10 Great TV Series Turning 20 in 2024, Ranked

Movies


Let’s rewind to the distant year of 2004. Iconic films were released left and right while the next generation of successful filmmakers was exploding into the scene. Edgar Wright was making waves with his hilarious zombie-comedy, Shaun of the DeadMark Waters’ iconic Mean Girls rallied a generation of American teens, and Shrek 2 dominated the domestic box office.


But it wasn’t only films making a dent in the cultural zeitgeist. Enter television. Following the success of the groundbreaking drama series The Sopranos, the golden age of television began with audiences demanding higher quality programming, developing a preference for long-form narratives and intricate storylines over serialized weekly plots. From science fiction reboots to survival drama series that would captivate the world, these are the best television series celebrating their twentieth anniversary in 2024.


10 ‘Desperate Housewives’ (2004 – 2012)

Created by Marc Cherry

Image via ABC

Created by The Golden Girls (1985) writer and producer, Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives is a comedic drama centered around the lives of four seemingly perfect suburban housewives and their families, all living on the infamous Wisteria Lane.

As mysteries and secrets are unveiled, Cherry’s knack for dark comedy saw the show steadily build an enormous following as the lives of its central characters became plagued by scandalous affairs and even murder. With an iconic ensemble cast including Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, and Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives was a cultural phenomenon that entertained audiences for nearly a decade, earning itself a score of 7.6/10 on IMDb.

Desperate Housewives

Release Date
October 3, 2004

Seasons
8

Watch on Hulu

9 ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ (2004 – 2009)

Created by Robert C. Copper and Brad Wright

Cast of the Sci-Fi show, Stargate: Atlantis
Image via Sony Pictures Television and Syfy

Following the success of the popular American science fiction series Stargate SG-1 came Stargate: Atlantis, a spin-off set in the Pegasus Galaxy following a team of military and civilian personnel whose mission is to explore a lost city made by mysterious aliens known only as ‘The Ancients’, leads them on a galaxy spanning adventure.

Created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, the series has a stunning 8.1/10 rating on IMDb. Running for five seasons, the series expanded the vast Stargate franchise far beyond the confines of Roland Emmerich’s original film. Starring an ensemble led by Joe Flanigan as Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, modern audiences will also get a kick out of seeing a young Jason Momoa (Aqua Man) as the Satedan solider, Ronon Dex.

Stargate: Atlantis

Release Date
July 16, 2004

Cast
Joe Flanigan , David Hewlett , Rachel Luttrell , Jason Momoa , Jewel Staite , Robert Picardo

Seasons
5

Watch on Amazon

8 ‘Bleach’ (2004 – 2012)

Created by Tite Kubo

Ichigo and Rukia
Image via Adult Swim

The widely celebrated Japanese anime, Bleach, took off in 2004. Based on a manga by Tite Kubo, the story follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a young boy with a special ability – the power to see ghosts. Entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the living world safe from the un-dead while also guiding the souls of the deceased to the afterlife, Kurosaki faces many challenges and acquires new powers as the series progresses.

Sporting an 8.2/10 rating on IMDb, Bleach is known for its epic battle sequences, which came to redefine action-based anime for many viewers, while its narrative also includes some fairly mind-bending plot twists. On air successfully until 2012, the series would come to an unfortunately rushed end when showrunner Noriyuki Abe’s health began to rapidly decline.

Bleach

Release Date
September 9, 2006

Cast
Masakazu Morita , Fumiko Orikasa , Hiroki Yasumoto , Yuki Matsuoka , Noriaki Sugiyama , Kentarô Itô , Shinichirô Miki , Hisayoshi Suganuma

Seasons
16

Watch on Hulu

7 ‘Lost’ (2004 – 2010)

Created by J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof

LOST Season 1 Cast Lineup
Image via ABC

When the pilot episode of Lost premiered on September 22nd, 2004, it changed everything. Written and directed by JJ Abrams, Lost follows the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, a group of 48 passengers stranded on a mysterious uncharted island when their plane fails. Boasting the record for the pilot with the single largest production budget at the time, Lost blew audiences away with its cinematic camera work, score, and special effects.

Constantly being rediscovered by new audiences, Lost lives on in popular blogs, podcasts, and Reddit discussions to this day, boasting a high rating of 8.3/10 by IMDb users, proving that despite the murky reputation the series grew to have following its divisive finale, that the show continues to stand as a testament to excellently written and captivating drama, paving the way for the likes of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.

Lost

Release Date
September 22, 2004

Seasons
6

Watch on Hulu

6 ‘Veronica Mars’ (2004 – 2019)

Created by Rob Thomas

veronica-mars
Image via The WB

Veronica Mars is the TV franchise that just refuses to go away. Following Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), a high school student who turns into a dedicated private detective following the murder of her close friend in the fictional town known as Neptune. The series’ initial run would last from 2004 until 2007, following Veronica as she investigates further mysteries, corruption, and social issues in the town before the show abruptly faced cancelation.

Revitalized via a crowdfunding campaign, original showrunner Rob Thomas was able to raise over 5 million dollars in 2013 in support of a Veronica Mars movie. Proving that the series’ critical acclaim has only increased the size of its audience over time, this crime drama holds a whopping 8.4/10 rating on IMDb and was picked up by Hulu for a fourth but not necessarily final season, which premiered on the streaming service in 2019.

Veronica Mars

Release Date
September 22, 2004

Seasons
4

Watch on Hulu

5 ‘Entourage’ (2004 – 2011)

Created by Doug Ellin

Vinny and his entourage
Image via HBO

In this hilarious parody of the film industry, Adrian Grenier is Vincent Chase, a rising star in Hollywood who must navigate the strange world of fame with his friends and trusty agent – his entourage. Generating a lot of buzz when it premiered in 2004, Entourage would run for eight seasons, earning a plethora of Golden Globe and Emmy wins and nominations and an IMDb rating of 8.4/10.

The brainchild of Doug Ellin, the true stroke of genius that made Entourage so universally accessible was how the show tackled its subject – from the lens of Chases’ friends. Rather than focusing solely on the rise of a Hollywood celebrity, Entourage allowed its audience to see themselves in Kevin Connolly’s Eric Murphy, making for a far more relatable narrative that’s worth sticking out until the end.

entourage

Release Date
July 18, 2004

Seasons
8

Watch on Max

Created by David E. Kelley

The Cast of 'Boston Legal' (2004-2008)
Image via ABC

A spin-off of the long-running David E. Kelley series The Practice, Boston Legal follows the ordeals of former Practice character Alan Shore (James Spader) at the legal firm of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt. Starring a legacy cast including William Shatner (Star Trek), Mark Valley (The Flash), and Candice Bergen (Miss Congeniality), Boston Legal boldly critiqued the American political and justice systems for five seasons.

Early into its run, Kelley’s crime drama challenged the conventions of the televised crime genre with its complex and emotional characters. Showing off an 8.5/10 rating on IMDb, Boston Legal still stands above its competition as a truly memorable court-case series, one with heart, that stands the test of time due to the friendships of its characters rather than the drama of its cases.

Boston Legal

Release Date
October 3, 2004

Seasons
5

Watch on Hulu

3 ‘Deadwood’ (2004 – 2006)

Created by David Milch

deadwood-hbo
Image via HBO

Before he was the gun-slinging Marshall of Freetown in The Mandalorian, Timothy Olyphant was the Sheriff of Deadwood, a small gold-rich town located in South Dakota. Heralded as simply the greatest Western drama of all time, Deadwood would air for 3 narratively tight seasons, delivering a gut-punching story that audiences simply could not get enough of.

Currently sitting at 8.6/10 on IMDb, David Milch’s captivating Western would go on to find new success following the release on (HBO) MAX, sparking talk of a potential fourth season that could bring the series to a more conclusive end following its premature cancelation in 2006. With no more than rumors and hearsay to support this, it would seem, at least for now, that Deadwood fans will have to remain satisfied with the recent film released in 2019, which, while it technically revitalized the franchise, still did not conclude the overall story.

Deadwood

Release Date
March 21, 2004

Seasons
3

Watch on Max

2 ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (2004 – 2009)

Created by Glen A. Larson and Ronald D. Moore

Battlestar Galactica cast
Image via Syfy

On the 4th of May 1980, the final episode of the original Galactica series aired. Twenty-four years later, news of a reboot was circling. The Battlestar Galactica reboot would debut in 2004. While it initially received mixed reactions, given enough time, this reboot would become just what the franchise needed. Grittier than its predecessor, Battlestar Galactica shed many tropes of other science fiction shows of its time, opting for a more thought-provoking and dramatic tone, tackling adult topics such as religion and politics.

Upon inception, the series would also become an essential proving ground for some of the industry’s rising up-and-comers. One such actress is Katee Sackhoff, who, after embodying Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, would later become known for her role in The Mandalorian as Bo-Katan Kryze. Now, as fans celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary, its enduring legacy is as relevant as ever. Championing an IMDb rating of 8.7/10, it reimagined the classic series and breathed new life into sci-fi television, leading the way for modern classics such as The Expanse.

Buy on Amazon

1 ‘House’ (2004 – 2012)

Created by David Shore

Hugh Laurie as Doctor House in House
Image via NBC

Enter the world of the brilliantly unconventional diagnostician, Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), or as he’s more commonly known, simply “House”. Released to critical acclaim on November 16th, 2004, House is the medical drama of the decade. Running for eight seasons, it quickly became one of Fox Network’s most popular shows, sweeping up multiple awards.

Propelled by an iconic performance from Laurie as the sarcastic and bitter Doctor, House follows its cynical protagonist as he solves unsolvable medical mysteries, all while battling an addiction to Vicoden, which he developed after receiving a leg injury. Sharply written and brilliantly filmed, House has proven it is among the very best television shows on offer, earning its place in the number one slot on this list with an IMDb score of 8.7/10.

House

Release Date
November 16, 2004

Seasons
8

Watch on Amazon

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