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Here is the definitive list of the 100 greatest TV series of the 21st Century

[Oct 20, 2021: Wenlei Ma]

Eugene Levy and Rizwan Manji from Schitt's Creek which ranked the 41st best TV Show in the 21st Century according to BBC Culture critics. Is your favorite show on the list? (CREDIT: Netflix)

We’ve all been told that this is the era of peak TV.

Since the turn of the century, an explosion of streaming services and before that, the wide availability of DVD boxsets, means we’re all discovering more TV shows than ever.

No longer tethered to a TV programmer’s whims, driven by the need to sell as many eyeballs as possible at any given timeslot to advertisers, the diversity in business models has led to a diversity in storytelling.

TV shows that wouldn’t have been greenlit under a commercial model are now being given multi-season orders, and the people that’s benefiting is the audience, who can get behind a cultural phenomenon or indulge in something niche that speaks to them.


In the almost 22 years of this century, there have been some absolute cracker TV series, and the BBC Culture site has put together a list of the top 100, as selected by 206 critics*, academics and industry folks from 43 countries.

Universally beloved crime drama The Wire came out on top, followed by Mad Men and Breaking Bad.


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Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s biting comedy Fleabag came in fourth while fantasy epic Game of Thrones was fifth.

Most of the series were either American or British while Danish series Borgen, Germany’s Dark and the French Call My Agent! made their way onto the list.

Editors Note: Schitt's Creek which also stars Rizwan Manji (The Brighter Side of News Podcast host) ranked 41st on the list.


There are also a handful of animated shows, including the 11th-placed existential dramedy Bojack Horseman, Rick & Morty and Steven Universe, while two versions of The Office – both the UK and US iterations – made it in.

Among the non-scripted series are RuPaul’s Drag Race and David Attenborough’s Planet Earth.

Here are the top 100 picks.

Top 100 TV shows of the 21st century:

1. The Wire

2. Mad Men

3. Breaking Bad

4. Fleabag

5. Game of Thrones

6. I May Destroy You

7. The Leftovers

8. The Americans

9. The Office (UK)

10. Succession

11. BoJack Horseman

12. Six Feet Under

13. Twin Peaks: The Return

14. Atlanta

15. Chernobyl

16. The Crown

17. 30 Rock

18. Deadwood

19. Lost

20. The Thick of It

21. Curb Your Enthusiasm

22. Black Mirror

23. Better Call Saul

24. Veep

25. Sherlock


Top 100 TV shows of the 21st century:

26. Watchmen

27. Line of Duty

28. Friday Night Lights

29. Parks and Recreation

30. Girls

31. True Detective

32. Arrested Development

33. The Good Wife

34. The Bridge

35. Fargo

36. Downton Abbey

36. Band of Brothers

38. The Handmaid’s Tale

39. The Office (US)

40. Borgen

41. Schitt’s Creek

42. Peep Show

43. Money Heist

44. Community

45. The Good Fight

46. Homeland

47. Grey’s Anatomy

48. Inside No 9

49. The Bureau

50. Halt and Catch Fire


Top 100 TV shows of the 21st century:

51. Small Axe

52. This is England 86, 88 and 90

53. Call My Agent!

54. Happy Valley

55. The Shield

56. The Big Bang Theory

57. The Young Pope

58. Dark

59. The Underground Railroad

60. House of Cards

61. Avatar: The Last Airbender

62. The Good Place

62. Pose

64. Detectorists

65. Orange is the New Black

66. Mare of Easttown

67. RuPaul’s Drag Race

68. Stranger Things

69. 24

70. Battlestar Galactica

71. Enlightened

72. Gilmore Girls

73. Planet Earth

74. Utopia (UK)

75. Babylon Berlin


Top 100 TV shows of the 21st century:

76. Rick and Morty

77. American Crime Story

78. The Killing (Denmark)

79. Mindhunter

80. House

81. OJ: Made in America

82. Big Little Lies

83. Insecure

84. Normal People

84. Narcos

86. How I Met Your Mother

87. The Comeback

88. The OA

89. Dexter

90. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

91. Westworld

92. Show Me a Hero

93. Treme

94. Louie

95. Luther

96. Catastrophe

97. Hannibal

98. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

99. Steven Universe

100. The Queen’s Gambit

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