Talk to someone long enough about the best TV shows of all time and eventually the ‘Trinity’ shows up – The Sopranos, The Wire and Breaking Bad.
Talk to someone for a bit longer and the ‘alternative’ answers are bound to pop up, like Mad Men and Deadwood.
But apparently, if you ask the assembled TV critics that feed into review aggregator Metacritic, the best television shows of the 21st Century also include a legal drama, a comedy, and a frozen police procedural.
This week saw Metacritic release their list of the 2017’s most well-received TV show seasons. Totaling up an average from all the scored reviews from around the land, with critics deeming the final season of psychological thriller series The Leftovers to be the best television show around, boasting and aggregated critic score of 98 out of 100.
Delving deeper, and their list of the best TV show of every year since 2000 contains your usual fare of the Trinity and the Alternatives, as well as a few surprises, including a small appearance from one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
Take a look at the full list below. And start hoarding some DVDs now. Going outside during the summer is silly anyway.
2016: Rectify (Season 4)
Rectify, a gothic legal drama around a man released from prison after 20 years on Death Row, has spent the last few years hiding on AMC Global in the UK. Its fourth and final season wrapped up in October last year, but we were all too busy with the garbage fire that was 2016 to notice that the best television show of the year was quietly coming to an amazing finale. Seek it out if you like your crime stories dark and weird, and still miss True Detective being good. If only because it boasts a near perfect critic score of 99/100.
2015: Fargo (Season 2)
When a television version of Fargo was first mooted, fans were skeptical. How could anything match the majesty of the Coen brothers’ original? And then we realised, the show wasn’t aiming to match the film, but surpass it. At least that’s what the 96/100 critic score says.
2014: Game of Thrones (Season 4)
It was the season that brought us the Viper and the Wildling battle against the Night’s Watch. Season 4 of Game of Thrones is a much loved one, if only because a certain something happened to a certain hated ruler...
2013: Enlightened (Season 2)
Looking for another amazing television show that you can brag to your mates about? Then may we humbly recommend comedy drama Enlightened, which critics deemed to be the best television show of 2013 (Season 2 has a critics’ score of 95/100).
Starring Jurassic Park and (soon to be) Star Wars actor Laura Dern, Enlightened is a show “about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakthrough”. One of HBO’s hidden gems, the show is only 18 episodes long and is well worth picking up.
2012, 2011 Breaking Bad (Seasons 5 & 4)
Will a television show ever nail its landing as well as Breaking Bad did? Possibly, but probably not. Somehow the final two seasons of Breaking Bad managed to up the ante with each and every episode. One of the greatest dramas of all time.
2010, 2009: Mad Men (Season 4 & 3)
Another show that got back-to-back critical praise, Mad Men Seasons 3 and 4 gave us the birth of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the slow unravelling of Don’s identity.
2008: The Wire (Season 5)
Season 5 of The Wire took us to the Baltimore Sun newsroom. It swept a lot of awards. Naturally.
2007: Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 6)
Doing a big Curb rewatch ahead of Season 9? According to critics, Season 6 is the pinnacle of the series. Our recommendation? Episode 5 – ‘The Freak Book’ – which boasts a hilarious John McEnroe cameo.
2006: The Wire (Season 4)
Season 4 of The Wire took us to the schools. It was anything but the ‘happiest days of our lives’.
2005: Deadwood (Season 2)
The last bit of ‘prestige’ TV before the social media ‘buzz’ became a thing, for a few glorious years Deadwood was incredible. Do a big watch now before the film comes out.
2004: The Wire (Season 3)
Politicians, Stringer Bell, Avon’s return. The third season of The Wire had it all….
2003, 2002 and 2001: The Office (Seasons 2, 1, and the Christmas specials)
No, really. For three years The Office was the best show on television according to critics. Better than everything. Queue ‘em up on Netflix now.
2000: The Sopranos (Season 2)
It wouldn’t be a list of top television without featuring The Sopranos. Season 2 got an aggregated critics score of 97/100 and it’s not wonder. That Richie Aprile was a very bad boy...