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July 23, 2014

Best TV Shows of the 2000s (30-21)

by Kim Potts, posted Dec 7th 2009 6:00AM
Grey's Anatomy30. 'Grey's Anatomy' (2005-present)
Yet another medical series, yes, but a diverse cast of mostly unknown actors quickly turned 'Grey's' into a hit. The series has since become a watercooler topic for its behind-the-scenes shenanigans, but in its best moments, Patrick Dempsey's comeback turn as McDreamy, Sandra Oh as ambitious Yang and Chandra Wilson's tough softie Bailey remind us that the show's best drama is still on screen.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia29. 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' (2005-present)
"'Seinfeld' on crack" is how it's been described, and that's an apt comparison, for -- like the Monk's Diner gang -- the Paddy's Pub dwellers are often hoisted by their own petard. Among the comedic gold to be found: any time Danny DeVito's depraved Frank and Charlie Day's manic Charlie share the screen, which they do often since their characters even share a bed. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Curb Your Enthusiasm28. 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' (2000-present)
Try as he might (and sometimes, he just doesn't even try), Larry David can't seem to avoid offending people. That, of course, leads to many a cringe-worthy moment for the 'Seinfeld' co-creator, who just finished his best season ever with storylines that included a show-within-the-show 'Seinfeld' reunion. And, dare we say, the 'Curb' version was funnier than an actual 'Seinfeld' reunion might have been.

Six Feet Under27. 'Six Feet Under' (2001-05)
Few series have made the impact on viewers that 'Six Feet Under' did, with its constant focus on the morbid (the Fisher men and women operated the family funeral home, after all), textured characters and well-placed jolts of dark humor. Years later, we're still haunted by the weird, shocking death of brother Nate, and the series' satisfying, flash-forward finale.

The West Wing26. 'The West Wing' (1999-2006)
Before 'The West Wing,' the White House was mostly movie territory. But Aaron Sorkin's masterpiece delved into issues big and small, from daily White House operations and staffing to elections and major Presidential crises aplenty. Leading the way at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Martin Sheen as POTUS Josiah Bartlet, a compassionate idealist who was fair, tough and dedicated to his country, family and staff.

Top Chef25. 'Top Chef' (2006-present)
Sure, everybody loves Padma and Tom -- and the colorful personalities of the "cheftestants" keeps things lively, but the real star of 'Top Chef' is the food. Foodies and those who consider Ritz crackers with spray cheese the ultimate appetizer alike are among the viewers who can't wait to see what the chefs will concoct out of ingredients like ostrich eggs, fermented soy beans and a seemingly endless supply of scallops.

Fox24. '24' (2001-present)
Debuting less than two months after 9/11, '24' provided viewers with a hero just when they needed it most. Kiefer Sutherland's counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer has saved the world several times over (at great detriment to his own life), and, along with clever plot twists, scene-stealing colleagues and villains and the real-time format, forged a TV show that's as good as any big-screen action flick.

Rescue Me23. 'Rescue Me' (2004-present)
Denis Leary's firefighting Tommy Gavin is complicated, a guy at once heroic and loathsome. On the job, his crew looks to Tommy for leadership and bravery; in his personal life, he's a drunk and a serial cheater who his co-workers, family and estranged wife sometimes hate. His main saving grace: Despite his bravado, his 9/11 survivor's guilt means no one dislikes Tommy more than he dislikes himself.

Dexter22. 'Dexter' (2006-present)
High concept? You got it in 'Dexter,' a drama (with liberal touches of dark humor) about Miami's most endearing serial killer. Dexter works as a blood-spatter investigator for the Miami police and also happens to be a murderer, but with rules: He only kills those who prey upon others. Yep, still high concept, and in the hands of a lesser actor than the Emmy-worthy Michael C. Hall, it just wouldn't work.

Veronica Mars21. 'Veronica Mars' (2004-07)
TV teens have gotten a whole lot smarter than they were in the TV land of the past, and teen sleuth Veronica (Kristin Bell) is a prime example. Once a popular student at rich Neptune High, Veronica's world was upended when her BFF was murdered, she was raped, her sheriff father was fired and her mother left the family. The show deftly mixed Veronica's P.I. work with her less smooth navigation of the angsty halls of high school life.



SEE 20-11 IN THE LIST

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