The Best Years for TV Show Series Premieres 

Logan Rapp
1.5k votes 341 voters 4.7k views 28 items

List Rules Vote based on the quality of that year's series premieres as a whole. The TV shows listed under each year must have debuted in that year.

Almost every year, at least one new TV series premieres that becomes a classic television show, going down in TV history. But some years are stronger than others. Some years drop multiple series that go on to become iconic, making it one of the best years for TV. Some good years for TV aren't recognized at the time, but we find much later, that many of the best TV shows debuted that year, each earning its own pedestal on the Mount Olympus of television. This list seeks to show off the golden age of TV with a ranking of the best years for TV.

From the '60s to now, there's always going to be someone who'll argue for that year as "the best TV year there ever was." But what year really marks the golden age for TV? Is it the year of Game of Thrones, TV's most talked-about series for years running? Or is it 2004, the year that gave us Lost, Deadwood, and countless others? Obviously, for lists like this, it's all incredibly subjective. But really, isn't that part of the fun of it? Take a look at this list, with the notable television series premieres from each year, and decide which you think was really the best ever.

Vote up your favorite years for TV below and be sure to vote for the best TV shows and best TV characters of all time as well!
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
1999 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Years for TV Show Series Premieres
Photo: Metaweb/GNU Free Documentation License
Notable Premieres: The Daily Show with Jon StewartThe West Wing, The Sopranos, SpongeBob SquarePants, Family Guy, Futurama, Freaks and Geeks, Angel, Farscape, Judging Amy, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Great year for TV?
2011 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Years for TV Show Series Premieres
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY
Notable Premieres: Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, 2 Broke Girls, Homeland, Once Upon A Time, Bob's Burgers, Shameless, Portlandia, The Killing, Workaholics, Happy Endings, Falling Skies, Suits, Wilfred, Alphas 
Great year for TV?
2008 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Years for TV Show Series Premieres
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY
Notable Premieres: Fringe, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, In Treatment, John Adams, Generation Kill, True Blood, The Mentalist
Great year for TV?
2005 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Years for TV Show Series Premieres
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY
Notable Premieres: Battlestar Galactica, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Medium, Numb3rs, Robot Chicken, Grey's Anatomy, Weeds, Bones, Supernatural, How I Met Your Mother, The Colbert Report
Great year for TV?