The 2000s saw a smorgasbord of new television shows created, with higher production values and more complex stories than ever before. From drama to comedy and everything in between, there was something for everyone to enjoy. Unlike the ’90s television was able to offer entertainment that rivaled movies and featured A-list actors.
The high-quality television produced during this period only continued and exploded during the next decade. In addition to this, with streaming now popular we have more high-quality choices than ever before. With this in mind here are the 10 best television shows of each year of the decade.
2000: Curb Your Enthusiasm (8.7)
Curb Your Enthusiasm channels Larry David’s unique sense of humor and sees him star as himself as he navigates problematic situations in both his personal and professional life. The series received critical acclaim for its witty writing and laugh out loud moments.
The series continues to go from strength to strength and recently wrapped up its 10th season, despite being 20 years old the series remains as fresh as ever and shows no signs of stopping.
2001: Band of Brothers (9.4)
HBO is known for its high-quality productions like nothing else on television, but in 2001 they went further than ever before when they produced the WWII epic limited series Band of Brothers.
The series features movie quality productions and the 10 episode series cost a whopping $125 million to produce, giving the show the quality of a movie. But unlike a movie the series was able to deliver more fully-fleshed out characters and a more complex story.
2002: The Wire (9.3)
The Wire delved into the underworld of Baltimore, exploring the drug scene in depth throughout the shows 5 seasons. However, unlike other series, the show features the perspective of both the drug dealer and the cops trying to take them down, resulting in a balanced show that always left viewers guessing.
The show received critical acclaim for its realism, excellent writing, and complex character, with many proclaiming it as one of the best dramas of all time.
2003: Chappelle’s Show (8.7)
Dave Chappelle starred in his own series creatively titled Chappelle’s Show, which featured a variety of sketches that poked fun at culture and race.
The series ran for 3 seasons and would go on to be nominated for 3 Emmy’s and remains one of the most critically acclaimed sketch shows of all time. Unlike many sketch show’s Chappelle’s Show kept things short and sweet, allowing the series to retain a high level of quality.
2004: Justice League Unlimited (8.7)
The 2000s saw DC produce a variety of animated series, expanding the DCAU with new and obscure characters. Justice League Unlimited brought the members of The Justice League to life like never before as the superhero team went up against some of the biggest threats in the DC universe.
Unlike the movies, the television series was able to give the large roster time to shine, with many lesser-known characters such as Red Tornado and Booster Gold making appearances.
2005: Avatar the Last Airbender (9.3)
Avatar: The Last Airbender received rave reviews from critics and despite airing on Nickelodeon garnered attention from adults due to its excellent storytelling and great characters.
The show is still talked about today and its unique world and complex mythology remain one of the most interesting fantasy tales of recent memory. The show would be adapted for live-action by acclaimed filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, resulting in one of the worst movies of the decade. But despite this, the original series remains excellent.
2006: Planet Earth (9.4)
The BBC’s Planet Earth remains one of the greatest documentaries of recent memory and explores the natural world of the planet from the South Pole to the Sahara Desert.
The groundbreaking documentary took 4 years to make and was filmed across 64 different countries, this allowed the expert team of filmmakers to capture never before seen animal behavior and the most stunning landscapes on the planet. The success of the series led to a sequel Planet Earth II, which also received critical acclaim.
2007: Mad Men (8.6)
Mad Men made Jon Hamm a household name and saw his career launch to new heights. He starred as Don Draper and deliver an iconic performance as the ruthless and deeply trouble ad executive during the early 1960s.
The series’ high production values and excellent writing saw it drawn critical acclaim and win 5 Golden Globes, becoming one of the most popular shows of the decade. The series pulled no punches when depicting its period, putting the spotlight on the cultural issues of the time.
2008: Breaking Bad (9.4)
Bryan Cranston was best known for his comedic role as Hal in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, but in Breaking Bad he shocked audiences by showing his excellent dramatic range, creating one of the most iconic characters in television history.
Walter White’s gradual transformation into a monster shocked and engaged audiences. Unlike many shows Breaking Bad didn’t overstay its welcome and delivered 5 excellent seasons of television that remained consistent throughout and delivered a satisfying conclusion.
2009: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (9.1)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood marked the second time the original manga had been adapted for television, with the previous series simply titled Fullmetal Alchemist releasing in 2003.
However, Brotherhood expanded upon the story and more faithfully adapted the original source material resulting in a far better series that remains one of the most highly regarded animated shows of all time. Featuring stunning stylized animation and a complex fantasy world to discover, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood represents the best that anime has to offer.