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The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

Updated December 22, 2020 1.7m votes 83.1k voters 773.2k views339 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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  • Game of Thrones1
    29,076
    15,504

    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
  • Breaking Bad2
    25,951
    16,987

    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
  • Stranger Things3
    11,525
    5,121

    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
  • House4
    14,960
    12,166

    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
  • The Office5
    17,415
    14,544

    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
  • Sherlock6
    11,485
    9,485

    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
  • The Sopranos7
    12,671
    11,218

    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
  • Walking Dead8
    14,849
    12,671

    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
  • Futurama9
    10,554
    8,982

    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
  • The Big Bang Theory10
    15,975
    14,312

    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
  • Band of Brothers11
    8,861
    6,964

    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
  • South Park12
    14,112
    12,715

    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
  • That '70s Show13
    11,861
    10,450

    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
  • Home Improvement14
    9,467
    7,934

    voting closed at #14

    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
  • Dexter15
    13,187
    12,411

    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
  • Friends16
    17,434
    16,752

    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
  • Family Guy17
    12,699
    11,272

    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
  • Parks & Recreation18
    8,344
    7,659

    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
  • The Simpsons19
    14,895
    14,614

    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
  • Supernatural20
    10,527
    8,137

    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
  • The X-Files21
    11,066
    10,986

    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
  • How I Met Your Mother22
    11,808
    11,526

    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
  • Firefly23
    9,306
    9,281

    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
  • Scrubs24
    9,512
    9,215

    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
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?25
    6,618
    5,411

    Whose Line Is It Anyway?

    Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Improvisational theatre, Television comedy

    Whose Line Is It Anyway? (ABC, 1998-2007, The CW, 2013) is an American improvisational comedy... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button