The Top 100 Television Programmes of the 00s: An Important Statistical Review

It’s the running theme that just won’t die. To round off the coverage of the 00s, just before we put the finishing touches to the book version of the Top 100*, here’s a bit of analysis. We know how all of our readers love pointless bar charts. Also, a poll of polls, which should be really exciting for people who love polls.

(* Three new entries! More pointless meandering! Fewer YouTube links, because really, what would be the point! The 25 worst TV programmes of the decade! Other things!)

TV CHANNEL OF THE DECADE

Which network was home to the most shows on our list? We’ve taken the channels that each programme started on – no point in giving BBC Two the credit for The Thick Of It when BBC Four took the risk of commissioning it, for example – and come up with the following:

imageSo, BBC Two tops that particular chart, with 21 of the hundred best programmes of the decade originating on the channel. Channel Four comes second, proving that it wasn’t all complete shit like Balls Of Steel, Bo Selecta and Fonejacker on there in the 00s. The fact that three of the top four on there are BBC channels does kind of prove how good the BBC actually bloody is, while the number of shows from Sky One, blushing poster boy of the free market system, is zero. No, James Murdoch, just throwing all your money at American imports, even if they’re really good American imports (that were popular on other British channels first anyway) doesn’t really cut it.

It’s not all bad news for the Murdoch family (“Phew! I was concerned there for a moment.” – R. Murdoch), as Fox proves to be the winner from the other side of the pond, taking up five positions on the list, including of course that all-important number one programme. Close behind, possibly the greatest source of genuinely exciting and groundbreaking new comedy over the course of the entire decade, is newcomer Adult Swim, and really, we could easily have included more Adult Swim shows here. A lot more. ITV1 fare better than might have been expected for a network that continues to employ Piers Morgan, sharing fifth place on the list with Fox.

But, of course, this system of working out which was the best channel of the decade is as unfair as the General Election vote of someone who’d pored over party policies, MP voting records and Hansard for the last two decades counting the same as someone who’ll vote for whichever political party leader has the most pregnant wife. This is a meritocracy, and as such, here is a list where each channel has been scored by the position of each show. The channel with the show at number one gets 100 points for that show, the channel with the show at number 100 gets just one point. And this is the result of that thing we just said.

image So, BBC Two remains top, though with less of a lead over second placed Channel Four. Fox leapfrog BBC One, BBC Four and ITV1 into third, thanks to their brilliant drama and comedy output, especially Arrested Development, being placed so highly in the rundown. The quality of programming from Adult Swim shines through here too, with it enjoying a higher position on our ‘leaderboard’ than NBC, HBO and ITV1. And BBC Three, but then that’s not really a surprise.

 

BEST TELEVISUAL YEAR OF THE DECADE

So with BBC Two walking away with the entirely notional prize of “Best Channel Of The Last Decade”, which year will prove to be responsible for the largest proportion of the Top 100? Or, to put it another way, as this is a listing of our favourite programmes of the decade, this will reveal which year of television we enjoyed the most, which could become a handy reference guide in case passing BBC Two researchers are looking for talking head gobshites to take part in the almost inevitable “I Love 200x” series. (Note to said researchers: we’ll do almost anything for money, apart from take part in a montage of clip show idiots singing along to a theme tune. But apart from that, yes, literally anything. If you know what we mean.)

As before, we’ve only considered the first year that a show was on air – no point giving 2004 the credit for a programme 2003 took the risk on – and here’s a first chart only taking into account the number of shows on the chart from each year:

 imageShut up, looking at this IS an interesting and worthwhile use of your time. So, fifteen of the programmes on our list were born in 2003, and fifteen popped out of a commissioning editor’s schedule-hole in 2007. 2005 and 2006 weren’t far behind, with the worst showing coming from 2009. Could this be because the new shows that made their inaugural appearance in the Radio Times that year have yet to become firm favourites, or that TV companies were too scared of tabloid scorn to take any interesting risks? Time, that fickle old strumpet, will tell.

“But which year is best? We want a list going by chart placing, like before!” scream the imaginary people we like to think are still reading. Well, just for you should you exist, here:

imageSo, 2005 pips 2007 to second place, largely thanks to programmes like My Name Is Earl and The Colbert Report. But, 2003 was the very best year for television over the last decade, helped by it being home to the mighty Arrested Development. And we’ll be handing 2003 the shiny silver “Best Year” trophy, just as soon as time travel is invented.

 

THE BIG POLL OF POLLS

Onto the main, pretty damn huge, and hugely damned pretty part of our stat-fest. We looked at ten other listings of “The Best TV Shows of the 00s”, from the UK, USA and Australia, and scored them all up accordingly. Not all of them were top hundred lists (which is probably why it didn’t take them until sodding April to get to number one, eh readers?), but we’ve accounted for that. Each show in number one position received 110 points – ten points bonus for being So Damn Good, the show in number two position on each chart received 99 points, number three 98, and so on for as long as there’s an entry to score. We’re sure you’re with us here. The other charts we’ve considered are from the following publications:

The Chiaroscuro Coalition
Entertainment Weekly
Hollywood.com
Starpulse.com
news.com.au
The Times
SFGate
Paste Magazine
The Onion AV Club
The Telegraph

…and of course, plucky British upstarts BrokenTV. And just to be extra fair, the programmes that we picked for our chart don’t score double points, even though we’re always right about everything.

Keep in mind that while our list only included programmes which began in the years 2000 to 2009, the others were happy to include anything broadcast in that decade. And so, here’s the rundown, a full Top 200:

Pos

Show

TOTAL

1

The Sopranos

1022

2

The Wire

906

3

The Office (UK)

860

4

Arrested Development

703

5

Mad Men

657

6

Lost

635

7

The West Wing

621

8

Deadwood

472

9

Curb Your Enthusiasm

423

10

The Daily Show

361

11

The Thick of It

360

12

Breaking Bad

348

13

30 Rock

347

14

Doctor Who

328

15

Big Brother

312

16

The Shield

280

17

Freaks and Geeks

278

18

The Power of Nightmares

277

19

24

273

"

Battlestar Galactica

273

21

The Office (US)

271

22

Friday Night Lights

263

23

Dexter

257

24

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

255

25

Peep Show

250

26

Flight Of The Conchords

228

27

QI

215

28

TV Burp

202

29

American Idol

196

30

The Apprentice

186

31

9/11

183

"

Sex and the City

183

33

The Colbert Report

172

34

Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

169

"

Veronica Mars

169

36

Six Feet Under

168

"

The Venture Bros

168

38

Bleak House

167

39

Malcolm in the Middle

166

40

How I Met Your Mother

165

41

Chapelle's Show

157

42

A History of Britain

156

43

The X Factor

146

44

Strictly Come Dancing

145

45

Jamie’s School Dinners

141

46

The Chaser’s War On Everything

135

47

House

132

"

The Blue Planet

132

49

Who Do You Think You Are?

127

50

Skins

124

51

Life on Mars

123

52

South Park

122

53

Criminal Justice

104

54

In the Night Garden

102

55

Pop Idol

99

56

Survivor

97

57

Monarchy: the Royal Family at Work

96

58

Jam

95

59

Planet Earth

94

"

Slings and Arrows

94

"

Summer Heights High

94

62

Oz

93

63

Bodies

92

"

Everybody Loves Raymond

92

"

Gilmore Girls

92

66

Newstopia

92

67

The Armando Ianucci Shows

91

"

The Comeback

91

69

Marion & Geoff

90

"

Timeshift

90

71

Frontline Football

89

72

Band of Brothers

87

"

Futurama

87

74

Still Game

86

75

Phoenix Nights

85

"

Weeds

85

77

Family Guy

84

"

Firefly

84

"

Little Britain

84

"

State of Play

84

"

The Showbiz Set

84

82

15 Storeys High

83

"

The Fallen

83

84

Big Love

82

"

My Name Is Earl

82

86

Cranford

81

"

Wit

81

88

The Century of the Self

80

"

The Jeremy Kyle Show

80

90

Brass Eye Special

79

"

Rome

79

"

Tomorrow, La Scala!

79

93

Undeclared

78

94

Charlie Brooker's News Wipe

77

"

Out of Control

77

96

Top Chef

76

"

Top Gear

76

98

Adam and Joe Go Tokyo

74

"

Britain’s Got Talent

74

"

Krapp’s Last Tape

74

101

Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution

73

"

Eastbound & Down

73

"

Not Only, But Always

73

104

American Dad!

72

"

Dispatches: Beslan

72

"

Location, Location, Location

72

"

Wonder Showzen

72

108

Black Books

71

"

The Private Life of a Masterpiece

71

110

Living with Michael Jackson

70

111

CSI

69

"

Forgiven

69

113

Bored To Death

68

"

Da Ali G Show

68

"

Grand Designs

68

116

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

67

"

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

67

"

Weakest Link

67

119

Desperate Housewives

66

"

Richard & Judy

66

"

The Riches

66

122

Never Mind the Buzzcocks

65

"

Stephen Fry in America

65

"

That Mitchell and Webb Look

65

125

Dead Set

64

"

Have I Got News for You

64

127

Early Doors

63

"

Footballers’ Wives

63

"

God on Trial

63

130

Look Around You

62

131

Damages

61

"

The Lie of the Land

61

133

The Unloved

60

134

Britz

59

"

The Lost Prince

59

"

The South Bank Show

59

137

Maxwell

58

138

Michael Palin’s New Europe

57

"

Soccer Saturday

57

140

How We Built Britain

56

"

Pierrepoint

56

"

Red Riding

56

143

MasterChef

55

"

Sealab 2021

55

"

When Louis Met the Hamiltons

55

146

Life on Mars

54

"

Robert Newman's A History of Oil

54

148

I Love…

53

"

Lost in Austen

53

"

The Sarah Silverman Program

53

151

Grass

52

"

Springwatch

52

153

Testees

50

"

Wife Swap

50

155

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

49

"

Restoration

49

157

Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain

48

"

Jerry Springer: the Opera

48

159

Outnumbered

47

160

100 Greatest Britons

46

"

Days That Shook the World

46

162

Land Girls

45

163

Who Killed Saturday Night TV?

43

164

The Deal

42

"

The IT Crowd

42

166

The Kumars at No 42

41

"

The Story of ITV: The People's Channel (& ITV50 Regional)

41

168

Tiswas Reunited

40

169

Bremner, Bird & Fortune

39

"

That Was The Week We Watched

39

171

Coast

38

"

The Story of Light Entertainment

38

173

Forty Years of Fuck

37

"

Spooks

37

175

Biffovision

36

"

Extras

36

177

10 O’Clock News

35

"

Comedy Map of Britain

35

179

Death of a President

34

"

Fantabulosa!

34

181

Attention Scum

33

"

Hannah Montana

33

183

Countryfile

32

"

The Punk Years

32

185

Gavin & Stacey

31

186

Deal or No Deal

30

"

The Osbournes

30

"

videoGaiden

30

189

Return of the Goodies

29

"

The Way We Live Now

29

191

Frisky Dingo

28

"

My Family

28

193

The Knights of Prosperity

27

194

Bloody Sunday

26

"

The Two Ronnies Sketchbook

26

196

Malcolm & Barbara: Love’s Farewell/Right to Die?

25

"

World of Pub

25

198

Blue Peter

24

199

SpongeBob SquarePants

23

200

Jekyll

22

"

Party Animals

22

And, there it is. The Sopranos, a programme that began in the late 1990s, is judged to be the best television programme of the decade, shortly followed by The bloody Wire and The bloody Office. Pleasingly, the mighty Arrested Development finishes in fourth place, so there’s some hope yet for those up-and-coming publications. Want to see where each chart placed each show? Here’s a full Excel spreadsheet of the calculations. Enjoy.

And there, for the sake of our own sanity, and very probably yours too, is where we leave the online portion of our Top 100 rundown. Now we can get back to being annoyingly esoteric on here. Get ready for BrokenTV’s TV-Tie In Board Game Jamboree. Yep, really.

(And yes, there is going to be a book of the Top 100. Once we’ve finished it. Blimey, eh?)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent and informative update however, a few extra explanatory graphs wouldn't go amiss.

Derek Williams said...

I like the graphs however I get confused when one axis is labeled channels and the categories go from 2000-2009. I am not aware of these channels.

Mark X said...

Tsk. Now corrected.

Terry said...

I'm kind of astonished that The Mighty Boosh doesn't make any of these lists. Where did it all go wrong for the Boosh? A few years back people were jizzing all over it, now it gets beaten by countryfile?. Seems pretty harsh to me!

John the Monkey said...

Hurrah!

The even numbered BBcs are where it's at, as any fule kno.