TV critics name the 20 best shows of the decade

Oh my god, the decade is almost over. In just under two months, be ringing in the 2020s. Anybody up for the return of Prohibition? No?

This means that it’s time to look back on the past 10 years of pop culture and decide what shows and movies and books stood out. To that end, World of Reel solicited ballots from 100 TV critics from places like IndieWire, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, The A.V. Club, Forbes, The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

Each of the critics were asked to submit a list of five shows, unranked, that they thought were the highlights of the decade. We here at WiC weren’t asked, but we probably would have just put down Game of Thrones five times, so it’s just as well. Anyway, from that process World of Reel distilled this list of the 20 Best TV Shows of the 2010s!

  1. Breaking Bad (AMC)
  2. Mad Men (AMC)
  3. Fleabag (BBC)
  4. The Leftovers (HBO)
  5. Game of Thrones (HBO)
  6. Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
  7. The Americans (FX)
  8. Atlanta (FX)
  9. Bojack Horseman (Netflix)
  10. Veep (HBO)
  11. Better Call Saul (AMC)
  12. Justified (FX)
  13. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
  14. Hannibal (NBC)
  15. The Good Wife (CBS)
  16. Succession (HBO)
  17. Enlightened (HBO)
  18. American Crime Story (FX)
  19. Rectify (SundanceTV)
  20. The Good Place (NBC)

Now, some of these shows — including Breaking Bad and Mad Men — didn’t actually start in the 2010s, but because they had the bulk of their runs in that decade, they’re considered fair game. Likewise, shows like Fleabag and Succession are just getting going and probably have a lot of years ahead of them, if the TV gods are good, but they’re here anyway.

There may be a bit of recency bias at work here. Are we really prepared to call Fleabag the third best show of the decade two seasons in? I like it and all, but even sticking to comedies, I can’t see it getting the nod this early in its run over completed shows like Veep or Parks and Recreation or BoJack Horseman. Or, importantly, Game of Thrones.

Look, this is a Game of Thrones site, so I’m biased. But however you feel about the final season of the show, I think denying that it was the television event of the 2010s is…well, it’s a choice.

Also, I feel like the list is trolling me by having Twin Peaks: The Return that high. I’m a Twin Peaks fan from way back, but that was some hot nonsense.

But of course, all opinions are welcome and beautiful here in the digital garden of ideas. And on the plus side, it’s hard to argue with a show as good as Breaking Bad in the top spot. What do you all make of the list? If you’re interested, you can see what specific critics cast their votes for here.

Next: John Oliver suggests some killer Game of Thrones prequels

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