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The Best Serial Dramas of the 21st Century

Updated May 10, 2021 4.2k votes 521 voters 7.7k views66 items

List RulesVote up the greatest serial drama series that have premiered in the new millennium.

As opposed to most sitcoms, and even action TV shows, there's something about serial dramas that's so much more captivating. Oh that's right, it's the fact each episode plays off the last, stringing you along for an entire season—in a good way. In essence, it's a lot like watching a 20+ hour movie in periodic segments. That is, unless you're binge watching an entire series, which really isn't unheard of in the 21st century. In fact, it's actually more heard of. We all love binge watching our favorite shows, and the same goes for the best serial dramas since the new millennium. 

Since the year 2000, television has seen an array of fantastic dramas come and go, and even come back again. These top serial dramas of the 21st century are enthralling to say the least, spanning across a broad range of plots and settings. From top serial dramas like Game of Thrones to Dexter and everything in between, these shows are always intriguing to say the least. 

Take a look at the best serial dramas of recent memory below and be sure to up vote your favorites. You can also add any serial dramas after the year 2000 that aren't on the list. If you're a movie buff, check out the best movies of the 2000s.

  • 1


    Hettienne Park, Aaron Abrams
    Hannibal (NBC, 2013) is an American psychological thriller–horror television series developed...  more

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  • 2

    Breaking Bad

    Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt
    Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by...  more

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  • 3

    Game of Thrones

    Tom Wlaschiha, John Bradley
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  • 4

    The Wire

    Domenick Lombardozzi, Clarke Peters
    The Wire (HBO, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created and written by David...  more

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  • 5

    The Sopranos

    Drea de Matteo, Federico Castelluccio
    The Sopranos (HBO, 1999) is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase....  more

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  • 6


    Rachel Nichols, Bradley Cooper
    Alias (ABC, 2001) is an American action thriller television series created by J. J. Abrams....  more

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  • 7


    Scott William Winters, Valerie Cruz
    Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos...  more

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  • 8

    Sons of Anarchy

    Drea de Matteo, Theo Rossi
    Sons of Anarchy (FX, 2008) is an American crime neo-Western television series created by Kurt...  more

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  • 9


    Ewan McGregor, Patrick Wilson
    Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah...  more

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  • 10

    The Blacklist

    Parminder Nagra, Amir Arison
    The Blacklist (NBC, 2013) is an American crime thriller television series created by Jon...  more

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  • 11


    F. Murray Abraham, Jamey Sheridan
    Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard...  more

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  • 12


    Travis Fimmel, Peter Franzén
    Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A...  more

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  • 13

    The Americans

    Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich
    The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe...  more

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  • 14

    True Detective

    Mahershala Ali, Tory Kittles
    True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic...  more

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  • 15

    The Killing

    Brent Sexton, Mireille Enos
    The Killing (AMC, 2011) is an American drama television series created by Veena Sud, based on...  more

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  • 16

    American Horror Story

    Evan Peters, Dylan McDermott
    American Horror Story (FX, 2011) is an American anthology horror television series created by...  more

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  • 17

    The Shield

    Jay Karnes, Catherine Dent
    The Shield (FX, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created by Shawn Ryan. Led...  more

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  • 18


    Zuleikha Robinson, Michelle Rodriguez
    Lost (ABC, 2004) is an American drama television series created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J....  more

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  • 19

    The Handmaid's Tale

    Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes
    The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller,...  more

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  • 20


    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton
    Westworld (HBO, 2016) is an American science fiction western thriller television series...  more

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  • 21

    Boardwalk Empire

    Domenick Lombardozzi, Stephen Graham
    Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 2010) is an American period crime drama television series created by...  more

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  • 22

    Grey's Anatomy

    Chris Carmack, T.R. Knight
    Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2005) is an American medical soap opera television series created by...  more

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  • 23


    Sarah Rafferty, Meghan Markle
    Suits (USA, 2011) is an American legal drama created by Aaron Korsh. On the run from a drug...  more

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  • 24

    The Walking Dead

    Khary Payton, Sarah Wayne Callies
    The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series...  more

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  • 25

    Downton Abbey

    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan
    Downton Abbey (ITV, 2010) is a British historical drama television series created by Julian...  more

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