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Top 100 TV Shows of the 2010s

on December 30, 2019, 12:25am
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100. Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz)

 Top 100 TV Shows of the 2010s

Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz)

Even now, it’s hard to believe Ash Vs. Evil Dead actually happened. The idea of turning Sam Raimi’s splatterhouse classic into a TV series still feels like something a diehard fan would dream up on a horror message board. Yet for three seasons those same fans watched Bruce Campbell slice and dice his way through every kind of genre subversion imaginable. Not all of it worked — that third season is rocky, to say the least — but when this show grooved, it was groovier than ever. The gore was inspired, the one-liners were iconic, and the rock ‘n’ roll was always on full blast. It was a weekly midnight movie for horror hounds, and it rarely disappointed, if only because it existed. –Michael Roffman

99. The Kroll Show (Comedy Central)

Jenny Slate, Nick Kroll, Comedy Central, The Kroll Show

The Kroll Show (Comedy Central)

Manic and unpredictable, The Kroll Show was never built to last. Like a Red Bull-rattled teen, Nick Kroll’s speedy variety show could only go on so long before burning out, and the comic knew exactly when to pull the plug — at the top. For those two years, though, Kroll offered an irreverent escape, one that took itself far less seriously than his Comedy Central colleagues (see: Inside Amy Schumer and Key and Peele). While Kroll has since copped to feeling obsolescent in the shadow of those two shows, there’s a timeless currency to his brand of comedy that should endure in the years to come. After all, who could ever get tired of singing “LA Deli” or quoting “Too Much Tuna”? Impossible. –Michael Roffman

98. Dark (Netflix)

Netflix, Dark, Season Two Trailer

Dark Season Two (Netflix)

Imagine Stranger Things, but twice as German and half as cutesy, and you’ve got an inkling of Dark’s sinister, twisty appeal. Netflix’s head-scratching import starts out like a number of small-town crime dramas: a child goes missing from a sleepy German town, opening all old wounds and revealing generations-old secrets. But as Dark’s narrative expands to different time periods, and characters learn to travel through a mysterious wormhole in the caves under the local power plant, the show starts to find stranger, more intellectually meaty material for its expansive cast to explore. It’s Twin Peaks meets Quantum Leap, and it’s one of Netflix’s most under-appreciated shows. –Clint Worthington

97. This Is Us (NBC)

Mandy Moore, NBC, This Is Us,

This Is Us (NBC)

What a marvelous ride, the pilot for This Is Us. Creator Dan Fogelman lays out what seems like a handful of stories linked only by a shared birthday, but Fogelman pulls a terrific sleight-of-hand in the episode’s closing moments, revealing that the three seemingly unrelated stories are all part of the story of one family. This Is Us is still chasing that moment (the toaster? Really?), but even when the show falls short, the uniformly excellent performances remain a constant source of delight—and anything that gets Sterling K. Brown an Emmy deserves some praise. –Allison Shoemaker

96. The Great British Bake Off (BBC/PBS)

The Great British Bake Off, Cast Photo, Cakes, BBC

The Great British Bake Off (BBC:PBS)

Television has seen food porn and cooking competitions come and go, but nothing’s quite like The Great British Bake Off. Like a pristine, well laminated piece of puff pastry, the long-running series delivers layer after layer of delectable satisfaction. From the informational tidbits (build up that gluten) and quirky humor (damn you, soggy bottom) to the catchphrases (ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, BAAAKE!) and very likable contestants and judges (miss you always, Mary Berry), GBBO can soothe even the most gutted person and harshest bout of seasonal depression — and I would know. Viewers don’t necessarily walk away knowing how to perfect Frangipane or meringue, but they sure as heck enjoyed watching Noel Fielding show off his fabulous shirts, and that’s a Starbaker win in my book. –Lake Schatz

95. Review (Comedy Central)

Review, Comedy Central, Andy Daly

Review (Comedy Central)

Andy Daly is improv’s Dave Brubeck. He made god-like talent look and sound easy. It was inevitable someone would try to lasso his uncommon talent for the small screen and Review was the best vehicle imaginable. Harnessing Daly’s everyman looks and demeanor, the show posits him as the star of a bizarre reality show where he rates every experience life has to offer, from eating pancakes to divorcing the wife he loves, all in the name of ratings. His deranged boss Grant (a splendidly sadistic James Urbaniak) is quick to remind him someone is always watching when Daly balks at further ruining his life in front of the cameras. It lasted three short seasons but the scars will last a lifetime. –Scout Tafoya

94. American Vandal (Netflix)

Netflix, American Vandal, Screen Shot

American Vandal (Netflix)

#WhoDrewtheDicks? With Making a Murderer and Serial, the true-crime genre is in something of a renaissance right now, kicking off a cultural conversation about media and voyeurism that American Vandal takes side-splitting command of. Following teenage documentarians and amateur sleuths Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck) as they put local school pranks under the same serious, investigative eye as Sarah Koenig. Much of its genius comes from its pitch-perfect emulation of modern true-crime tropes, but beyond that, it also snuck in some intriguing messages about the messy, isolating social dynamics of high school. Oh, and it might be one of the most tightly-calibrated mockumentaries in recent memory. –Clint Worthington

93. The Bridge (FX)

Ted Levine, Diane Kruger, The Bridge, FX, Demián Bichir

The Bridge (FX)

FX’s inspired remake of Hans Rosenfeldt’s Scandinavian-noir crime series The Bridge deserved better. Perhaps it was the timing? Two years before Denis Villeneuve delivered Sicario and three before Trump villainized Mexico for his own political advantage, Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid were wisely commenting on the border politics plaguing America. It should have worked. The performances were top-notch, particularly the trio of Diane Kruger, Demián Bichir, and Ted Levine. The directing was cinematic. The action both tense and unnerving. Sadly, it was canceled two seasons in, leaving viewers with an ending that’s more of a cliffhanger than an impromptu finale. Que sera sera. –Michael Roffman

92. One Day at a Time (Netflix)

one day at a time netflix season 3

One Day at a Time (Netflix)

This reupholstered Norman Lear classic quickly outstripped its namesake in terms of easy charm, modern relevance, and hankie destroying sentiment. Shot in classic three camera style in front of a studio audience, the new One Day at a Time follows a family of Cuban Americans still getting the hang of navigating their identity while trying to survive in their unforgiving Los Angeles neighborhood. Justina Machado is effortlessly charismatic as single mom Penelope, raising two kids while dealing with a barrage of loving judgment from her mother (the divine Rita Moreno). The show is honest about the conservative attitudes of the Cuban household, just as its eager to introduce its audience to 21st century mores as represented by queer daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez). You’ll laugh so much you’ll have a good excuse for when you start crying. –Scout Tafoya

91. Insecure (HBO)

insecure Top 100 TV Shows of the 2010s

Insecure (HBO)

Every so often in Issa Rae’s uproarious, brutally honest HBO comedy, she finds the rare moment to rap her anxieties and stressors to her reflection in the bathroom mirror — her “mirror bitch.” These moments feel revelatory, not just because it gives us a chance to see the layers behind Rae’s beautifully nuanced lead performance, but because they feel indicative of a show (and a showrunner) paradoxically comfortable in its own skin. Insecure is a show made by black women for black women, and more than capable of showing the intricacies of their lives — their friendships, their relationships, the intersection of race into their careers — in living, vibrant color. –Clint Worthington

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