TONY's top 50 TV shows of the decade

The best stuff on the boob tube from 2000 to 2009.

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  • TV shows of the decade: Coupling (2000–2004)

  • TV shows of the decade: Rescue Me (2004–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: The Colbert Report (2005–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: Saxondale (2006–2007)

  • TV shows of the decade: How I Met Your Mother (2005–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: Project Runway (2005–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: The West Wing (1999–2006)

  • TV shows of the decade: The Comeback (2005)

  • TV shows of the decade: Sex and the City (1998–2004)

  • TV shows of the decade: Generation Kill (2008)

TV shows of the decade: Coupling (2000–2004)

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Coupling  (2000--2004)

Coupling (2000–2004)

Anything we can do the Brits can do in a fraction of the episodes. Their take on six urban singles goofing around lasted a mere 28 episodes, every one of them quotable. The show was tart and hilariously naughty in a way that American sitcoms still haven't mastered, so the 2003 U.S. version predictably tanked.—Allison Williams

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29
Rescue Me (2004--present)

Rescue Me (2004–present)

One of the medium's more trenchant responses to 9/11, Denis Leary's ode to NYC firefighters has morphed into a first-rate, testosteronized soap opera. If there's a more charismatic swearing, swaggering, womanizing and whiskey-drinking Irish-American prick on TV than Tommy Gavin, we haven't met him yet.—David Fear

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28
The Colbert Report (2005--present)

The Colbert Report (2005–present)

We dislike Bill O'Reilly as much as the next guy, but if his continued presence on the air gives Stephen Colbert fodder for his hilariously ignorant television personality, then we can live with him. Buried underneath Colbert's blowhard exterior is true comedic talent, with the ability to skewer someone to their face without seeming like a jerk.—Amy Plitt

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27
Saxondale (2006--2007)

Saxondale (2006–2007)

How do you follow up a cringe-comedy creation like Alan Partridge? If you're Britcom legend Steve Coogan, you go the opposite route: His middle-aged rock-roadie-turned-exterminator Tommy Saxondale gave dignity to England's everyblokes for two remarkably funny, poignant seasons.—David Fear

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26
How I Met Your Mother (2005--present)

How I Met Your Mother (2005–present)

Don't compare it to Friends—HIMYM is better, and has spawned a whole lexicon of catchphrases and relaunched the career of the erstwhile Doogie Howser, M.D. The sitcom's commitment to clever, Rashomon-as-high-comedy storytelling, as well as its heartfelt characters, will ultimately make it legen—wait for it!—dary.—Amy Plitt

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25
Project Runway (2005--present)

Project Runway (2005–present)

The original fashion competition show brought couture to the masses, inviting us all to have an opinion about bubble skirts and ratty hemlines. Without it, Tim Gunn would be just another underappreciated educator instead of everyone's favorite "make it work" mentor.—Allison Williams

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24
The West Wing (1999--2006)

The West Wing (1999–2006)

Though its pitch-perfect premiere predates the aughts, Aaron Sorkin's sweeping political drama delivered some of its best punches in its following years, including an untranslated monologue in Latin. President Bartlet was a necessary retreat for bummed-out liberal daydreamers during the Bush era.—Allison Williams

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23
The Comeback (2005)

The Comeback (2005)

Little could have prepared us for the humiliation pileup of this faux-reality documentary about a faded sitcom star; it mined the thrills of cringe-induction before it became the stock-in-trade of the American Office.—Ethan LaCroix

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22
Sex and the City (1998--2004)

Sex and the City (1998–2004)

Go ahead, scoff—we don't care. For all of the criticism, HBO's girly comedy did something that few shows had done before: It focused exclusively on four women over the age of—gasp!—30. Underneath all the cupcake and vibrator froufrou was a fun show that often had more heart and feminist verve than it was given credit for.—Amy Plitt

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21
Generation Kill (2008)

Generation Kill (2008)

If you ever wondered exactly what the storming of Baghdad was really like, this peerless HBO miniseries will clear it up. By giving the Iraq War the Band of Brothers treatment, it refused to wait for the distance of history to unpack the war's ambiguities and heroism.—Drew Toal

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Users say

2 comments
Jennifer
Jennifer

Glad to see Alias, Gilmore Girls, HIMYM, and FNL in the list but you forgot ER ;)