Television shows have come a long way in recent years, with the past decade seeing an explosion of high-quality, thought-provoking shows that have become household names. From gritty crime dramas to sweeping fantasy epics, there’s something for everyone when it comes to TV series.
In this article, we will take a look at the best TV series of the past decade, highlighting the ones that have captured audiences’ attention and set the standard for what great television should be. We’ll explore the various genres that have emerged, the unique qualities that make each show stand out, and what we can learn from these groundbreaking series.
Breaking Bad follows the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who turns to making and selling methamphetamine after being diagnosed with cancer. The show explores the consequences of Walter’s actions, as well as the toll it takes on his family and friends.
The show is a masterclass in character development, with Walter’s transformation from meek teacher to ruthless drug lord being both compelling and terrifying. The writing is top-notch, with each episode building on the last, and the acting is superb, with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul delivering standout performances.
Game of Thrones
Based on the bestselling book series by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones is a sweeping epic that follows the struggle for power between various noble houses in the fictional world of Westeros. The show is known for its complex storylines, intricate world-building, and shocking twists.
Game of Thrones is a visual feast, with stunning landscapes and intricate costumes bringing the world of Westeros to life. The acting is also superb, with standout performances from Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, and Kit Harington.
Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, Stranger Things follows a group of friends as they investigate supernatural events in their town, including the disappearance of one of their own. The show is an homage to classic 80s movies and TV shows, with nods to everything from E.T. to The Goonies. Stranger Things is a perfect blend of horror, comedy, and heartwarming coming-of-age story. The show’s talented young cast delivers excellent performances, and the writing is both gripping and nostalgic.
Eleven, is one of the standout characters in “Stranger Things.” From the moment she appears on screen, she captivates audiences with her mysterious and powerful presence. As a young girl with psychokinetic abilities, Eleven brings a unique perspective to the group of friends she joins. Her struggles with isolation, trauma, and identity make her a complex and compelling character to watch. Brown’s performance is nothing short of remarkable, as she seamlessly transitions between Eleven’s vulnerable and fierce sides.
The Crown is a historical drama series that has captivated audiences with its intricate storytelling and stunning production design. The show follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II from her early years to the present day, exploring the personal and political challenges faced by the Queen as well as the major events of her reign. The attention to detail in the show is unparalleled, from the meticulous recreations of historical events to the stunning costumes and sets.
What makes The Crown truly special, however, is its outstanding performances by the cast. Claire Foy and Olivia Colman both deliver powerful performances as Queen Elizabeth II, capturing her strength, vulnerability, and humanity. Other standout performances include Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret and Matt Smith as Prince Philip. The writing is also exceptional, with each episode offering a rich and nuanced exploration of its subject matter.
Mad Men is a period drama series that is set in the 1960s and follows the lives of advertising executives at a New York advertising agency. The show explores themes of identity, power, and morality, as well as the changing social and cultural landscape of the 1960s. What sets Mad Men apart from other dramas is its attention to detail, both in terms of the historical accuracy of its setting and in the development of its characters.
The writing in Mad Men is exceptional, with each episode offering a complex and nuanced exploration of its subject matter.The show draws rich and multi-dimensional characters, each struggling to navigate the complex social and political landscape of the 1960s. Additionally, it has gained renown for its stunning production design, encompassing everything from costumes and sets to music and cinematography.
The Americans is a spy thriller series set during the Cold War, which follows two KGB agents posing as an American couple in suburban Washington, D.C. The show explores themes of identity, loyalty, and patriotism, as well as the personal and professional challenges faced by the characters. What sets The Americans apart from other dramas is its intense and suspenseful storytelling, which keeps audiences on the edge of their seats throughout the series.
The acting in The Americans is also outstanding, with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys both delivering powerful and nuanced performances as the lead characters. The show is also known for its attention to detail, from the period-accurate costumes and sets to the music and cinematography.
Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul is a prequel to the critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad, which follows the life of the small-time lawyer, Jimmy McGill, who later transforms into the infamous criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. The show explores themes of morality, loyalty, and ambition, as well as the personal and professional challenges faced by Jimmy. What sets Better Call Saul apart from other dramas is its excellent writing, which offers a nuanced and complex exploration of its subject matter.
The acting in Better Call Saul is also exceptional, with Bob Odenkirk delivering a powerful and nuanced performance as Jimmy. Other standout performances include Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut and Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler. The show is also known for its stunning cinematography and attention to detail, which transport audiences to the gritty and dangerous world of Breaking Bad.
Peaky Blinders is a British crime drama series set in the aftermath of World War I, which follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in Birmingham, England. The show explores themes of power, loyalty, and family, as well as the political and social landscape of post-war England. What sets Peaky Blinders apart from other dramas is its distinctive visual style, which combines gritty realism with stylized imagery.
The acting in Peaky Blinders is outstanding, with Cillian Murphy delivering a powerful and nuanced performance as the lead character, Tommy Shelby. Other standout performances include Helen McCrory as Polly Gray and Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons. The writing is also exceptional, with each episode offering a rich and nuanced exploration of its subject matter.
The crime drama series, Mindhunter, is set in the late 1970s and follows a team of FBI agents who conduct interviews with serial killers to understand their motivations and behavior. The show is also notable for its attention to detail, which immerses audiences into the world of criminal profiling and investigation. The show explores themes of psychology, criminal justice, and the nature of evil, as well as the personal and professional challenges faced by the characters. What sets Mindhunter apart from other dramas is its innovative approach to storytelling, which combines true crime with character-driven drama.
The acting in Mindhunter is exceptional, with Jonathan Groff delivering a powerful and nuanced performance as the lead character, Holden Ford. Other standout performances include Holt McCallany as Bill Tench and Anna Torv as Wendy Carr. The writing is also outstanding, with each episode offering a rich and nuanced exploration of its subject matter. Audiences are transported to the world of criminal profiling and investigation through the show’s stunning cinematography and attention to detail.
Locke & Key
Locke & Key is a supernatural horror drama series based on the comic book series of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. The show follows the Locke family as they move into their ancestral home, the Keyhouse, and discover a set of magical keys that unlock various powers and secrets within the house. The series examines themes of grief, trauma, and family bonds, as well as the repercussions of releasing dark forces that humans have sealed away for centuries.
The acting in Locke & Key is solid, with standout performances from Darby Stanchfield as the matriarch of the Locke family, Nina, and Connor Jessup as the troubled and angsty teen, Tyler. The series also boasts impressive production design and special effects, with the Keyhouse itself serving as a central and eerie character in the show. Although the first season received mixed reviews, fans have praised the second season for its improved pacing and character development, leading to a dedicated fan base for the series.
Sum It Up!
Television shows have come a long way in the past decade, with an explosion of high-quality, thought-provoking series that have captured audiences’ attention and set the standard for great television. These series showcase the diversity of genres and unique qualities that make them stand out, from complex characters, intricate world-building, stunning production design, exceptional writing, outstanding performances, and attention to detail. These groundbreaking series offer rich and nuanced explorations of their subject matter, making them must-watch shows for anyone who appreciates great storytelling.