For many, TV has the power to etch lasting memories and define entire chapters of one’s life. From drama to comedy to animation, devoted fans have flocked to IMDb, curating a selection of outstanding TV shows from the 2000s, all with the aim of guiding viewers to these remarkable gems.
Whether these shows have achieved their high-ranking statuses due to their captivating plot lines, top-tier animation, or brilliant writing, there is a reason they are ranked the highest among hundreds of TV series from the first decade of the century. Regardless if viewers prefer uplifting classic 00s comfort show cartoons, thrilling dramas, or beautifully filmed and deeply informative nature docuseries – there is a 00s show for every audience, catering to a diverse range of tastes and interests.
10 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005-)
IMDb Rating- 8.8
Scheming, conniving, morally bankrupt, and politically incorrect, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows the absurd misadventures of “The Gang,” as each episode delves into various ridiculous plot lines and hilarious undertakings. Fans of It’s Always Sunny praise this show for multiple reasons, from relishing in the dark humor that pushes boundaries yet approaches especially taboo subjects head-on, to finding solace in each character who is unapologetically themselves in a flawed and selfishly human way.
The Gang is often corrupting characters throughout its seasons, and despite its debut in 2005, this TV show maintains its allure as the combination of witty humor, endearing characters, and quirky storylines earns this series a high-ranking score on IMDb’s top 2000s TV series. Be sure to re-watch Season 10, Episode 4, “Charlie Work,” for a good laugh.
9 Firefly (2002-2003)
IMDb Rating – 9.0
Despite its unfortunate premature cancelation after its first and only season, Firefly, a niche fusion of scientific and Western storytelling has stood out among other science fiction series for multiple reasons. Firefly is chockfull of complex interactions and storylines between the characters which showcases the growth of each individual, being achieved through its clever writing which seamlessly combines elements of drama, humor, and action.
The universe of Firefly also upholds its own allure, as the creators of this show placed extra emphasis on developing a richly detailed world with its own language, culture, and historical backing, further allowing viewers to fully immerse themselves into the series. This stimulating and volatile TV show broke free from the conventional norms that had so frequently been featured in TV, establishing itself as a beloved show. Especially memorable episodes include “Out of Gas.”
8 The Office (2005-2013)
IMDb Rating – 9.0
Characterized by its sharp writing, witty one-liners, hilarious scenes, and mockumentary-style approach, The Office satirizes the workplace dynamics of Dunder Mifflin and is highly praised by critics and fans alike. The diverse ensemble of The Office has introduced iconic and beloved characters to the sitcom world, with emotional depth and resonance to each persona, expertly highlighting complex workplace relationships and hilariously portraying corporate culture and office politics.
Years after it’s finale, The Office has left a lasting social impact on its viewers, with phrases from the show still being relevant and frequently used in daily jargon. No matter how inappropriate or cringe-inducing Michael Scott may be, fans of The Office repeatedly revert to this TV show to bring laughter to everyday life. Favorite episodes include Season 7, Episode 21, “Goodbye Michael.”
7 Life (2009)
IMDb Rating – 9.1
Characterized by breathtaking visuals, inspirational messages, superb narration by David Attenborough, and a rare glimpse into the lives of many elusive species, the series Life brings the animal kingdom straight into viewers’ homes. Highlighting the natural wonders of planet Earth, Life pairs stunning and groundbreaking cinematography with scientific fact, capturing the beauty of the natural world and educating viewers of varying ages and degrees of curiosity.
From navigating and uncovering the patterns and the mysteries of the smallest insects to showcasing the largest ocean mammals, Life manages to transport viewers straight to the ecosystems of these species, creating an emotional connection between the audience and the natural world, making it a standout among nature documentaries.
6 The Sopranos (1999-2007)
IMDb Rating – 9.2
The cult-classic TV show, The Sopranos, dives into the world of organized crime of the main character (played by James Gandolfini) Tony Soprano. Mob boss, husband, and father, Tony seeks therapy for his persistent struggles with anxiety and depression, all while simultaneously navigating the challenges of his complicated and brutal crime family and the expectations he must maintain as a prominent figure in the mob.
With no shortage of notable characters and unforgettable storylines, The Sopranos is widely praised for its intense character development, expert storytelling, and ability to tackle complex themes such as individual and interpersonal psychology, family expectations, and more. In its six seasons fans have highly praised Season 5, Episode 12, “Long Term Parking.”
5 Avatar the Last Airbender (2005-2008)
IMDb Rating – 9.3
Set in a world governed by benders of the four elements – Earth, Fire, Water, and Air – Avatar: The Last Airbender chronicles the journey of protagonist and airbender, Aang. Awakening from a century-long slumber, Aang finds his world drastically transformed from the peaceful reality he once knew. In a quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar and master the four elements, Aang forges many meaningful friendships along the way, which aid him in his bid to restore peace to the world, despite the obstacles and adversaries he encounters.
Avatar the Last Airbender delves into profound themes of self-discovery, friendship, morality, redemption, and forgiveness across its three seasons. In addition to the plot, Avatar is complemented by great character arcs, stunning animation and a memorable soundtrack. Notable episodes include Season 3, Episode 4, “Sozins Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang.”
4 The Wire (2002-2008)
IMDb Rating – 9.3
Created by David Simon, gritty crime drama TV show The Wire, set in Baltimore, Maryland, delves into the complex social dynamics and intricate connections among the city’s various socio-economic strata. It prominently explores topics such as the drug trade, the local police force, and the education system, while offering a realistic portrayal of urban life via the lens of politics and media.
This socially relevant series is thought-provoking in several ways, dissecting issues through the unique perspectives of standout characters, all while strategically utilizing some characters and scenes to insert some much-needed comedic relief. Of its five seasons, be sure to revisit fan-favorite episodes such as Season 5, Episode 10, “-30.”
3 Planet Earth (2006)
IMDb Rating – 9.4
Narrated by nature enthusiast David Attenborough, Planet Earth skillfully highlights the challenges and complexities that multiple species must confront in their struggles for survival. In a series of stunning scenarios, Planet Earth investigates the lives of these enigmatic creatures, employing stunning cinematography to capture rare, never-before-seen wildlife footage in breathtaking high-definition.
Each 50-minute episode transports viewers to a different habitat, as time-lapse sequences showcase dramatic natural events in mere seconds while high-speed cameras capture intense predator-prey hunting rituals rarely witnessed by the human eye. Planet Earth manages to not only deliver stunning visual scenes, but also urgently conveys the importance of maintaining a conscious balance between the fragile biomes existing on Earth, the interconnectedness of life, and the surrounding beauty of planet Earth.
2 Band of Brothers (2001)
IMDb Rating – 9.4
Based on historically accurate events, featuring a stellar cast, and produced by two of the most renowned filmmakers of modern time, fidelity to source material and accurate storytelling is paramount in Band of Brothers. Adapted from Stephen E. Ambrose’s non-fiction book, this miniseries details the journey of a unit of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment-Airborne Division from their rigorous training in the US to their pivotal deployments in key WWII battles.
Band of Brothers explores intense themes, such as sacrifice, bonds, and camaraderie, excellently forging a profound emotional connection with its invested fanbase. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks successfully capture the real-life experiences of soldiers fighting in WWII, all while providing fans with high-quality visuals, stunning battle sequences, and emotionally compelling storylines. Be sure to revisit “Why We Fight.”
1 Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
IMDb Rating – 9.5
Following the transformative life of a high school chemistry teacher turned drug lord, Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) is the cancer-stricken protagonist of AMC’s Breaking Bad. Turning to creating and dealing methamphetamines with his former student, Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), as his partner, this show dives deep into a whirlwind of crime, conflicts of moral compasses, and, best of all, demonstrates excellent character development.
Beyond its themes of drugs and danger, Breaking Bad is renowned for exploring deeper themes like the sadness behind death, morality, the contrast between good intentions and poor execution, and the (often negative) consequences that ripple through each individual’s life based on the choices they make. Be sure to watch Season 5, Episode 15, “Ozymandias,” for IMDb’s top-rated episode.
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