24 March 2010

Top 13 TV Shows of the '00s

As I finally worked my way through the entirety of Arrested Development last night, I realized my previous lists of decadal superlatives did not include TV shows. This is a pretty glaring omission, as 2000-2009, in my opinion, had the best quality television of the first four decades of my life. This was due, to a large extent, of a maturing of the medium through more cinematic styles and topics; however the stars that truly shone were able to take advantage of the episodic format to present long-format stories in episodic chunks. I credit The Sopranos for being at the vanguard of this; however it cannot make this list because it premiered in 1999.

Every single entry on this list, save two (sorta), is a non-major network show with a standard season of 13 or less episodes. I don't think this is an accident, as the 22-plus-episode shows by necessity are going to have decreased quality due to higher quantity. House missed the cut for too many mediocre episodes aired between the brilliant ones.

One confession: I've never seen an episode of The Wire or Deadwood. It's possible The Wire will someday be inserted into a Top 14 list, but I gotta see it first. With that in mind, here are the Top 13 TV Shows of the Aughts:

1. Doctor Who (BBC) (2005-Present)
2. Firefly (2002-2003)
3. The Office (BBC) (2001-2003)
4. Breaking Bad (2008-Present)
5. The Shield (2002-2008)
6. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
7. Dexter (2006-Present)
8. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present)
9. Arrested Development (2003-2006)
10. Extras (BBC) (2005-2007)
11. Scrubs (2001-2010)
12. Slings and Arrows (2003-2006)
13. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present)