Presumably deciding that the internet could use another thing to argue about, the BBC released their ranking of the 100 best TV series of the 21st century. Before you start scrolling, no, Squid Game did not make the list. Nor did Disney+’s recent slate of popular franchise continuations, like Loki or The Mandalorian.
Of course, all anyone cares about is the top 10, which feels a little safe but hard to argue. So here’s the top 10:
1) The Wire
2) Mad Men
3) Breaking Bad
5) Game of Thrones
6) I May Destroy You
7) The Leftovers
8) The Americans
9) The Office (UK)
Save for the shows that are still on or just completed airing, none of these come as a great surprise. Each of these shows has been lauded and championed by critics, appearing regularly on lists of best televisions series of the year, decade, and now century.
Thankfully, the BBC’s list and their methodology are pretty sound. Here’s how they broke it down:
In total, 460 different series were voted for by 206 TV experts – critics, journalists, academics and industry figures – who came from 43 countries, from Albania to Uruguay. Of these voters, 100 were women, 104 were men, and two were non-binary. Each voter listed their 10 favourite TV series of the 21st Century, which we scored and ranked to produce the top 100 listed.
In short, the list isn’t just a ranking of the best HBO shows—though it can feel like that at times. The BBC’s list includes all the shows people have been yelling at you to watch for a decade (The Wire, Mad Men) and some new releases (The Underground Railroad). There are even titles that don’t usually get love from critics, like The Big Bang Theory.
There are exciting picks throughout the list, too. The BBC seemingly crystalized Arrested Development’s fall from grace, pinning the once-beloved series at 32. Had this list been released in 2012, it’s easy to imagine that one landing in the top five. The same is true for Louie, which made the cut at 94, despite its disgraced star tanking the show’s legacy. However, it does feel like another slight on It’s Always Sunny that the longest-running live-action comedy in history (which is still, somehow, really good) got stuck at number 90.
Though the list will undoubtedly offend some, it feels like a comprehensive collection of the best shows from the last 20 years—even if the complete lack of Holy Moley hurts the list’s credibility. Still, props to the participants for including Halt And Catch Fire, an underrated gem that can always use a little more love.
Read the whole thing at BBC.