With the debut of HBO’s “The Sopranos” there came a bold and exciting new era of modern television, which continues to evolve. Once considered inferior to film, TV is now often comparable to its big screen brethren in terms of production values, direction, and acting. Some of the best shows, meanwhile, arguably deliver more character nuance, thematic complexity, and storytelling sophistication than what one might find in the nearest movie theater. (Movies remain popular, however. See this list of the highest-grossing movies of all time.)
Given this rich landscape of 21st century television, the medium’s best episodes are synonymous with the best in visual entertainment, period. They’re also tightly associated with a lasting iconography, the kind of which spans decades and gives new generations the chance to enjoy pre-existing content. Just as a young viewer might have once fallen in love with “Jaws” or “The Godfather,” their counterparts today can reap similar joy from shows like “Dexter,” “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” and others. (Among newer shows, these are the best TV seasons released in 2022.)
To determine the single best episodes on TV since 2000, 24/7 Tempo reviewed audience ratings on IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. Television episodes that aired in 2000 or later were ranked based on IMDb user rating as of February 2023. Only episodes with at least 5,000 user ratings were considered. In the case of a tie, the episode with the greater number of user votes was ranked higher.
Click here to see the single best episodes on TV since 2000
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