Opinion: The Best TV Shows of the 2010s

2019 is almost to an end. That means that the 2010s are coming to an end. As we look back, we can admit that there were some pretty awesome TV shows. That’s why I wanted to comprise this list. This list is completely-opinion based and the TV shows are only shows that began in the 2010s. So, I’m sorry, Mad Men and The Office won’t be on this list, though; they’re certainly some of the greatest shows ever made. Please make sure you let us know what your favorite TV shows are from the past ten years and if you spotted any that you love on this list!

Spoilers

Daredevil (2015 – 2018)

Even though 2018 marked the year that Daredevil was axed by Netflix, it also was the year that gave us one of the best seasons of any television series. When Daredevil first premiered in 2015, it sharpened up ground-level superhero storytelling. What the people behind Daredevil did was nothing short of brilliant. Charlie Cox was the best Matt Murdock we could ever ask for. Not only was the show a great Marvel show, but it was magnificent in how it executed each season. Even when the series dipped a little, its weakest episodes were stronger than most TV shows. I do truly hope the #SaveDaredevil movement stirs things up at Marvel, so that we could potentially see Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Royce Johnson, and Wilson Bethel again.

The Punisher (2017- 2019)

Not only was Daredevil was one television’s peak examples of fantastic writing, but it spawned off Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle. Introduced in the second season of Daredevil, Bernthal’s performance as the take-no-prisoners Punisher demanded a solo series. Which, is what Netflix gave him. The two seasons of The Punisher not only took a look at Frank Castle’s journey of revenge against the people who killed his wife and children, but the effects of war on different people. Frank Castle, the Marine who could contend with anything thrown at him, Billy Russo, corrupted by greed, and Curtis, a man who lost his leg in the war, but not his duty of helping people. The first season even explored the effects of PTSD on soldiers who have returned home. Speaking of Billy Russo, the story that The Punisher crafted between Frank and Billy – making them friends so that the betrayal stung even harder for Frank, was heartbreaking and damn good television. Not only was The Punisher raw and gritty, but sharp and packed a mean punch. The Punisher starred Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Jason R. Moore, Amber Rose Revah, Royce Johnson, and guest-starred Deborah Ann Woll.

iZombie (2015-2019)

iZombie — “Dead Lift” — Image Number: ZMB502a_0397b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Rose McIver as Liv and Malcolm Goodwin as Clive — Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

If you know me, you know that I will defend iZombie with every fiber of my being. This highly underrated show was loosely based on a comic of the same name. Rose McIver played Liv Moore, a young woman with a promising career in the medical field. That is until, one day; she goes to a boat party and gets turned into a zombie. This isn’t your regular zombie movie that follows more of a Walking Dead approach. Liv walks, talks, and works in a morgue, all while eating brains. By doing so, she helps solve crimes in Seattle. This show is more than just a zombie show though. Almost a procedural cop show, iZombie is self-aware, comments on modern-day society, and brings in a lot of laughter and tears. This endearing show deserved so much more attention when it was on air, but there’s always Netflix for you to catch up. iZombie starred McIver, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka, and Bryce Hodgson.

Halt and Catch Fire (2014 – 2017)

Halt and Catch Fire is one of those shows that people may have not heard of. Those who have watched it know that it is arguably one of the best shows of the decade. This AMC series makes almost every list that details the best shows in the past ten years. Starring Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishe, and Toby Huss, this series takes a look at the computer revolution in the 80s. It not only is amazing to see the technology that led us to modern-day computers, but Halt and Catch Fire is all about human relationships. The intensity of every character’s storyline, as well as the acting; puts this show far ahead of so many other series. I loved Halt and Catch Fire and wish I had learned about it far earlier than I had.

Altered Carbon (2018-Present)

Because it’s my list, I’m going to put Altered Carbon. One of the series to successfully execute cyberpunk, Altered Carbon is based on a book of the same name and starred Joel Kinnaman in the first season. Playing Takeshi Kovacs, the series takes place in the future. A dystopia where people can essentially live forever by changing “sleeves” or bodies as it is. Either you can change different sleeves, which is what we see Kovacs doing, or if you are rich enough, you can make clones of yourself to always have the same sleeve. This show is a commentary on gluttony and greed, as well as playing on the idea of mortality and morality. Kinnaman did a fantastic job as the main character in season one and I can’t wait to see Anthony Mackie in the role for season two.

Westworld (2016-Present)

Are you looking for a western that is like Inception? Look no further than Westworld. Westworld explores overindulgence and human’s raw desires for truly heinous acts. Westworld is a park on an island that offers high-paying guests the old West experience. The show takes place in a time of very advanced technology and no diseases. This has left humanity bored, so they enjoy visiting Westworld where they can screw and kill extremely life-like robots (hosts). The problem? The hosts are becoming self-aware and they are taking their existences into their own hands? While season two was not received as well as season one, I personally loved the direction it went in. Evan Rachel Wood and Thandi Newton lead an ensemble cast as two sharp, incredibly intelligent hosts who look to fight back against the oppression they’ve experienced for too long. Westworld is brought to us by Jonathan Nolan (yes, Christopher Nolan’s brother) and Lisa Joy and is also executive produced by J.J. Abrams. The cast includes Wood, Newtown, Jeffrey Wright, Sir Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Tessa Thompson, Ed Harris, Ben Barnes, Jimmi Simpson, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quarterman, Angela Sarafyan, and guest-starred Gustaf Skarsgard in season two. Season three will come in 2020.

Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

Despite the way it ended, Game of Thrones is a huge part of pop culture. Having been on air for most of the past decade, it is a fantasy series that drew in people from all demographics to sit down every week and watch the latest episode. Each season worked towards one final story and while not everyone was happy with the conclusion of the series, no fan can deny that this wasn’t one of the greatest viewing experiences in television history. With season eight having been the last, it feels like there is a hole in our hearts. The good thing is that George R.R. Martin is still continuing with his book series and there is a prequel series based on House Targaryen still in the works. The ensemble cast had more people than I can name, but included Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen, Rory McCann, Liam Cunningham, John Bradley, Peter Dinklage, Gwendoline Christie, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kristofer Hivju, Jacob Anderson, and so many more.

Narcos (2015 – Present)

The story of Pablo Escobar has been told over and over again. Though, not nearly as well as it was in Netflix’s Narcos. Premiering in 2015, Narcos starred Wagner Moura as the infamous drug kingpin. Not only was Moura’s performance stellar, but so were Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal’s, who played real-life DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Pena. The show took a lot of real-life footage and events as the inspiration for the show, the series takes a grim look at the world of drugs. There is no glamorization here, the series shows you the carnage behind Escobar and the real-life narcos. Season three explored the Cali Cartel of Columbia and while not the best season, the series did spawn off a spin-off show. Narcos: Mexico takes us out of Columbia and explores the Guadalajara Cartel. Season one centered around Diego Luna’s Felix Gallardo and Michael Pena’s Kiki. If you remember season one of the parents series Narcos, things don’t end well for Kiki. Season two of Narcos: Mexico will see Luna return and Scoot McNairy, who served as the narrator of the first season of Mexico, will also be a main character in season two.

Peaky Blinders (2013 – Present)

By order of the Peaky Blinders, you should be watching this stellar series. Starring Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby, the show explores the gangs of England in the early 1900s after World War I. This drama delivers amazing storytelling every season and often leaves you shocked by the events of each episode. There is no one better at portraying Tommy than Murphy, who really deserves all of the awards for this part. Joining him is Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Joe Cole, Finn Cole, Sophie Rundle, and Tom Hardy. Sam Neill played a great villain in the first two seasons and Adrien Brody was amazing as the main bad guy in season four.

American Gods (2017 – Present)

I love American Gods. This strange show is something you should be watching and considering there are only two seasons, eight episodes each; you can catch up. Based on author Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, the show explores Ricky Whittle’s Shadow Moon as he is released from prison. Not only does he find out that his wife was killed in a car accident, but finds himself mixed up in a world where gods of all faiths exist. Not only that, but these gods – led by Ian McShane’s Mr. Wednesday aka Odin – are looking to wage war with the New Gods for relevance. Whittle is the main character, but this show has honestly too many amazing actors to count. Whittle and McShane are joined by Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, Yetide Bakadi, Orlando Jones, Crispin Glover, Bruce Langley, Mousa Kraish, Omid Abtahi, and Demore Barnes. Season three hasn’t come out yet, but it’s bringing in a lot of star-power with the likes of Marilyn Manson, Danny Trejo, Blythe Danner, and so many more.

True Detective (2014 – Present)

Admittedly, I’ve only seen the third season of this anthological series, but that was enough to make me want to put it on this list. Each season touches upon a different storyline with a different set of characters. The Oscar-winning  Mahershala Ali plays the lead character over three different time periods and need I say more? While season two wasn’t considered the best, both season one and season three received praise from critics, with season one winning numerous awards. Season three also starred Stephen Dorff, Carmen Ejogo, and Scoot McNairy.

Mindhunter (2017-Present)

Mindhunter comes from David Fincher, so you know it has to be good. Focused around the beginning days of the FBI’s quest in trying to find out what made serial killers tick, this addictive show really dives into the twisted world of the worst killers imaginable. Not only does the show do an excellent job in portraying these real-life offenders, but each main character has different traits to bring to the table. Mindhunter stars Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv as the essentially founding members of the Behavioral Science Unit (BSA). Do you like Criminal Minds and the BAU? Well, Mindhunter explores the real-life division that that show draws inspiration from. One of the best aspects of the series is Groff’s character’s interaction with Cameron Britton’s insanely good portrayal of Ed Kemper.

Revenge (2011-2015)

This is another underrated series that I loved. Revenge was a show that my mom and I obsessed over for the four seasons that it ran. Starring Emily VanCamp, this soap-opera-like drama was too addicted to turn off. The plot involved scandal and murder and one woman’s (VanCamp) mission to do whatever she could to take down those responsible for her father’s death. That meant making friends with the enemy, taking advantage of people, and forfeiting her own chance at happiness. While it may have gotten canceled after four seasons, I’m still satisfied with the way that it ended and hope there are others out there who were fans of the show. Revenge starred VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Josh Bowman, Gabriel Mann, and Nick Wechsler.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-Present)

Truly, one of Amazon Prime’s best original shows. If you haven’t watched it, you are missing out. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has sides-splitting comedy that is paired with some truly heartbreaking scenes. Following a 1950s housewife who pursues a career in comedy after her husband has left her, the series is led by Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam Maisel. Hilarious and quick-witted, Mrs. Maisel will make you laugh, cry, and hungry. On top of this, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has a wonderful ensemble cast that consists of  Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhoub, and Kevin Pollak. Plus, Jane Lynch and Luke Kirby as guest stars who knock it out of the park each time they’re on screen. If you have Amazon Prime, don’t miss out on this marvelous show!

Fleabag (2016-2019)

You had to have heard of Fleabag. A two-season comedy starring and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag has won six Emmy Awards. Waller-Bridge plays the titular character, simply known as Fleabag, who frequently breaks the fourth wall and is hilarious in her dry-humor delivery ability. Not only is Fleabag funny, but emotional, and poignant. Season two only made everything better with Fleabag’s sister Claire (played by Sian Clifford) finally leaving her douchebag husband Martin (Brett Gelman), but also with the introduction of Hot Priest (Andrew Scott). Waller-Bridge has frequently stated that season two was it for Fleabag, but we will never forget Fleabag and the Hot Priest.

Bob’s Burgers (2011-Present)

That’s right, I’m putting Bob’s Burgers on this list. Not as crude as Family Guy, South Park, or Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers is still a mature cartoon that both adults and teenagers can enjoy. Bob’s family is quirky, but we love them because of that. Each episode brings hilarity and heart. I enjoy deep-diving into Bob’s life, which is fairly a mess at times. His wife loves to sing and his children love to bring him headaches. His business isn’t successful, but he is actually a talented cook and he loves his family. Bob’s Burgers is a show that I hope lasts just as long as the other “adult cartoons”.

Justified (2010-2015)

The inclusion of this show is…justified. Okay, I need to stop, but seriously, Timothy Olyphant’s character Raylan Givens cannot stop saying that word. Justified is a show that I toyed around with putting on this list or not. The first season or so suffers from a low budget and some really terrible extras/guest actors. But, the reason why I put Justified on this list, is because of how incredibly addictive it is. It isn’t even Olyphant’s performance that draws you in but Walton Goggins as Kentucky bad-boy Boyd Crowder. Boyd is the bad guy who has a complicated relationship with Raylan, considering they grew up together, though one went on to become an officer of the law and another became an outlaw. Boyd was the most interesting character on the series, though; if you know me, you know I loved Jacob Pitts as the monotone sniper Deputy Tim Gutterson. Justified would have done better if it had focused less on Raylan and more on Boyd, Tim, and Erica Tazel’s Rachel Brooks.

Big Litle Lies (2017-Present)

Have you ever watched a show that left you so emotional at the end that you just sat and stared at the television screen after it was done? That was me during Big Little Lies. The first season explores the stories of several different women, all keeping their own secrets that come to the surface eventually. The most intense storyline was between Alexander Skarsgard’s Perry Wright and Nicole Kidman’s Celeste Wright. Celeste face the hardest decision she could ever make in season one. Try to leave her husband or stay and most likely be killed. When all of the women in the season one finale came together, despite all of their differences; to help Celeste against Perry, I could not stop myself from crying. Season two was even more intense, especially with Meryl Streep entering the arena as Perry’s mother. Big Little Lies stars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, and Laura Dern.

Killing Eve (2018-Present)

Brought to us by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve is a smart and addictive series that I could not stop watching. Starring Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh (who have both won awards for the show), Killing Eve centers around the highly-skilled assassin Villanelle and the woman dedicated to stopping her, Eve. What starts out like a cat and mouse series, ended up with two women completely enamored with the other. Comer and Oh’s chemistry with each other is completely electric and jumps out of the screen, drawing everyone in who sets their eyes on this fantastic series.

Orange Is the New Black (2013-2019)

Now that Orange Is the New Black has ended, you’ve got time to watch it. Based on a book of the same name, which is the autobiography of the real woman who went to jail; this show drew in viewers every season. We, the fans; waited for every season to drop to laugh, cry, and binge through – leaving us wanting more. The show originally centered around Piper Chapman. An upper-class woman going to jail for being a drug mule for an ex-lover ten years prior. But, the show is about all of the stories. OITNB made sure to shine the spotlight on every character it could, even those we originally didn’t like. It brought out the humanity of each character, showing that there was more than the one-dimensional box we try to put people in. Orange Is the New Black was truly a groundbreaking show that we are all sad has ended.

Because the character list is just too long to put here, visit the Wikipedia page for all of the actors from the series.

Stranger Things (2016-Present)

Take a trip back to the 1980s with Stranger Things. This Netflix original series all kicked off with the disappearance of one of the main characters, Will Byers. Everyone learns there is more than meets the eye in Hawkins. The show is great because of its 80s nostalgia and its monsters/supernatural element. It’s the human relationships that we love the most, though. From the redeeming of a character like Steve, to the exploration of Chief Police Jim Hopper’s past, this show grabs you and doesn’t let go.  Stranger Things stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, and Maya Hawke.

Queer Eye (2018-Present)

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

 

A reboot of the original show that ran from 2003 to 2007, Queer Eye is a feel-good show on Netflix. Queer Eye stars Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, and Jonathan Van Ness as the new Fab Five. These five gay men travel around to improve the lives of those they encounter. The series has featured everyone. From a man wanting to propose to his girlfriend, to a trans man looking to accept himself, and a Japanese woman who selflessly runs a hospice out of her own home. I adore watching the Fab Five lifting up everyone else up, while also making the viewer feel good about themselves.