Welcome to a retrospective journey through the golden age of television! The 2010s marked an era where TV shows evolved into powerful narratives, captivating audiences with their storytelling prowess. In this blog, we delve into the 10 Greatest TV Shows of the 2010s, celebrating a decade defined by groundbreaking storytelling, complex characters, and unparalleled entertainment.
From gripping dramas to innovative comedies, this list encapsulates the essence of the era, showcasing how these series left an indelible mark on pop culture. Join us as we revisit these unforgettable narratives that redefined television and continue to resonate with audiences worldwide.
Greatest TV Shows of the 2010s
Game of Thrones
“Game of Thrones” is a fantasy epic adapted from George R.R. Martin’s book series. Set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, it follows noble families vying for power amidst political intrigue, betrayal, and supernatural threats. The struggle for the Iron Throne drives the narrative, with complex characters like Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister navigating treacherous alliances and moral dilemmas.
The series is renowned for its unpredictable plot twists, intricate world-building, and themes of power, loyalty, and the consequences of ambition. Its blend of medieval-like settings, dragons, and a sprawling ensemble cast captivated audiences worldwide. Despite its controversial finale, “Game of Thrones” remains a cultural phenomenon, leaving a lasting legacy in television history.
“Breaking Bad” is a gripping drama centered on Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer. Diagnosed with cancer, Walter partners with former student Jesse Pinkman to secure his family’s financial future. The series meticulously charts Walter’s transformation into the drug lord “Heisenberg,” exploring the moral descent as he becomes increasingly consumed by power and criminality. Tense, morally complex, and character-driven, the show delves into themes of morality, consequences, and the human psyche.
Its intense storytelling, masterful character development, and Bryan Cranston’s riveting performance as Walter earned critical acclaim. “Breaking Bad” remains a benchmark in television, lauded for its writing, direction, and exploration of ethical boundaries, making it a seminal series in the realm of modern television.
“Stranger Things” is a thrilling sci-fi series set in the ’80s, blending nostalgia with supernatural mysteries. In the town of Hawkins, a group of kids encounters strange occurrences after their friend, Will Byers, vanishes under mysterious circumstances. As they search for Will, they encounter a psychokinetic girl named Eleven with extraordinary abilities. The show weaves government conspiracies, parallel dimensions, and terrifying creatures from the Upside Down into its narrative.
Led by a talented young cast, including Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard, the series captures the essence of ’80s pop culture while delivering suspenseful storytelling. Its mix of adventure, friendship, and eerie happenings struck a chord with audiences, establishing “Stranger Things” as a nostalgic yet thrilling journey that appeals to both older and younger generations.
“The Crown” is a historical drama chronicling the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family. Spanning decades, the series delves into the personal and public struggles of the monarch, navigating political challenges, family dynamics, and societal changes. It offers a fascinating portrayal of key historical events interwoven with the private lives of the royals. The show transitions through different eras, depicting the evolution of the monarchy and the world around it.
Its stellar cast, including Claire Foy and Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, delivers compelling performances that humanize these iconic figures. Known for its lavish production, meticulous attention to detail, and exploration of power and duty, “The Crown” offers viewers a captivating glimpse into the complexities of royal life while portraying the personal sacrifices behind the crown.
“Fleabag” is a darkly comedic series created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Centered on a witty and emotionally complex woman known only as Fleabag, the show breaks the fourth wall as she navigates life in London, dealing with personal struggles, relationships, and grief. Fleabag’s candid and irreverent approach to life offers a raw and honest portrayal of modern womanhood, tackling themes of love, loss, guilt, and self-discovery. The series skillfully blends humor and pathos, drawing audiences into the protagonist’s tumultuous journey while addressing the complexities of human connections.
Waller-Bridge’s sharp writing and captivating performance, coupled with the show’s unique narrative style, earned critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase, establishing “Fleabag” as a standout in contemporary television for its bold storytelling and unapologetic authenticity.
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The Handmaid’s Tale
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a dystopian drama based on Margaret Atwood’s novel. Set in the totalitarian society of Gilead, it follows Offred, a Handmaid forced into reproductive servitude in a society where women are subjugated and stripped of their rights. Fertility is prized, and fertile women like Offred are assigned to powerful men for breeding purposes. The show delves into themes of oppression, misogyny, and the erosion of individual freedoms, offering a stark commentary on gender, power, and the extremes of fundamentalism.
Through its haunting visuals and Elisabeth Moss’s riveting performance as Offred, the series chillingly reflects on contemporary societal issues. Its unsettling portrayal of a world where autonomy is stripped away resonates deeply, prompting reflection on the fragility of human rights and the dangers of extremism.
“Black Mirror” is a thought-provoking anthology series exploring the dark side of technology and its impact on society. Each standalone episode presents a near-future or alternate reality, examining the consequences of our relationship with advancing technology. The show delves into themes of privacy, artificial intelligence, social media, and the ethical dilemmas arising from technological advancements.
Through its chilling and often dystopian narratives, “Black Mirror” offers cautionary tales, highlighting the potential dangers and ethical quandaries of our tech-dependent world. With its unsettling and thought-provoking stories, the series prompts viewers to consider the ethical implications of technological innovation and its potential to reshape humanity’s future, serving as a mirror reflecting the complexities and pitfalls of our digital age.
“The Mandalorian” is a space Western set in the “Star Wars” universe. Following a lone bounty hunter known as the Mandalorian, or Mando, the series unfolds after the fall of the Empire. Tasked with retrieving a mysterious “asset,” Mando discovers it’s a Force-sensitive child, dubbed “The Child” or “Grogu,” of the same species as Jedi Master Yoda. The show expertly blends action, adventure, and character-driven storytelling while exploring themes of honor, redemption, and the bonds of fatherhood.
Through its episodic nature and nods to classic Westerns, “The Mandalorian” captivates audiences with its intriguing lore, compelling characters like Mando and Grogu, and nods to the larger “Star Wars” mythology. Its blend of nostalgia and fresh storytelling revitalized the franchise, earning acclaim for its visuals, storytelling, and world-building.
Better Call Saul
“Better Call Saul” is a gripping prequel to “Breaking Bad,” focusing on the transformation of Jimmy McGill into the morally flexible lawyer Saul Goodman. Set before the events of its predecessor, the series delves into Jimmy’s journey from a struggling, earnest attorney to the shrewd and ethically ambiguous character of Saul Goodman. It explores his complex relationships, especially with his brother Chuck McGill, and his eventual involvement with the criminal underworld.
The show meticulously crafts its narrative, blending drama, dark humor, and character development, offering insights into Jimmy’s motivations and choices. With its compelling storytelling, nuanced performances, and attention to detail, “Better Call Saul” stands as a testament to Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s masterful storytelling, enriching the “Breaking Bad” universe while carving its own compelling path.
“The Americans” is a riveting espionage drama set during the Cold War era in the 1980s. It follows Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, a seemingly ordinary American couple who are actually Soviet spies living in Washington, D.C. The series delves into their double lives, as they balance espionage missions with raising their children and maintaining their cover. As tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union escalate, the Jennings face moral dilemmas, complex loyalties, and personal sacrifices.
The show skillfully weaves together thrilling spy intrigue with intimate family drama, exploring themes of identity, loyalty, and the blurred lines between love and duty. With superb performances by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, “The Americans” captivates audiences with its suspenseful storytelling and nuanced portrayal of espionage’s human cost.
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As we bid farewell to the remarkable era of television in the 2010s, these 10 TV shows stand as a testament to the decade’s unparalleled storytelling and entertainment. Each series on this list embodies innovation, creativity, and the power of television to captivate, provoke thought, and evoke emotions. From epic fantasy worlds to thought-provoking dramas and boundary-pushing comedies, these shows have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.
Their impact extends far beyond their respective genres, influencing subsequent storytelling and setting new benchmarks for quality television. As we move into a new era of entertainment, let us cherish and celebrate these unforgettable narratives that defined a decade, continuing to resonate with viewers worldwide and securing their place in the annals of television history.
The selection process focused on critical acclaim, cultural impact, audience reception, and lasting influence.
No specific genre was favored. The aim was to offer a diverse representation, encompassing dramas, comedies, sci-fi, and more, ensuring a well-rounded collection that highlights the decade’s diverse.
These shows stood out due to their compelling narratives, nuanced characters, impactful themes, and their ability to push creative boundaries.