The Best 10 Tv Shows Of The Decade: Defining The Era

In recent years, the television landscape has witnessed a proliferation of shows that have captivated audiences and left an indelible mark on popular culture. This article aims to examine the best 10 TV shows of the decade, which have not only entertained but also defined the era in terms of their cultural significance and impact.

These shows span various genres and themes, ranging from crime dramas like Breaking Bad and epic fantasies such as Game of Thrones to dystopian tales like The Handmaid’s Tale and thought-provoking anthologies like Black Mirror.

By analyzing these series through an academic lens, this article provides an objective assessment of their merits based on critical acclaim, viewership ratings, awards recognition, and cultural influence.

By exploring these influential TV shows comprehensively, this article seeks to offer insight into how they have shaped the medium over the past decade while providing readers with a comprehensive overview of noteworthy programs in contemporary television.

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad, a critically acclaimed television series that aired from 2008 to 2013, stands as a testament to the transformative power of storytelling, deftly navigating morally ambiguous themes while offering viewers an immersive and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition.

The show chronicles the moral decline of its protagonist, Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer. Breaking Bad challenges traditional notions of morality by portraying Walter’s transformation from an ordinary family man into a ruthless criminal mastermind. This evolution captivates audiences by delving deep into the depths of Walter’s psyche and examining the complex motivations behind his actions.

Additionally, Breaking Bad has had a profound impact on the antihero archetype in television. Its success paved the way for other morally ambiguous protagonists who blur the lines between good and evil, leaving a lasting legacy on storytelling in the television landscape.

Game of Thrones

Revered for its intricate storytelling and sprawling world-building, Game of Thrones captivated audiences with its multi-layered characters, political intrigue, and epic battles. The impact of Game of Thrones on the fantasy genre cannot be overstated. It redefined the boundaries of what a television show could achieve in terms of production value and scale.

With its complex characters and unpredictable plot twists, the series pushed the boundaries of traditional fantasy storytelling, introducing morally ambiguous protagonists and challenging conventional narrative tropes.

However, despite its immense popularity, Game of Thrones faced significant criticism for its controversial series finale. Many viewers felt let down by the rushed pacing and unsatisfying character arcs. The divisive ending highlighted the challenge of concluding a complex narrative that had captured the imagination of millions.

Nevertheless, Game of Thrones will forever be remembered as a groundbreaking series that transformed television and left an indelible mark on popular culture. Its influence can still be seen in subsequent fantasy shows that strive to emulate its success in both scope and character development.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead, known for its post-apocalyptic setting and exploration of human nature in extreme circumstances, has had a significant impact on the television landscape with its unique blend of horror, drama, and character-driven storytelling.

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The show’s success can be attributed to its ability to evolve the concept of zombies from their origins in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead to a more nuanced portrayal in The Walking Dead.

By focusing not just on the terror that zombies inflict but also on the ways in which survivors adapt and confront their own demons, the show offers a fresh perspective on post-apocalyptic narratives.

It taps into societal fears surrounding collapse and explores how individuals navigate complex moral dilemmas when faced with limited resources and constant danger.

This exploration resonates with an audience seeking liberation from conventional norms by challenging established social structures through its examination of power dynamics and survival instincts.

Stranger Things

Set in the 1980s, Stranger Things takes viewers on a nostalgic journey through a small town filled with supernatural events and government conspiracies. The show captivates its audience with its unique blend of horror, science fiction, and mystery.

‘Upside Down: Analyzing the supernatural elements in Stranger Things’ is a key aspect of the show’s appeal. The Upside Down is a parallel dimension that serves as an eerie setting for otherworldly creatures and unexplained phenomena. It adds an element of suspense and intrigue to the storyline, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.

Another notable aspect of Stranger Things is its ‘Nostalgic Vibes: Exploring the 80s references in Stranger Things’. The show pays homage to iconic films, music, and pop culture from the 1980s. From classic arcade games to Walkie-Talkies, every detail is meticulously crafted to transport viewers back in time. This attention to detail creates a sense of familiarity and relatability for audiences who experienced or grew up during that era.

Stranger Things has become synonymous with quality storytelling and impeccable world-building. Its supernatural elements and nostalgic vibes have contributed to making it one of the best TV shows of the decade, defining an era where liberation from reality through captivating narratives holds great significance for audiences.

The Office

Examining the workplace dynamics and comedic elements in The Office allows viewers to gain a deeper understanding of the characters’ interactions and the humor that arises from their daily routines. This popular show, set in the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, explores the comedic brilliance and workplace dynamics through its mockumentary style format.

The following list highlights key aspects that contribute to its cultural impact:

1) Relatable characters: The Office presents a diverse cast of characters, each with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Viewers can easily identify with these relatable personalities, making the show highly engaging.

2) Satirical portrayal of office culture: Through its satirical depiction of mundane office tasks and corporate bureaucracy, The Office effectively critiques modern work environments, resonating with audiences who desire liberation from monotonous routines.

3) Character development and moral complexity: As the series progresses, characters such as Michael Scott and Jim Halpert undergo significant growth. This exploration of character development adds depth to the show’s comedic moments while also addressing moral complexities within interpersonal relationships.

The Office’s influence on the mockumentary genre cannot be overstated. Its unique blend of comedy and workplace dynamics has paved the way for numerous shows that similarly explore everyday life in an entertaining manner.

Mad Men

Mad Men, a critically acclaimed television series, delves into the intricate world of advertising agencies in 1960s America, portraying the high-pressure environment and complex interpersonal relationships within the industry. This show explores the cultural impact of ‘Mad Men’ through its depiction of fashion and advertising during this era. The characters in ‘Mad Men’ are richly developed, with complex personalities and moral ambiguity. They navigate through personal struggles while attempting to succeed in their professional lives. The table below showcases some key aspects of the show:

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Aspects Description
Fashion ‘Mad Men’ captures the fashion trends of 1960s America, showcasing stylish outfits and iconic looks that continue to inspire today.
Advertising The show provides insight into the world of advertising agencies during this time period, highlighting both innovative campaigns and ethical dilemmas faced by these professionals.

‘Mad Men’ has left a lasting impact on popular culture by shedding light on the societal norms and challenges faced by individuals working in advertising during the 1960s. Its exploration of fashion and advertising as well as its portrayal of complex character development make it a significant contribution to television history.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation, a popular television series, explores the humorous and often chaotic world of local government in Pawnee, Indiana, shedding light on the challenges faced by public servants and their efforts to improve the community. The show captivates audiences with its witty writing, lovable characters, and clever satirical commentary on bureaucracy.

  • Pawnee’s quirkiest characters: A deep dive into the beloved personalities of Parks and Recreation reveals a rich tapestry of quirky individuals who bring life to the show. From Ron Swanson’s rugged individualism to April Ludgate’s deadpan humor, each character adds a unique flavor to the narrative.

  • The legacy of Leslie Knope: At the heart of Parks and Recreation is the indomitable Leslie Knope, portrayed by Amy Poehler. Leslie’s unwavering dedication to her work inspires viewers and showcases a strong female lead in a male-dominated field. Her influence extends beyond television as she has become an emblem for empowering women in politics.

With its endearing characters and positive portrayal of public service, Parks and Recreation leaves behind a lasting legacy that celebrates both humor and civic responsibility.

The Crown

‘The Crown,’ a critically acclaimed television series, offers a compelling glimpse into the British monarchy, delving into the complex relationships and historical events that have shaped the institution over the years.

Historical accuracy plays a significant role in portraying the British monarchy in ‘The Crown.’ The show meticulously researches and recreates key moments in history, allowing viewers to better understand and appreciate the challenges faced by Queen Elizabeth II and her predecessors.

Moreover, ‘The Crown’ explores character development through its depiction of Queen Elizabeth II’s evolution throughout various seasons. From her early days as a young monarch grappling with her new responsibilities to navigating personal and political crises, the series presents a multidimensional portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II that captures her growth and resilience.

Through its meticulous attention to detail and nuanced character development, ‘The Crown’ provides an engrossing and informative exploration of the British monarchy.

Black Mirror

‘Black Mirror,’ a thought-provoking anthology series, offers a chilling and dystopian exploration of the potential consequences of our increasingly technology-dependent society. The show delves into various themes such as surveillance, social media obsession, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Each episode presents a different narrative with its own unique set of characters and settings while maintaining an overarching focus on the dark side of technological advancements.

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The impact and cultural relevance of ‘Black Mirror’ on society cannot be underestimated. By presenting cautionary tales about the potential dangers of our addiction to technology, the show serves as a wake-up call for viewers. It prompts us to question our reliance on gadgets and social media platforms that are becoming increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives.

Through its thought-provoking storytelling, ‘Black Mirror’ encourages critical thinking about the ethical implications surrounding technology and urges us to consider the long-term consequences it may have on humanity.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Set in a dystopian society, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ offers a harrowing depiction of the oppression and subjugation faced by women, serving as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of extreme religious fundamentalism. This feminist dystopia serves as an important political commentary, shedding light on issues such as gender inequality and the erosion of individual freedoms. The Handmaid’s Tale presents a future where women are stripped of their rights and reduced to mere vessels for procreation, highlighting the dangers of patriarchal control over reproductive choices. It confronts viewers with uncomfortable truths about power dynamics and the vulnerability of marginalized groups in society. Through its compelling narrative and thought-provoking themes, this TV show resonates with audiences who desire liberation from oppressive systems.

Pros Cons
Powerful portrayal of female oppression Can be emotionally distressing
Thought-provoking social commentary Some find it too bleak
Strong performances by the cast Slow pacing at times
Raises awareness about women’s rights Not suitable for all viewers

In summary, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ stands out as a feminist dystopia that provides critical political commentary while addressing themes that resonate with those seeking liberation from oppressive structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many seasons does each of these TV shows have?

The number of seasons for each of the top 10 TV shows that defined the era varies. The longevity and fan following of these shows can be attributed to their significant impact on popular culture.

Are any of these TV shows based on books or other source material?

Yes, some of these TV shows are based on books or other source material. It would be interesting to explore if there are any notable differences between the adaptations and the source material, as well as any upcoming TV shows based on these books.

Are any of these TV shows still currently airing new episodes?

There are no upcoming seasons for the TV shows in question. Some popular TV shows that have recently ended include Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and The Big Bang Theory.

Have any of these TV shows won major awards?

Some of the TV shows mentioned in the list have indeed won major awards, indicating their recognition and acclaim within the industry. These accolades further validate their worthiness to be watched by audiences with a dedicated fan base.

Are there any spin-off shows or related content connected to these TV shows?

Spin-off shows and related content are connected to some of these TV shows. These additions contribute to the overall success and popularity of the original shows by expanding the fictional universe, exploring new characters or storylines, and engaging fans with fresh content.


In conclusion, the television shows mentioned above have significantly impacted the entertainment industry over the past decade. These shows, such as Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things, have captivated audiences with their compelling storylines and exceptional performances.

With a diverse range of genres and narratives, these TV series have defined an era in television by pushing boundaries and delivering thought-provoking content. From dramatic masterpieces like The Crown to dystopian tales like Black Mirror, these shows have left a lasting impression on viewers worldwide.

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