I have ranked the top 68 television shows of the '00s, and will be presenting them, one-by-one, starting with 68 and working down. The rankings are more or less based on the show's popularity, it's cult status, it's critical acclaim, and my personal liking of it, with a heavy dose of arbitrariness added in. If a show was a big enough phenomena, I'll keep it on the list - but if I don't like it, I may drop it some spots. One other caveat - these are primetime shows (I apologize if I put a cable show that wasn't, I thought they were all primetime shows - the main point of this is just that no talk shows, no Colbert and Daily Show that would be on otherwise).
7: Family Guy
Admitted, this show serves a limited demographic. I doubt most people over, I don't know, maybe 40 or 45 know much or anything about it. But nowadays, or really more, in the early 2000s, it reached classic Simpsons episode of devotion, of memorizing and repeating classic lines, and not just a few, but many, especially from the first couple of seasons. Some quotes have simply become part of my friends' speech patterns.
Family Guy is famous amongst other things for having a first run which was phenomenally popular amongst a certain crowd, being cancelled, and then a couple of years later, against all odds, coming back. I was one of those people saddened by its cancellation and excited by its return; I remember during freshman year signing and passing around a petition my friend was distributing requesting Family guy get back on the air and then senior year watching a bootlegged version of the first episode back before it actually aired which opened with Peter mentioned that Family Guy had a shot of coming back only if the legions of Fox shows which had aired and been cancelled in the meantime, each of which he named, were gone. The show was revived due to a combination of crazy good ratings as repeats aired on Adult Swim and crazy high DVD sales, parking it as the second best selling TV DVDs ever, right behind Chapelle's Show.
Family Show wasn't the first to use it, but it was certainly noteworthy for its over featuring pop culture references leading to random cutaway sequences, and using these so much that often even die-hard fans can't remember which particular sequence goes with what episode - plots in Family Guy episodes are often beside the point more than in any other show I can think of.
When it's at its best, these clips are as funny as anything on television. My friend invented a game we used to play called "Family Guy" game in which someone would call out a word, and we'd type "Family Guy" an then that word into youtube, click on what came up, and then keep following links until we dried them up and then called out another word. When Fox eventually decided to take everything off youtube, it kind of killed the game, but just enjoying those clips in and of themselves, was probably the best way to enjoy family guy - context isn't important, and while I wouldn't want that for all my shows, I'm fine with that for this - there's a place in television for this.
I've always thought there was a great animated show battle between Family Guy and South Park. Most people like both at least a little, but I feel like you're really a fan more of or the other at heart, and for me it will always be Family Guy. South Park viciously took on Family Guy in two episodes, Cartoon Wars part I and II where it basically bashed Family Guy left and right and then left again. Some of their points are valid - plots really are inconsequential to Family Guy, so sure, there's absolutely room to make fun of Family Guy. In my personal opinion, however, instead of teasing Family Guy lightly and funnily, South Park comes off as self-righteous, full of itself, and unable to deal with the idea that Family Guy could in any way be funny, and ham-handed, sour, and mean, in the worst way. I'm glad Family Guy took it in good humor, and I think if you work on a comedy show you can't take any kind of insult too seriously. That doesn't mean it's not stupid though. There's a lot of different kind of ways to be funny, and I'm not sure why South Park can't deal with that.
I could go on about Family Guy at length, but I'll note here that it resuscitated the career of former Billboard Hot 100 #1 artist Walter Murphy, best known for "A Fifth of Beethoven" which appeared on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. He also had minor hits with his take on "Flight of the Bumblebee" and a "Theme from E.T." medley. Murphy did the theme for Family Guy and some of the songs, and even won an Emmy for one of the worst - "You've Got a Lot to See."
Okay, these were a few random asides, but all said, Family Guy is huge. It's now been on for a ridiculous 9 seasons and 164 episodes, the vast majority after its revival. And though it remains as much of a fixture on fox as ever, along with two other Seth McFarlane projects, American Dad and The Cleveland Show, it feels in a way the same way current Simpsons does - just not as relevant as it once was (I don't even mean the quality, which I've heard various reports of, and is up and down when I watch - and with Family Guy, consistency isn't really as important - even in most bad episodes, you're guaranteed a great gag or two) in that I can't assume almost everybody I know has seen the past episode and can quote it verbatim.