Let me start this by saying this is by no means an exhaustive list. I’m sure there’s shows that I haven’t got around to seeing yet that are just as great or even better than the stuff on this list. So, before you get all angry at me for not including Breaking Bad or Westworld on the list, it’s only because I didn’t include anything I haven’t seen every episode of. I do seem to be partial to a good comedy (a fact I hadn’t quite realised until I had to make this list). Another running theme in this list seems to be that all these shows have made me… feel? Not necessarily feel anything in particular… just, all the feels. Without further ado, here are the shows that I really enjoyed the last ten years.
1. Schitt’s Creek (2015 - present)
My love for this show is something else. I’ll admit that I was late to the party, having started to watch the show just as its fifth season was about to conclude. Now, fully caught up, I am doing a complete rewatch of the series ahead of its final season, premiering in January. Schitt’s Creek is perhaps the funniest show I’ve ever seen, putting its characters through the most ridiculous situations, although still finding a way to remain real and grounded. The first few seasons are pure comedy gold. However, starting with its second season finale, the show evolves into something so much more, displaying character growth across the board that is unparalleled. If you’re still not on board, please be my guest and jump on.
2. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Parks and Rec is probably the first sitcom that I fell completely in love with. Set in a fictional town in Indiana called Pawnee, the show focuses on the employees of the Parks and Recreation department of the local government. Each character in Parks and Rec is iconic. As if that’s not enough, it’s given birth to one of my favourite sayings in the entire universe; Treat Yo’ Self. Finally, unlike other entries on this list, the ending of the show was absolutely perfect, with just enough fan service to please the viewers, and a 100% commitment to everything the show has been over the years.
3. Fleabag (2016 - 2019)
Having been born as a one woman stage show at first, it’s no surprise that its TV show adaptation has become a complete hit. Phoebe Waller-Bridge navigates the character effortlessly, and explores that it truly means to be human. It’s a special show. Even the funniest jokes has a deeper meaning that gives the show its unique tone - one which makes you and breaks you at the same time.
4. Veep (2012 - 2019)
Chronicling the adventures of Selina Meyer, the Vice President of the United States (VP, Veep for short), the show has been vastly popular on the other side of the pond. Adapted from the British comedy, The Thick of It, Veep is a display of the cutthroat culture in politics. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has pretty much won every single award under the sun for her performance as the fictional vice president, and deservedly so. Veep is a show with no likeable characters, who are at worst horrible human beings, and at best, absolutely incompetent. And it is glorious.
5. Orange is the New Black (2013 - 2019)
I always think of Orange as the OG Netflix original show. Although the initial hype around the show died down long before the series concluded, it has made a mark in my brain, mainly for its poignant storytelling. Despite its occasionally annoying characters, the show found a way to keep touching on important, extremely relevant issues sensitively yet with a firm standpoint. I may not always agree with them, but I commend them for doing and saying things most would be scared to.
6. The Good Place (2016 - present)
Following her untimely death, Eleanor Shellstrop finds herself at the Good Place (in other words, heaven), only to quickly realise that she doesn’t belong there. For the majority of the first season, despite wondering where they’d take the show, I was convinced that the show would remain a simple study of what makes humans good or bad. There could only be so much trouble in paradise, you know? (See what I did there?) I was wrong. With what I can only describe as a genius twist, the show became something else. Another shocking twist at the end of season two also changed the game for the viewers. Although the third season was slightly wonky, it did have some of the highest highs of the entire series (Janets, anyone?). Set to conclude in the next few months, The Good Place has been a pleasure to watch. Who doesn’t love Kristen Bell anyway?
7. The Crown (2016 - present)
I’ve always had a mild fascination with the Royals. Turns out, so has everyone else, given the popularity of this show. Now in its second cast (following the conclusion of season 2, Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzes took over the roles from Claire Foy and Matt Smith to portray older versions of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip respectively). Overall, the show is breathtaking and elegant. It has some of the best acting on television, with both iterations of the Royal Family delivering a masterclass in acting. I for one cannot wait to feel like I’m peeking into the Buckingham Palace.
8. Game of Thrones (2011 - 2019)
On one hand, it hurts me to put this show this low on the list, but also hurts me to put it this high. While it was still being adapted from books, the show was excellent. Had the quality been kept up, it would have easily topped this list. However, once the showrunners surpassed the source material at the end of season 5, the quality of the show went downhill. The final season specifically was so rushed that it left pretty much every viewer dissatisfied. At its best, though, the show delivered some of the biggest moments of TV history. I don’t regret watching it one bit, but I regret watching that finale.
9. Black Mirror (2011 - present)
This is a weird one, as it doesn’t follow the structure of a conventional show. Each episode is independent of the rest, and they all touch on the impact of technology on people’s lives in one way or another, mostly leaving the viewers feeling terrified or broken. Its recent, ‘choose-your-own-adventure’-type episode was pretty much revolutionary, and honestly quite fun. Obviously, some of the stories they opt to tell are better than others, but when it’s good, it tends to be excellent.
10. The Big Bang Theory (2007 - 2019)
One of the longest running sitcoms on American TV, The Big Bang Theory is one of the defining shows of the decade, providing n enjoyable glimpse into the lives of a group of scientists As the show started to focus more on relationships and to abandon the science jokes and character building, the quality did suffer slightly. However, having recently concluded its run, the ending felt true to what the show has always been about. Friendship.