Skip to main content

The 100 best TV shows of the decade

10. The Leftovers

(Image credit: HBO)

Years: 2014-17 | Seasons: 3

Similar to The Wire, The Leftovers never won an Emmy. Also like The Wire, The Leftovers has gone on to become one of the most critically acclaimed series of all time. The premise is simple: 2% of the world's population disappears one day. Yet, the show never explains why. Showrunner Damon Lindelof instead chooses to focus on the effects that calamity has on the people left behind. Justin Theroux's phenomenal as a former chief of police, yet it's Carrie Coon who steals every scene as Nora, a woman whose entire family vanished. Heartbreaking, somber, and hugely moving: a must-watch. Jack Shepherd

9. Mad Men 

(Image credit: AMC)

Years: 2007-2015 | Seasons: 7

Mad Men shouldn't have worked. In a world filled with TV shows featuring shootouts, backstabs and betrayals, the story of a soldier-turned-ad-executive in the '60s seems quaint and, if you'll pardon the pun, old fashioned. Those who stuck with the slow burn story witnessed a poignant end to Don Draper's story, as well as one of the finest episodes to ever grace our screens in "The Suitcase," a tender, play-like dialogue on work, loneliness, and being comfortable in one's own skin. Bradley Russell

8. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

(Image credit: NBC)

Years: 2013-present | Seasons: Ongoing 

When Brooklyn Nine-Nine was cancelled after five seasons, fans went into an uproar – until the show was swiftly picked up by NBC, where it continues to this day. Still, that outrage is testament to just how much people love the show. Ostensibly a single-camera Andy Samberg-starring sitcom about cops working in a New York precinct, B99 has gone on to explore complicated topics like sexuality and family. Just last year, bisexual actress Stephanie Beatriz came out as bi on the show in a win for onscreen representation. Marianne Eloise

7. Hannibal 

(Image credit: NBC)

Years: 2013 - 2015 | Seasons:

Mads Mikkelsen somehow makes cannibalism erotic as the eponymous Hannibal in a show that features brilliant scripts and a beautiful art-house visual style. As the seasons progress, Hannibal – both the character and show – grows more daring, ambitious, and dark. Although short lived, it embraces its position at the fringe in ways few shows can. At the heart of the series' story is the complicated relationship between Hannibal and FBI consultant Will Graham, the pair toying with our emotions from start to finish. Sam Loveridge

6. Bojack Horseman

(Image credit: Netflix)

Years: 2014-present | Seasons: Ongoing

Or, as it's fondly known, the heartbreaking animated horse show. What started as a comedy quietly spoofing Hollywood and its eccentricities quickly changed into a dive through the psyche of an anxiety-riddled alcoholic horse. Few shows have been as emotionally devastating, and even fewer have featured tongue twisters as contorting as those uttered by Princess Carolyn. The stand-out, though, is Aaron Paul's hijinxing Todd Chavez, whose antics have often been the humourous antidote to the show's often melancholy throughline. Jack Shepherd

5. Parks and Recreation

(Image credit: NBC)

Years: 2009-2015 | Seasons: 7

How do you accurately measure the impact of an iconic show? For Parks and Recreation – the Amy Poehler-starring mockumentary series about a fictional parks department – perhaps it's the ways it's leaked into our lexicon. "Treat yo'self" was first uttered by Aziz Ansari and Retta in an episode of the same name, but is now used by companies everywhere to sell you things you don't need. The show is also responsible for bringing stars like Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza into the spotlight, which we are forever thankful for. Marianne Eloise

4. Community

(Image credit: NBC)

Years: 2009-2015 | Seasons: 6 (but no movie)

 Before Dan Harmon wubba-lubba-dubb'd his way into internet folklore with Rick and Morty, the comedian created Community, a show filled with anarchic, playful jabs at all things pop culture. Nothing's off the table, with paintball fights becoming Western homages, an entire season being written off as a "gas leak" (after Harmon was fired before season 4), and the nerdy, meta Abed continuing to draw attention to the fact he's a character in a TV show. On the face of it, Community is a show about a group of misfits in college – but, as every Grendale Human Being knows, it's so much more. Bradley Russell

3. Fleabag

(Image credit: BBC)

Years: 2016-2019 | Seasons: 2

Based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge's one-woman stage show of the same name, Fleabag follows the traumas, family dramas, and sex life of its messy nameless heroine. While the first season was a success, the second, starring Andrew Scott as a boyish "sexy priest", saw the show go global – beloved in America and boosting the sales of jumpsuits and M&S gin and tonics. However, it's Waller-Bridge's no-holds-barred approach to difficult topics that has made her a household name. British TV had a great decade, and Fleabag is the best of the best. Marianne Eloise

2. Game of Thrones

(Image credit: HBO)

Years: 2011-2019 | Seasons: 8

Few shows have been as widely discussed as Game of Thrones. Forget the somewhat middling last season: what came before was astonishing, nail-biting television of the highest spectacle. The battles are overwhelming, with HBO digging deep into its pockets to fund ground-breaking episode after ground-breaking episode. What other show has had the guts to kill off its main hero in the first season? The conclusion may have baffled fans, but the journey was gripping. Jack Shepherd

1. Breaking Bad

(Image credit: AMC)

 Years: 2008-13, 2019 | Seasons: 5

The odyssey of Walter White gripped the world. At the beginning of the decade, the former chemistry teacher was separated from his wife and working with Gus Fring. Three years and numerous dastardly deeds later, the meth-maker was hiding in a New Hampshire cabin, ruminating over how his life came to this point. Watching White's downfall is mesmerising and wholly grounded by Bryan Cranston's startling performance. The rest of the cast – Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito to name a few – are likewise excellent, but Cranston excels. There has not been a better actor matched with character on television this decade, and there hasn't been a more enthralling show full-stop. Jack Shepherd