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Best TV Shows of 2000-2009

Updated on August 29, 2011

When I did the lists for the best shows of the '80s and then the '90s I actually had a hard time narrowing it down and trying to decide if those lists should be a comprised of 20 television shows, or just a mere ten. By the time I got the 2000-2009 category that notion was out the window and I was wondering if I was going to even find ten shows that were good. I underestimated good tv, though. There are some shows that people rave about and that I've never seen, some I have no desire to see, and others I may catch up with some other time. This list may be subject to change and I'll tell you why.

There's a couple of shows that I started watching years ago that I never actually got into for different reasons. One of those shows that I've been meaning to catch on the fly is Six Feet Under (2001-2005). I watched the first two episodes and no more and although I can't remember exactly what happened, it wasn't because the show wasn't good, but I didn't watch enough of it to know whether it should be in the top 10 or not. Watching two shows will not land you in the mix with the best, but the show itself had potential, opinion. The second show that could potentially rearrange this list is Eureka (2006- ). Again, I only watched one or two episodes and it was a funny show, and I can catch it again on Netflix and I've actually been intending to.

However, there are a few shows that aren't on this list for a reason and I'll start with Pushing Daisies (2007-2009). What started out as a wacky concept for a television show ended up getting wackier (and I think stupider) as it went on. I'm all for out-of-the-box ideas, and it started out very interesting and quirky, but there was too much going on and too much to keep up with dealing with those characters and it just didn't feel worth my time or brain energy to be bothered with it. Everyone has been going on about how great Lost (2004-2010) was for years, but I watched the first episode and just couldn't get into it. It was like watching a melodramatic Gilligan's Island and there was no way I was investing myself in that. I attempted to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000- ) and Arrested Development (2003-2006) and not only did they annoy me, but I think the same kind of person would probably find those shows entertaining (and that's not a compliment if you're thinking it). Between The Wire (2002-2008) and The L Word (2004- ) I've just never seen any episodes of either even though I've heard good things for years, but I've simply never bothered to watch. On the other hand Entourage (2004- ) I haven't seen and don't intend to, but Prison Break (2005-2009) is one that I actually want to catch up on.

Alright alright, enough of the things that I haven't seen, let's start on my guilty pleasures which number one on my list of them is North Shore (2004-2005) starring Brooke Burns and also featuring Shannen Doherty. No one reruns it, nor is the DVD box set available and that truly does annoy me because it was a really good show. I believe it was set in Hawaii at a high end hotel and of course there was always drama, and the scenic qualities of it were always breathtaking. Extreme Makeover (should I call it "Body Edition"?) was another of them that featured people that got nipped and tucked into new lives. It was very short lived, only hanging on for one season. Some runners up for best of television goes to Tru Calling (2003-2005) which was something like the show Early Edition (1996-2000), only this girl actually lived out the entire previous day once again if a dead person asked her for help. Eliza Dushku played Tru Davies in the show, a girl that conveniently worked in a morgue which aided in her duties to the dead. It did come across as a little corny and more than a bit contrived, but it was good entertainment all the same. Ghost Whisperer (2005-2010) is another good show with a heartwarming premise, but the fact that a girl goes around in a very small town seeing ghosts and helping families all the time, yet no one seems to ever know who she is or what she's doing tends to come off as a little weird. It was a good show, but no one could keep a secret like that for so many seasons.

Here are my picks for the top 10 best of 2000-2009:

1) Dead Like Me (2003-2004)

Hands down, one of the best shows that was on television. This would easily be in my top five television shows of all time. Not only was this show brilliantly written with all its subtleties, but these people brought these characters to life. This is was some of the best acting I've ever seen. When Laura Harris came on to play Daisy Adair during season one her character was so unlikable, yet so absolutely stunning in her portrayal you couldn't see another person playing that part; my theory was later justified when in the debacle that was the movie to go with this show replaced Harris with Sarah Wynter to horrifying results. To replace one of these people that inhabited their characters in what I believe was utter perfection would have been show's own play at suicide, but gladly they saved that for the 2009 movie which is very very far from what we saw on television. The only bad thing about this show was how early it was cancelled allegedly because of its budget. I only wish we could have gotten to see at least a season or two more with this wonderful show.

2) Dexter (2006- )

Based on Jeff Lindsay's book, this show is just magnificent. The first season pretty much followed the book, and I can't picture anyone else playing the part of Dexter Morgan. He is absolutely brilliant in the role. When I first heard the premise I was immediately turned off, but when Netflix predicted that I'd give Dexter at least 4 stars out of five I became curious and decided to check it out. Needless to say, it blew my mind. It's true what they say about Showtime half hour and hour long dramas, they're worth paying for the service to sift through their crappy selection of movies to get to the shows.

3) Desperate Housewives (2004- )

It's glamorous, seedy, and smart. I was hooked from the first episode and now that it's coming to an end I don't want to see it go. I'm going to miss the morals amid the chaos of the goings-on throughout Wisteria Lane and the secrets that are always uncovered, the lies that are revealed, and the shocking twists and turns revolving around these characters. It always gave me something to look forward to on Sunday nights to watch and now I have no idea what the trusty ABC lineup is going to look like without the housewives after they've left the lane. New episodes will sorely be missed, but I'm happy enough with old ones to be satisfied to relish in them.

4) Nip/Tuck (2003-2010)

For a show about plastic surgery it definitely showed the uglier sides of people. People who watched this drama unfold will always remember the names McNamara/Troy and the outlandishly witty (not to mention wicked) show that the two characters made huge. Besides Julian McMahon's gorgeous face he cultivated a character that was so underhanded and sleazy that it was easy to hate him and then he would later do something to make you feel so bad about the things he went through in the past you just wanted to give him a hug. Dylan Walsh was infallible as McMahon's best friend, always having a pity party for himself over one thing or another. Aside from the sex, the transformations, and the over the top plots, somehow they always made people want more of this show. The last season was a stretch, but I was satisfied with the final episode. This is one show that is definitely in the category of unforgettable.

5) Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006)

Unlike shows like Roseanne and Grace Under Fire that showcased the working class from the mother's point of view, here was show that was told from one of the children's point of view and I think it was brilliant. Some may say this family was crazy, but I just think they were normal. The boys drove their mother absolutely crazy, the parents had a shoe string budget and the houseful of boys were always getting into trouble which probably sounds like most people's lives anyway, but how the story was told made it interesting and worth the viewing time. It was a great show from the beginning to the end with hardly a dull moment.

6) Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)

This kind of reminds me of That '70s Show with its throwback theme, which was pulled off brilliantly. Watching this show really makes you feel as though you're watching something from the 1970s with the wardrobe and set. A few things might have been off the mark, but they were forgivable. When I first heard the premise I was thinking it was going to turn out like The Bernie Mac Show--watered down and nothing like the stand up routine you knew and loved from the comedian, but I was wrong. Not only was it true to his stand up routine (just censored), but it was like getting his Chris Rock's stand up with the bonus of a good television show. It was well acted and well written and the story lines were always good. There wasn't anything not to love about this show.

7) Fear Factor (2001-2006)

You would think that seeing people eat bugs and rotten eggs would be no fun to watch, but trust me, it is. This is the best kind of reality show because it lets you see what people are willing to do for just the chance at money. I don't know how much they got paid even if they didn't win, but I'm sure they got something if what they actually did on that show was real. Some of the obstacles weren't fair (at least they didn't seem that way), but that was just how the cookie crumbled for those contestants in the end. I couldn't get enough of this show, not because it was gross, but because there was never a shortage of people willing to risk their health for a chance at $50,000.

8) The O.C. (2003-2007)

Before this show aired I heard people already putting it down saying that we didn't need another 90210 and that the original kids did it and they did it the best. Well, what they didn't know was that the crew from Beverly Hills may have done it their way, but this was a whole new school of people Orange County who intended on doing it theirs. This was an exceptional show, soap opera concept or not. I didn't even consider it in the likes of a soap opera, but just a really good late night drama. It was appealing, sexy and catered to the younger audience and I loved it. It was written well and acted well and if there was any set of "kids" to compare with original 90210 gang, it would be this bunch right here.

9) Boston Public (200-2004)

This didn't show the glamorous side of high school, but the side with pimples and craters and chewed up nails with chipped polish. The teachers in this drama either got through to their students or they didn't, or at least they worked until they did. This was another David E. Kelley drama that focused on the faculty more than the students and I was hooked from the very first episode. I wouldn't necessarily call it "gritty" but it was a lot more true to life than a lot of the other television shows would dare try and put on the air. From the principal on down to the new teacher on the halls, the characters were rounded out brilliantly as well as how they played off one another. I couldn't have asked for a better drama based on the high school experience from the teacher's view point.

10) Dollhouse (2009-2010)

The acting didn't really matter in this show, but I just want to say that Joss Whedon is a genius. Just the premise of this show gets it put on this list because the idea of it is just so cool and scary at the same time, not to mention the general morphing of the show from the first episode to the last. The show started off fun and vibrant, even a little silly and ended on a note so dark you felt you went waged through a battle right along with the characters on the show. It was smart and crazy at the same time and the good thing about it is it would appeal to any age of people. I consider this one of the best because of how it showcased the possibilities of mankind, the realms people push with technology, and how greedy the human race can be. Whedon often delves into power plays in his show and I commend him for it because he's in the business of pushing boundaries until there are none, and this show definitely went beyond.


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