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The Best Serial Dramas of the 21st Century

Updated February 11, 2021 3.3k votes 386 voters 6.4k views63 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.

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  • Breaking Bad1
    188
    53

    Breaking Bad

    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul

    Premiered2008

    Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by...  more
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  • Game of Thrones2
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    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011-04-17

    Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David...  more
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  • The Wire3
    97
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    The Wire

    Dominic West, Lance Reddick

    Premiered2002

    The Wire (HBO, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created and written by David...  more
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  • The Sopranos4
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    The Sopranos

    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco

    Premiered1999

    The Sopranos (HBO, 1999) is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase....  more
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  • Vikings5
    60
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    Vikings

    Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick

    Premiered2013

    Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A...  more
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  • The Americans6
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    The Americans

    Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys

    Premiered2013

    The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe...  more
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  • Fargo7
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    Fargo

    Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman

    Premiered2014

    Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah...  more
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  • Dexter8
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    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    Premiered2006

    Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos...  more
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  • Homeland9
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    Homeland

    Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin

    Premiered2011

    Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard...  more
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  • True Detective10
    57
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    True Detective

    Mahershala Ali, Matthew McConaughey

    Premiered2013

    True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic...  more
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  • Lost11
    61
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    Lost

    Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin

    Premiered2004

    Lost (ABC, 2004) is an American drama television series created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J....  more
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  • Sons of Anarchy12
    43
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    Sons of Anarchy

    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal

    Premiered2008

    Sons of Anarchy (FX, 2008) is an American crime neo-Western television series created by Kurt...  more
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  • The Handmaid's Tale13
    31
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    The Handmaid's Tale

    Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes

    Premiered2017

    The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller,...  more
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  • House of Cards14
    40
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    House of Cards

    Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright

    Premiered2013

    House of Cards (Netflix, 2013) is an American political drama television series developed by...  more
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  • The Blacklist15
    42
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    The Blacklist

    James Spader, Megan Boone

    Premiered2013

    The Blacklist (NBC, 2013) is an American crime thriller television series created by Jon...  more
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  • Westworld16
    50
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    Westworld

    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton

    Premiered2016

    Westworld (HBO, 2016) is an American science fiction western thriller television series...  more
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  • The Walking Dead17
    51
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    The Walking Dead

    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal

    Premiered2010

    The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series...  more
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  • The Killing18
    34
    26

    The Killing

    Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman

    Premiered2011

    The Killing (AMC, 2011) is an American drama television series created by Veena Sud, based on...  more
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  • Downton Abbey19
    40
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    Downton Abbey

    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan

    Premiered2010

    Downton Abbey (ITV, 2010) is a British historical drama television series created by Julian...  more
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  • Boardwalk Empire20
    32
    24

    Boardwalk Empire

    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham

    Premiered2010

    Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 2010) is an American period crime drama television series created by...  more
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  • Deadwood21
    29
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    Deadwood

    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane

    Premiered2004

    Deadwood (HBO, 2004) is an American Western television series created by David Milch. In 1870s...  more
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  • The Shield22
    28
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    The Shield

    Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent

    Premiered2002

    The Shield (FX, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created by Shawn Ryan. Led...  more
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  • Six Feet Under23
    35
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    Six Feet Under

    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall

    Premiered2001

    Six Feet Under (HBO, 2001) is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan...  more
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  • 2424
    27
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    24

    Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub

    Premiered2001

    24 (Fox, 2001) is an American drama television series created by Joel Surnow and Robert...  more
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  • Suits25
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    Suits

    Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams

    Premiered2011

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