It’s been a long, glorious decade for television, especially since people in college right now probably didn’t start watching adult TV until the decade began. Here’s a rundown of the absolute best shows to grace the small screen over the past 10 years, and don’t worry, it’s completely biased.
2010: “Sherlock” and “The Walking Dead”
“Sherlock” was the BBC’s second favorite child in the early ‘10s, with middle schoolers and high schoolers mooning over Benedict Cumberbatch and his intense, socially inept manner. Every season of “Sherlock” only had a few episodes, but each episode was the length of a feature film, with just as much detail and intrigue as a Sherlock Holmes movie. Fans were torn apart as they fought the urge to ship Sherlock with his partner John when he could just as easily get with Moriarty, Molly or Irene.
“The Walking Dead” and its comic series lasted pretty much the entire decade, with the comic series only ending this past summer. The show created many memorable, lifelike characters including Rick, Carl and Glenn, who viewers couldn’t help but get attached to. The show’s reliance on zombie-driven action and death kept viewers tuning in for countless seasons, despite zero character development.
2011: “New Girl” and “Game of Thrones”
“New Girl” did something most sitcoms in the past have been unable to achieve: Every character was likeable, and the final season was just as good as the first. Jess, Nick, Winston, CeCe, Schmidt and Coach were all well-developed characters, whose personalities and behavior only intensified as the show went on. Viewers tuned in for the realistic problems the characters faced, the series-long, un-disappointing ships and the cute traditions of the characters, as well as the tasteful humor that prevented any episode from becoming too serious.
“Game of Thrones” grew popular due to the fact that the writers were willing to kill anyone, regardless of their popularity or importance to the fan base. The epic fantasy created by George R. R. Martin is centered around the most diverse and detailed universe since “Lord of the Rings.” It finished last May and kept its audience guessing until the final episode, which ended up being one of the biggest television events of the decade.
2012: Nothing notable came out that year.
2013: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is probably the most popular comedic cop show since “Psych.” With its main character Jake Peralta played by Andy Samberg from “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) and many of its guest stars also coming from SNL, the show is able to make crimes funnier than ever.
2014: Nothing notable came out that year.
2015: “iZombie” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
“iZombie” was born during the zombie craze created by “The Walking Dead” and “Zombieland,” but this time, the zombie is a fully functioning medical resident who gets a job at a coroner’s office for easier access to brains. By eating a piece of someone’s brain, she is able to absorb that person’s memories and help solve how they were murdered. It’s less comedic than “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” as far as cop shows go, but the characters are interesting and the plot is addictive.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is one of the few successful musical TV shows on the market. It follows the stressed-out lawyer Rebecca Bunch as she stalks her summer camp boyfriend from New York City to West Covina, California. The songs are all hilarious and artfully done in a variety of styles.
2016: “The Good Place”
“The Good Place” follows Eleanor, a hilarious, imperfect person who can’t believe she ended up in heaven. It has everything from humor, romance, misdirection, cliffhangers and technical difficulties to keep the plot going and viewers engaged and excited for each episode they watch.
2017: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a masterpiece following the story of Midge, a woman in the late ‘50s who discovers her talent as a standup comedian after her husband leaves her for another woman. The clothing in this show is incredible, especially compared to other attempts at period pieces. Midge’s jokes, while sometimes outdated for those living in the 2010s, are hilarious, and her character as a whole is nicely well-rounded and complex. The true talent of this show is the writers’ ability to make the audience both hate her husband for leaving her but also pity him and ship them back together.
2018: Nothing came out that year that anyone’s ever heard of.
While this show wasn’t the most popular show of 2019 (that was probably “Chernobyl,” but the radiation poisoning made it hard to watch beyond the first episode), it was definitely the most important and most necessary to watch all the way through. It followed the true story of Marie Adler who after being raped in 2008 wasn’t believed by anyone, including the police, her ex-foster parents, her ex-boyfriend and the guidance counselors in her apartment complex. Then in 2011 two detectives solving a serial rapist case discovered that Adler was the rapist’s first victim and that he could have been stopped if people had only believed her.
Dozens of popular, fantastic shows beyond those listed here were released over the past decade and are sure to be watched for decades to come. The television channels and streaming services of the 2010s were definitely good to us.
Rebecca Maher is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.