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Top 100 TV shows of the 21st century were ranked internationally. Did your favorite make the list?

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The culture arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has compiled a list of the 100 greatest television serials of the 21st century. The network drew its conclusions from the polling of 200 television specialists spanning 43 countries. Though the polling did not discriminate as to genre, only two comedies made it to the top ten.

The American crime drama “The Wire,” based on the Baltimore drug scene among other industries of the city, was voted the greatest series of the last 21 years in the poll. The show ran from 2002 to 2008 and starred British actors Dominic West and the hugely popular and versatile Idris Elba.

Almost 25 percent of the 200 subjects polled placed the show at the top of their respective lists, with 48 percent naming it in their top ten.

“Mad Men” came in second. The show first aired in 2007, ran for seven seasons and vaulted the career of Jon Hamm into the stratosphere. It depicts the trials and tribulations of the work and personal life of Don Draper (Hamm), who is the creative director at the ad agency of Sterling Cooper in New York during the 1960s.

The crime drama “Breaking Bad” arrived in third place. It ran from 2008 to 2013 and entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most critically acclaimed show of all time when it ended. Even those who have never seen an episode are aware of its premise: It tells the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), an underpaid, overqualified, and dispirited high school chemistry teacher who is mortified by a recent diagnosis of stage-three lung cancer.

He turns to a life of crime, partnering with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in a venture to make and distribute crystal meth in such quantities as to secure his family’s financial future before he dies. Many good times ensue.

The fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” rounded out the top five. Based on the novels by George R. R. Martin and running from 2011 to 2019, it starred Kit Harington, Emelia Clarke and Peter Dinklage and followed nine noble families as they fought for control over the lands of the fictional Westeros. Both the elaborately produced ensemble drama and “Breaking Bad” garnered a near-cultist following among their millions of fans worldwide.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy “Fleabag” landed in fourth place, with almost 40 percent of experts placing it in their top ten.

The only other comedy to make the top ten was the original U.K. version of “The Office.”

The immensely popular U.S. rendition of “The Office” placed significantly lower at number 39. So, let the debate begin on that one …

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. (Which, incidentally, is also on the list).

Critics could only vote for TV shows which had their pilot after January 1, 2000, and each critic voted for 10 programs, ranking them one to 10. BBC Culture awarded 10 points per first ranked TV show, nine per second-ranked TV show, and so on down to one point. The network then added the points together.

BBC Culture journalist Hugh Montgomery said: “We were overjoyed by the great response, and we hope that this list will provoke debate and inspire many watches and re-watches of the wonderful shows that have really helped make television the defining art form of the new millennium.”

The full list of BBC Culture’s top 100 TV shows of the new millennium:

1 The Wire (2002-2008)
2 Mad Men (2007-2015)
3 Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
4 Fleabag (2016-2019)
5 Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
6 I May Destroy You (2020)
7 The Leftovers (2014-2017)
8 The Americans (2013-2018)
9 The Office (UK) (2001-2003)
10 Succession (2018-)
11 BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)
12 Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
13 Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)
14 Atlanta (2016-)
15 Chernobyl (2019)
16 The Crown (2016-)
17 30 Rock (2006-2013)
18 Deadwood (2004-2006)
19 Lost (2004-2010)
20 The Thick of It (2005-2012)
21 Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-)
22 Black Mirror (2011-)
23 Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
24 Veep (2012-2019)
25 Sherlock (2010-2017)
26 Watchmen (2019)
27 Line of Duty (2012-2021)
28 Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
29 Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
30 Girls (2012-2017)
31 True Detective (2014-2019)
32 Arrested Development (2003-2019)
33 The Good Wife (2009-2016)
34 The Bridge (2011-2018)
35 Fargo (2014-)
36= Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
36= Band of Brothers (2001)
38 The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-)
39 The Office (US) (2005-2013)
40 Borgen (2010-2022)
41 Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020)
42 Peep Show (2003-2015)
43 Money Heist (2017-2021)
44 Community (2009-2015)
45 The Good Fight (2017-)
46 Homeland (2011-2020)
47 Grey’s Anatomy (2005-)
48 Inside No 9 (2014-)
49 The Bureau (2015-)
50 Halt and Catch Fire (2014-2017)
51 Small Axe (2020)
52 This is England 86, 88 and 90 (2010-2015)
53 Call My Agent! (2015-2020)
54 Happy Valley (2014-)
55 The Shield (2002-2008)
56 The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)
57 The Young Pope (2016)
58 Dark (2017-2020)
59 The Underground Railroad (2021)
60 House of Cards (2013-2018)
61 Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)
62= The Good Place (2016-2020)
62= Pose (2018-2021)
64 Detectorists (2014-2017)
65 Orange is the New Black (2013-2019)
66 Mare of Easttown (2021)
67 RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009-)
68 Stranger Things (2016-)
69 24 (2001-2010)
70 Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
71 Enlightened (2011-2013)
72 Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
73 Planet Earth (2006)
74 Utopia (2013-2014)
75 Babylon Berlin (2017-)
76 Rick and Morty (2013-)
77 American Crime Story (2016-)
78 The Killing (Denmark) (2007-2012)
79 Mindhunter (2017-2019)
80 House (2004-2012)
81 OJ: Made in America (2016)
82 Big Little Lies (2017-2019)
83 Insecure (2016-2021)
84= Normal People (2020)
84= Narcos (2015-2017)
86 How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
87 The Comeback (2005-2014)
88 The OA (2016-2019)
89 Dexter (2006-2013)
90 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-)
91 Westworld (2016-)
92 Show Me a Hero (2015)
93 Treme (2010-2013)
94 Louie (2010-2015)
95 Luther (2010-2019)
96 Catastrophe (2015-2019)
97 Hannibal (2013-2015)
98 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019)
99 Steven Universe (2013-2020)
100 The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Frank Webster

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