The Top 10 TV Shows of the Decade



There is only one rule for a television show to qualify for this list. The rule is that the series had to have premiered after January 1, 2010, and not before. This disqualifies beloved shows that ended filming in the 2010’s such as Breaking Bad, The Office, Mad Men, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and many, many others. Trust me, I’m just as heartbroken as you, but these are the rules.


As always, thank you for reading and enjoy. Happy New Year.


HONORABLE MENTIONS


Big Little Lies (2 Seasons, 2017-present)

Genre: Drama

Program creator: David E. Kelley

Network: HBO

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 89%

Where to watch: HBO Go, HBO Now

Bob's Burgers (9 Seasons, 2011-present)

Genre: Animated sitcom

Program creator: Loren Bouchard

Network: Fox

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%

Where to watch: Hulu

Nathan For You (4 Seasons, 2013-2017)

Genre: American docu-reality comedy

Program creator: Nathan Fielder and Michael Koman

Network: Comedy Central

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Where to watch: Hulu

Broad City (5 Seasons, 2014-2019)

Genre: Adult sitcom

Program creator: Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobsen

Network: Comedy Central

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 99%

Where to watch: Hulu

Mindhunter (2017-present)

Genre: Drama

Program creator: Joe Penhall and David Fincher

Network: Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Where to watch: Netflix


True Detective (2014-present)

Genre: Drama

Program creator: Nic Pizzolatto

Network: HBO

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 78%

Where to watch: HBO

THE TOP TEN SHOWS OF THE DECADE


10. Game of Thrones (8 Seasons, 2011-2019)

Genre: Fantasy drama

Program creator: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Network: HBO

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 89%

Where to watch: HBO Go, HBO Now


Before I delve into Game of Thrones, I’d like to say something on a personal note.


I recall starting the series right when Season 6 began. Yes, I was rather late to the party, but so were a lot of people. I was so in love with this show that I tried to convince essentially everybody in my life to watch it. And I became elated whenever they said that they loved it as much as I did. It opened up avenues of conversation that few pieces of art rarely ever achieve. I could talk about GoT with them for hours on end, without ever experiencing a tint of boredom. That’s what makes this show feel like such a Greek tragedy to me. After the final two seasons, I didn’t want to talk about the show in any arena whatsoever. If somebody brings it up to me now, I typically sway the conversation elsewhere. In the end though, I will always remember this show for the world it built and allowed me to be apart of, and will pray for George R.R. Martin to finish it with the justice it deserves…


Game of Thrones is one of the most popular television shows (and stories) of all-time, and it accomplished that feat with good reason. The first six seasons were beyond brilliant, and deserve to be considered amongst the best six-season stretches in the history of television. There are often several storylines occurring at once, and once you’re in as a viewer, you’re all the way in. Everybody has a different favorite character, family, and episode, and that’s what made the show so breathtakingly special and fun to discuss with peers. It’s truly a tragedy how rushed the last two seasons felt, and the inescapable decline that they produced.


9. Rick and Morty (4 Seasons, 2013-present)

Genre: Adult animated science-fiction sitcom

Program creator: Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland

Network: Adult Swim

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95%

Where to watch: Adult Swim, Hulu


Rick and Morty is nihilistic, action-packed, laugh out loud funny and above all else it is very, very smart. And the show creators know that better than anyone. Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have created one of the great animated series of our time, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as The Simpsons. It originated as a sort of cult classic/Reddit obsession, and has blossomed into one of the most highly anticipated series of the decade.


If you’ve never watched this show and are curious what its about exactly, allow me to give you a very brief and underwhelming description: Rick is practically a self-made God and an alcoholic who utilizes science to attain whatever he desires, but he’s also Morty’s grandfather. Morty is an insecure high schooler who wants nothing more than the attention of his beloved crush, Jessica, and to be the leader on his fair share of missions with Rick. Summer, Morty’s sister, just wants a piece of the action but is often resorted to B-storylines amongst her parents, Beth and Jerry, who have their own existential troubles and relationship issues. Overall, it’s one of the funniest and most philosophically inclined shows, and it deserves all the attention and praise its gained thus far.


8. Master of None (2 Seasons, 2015-2017)

Genre: Comedy-drama

Program creator: Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang

Streaming service: Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%

Where to watch: Netflix


Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s Master of None is as aesthetically pleasing as it is heartwarming. Dev is a commercial actor who also hosts his own competitive cupcake making show, and is trying to find love wherever he can whether it be Italy or New York City. His big best friend, Arnold, is my personal favorite character on the show and provides a hysterical one-two punch alongside Dev any time they grace the screen together. If you’re ever in the need of a lighthearted watch, then Master of None is the show for you.


7. Barry (2 Seasons, 2018-present)

Genre: Dark comedy-crime

Program creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader

Network: HBO

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 99%

Where to watch: HBO Go, HBO Now


Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s brainchild, Barry, is a landmark in modern television for its brilliant blend of satirical comedy and devastating drama. The stakes are high. The acting is immaculate. And NoHo Hank is a revolutionary sidekick/villain/hilarious mode of comic relief. Hader’s Barry is a hitman turned aspiring actor who is trying to navigate his role in the film industry while attempting to rid himself of his past and awfully apparent PTSD. He’s one of the world’s best hitmen, and a pretty terrible actor, but he’s trying his best to turn over a new leaf in an unforgiving society.


6. Louie (5 Seasons, 2010-2015)

Genre: Comedy-drama

Program creator: Louis C.K.

Network: FX

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes


I understand that I may catch some criticism for including Louie on my list considering the allegations against the show's creator, Louis C.K., and I will not attempt to defend those irredeemable actions. But I believe that the art I once adored and considered formative shouldn't be eliminated because of someone else's actions. In no way do my morals, ethics, or ideologies coincide with the repulsive actions that C.K. committed.


Now that I've made that clear, I'd like to talk about Louie, a barrier-breaking show that demonstrated comedy could delve into sensitive subjects successfully and effectively.


5. Veep (7 Seasons, 2012-2019)

Genre: Comedy

Program creator: Armando Iannucci and David Mandel

Network: HBO

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93%

Where to watch: HBO Go, HBO Now


Once upon a time, there was a female president, and she was evil. She was hysterically funny, but also evil. Selena Meyer and her staff are filmed as if they're making a really horrifying documentary about how politics work, and the comedy is essential to it for its breath of fresh air and witty commentary on how the real world of politics operates. For every anxious Amy, there's a douchebag Dan. For every insubordinately aware Mike, there's a handmaid like Gary. And for every robotic Kent, there's a shockingly inappropriate Jonah. The list goes on and on for supporting characters who made names for themselves in these roles, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus's VP turned President is who carries this show from an HBO sweetheart to an Emmy dominating force to be reckoned with. Veep is one of the funniest shows to ever grace the television screen, and it somehow made something that I'm not incredibly interested in yet absolutely thrilling.


4. Bojack Horseman (5 Seasons, 2014-2020)

Genre: Comedy-drama

Program creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Streaming Service: Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93%

Where to watch: Netflix


I hadn't experienced a humorous existential crisis until I watched Bojack for the first time. Much like a lot of my favorite programs, the protagonist is a bad person, but has redeeming qualities somewhere buried beneath all the self-deprecating bullshit. Bojack Horseman is one of the funniest shows on television, along with one of the smartest, and there are enough cultural references in it to impress even Billy Eichner. At the heart of its show, what makes it most succesful is the heart of it. Or the lack there of. Bojack is somebody that everybody can build a relationship with and find themselves in. All the while being an alcoholic horse with a rattled family history and several love interests.


3. Succession (2 Seasons, 2018-present)

Genre: Satire, American Comedy-drama

Program creator: Jesse Armstrong

Network: HBO

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%

Where to watch: HBO Go, HBO Now


Succession is HBO's finest contribution in recent years not for the yacht-porn vibrance it gives off, but for the Shakespearean storyline it exudes. There isn't a single character in the show that's even remotely likable (unless somebody wants to make a Cousin Greg argument), yet we still find ourselves rooting for the insecurely-"perverted" Roman, and the rest of the power-hungry ensemble. Succession has perhaps the most fascinating storyline going for them in the television arena, and the HBO funding to allow them free-range in their production process.


2. Atlanta (2 Seasons, 2016-present)

Genre: Comedy-drama

Program creator: Donald Glover and Stephen Glover

Network: FX

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Where to watch: Hulu


Atlanta is the most original thing on television since The Sopranos. It's redefining what a comedy show can be, and reinvestigating how a drama should separate itself from the rest of the competition. Whether it's by making a Get Out-esque thriller with the Teddy Perkins episode, or a deep-dive into pain with an episode like "The Woods", Atlanta is doing television better than 99.9% of the people in the industry.


The music is intoxicating. The characters are lovable. And the lack of interest with a "move the plot forward for the sake of moving the plot forward" is breathtaking. They do what they want with this show, and that's exactly what makes it so exciting: Nobody has any idea where they're going to take it next season, let alone what's going to happen in the next episode.


1. Fleabag (2 Seasons, 2016-2019)

Genre: Tragicomedy

Program creator: Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Network: BBC and Amazon

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video


Fleabag is more than a television show; it's an identity and a lifestyle. My dear friend Evan Northrup described his relationship to the show with a simple statement, "We're all Fleabags." Although that may not be the case for everybody who watches the show, it’s what makes the series so captivating and devastating for those who fall in love with it.


After my first time watching the 2-season series, I became a Fleabag evangelist. Encouraging everybody around me to at least give it a shot, and even threatening to stop communicating with some people if they didn't. That may sound awful, but I looked at it like this: I was doing them a favor.


There is no better representation on television for the human experience/condition than Fleabag. It details the complexities of sex, love, family, friendship, identity, therapy, guilt, shame, and everything else between those gray lines. And I thought that it would be a disgrace and injustice if I didn't at least influence some people towards experiencing a portion of it, if not the whole damningly beautiful thing.


When a show can bring you an uncountable amount of laughs one moment, and then a heartbreaking gut-punch that leads to tears the next, then that show is doing something right. There are very few shows that I've ever watched that I consider to be in the realm of "art" or created by an "auteur", but it would be an insult to both of these terms to not include Fleabag in those arenas. From the music cues (orchestrated by Phoebe Waller-Bridge's sister), to the fourth-wall breaking, to Fleabag's relationship with her Godmother, there isn't a single aspect of this masterpiece that isn't adequately designed and produced.


Overall, I was absolutely devastated once the series ended (I knew beforehand that there wouldn't be a third season), but I was comforted by the fact that the ending was perfect, and I could always re-experience it whenever necessary. I love this show more than nearly every other aspect of popular culture, and in this scenario I actually disagree with Hot Priest. It will not pass.

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