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The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

Updated August 6, 2020 1.6m votes 79.9k voters 751.0k views334 items

List RulesOnly series that have aired new episodes since 1998.

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. 

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  • 1
    Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    27,909
    14,265

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011

    Genres (Tv)Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action

    Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 2
    Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    24,508
    16,192

    Breaking Bad

    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul

    Premiered2008

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Thriller, Neo-western, Tragedy

    Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    10,601
    4,177

    Stranger Things

    Winona Ryder, David Harbour

    Premiered2016

    Genres (Tv)Sci-fi, Horror, Supernatural, Period drama

    Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    House is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    14,109
    11,309

    House

    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps

    Premiered2004

    Genres (Tv)Medical drama

    House, M.D. (Fox, 2004) is an American television medical drama created by David Shore. An... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 5
    The Office is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    16,458
    13,686

    The Office

    Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson

    Premiered2005

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Mockumentary

    The Office (NBC, 2005) is an American mockumentary sitcom television series developed by Greg... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 6
    Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    10,772
    8,678

    Sherlock

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

    Premiered2010

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Mystery

    Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 7
    The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    11,951
    10,525

    The Sopranos

    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco

    Premiered1999

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama

    The Sopranos (HBO, 1999) is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    14,116
    11,791

    Walking Dead

    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal

    Premiered2010

    Genres (Tv)Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Suspense, Drama

    The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    8,209
    6,424

    Band of Brothers

    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis

    Premiered2001

    Genres (Tv)Miniseries, Action/Adventure, Drama, Military, Adventure film

    Band of Brothers is a 2001 American WWII drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Futurama is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    9,874
    8,287

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

    Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    The Big Bang Theory is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    15,039
    13,527

    The Big Bang Theory

    Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons

    Premiered2007

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007) is an American television sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    That '70s Show is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    11,214
    9,794

    That '70s Show

    Topher Grace, Laura Prepon

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Romance Film, Sitcom, Comedy

    That '70s Show is an American television period sitcom that originally aired on Fox from... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    Parks & Recreation is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    7,840
    7,036

    Parks & Recreation

    Amy Poehler, Jim O'Heir

    Premiered2009

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Mockumentary, Satire, Romance TV, Comedy-drama

    Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009) is an American television sitcom created by Greg Daniels and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    South Park is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    13,381
    12,087

    South Park

    Trey Parker, Matt Stone

    Premiered1997

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Television comedy, Sitcom, Satire, Animated cartoon

    South Park (Comedy Central, 1997) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    Home Improvement is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    9,467
    7,934

    voting closed at #15

    Home Improvement

    Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson

    Premiered1991

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, that aired from... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Family Guy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    12,091
    10,752

    Family Guy

    Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein

    Premiered1999

    Genres (Tv)Black comedy, Animation, Sitcom, Animated cartoon, Comedy

    Family Guy is an American adult animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    9,742
    7,654

    Supernatural

    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

    Premiered2005

    Genres (Tv)Supernatural drama, Black comedy, Drama, Horror Film, Mystery

    Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    Dexter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    12,522
    11,900

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    Premiered2006

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Dark comedy, Police procedural

    Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    Friends is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    16,567
    16,160

    Friends

    Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox

    Premiered1994

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Friends (NBC, 1994) is an American sitcom television series created by David Crane and Marta... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 20
    How I Met Your Mother is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    11,304
    10,967

    How I Met Your Mother

    Josh Radnor, Jason Segel

    Premiered2005

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Romantic comedy

    How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005) is an American sitcom created by Craig Thomas and Carter... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    14,205
    14,240

    The Simpsons

    Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright

    Premiered1989

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Television comedy, Comedy, Family Film

    The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    Firefly is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    8,842
    8,858

    Firefly

    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    Premiered2002

    Genres (Tv)Space Western, Space opera, Drama, Comedy-drama, Science Fiction

    Firefly is an American space western science fiction drama television series created by writer... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Scrubs is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    9,047
    8,815

    Scrubs

    Zach Braff, Donald Faison

    Premiered2001

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Medical drama

    Scrubs (NBC, 2001) is an American medical comedy-drama television series created by Bill... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    10,579
    10,606

    The X-Files

    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

    Premiered1993

    Genres (Tv)Cryptozoology, Supernatural, Crime Fiction, Drama, Live action

    The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Whose Line Is It Anyway? is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years
    6,145
    5,070

    Whose Line Is It Anyway?

    Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Improvisational theatre, Television comedy

    Whose Line Is It Anyway? (ABC, 1998-2207, The CW, 2013) is an American improvisational comedy... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
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