21 best US TV shows in the last 21 yearsby v-e-e | created - 14 Apr 2011 | updated - 13 Jan 2015 | Public
21 amazing and/or groundbreaking TV shows made in USA 1990-2011, listed by year. I have only included shows I have watched in their entirety.
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1. Twin Peaks (1990–1991)
TV-14 | 47 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
An idiosyncratic FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.
Exceptional, extraordinary, groundbreaking. Bob still scares me.
2. Seinfeld (1989–1998)
TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy
The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York friends.
Absurdly funny. Jerry is a bad actor but a hilarious comedian.
3. Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1999)
TV-14 | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A police homicide investigation unit investigates violent crimes in the city of Baltimore.
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G show from David Simon (who was later to create The Wire).
4. Beavis and Butt-Head (1993–2011)
TV-14 | 15 min | Animation, Comedy, Music
Animated MTV series about two teenage heavy-metal music fans who occasionally do idiotic things because they're bored. For them, everything is "cool" or "sucks."
From a time when MTV was still a _music_ television, comes this tale of ultimate metalheads.
5. My So-Called Life (1994–1995)
TV-14 | 60 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A 15-year-old girl and her trials and tribulations of being a teenager and dealing with friends, guys, parents and school.
For most people 'Freaks and Geeks' seems to be the best high-school show. I disagree. Predating F&G by 5 years, this show captured the best and the worst of the high-school experience in a (mostly) realistic manner and launched the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto. Like F&G, it was cancelled after only 1 season.
6. Oz (1997–2003)
TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants.
This show works on a plethora of dramatic levels and is outstanding in every way. The hot naked guys are just a bonus.
7. Daria (1997–2001)
TV-14 | 30 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama
A smart and cynical girl goes through teenage life as a proud outsider in a world of mainly idiotic adolescents and condescending adults.
8. South Park (1997– )
TV-MA | 22 min | Animation, Comedy
Follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado.
The early seasons were funny and interesting. The recent ones not so much.. with an odd exception here and there.
9. Sex and the City (1998–2004)
TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Four female New Yorkers gossip about their sex lives (or lack thereof) and find new ways to deal with being a woman in the '90s.
A show that defined a generation of women... for better or worse.
10. The Sopranos (1999–2007)
TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama
New Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life, which affects his mental state and ends up seeking professional psychiatric counseling.
11. Invader ZIM (2001–2004)
TV-PG | 24 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
An alien from the planet Irk is sent to Earth, not realising that his leaders were fooling him and didn't think a planet was there. He manages to fit in with school children but one boy sees through his disguise.
By Jhonen Vasquez, the creator of "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" and "Squee". Sadly, has under 30 episodes...
12. Deadwood (2004–2006)
TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, History
A show set in the late 1800s, revolving around the characters of Deadwood, South Dakota; a town of deep corruption and crime.
Shakespeare meets the western. Love, love, LOVE the dialogues.
13. Rescue Me (2004–2011)
TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, Comedy
Tommy Gavin deals with the fears of his job as a firefighter and seeing his ex-wife dating other men.
Funny scripts, very dynamic storylines, interwoven with poignant and thought provoking moments.
14. House M.D. (2004–2012)
TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Mystery
An antisocial maverick doctor who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes to solve puzzling cases that come his way using his crack team of doctors and his wits.
When it first aired, there was nothing quite like it. Sadly it has grown too predictable and derivative. It should have been cancelled a few seasons ago so we could remember it for its brilliance and not the rom-com-drama-whatever drivel it has turned into.
15. Entourage (2004–2011)
TV-MA | 28 min | Comedy, Drama
Film star Vince Chase navigates the vapid terrain of Los Angeles with a close circle of friends and his trusty agent.
An ironic peek into the film industry.
16. 30 Rock (2006–2013)
TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy
Liz Lemon, head writer of the sketch comedy show "TGS with Tracy Jordan", must deal with an arrogant new boss and a crazy new star, all while trying to run a successful television show without losing her mind.
Liz Lemon is like a grown-up "Daria", and Jack Donaghy is a comedy version of SATC's Mr. Big.
17. Dexter (2006–2013)
TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
By day, mild-mannered Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. But at night, he is a serial killer who only targets other murderers.
Is it weird that I like the antagonists more than the main characters? John Lithgow was beyond amazing.
18. Californication (2007–2014)
TV-MA | 28 min | Comedy, Drama
A writer tries to juggle his career, his relationship with his daughter and his ex-girlfriend, as well as his appetite for beautiful women.
Season 2 is the best. I loved Lew Ashby!!
20. Breaking Bad (2008–2013)
TV-MA | 49 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.
21. Justified (2010–2015)
TV-MA | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Old-school U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is reassigned from Miami to his childhood home in the poor, rural coal-mining towns in Eastern Kentucky.
The best show currently on TV. The scripts are always engaging, funny and to the point, Olyphant is brilliant as Rayland Givens, and Walton Goggins steals every scene he appears in.