Let's face it, there's never been a better time to get into great TV shows. With streaming services like #Netflix and #Hulu, binging has never been easier. The problem is we don't all have time to sift through hundreds of shows to find the best of the best. Luckily some of us do that so you don't have to. Here are the top shows of the last several years. Before we start, just one little rule:
- For a show to qualify, it has to have had at least three seasons in the 2010s.
#15. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-Present) - FOX
From the creators of The Office and Parks and Recreation comes another hilarious ensemble comedy that showcases the shenanigans of the 99th Police precinct in Brooklyn, NY. The show smartly uses its colorful cast of characters to juggle the humor and personal aspects of the show. The show is also not afraid to mix and match character groupings every episode so that we get a taste of how each character fits (or doesn't fit) together. The perfect show to fill that Office sized hole in your life.
#14. Bates Motel (2013-2017) - A&E
One of the biggest surprises in the last five years, I don't know if anyone expected the prequel series to Hitchcock's classic film, Psycho, to be any good. Sure the first couple seasons have a bit of a CW teen drama feel to it at times but overall the show excels at examining the dysfunctional relationship between Norman Bates and his infamous mother. Most of the other characters aren't just a footnote though, because they are all flawed but sympathetic characters that are relatable at worst and even likeable at times. Even if you haven't seen the film, Bates Motel still stands on its own as a creepy psychological thriller.
#13. BoJack Horseman (2014-Present) - Netflix
I know what you're thinking; a cartoon about a washed up actor who is incidentally half horse, half man is one of the best shows of the decade? It may sound like a bad idea on paper, but BoJack Horseman is actually great in its own weird way. It juggles themes of depression, loneliness, addiction, and hopelessness in a respectful but darkly comical way that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. It's a show that's hard to explain beyond that, so just go see this genius show for yourself.
#12. Luther (2010-2016) - BBC
If you imagine Sherlock Holmes with anger issues, then you have just a faint idea of what Luther is all about. It's not so much a crime show as it is a character study on the broken man that is John Luther. Idris Elba's performance alone is enough to sustain the show most of the time, though it rarely comes to that thankfully. The first season of the show is one of the best seasons of TV in the last decade. It drags a bit in its third season but finishes strong. If you're looking for something like Sherlock but more grounded, then this is the show for you.
#11. Dexter (2006-2013) - Showtime
Dexter is a prime example of a great show that was almost ruined by the final season. It has plenty of ups and downs in quality in almost every season, but it has one constant that kept the show engaging: Dexter Morgan. Michael C. Hall's unsettling yet oddly likeable turn as Dexter makes the show what it is. You could skip the finale altogether and you would still have seven seasons of solid entertainment.
#10. Community (2009-2015) - NBC/Yahoo
One of the funniest and most creative shows on this list, Community proves that taking risks can pay off in spades. Whether it's the diverse characters, clever spoof episodes, or the snappy dialogue, there's just so much to like about this show. The final season is often rocky, but seasons 1-5 are some of the most fun I've had watching TV in a while.
#9. Better Call Saul (2015-Present) - AMC
As a prequel show it would be easy for AMC to let Better Call Saul ride on the coat tails of Breaking Bad and not let it be its own story, but thankfully that's not the case. I know a lot of people find this show too slow and boring, and you will be disappointed if you assume that it will feel like its predecessor. Better Call Saul is its own separate entity. It admittedly does have its slow moments but most of them pay off thanks to plenty of visual exposition and symbolism. If you want a show that requires you to use your brain instead of having everything explained through dialogue, then give Saul a call.
#8. The Americans (2013-Present) - FX
A show with arguably the most interesting premise on this list, The Americans chronicles two Russian spies living undercover as an average American family. If that doesn't immediately hook you then the complex story and vivid characters definitely will. Plus the 80s nostalgia is an added bonus. Combine all of this and The Americans is top notch TV that you shouldn't miss.
#7. Sherlock (2010-Present) - BBC
The first attempt to place legendary detective Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century was a gamble but ended up being a great success. Once you get used to seeing Sherlock send texts on a smartphone, the rest of the show is a clever take on the super sleuth. It's hard to deny that Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play the part. Even when the cases are lackluster, the chemistry between Sherlock and Dr. Watson will keep you coming back for more.
#6. House of Cards (2013-Present) - Netflix
Political shows can be a risky endeavor, but if anyone can make it work, Fight Club and The Social Network director, David Fincher absolutely can. Anyone who says that politics are boring has not seen this show. All the intrigue, blackmail, and shady dealings of House of Cards rivals any soap opera you can imagine, minus the melodrama. And let's not forget Kevin Spacey's Emmy worthy performance as the charming yet chilling Frank Underwood. Add to that fourth wall breaks, and you have the cherry on top of this delicious show.
#5. Hannibal (2013-2015) - NBC
Speaking of delicious, NBC's Hannibal takes the proverbial cake in that category. Even though the show centers around a cannibal, that doesn't mean that it can't be a tasty show. Although it sadly only lasted three seasons, every season is jam packed with jaw dropping gore, beautiful cinematography, and most importantly, mesmerizing characters. The relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham is always fascinating to behold. Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy play there roles so perfectly, it's a wonder that they don't lose themselves in the glorious madness that is the show Hannibal.
#4. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) - NBC
After The Office made the mockumentary genre popular, the creators decided to take another crack at the genre with Parks and Recreation. The show takes what made The Office good and I daresay, improves upon it. Every character is unique and fleshed out, the jokes are whimsical and irresistible, and the serious moments are perfectly timed and tinged with just the right amount of levity. If you grow tired of the laugh tracks and forced jokes of other sitcoms, Parks and Rec is right up your alley.
#3. Fargo (2014-Present) - FX
Trying to explain the show Fargo to the average viewer is like trying to explain why we exist. It's difficult to explain and you'll likely get a different explanation from everybody. So it is with Fargo. The show perfectly captures the essence of the 1996 Coen brothers film while building its own interesting world simultaneously. The unique blend of weighty philosophical themes, dark comedy, and passive agressive characters make Fargo a blend that defies expectations.
#2. Game of Thrones (2011-Present) - HBO
It's refreshing for a fantasy show to have such a wide mainstream appeal that you don't feel like a nerd for talking about with friends, family, and co-workers. Although it's mainstream, that doesn't mean it's lacking for character depth and a captivating story. Fear not nerds, because there's plenty of lore, magic, and world building to whet your appetite as well. If you want a show that constantly subverts expectations and turns the tables on your favorite characters, Game of Thrones may just be the emotionally abusive addiction you didn't know you needed.
#1. Breaking Bad (2008-2013) - AMC
We have arrived at the number one spot. The emotional rollercoaster that is the one and only Breaking Bad. Heart stopping action: check, heart wrenching drama: check, twisted sense of humor: check, and incredible acting: double check. If you thought that you could never have sympathy for drug dealers, think again. Breaking Bad is undoubtedly the greatest show of the decade so far.