Top 10 TV Shows Of The 2010s
Updated: Jan 1, 2022
This year has been a year for rankings it seems.
Earlier this year I put together a list of what I believed were the top 50 TV shows of all time and considering how fun I found that, I thought it only appropriate to add to my trend of ranking moments from the decade by ranking my top 10 shows of the 2010s.
Turns out this list wasn’t that difficult, given all ten of these shows appeared on my top 50 TV shows list. But has there been a change in order? It’s time to find out.
On a quick note though before we do, it’s important to clarify that for a show to appear on this list it had to START in the 2010s. Shows that started prior to the 2010s but ran through this decade are ineligible for this ranking.
Okay, now it’s really time to find out. Let’s go.
10. The Following
Kevin Bacon in a TV show sells itself. What else is there to say? Admittedly the show was pretty darn good, and James Purefoy was also pretty good too. It basically saw Kevin Bacon chasing James Purefoy across three seasons. One was good, one was bad. That’s about it. It all made for some pretty awesome and compelling television, even if by the end it did drag out a bit. But hey, 95% of it was awesome and that’s enough for it to make this list.
As a massive Friends fan I will always have a soft spot for all the actors from the show, so when this little gem came about I was instantly hooked. Matt Le Blanc is incredible in playing himself, and the whole concept of the show is just hilarious. It was a bit stunted by having so many gaps across the seasons but still enjoyable for the entire run. The ending? Meh. It was meta. I get it. But it didn’t do enough to ruin what turned out to be a fantastic show.
8. American Horror Story
I think by now you all know I love me some Ryan Murphy, and I’m sure you’ll guess this isn’t the only entry by him on this list. But what is incredible from AHS is the fact that somehow I got hooked on a ‘horror’ show (not exactly my favourite genre) and the fact that every single season can be so uniquely different but so uniquely amazing. I’ll always stand by the fact that Lady Gaga showed her amazing acting chops in AHS which has clearly led to her going onto bigger and (Oscar nominated) better things, and for that it’s a credit to Ryan Murphy and AHS for taking a punt on her and giving that side of her to the world. Oh, and in general the show is still awesome. So that is notable too.
7. The Newsroom
Jeff Daniels will forever be Harry Dunne to me but watching him in The Newsroom gave me a new found appreciation to just how great of an actor he is. It was a shame that this show only lasted a couple of seasons as it was engaging, entertaining and addicting. Alan Sorkin is a legend when it comes to fast, witty dialogue and somehow making it extremely entertaining along the way. In a world of reboots, why hasn’t this been brought back already?
My love of 24 clearly drew me to Homeland and it’s one that has kept me hooked to it every season since. There have been a few off seasons along the way, and it really hasn’t been the same since Brody left, but Clare Danes is awesome enough to keep me coming back each season to see how it’ll all turn out. With only one more season to go it’ll be interesting to see how it all wraps up but I know for sure I’ll be watching every minute of it.
5. Better Call Saul
I was late to the Breaking Bad party but fell in love with it, so I made sure not to miss the RSVP when it came to Better Call Saul. Bob Odenkirk is one of the best actors going around right now and he was the perfect choice to give his own spin-off too. What makes Better Call Saul even greater than it already is comes from not having to have seen any of Breaking Bad to be able to get into it. It legitimately stands out as a genuinely great show. The fact that it just happens to be connected to Breaking Bad makes it even better.
4. Angry Boys
Love him or hate him, Chris Lilley is an Australian icon. His brain has come up with some gems of television characters and his extremely underrated Angry Boys is peak Lilley. With a bit of HBO funding he was able to create his most ambitious show yet and it showed. Some of his best characters came from Angry Boys and also some of his most heartbreaking and through provoking moments did too. His other efforts in the 2010s might not have been as great (but still good), but Angry Boys was fantastic enough for it to warrant a high spot on this list.
3. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
If I could be one man on television, it would be John Oliver. The guy is smart, funny, sarcastic and nice. All the qualities that I might think I have, but at least know that I want. And also the other quality? The fact that he has his own TV show, which would be kind of nice. The best thing about watching him on LWT outside of the hilarious content is that I actually get an education at the same time. I find myself learning about everything on every single episode and it’s a great mixture of education and comedy all at once. By far the best and funniest talk show of the decade.
2. House of Cards
Perhaps the greatest pairing all decade on television was Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The two were just perfect together on House of Cards and made the show compelling and addictive television. Separated? Sadly not so much, as is clearly evident by the final season. But ignoring everything that happened to make that season what it became, House of Cards brought to me some of the most shocking and binge-worthy television I had ever seen. I’m still not over THAT moment in season 2 at the train station. And I don’t think I ever will be. So great to watch, and one that has to be on my re-watch list very soon.
1. American Crime Story
Of course Ryan Murphy had to come out on top. American Crime Story was simply perfect television. Only two seasons may have aired and both were separate in their own right, but my lord were they great. Seeing the whole O.J Simpson drama play out was incredible, and this was backed up even more so by the Versace drama a season later. The fact that both seasons brought actors in that you perhaps weren’t expecting to be so good in different roles you were used to seeing only added to just how perfect this show was. And it seemingly is only going to get better with season 3 next year focusing on the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal in the 90s. Damn. Gets me excited just thinking about it. A clear choice to me for the greatest TV show of the 2010s.
Stay tuned tomorrow as I will bring you the top 10 movies of the decade to wrap up my decade rankings in style.