TV

The 300s Top 30 TV Shows of the Decade

With so many options to watch TV like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Apple TV+, ESPN+ and more coming, its no surprise that a huge chunk of the shows below are not on cable. As they say, the Streaming Wars have begun.

This list is comprised of picks from the staff where we ranked our Top 15 shows with No. 1 getting 15 points all the way down to No. 15 getting one point. Rankings are based on each show’s aggregate score, which seemed like the fairest way to do it. Apologies to all the shows forever in my queue, but I haven’t seen some of the more acclaimed shows like The Wire, The Leftovers or Atlanta so that hurt their overall scores. So sue me, theres a billion shows to watch and I spend approximately half my time scrolling through just trying to decide what to watch.

Also it was a Sophie’s choice of TV to pick from so I made the difficult decision of ruling that any show on this list had to have premiered in 2010 or later to truly make it a show of this decade. So no Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Lost.

Now lets get to the Top 30 shows of the decade!

No. 30 – The Missing/Rick and Morty/Making a Murderer/Trial and Error
No. 29 – Crashing
No. 28 – Narcos

“If Game of Thrones put him on the map this is the show that launched Pedro Pascal into the next stratosphere. Just an excellent Netflix original about two DEA agents taking down Medellin drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.” – Red

No. 27 – House of Cards

“It’s easy to forget about this show at this point, considering how far it went off the rails and Kevin Spacey’s cancellation, but this show was a game changer. When a two-time Academy Award winner got involved with an online streaming show, that was a sign that streaming television offerings would be worthy of our attention.” – Big Z

No. 26 – Big Mouth

“One of the funniest shows on Netflix, Big Mouth is unapologetically filthy and does a great job capturing a very specific time in all of our lives.” – Big Z

No. 25 – Homeland

“This show emerges from the ashes of the height of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts and follows CIA agent Carrie Mathieson as she tries to stop various terror threats before it’s too late, all while keeping a fairly substantial personal secret.” – Joey B

No. 24 – Master of None
No. 23 – Westworld
No. 22 – BoJack Horseman
No. 21 – Billions

“Think “Heat” but with a stock market genius that toes the line or complete disregards it and a US Attorney starving to nail him for it. All sorts of hijinx and side characters add quite the spice to this Showtime great.” – Joey B

No. 20 – The Leftovers
No. 19 – Vice Principles

No. 18 – Lovesick

“One review said Lovesick was “what How I Met Your Mother could have been” and I think that is deadly accurate. Basically a guy finds out he has the clap and needs to inform all previously partners. While he works through that list he simultaneously tries to decipher why love has evaded him so far.” – Joey B

No. 17 – Parks and Rec
No. 16 – Stranger Things
No. 15 – Shameless

“It has waxed and waned post-season 4 or 5ish but still delivers. The saga of the poverty-stricken but street smart Gallagher clan on the south side of Chicago will make you laugh and cry in the same episode.” – Joey B

No. 14 – Daredevil

“Hands down the best depiction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever put on TV. Now its worth noting a lot of those live action shows were hot garbage (couldn’t make it through the pilot of Iron Fist) and they all ultimately got cancelled, but I think that had more to do with the Streaming Wars than the quality of the shows. Daredevil is so good it will make you forget how much you hated that character after the disastrous Ben Affleck movie. Charlie Cox is the catholic with a conscience fighting crime facing off against Vincent D’Onofrio as the completely unhinged Wilson Fisk. Plus this show gave us the criminally underrated Jon Bernthal Punisher.” – Red 

No. 13 – Peaky Blinders

“I consider this the best show currently on TV. Cillian Murphy (the Scarecrow in “Batman Begins”) is a WWI vet who has returned home to Birmingham, England fairly recently and now runs his family crime syndicate using both brute force and his intimidating intellect.” – Joey B

No. 12 – Jack Ryan

“This Amazon Prime show only started in August of 2018 and already skyrocketed up to No. 12 on this list because its that good. Granted 13 Hours and The Quiet Place helped people forget about John Krasinki as Jim from The Office surprisingly quick, but Jack Ryan turned him into a bonafide action star.” – Red

No. 11 – Banshee

“The best kept secret (who the fuck watches Cinemax but not for softcore porn?) of the decade. Basically a Gomorrah of blood, gore, and nudity based around a master thief who gets out of prison and assumes the identity of a bordering-amish country small town sheriff.” – Joey B

No. 10 – Boardwalk Empire

“This is a show that for whatever reason never got the same hype as a lot of other titles on this list, but it had some of the best writing on TV with The Soprano’s Terence Winter leading the ship. It stars a perfectly cast Steve Buscemi as a corrupt politician/bootlegger turned full blown gangster. Not to mention A+ performances from Michael Shannon and Michael Kenneth Williams as flawed, morally ambiguous characters on both sides of the law.” – Red

No. 9 – Black Sails

“I wrote a whole blog about Black Sails and how I believe it got no love because people assumed it was trying to ride GOT’s coat tails with the English accents and old timey-ness (it started the same year). Either way this television precursor to Treasure Island involving pirates and colonialism was an honest to God achievement.” – Joey B

No. 8 – The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

“Even in the age of DVR this miniseries was appointment viewing. What could have easily been an extended SNL sketch featured some superb storytelling and acting. Sterling K. Brown’s performance was a highlight for me, but is was also probably John Travolta’s best work in a long, long time.” – Big Z

No. 7 – Broad City

“Broad City was basically Girls without all the preachy millennial commentary. Where Girls oftentimes embarrassed you to be a millennial, Broad City reminded you how fun it could be to be broke in the city with your best friend just getting into weird shit.” – Red

No. 6 – Watchmen

“This HBO original hasn’t even finished its first season yet and thanks to Papa Giorgio and I, its already made it to No. 6 on our top shows of the decade. Its that good. I never read the comic book, but if the 2009 Zack Snyder movie even vaguely interested you, this show is 100x better and worth the 9 hours. The show is helmed by Damon Lindelof, who I have absolutely FLAYED over the years for how badly Lost went off the rails at the end, but he has come back strong with The Leftovers and now has hit a grandslam with Watchmen. Lindelof learned from all the mistakes he made along the way to create another complex, political, downright weird world while still leaving all the breadcrumbs to tell a completely engrossing story. The penultimate episode even accomplished the rare feat of nailing time travel as Lindelof tells a story across multiple timelines in a completely coherent way.” – Red

No. 5 – Nathan for You

“Nathan For You is my comedy of the decade. It’s premise is pretty simple: Nathan Fielder presents terrible ideas to businesses with a straight face to boost sales/revenue. Fielder tricks real people into following along with his schemes and hijinx ensue. Whether it be convincing a realtor to rebrand as a “ghost realtor,” hiring a Michael Richards lookalike to leave a large tip at a restaurant to get the restaurant publicity, or conning a Best Buy employee into divulging company secrets in order to help a mom and pop electronics store sell TVs, Nathan For You is the perfect reality show we never knew we needed.” – Papa Giorgio

No. 4 – Better Call Saul

“Possibly the greatest spin off in TV history. Bob Odenkirk is outstanding in this fascinating look at Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman. This show moves a little slower than Breaking Bad, which means it would be great to binge if you haven’t been on board since Day 1. A benefit of that slower pace is a more thorough look at much of what was going on in the background on Breaking Bad. So while it’s not a thrill ride every week, it is a very satisfying character study.” – Big Z  

No. 3 – Veep

“In a long history of comedy excellence at HBO, Veep might be its finest offering. Julia Louis-Dreyfus leads an outstanding cast and took home SIX straight Emmys for her portrayal of Selina Meyer. The show won three straight Emmys for best comedy and will be heavily featured when CNN gets around to the TV episode for it’s inevitable 2010’s miniseries in a few years. Veep also boasted some of the best insults in TV history.” – Big Z 

No. 2 – True Detective: Season 1

“If there is one show that defined appointment TV before streaming completely took over the world it is True Detective. The first season was incredibly acted, directed, and told a story across timelines seamlessly. This was a show that Papa Giorgio and I started watching on a borrowed HBO Go account, which meant we had to wait an hour after it originally aired. But we became so enthralled with the show we couldn’t risk Twitter ruining who the Yellow King was for us. So we legitimately bought HBO the day of the finale so we could watch it live. And because it was a self contained anthology series you knew it was all going to come to an end after one season leading to the most fun I’ve had watching TV this decade.

Not to mention, if you’ve so much as tried to film an IG Story you can appreciate the creativity and skill it takes to pull off a SIX minute tracking shot. Meaning they used one camera for this entire action packed scene in one, continuous shot, going in and out of rooms and even over a wall in the middle of a massive shootout.” – Red

No. 1 – Game of Thrones

“This was never in doubt and if you’ve even glanced at The 300s over the last few years you shouldn’t be surprised as I’ve written tens of thousands of words about this show. Game of Thrones literally changed TV and it was the last water cooler show we’ll probably ever get. It was the last TV show that completely dominated pop culture and was something you had to watch in real time or risk Twitter spoiling it because we all were watching it at the same time.

It had its ups and downs including the poorly paced final season and the bizarre finale, but GOT changed the preconceived limits of what a TV show could accomplish. At its core though GOT was a show about politics and getting what you wanted either through smarts and wit or by brute force, but it never got away from the pursuit of power and what everyone was willing to do for that power. It created an absolute murderer’s row of iconic characters from the headliners to secondary characters like Petyr Baelish, and Ramsay Bolton, and even short lived ones like Oberyn Martell all lit up the screen with some of the best acting ever seen on TV. Along the way it won a ridiculous 59 Emmys including FOUR by Peter Dinklage for his tour de force acting. A show about medieval knights, long monologues, dragons, and snow zombies sounds like something that should have been cancelled after a month, but Game of Thrones became bigger than pop culture to truly earn its ranking as the best show of the decade.” – Red 

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