“The Sopranos” was a very perfect TV show to introduce us to the 21st century. Down the line, the silver screen has witnessed some of the most captivating stories ever told, like “Breaking Bad,” “The Wire,” “Brass Eye,” and “The Game of Thrones.”

In the 21st century, big brands such as Netflix, Amazon, and HBO have evolved as pacesetters in the entertainment and streaming space. In this article, we take a trip back in time (more like time traveling) as we highlight some of the best TV shows that have been aired across different streaming platforms.

Related: Top 10 Best TV Series of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

This list of the 25 best TV shows of the 21st century was curated from a 2019 article by The Guardian highlighting the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century (as seen on IMDb).

25. ‘Black Mirror’ (2011-)

“Black Mirror” is a British Anthology Series that explores a dystopian future where society is plagued by man’s abuse of high-tech inventions, as well as the media.

The series premiered on December 4, 2011, and it is currently in its sixth season. In its early seasons, the sci-fi drama streamed on Channel 4 but was moved to Netflix in 2016.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

24. ‘Mad Men’ (2007-2015)

“Mad Men” is a serial drama created by Matthew Weiner. The series explored the story of Donald Draper, an extremely talented executive of one of the leading ad agencies in the 60’s. Draper struggled to find a balance between his very successful career and his personal life, which was an absolute mess.

“Mad Men” was a Lionsgate Television Production and steamed on AMC over seven seasons between July 19, 2007 to May 17, 2005.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

23. ‘The Thick of It’ (2005-2012)

“The Thick of it” is a black comedy and a political satire that would make you laugh uncontrollably. The TV series portrays a fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship created with a modern British government. Ironically, the department is managed by a minister who is out of touch with the public. The series was first aired on BBC Four in 2005 before it was moved to BBC Two.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

22. ‘Fleabag’ (2016-2019)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the titular character in this comedy-drama series. “Fleabag” is an adaptation of an award-winning play by Waller-Bridge herself. The series is focused on a character — Fleabag — who is trying to navigate love and her new life in London off the back of a tragedy. The series ran for just two seasons and was aired on BBC Three and later BBC One.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

21. ‘Peep Show’ (2003-2015)

Another interesting British comedy TV series. Two very different dysfunctional beasties, Mark Corrigan and Jeremy “Jez” Usbourne, share a flat. Mark and Jez go through life’s ups and downs as each episode explores their dysfunctional worldview and thought pattern.

You can stream the award-winning sitcom on FuboTV or The Roku Channel.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

20. ‘Line of Duty’ (2012-2021)

The story follows a conflict between the regular forces of a police department and its “anti-corruption” unit. DS Steve Arnott refuses to be part of a cover-up in an accidental discharge case. As a result, he is transferred to a special anti-corruption unit. What follows is a series of investigations and rancor within the police department. You can stream the crime-drama series on Hulu or Netflix.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

19. ‘Arrested Development’ (2003-2019)

The head of the prominent Bluth family is tried and jailed for fraud which costs the family almost everything it had. The level-headed Michael Bluth assumes the headship role within the family, but his dysfunctional members are set to make the tasks difficult for him. The TV series made its debut on November 2, 2003. Its first three seasons aired on Fox while seasons four and five steamed on Netflix. You can catch the series on Hulu or Vudu or when you rent or purchase it on Apple TV, Google Play, or Amazon Video.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

18. ‘Six Feet Under’ (2001-2005)

“Six Feet Under” is an American drama series that chronicles the lives of a family who own a funeral home business. Before Nathaniel Fisher Sr. dies, he gives his two sons, David and Nathaniel Samuel Jr. charge of the business. The entire family is caught in a conflict about how exactly to deal with their grief.

You can stream “Six Feet Under” when you rent or purchase it on Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

17. ‘Friday Night Lights’ (2006-2011)

“Friday Night Lights” focuses on the football team of Dillon High School, Texas, the Dillon Panthers, and their head coach, Eric Taylor. While both Eric Taylor and Dillon Panthers are fictional, the series was inspired by a real-life book written by H.G. Bissinger, which explores the obsession with high school football in Texas.

Catch all five seasons of “Friday Night Lights” on Crave or when you buy or rent it on Amazon Prime Video.

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

16. ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ (2000-)

American Sitcom “Curb Your Enthusiasm” made its debut on October 15, 2000, on HBO and is still ongoing. The comedy series explores the semi-fictionalized life of Larry David — portrayed by Larry David himself. The series often features a range of celebrities, most playing fictionalized roles. There have been 11 seasons so far, with a twelfth season upcoming, as announced by HBO in August 2022.

IMDb rating: 8.8/10

15. ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ (2005-)

Five narcissistic friends run an unsuccessful Irish pub in the heart of Philadelphia. The five-man gang runs their business, practicing all forms of trickery and schemes to make some money and stay in business. There have been 16 seasons so far, with the last episode of the sixteen airing July 19, 2023. You can watch all the seasons of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on FuboTV or Hulu Plus. You can also stream it when you rent or purchase it on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, and Google Play.

IMDb rating: 8.8/10

14. ‘O.J.: Made in America’ (2016)

The trial of O.J. Simpson will forever go down as one of the most remarkable crime stories ever. “O.J.: Made in America” is a crime documentary that captures the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson as well as his high-profile murder trial. Stream “O.J.: Made in America” on Hulu or when you purchase it on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon Instant Video.

IMDb rating: 8.9/10

13. ‘Succession’ (2018-2023)

When the patriarch of the Roy family steps down from his role as CEO of the family-owned entertainment conglomerate Waystar RoyCo, a power struggle ensues. “Succession” explores the themes of family, wealth, and the power struggle that usually comes with generational empires. Catch all the episodes on HBO, as well as Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, iTunes, and Google Play.

IMDb rating: 8.9/10

12. ‘The Blue Planet’ (2001)

Produced by Alastair Fothergill, “The Blue Planet” is a documentary that examines the history of the world’s oceans. Using high-class underwater photography, the filmmaker examines the complex dynamics of underwater life in a refreshing manner. The first season aired over eight episodes between 12 September to 31 October 2001. In 2017, David Attenborough returned with “Blue Planet II,” a sequel to the 2001 edition. You can watch “The Blue Planet” and “Blue Planet II” on Discovery Plus.

IMDb rating: 9.0/10

11. ‘The Office’ (2005-2013)

“The Office” is a mockumentary that explores a typical toxic workplace setting. Every workday at the Pennsylvania branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company Is a day full of inappropriate behavior, ego clashes, and all the dramas associated with a toxic workplace. Hilarious, but at the same time educational. “The Office” has attracted over 190 award nominations, winning over 50 of those. The sitcom is available on Amazon Prime Video.

IMDb rating: 9.0/10

10. ‘Better Call Saul’ (2015-2022)


Creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould held audiences spellbound for six seasons as they explored the story of criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill in a spinoff of the hit series “Breaking Bad.” The multiple award-winning crime drama has a robust reputation and is by all standards one of the greatest TV series to have been produced in the 21st century. You can stream “Better Call Saul” on Netflix or when you rent or purchase it on Google Play, Vudu, or iTunes.

IMDb rating: 9.0/10

9. ‘The Vietnam War’ (2017)

“The Vietnam War” is a documentary film that tells the story of America’s involvement in the bitter war in Southeast Asia. The 10-part, 18-hour TV series contains firsthand accounts from over 80 witnesses, including Vietnamese combatants, American soldiers, and civilians from both sides. The series premiered on September 17, 2017, on PBS and ran till September 28 of the same year. You can stream the documentary when you rent or purchase it on Vudu, Google Play, or Amazon Instant Video.

IMDb rating: 9.1/10

8. ‘Sherlock’ (2010-2017)

“Sherlock” takes a spin on the iconic Conan Doyle characters, this time projecting him as a high-performing sociopath investigator in modern-day London. The character is assisted by John Watson, an Afghan War vet introduced to him by a mutual acquaintance. The crime drama and mystery series aired over four seasons. You can stream it free on Redbox or Crackle if you are based in America. It is also available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video.

IMDb rating: 9.1/10

7. ‘Game of Thrones’ (2011-2019)

Catch every episode of this epic action-adventure on HBO Max. Nine noble families are embroiled in a power tussle in a mythical city — Westeros. This battle for supremacy and control is further complicated by the arrival of an ancient enemy on the scene. “Game of Thrones” remains one of the best TV shows of the 21st century.

Related: 25 Best Action Movies of the 21st Century, According to IMDb

IMDb rating: 9.2/10

6. ‘The Sopranos’ (1999-2007)

In this crime drama, a fictional mob boss, Tony Soprano, seeks professional psychiatric counseling after blacking out. Each episode is more of a first-person narration, where Tony shares his ordeals and the personal and business challenges that he battles. As he deals with stress, Tony must keep his personal struggles from the rest of the Mafia. Every episode of “The Sopranos” is available on Hulu, HBO Max, and DirecTV.

Related: 9 Intense Crime Dramas (That Will Keep You Guessing)

IMDb rating: 9.2/10

5. ‘The Wire’ (2002-2008)

It’s a battle between law enforcement agencies and drug kingpins in the city of Baltimore. Detective James McNulty and his investigative team are saddled with the responsibility to investigate the numerous crime cases in Baltimore and to put an end to the endless clashes in the city. Watch “The Wire” on HBO Max or when you rent or purchase it on Vudu, iTunes, or Amazon Instant Video.

IMDb rating: 9.3/10

4. ‘Brass Eye’ (1997-2001)

The comedy show “Brass Eye” premiered at the end of the 20th century and ran into the beginning of the 21st century. The satirical TV show follows investigative reporter Chris Morris as he critically examines the British news media. Each episode explores different themes ranging from the use of animals, science, sex, crime, and religion. In 2001, Chris Morris released a special edition of the TV show known as “Brass Eye Paedogeddon,” a parody news magazine review of the coverage of Paedophilia by the media. Currently, you can stream “Brass Eye” on Channel 4 or purchase it on Apple TV or Amazon Video.

IMDb rating: 9.3/10

3. ‘Band of Brothers’ (2001)

“Band of Brothers” is a historical American miniseries that explores the operations of the Easy Company, the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division during World War II. The war drama TV series was based on a historical book of the same title written in 1992 by Stephen E. Ambrose. It is available on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon Instant Video.

IMDb rating: 9.4/10

2. ‘Planet Earth’ (2006-2023)

Second on the list of the best TV shows of the 21st century is “Planet Earth,” a follow-up to “The Blue Planet.” “Planet Earth” went beyond just covering the underwater, though. The series explored different habitats such as forests, mountains, freshwater, shallow seas, plains, jingles, deep oceans, and deserts. David Attenborough remained the narrator. The docuseries is available on Discovery Plus, and you can buy or rent it on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, or Vudu.

IMDb rating: 9.4/10

1. ‘Breaking Bad’ (2008-2013)

Many publications consider “Breaking Bad” as the best TV show of the 21st century so far. The “El Camino” spinoff chronicles Walter White, a chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer. To repay his medical debts and secure his family’s future, Walter ventures into manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in partnership with Jesse, a former student. His partnership with Jesse changes his priorities completely. The crime drama premiered on January 20, 2008, and ran for five seasons — until 2013.

You can stream all five seasons of “Breaking Bad” on Netflix.

IMDb rating: 9.5/10

Dee Gambit

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Professional SEO writer & editor with 8+ years of print journalism and writing experience across different platforms — blogs, website, eBooks and social media. His writing experience also cuts across industries like IT, fashion, education management, real estate, consulting and entertainment.