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: 30 Rock (2006–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: Veronica Mars (2004–2007)

  • TV shows of the decade: Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)

  • TV shows of the decade: Mad Men (2007–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: The Office (U.K.: 2001–2003; U.S.: 2005–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: The Sopranos (1999–2007)

  • TV shows of the decade: Arrested Development (2003–2006)

  • TV shows of the decade: Friday Night Lights (2006–present)

  • TV shows of the decade: The Wire (2002–2008)

  • TV shows of the decade: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999–present)

TV shows of the decade: 30 Rock (2006–present)

10
30 Rock (2006--present)

30 Rock (2006–present)

This behind-the-scenes look at a late-night comedy show allows the writers to take plenty of swipes at their own network, which they somehow get away with. And the supporting cast, particularly Jack McBrayer as the sweetly naive Kenneth the Page, is never overshadowed by the now-superstars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.—Amy Plitt

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9
Veronica Mars (2004--2007)

Veronica Mars (2004–2007)

Creating a neon noir aesthetic on a shoestring budget, the teen-detective drama cast away comparisons to Nancy Drew the moment its tiny blond protagonist told us she was on a post-rape revenge quest. The titular bitch on wheels solved mysteries using a suspicious, wounded nature that never rendered her a victim.—Allison Williams

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8
Battlestar Galactica (2004--2009)

Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)

Sure, it killed most of humanity in the pilot, gave the genocidal robots a sympathetic side and turned its heroes into violent insurgents. But that's why we loved the genre-busting sci-fi drama, and a celebratory conference at the United Nations only cemented its thoughtful impact. So we all, dammit.—Allison Williams

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7
Mad Men (2007--present)

Mad Men (2007–present)

Matthew Weiner's pitch-perfect drama about the golden age of advertising doesn't just view the Camelot era though the prisms of fetishized retro-fashion and nostalgia; this AMC series delves into today's McLuhan-on-steroids media with a vengeance. It also gives us a great existentialist hero in Don Draper, a walking identity crisis in a gray flannel suit.—David Fear

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6
The Office (U.K.: 2001--2003; U.S.: 2005--present)

The Office (U.K.: 2001–2003; U.S.: 2005–present)

Ricky Gervais made us squirm in horror as inept office manager David Brent in the original humiliation-humor sitcom, setting the stage for the equally cringeworthy (in a good way) American adaptation. Thank the excellent cast of that import—many of whom do double duty as writers or producers—for making "That's what she said" funny again.—Amy Plitt


 Watch The Office (U.K.) now on iTunes    Watch The Office (U.K.) now at Amazon Instant Video

 Watch The Office (U.S.) now on iTunes    Watch The Office (U.S.) now at Amazon Instant Video

5
The Sopranos (1999--2007)

The Sopranos (1999–2007)

Even with all of the Mafia shenanigans and spilled blood around Tony Soprano, at its heart this was a story about a middle-aged guy facing pressure from his family, his job and his own inner demons. The ambiguous series finale will likely remain one of the all-timemost debated ends to a television show.—Amy Plitt

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4
Arrested Development (2003--2006)

Arrested Development (2003–2006)

Even if this absurdly hilarious comedy was never hugely popular, it helped propel its cast onto bigger things (oh, hi, Michael Cera)—and made us remember why we loved Jason Bateman so much in the '80s; dude can deadpan like nobody's business. We need the ber-dysfunctional Bluth family on the big screen.—Amy Plitt

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3
Friday Night Lights (2006--present)

Friday Night Lights (2006–present)

The dramas of small-town American life were rendered with such perfect grace, it's no wonder Time Out New York's late Time In editor, Andrew Johnston, inked CLEAR EYES, FULL HEART, CAN'T LOSE on his arm. The emotion seeping from the laconic Coach or injured quarterback socks you in the gut—never manipulative, ever purposeful and beautiful.—Allison Williams

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2
The Wire (2002--2008)

The Wire (2002–2008)

David Simon's epic portrait of a crumbling Baltimore was unflinching, showing the forces at work—corruption, drugs, even capitalism—that contribute to the slow death of American cities. Has there ever been a television character as conflicted and surprising as the gay, shotgun-carrying thug-killer Omar Little? (Answer: no.)—Amy Plitt

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1
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999--present)

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999–present)

Despite its format and preaching-to-the-choir attitude, Jon Stewart's nightly news chastisement was the decade's most impactful and interesting program. Though Stewart's tenure began in 1999 (and the show itself in 1996), the program's scathing parody blew up in its aptly named "Indecision 2000" coverage. Consistent, colorful and a time capsule of our decade, The Daily Show exemplified drama and comedy in ways most shows couldn't touch.—Allison Williams

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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 ;)