In 1999 these five television shows debuted for the first time. This year marked the 21st anniversary of each of those series, which still release new episodes on the small screen. Let’s end the decade celebrating shows that have captivated audiences for 21 years—2021 is just right around the corner!
First up on the list is a television hit almost everyone has watched at least one episode of (but most likely way more). Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is one of the longest-running dramas starring Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson. Created by Dick Wolf for NBC, the successful screenwriter wrote a crime-fighting series, along with others, that has lasted more than 20 seasons. Wolf is also responsible for helping Law & Order, and Chicago P.D. make it on the small screen.
Family Guy, the politically incorrect sitcom, has fascinated viewers for 19 seasons. The Seth MacFarlane original is an animated series that features voice acting from notable Hollywood stars, including Mila Kunis (Meg Griffin), Seth Green (Chris Griffin), and Alex Borstein (Lois Griffin). The program first aired in 1999 for the FOX television network.
SpongeBob SquarePants is the only other animated series on this list, and it’s much more family-friendly than the former. The Nickelodeon original was created by the late Stephen Hillenburg, an American animator, and marine science educator. The beloved series is such a success that it led to the production of four movie spinoffs. It’s also won plenty of awards, including a few Daytime Emmy Awards.
Wrestlers and superstars from World Wrestling Entertainment showcase their athleticism, toned physiques, and skills in WWE Smackdown!. The intense sports show was created by Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE, in 1999. With 21 seasons under its belt, WWE Smackdown! continues showing viewers the ongoing rivalries and incredible fights between wrestlers in the ring.
House Hunters provide a unique look into the house-buying experience, teaching thousands of viewers more about the process from the perspective of agents and prospective buyers. Real-life couple Tara Sandler and Jennifer Davidson created the HGTV hit after the two were searching for their own dream home. The unscripted reality series is nearly 200 seasons long!
With 2021 just weeks away, several other television shows can celebrate their 21st anniversary. Survivor, Big Brother, and Curb Your Enthusiasm were all released in the year 2000, captivating audiences for over two decades. All three series have received nominations and won several prestigious awards.
The reality-competition show Survivor is hosted by Jeff Probst and follows a group of contestants competing against one another while isolated on an island. For 40 seasons, the castaways have kept viewers entertained as they fend for themselves on national TV. The series has earned 63 Emmy nominations, winning a total of seven different Emmy Awards. Survivor will hit its 21-year mark in 2021.
Fellow reality hit Big Brother has been on the air for 22 seasons, documenting the interactions and events of the strangers forced to live together. Even though the summer series hasn’t won an Emmy, it is still an award-winning show. Big Brother was nominated for several Teen Choice Awards in the early 2000s but won four ASCAP Film & TV Awards over the years.
Finishing the list is comedian Larry David’s popular sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. The HBO original series took a 6-year hiatus after hitting the small screen in the year 2000, but its 10th season came out this year. The improvised show features David playing a version of himself and has received 47 Emmy Award nominations, winning two of those awards. Even though Curb Your Enthusiasm technically took a break from releasing new episodes in the 2010s, the series can still celebrate 21 years on TV in 2021.