As it has done in the past for films directed by women or non-English language films, BBC Culture has released its list of the 100 greatest TV series of the 21st century. The list is the result of a poll of 206 critics, academics and industry professionals from across the world, making it the biggest and most international survey of experts on the subject. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number one series was deemed to be David Simon and Ed Burns’ “The Wire,” with almost a quarter of those polled ranking it in first place as the single greatest TV show of the 21st century so far, and nearly half listing it somewhere in their top 10.
IndieWire readers will be familiar with most of the titles in the Top 10. “Fleabag” came in at No. 4, making it the top-rated series created by a woman. It wasn’t the sole entry to have that distinction; “I May Destroy You” came in sixth, also earning the distinction of being the newest series in the Top 10. Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers” came in at No. 7, making him the most successful creator in the poll as he landed three series in the top 30, the other two being “Lost” and “Watchmen.”
Though some ranked a little lower than IndieWire readers might have hoped (“Friday Night Lights” at 28?, “Battlestar Galactica” at 70?!), it’s nice to see some lesser known cult favorites getting love, like “The Comeback,” “The OA,” and “Call My Agent!”.
Of the 206 voters polled, 100 were women, 104 were men, and two were non-binary. Voters came from 43 countries, from Albania to Uruguay, though the winners skew towards English language shows. Each voter listed their 10 favorite TV series of the 21st Century, which were scored and ranked to produce the top 100. The demographics of the creators highlighted reflect limitations of the industry, with 79 shows in the top 100 created by men and just 11 by women, and 10 by a combination of men and women.
- “The Wire” (2002-2008)
- “Mad Men” (2007-2015)
- “Breaking Bad” (2008-2013)
- “Fleabag” (2016-2019)
- “Game of Thrones” (2011-2019)
- “I May Destroy You” (2020)
- “The Leftovers” (2014-2017)
- “The Americans” (2013-2018)
- “The Office” (UK) (2001-2003)
- “Succession” (2018-)