Now that the first decade of the 21st century has drawn to a close, it is time to ask, what were the five best TV shows of the decade? Obviously this is a controversial topic and no two people will have the same list. However, there is a legitimate argument to be made for each of the shows below, which all had at least one original airing between 2000-2009 (although the shows may have begun their run prior to 2000).

1.    Mad Men: This beautifully crafted show on AMC has it all —  tight dialogue, an ever-thickening plot, a sexy lead with love interests galore and beautiful wardrobes. The historical accuracy of the show, a result of painstaking research by a host of staff members, is also incredible. Note: if you do not get AMC, it is worth getting satellite TV or making friends with someone who has it, this show is not to be missed.

2.    The Simpsons: This perennial favorite may have lost some of its steam since its heyday in the 90s, but there is no arguing that The Simpsons both represents and defines American culture like perhaps no other show in history. Homer is one of the most recognizable people in the world, probably more so than even the Queen of England or Barak Obama. In its more than twenty years on the air, the show has manage to spoof nearly every part of American life, from the obsession with get rich quick schemes to Citizen Kane to high definition TV. Plus the movie was pretty good, too.  

3.    Saturday Night Live: Prior to the 2008 election, this show likely would not have made the list, as it seemed its best days and best characters were long past (after all, who could forget those avid sports fans cheering on ‘Da Bears or Chris Farley as an exotic dancer?). However, with the return of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin during the spoof of the 2008 election, Saturday Night Live brought itself back from the dead and regained its relevance.

4.    The Daily Show: Like many of the others on this list, what makes The Daily Show great is its political relevance. Many people do not even get their news from one of the “legitimate” news shows but rather tune in to watch The Daily Show each day instead. With notable running segments like Mess’opotamia commenting on the war in Iraq and Clusterf@$%!k to the White House commenting on elections, it is not hard to understand why. And now that it is being broadcast in HD it is even easier to ogle Jon Stewart in all of his glory!

5.    South Park: One could argue that South Park represents TV at its highest form and at its most base. While many people associate South Park with poop jokes and the death of one of its main characters, Kenny, each week, the show actually offers a running critique of American society as thorough and as compelling as anything Fitzgerald ever wrote. Indeed, in true Fitzgerald fashion, money and materialism are one of the most frequent targets of the show’s biting wit.

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