,428 6,123
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The X-Files David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi 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 ...more

Famous Teenage Mothers

13
8,438 7,090
The Big Bang Theory is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Big Bang Theory Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco 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 ...more

14
6,447 5,794
Family Guy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Family Guy Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green 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; ...more

15
8,051 5,351
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more

16
6,241 5,996
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan 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 ...more

17
5,832 4,528
That '70s Show is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
That '70s Show Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis 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 ...more

The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

18
5,016 5,449
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Arrested Development Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi 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 ...more

19
6,083 5,647
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 Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders 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
5,074 4,623
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Firefly Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk 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

21
5,159 4,633
Scrubs is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Scrubs Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke 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 ...more

22
5,155 5,084
Modern Family is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Modern Family Ed O'Neill, SofĂ­a Vergara, Julie Bowen 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

The Best Streaming Netflix TV Shows

23
5,118 3,815
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs 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 ...more

24
4,169 4,161
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more

25
4,782 3,923
Futurama is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Futurama Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal 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 ...more

26
3,612 4,187
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Wire Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn 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 ...more

27
3,278 4,349
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Mad Men Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser 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 ...more

The Best Disney Princesses

28
4,381 3,704
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Supernatural Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. Two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), follow their father's ...more

29
3,562 4,857
The Daily Show is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Daily Show Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Hasan Minhaj The Daily Show (Comedy Central, 1999) is an American late-night talk and news satire television program. Described as a fake news program, the show draws its comedy and satire from recent news ...more

30
4,035 3,067
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Band of Brothers Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston 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 ...more

31
3,621 3,169
Parks and Recreation is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Parks & Recreation Amy Poehler, Jim O'Heir, Nick Offerman 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 ...more

32
3,453 3,466
It's Always Sunny in Philadelp... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX, 2005) is an American television sitcom created by Rob McElhenney. The series follows "The Gang", a group of five depraved underachievers: twins ...more

The Best Animated Shows On Amazon Prime

33
2,639 3,908
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Battlestar Galactica Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber 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 ...more

34
3,252 3,867
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Saturday Night Live Darrell Hammond, Kenan Thompson, Seth Meyers 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, ...more

35
3,110 2,418
Sons of Anarchy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Sons of Anarchy Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior Sons of Anarchy is an American crime drama television series created by Kurt Sutter, about the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional town in ...more

36
2,810 2,863
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 Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T 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 ...more

37
2,974 2,805
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Criminal Minds Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson 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 ...more

The 13 Sexiest Psycho Girlfriends in Internet History

38
2,705 3,255
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Law & Order Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina 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 ...more

39
2,329 3,491
Ranker Video
True Blood Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell 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 ...more

40
2,732 3,076
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
NCIS Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette 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 ...more

41
2,462 3,349
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Fringe Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole 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 ...more

42
2,665 796
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
JuanRodrigo added Stranger Things Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), ...more

The Best Current TV Shows No One Is Watching

43
2,434 3,783
30 Rock is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
30 Rock Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan 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 ...more

44
2,476 3,714
The Colbert Report is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
The Colbert Report Stephen Colbert, Jay Katsir, Jon Stewart 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

45
3,017 2,424
Whose Line Is It Anyway? is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW, 1998) is an American improvisational comedy show adapted from the British show. Hosted by Aisha Tyler, the show features Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Wayne ...more

46
2,148 3,245
Community is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Community Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover 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 ...more

47
3,041 2,965
Malcolm in the Middle is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Malcolm in the Middle Frankie Muniz, Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston 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, ...more

48
2,890 3,080
Frasier is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Kym Parks added Frasier Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce 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 ...more

49
2,338 3,075
Monk is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Monk Tony Shalhoub, Jason Gray-Stanford, Ted Levine 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 ...more

50
2,723 2,212
Home Improvement is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
Home Improvement Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Earl Hindman Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, that aired from September 17, 1991 to May 25, 1999. The show was created by Matt Williams, Carmen Finestra and David ...more