The best TV shows of the 2010s

We celebrate the best movies released between 2010 and 2019

The 2010s were an incredible period of time for television. We saw dragons burning armies of the undead, demogorgons emerge from the Upside Down, the British Royal Family go through turmoil, and a chemistry teacher's final fall. To celebrate this amazing time in telly, we have curated this epic list of the best shows of that decade.

Of course, TV shows air over many years and therefore sprawl over multiple decades. We're only counting the seasons and episodes that aired between January 1st, 2010 to December 31st, 2019 (for example, we judged Mad Men based on seasons four to seven, not including one to three). With that in mind, here are the best shows of the 2010s.

By Total Film staff

The Night Of

Years: 2016 

The Night Of is the anti-crime drama. Where some shows revel in cool criminals and capers, The Night Of forensically follows Naz (Riz Ahmed) as he navigates the choppy waters of the American justice system and the ensuing media backlash after a one-night stand goes wrong. A woman is dead. A man is in jail. It's deliberately unsexy, cold, and calculated – and a real eye-opener as to how minority groups are treated in a system that stacks the deck against them. Bradley Russell


Years: 2015-2017 

Narcos starts shaky. The main character's seemingly bland, and some of the plot devices are arguably lazy. Yet your patience is greatly rewarded. Wagner Moura's Pablo Escobar is the necrotic, murderous heart of the Netflix series. Despite his vile deeds, we often find ourselves rooting for the prideful drug baron, with Moura's performance – the actor had to learn Spanish and pack on over 40 pounds for this role – even outshining the Pedro Pascal as DEA agent Javier Peña. Come for the cartel antics; stay for the Golden Globe-nominated performance. Alyssa Mercante 

How I Met Your Mother

Years: 2005–2013 

In 2010, we pulled into the final stretch of the world's most obnoxious love story. Future Ted takes the season six premiere to declare that the two most important parts of any relationship are "the day you meet the girl of your dreams, and the day you marry her." Well, kids, it took us another 93 episodes to get there, but we finally made it. With plenty of controversial moments along the way, mind, but that was always to be expected. Josh West 

Broad City

Years: 2014-2019 

Based on a web-series of the same name, comedians Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson's hilarious, chaotic comedy about life as two mid-twenties Jewesses in New York is instantly lovable. At once touching and entirely absurd, the show's surreal approach to comedy bends the rules of reality to create a snarling, living, breathing version of New York for these women to conquer. With Amy Poehler attached as executive producer and a supporting cast that includes Hannibal Buress and Susie Essman, Broad City quickly became a hit back in 2014, and rightly so. Marianne Eloise

(Comedy Central)
Key & Peele

Years: 2012-2015 

Sketch shows are infamously hit or miss, so it's a testament to the talent of Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key that their collection of surrealist skits earns a place amongst such fine company here. Almost half a decade on, Key & Peele sketches are still endlessly regurgitated across the internet, proving the pair's hilarious riffs on hot button subjects hold a remarkably prescient staying power. With classics like "Continental Breakfast" and "Obama Meet & Greet", is it really any surprise that Jordan Peele has gone on to direct some of the finest horror movies of the generation? Alex Avard

(Comedy Central)

Years: 2015-2018 

The Man Without Fear was undoubtedly the jewel in Netflix and Marvel's short-lived partnership. Daredevil certainly packs a punch – including that iconic corridor fight – but it's the pulpy, slow-burn story that stands out most of all, including dealing with the intermingling desires of religion, faith, and power. For the first time, the MCU is a proper grown-up, prestige drama, not merely wearing the mask of one. Bradley Russell

The Crown

Years: 2016-present  

Giving you a sneak peek behind the velvet curtain, Netflix's The Crown manages to turn historical factoids about the British royal family into a superb character drama. Its rollicking story keeps us gripped while the impeccable craftsmanship, costumes, and set design distract us from some of the more unpleasantries. The stellar performances – particularly from Claire Foy and Olivia Colman – help enhance this already royally good television. Sam Loveridge

Review with Forrest MacNeil

Years: 2013-2017 

While this decade may have seen the number of dark comedies skyrocket, few can match the hilarious nihilism of Review. Adapted from an Australian show, the show follows "Life Reviewer" Forrest MacNeil, who ranks experiences – chosen by fictional viewers – on a five-star scale. Forrest's unerring commitment to his job, whether reviewing the sensation of eating 15 pancakes or starting a cult, provides constant belly laughs, while the show's willingness to explore the toll those tasks take on his soul provides an unexpectedly poignant throughline. Ben Tyrer

(Comedy Central)
Derry Girls

Years: 2018-present 

This decade has, most importantly, seen often forgotten stories, people, and places finally represented more on screen. Lisa McGee's Derry Girls, a sitcom about teenage girls living in Northern Ireland, draws on her own experiences growing up in the eponymous city. The result is a show that holds the record for being the most-watched show in Northern Ireland. Equal parts chaotic, hilarious and touching, Derry Girls doesn't shy away from the country's political history while still having fun with absurd storylines. Marianne Eloisie

(Channel 4)
Silicon Valley (Image credit: HBO)

Years: 2014-2019 

Mike Judge's reputation for biting satire was established with Office Space and cemented with Idiocracy. That same wit is on full display in Silicon Valley, which sees Judge take aim at big tech with a ferocious zeal. However, the show's laughs don't just come from ripping into Google, Facebook, and others, but the impeccable comic chemistry between the show's cast. From walking panic attack Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) to human doormat Jared Dunn (Zach Woods), as well as Kumail Nanjiani and Martin Starr's bickering frenemies, the actors' help elevate Silicon Valley to one of the best comedies of the decade. Ben Tyrer

Orange is the New Black

Years: 2013-2019 

Based on Piper Kerman's memoir about her experiences at a federal prison, Orange is the New Black was one of Netflix's first bonafide hits. Circumventing the issue of being stuck between four walls with colourful "pre-prison" flashbacks, Orange is the New Black makes its ensemble cast of diverse characters sympathetic, multifaceted people with rich backgrounds. Over seven varied seasons, one thing remains constant: it takes its female prisoners seriously. The show's critique of the prison-industrial complex doesn't stop on screen, as the creative launched the real-life Poussey Washington fund. Marianne Eloise

This Is Us

Years: 2016-2022

Dan Fogelman's syrupy serial is as emotionally charged and shrewdly structured as you'd expect from the screenwriter behind Tangled and Crazy Stupid Love. A time-hopping delight of twists and turns, This Is Us is anchored by some of the sharpest writing and characterisation on TV. Granted, while some of the subplots can often make This is Us feel like "First World Problems: The TV Show", those characters and stories are painted with such tender warmth and affable earnestness that you can't help but invest yourself in their lives. Alex Avard


Years: 2016-2018 

Chances are, we're going to look back on Love as one of the best things Judd Apatow ever produced. Stand down, Anchorman fans, and hear me out. Raucous and raw in equal measure, Love celebrates the ugly, awkward growing pains of a new relationship as much as the glamour of romance itself. Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs are endlessly charming as Gus and Mickey, too, portraying two people imperfectly perfect for one another. Alex Avard

Penny Dreadful

Years: 2014-2016  

A bibliophile dream that teeters on the precipice of fan fiction, Penny Dreadful takes your favourite Gothic characters from your middle-school reading list and has them all fighting in an occult together. The show's dark, dramatic, bloody good fun that's completely full self-aware – so self-aware, in fact, that the showrunners ended it three seasons in, knowing there was a jumping the werewolf moment on the horizon. Even when the show falters, Eva Green's performance as the tortured psychic medium Vanessa Ives is sheer perfection. Alyssa Mercante

American Vandal

Years: 2017-2018 

Who spray-painted a rude word on the teachers' cars? While student Dylan Maxwell's the most likely culprit, there's seemingly something more at play. Was he framed? Those are the big question at the centre of American Vandal's first season, and while the Netflix mockumentary may have a silly premise silly, the writing's remarkably clever and perfectly satirises Making a Murderer. Jack Shepherd

Sharp Objects

Years: 2019

A poisonous bloom of a show from the same author behind Gone Girl, Sharp Objects is dark, raw, and impossible to look away from. Amy Adams plays a physically and mentally scared reporter who is drawn back to her dysfunctional family to cover up a murder, only to  discover twisted secrets lurking behind every smile and twitching curtain. Adams, Eliza Scanlen, and Patricia Clarkson all give unforgettable performances that work their way into your brain like slivers of glass. Rachel Weber


Years: 2017-2019 

While it may have received some mixed reviews from the wrestling community for its authenticity, GLOW, a fictionalisation of the '80s syndicated women's wrestling circuit Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, is a warm rumination on found family, forgiveness, and friendship. Starring Alison Brie opposite Betty Gilpin as rivals and former best friends Ruth and Debbie, the show sees them joining GLOW under the eye of director Sam Syvlia (Marc Maron). While they work out their considerable differences, the rest of the lovable ensemble are dealing with their sexualities, identities, and womanhood in the unforgiving '80s. Marianne Eloise

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Years: 2015-2019  

If our troubled times need a comedy hero to emerge, it's Ellie Kemper's Kimmy Schmidt. Her undying enthusiasm to experience life after being kidnapped and spending 15 years in an underground bunker is an unexpected feel-good antidote. Tina Fey's 30 Rock follow up is an impressive joke machine, consistently nailing surreal gags. Yet the highlight is the eponymous Kimmy, played with wide-eyed charm by Kemper, who's joyous optimism is – as the title suggests – unbreakable. Ben Tyrer

Doctor Who

Years: 2005-present  

The 2010s were a decade of change for the Doctor Who reboot. Four Doctors, countless companions, and some of the best episodes ever produced by the iconic sci-fi series. It started with David Tennant's final farewell and ended with the first ever female Doctor – Jodie Whittaker – gearing up for a second series. In-between, Doctor Who continued to push boundaries as only it can, with the Rosa Parks episode in 2019 being a particular standout. Whatever the next decade holds, it's clear that no show will be able to both entertain and educate quite as effortlessly as Doctor Who. Bradley Russell

The Real Housewives of New York City

Years: 2008-present 

Were TV shows cultural thermometers for specific social groups, then The Real Housewives of New York would be a Gloop-made platinum rectal thermometer used by Manhattan's eccentric, elite women during their bathroom breaks at a 12-martini-deep dog fashion show on the Upper West Side. Despite the series' title, nearly all of the rotating cast are single or divorced, making this iteration of the Housewives phenomenon the most accidentally feminist. RHONY is a diamond-encrusted drama cocktail, shaken with Tito's, priced at $72, and poured directly down your gullet. Alyssa Mercante

The Boys

Years: 2019-present 

In a world where superheroes are ubiquitous, it takes a lot to stand out. So, thank goodness for The Boys, a brutally funny adaptation of Garth Ennis' bloody (and bloody brilliant) comic book series. From the opening episode's lightning-quick setup of a corporation filled with corrupt Supes, to the finale's topsy-turvy cliffhanger, nothing Marvel or DC has cooked up on television has had us gripped the way The Boys' cacophony of blood, chaos, and c-bombs does. Bradley Russell


Years: 2018-present   

While we might only have six hours of this police drama so far, the first season is well-written, carefully plotted, utterly riveting and entirely bingeable. Richard Madden's PTSD-suffering bodyguard David Budd is employed to watch over Keeley Hawes' high-flying politician. Their relationship quickly grows complicated, as does the plot, making for some of the most intense TV this decade. The Bodyguard is police procedural crossed with gripping thriller, and it's magnificent. Sam Loveridge


Years: 2011-2018   

If you're not familiar with the Portland, Oregan, then we implore you to watch Portlandia. After just one episode, you'll feel like you live there. The opening scene sees Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein move to Portland in search of environmentalism, garage bands, and feminist book strores. Part sketch comedy show, part love letter to Portland, the show reminds us that hipsters are hilarious to make fun of – and that hipsters mock hipsters better than anyone else. Alyssa Mercante


Years: 2017-2019

Ever wanted to know where the phrase 'Serial Killer' came from? Well then, Mindhunter is the Netflix series you need to binge this instant. Based on the true story of the formation of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, this Nietzschean show slowly creeps under your skin – just like the murderers who are interviewed throughout the show. Mindhunter also looks phenomenal, which is to be expected when directors David Fincher and Andrew Dominik are helming episodes. Ben Tyrer


Years: 2009-present 

While Archer was once merely a James Bond spoof with a few funny catchphrases, the series has slowly evolved into something more. The weekly antics of the fictional International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), later renamed for obvious reasons, delve into the eponymous spy's subconscious. And while spy genre cliches and work-place jokes are fun, showrunner Adam Reed's desire to keep changing the series means that things have yet to feel stale. With 10 seasons having already aired, that's quite some feat. Jack Shepherd

Downton Abbey

Years: 2010-2015 

The secrets of the landed gentry have us choking on our tea time crumpets and, more than once, sobbing into our lace handkerchiefs. Mixing the glamour of high society and the reality of life below stairs, Downton Abbey tackles murder, rape, war and class in a changing Britain. The show's also not scared to massacre the odd fan favourite in the name of drama, but still manages to be the most comforting thing since chamomile tea. Rachel Weber

When They See Us

Years: 2019 

Ava DuVernay's dramatisation of the Central Park Five is important television; a miniseries showcasing the injustice of the American justice system. When They See Us depicts the impact a false charge of rape against five innocent youths has on their lives. They all suffer through jail time, shown in its raw realness, making for a challenging and enlightening viewing. Few other shows this decade can make such claims. Jack Shepherd

The Killing (Forbrydelsen)

Years: 2007-2012

One murder victim; one convoluted murder mystery; and one police investigator in the midst of it all. Sarah Lund may not be your traditional heroine, but she's refreshingly complicated and ultimately drives both the series and the investigation forward. The show's sheer narrative ambition is unparalleled, and provides one of the most compelling crime dramas in TV history. No wonder, then, that it was remade for American audiences. Sam Loveridge 

The Virtues

Years: 2019

From This Is England duo Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne, The Virtues stars Stephen Graham as a recovering alcoholic forced to deal with a horrific incident after reuniting with his long-lost sister. From Meadows' artful direction through to Thorne's naturalistic script, this is British television at its best. However, the result wouldn't be half as successful without the stellar cast – Graham, Helen Behan and Niamh Alger all deliver acting masterclasses, their improvisational style eliciting laughter as freely as the tears. Jacob Stolworthy

Peaky Blinders

Years: 2013-2022

The world loves an anti-hero, and Cillian Murphy's Tommy Shelby's one of Britain's best. The leader of the ambitious Birmingham-based Shelby gang, Tommy exploits the vulnerability of his city following the First World War. Of course, he's not altogether himself, suffering from PTSD. As the series progresses, Tommy grows more and more confident, culminating in him becoming a Member of Parliament. Along the way, a host of brilliant actors put in memorable performances, including Tom Hardy, Sam Neill, and Adrien Brody.  Jack Shepherd


Years: 2019 

The dust has barely settled on Watchmen, yet the world's still shaking from it. A series about masked vigilantes and the historic mistreatment of African Americans could have felt heavy handed, yet Regina King's incredible performance as Angela Abar anchors events perfectly. One scene will see her donning her superhero persona Sister Night; the next, Jeremy Irons will be waltzing around an English manor house. The result is an exquisite show that's not only an essential sequel to Alan Moore's graphic novel, but one that enhances the source material. Jack Shepherd

Fresh Meat

Years: 2011-2016

British teenagers have always struggled to be truly represented on TV – Skins was a laugh, but it failed to feel real. Fresh Meat, from Peep Show creators Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, captures the awkwardness of university life without romanticising it. Annoying housemates, creepy lecturers, and rich people playing "common people" are accurately represented, but underneath all that lies real heart. The exploration of trauma through Vod's (Zawe Ashton) relationship with her mother is gut-wrenchingly realistic, and the friendships of the housemates give the show an authentic tenderness. Marianne Eloise

(Channel 4)
Jane the Virgin

Years: 2014–2019

 Jane the Virgin is a smart celebration of the telenovelas that have come before it. That it is able to embrace erratically escalating tensions, and increasingly ridiculous situations with such deftness only speaks to its overall quality. With Gina Rodriguez as its lead, Jane the Virgin is full of heart and humour, forever striving to outline drama and pull far enough back to laugh at itself. After five seasons of easily consumable entertainment, Jane the Virgin will turn even the most cynical among us into the stanchest telenovela apologists. Josh West

(The CW)
True Blood

Years: 2008-2014

True Blood ran for eight wild seasons and, while the HBO fantasy horror went off the boil on occasion, the series always managed to keep its tongue firmly in cheek. Following Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress living in a world where vampires walk alongside humans thanks to the invention of a synthetic blood product, True Blood never strives to be high-brow entertainment, and that works to its advantage. Check your brain at the door and get caught up in the twist-filled events involving vampires, werewolves and maenads. Jacob Stolworthy


Years: 2010-2017

It's not easy to redefine a character, especially one with a history as rich and storied as Sherlock Holmes. Yet, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat accomplish just that in the outrageously confident first beats of Sherlock's opening case, "A Study in Pink". From there on, Benedict Cumberbatch's master detective is Sherlock, the arrogant, egotistical know-it-all with a knack for solving all things criminal. The choice to opt for 90-minute episodes is similarly brazen but brilliant, and Sherlock eventually reaches its crescendo with the introduction of Andrew Scott's poisonous Moriarty – a villain for the ages. Bradley Russell


Years: 2016-present

J.J. Abrams' return to television was eagerly anticipated back in 2016. While the Star Wars director may only act as executive producer, Westworld contains many of his hallmarks, namely having many (many) mysteries. Showrunners Jonathon Nolan and Lisa Joy do a perfect job of making us question everything that happens in their robot-filled holiday resort called Westworld. Are all the humans actually human? Or are they robots? What are their real intentions? No wonder, then, that Westworld is an excellent water cooler conversation topic. Jack Shepherd


Years: 2014-2022

When Donald Trump tweets that a critically acclaimed show adored by the Obamas is "racism at the highest level," then you know it's going to be good. Black-ish follows the wealthy executive Andre "Dre" Johnson, whose family squabble as any sitcom family squabbles. However, rather than ignore the colour of the characters' skin, the writers put race at the centre of their stories. There's no pussyfooting around issues to make people feel comfortable: this is urgent television tackles serious topics head-on. Jack Shepherd

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Years: 2017-present 

Amazon hasn't had quite the success rate of Netflix when it comes to original series. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, though, marks a new high for Amazon. The series follows the eponymous Jewish housewife, who soon discovers that she has a knack for stand-up comedy. Unfortunately, though, "Midge" is living through the '50s, and rampant systematic sexism attempts to hold her back. Yet, this is a feel-good story about overcoming hardship, and Rachel Brosnahan's glee as Mrs. Maisel makes each episode glide along. Jack Shepherd

The Good Wife

Years: 2009-2016

There's a reason The Good Wife has five Emmys and Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement. Julianna Margulies is stunning as Alicia Florrick, whose husband Peter gets thrown into jail following a sex scandal. Ground in real-world details, The Good Wife  enthralls as it shows Alicia gradually becomes the person she detests, her husband, after running for office yet being caught in her own political scandal. Like the great dramas that came before, namely The Sopranos, despite the world changing around the main character, they never truly change. Jack Shepherd

American Horror Story

Years: 2011-present 

Often ambitious to a fault, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's brainchild American Horror Story doesn't always hit the mark. Over nine seasons exploring (and exaggerating) the horrors of everything from haunted houses to asylums to covens to freak shows to cults, the anthology series has always succeeded at one thing: being as campy and terrifying as possible. Even when it fails, it's always fun. Plus, it gave us Lady Gaga in Hotel as an eyebrow-bleached vampire, which is more than enough to help land American Horror Story on this list. Marianne Eloise

The Walking Dead

Years: 2010-present

The Walking Dead may have shambled on in recent years, yet it's hard to downplay the seismic shock felt when the series debuted on screens. Before 2010, genre series were mostly seen as niche efforts. Post-Walking Dead, all sorts of weird and wonderful efforts were welcomed with open arms as "serious" television – and it's all thanks to the AMC series' brilliant ensemble, rich gore, and continuous look at how humanity (mostly) prevails over evil. Bradley Russell


Years: 2018-2021

"Groundbreaking" is a word often thrown about to describe a television show's format, or an especially stellar performance, or even its cinematography. Yet it's rarely used to describe a show that's mere existence is culturally transgressive. Pose takes place in '80s Manhattan and sees members of the gay, black, Hispanic, and transgender community dance, strut, and pose. These balls are raucous, vibrant, and celebrate a group that were – at the time – living through the AIDS crisis. Pose perfectly captures that energy and its underlying sorrow. Alyssa Mercante

Happy Valley

Years: 2014-present 

Less of a murder mystery and more of a morality play wrapped up in an absorbing thriller, Happy Valley sees writer Sally Wainwright bring the complexities of being a middle-aged, female police officer in the north of England to the fore. The show carefully creates the puzzles and puts together all of its pieces in a way that keeps you hooked across its short episode runs, crafting one of the best female characters TV has to offer – Sarah Lancashire's Catherine Cawood. Sam Loveridge 

Schitt's Creek

Years: 2015-2020

After being defrauded by their business manager, the snooty Rose family lose their fortune and land – everything save for Schitt's Creek, the town Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) bought as a gag gift for his son, David (Dan Levy). Taking what's left with them, they move into the town's seedy motel. And while this could have led to a show about a bitter group of people behaving badly, Schitt's Creek is the opposite: the Roses adapt to their new lives in a manner that is disarmingly sweet and unabashedly wholesome, with threads of absurdity generously woven throughout. Alyssa Mercante

The Bridge

Years: 2011-2018

At this Scandinavian-noir's heart is a murder mystery that unites Swedish detective Saga Norén with her Danish counterparts. Sofia Helin's performance as the straight-talking Norén, is reason enough to watch The Bridge. Her indelible interactions with Kim Bodnia the first two seasons, and then Thure Lindthardt in the final two, are brilliant. For a time, The Bridge seemed to live in the shadow of The Killing, but has been lately reappraised as superior. It's plain to see why. Jacob Stolworthy

Peep Show

Years: 2003-2015

Peep Show started seven years before this decade began, but its impact on TV in the 2010s is immeasurable. Filmed from an often-dizzying first person perspective, Peep Show looks at the (miserable) lives of Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb). The pair live together and often clash: Mark is posh, uptight and into history, while Jeremy loves sex, drugs and being immature. Highlighting difficult truths about the way British people live and communicate with one another, Peep Show is a disturbingly bleak (but realistic) portrayal of two men just trying to get by. Marianne Eloise

Making a Murderer

Years: 2015-2018

Making a Murderer landed on Netflix seemingly out of nowhere in December 2015 and, in the following weeks, the dubious case of Steven Avery was all anyone could talk about. The twist-filled narrative managed to turn everyone with internet access into an armchair detective, scrawling forums for more information on the case. The second season may have suffered from lack of material to really delve into. However, there's no denying the huge impact Making a Murderer has had – not just on television, but the real-world case of Avery and his cousin, Brendan Dassey. Jack Shepherd

Tuca and Bertie

Years: 2019

Few shows have explored our very human anxieties as well as the animated comedy Tuca and Bertie. Now, that probably seems like an odd statement, seeing as the show centres on two birds voiced by comedians Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong. Yet, showrunner Lisa Hanawalt masterfully showcases the plights of 20- and 30-somethings in modern America with excellent, laugh-out-loud prowess. That Netflix has not renewed Tuca and Bertie for a second season is a travesty. Jack Shepherd

RuPaul's Drag Race

Years: 2009-present

RuPaul's Drag Race is what Project Runway could have been if that show had spent an entire season lip-syncing Ariana Grande songs with a 13-inch ponytail pinned to its head. Up-and-coming drag queens face off in weekly competitions that challenge their fashion design, make-up, dancing, and acting skills, and the results are meme-worthy. Drag Race's highly specific model of success is thanks to the cultural niche it occupies, requiring an advanced knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community and its legacy. If you don't get it, go do your homework. And that, sis, is the tea. Alyssa Mercante


Years: 2012-2017

Infamously sold by a 23-year-old Lena Dunham based on an "informal" and "pretentious" pitch, Girls was immediately controversial. The first TV series about so-called "millennial" women, Girls is a funny and, at times, infuriating look at the lives of four barely-friends: Hannah (Dunham), Jessa (Jemima Kirke), Marnie (Allison Williams) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet). Dunham's depiction of a "struggling" New York writer has been divisive, but over its six seasons, the show proves itself to be generation-defining. Of course, giving us Adam Driver is also a big plus. Marianne Eloise

30 Rock

Years: 2006-2013

A satirical sitcom that skewered Tina Fey's experiences writing Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock's surreal depiction of life working on a live sketch show is timeless. Further obscuring the mysterious things that go on behind 30 Rock's doors through layers of absurdity, the real joy of watching the show doesn't come from Fey herself, but from her costars. With Alec Baldwin as Jack, her Republican boss, and Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski as her sketch show stars Jenna and Tracy, 30 Rock is relentlessly hilarious. Mariane Eloise


Years: 2013-2014 

"Where is Jessica Hyde?" Those four words propel this engrossingly stylish thriller, where a group of online conspiracy theorists that are obsessed with a graphic novel – called The Utopia Experiments – are suddenly being hunted down by hitmen. While the story is enjoyably pulpy, it's the show's distinct visual style that leaves a lasting impression. Full of saturated colours and imposing wide shots, nothing on British TV has looks as striking as Utopia. Ben Tyrer 

(Channel 4)
American Crime Story

Years: 2016-present

There's a reason Ryan Murphy has been paid a rumoured $500 million to produce shows for Netflix. The executive producer continued his winning spree in 2016 with American Crime Story, which translates the DNA of American Horror Story onto real-world scandals. The first season concerns The People V. O. J. Simpson. Presented in a hyper-stylized fashion, the story is absolutely riveting, helped along by great performances by Sterling K. Brown, Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson and a surprisingly re-energised John Travolta. The Assassination of Gianni Versace is, likewise, a compelling and thrilling watch. Jack Shepherd

Russian Doll

Years: 2019-present

One of the best things to happen to the TV of the 2010s is the second coming of Natasha Lyonne. Along with Orange is the New Black, Russian Doll has cemented her hair and voice as two of the most iconic motifs of the decade. Russian Doll, a Groundhog Day-style comedy about a woman named Nadia (Lyonne) who repeatedly dies and relives the same night over and over again, is hilarious. It also introduces complex time travel concepts and delicately examines and re-treads Nadia's trauma, asking important questions about unbreakable cycles. Marianne Eloise

Line of Duty

Years: 2012-2021

Following a group of detectives investigating possible corruption within the police force, Line of Duty focuses on a different potentially rogue officer each season. As a result, BBC dramas don't come more gripping than this. So successful is the crime procedural that it quickly became one of Britain's most-watched TV series. The secret to the show's success is undoubtedly in its casting. Keeley Hawes, Thandie Newton and Stephen Graham clearly relish the chance to play investigated coppers, each one thriving as we ask, "Are they or aren't they?" Jacob Stolworthy

Friday Night Lights

Years: 2006-2011 

Inspired by both HG Bissinger's non-fiction book and 2004 film of the same name, Friday Night Lights follows a high school football team and the surrounding close-knit community of Dillon. On paper, this seems like a series for either NFL fans or teenagers yearning for a Dawson's Creek-style show. In reality, though, Peter Berg's series is so much more – a heartfelt drama about the struggles of the Taylor family. It's also a coming-of-age tale focused on a group of teenagers, played by now-huge stars Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons, and Michael B. Jordan. Jacob Stolworthy

The Great British Bake Off

Years: 2010-present

Quaint British TV shows can be an absolute bore. Yet, somehow, Bake Off never errs into being tedious. Even after a channel switch – the infamous sale that led to Mary, Mel, and Sue leaving the show – Bake Off remained as wonderfully fun and innuendo-filled as before. What really helps is the producers knack for choosing the right contestants. There hasn't been a single season where any of them are anything less than downright charming. Truly wholesome telly. Jack Shepherd

The Haunting of Hill House

Years: 2018 

Mike Flanagan's modern day reimagining of Shirley Jackson's horror novel follows siblings whose childhood experiences in a notorious haunted house reunites them in tragic ways as adults. Keeping the scares coming in a 90-minute feature-film is hard enough but, with Flanagan steering proceedings, The Haunting of Hill House manages to remain frightening through 10 hour-long episodes. Because of this, the Netflix series might not just be one of  the decade's best TV shows, but one of horror's greatest offerings full stop. Jacob Stolworthy

Queer Eye

Years: 2018-present

We all need the Fab Five in our lives. Watching this entourage of gay men go from home to home trying to make other humans feel good about themselves is some of the most life-affirming TV ever produced. The Queer Eye reboot is earnest, endearing, and tear-inducing, managing to highlight the complexities of life and identity without ever losing its charm, style, and ability to consistently challenge social norms. The Fab Five are taking over the world, and we should all be grateful for that. Sam Loveridge


Years: 2014-present

When Fargo – based on the beloved Coen brothers film – was first announced, nobody could have imagined the series would become one of the most entertaining shows this decade. Yet here we are. Fargo tells the loosely interconnected story of the citizens of Minnesota as they get caught up in life-threatening events beyond their control. Focusing on a different time period and new characters, the show's format stays fresh. Just like the film, each season is a slow-paced build-up to one hell of an explosive finale. Jacob Stolworthy 

Nathan for You

Years: 2013-2017

The elevator pitch for Nathan For You only reveals half of the story: it follows comedian Nathan Fielder playing a fictional version of himself who aims to help struggling businesses with often ridiculous ideas. The first episode sees him recommending that an ice cream store release a poop flavour, and his schemes only get more elaborate from there. Nathan is desperate to form friendships and other intimacies, often cooking up complex schemes to find love. Unexpectedly heartwarming and utterly ambitious, Nathan For You is essential. Mariane Eloise

(Comedy Central)
Inside No 9

Years: 2014-present

Each episode of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's show are self-contained, twist-filled stories set within buildings that have one thing in common: the number nine. With the US yet to wake up to the writing duo's talents, it's been UK television audience's pleasure to witness the effortless way in the two can switch genres with each episode. You never know what you're going to get, but you can always be certain you'll be blindsided by its numerous rug-pulls. Jacob Stolworthy 

Adventure Time

Years: 2010–2018 

Adventure Time changed animation. Not the way that it was made, necessarily, but in the way that it has been consumed. Adventure Time occupies the no man's land between entertainment made for children and adults; delighting the former with its whimsy and colour, hooking in the latter with a surprisingly robust rumination on love and loss at the end of the world. Adventure Time is a truly remarkable show – beloved because of its character, and immortalized by its writing. Josh West

(Cartoon Network)

Years: 2012-2019

Award-winning political satire Veep, the US's answer to The Thick of It, often feels pretty on the nose. Still, despite the déjà vu of some of the storylines, it's worth a watch. It didn't win all of those awards (17 Emmys, among many others) for nothing. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won six consecutive Emmys alone for her performance, is hilarious as vice president Selina Meyer. Special mention also goes to her loyal aide Gary, played by Tony Hale (Arrested Development). Marianne Eloise 

Rick and Morty

Years: 2013-present

While Rick and Morty fans may have given the show a bad reputation, there's no denying its quality. Filled with meta-commentary, Back to the Future-spoofs, and general sci-fi shenanigans, the adventures of the Sanchez clan are always a joy to behold. Later seasons play with continuity in a way that feels fresh and exciting, with the multiverse making for interesting possibilities that creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland masterfully play with. Jack Shepherd

(Adult Swim)
The Americans

Years: 2013-2018

The Americans premise is simple enough: the seemingly happily married couple Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, living in Washington DC, are actually undercover Russian agents its initial pull, but, before long, the intoxicating performances from lead stars (and real-life married couple) Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys elevates the series into something else altogether: a drama about honour, isolation and belonging in an ever-changing world. The Americans handles its tensions adeptly, right from its blistering opener through to the gripping finale. Jacob Stolworthy 

The Handmaid's Tale

Years: 2017-present

Both The Handmaid's Tale, the TV show, and our real-life version of Margaret Attwood's misogynistic dystopia are ongoing. Based on the 1985 book of the same name and starring Elisabeth Moss as handmaid June, the show imagines a future in which a theocracy has an iron grip on society and women's bodies. The Handmaid's Tale is a harrowing and prescient look at what happens when religion is allowed to dictate the laws of a country, and its imagery is so eerily iconic that it's found its way into real political protests. Marianne Eloise 

Big Little Lies

Years: 2017-2019

Following the lives of wealthy women and their problems in Monterey, California, the first season of Big Little Lies was a beautifully shot whodunnit that unravelled the mystery of the death of one woman, Celeste's (Nicole Kidman). With an addition of Meryl Streep to the all-star cast that also includes Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz, the second season fared less well critically than the first. Still, Big Little Lies carefully examines complicated issues around trama, domestic violence and family that reminds you that even rich people have problems. Marianne Eloise 

This Is England '86, '88, '90

Years: 2010-2015

Set three years after Shane Meadows' hit film, This is England follows the same cast, albeit dressed to fit into newer subcultures. The TV show sees the characters trying to get on with adult life – Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Lol (Vicky McClure) are still together, navigating ups and downs throughout the three seasons. Like the film, the series is hilarious, often bleak, and extremely dark. The first, '86, infamously featured graphic and intense explorations of family trauma, provoking a strong reaction from the audience, but making the series instantly memorable. Marianne Eloise


Years: 2010-2015

Justified might be the best show you've (probably) never seen. Transposing the Leonard Elmore created character Raylan Givens onto television works wonders, and the opening pilot is electric. Timothy Olyphant plays the gunslinger with perfect swagger, and the motley crew of cops and criminals from Harlan County who join him are as colourful as any found on The Sopranos or The Wire. A rocky first season aside, Justified transforms into an intricately-poised cat-and-mouse story between Givens and Walton Goggins' anti-hero Boyd Crowder. Bradley Russell

Blue Planet 2 / Planet Earth 2

Years: 2001-2017

The gentle rumbling of David Attenborough's narration is the sound of nature's wonder. The mix of information, spectacle, sex, and death makes these BBC wildlife documentaries the gold standard for non-fiction TV. From blue whales to polar bears to chimpanzees to the smallest insects, every episode reveals some new part of the animal kingdom. Blue Planet and Planet Earth also chronicle humanity's detrimental effect on the world we inhabit, showing the results of hunting, climate change and deforestation without ever patronizing the viewer. Truly terrifying stuff. Rachel Weber

True Detective

Years: 2014-2019

True Detective's placement on this list is squarely down to its first and third seasons, both of which present a macabre mystery and engrossing characters (though season two isn't half as bad as some critis make out). Rather than being a standard crime show, Nic Pizzalatto's series often veers into the complex, giving True Detective an existential edge over other series of the same genre. Matthew McConaughey (season one) and Mahershala Ali (season three) both give magnetic performances. Jacob Stolworthy 

The Good Place

Years: 2016-2020

The Good Place is the lowest-placing of Michael Shur's creations on this list. Let that sink in. One man has three entries in our top 20 TV shows of the decade. There's something about his everyman humour that just clicks. While The Good Place comes third, that's no daming statement on its quality. Kristen Bell excels as the dead selfish saleswoman Eleanor Shellstrop, who finds herself in a version of heaven. Of course, not all is as it seems, and the first season's finale marks arguably the best twist of the decade, completely upending the show's premise. Jack Shepherd

Stranger Things

Years: 2016-present 

Netflix's love letter to the '80s takes a cast of loveable, geeky kids and pits them against increasingly horrific creatures that threaten to take more than their school summer break. Harrowing horror with hints of Stephen King and Spielberg underpins themes of love and friendship, against the neon backdrop. It makes for a series that can range from heartwarming to heartbreaking in a single episode, but never fails to lose sight of the friends at its core. Sam Loveridge

Killing Eve

Years: 2018-2022

Strange, brilliantly dark, and twisted in so many ways, Killing Eve takes the traditional cat and mouse template and turns it on its head. Placing two women in the lead roles, the show explores the challenges of working within a male-dominated industry. Sandra Oh plays the spy Eve, while Jodie Comer portrays a magnetic, sociopathic serial killer that Eve's utterly fascinated by. We get to watch their slow-motion entanglement evolve, with chilling, dramatic, and strangely romantic outbursts. No wonder, then, that Phoebe Waller-Bridge became the second ever woman to contribute to the script of a James Bond movie. Sam Loveridge

Boardwalk Empire

Years: 2010-2014

As stylish as Mad Men, as ruthlessly violent as The Sopranos, and as richly-drenched in history as Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire doesn't get nearly enough credit. The series never fails to make the most of its bullet-ridden Prohibition backdrop, with iconic figures flitting in and out of the cesspit that is Atlantic City. It's all tied together by an anchoring performance from Steve Buscemi as the weaselly Nucky Thompson. The final season may stutter in places, but this deserves to stand alongside the boxsets your co-workers, friends, and family won't stop begging you to watch. Bradley Russell

Better Call Saul

Years: 2015-2022

Breaking Bad may be numero uno in most people's minds, but this prequel charting Jimmy's rise from the mail-room at his brother's big-shot law firm to Saul Goodman, shady lawyer extraordinaire, is a worthy second place. Like the long-running schemes of Slippin' Jimmy, series creator Vince Gilligan tricks us all: Better Call Saul was never truly about the origins of Saul Goodman. Instead, it's a beautifully-measured, always-tense story about the people who love Jimmy, and how far he has to go to drive them away. Bradley Russell

Twin Peaks: The Return

Years: 2017

 In a decade of revivals and reboots, Twin Peaks seems the most unlikely comeback of the 2010s. A continuation of David Lynch's early '90s series, Twin Peaks: The Return is set 25 years after the original, with much of the original cast returning. Released week by week in the form of 18 separate hour-long episodes, it defied modern streaming behaviours and encouraged audiences to engage in a mystery unfolding. Following multiple complex storylines and dealing with the mystery of Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) doppelgänger, it's a worthy, if heavy, contribution. Marianne Eloise


Years: 2019

Chernobyl's not an easy watch, and it's certainly not a series designed to be binged in a day. Craig Mazin dramatisation of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster will stick with you for a long, long time. In many ways, it's the most essential story of the decade: one of truth and power being held to account. The retelling of the most dramatic near-miss of the 20th Century is filled with moments that will make your skin itch and keep you up at night. Charred bodies, dead dogs, and litres of sick all feature. Persevere throughout the five episodes, however, and you'll be rewarded with a powerful, life-affirming message of hope against all the odds. Bradley Russell


Years: 2018-present 

Peep Show creator Jesse Armstrong graduates to prestige US television with Succession. Centring on the Roys, a family known for controlling the biggest media and entertainment company in the world, the show offers a masterclass in writing. The cast – including Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Matthew MacFadyen – all ensure no razor-sharp barb is left dangling. The two seasons that have aired to date prove this is a series here for the long-run. Jacob Stolworthy

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Years: 2005-present

It's hard to make a show about five disgusting people watchable. Somehow, the gang behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia have managed to keep that premise going for 14 seasons. How? Because they make sure we're laughing at these characters, not with them. Every ridiculous plan they come up with ends in disaster, and we're there to witness it all going wrong. The highlight, of course, is Danny DeVito, whose having an absolute blast as the detestful Frank Reynolds. What's not to love about seeing an Emmy winning actor oil themselves up to hide in a couch? Jack Shepherd


Years: 2016-present

Donald Glover's the king of cool: we know this to be true. Yet, before 2016, there was some debate around that fact. The actor was better known for being the dorky guy from Community who wanted to be a rapper. Then Atlanta dropped, and like an online explosion, the world suddenly realised Glover's greatness. The show captures the essence of the Atlanta rap scene, mixing the hardship of everyday life with David Lynchien dream-like scenarios. An invisible car driving into people outside a club? Only on Atlanta. Jack Shepherd


Years: 2015-2019

The delectably potty-mouthed Catastrophe is a selection box of sitcom delights: it's hilarious, intensely moving, and entirely relatable. Leading actors (and the show's writers) Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney play two people whose lives become linked after a one-night stand results in a very unexpected pregnancy. As they barge their way through life, you can see just why Catastrophe has won the hearts of so many British viewers. Also worth watching for Carrie Fisher, who plays Rob's eccentric mother and proves why she is considered one of the greats. Jacob Stolworthy

(Channel 4)
Black Mirror

Years: 2011-2019

A spin on the Twilight Zone's anthology format, Black Mirror takes the technology of tomorrow and turns our obsession with devices into a living hell. The moral quandaries we will one day face are presented in nightmarish fashion, yet the most worrisome parables centre of tech that's already readily available. Look to the first season's premiere, "The National Anthem". There's nothing futuristic in there, just a British Prime Minister having sex with a pig. Because that's never going to happen… Jack Shepherd

The Leftovers

Years: 2014-2017

Similar to The Wire, The Leftovers never won an Emmy. Also like The Wire, The Leftovers has gone on to become one of the most critically acclaimed series of all time. The premise is simple: 2% of the world's population disappears one day. Yet, the show never explains why. Showrunner Damon Lindelof instead chooses to focus on the effects that calamity has on the people left behind. Justin Theroux's phenomenal as a former chief of police, yet it's Carrie Coon who steals every scene as Nora, a woman whose entire family vanished. Heartbreaking, somber, and hugely moving: a must-watch. Jack Shepherd

Mad Men

Years: 2007-2015

Mad Men shouldn't have worked. In a world filled with TV shows featuring shootouts, backstabs and betrayals, the story of a soldier-turned-ad-executive in the '60s seems quaint and, if you'll pardon the pun, old fashioned. Those who stuck with the slow burn story witnessed a poignant end to Don Draper's story, as well as one of the finest episodes to ever grace our screens in "The Suitcase," a tender, play-like dialogue on work, loneliness, and being comfortable in one's own skin. Bradley Russell

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Years: 2013-2021

When Brooklyn Nine-Nine was cancelled after five seasons, fans went into an uproar – until the show was swiftly picked up by NBC, where it continues to this day. Still, that outrage is testament to just how much people love the show. Ostensibly a single-camera Andy Samberg-starring sitcom about cops working in a New York precinct, B99 has gone on to explore complicated topics like sexuality and family. Just last year, bisexual actress Stephanie Beatriz came out as bi on the show in a win for onscreen representation. Marianne Eloise


Years: 2013 - 2015 

Mads Mikkelsen somehow makes cannibalism erotic as the eponymous Hannibal in a show that features brilliant scripts and a beautiful art-house visual style. As the seasons progress, Hannibal – both the character and show – grows more daring, ambitious, and dark. Although short lived, it embraces its position at the fringe in ways few shows can. At the heart of the series' story is the complicated relationship between Hannibal and FBI consultant Will Graham, the pair toying with our emotions from start to finish. Sam Loveridge

Bojack Horseman

Years: 2014-2020

Or, as it's fondly known, the heartbreaking animated horse show. What started as a comedy quietly spoofing Hollywood and its eccentricities quickly changed into a dive through the psyche of an anxiety-riddled alcoholic horse. Few shows have been as emotionally devastating, and even fewer have featured tongue twisters as contorting as those uttered by Princess Carolyn. The stand-out, though, is Aaron Paul's hijinxing Todd Chavez, whose antics have often been the humourous antidote to the show's often melancholy throughline. Jack Shepherd

Parks and Recreation

Years: 2009-2015

How do you accurately measure the impact of an iconic show? For Parks and Recreation – the Amy Poehler-starring mockumentary series about a fictional parks department – perhaps it's the ways it's leaked into our lexicon. "Treat yo'self" was first uttered by Aziz Ansari and Retta in an episode of the same name, but is now used by companies everywhere to sell you things you don't need. The show is also responsible for bringing stars like Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza into the spotlight, which we are forever thankful for. Marianne Eloise


Years: 2009-2015

 Before Dan Harmon wubba-lubba-dubb'd his way into internet folklore with Rick and Morty, the comedian created Community, a show filled with anarchic, playful jabs at all things pop culture. Nothing's off the table, with paintball fights becoming Western homages, an entire season being written off as a "gas leak" (after Harmon was fired before season 4), and the nerdy, meta Abed continuing to draw attention to the fact he's a character in a TV show. On the face of it, Community is a show about a group of misfits in college – but, as every Grendale Human Being knows, it's so much more. Bradley Russell


Years: 2016-2019

Based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge's one-woman stage show of the same name, Fleabag follows the traumas, family dramas, and sex life of its messy nameless heroine. While the first season was a success, the second, starring Andrew Scott as a boyish "sexy priest", saw the show go global – beloved in America and boosting the sales of jumpsuits and M&S gin and tonics. However, it's Waller-Bridge's no-holds-barred approach to difficult topics that has made her a household name. British TV had a great decade, and Fleab

Game of Thrones

Years: 2011-2019

Few shows have been as widely discussed as Game of Thrones. Forget the somewhat middling last season: what came before was astonishing, nail-biting television of the highest spectacle. The battles are overwhelming, with HBO digging deep into its pockets to fund ground-breaking episode after ground-breaking episode. What other show has had the guts to kill off its main hero in the first season? The conclusion may have baffled fans, but the journey was gripping. Jack Shepherd

Breaking Bad

 Years: 2008-13, 2019

The odyssey of Walter White gripped the world. At the beginning of the decade, the former chemistry teacher was separated from his wife and working with Gus Fring. Three years and numerous dastardly deeds later, the meth-maker was hiding in a New Hampshire cabin, ruminating over how his life came to this point. Watching White's downfall is mesmerising and wholly grounded by Bryan Cranston's startling performance. The rest of the cast – Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito to name a few – are likewise excellent, but Cranston excels. There has not been a better actor matched with character on television this decade, and there hasn't been a more enthralling show full-stop. Jack Shepherd


We celebrate the best movies released between 2010 and 2019