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The Best Television Shows of the 2000s

Updated March 16, 2021 145.6k votes 9.8k voters 223.1k views196 items

List RulesOnly TV series that aired between 2000 and 2009

Some great TV shows came out of the 2000s, while some have even lived on. Here's a list of the best shows that aired from 2000-2009, as ranked by television fanatics and critics. Television has been steadily evolving over the past few decades. What used to be simply an entertaining way to spend a half hour with the family has transformed into an elevated art form. Movies have been usurped by the television medium due to a continued rise in content quality. Starting in the 2000s, when cable networks like HBO and Showtime were introduced, the focus moved to quality in writing, directing, and acting more than ever before. People in the entertainment business who used to focus on movies began to move into television.

In the '00s, there were more quality television shows on the air than ever before. Cable networks introduced shows like Six Feet Under, Dexter, and The Sopranos that revolutionized the way television was made. Other shows, like Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and Supernatural, changed the way people watched television, by including fan involvement and discussion as part of the experience. Comedies like Arrested Development and The Office and reality shows like American Idol also reigned supreme in the television universe.

What are your favorite TV shows from 2000-2009? This list includes the top shows from the 2000s from a variety of genres from sitcoms to science fiction.

  • 1

    Breaking Bad


    ActorsBryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama

    Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by Vince Gilligan. After being diagnosed with cancer, a depressed high school chemistry teacher (Bryan...  more

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  • 2

    The Office


    ActorsSteve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    The Office (NBC, 2005) is an American mockumentary sitcom television series developed by Greg Daniels, based on the 2001 British series. Led by manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the office of...  more

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  • 3



    ActorsJennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Friends (NBC, 1994) is an American sitcom television series created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman. The personal and professional lives of six friends (Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa...  more

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  • 4

    The Simpsons

    December 17, 1989

    ActorsDan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Animated

    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

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  • 5

    ActorsTom Kenny, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Fantasy, Animated, Children

    SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon, 1999) is an American animated television series created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. The series chronicles the adventures...  more

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  • 6

    South Park


    ActorsTrey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, Isaac Hayes, Eliza Schneider

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Animated

    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

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  • 7

    ActorsAmy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009) is an American television sitcom created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. The series follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), a perky mid-level bureaucrat, and her parks...  more

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  • 8

    ActorsSarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters, Emma Caulfield, Anthony Head

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Horror, Fantasy

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997) is an American supernatural drama television series created by Joss Whedon, based on the 1992 film. Destined to slay vampires, a young woman (Sarah Michelle...  more

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  • 9

    ActorsJosh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005) is an American sitcom created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays. Through a series of flashbacks, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) recounts to his children the journey he and...  more

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  • 10

    That '70s Show

    August 23, 1998

    ActorsTopher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderrama

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    That '70s Show (Fox, 2006) is an American teen period comedy sitcom created by Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, and Mark Brazill. The series focused on the lives of a group of teenage friends living in...  more

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  • 11

    The Sopranos


    ActorsJames Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama

    The Sopranos (HBO, 1999) is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase. New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) deals with personal and professional issues in his...  more

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  • 12



    ActorsHugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer, Peter Jacobson

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Mystery, Medical

    House, M.D. (Fox, 2004) is an American television medical drama created by David Shore. An antisocial maverick doctor (Hugh Laurie) who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes to...  more

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  • 13


    March 28, 1999

    ActorsBilly West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Science fiction, Animated

    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 adventures...  more

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  • 14

    ActorsJim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007) is an American television sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. A woman (Kaley Cuoco) who moves into an apartment across the hall from two brilliant but...  more

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  • 15



    ActorsJared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert, Mark A. Sheppard

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Fantasy, Horror

    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

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  • 16


    October 16, 2001

    ActorsTom Welling, Erica Durance, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman, Allison Mack

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Action, Adventure, Fantasy

    Smallville is an American television series developed by writer-producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, based on the DC Comics character Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The series,...  more

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  • 17

    Prison Break


    ActorsWentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Sarah Wayne Callies, Amaury Nolasco, Robert Knepper

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Adventure

    Prison Break (Fox, 2005) is an American television serial drama created by Paul Scheuring.The series revolves around two brothers; one has been sentenced for a something he did not commit, and the...  more

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  • 18



    ActorsZach Braff, Donald Faison, John C. McGinley, Ken Jenkins, Sarah Chalke

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Medical

    Scrubs (NBC, 2001) is an American medical comedy-drama television series created by Bill Lawrence. In the unreal world of Sacred Heart Hospital, intern John "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff) learns the ways...  more

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  • 19

    Criminal Minds


    ActorsJoe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Mystery, Thriller, Drama, Law

    Criminal Minds (CBS, 2005) is an American police-procedural television program. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit based in Quantico, Virginia. The show...  more

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  • 20



    ActorsMichael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, C.S. Lee, David Zayas, James Remar

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama

    Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work for...  more

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  • 21

    Drake & Josh

    January 11, 2004

    ActorsDrake Bell, Josh Peck, Miranda Cosgrove, Jonathan Goldstein, Nancy Sullivan

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Children

    Drake & Josh (Nickelodeon, 2004) is an American sitcom created by Dan Schneider. Despite having opposite personalities, stepbrothers Drake Parker (Drake Bell) and Josh Nichols (Josh Peck) get into...  more

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  • 22

    Gilmore Girls


    ActorsLauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Melissa McCarthy, Keiko Agena, Yanic Truesdale

    Genres (Tv)Comedy drama

    Gilmore Girls (The WB, 2000) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. In the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a thirty-something single mother...  more

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  • 23

    The X-Files

    September 10, 1993

    ActorsGillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi, Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Science fiction

    The X-Files (Fox, 1993) is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The series revolves around FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigating...  more

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  • 24

    Modern Family


    ActorsEd O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Sofía Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Modern Family (ABC, 2009) is an American comedy television sitcom created by Francisco Bobadilla. Three different but related families face trials and tribulations in their own unique way from the...  more

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  • 25

    Phineas and Ferb

    August 17, 2007

    ActorsJeff "Swampy" Marsh

    Genres (Tv)Adventure, Animated, Children

    Phineas and Ferb is an American animated comedy-musical television series. Originally broadcast as a one-episode preview on August 17, 2007 and again previewed on September 28, 2007, the series...  more

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