Skip to main content

The 100 best TV shows of the decade

(Image credit: Future)

We're living through the age of Peak TV. Never before has there been such a diverse range of quality shows available to watch instantly, namely thanks to streaming services. And, as a result, never before has there been such a high quantity of spectacular shows being released.

The last decade has been an incredible period of time for television. We've seen 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 the last 10 years of telly, we reached out to the wider Gamesradar+ team, including our colleagues at Total Film and SFX, to curate the below list of the best shows of the 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 100 best shows of the decade, as chosen by GamesRadar+. 

And don't forget to check out our picks for the decade's best games and movies too:

100. The Night Of

(Image credit: HBO)

Years: 2016 | Seasons: 1

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

(Image credit: AMC)

99. The Terror
Years:
2018-2019 | Seasons: 2

The Terror's first season served up an ice-cold horror about HMS Terror, a British ship that went missing in the Arctic. The show takes real-world details – such as tainted food, starvation, and even rumors of cannibalism – and adds a supernatural creature for extra chills. Sparse, brutal, and with an excellent central performance from Jared Harris (Chenobyl), season one is gripping television. The second season uses the same mix of real-world history – Japanese internment camps – and adds shapeshifter folklore. Rachel Weber

(Image credit: Netflix)

98. Narcos 
Years:
2015-2017 | Seasons:

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 

(Image credit: CBS)

97. How I Met Your Mother 
Years:
2005–2013 | Seasons: 9

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 

(Image credit: Comedy Central)

96. Broad City
Years:
2014-2019 | Seasons: 5

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

95. Key & Peele 

(Image credit: Comedy Central)

Years: 2012-2015 | Seasons: 5

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

(Image credit: Netflix)

94. Daredevil 
Years:
2015-2018 | Seasons:

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

(Image credit: Netflix)

93. The Crown
Years:
2016-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

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

(Image credit: Comedy Central)

92. Review with Forrest MacNeil
Years:
2013-2017 | Seasons: 3

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

(Image credit: Channel 4)

91. Derry Girls
Years:
2018-present | Seasons: 2

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

90. Silicon Valley 

(Image credit: HBO)

Years: 2014-2019 | Seasons:

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

(Image credit: Netflix)

89. Orange is the New Black 
Years:
2013-2019 | Seasons:

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

(Image credit: NBC)

88. This Is Us
Years:
2016-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

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

(Image credit: Netflix)

87. Love
Years:
2016-2018 | Seasons:

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

(Image credit: Showtime)

86. Penny Dreadful
Years:
2014-2016 | Seasons:

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

85. American Vandal

(Image credit: Netflix)

Years: 2017-2018 | Seasons: 2

Who spray-painted dicks 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. Equally ridiculous is the second season about the crimes of the Turd Burglar (and yes, before you go double checking, we're not making this show up). Jack Shepherd

(Image credit: HBO)

84. Sharp Objects
Years:
2019 | Seasons:

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

(Image credit: Netflix)

83. GLOW
Years:
2017-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

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

(Image credit: Netflix)

82. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
Years:
2015-2019 | Seasons:

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

(Image credit: BBC)

81. Doctor Who
Years:
2005-present | Seasons: 11 

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

80. The Real Housewives of New York City

(Image credit: Bravo)

Years: 2008-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

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

(Image credit: Amazon)

79. The Boys
Years:
2019-present | Seasons: 1

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. Two words: Ass bomb. Bradley Russell

(Image credit: Disney/LucasFilm)

78. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Years:
2008-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

Star Wars: The Clone Wars asks: 'What if the story of Anakin Skywalker's descent into darkness was told with a deft hand?' The animated show delivers the Anakin/Obi-Wan friendship the prequels never could while also offering a closer look at the failings of the Jedi Order. It methodically strips Anakin of the things he cherishes – his Clone Trooper friends, Obi-Wan, his Padawan Ahsoka Tano – until only Padme's left. Once you've watched Clone War, the Jedi's turn to the Dark Side certainly seems a lot more believable. Alyssa Mercante

(Image credit: BBC)

77. Bodyguard
Years:
2018-present | Seasons: Ongoing  

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

(Image credit: IFC)

76. Portlandia 
Years:
2011-2018 | Seasons: 8  

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

75. Misfits 

(Image credit: Channel 4)

Years: 2009-2013 | Seasons: 5  

A (good) British science fiction show is a rare thing, but Misfits is exactly that. Following young offenders who suddenly become superpowered during a lightning storm, Misfits is weird, outlandish, and genuinely hilarious. When Robert Sheehan left at the end of season two, it seemed unlikely that anyone could fill his funny, charming boots. Luckily, replacement Joe Gilgun (This is England) wipes any memory of Sheehan from most fans' minds. Marianne Eloise

(Image credit: Netflix)

74. Mindhunter
Years:
2017-present | Seasons: Ongoing

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

(Image credit: FXX)

73. Archer
Years:
2009-present | Seasons: Ongoing

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

(Image credit: ITV)

72. Downton Abbey
Years:
2010-2015 | Seasons: 6

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

71. When They See Us

(Image credit: Netflix)

Years: 2019 | Seasons: 1

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