The 2000s era was arguably the best for many films, especially television series. Although they weren’t as polished and cinematic as many are today, they elude certain nostalgic and comforting elements that are not so present in today’s sitcoms and television programs.
Additionally, the simplicity of television characters in the early 2000s shows made them easy to watch. They bring you back to life before the digital age, where many don’t rely on technology as entertainment, and things were much simpler. An article described that 2000s television programs explored “issues such as family dynamics, love affairs, and work-ambitions rather than kidnappings and towns that are supernatural.” The West Wing, The Wireand Curb Your Enthusiasmare just some shows included in IMDb’s list of the most popular shows of the 2000s.
‘The Wire’ (2002 – 2008)
Through the Streets of Baltimore, The Wire depicts America’s ongoing war on drugs and its subsequent effects on the urban population. Told through the different perspectives of the police officers and drug gang members while touching upon the world of politics and the media, The Wire tells a complete story of how one’s actions can cause consequences for others.
ironically, The Wire wasn’t as popular and appreciated in the 2000s as it has become today. During its run, the show didn’t receive any significant nominations or awards from associations such as the Emmy Awards and was regularly referred to as an Emmy snub. Rated a 9.3/10 on IMDb, the show is commonly cited as one of the greatest shows of the 21st Century.
‘Six Feet Under’ (2001 – 2005)
Six Feet Under is a drama program that ran from 2001 to 2005. The show opens the window to the lives of a dysfunctional family who run a funeral home called Fisher & Sons Funeral in Los Angeles. Each episode begins with a death caused by different things, whether it be a heart attack, accidental death, or even murder.
Like many shows, Six Feet Under explores topics of interpersonal relationships, infidelity, and personal growth, but all these topics ultimately relate to the subject of death. Despite its relatively short run, Six Feet Under was (and still is) a widely-beloved show by many American households. It has often been regarded as one of the most remarkable television series (and one of the greatest series finals) of all time and included in the best-of-lists by outlets such as TIME, The Guardian, and Empire.
‘Arrested Development’ (2003 – 2019)
Arrested Development is a sitcom that consists of five seasons, from 2003 to 2006, and then later a two-season revival on Netflix from 2013 to 2019—the show was canceled by Fox despite positive reviews from critics. The show focuses on a widower, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), who has to take care of his thirteen-year-old son George Michael (Michael Cera), and the rest of his dysfunctional family, who have difficulty adjusting to life without wealth after his father is arrested for being a corrupt real estate developer.
The single-camera technique in Arrested Development has influenced the cinematography of other comedy shows, such as 30 Rock and Community. The single-camera style became a new-added layer to comedy story-telling. It’s No Wonder IMDb, along with Empire and TIME, have included Arrested Development in their lists of the best shows of the 2000s and of all time.
‘The West Wing’ (1999 – 2006)
Although The West Wing first aired in 1999, the rest (and most) of the seasons aired during the 2000s. The political drama is set in the West Wing of the White House, where the Oval Office and other offices are located. The drama follows the personal and professional lives of the West Wing staff and the fictional President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet (Martin Sheen) as they try to run the country.
Although The West Wing is a fictionalized show, former White House staffers and journalists have praised the show’s accuracy in capturing the essence of the real West Wing. advisors David GergenSecretary of State Henry KissingerChief of Staff Leon Panettaand Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rovec have also applauded the show’s description of the West Wing.
‘The Sopranos’ (1999 – 2007)
Similar to The West Wingalthough The Sopranos first aired in 1999, most of the show ran in the 2000s. The Sopranos is a crime drama series focusing on Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his personal difficulties in balancing family life and his role as a mafia leader. Tony often expresses and explores his struggles during therapy sessions with psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco).
The late James Gandolfini once said in an interview with The Rolling Stones, “I heard David Chase say one time that it’s about people who lie to themselves, as we all do. Lying to ourselves on a daily basis and the mess it creates.” Ultimately, it comes down to Tony Soprano’s relatable anti-hero character as it depicts what all humans are: imperfect. The Sopranoswith a remarkable rating of 9.2/10 on IMDb, has often been deemed one of the greatest and arguably the greatest television series of all time.
’30 Rock’ (2006 – 2013)
30 Rock is a sitcom created by comedian Tina Fey and is based on her real-life experiences working as the head writer of Saturday Night Live. In the show, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) works as a head writer and showrunner of a fictional NBC sketch comedy series called TGS with Tracy Jordan. Other cast members include Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jason Sudeikisand more.
The show received positive reviews from critics, Chris Harnick or Huffington Post ranked 30 Rockalong with I Love Lucy and Seinfeldas one of the greatest comedies on television. 30 Rock was also included in many 2006 best-of-lists published by The New York Times, The Boston Globethe Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and more. the Associated Press note that NBC‘s “Thursday night comedy block—made up of My Name is Earl, The Office, scrubsand 30 Rock—is consistently the best night of prime-time viewing for any network.”
‘The Office’ (2005 – 2013)
Although Ricky Gervais‘ British The Office (rated 8.5/10 on IMDb) is the original, the American The Office (rated 9/10 on IMDb) proved to be more successful and appealing to a wider audience worldwide (though many British will argue that the original British The Office is still the best version). With impressive scriptwriting and a talented cast such as Steve Carell, John Krasinskic, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kalingand more, The Office (US) was an instant hit.
Though The Office brought in 11.2 million viewers during the time of its first release, the show is more popular now than ever. It became Netflix’s most-streamed show in 2020, seven years after the show ended with a cumulative stream of more than 57 billion minutes. The show has also become a big part of the internet and pop culture and is commonly featured in many internet memes.
‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ (2000 – present)
Larry David‘s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which first aired in 2000, is still running after twenty-two years and eleven seasons later. Curb Your Enthusiasm follows the life of a semi-retired television writer and producer, Larry David, who is the leading character in the show and is a semi-fictionalized version of himself. like Seinfelda show David co-created with Jerry Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm often depicts the trivialities of American social life. The social ineptitude portrayed by both characters often puts them in situations where they either disregard social conventions or expect others to comply with their rules.
Since its debut, Curb Your Enthusiasm has repeatedly been praised for its writing and improvisational comedy, which in turn has gained the show its cult status. The show has received 51 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, 5 Golden Globe Award nominations, and 13 Directors Guild of America nominations. In April 2022, many were thrilled after Larry David announced that the show is back for its twelfth season.
‘Lost’ (2004 – 2010)
The aftermath of a plane crash leaves the surviving passengers on an uninhabited tropical island. With no sign of help coming, the remaining survivors have to adapt to life on the island to stay alive. As time passes, survivors start to witness and experience strange things happening around the island that threatens their survival. They learn that the island is filled with mysterious creatures known as “The Others” and that there is more to the island than what it seems to be.
lost has been named as being among the greatest television shows ever made. The New York Times‘ Bill Carter described lost as “the show with perhaps the most compelling continuing storyline in television history.” This has proven right because so much mystery is kept until the end of the series to keep the audience on their toes. During the years of its run, lost received many nominations and wins from Primetime Emmy Awards, Creative Emmy Awards, The Golden Globes, and many more.
‘Malcolm in the Middle’ (2000 – 2006)
A twelve-year-old boy named Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is revealed to be a genius with an IQ of 165 and subsequently put in the class for gifted students. In a dysfunctional family of four (later five), Malcolm is the third-born child of Hal (Bryan Cranston) and Lois (Jane Kaczmarek). during its run, Malcolm in the Middle is due to regularly breaking the fourth wall through voice-over narratives or directly addressing the viewers through the camera.
Malcolm in the Middle was different as it was not filmed in front of a live studio audience and didn’t feature any laugh tracks in the sitcom. It also became known as the sitcom, which effectively used the single-camera filming style and later influenced other sitcoms such as The Office, Everybody Hates Chris, 30 Rockand Arrested Development to be filmed using the same technique.
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