The beginning of the new millenium brought to tv something which was relegated to MTV for most of the 1990′s. I speak of the so-called “reality tv” shows like The Real World and Road Rules. They were a nice enough diversion from the usualy network and cable fare. They drew great ratings for a cable show and with each successive season for both series becoming more and more like car-wrecks with their beautiful and quite fake cast members the other networks began to take notice. In comes from nowhere Mark Burnett and his pitch to the CBS network of a survival show where ordinary citizens picked to play were to try and survive the season until only one is left to win the million dollar cash prize. Thus was born the reality-tv show, Survivor.
Soon other networks began to greenlight their own reality-tv shows (which were as real as some of the boobs on the cast of later Real World cast members). Fox gave us American Idol. NBC would introduce The Biggest Loser and Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. ABC got into the act with Who Wants to be A Millionaire then with The Bachelor (and to show they were not sexist, The Bachelorette). Even cable channels like The Food Network, Bravo and AMC got into the reality-tv show. Hell, even The Discovery Channel started their own which actually delivered on the label of “reality-tv” with their very popular series, Deadliest Catch.
While the decade from 2000-thru-2009 seemed to be dominated by these cheap to produce “reality shows” the decade had their bonafide hits of every kind. Every type of show were ably represented from comedies, dramas, police procedurals to pop-level shows. The Writer’s Strike of 2007-2008 ended some very good shows just when they were about to breakout. While of some these shows were able to get a second-chance either with a follow-up full season (many series had seasons cut short due to the strike) others got picked up by cable networks like USA or TNT.
Below is the list of the 20 of my favorite tv shows of the past decade. I decided against doing a “Best of…” list since some shows that many would say should be on the list won’t be since I never really watched them or got into them. So, as a list of favorites I’m able to decide on picking shows I’ve actually spent time watching at least halfway into the first season, if not all of the episodes shown.
- The Wire (HBO)
- Rome (HBO)
- Deadwood (HBO)
- Dexter (Showtime)
- The Shield (FX)
- Sons of Anarchy (FX)
- Battlestar Galactica (SciFi)
- Supernatural (CW)
- South Park (Comedy Central)
- The Chappelle Show (Comedy Central)
- 24 (Fox)
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (fuck you Fox!)
- Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel)
- MadMen (AMC)
- Burn Notice (USA)
- Jericho (CBS)
- Chuck (NBC)
- NCIS (CBS)
- The Universe (The History Channel)
- Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (The Food Network)