40 Best Shows of the Past 20 Years << Rotten Tomatoes – Movie and TV News
Kit Harington in Game of Thrones season 7 "Eastwatch" (Macall B. Polay/HBO)

FALL 2017 TV SURVEY:
40 BEST TV SHOWS
OF THE PAST 20 YEARS

We asked TV fans, “What do you think is the best TV show of the past 20 years?” See which series our survey respondents chose, ranked by popularity, below. The winner took top spot with 11 percent of the vote, while second place got 7 percent, third and fourth place were separated by a mere tenth of a percent and rounded up to 5 percent, and fifth place got 4 percent. (Click here to see the full results by percentage.)

Disagree with the survey results? Tell us in the comments who you think should have made the list or have been ranked higher.

Deadwood (2004)
92%

#40
Synopsis: A potent, unusually vivid (and profane) Western about a late-1870s South Dakota settlement in the aftermath of Little Big Horn.... [More]

Homeland (2011)
85%

#39
Synopsis: A troubled CIA operative worries that a rescued marine, a longtime POW, may be an enemy agent with a connection... [More]

Supernatural (2005)
93%

#38
Synopsis: Twenty-six years ago, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. Subsequently, their father... [More]

Six Feet Under (2001)
81%

#37
Synopsis: Life---and death---at a family-owned funeral home in Los Angeles plays out in this provocative, at times macabre series created by... [More]

Frasier (1993)
93%

#36
Synopsis: Brilliant 'Cheers' spin-off in which psychiatrist Frasier Crane returns to his native Seattle, where he hosts a call-in radio show... [More]

The Good Wife (2009)
93%

#35
Synopsis: A disgraced politician's wife resumes her career as a defense attorney after her husband is jailed for corruption.... [More]

House of Cards (2013)
77%

#34
Synopsis: A drama about a ruthless congressman and his equally ambitious wife who navigate the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.... [More]

Friday Night Lights (2006)
97%

#33
Synopsis: Creator Peter Berg's drama centering on the players and coach of a high-school football team in Dillon, Texas, a small... [More]

NYPD Blue (1993)
83%

#32
Synopsis: This gritty, acclaimed crime drama from Steven Bochco elevated the genre and altered the boundaries of what network censors would... [More]

#31
Synopsis: A New York woman struggles to adjust to life in a federal prison.... [More]

Scandal (2012)
93%

#30
Synopsis: A former White House communications director opens a Washington, D.C. crisis-management firm in this drama based on the work of... [More]

South Park (1997)
80%

#29
Synopsis: An animated adult series about foul-mouthed primary school children living in a Colorado town. Rude, crude and seriously funny, it... [More]

Mad Men (2007)
94%

#28
Synopsis: A look at the high-powered world of advertising in 1960s New York City, from the boardroom to the bedroom.... [More]

Modern Family (2009)
85%

#27
Synopsis: A mockumentary-style sitcom chronicling the unusual kinship of the extended Pritchett clan, a brood that includes patriarch Jay; his younger... [More]

#26
Synopsis: A young man leads his oddball family and their real-estate-development business following a securities-fraud fiasco that put the father in... [More]

Sex and the City (1998)
70%

#25
Synopsis: This series explores New York City's dating scene, where four sassy women, Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha are in search... [More]

The Walking Dead (2010)
80%

#24
Synopsis: The story of the years that follow after a zombie apocalypse, following a group of survivors led by a former... [More]

NCIS (2003)

#23
Synopsis: The series is about criminal cases involving Navy and Marine personnel, handled by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.... [More]

Stranger Things (2016)
93%

#22
Synopsis: A love letter to the '80s classics that captivated a generation, Stranger Things is set in 1983 Indiana, where a... [More]

#21
Synopsis: An interstellar warship protects survivors of a decimated civilization with a race of android predators in hot pursuit in this... [More]

Lost (2004)
85%

#20
Synopsis: Forty-eight passengers miraculously survive an air crash only to be stranded on a scary island. With the trauma of the... [More]

ER (1994)

#19
Synopsis: The multiple Emmy Award-winning ER explores the inner workings of an urban teaching hospital and the critical issues faced by... [More]

The Office (2005)
81%

#18
Synopsis: Based on the award-winning British comedy of the same name, this acclaimed sitcom is told through the lenses of a... [More]

The Simpsons (1989)
85%

#17
Synopsis: Matt Groening's subversive, animated satire about Springfield's hapless first family became a cult favorite when it premiered on Fox in... [More]

24 (0)
87%

#16
Synopsis: An exciting and edgy real-time action series about U.S. counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer trying to save his country from foreign... [More]

The Wire (2002)
94%

#15
Synopsis: A complex, impeccably acted crime drama set in Baltimore that follows the thread of a single police investigation, from the... [More]

Grey's Anatomy (2005)
84%

#14
Synopsis: The story revolves around five surgical interns and their supervisors, showing their personal and professional lives.... [More]

The Sopranos (1999)
92%

#13
Synopsis: A series chronicles the life of a New Jersey mobster, Tony Soprano, on his home front. There are other mobster... [More]

Sherlock (2010)
78%

#12
Synopsis: The quirky spin on Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic sleuth pitches him as a "high-functioning sociopath" in modern-day London. Assisting him... [More]

The X-Files (1993)
74%

#11
Synopsis: 'The truth is out there,' and FBI agents Scully and Mulder seek it in this sci-fi phenomenon about their quest... [More]

#10
Synopsis: A cheerleader is chosen to battle the forces of evil as she weathers the storms of young adulthood in an... [More]

Doctor Who (2006)
92%

#9
Synopsis: Following the adventures of a time-traveling alien called "The Doctor" and companions as they deal with crises set on Earth... [More]

The West Wing (1999)
75%

#8
Synopsis: Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe, as the U.S. President and his deputy communications director, play politics in this innovative Washington,... [More]

Downton Abbey (2011)
86%

#7
Synopsis: This period drama, set in the English countryside which is centered on the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and... [More]

Law & Order (1990)

#6
Synopsis: Durable cops-and-lawyers procedural with gripping headline-inspired storylines.... [More]

Seinfeld (1989)
89%

#5
Synopsis: The landmark Jerry Seinfeld-Larry David creation about four neurotic New Yorkers was ostensibly about nothing, but of course was uniquely... [More]

Friends (0)
79%

#4
Synopsis: One of television's top-ranked series and the recipient of numerous Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, "Friends" is a... [More]

The Big Bang Theory (2007)
81%

#3
Synopsis: A new comedy about a pair of brilliant physicists who understand how the universe works but have no clue about... [More]

Breaking Bad (2008)
96%

#2
Synopsis: A high-school chemistry teacher learns he's dying, so he takes up a new career as a meth producer in hopes... [More]

Game of Thrones (2011)
89%

#1
Synopsis: An adaptation of author George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" medieval fantasies about power struggles among the... [More]

Tag Cloud

popular Winners joker RT21 elevated horror 21st Century Fox IFC Marvel Studios Hallmark italian Trailer harry potter renewed TV shows die hard natural history indie 72 Emmy Awards pirates of the caribbean adventure First Look BBC America dogs Paramount Awards tv talk cults Toys Pixar police drama game of thrones witnail CNN Sundance TV Calendar Paramount Plus National Geographic comic books breaking bad ESPN remakes teaser Comic Book streaming miniseries superman a nightmare on elm street Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Logo Fall TV sequel Fox Searchlight See It Skip It Chernobyl cancelled TV shows spy thriller boxoffice Spectrum Originals kong Amazon Studios FX Reality Competition GoT thriller Sci-Fi Apple stand-up comedy FOX Infographic WGN all-time parents Nickelodeon APB First Reviews Trivia golden globe awards SXSW BET Awards Shudder CW Seed Martial Arts ABC Apple TV+ anthology Amazon AMC quibi screenings series batman animated hollywood zombies nbcuniversal asian-american 2019 Mary Tyler Moore psycho laika criterion werewolf Television Critics Association Amazon Prime Video nfl Lifetime Christmas movies revenge halloween tv The CW ABC Family USA Network twilight worst movies comedies women Arrowverse Valentine's Day Winter TV MTV cats Binge Guide psychological thriller NYCC latino TCA 2017 Netflix Christmas movies 24 frames Black History Month comiccon cops crime Video Games venice Spring TV scorecard Disney Plus SundanceTV Marvel Oscars RT History HBO Max cancelled television Epix hispanic 93rd Oscars Tumblr LGBT ghosts Walt Disney Pictures GLAAD VICE El Rey Box Office razzies E! Stephen King romance Funimation dceu PBS doctor who BAFTA Sundance Now green book Anna Paquin biography sitcom Amazon Prime war cancelled TV series concert BET politics zero dark thirty chucky Rocky History Opinion mockumentary Schedule President historical drama james bond Warner Bros. theme song Biopics Family YA technology Marvel Television Holidays Horror reviews 99% Mudbound Red Carpet toy story sports docuseries Teen Star Trek spinoff children's TV TNT cinemax ID free movies versus spanish language finale OWN Christmas 2018 Showtime mission: impossible spanish 007 movie Kids & Family Musical spider-man 2020 crime thriller 2016 stop motion cartoon TV One Nominations DC Comics Writers Guild of America satire E3 Hallmark Christmas movies CBS All Access A24 unscripted Food Network golden globes Adult Swim Academy Awards Musicals TCA The Academy GIFs scary movies blockbusters ViacomCBS sequels fast and furious ratings book adaptation VOD space name the review south america child's play Photos archives richard e. Grant Country Fantasy The Arrangement television cars Dark Horse Comics Character Guide The Purge book Acorn TV Starz australia Crackle Disney streaming service YouTube Premium facebook TV Marathons FX on Hulu Rock Esquire medical drama reboot MSNBC Disney TV Land Captain marvel A&E talk show 71st Emmy Awards Peacock robots Broadway X-Men HBO true crime documentaries Netflix Black Mirror Comedy Classic Film 45 rotten movies we love Avengers casting 2017 4/20 deadpool indiana jones new star wars movies prank video Paramount Network Alien fresh Song of Ice and Fire jamie lee curtis hist movies Certified Fresh saw Tarantino SDCC Rom-Com cooking Drama Columbia Pictures trailers based on movie supernatural classics monster movies canceled TV shows Exclusive Video Chilling Adventures of Sabrina what to watch HBO Go Tomatazos TCA Awards Mary Poppins Returns Apple TV Plus science fiction TIFF Shondaland BBC One Ellie Kemper Hear Us Out Sneak Peek serial killer Superheroes halloween Music Pop TV foreign Election Ovation Universal Best and Worst crime drama Creative Arts Emmys Watching Series critics Podcast 20th Century Fox Premiere Dates Comedy Central MCU political drama Vudu YouTube Polls and Games video on demand social media New York Comic Con zombie Interview WarnerMedia worst TLC transformers comics The Walking Dead TCA Winter 2020 Pet Sematary Thanksgiving justice league superhero Fox News Spike kids San Diego Comic-Con diversity hidden camera Superheroe Lionsgate Discovery Channel news dramedy Super Bowl 2015 Mystery sag awards Brie Larson game show composers slashers DirecTV toronto kaiju Travel Channel Lifetime Year in Review PaleyFest best cancelled OneApp DGA stoner Pop football Sundance award winner canceled Turner spain travel Western Quiz BBC Freeform TBS Television Academy godzilla Britbox Comics on TV TV renewals Countdown Tubi American Society of Cinematographers Trophy Talk dc TruTV christmas movies singing competition universal monsters strong female leads crossover Bravo Cosplay ITV Elton John Nat Geo rom-coms Emmys high school heist movie discovery CMT Cannes blockbuster The Walt Disney Company 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards rotten obituary Disney Channel TCM ABC Signature vampires Women's History Month Masterpiece directors Sony Pictures Mary poppins Extras king kong Set visit Grammys period drama disaster Hulu docudrama anime YouTube Red 2021 Mindy Kaling LGBTQ Film Festival Ghostbusters CBS Syfy blaxploitation french Action DC Universe boxing NBC dragons emmy awards Turner Classic Movies screen actors guild aliens USA Disney+ Disney Plus Crunchyroll japanese romantic comedy VH1 Lucasfilm Summer rt archives Emmy Nominations Awards Tour franchise Cartoon Network The Witch comic festivals films Legendary binge Baby Yoda IFC Films telelvision Star Wars Pride Month DC streaming service Film Holiday dark Endgame adaptation Heroines independent mutant documentary Reality Animation black Rocketman FXX jurassic park Pirates festival nature PlayStation