The Best TV Episodes of the 21st Century (So Far) - 24/7 Tempo
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The Best TV Episodes of the 21st Century (So Far)

The Best TV Episodes of the 21st Century (So Far)

There are more new television shows now than ever before. According to FX Research, in 2022, a record 599 original scripted series for adults aired on streaming services and television – up from 210 in 2009. But with the nearly limitless options out there, some shows have seen unparalleled success. 

“Breaking Bad,” a crime drama that has become the most critically acclaimed television show of all time, was so popular that it gave rise to a highly successful spinoff series, “Better Call Saul”. Both of these shows boast individual episodes that have been voted some of the best episodes in modern television.

To determine the best TV episodes of the 21st century, 24/7 Tempo reviewed IMDb data on audience reception for television episodes. Television episodes aired January 1, 2001 or later were ranked based on average IMDb user rating as of October 2023. Only episodes with at least 5,000 user reviews were considered. In the case of a tie, the show with more audience votes was ranked higher.

In addition to the many episodes of “Breaking Bad” and its offshoot, seven of the best TV episodes aired since 2001 are from the Japanese anime series “Attack on Titan,” which ran from 2013 to 2023. Other animated shows, including “BoJack Horseman” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, also made the list. 

“Game of Thrones,” another of the most-watched series ever, has four episodes on the list – although none are from the controversial last season. Multiple fantasy series in the Star Wars universe make appearances, as do beloved comedies including “The Office” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” (Here are fan-favorite comedies that critics hated.)

50. “Twilight of the Apprentice: Part 2”

"Twilight of the Apprentice: Part 2" | Ashley Eckstein in Star Wars: Rebels (2014)
Source: Courtesy of ABC and Disney

N/A

Source: Courtesy of ABC and Disney
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (6,959 votes)
  • Television show: Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018)
  • Original airdate: March 30, 2016
  • Starring: Taylor Gray, Freddie Prinze Jr., Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein

49. “One For All”

"One For All" | Kenta Miyake in My Hero Academia (2016)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (7,154 votes)
  • Television show: My Hero Academia (2016-Present)
  • Original airdate: May 11, 2019
  • Starring: Daiki Yamashita, Kenta Miyake, Akio Ôtsuka, Jennifer Alyx

48. “Sozin’s Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno”

Source: Courtesy of Nickelodeon Network

Source: Courtesy of Nickelodeon Network
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (8,608 votes)
  • Television show: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)
  • Original airdate: July 19, 2008
  • Starring: Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack De Sena, Michaela Jill Murphy

47. “Re;”

"Re;" | Johnny Yong Bosch and Jun Fukuyama in Code Geass (2006)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Bandai Entertainment

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Bandai Entertainment
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (9,566 votes)
  • Television show: Code Geass (2006-2008)
  • Original airdate: September 28, 2008
  • Starring: Johnny Yong Bosch, Jun Fukuyama, Yuri Lowenthal, Takahiro Sakurai

46. “Anger × and × Light”

Source: Courtesy of Viz Media

Source: Courtesy of Viz Media
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (9,660 votes)
  • Television show: Hunter x Hunter (2011-2014)
  • Original airdate: February 24, 2019
  • Starring: Megumi Han, Mariya Ise, Kikuko Inoue, Ayumi Fujimura

45. “Zero × and × Rose”

Source: Courtesy of Viz Media

Source: Courtesy of Viz Media
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (9,734 votes)
  • Television show: Hunter x Hunter (2011-2014)
  • Original airdate: January 20, 2019
  • Starring: Banjô Ginga, Kôki Uchiyama, Takashi Matsuyama, Issei Futamata

44. “Charlie Work”

"Charlie Work" | Charlie Day in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005)
Source: Courtesy of FX Network

N/A

Source: Courtesy of FX Network
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (9,788 votes)
  • Television show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present)
  • Original airdate: February 4, 2015
  • Starring: Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson

43. “House’s Head”

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (10,873 votes)
  • Television show: House (2004-2012)
  • Original airdate: May 12, 2008
  • Starring: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

42. “Return 0”

Source: Courtesy of CBS

Source: Courtesy of CBS
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (10,896 votes)
  • Television show: Person of Interest (2011-2016)
  • Original airdate: June 21, 2016
  • Starring: Jim Caviezel, Kevin Chapman, Amy Acker, Sarah Shahi

41. “Time’s Arrow”

"Time's Arrow" | Matthew Broderick in BoJack Horseman (2014)
Source: Courtesy of Netflix

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Netflix
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (12,817 votes)
  • Television show: BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)
  • Original airdate: September 8, 2017
  • Starring: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins

40. “If-Then-Else”

Source: Courtesy of CBS

Source: Courtesy of CBS
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (13,109 votes)
  • Television show: Person of Interest (2011-2016)
  • Original airdate: January 6, 2015
  • Starring: Jim Caviezel, Kevin Chapman, Amy Acker, Sarah Shahi

39. “Remedial Chaos Theory”

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (13,212 votes)
  • Television show: Community (2009-2015)
  • Original airdate: October 13, 2011
  • Starring: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown

38. “Modern Warfare”

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (13,736 votes)
  • Television show: Community (2009-2015)
  • Original airdate: May 6, 2010
  • Starring: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown

37. “Shattered”

Source: Courtesy of Disney+

Source: Courtesy of Disney+
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (14,617 votes)
  • Television show: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020)
  • Original airdate: May 1, 2020
  • Starring: Ashley Eckstein, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Filoni, Dee Bradley Baker

36. “The Getaway”

Source: Courtesy of Showtime Networks

Source: Courtesy of Showtime Networks
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (14,942 votes)
  • Television show: Dexter (2006-2013)
  • Original airdate: December 13, 2009
  • Starring: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Desmond Harrington

35. “The Phantom Apprentice”

Source: Courtesy of Disney+

Source: Courtesy of Disney+
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (16,222 votes)
  • Television show: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020)
  • Original airdate: April 24, 2020
  • Starring: Ashley Eckstein, Julian Holloway, Katee Sackhoff, Dee Bradley Baker

34. “Free Churro”

"Free Churro" | Will Arnett in BoJack Horseman (2014)
Source: Courtesy of Netflix

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Netflix
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (17,416 votes)
  • Television show: BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)
  • Original airdate: September 14, 2018
  • Starring: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins

33. “Goodbye, Michael”

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (17,490 votes)
  • Television show: The Office (2005-2013)
  • Original airdate: April 28, 2011
  • Starring: Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer

32. “Hello, Elliot”

"Hello, Elliot" | Carly Chaikin in Mr. Robot: Hello, Elliot (2019)
Source: Courtesy of USA Network

N/A

Source: Courtesy of USA Network
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (20,508 votes)
  • Television show: Mr. Robot (2015-2019)
  • Original airdate: December 22, 2019
  • Starring: Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Michael Cristofer

31. “Finale”

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (20,778 votes)
  • Television show: The Office (2005-2013)
  • Original airdate: May 16, 2013
  • Starring: Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms

30. “Mizumono”

Source: Courtesy of Lions Gate Films

Source: Courtesy of Lions Gate Films
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (20,933 votes)
  • Television show: Hannibal (2013-2015)
  • Original airdate: May 23, 2014
  • Starring: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne

29. “I Will Never Give Up”

"I Will Never Give Up" | Natsuki Hanae in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Never Give Up (2022)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (21,100 votes)
  • Television show: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019-Present)
  • Original airdate: February 6, 2022
  • Starring: Natsuki Hanae, Akari Kitô, Hiro Shimono, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka

28. “Blink”

"Blink" | Finlay Robertson and Carey Mulligan in Doctor Who (2005)
Source: Courtesy of BBC America

N/A

Source: Courtesy of BBC America
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (22,584 votes)
  • Television show: Doctor Who (2005-Present)
  • Original airdate: September 14, 2007
  • Starring: David Tennant, Freema Agyeman, Carey Mulligan, Lucy Gaskell

27. “The Ricklantis Mixup”

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (34,440 votes)
  • Television show: Rick and Morty (2013-Present)
  • Original airdate: September 10, 2017
  • Starring: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, Sarah Chalke

26. “To’hajiilee”

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (52,448 votes)
  • Television show: Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
  • Original airdate: September 8, 2013
  • Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris

25. “Saul Gone”

"Saul Gone" | Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul: Saul Gone (2022)
Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics

N/A

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (54,162 votes)
  • Television show: Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
  • Original airdate: August 15, 2022
  • Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Barbara Rosenblat

24. “Midnight Sun”

"Midnight Sun" | Hiroshi Kamiya in Attack on Titan: Midnight Sun (2019)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (56,506 votes)
  • Television show: Attack on Titan (2013-2023)
  • Original airdate: June 3, 2019
  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Hiroshi Kamiya, Yui Ishikawa, Marina Inoue

23. “Chapter 16: The Rescue”

"Chapter 16: The Rescue" | The Mandalorian: Chapter 16: The Rescue (2020)
Source: Courtesy of Disney+

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Disney+
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (61,395 votes)
  • Television show: The Mandalorian (2019-Present)
  • Original airdate: December 18, 2020
  • Starring: Pedro Pascal, Omid Abtahi, Temuera Morrison, Gina Carano

22. “Vichnaya Pamyat”

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (62,038 votes)
  • Television show: Chernobyl (2019)
  • Original airdate: June 3, 2019
  • Starring: Douggie McMeekin, Jamie Sives, Michael Socha, Adam Nagaitis

21. “Memories of the Future”

"Memories of the Future" | Takehito Koyasu and Yûki Kaji in Attack on Titan: Memories of the Future (2022)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (65,221 votes)
  • Television show: Attack on Titan (2013-2023)
  • Original airdate: January 30, 2022
  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Takehito Koyasu, Hiroshi Tsuchida, Yoshino Takamori

20. “Perfect Game”

"Perfect Game" | Hiroshi Kamiya in Attack on Titan (2013)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (66,406 votes)
  • Television show: Attack on Titan (2013-2023)
  • Original airdate: May 20, 2019
  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Daisuke Ono, Hiroshi Kamiya, Yui Ishikawa

19. “The War Hammer Titan”

"The War Hammer Titan" | Attack on Titan: The War Hammer Titan (2021)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (68,800 votes)
  • Television show: Attack on Titan (2013-2023)
  • Original airdate: January 17, 2021
  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa, Kishô Taniyama, Yû Kobayashi

18. “Declaration of War”

"Declaration of War" | Attack on Titan: Declaration of War (2021)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (70,515 votes)
  • Television show: Attack on Titan (2013-2023)
  • Original airdate: January 10, 2021
  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Natsuki Hanae, Jirô Saitô

17. “Assault”

"Assault" | Yui Ishikawa in Attack on Titan: Assault (2021)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (92,307 votes)
  • Television show: Attack on Titan (2013-2023)
  • Original airdate: January 24, 2021
  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa, Marina Inoue, Takehito Koyasu

16. “Hardhome”

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (106,128 votes)
  • Television show: Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
  • Original airdate: May 31, 2015
  • Starring: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington

15. “Hero”

"Hero" | Hiroshi Kamiya in Attack on Titan (2013)
Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.8/10 (115,617 votes)
  • Television show: Attack on Titan (2013-2023)
  • Original airdate: May 27, 2019
  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Marina Inoue, Tomohisa Hashizume, Yoshimasa Hosoya

14. “Everyone’s Waiting”

"Everyone's Waiting" | Lauren Ambrose in Six Feet Under (2001)
Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (11,492 votes)
  • Television show: Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
  • Original airdate: August 21, 2005
  • Starring: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose

13. “Sozin’s Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang”

Source: Courtesy of Nickelodeon Network

Source: Courtesy of Nickelodeon Network
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (14,489 votes)
  • Television show: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)
  • Original airdate: July 19, 2008
  • Starring: Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack De Sena, Michaela Jill Murphy

12. “End of The Prologue”

"End of The Prologue" | Takayuki Sugô in Vinland Saga (2019)
Source: Courtesy of Crunchyroll

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Crunchyroll
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (14,691 votes)
  • Television show: Vinland Saga (2019-2023)
  • Original airdate: December 29, 2019
  • Starring: Mike Haimoto, Yûto Uemura, Naoya Uchida, David Wald

11. “Victory and Death”

Source: Courtesy of Disney+

Source: Courtesy of Disney+
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (17,368 votes)
  • Television show: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020)
  • Original airdate: May 4, 2020
  • Starring: Ashley Eckstein, Dave Filoni, Dee Bradley Baker, Sam Witwer

10. “The View from Halfway Down”

"The View from Halfway Down" | BoJack Horseman: The View from Halfway Down (2020)
Source: Courtesy of Netflix

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Netflix
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (19,987 votes)
  • Television show: BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)
  • Original airdate: January 31, 2020
  • Starring: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins

9. “407 Proxy Authentication Required”

"407 Proxy Authentication Required" | Rami Malek and Elliot Villar in Mr. Robot (2015)
Source: Courtesy of USA Network

N/A

Source: Courtesy of USA Network
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (33,006 votes)
  • Television show: Mr. Robot (2015-2019)
  • Original airdate: November 17, 2019
  • Starring: Rami Malek, Elliot Villar, Christian Slater, Young M.A.

8. “Connor’s Wedding”

"Connor's Wedding" | Alan Ruck and Justine Lupe in Succession: Connor's Wedding (2023)
Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (33,488 votes)
  • Television show: Succession (2018-2023)
  • Original airdate: April 9, 2023
  • Starring: Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Dagmara Dominczyk

7. “Plan and Execution”

"Plan and Execution" | Giancarlo Esposito in Better Call Saul: Plan and Execution (2022)
Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics

N/A

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (53,999 votes)
  • Television show: Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
  • Original airdate: May 23, 2022
  • Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian

6. “Face Off”

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (71,587 votes)
  • Television show: Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
  • Original airdate: October 9, 2011
  • Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris

5. “The Rains of Castamere”

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (114,401 votes)
  • Television show: Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
  • Original airdate: June 2, 2013
  • Starring: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Iain Glen

4. “Felina”

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (134,588 votes)
  • Television show: Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
  • Original airdate: September 29, 2013
  • Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris

3. “The Winds of Winter”

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (156,791 votes)
  • Television show: Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
  • Original airdate: June 26, 2016
  • Starring: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Kit Harington

2. “Battle of the Bаstards”

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office
  • IMDb user rating: 9.9/10 (220,268 votes)
  • Television show: Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
  • Original airdate: June 19, 2016
  • Starring: Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Liam Cunningham

1. “Ozymandias”

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics

Source: Courtesy of American Movie Classics
  • IMDb user rating: 10.0/10 (207,408 votes)
  • Television show: Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
  • Original airdate: September 15, 2013
  • Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris
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