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The 100 best TV shows of the decade

40. The Great British Bake Off 

(Image credit: BBC)

Years: 2010-present | Seasons: Ongoing

Quaint British TV shows can be an absolute bore. Yet, somehow, Bake Off never errs into being tedious. Even after a channel switch – the infamous sale that led to Mary, Mel, and Sue leaving the show – Bake Off remained as wonderfully fun and innuendo-filled as before. What really helps is the producers knack for choosing the right contestants. There hasn't been a single season where any of them are anything less than downright charming. Truly wholesome telly. Jack Shepherd

(Image credit: Netflix)

39. The Haunting of Hill House 
Years:
2018-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

Mike Flanagan's modern day reimagining of Shirley Jackson's horror novel follows siblings whose childhood experiences in a notorious haunted house reunites them in tragic ways as adults. Keeping the scares coming in a 90-minute feature-film is hard enough but, with Flanagan steering proceedings, The Haunting of Hill House manages to remain frightening through 10 hour-long episodes. Because of this, the Netflix series might not just be one of  the decade's best TV shows, but one of horror's greatest offerings full stop. Jacob Stolworthy

(Image credit: Netflix)

38. Queer Eye 
Years:
2018-present | Seasons: Ongoing

We all need the Fab Five in our lives. Watching this entourage of gay men go from home to home trying to make other humans feel good about themselves is some of the most life-affirming TV ever produced. The Queer Eye reboot is earnest, endearing, and tear-inducing, managing to highlight the complexities of life and identity without ever losing its charm, style, and ability to consistently challenge social norms. The Fab Five are taking over the world, and we should all be grateful for that. Sam Loveridge

(Image credit: FX)

37. Fargo 
Years:
2014-present | Seasons: Ongoing

When Fargo – based on the beloved Coen brothers film – was first announced, nobody could have imagined the series would become one of the most entertaining shows this decade. Yet here we are. Fargo tells the loosely interconnected story of the citizens of Minnesota as they get caught up in life-threatening events beyond their control. Focusing on a different time period and new characters, the show's format stays fresh. Just like the film, each season is a slow-paced build-up to one hell of an explosive finale. Jacob Stolworthy 

(Image credit: Comedy Central)

36. Nathan for You
Years:
2013-2017 | Seasons: 4

The elevator pitch for Nathan For You only reveals half of the story: it follows comedian Nathan Fielder playing a fictional version of himself who aims to help struggling businesses with often ridiculous ideas. The first episode sees him recommending that an ice cream store release a poop flavour, and his schemes only get more elaborate from there. Nathan is desperate to form friendships and other intimacies, often cooking up complex schemes to find love. Unexpectedly heartwarming and utterly ambitious, Nathan For You is essential. Mariane Eloise

35. Inside No 9 

(Image credit: BBC)

Years: 2014-present | Seasons: Ongoing

Each episode of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's show are self-contained, twist-filled stories set within buildings that have one thing in common: the number nine. With the US yet to wake up to the writing duo's talents, it's been UK television audience's pleasure to witness the effortless way in the two can switch genres with each episode. You never know what you're going to get, but you can always be certain you'll be blindsided by its numerous rug-pulls. Jacob Stolworthy 

(Image credit: Cartoon Network)

34. Adventure Time 
Years:
2010–2018 | Seasons: 10 

Adventure Time changed animation. Not the way that it was made, necessarily, but in the way that it has been consumed. Adventure Time occupies the no man's land between entertainment made for children and adults; delighting the former with its whimsy and colour, hooking in the latter with a surprisingly robust rumination on love and loss at the end of the world. Adventure Time is a truly remarkable show – beloved because of its character, and immortalized by its writing. Josh West

(Image credit: HBO)

33. Veep
Years:
2012-2019 | Seasons:

Award-winning political satire Veep, the US's answer to The Thick of It, often feels pretty on the nose. Still, despite the déjà vu of some of the storylines, it's worth a watch. It didn't win all of those awards (17 Emmys, among many others) for nothing. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won six consecutive Emmys alone for her performance, is hilarious as vice president Selina Meyer. Special mention also goes to her loyal aide Gary, played by Tony Hale (Arrested Development). Marianne Eloise 

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

32. Rick and Morty
Years:
2013-present | Seasons: Ongoing

While Rick and Morty fans may have given the show a bad reputation, there's no denying its quality. Filled with meta-commentary, Back to the Future-spoofs, and general sci-fi shenanigans, the adventures of the Sanchez clan are always a joy to behold. Later seasons play with continuity in a way that feels fresh and exciting, with the multiverse making for interesting possibilities that creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland masterfully play with. Jack Shepherd

(Image credit: HBO)

31. Barry
Years:
2018-present | Seasons: Ongoing

Bill Hader has become one of comedy's MVP in recent years, the actor gracefully stepping from SNL into major Hollywood films such as Toy Story 4 and It Chapter Two. Yet it's Barry where you can see Hader's finest work. Playing an existential hitman who really wants to get into acting, Hader manages to mix endearing charm and terrifying fury, making Barry a character you root for, despite his effectiveness at mass murder. Having said all this, come for Hader, stay for Anthony Carrigan's adorable Chechen gangster NoHo Hank. Ben Tyrer

30. Bob's Burgers

(Image credit: Fox)

Years: 2011-present | Seasons: 9

Proof that a comedy doesn't have to push boundaries to be hilarious. Bob's Burgers is a riotous, charming affair that has maintained a consistent level of quality over its nine seasons. That's partly down to the fact that the Belchers are as malleable as any family on television, cartoon or otherwise. Ever-jealous Bob, boisterous Linda, always-horny-on-main Tina, juvenile Gene, and brattish Louise can sing, present cooking shows, and celebrate the holidays – often all in the space of one episode. That creative freedom means the show never gets predictable, and likely won't for the next decade to come. Bradley Russell 

(Image credit: FX)

29. The Americans
Years:
2013-2018 | Seasons: 6

The Americans premise is simple enough: the seemingly happily married couple Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, living in Washington DC, are actually undercover Russian agents its initial pull, but, before long, the intoxicating performances from lead stars (and real-life married couple) Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys elevates the series into something else altogether: a drama about honour, isolation and belonging in an ever-changing world. The Americans handles its tensions adeptly, right from its blistering opener through to the gripping finale. Jacob Stolworthy 

(Image credit: Hulu)

28. The Handmaid's Tale
Years:
2017-present | Seasons: Ongoing

Both The Handmaid's Tale, the TV show, and our real-life version of Margaret Attwood's misogynistic dystopia are ongoing. Based on the 1985 book of the same name and starring Elisabeth Moss as handmaid June, the show imagines a future in which a theocracy has an iron grip on society and women's bodies. The Handmaid's Tale is a harrowing and prescient look at what happens when religion is allowed to dictate the laws of a country, and its imagery is so eerily iconic that it's found its way into real political protests. Marianne Eloise 

(Image credit: HBO)

27. Big Little Lies
Years:
2017-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

Following the lives of wealthy women and their problems in Monterey, California, the first season of Big Little Lies was a beautifully shot whodunnit that unravelled the mystery of the death of one woman, Celeste's (Nicole Kidman). With an addition of Meryl Streep to the all-star cast that also includes Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz, the second season fared less well critically than the first. Still, Big Little Lies carefully examines complicated issues around trama, domestic violence and family that reminds you that even rich people have problems. Marianne Eloise 

(Image credit: BBC)

26. This Is England '86, '88, '90

Years: 2010-2015 | Seasons: 3

Set three years after Shane Meadows' hit film, This is England follows the same cast, albeit dressed to fit into newer subcultures. The TV show sees the characters trying to get on with adult life – Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Lol (Vicky McClure) are still together, navigating ups and downs throughout the three seasons. Like the film, the series is hilarious, often bleak, and extremely dark. The first, '86, infamously featured graphic and intense explorations of family trauma, provoking a strong reaction from the audience, but making the series instantly memorable. Marianne Eloise

 25. Justified

(Image credit: FX)

Years: 2010-2015 | Seasons: 6

Justified might be the best show you've (probably) never seen. Transposing the Leonard Elmore created character Raylan Givens onto television works wonders, and the opening pilot is electric. Timothy Olyphant plays the gunslinger with perfect swagger, and the motley crew of cops and criminals from Harlan County who join him are as colourful as any found on The Sopranos or The Wire. A rocky first season aside, Justified transforms into an intricately-poised cat-and-mouse story between Givens and Walton Goggins' anti-hero Boyd Crowder. Bradley Russell

(Image credit: BBC)

24. Blue Planet 2 / Planet Earth 2
Years:
2001-2017 | Seasons: 7

The gentle rumbling of David Attenborough's narration is the sound of nature's wonder. The mix of information, spectacle, sex, and death makes these BBC wildlife documentaries the gold standard for non-fiction TV. From blue whales to polar bears to chimpanzees to the smallest insects, every episode reveals some new part of the animal kingdom. Blue Planet and Planet Earth also chronicle humanity's detrimental effect on the world we inhabit, showing the results of hunting, climate change and deforestation without ever patronizing the viewer. Truly terrifying stuff. Rachel Weber

(Image credit: HBO)

23. True Detective
Years:
2014-present | Seasons: Ongoing

True Detective's placement on this list is squarely down to its first and third seasons, both of which present a macabre mystery and engrossing characters (though season two isn't half as bad as some critis make out). Rather than being a standard crime show, Nic Pizzalatto's series often veers into the complex, giving True Detective an existential edge over other series of the same genre. Matthew McConaughey (season one) and Mahershala Ali (season three) both give magnetic performances. Jacob Stolworthy 

(Image credit: NBC)

22. The Good Place
Years:
2016-2020 | Seasons: 4

The Good Place is the lowest-placing of Michael Shur's creations on this list. Let that sink in. One man has three entries in our top 20 TV shows of the decade. There's something about his everyman humour that just clicks. While The Good Place comes third, that's no daming statement on its quality. Kristen Bell excels as the dead selfish saleswoman Eleanor Shellstrop, who finds herself in a version of heaven. Of course, not all is as it seems, and the first season's finale marks arguably the best twist of the decade, completely upending the show's premise. Jack Shepherd

(Image credit: Netflix)

21. Stranger Things
Years:
2016-present | Seasons: Ongoing

Netflix's love letter to the '80s takes a cast of loveable, geeky kids and pits them against increasingly horrific creatures that threaten to take more than their school summer break. Harrowing horror with hints of Stephen King and Spielberg underpins themes of love and friendship, against the neon backdrop. It makes for a series that can range from heartwarming to heartbreaking in a single episode, but never fails to lose sight of the friends at its core. Sam Loveridge

20. Killing Eve

(Image credit: BBC)

Years: 2018-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

Strange, brilliantly dark, and twisted in so many ways, Killing Eve takes the traditional cat and mouse template and turns it on its head. Placing two women in the lead roles, the show explores the challenges of working within a male-dominated industry. Sandra Oh plays the spy Eve, while Jodie Comer portrays a magnetic, sociopathic serial killer that Eve's utterly fascinated by. We get to watch their slow-motion entanglement evolve, with chilling, dramatic, and strangely romantic outbursts. No wonder, then, that Phoebe Waller-Bridge became the second ever woman to contribute to the script of a James Bond movie. Sam Loveridge

(Image credit: HBO)

19. Boardwalk Empire
Years:
2010-2014 | Seasons: 5

As stylish as Mad Men, as ruthlessly violent as The Sopranos, and as richly-drenched in history as Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire doesn't get nearly enough credit. The series never fails to make the most of its bullet-ridden Prohibition backdrop, with iconic figures flitting in and out of the cesspit that is Atlantic City. It's all tied together by an anchoring performance from Steve Buscemi as the weaselly Nucky Thompson. The final season may stutter in places, but this deserves to stand alongside the boxsets your co-workers, friends, and family won't stop begging you to watch. Bradley Russell

(Image credit: AMC)

18. Better Call Saul 
Years:
2015-present | Seasons:

Breaking Bad may be numero uno in most people's minds, but this prequel charting Jimmy's rise from the mail-room at his brother's big-shot law firm to Saul Goodman, shady lawyer extraordinaire, is a worthy second place. Like the long-running schemes of Slippin' Jimmy, series creator Vince Gilligan tricks us all: Better Call Saul was never truly about the origins of Saul Goodman. Instead, it's a beautifully-measured, always-tense story about the people who love Jimmy, and how far he has to go to drive them away. Bradley Russell

(Image credit: Showtime)

17. Twin Peaks: The Return
Years:
2017 | Seasons: 1

 In a decade of revivals and reboots, Twin Peaks seems the most unlikely comeback of the 2010s. A continuation of David Lynch's early '90s series, Twin Peaks: The Return is set 25 years after the original, with much of the original cast returning. Released week by week in the form of 18 separate hour-long episodes, it defied modern streaming behaviours and encouraged audiences to engage in a mystery unfolding. Following multiple complex storylines and dealing with the mystery of Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) doppelgänger, it's a worthy, if heavy, contribution. Marianne Eloise

(Image credit: HBO)

16. Chernobyl
Years:
2019 | Seasons: 1

Chernobyl's not an easy watch, and it's certainly not a series designed to be binged in a day. Craig Mazin dramatisation of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster will stick with you for a long, long time. In many ways, it's the most essential story of the decade: one of truth and power being held to account. The retelling of the most dramatic near-miss of the 20th Century is filled with moments that will make your skin itch and keep you up at night. Charred bodies, dead dogs, and litres of sick all feature. Persevere throughout the five episodes, however, and you'll be rewarded with a powerful, life-affirming message of hope against all the odds. Bradley Russell

15. Succession

(Image credit: HBO)

Years: 2018-present | Years: Ongoing 

Peep Show creator Jesse Armstrong graduates to prestige US television with Succession. Centring on the Roys, a family known for controlling the biggest media and entertainment company in the world, the show offers a masterclass in writing. The cast – including Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Matthew MacFadyen – all ensure no razor-sharp barb is left dangling. The two seasons that have aired to date prove this is a series here for the long-run. Jacob Stolworthy

(Image credit: FX)

14. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Years:
2005-present | Series: Ongoing

It's hard to make a show about five disgusting people watchable. Somehow, the gang behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia have managed to keep that premise going for 14 seasons. How? Because they make sure we're laughing at these characters, not with them. Every ridiculous plan they come up with ends in disaster, and we're there to witness it all going wrong. The highlight, of course, is Danny DeVito, whose having an absolute blast as the detestful Frank Reynolds. What's not to love about seeing an Emmy winning actor oil themselves up to hide in a couch? Jack Shepherd

(Image credit: FX)

13. Atlanta
Years:
2016-present | Seasons: Ongoing

Donald Glover's the king of cool: we know this to be true. Yet, before 2016, there was some debate around that fact. The actor was better known for being the dorky guy from Community who wanted to be a rapper. Then Atlanta dropped, and like an online explosion, the world suddenly realised Glover's greatness. The show captures the essence of the Atlanta rap scene, mixing the hardship of everyday life with David Lynchien dream-like scenarios. An invisible car driving into people outside a club? Only on Atlanta. Jack Shepherd

(Image credit: Channel 4)

12. Catastrophe
Years:
2015-2019 | Seasons: 4

The delectably potty-mouthed Catastrophe is a selection box of sitcom delights: it's hilarious, intensely moving, and entirely relatable. Leading actors (and the show's writers) Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney play two people whose lives become linked after a one-night stand results in a very unexpected pregnancy. As they barge their way through life, you can see just why Catastrophe has won the hearts of so many British viewers. Also worth watching for Carrie Fisher, who plays Rob's eccentric mother and proves why she is considered one of the greats. Jacob Stolworthy

(Image credit: Netflix)

11. Black Mirror
Years:
2011-present | Seasons: Ongoing

A spin on the Twilight Zone's anthology format, Black Mirror takes the technology of tomorrow and turns our obsession with devices into a living hell. The moral quandaries we will one day face are presented in nightmarish fashion, yet the most worrisome parables centre of tech that's already readily available. Look to the first season's premiere, "The National Anthem". There's nothing futuristic in there, just a British Prime Minister having sex with a pig. Because that's never going to happen… Jack Shepherd

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