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July 31, 2014

Best TV Shows of the 2000s (20-11)

by Kim Potts, posted Dec 7th 2009 6:00AM
American Idol20. 'American Idol' (2002-present)
Some people watch it for the William Hungs, some people watch it for the Chris Daughtrys. The point: 'AI' has something for everyone. The embarrassingly untalented? See: Hung, William. The future music superstars? See: Underwood, Carrie and Daughtry, Chris. The show's breakout star, though, is judge Simon Cowell, who's as critical to the show's success as both the best and the worst of the crooners.

Chappelle's Show19. 'Chappelle's Show' (2003-06)
We still don't totally understand why comedian Dave walked away from his popular sketch comedy series at the height of its success, but we are grateful for the two full seasons of Chappelle genius that included clever skits like blind white supremacist Clayton Bigsby, Charlie Murphy's Rick James stories, 'Dave Gets Oprah Pregnant' and, of course, Chappelle's classic drive with Wayne Brady.

House18. 'House' (2004-present)
He's not old, but Dr. House does have the grumpy man part down pat, which would make him insufferable if not for the fact that he can diagnose any illness, no matter how obscure or how puzzling. It's the history of weird diagnoses that sets the show apart from its medical brethren, along with the slow pace at which viewers learn the details of the Princeton-Plainsboro staff's personal lives.

The Office17. 'The Office' (2005-present)
Yes, we mean the American version. Oh, we love the Ricky Gervais original, but the Steve Carell-led remake puts a uniquely American spin on the workplace, with boss Michael's futile attempts to imitate Chris Rock and the rivalry between the office drones and Darryl's warehouse crew. The remake also focuses more on the office staff, which has led to comedy breakouts like Ed Helms and a new sitcom supercouple in adorable Jim and Pam.

The Shield16. 'The Shield' (2002-08)
Seven seasons of well-crafted storylines and brutal cop work made an unlikely sex symbol out of star Michael Chiklis and led to one of the best series finales of all time, as Chiklis' corrupt, vain, violent and sometimes surprisingly sympathetic detective Vic Mackey received comeuppance for his years of running roughshod in the Barn: a job that found him chained to a desk.

The Amazing Race15. 'Amazing Race' (2001-present)
A sort of global scavenger hunt, the Emmy-winning 'Race' sends couples (friends, relatives or lovers) traveling all over the world, getting resourceful as they collect clues to win the $1 million prize. Like all great reality shows, much of the success depends on personalities, as 'Race'-ers find the competition either greatly enhances, or shines a light on problems within, their relationships.

CSI14. 'CSI' (2000-present)
Gil Grissom (William Petersen) is gone, but the show remains the standard for whodunit fans who like tech wizardry with their mysteries. Grissom's former charges are now led by Laurence Fishburne's Ray Langston, but their M.O., which has sparked two spin-off series and countless other primetime procedurals, is the same: painstakingly suss out the bad guys, one minute piece of evidence at a time.

Arrested Development13. 'Arrested Development' (2003-06)
Comedy fans speak in wistful tones about this dysfunctional family sitcom, which made a huge impact in its three-season run. A masterful blend of sharp, witty dialogue, physical comedy and sight gags were the show's trademarks, and almost four years later, viewers are still clamoring for the big-screen flick that will reunite Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Tony Hale and the rest of the Bluth clan.

The Sopranos12. 'The Simpsons' (1989-present)
There are those who would argue that the cartoon isn't as funny as it once was, but, in the midst of its 21st season, the longest-running sitcom in TV history is still poking fun at pop culture and eliciting its fair share of guffaws along the way. Besides the talented writing and voice talent, the secret to the show's success: In Springfield, cartoon boys like Bart Simpson never have to grow up.

Freaks and Geeks11. 'Freaks and Geeks' (1999-2000)
They were the anti-WB teens, these circa-1980 Michigan high schoolers, who included the math nerds and the burnouts. The show's poignant storylines were so honest they probably sparked painful trips down memory lane for some viewers, but 'Freaks' remains a cult favorite, and in just 18 episodes, helped cement the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and, of course, producer Judd Apatow.



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