The 50 Best Television Shows of this Century!

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
Huh. I haven't done one of these in a while, have I? Well, for once you are not subject to the slings and arrows of my arbitrary and capricious rules, because ... it's not my list!


That's right, I stumbled across the Best 50 TV Shows of this Century ... as determined by the critics of the Hollywood Reporter. Now, let me start by saying that I don't necessarily agree with every selection, or with the placement of every show, but I think that you could do a lot worse than just watching the shows on this list that you haven't seen yet.

All that said, what were the arbitrary and capricious rules that they used?
1. Any show that had any episodes that aired after Dec. 31, 1999, was eligible. But only for the episodes that aired after that date. Which meant that Buffy would lose the first 3 1/2 seasons. Yeah.
2. Only English-language shows.

What are my thoughts?

Shows I Would Have Found A Way to Include:
Arrested Development
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Good Place
Hannibal
Harley Quinn
Justified
Legion
Mr. Robot
Watchmen
What We Do In The Shadows

Shows That I Was Somewhat Puzzled by the Inclusion (not that these are bad shows ... at all! Just that I would have chosen other shows):
48. South Side
47. Vida
46. The Underground Railroad
34. Jane The Virgin. Eh.
23. Survivor. This show is super popular. And other than that, I have been told that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.
22. Better Things. It's a good show. Sometimes really good. Just not a top 50 for me.
18. Friday Night Lights. Unpopular opinion. The show is fine. But a wee bit overrated.
13. 30 for 30. It's fine! It's not one of my 50 best.
11. The Daily Show. Nope. If I had made the list, it would have been fiction only. Suck it, reality TV and faux news programs.

Other Comments:
44. The Leftovers. At least 40 spots too low.
42. Station Eleven. Happy to see it here, happy to see it properly recognized.
39. The Deuce. Weirdly, I was shocked to see it, but it's also ... not wrong.
35. Chernobyl. So many good HBO miniseries. But this one really lingers.
27. Parks and Recreation. Fun fact ... The Office isn't on the list. Suck it, Michael/Creed 'shippers.
25. Review. YES YES YES YES! Admit, you haven't seen this. And you need to.
20. Peep Show. Was I surprised this was here in a sea of mediocrity American TV? Yes. Does it belong here? Oh yeah.
19, Rectify. Shocked it placed higher than The Leftovers; my quick review of it is that it has all depression of that show, but none of the magical realism.
17, Halt and Catch Fire. Watch Brother Day in a tour de force about the rise of the computer industry.
15. Atlanta. What a great show. Deserving of the rank.

The Top 10, with brief notes-
10. Bojack Horseman. No notes. Perfect show.
9. Freaks and Geeks. OBJECTION! It had one season, and one third of its one season aired before the cutoff. It's a great show, but rules are rules. Shouldn't be on the list.
8. Girls. Totally should be on the list; question if it should be in the top 10.
7. Better Call Saul. Can't argue with this. For reference, Breaking Bad is 16. Argue amongst yourselves as to whether this is an outrage, or This Is The Way.
6. Reservation Dogs. Love it. Surprised and gratified to see it in the top 10.
5. The Wire. Perfect. No notes.
4. 30 Rock. Top 50 show, sure. Not top 10.
3. Succession. Oooh ..... okay. Number 3? Top 10, probably. But 3?
2. The Sopranos. Rules mean you lose Season 1. So ... still, can't argue.
1. Mad Men. Seems fair.


So, how does this compare to my personal top 10 list of the 21st century? Well, here it is. It's not in an ordinal order, and it's restricted to American shows. And no Buffy, because no first 3 1/2 seasons.
The Leftovers
The Americans
Better Call Saul
The Wire
Halt and Catch Fire
Mad Men
Reservation Dogs
BoJack Horseman
Rectify... but sure, I could see The Sopranos here. Still, Rectify is really really good. Or The Good Place.
 
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payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
11. The Daily Show. Nope. If I had made the list, it would have been fiction only. Suck it, reality TV and faux news programs.
This. I just cant take any list seriously that puts things like Survivor and The Daily show up against things like The Left Overs and Atlanta. I just dont see how these things can be compared to each other.

39. The Deuce. Weirdly, I was shocked to see it, but it's also ... not wrong.
Wouldnt make my list, and sure as hell wouldnt rank higher the The Left Overs.

My list;
Black Sails
Watchmen (criminal it wasn't on reporter's list)
The Wire (though final season was probably best it was final season...)
Sopranos
Breaking Bad
The Left Overs
Rectify
Fargo (Season 4 was a dud...)
True detective (best come back after poor second season)
Gomorrah

Honorable mention: (shows that start great, but dont end great)
Ray Donovan
Game of Thrones
The Americans
Better Call Saul
The Expanse
Penny Dreadful
 

Really enjoyed Fringe - mostly because of Denethor John Noble - and think it deserves some love. It does wobble at the end, though.

Disappointed that Deadwood isn't there. The series is pure class.

Breaking Bad should be #1. Only because The Sopranos is a dubious entrant. Man, HBO have really put out some good stuff.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
Really enjoyed Fringe - mostly because of Denethor John Noble - and think it deserves some love. It does wobble at the end, though.

Disappointed that Deadwood isn't there. The series is pure class.

Breaking Bad should be #1. Only because The Sopranos is a dubious entrant. Man, HBO have really put out some good stuff.

I just noticed that I somehow deleted the link to the actual article- it's there now! Sorry 'bout that.

I didn't list all of them... only the things I thought were particularly notable for some reason. FWIW, Deadwood is #21. 'Bout right. Probably would be higher if it hadn't been cut short.

And I love Fringe too. So good. But not sure it would quite crack the top 50. I should have put it as an honorable mention, though.

FWIW, Fringe made my top 10 SciFi shows when I did it a few years ago-

 

TheSword

Legend
I echo Black Sails and True Detective. Brilliant TV.

Maybe it’s too recent but after the second season I can’t conceive of a reason The Bear wouldn’t be on this list.

Also, Walking Dead really does deserve to be on there. There is a hell of a lot of great TV in that series.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I echo Black Sails and True Detective. Brilliant TV.

Maybe it’s too recent but after the second season I can’t conceive of a reason The Bear wouldn’t be on this list.

Also, Walking Dead really does deserve to be on there. There is a hell of a lot of great TV in that series.
Yeah I would have to swap White Lotus for Gomorrah because WL is awesome and Gom is Italian and not eligible by rules. (though people should really watch it)
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
This. I just cant take any list seriously that puts things like Survivor and The Daily show up against things like The Left Overs and Atlanta. I just dont see how these things can be compared to each other.


Wouldnt make my list, and sure as hell wouldnt rank higher the The Left Overs.

My list;
Black Sails
Watchmen (criminal it wasn't on reporter's list)
The Wire (though final season was probably best it was final season...)
Sopranos
Breaking Bad
The Left Overs
Rectify
Fargo (Season 4 was a dud...)
True detective (best come back after poor second season)
Gomorrah

Honorable mention: (shows that start great, but dont end great)
Ray Donovan
Game of Thrones
The Americans
Better Call Saul
The Expanse
Penny Dreadful

Still haven't seen Black Sails, so I can't comment on that one.

Fargo. Oof. Yeah, that is easily an honorable mention, and maybe in the Top 50. I liked Season 4, but it wasn't my favorite of the Seasons.

As for True Detective, I don't think I could rank it in the Top 50. I didn't think that the second season was as bad as other people do (I actually like the industrial LA vibe), but the second and third seasons were both not up the quality of the first, IMO.

Gomorrah is great, but ... Italian. ;)
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
I echo Black Sails and True Detective. Brilliant TV.

Maybe it’s too recent but after the second season I can’t conceive of a reason The Bear wouldn’t be on this list.

Also, Walking Dead really does deserve to be on there. There is a hell of a lot of great TV in that series.

Oof. The Bear. Oh, and as @payn mentioned, White Lotus.

White Lotus is really good, but I am not quite ready to put it in the top 50 yet. Just because it's only two seasons, and you never know if a show is going to jump the shark. Definitely honorable mention.

The Bear, though. The first two seasons are, arguably, some of the best things I have ever watched. Not top 10. But I can see it sliding into the top 50 already ....


Does The Bear belong in the Top 50?
Yes.

What do I need to do on my next list?

72e67414-f415-489c-a23b-cebb7dc6cef8_text.gif
 


TheSword

Legend
Oof. The Bear. Oh, and as @payn mentioned, White Lotus.

White Lotus is really good, but I am not quite ready to put it in the top 50 yet. Just because it's only two seasons, and you never know if a show is going to jump the shark. Definitely honorable mention.

The Bear, though. The first two seasons are, arguably, some of the best things I have ever watched. Not top 10. But I can see it sliding into the top 50 already ....


Does The Bear belong in the Top 50?
Yes.

What do I need to do on my next list?

72e67414-f415-489c-a23b-cebb7dc6cef8_text.gif

View attachment 38976B29-1CA5-467A-9F43-0DD9FDCF41F1.webp

“Because they make me feel better about myself.”

Welling up just thinking about the character arc.
 

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