The 101 Best TV Shows of the Decade: The Definitive List You’ve Been Waiting For

This is my personal list of the top 100 101* programs of the decade. 

I only considered programs that premiered after January 1, 2010. If you get mad about an omission, there’s a 98% chance that the show you’re cranky about premiered before that date. I’m almost annoyed at myself for imposing that limitation, because it means I can’t include Men of a Certain Age, which is so, so great (and which premiered in December 2009). But that’s the rule I decided on, so it is what it is. 

Here’s what I decided not to consider for the list: Commentary programs (like “Full Frontal”), documentaries, comedy specials or any kind of reality TV. Though I didn’t set out to exclude it, I also ended up without any shows primarily aimed at kids. No hate for any of these genres: I just ended up organically focusing on the kinds of scripted storytelling I love. 

So this list consists of scripted TV released in the last decade that I saw and liked enough overall to put it on this list. My best-of-the-decade roster would have been much longer if I could have put selected seasons of some shows on it. But I went with the “all or nothing” approach. There are shows below that had occasional dips in quality, but they also had something special, were pretty consistently good and/or had a number of excellent or great runs during their lifespans, so they made the cut. And of course some of these programs are notably more ambitious than others! But they each brought something special to the game and I am glad I watched them all. 

I wonder if you will be able to tell what my all-time fave of the decade is. And by the way, if you want more recommendations, here are my lists of the best TV of 2019 and the best TV of 2018. There are yet more best-of lists at the end of this post.

Where to see these shows depends on what country you live in and what company has the rights to a particular show at a given point in time. Given that those circumstances can and do change, I’d consult if you want to know where to find all this delicious content. 

I watched a lot of TV in the past decade. A lot. Probably more than is strictly advisable. No regrets. This is the best of what I saw.  Let’s get into it, shall we?

One-hours, in alphabetical order

The Americans

Better Call Saul



Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

The Crown 

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

The Expanse*


Game of Thrones

Gentleman Jack

The Good Fight 

Halt and Catch Fire 


Happy Valley 

The Hour 

Into the Badlands 


Jane the Virgin 



The Knick

The Last Tycoon 

The Leftovers

Lost Girl 


Marvel’s Agent Carter 

Mary Kills People 

Mr. Robot 

My Brilliant Friend 

Orange Is the New Back 

Peaky Blinders 

Penny Dreadful 



Les Revenants/The Returned




Stranger Things 

Strike Back




Top of the Lake 



Wynonna Earp

Half-hours, in alphabetical order 

American Vandal



Better Things 

Big Mouth


BoJack Horseman

Broad City 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 


Derry Girls




Fresh Off the Boat 


The Good Place 

Happy Endings

I Love Dick


Key & Peele

Master of None 

New Girl

One Day at a Time 

One Mississippi 

Regular Show


Russian Doll 

Schitt’s Creek 




Survivor’s Remorse 


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

A Young Doctor’s Notebook

You’re the Worst 

Movies and limited series, in alphabetical order

Alias Grace

And Then There Were None 


The Honorable Woman 

The Little Drummer Girl 

London Spy 

National Treasure 

National Treasure: Kiri 

The Night Of

Olive Kitteridge 

The Pacific 

The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story 

The Night Manager 

A Very English Scandal 

When They See Us 

Wolf Hall 

Update on Dec. 10, 2019: Edited to remove Doctor Who, which had a good decade but, as my son pointed out, premiered decades ago. I knew that! But I had a brainfail on that front. Rather than use a TARDIS to permanently erase this error from the timeline, I removed DW and added Regular Show, which — as my son also pointed out — we both enjoyed a great deal. The point here is that my son is excellent.

*Update on Dec. 31, 2019: When first published, this roster had 100 shows, but I’ve now added The Expanse to make it 101. The Amazon drama released its fourth season four days after this list came out. Around the middle of the show’s second season, I fell behind on The Expanse, in large part due to Peak TV glut and various other time-devouring commitments. Fortunately I’ve had time lately to get caught up, and we finished Season 4 on Dec. 31, 2019. It’s a late-breaking and deserving addition to the list!