Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad _Season 5 - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

(Photo by Frank Ockenfels/AMC)

FALL 2019 TV SURVEY: TV Shows That Defined the 2000s

For Rotten Tomatoes’ annual Fall TV Survey, we asked thousands of our users what they’re most looking forward to in the coming TV season and to reflect on the best shows from seasons past.

Ah, the aughts. Will we one day look back on the decade as a simpler time, when a school teacher becoming a meth dealer was the height of entertainment?

Probably, yes, according to Rotten Tomatoes users, who voted Breaking Bad the show that defined the decade’s television entertainment with 61% of the vote. The Bryan Cranston–led series was followed by The Office with 47% of the vote, and The Sopranos with 45%.

Which TV star ruled in the decade? Fans bestowed that honor on the late, great James Gandolfini for his role as Tony in The Sopranos. Gandolfini received 18% of the vote. Steve Carell followed with 17% of the vote, and Tina Fey grabbed third position away from Jon Stewart 7.96 percent to 7.56 percent.

Disagree with the survey results? Tell us in the comments who you think should have made the list or have been ranked higher.

Family Guy (1999)

#20
Synopsis: Animated series "Family Guy" features the adventures of the Griffin family. Endearingly ignorant Peter and his stay-at-home wife, Lois, reside... [More]

#19
Synopsis: Live from New York for more than four decades, celebrity hosts join an award-winning ensemble cast to perform comedic sketches,... [More]
Directed By: Lorne Michaels

#18
Synopsis: Michael Bluth finds himself forced to stay in Orange County and run the family real estate business after his father,... [More]

House (2004)
90%

#17
Synopsis: At fictional Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey, prickly genius Dr. Gregory House tackles health mysteries as would a... [More]

#16
Synopsis: Behind the facade of a postcard-perfect subdivision live four women whose lives are anything but idyllic. Klutzy Susan is divorced... [More]

Synopsis: Accused by some of misinforming its core audience of young adults about international news, this series doesn't hide the fact... [More]

Synopsis: A dedicated group of forensic investigators at the Las Vegas Crime Lab works to solve often-grisly crimes in Sin City.... [More]

Dexter (2006)
71%

#13
Synopsis: Dexter Morgan is a Miami-based blood splatter expert who doesn't just solve murders; he commits them too. In fact, he's... [More]

Grey's Anatomy (2005)
84%

#12
Synopsis: The medical drama series focuses on a group of doctors at a hospital in Seattle, including several who began their... [More]

30 Rock (2006)
78%

#11
Synopsis: Based more-than-loosely on backstage shenanigans at "Saturday Night Live," "30 Rock" centers on young Liz Lemon, currently head writer for... [More]

The West Wing (1999)
75%

#10
Synopsis: Cutthroat presidential advisers get their personal lives hopelessly tangled up with professional duties as they try to conduct the business... [More]
Directed By: John Wells

#9
Synopsis: Ted has fallen in love. It all started when his best friend, Marshall, drops the bombshell that he plans to... [More]

Sex and the City (1998)
70%

#8
Synopsis: A sex columnist, Carrie Bradshaw, and her three friends -- Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda -- explore Manhattan's dating scene, chronicling... [More]

Mad Men (2007)
94%

#7
Synopsis: In 1960s New York, alpha male Don Draper struggles to stay on top of the heap in the high-pressure world... [More]

24 (2001)
87%

#6
Synopsis: Counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer fights the bad guys of the world, a day at a time. With each week's episode... [More]

American Idol (2003)
68%

#5
Synopsis: Singers with dreams of super stardom audition and compete in a series of challenging rounds in the hope of living... [More]

Lost (2004)
85%

#4
Synopsis: The survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 were 1,000 miles off course when they crashed on a lush, mysterious island. Each... [More]

The Sopranos (1999)
92%

#3
Synopsis: Tony Soprano juggles the problems of his fractious family with those of a "Family" of a different sort - the... [More]

The Office (2005)
81%

#2
Synopsis: This U.S. adaptation -- set at a paper company based in Scranton, Pa. -- has a similar documentary style to... [More]

Breaking Bad (2008)
96%

#1
Synopsis: Mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher Walter White thinks his life can't get much worse. His salary barely makes ends meet,... [More]


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GREY'S ANATOMY - "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" - After a roller coaster car falls off the track at the county fair, the doctors at Grey Sloan tend to patients who spark memories about ghosts from their past, on a special 300th episode of "Grey's Anatomy," THURSDAY, NOV. 9 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Mitch Haaseth) CATERINA SCORSONE, ELLEN POMPEO, BRANDON TYLER RUSSELL, JACKIE CHUNG, SARAH DREW Credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC

The medical drama is one of TV’s most enduring genres, which is why there have been plenty of different takes on the format throughout the years. Right now, there are five different medical dramas on network TV alone ( ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Doctor, NBC’s Chicago Med and New Amsterdam, Fox’s The Resident). And, with 332 episodes over 15 seasons, Grey’s Anatomy has officially surpassed ER as the longest-running primetime medical drama ever.

Below, we’ve compiled a few of the most impactful medical dramas in TV history so you can rank your favorites. (We’ve added a few throwback series, including Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare, into the mix too! And a note: while there are plenty of medical-adjacent shows, this list is comprised of series that focus their action mainly in the hospital.) Which medical TV series do you think is best? Rank our picks below!


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Omar Epps in Shooter (Dean Buscher/USA Network)

At the beginning of USA’s Shooter, it certainly seems like Omar Epps is the bad guy, especially if you saw the 2007 movie Shooter or read the book Point of Impact. Epps plays Isaac Johnson, a Secret Service agent who recruits his former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) to help him prevent an assassination attempt on the president. By the end of the first episode, Swagger is framed for taking the killshot. Just what did Johnson get him into?

It’s a big week for Epps too, because his holiday comedy Almost Christmas opens this weekend, with Shooter premiering on USA next week. In the former, Epps plays a romantic leading man to Gabrielle Union at a family holiday gathering.

Whether fans know him as Eric Foreman from House, Quincy McCall from Love & Basketball, or any of the roles he’s played in the last 25 years, no one quite knows what to expect from Epps as Isaac Johnson in Shooter. Swagger will have to find the truth.


Omar Epps and Ryan Phillippe in Shooter (Dean Buscher/USA Network)

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Is it nice to have a leading man role in Almost Christmas and a villain role in Shooter coming out at the same time?

Omar Epps: It’s awesome. It’s just fun, man. I’m just enjoying the ride. I had a great time doing Almost Christmas, but then we had a really great time doing Shooter. What I liked about it was the storytelling was way more cerebral than the trailer could give off. On the surface, it looks like this action–espionage-y feeling, but the cat-and-mouse game is really a chess game with layers. So I’m excited about that.

RT: Even if people read the book or saw the movie, are there a lot of twists and turns coming for Johnson on Shooter?

Epps: Oh yeah, totally. We kind of start with that same plot, but then we veer off and do our own thing.

RT: There is a lot of jargon to explain to Swagger when they recruit him to help. Is that fairly easy compared to all the medical jargon you had for eight years on House?

Epps: Everything else is easier than the medical stuff I had to do on House. That was like speaking a different language. It felt good to just speak normal military jargon again.


Omar Epps in Shooter (Dean Buscher/USA Network)

RT: You say “normal military jargon.” That can seem like a foreign language too.

Epps: You know what’s funny with the military: It’s really a lot of acronyms. Everything has an abbreviation term. It’s like a quickspeak, but that was fun. I try to bring a level of authenticity to not even just my characters, but whatever their field is. I always want the people who are actually in those fields in real life to feel like, “Oh wow, it’s grounded and authentic.”

RT: That is a good point: that once you know what the abbreviations stand for, it’s easier to say them.

Epps: Yeah, and it informs your intonations.

RT: The Secret Service can’t let you do a ride-along like you could if you were playing a detective, right?

Epps: Yes, that didn’t happen. I did get to speak to a couple of ex–Secret Service guys just to get the little bit of insight that they could give me in terms of that lifestyle.

RT: What were some specific little details they could give you that helped you play Johnson?

Epps: You look at everything as a grid so it’s a very militaristic mindset in that everything is always through a scope. Everything is on a grid like roads, streets, buildings. It’s a different way of looking at your surrounding environment. One of the little subtleties for me was a lot of marriages don’t last because you’re living a life where you’ve got to pick up and be gone for two months and just get the call like that. I’ve never even thought about that, but I tried to bring that type of feeling into the character.


Ryan Phillippe and Omar Epps in Shooter (Dean Buscher/USA Network)

RT: Are guns part of your skill set at this point, having played different agents and cops?

Epps: I wouldn’t say they’re part of my skill set. I’m familiar with some. The guns that we were working with in Shooter, I’ve never seen those before. They were really high-grade pieces of machinery.

RT: As far as skills you’ve learned for roles before, do you still play basketball?

Epps: Here and there. I mostly like to box and do martial arts, things like that, to be physical.

RT: Like the movie, in the first few episodes, Johnson is part of this conspiracy against Swagger. Is there any hope of redemption for him?

Epps: Absolutely, because Isaac is not a bad guy. He’s a guy who believes in the system and the further up the ladder he went, simultaneously the deeper down the rabbit hole he went. You always hear that saying, “doing it for the greater good.” The greater good is sort of a relative term. His code of ethics and morals is tested and he gets to the position that he’s in by doing something that he thinks is for the greater good that turns up to twist on him. That redeemable factor is very prevalent by the end of the season for him.

RT: What are some juicy episodes of Shooter fans should watch for?

Epps: I think, hey, should watch the whole thing. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are a couple of episodes where we go backwards in time, and you get to see how my character and Ryan’s character were in the military. Isaac at one time was the captain of the Marine Sniper Unit, which is pretty badass within itself. I think at that point, the audience needs to really get what their dynamic is before moving forward.

RT: Does that give you a chance to play two different relationships with Swagger, then and now?

Epps: A little bit. It’s interesting because on the surface it might seem as though they had a friendship, but you see it was more of a working relationship. That’s what happens during the course of the season. They discover their relationship, a different part of it.


Omar Epps, Gabrielle Union in Almost Christmas (Universal)

RT: On the lighter side, Almost Christmas is your return to comedy in over a decade. Had you been looking for a comedy?

Epps: I actually have. This kind of fell right into my life. I had such a great time working on this project. The energy that you see spilling off the screen in Almost Christmas was exactly how we were on set. Everyone just had a genuinely great time.

RT: Was that scene with Gabrielle Union stuck in the window like a big screwball comedy moment?

Epps: That was actually my first day on set so we just dove in. Gab and I are friends, so we just had fun with it. It wasn’t a situation where these two characters come together and they’re like wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. There’s an innocence to it that we got to play with, so that was fun to do.

RT: Did you ever see House as a comedy? Because it was the funniest show on television.

Epps: I never saw it as a comedy, but all the comedic moments, I got. I thought the comedy in House was brilliant.

RT: Are you writing a script too?

Epps: I have a few screenplays that I’ve written. I’ve got a couple of television projects that I’ve written. I’m trying to hit on all cylinders. Everything is in full motion right now.

RT: Right now you’re on Shooter, but are you developing things you would act in?

Epps: Not all of them but a couple of them are, yes, definitely. I don’t want to talk about anything in development, but I do have a project at Lifetime that I wrote that we’re trying to put together. It’s a romantic comedy.

Shooter premieres November 15 at 10 p.m. ET on USA

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