24. The Wire
Aired: June 2, 2002 - March 9, 2008 (HBO)
Theme Song: Tom Waits "Way Down In The Hole"
Sorry, Sopranos fans, but The Wire is the best television program of the last 20 years. The scope of creator David Simon's in-depth depiction of Baltimore's harrowing drug trade was astounding in the manner in which it weaved every character's story to the bigger picture. The series made you clearly see the impact narcotics has on the nation from the viewpoint of the government all the way down to the average household.
The pain emanating in the desperate moans of Tom Waits' gritty “Way Down In The Hole,” taken from his 1987 Franks Wild Years LP, matched up well with The Wire's opening credits. The twist was that a different artist performed the sad lament each season, with Waits' original being used in the second installment of the show.