The 20 Best TV Shows of the 2010s, According to Critics

Carrie Coon stars in The Leftovers.
Carrie Coon stars in The Leftovers. / HBO

There’s a downside to living through the “Golden Age of Television,” the title given to the era of prestige television that came in the wake of HBO’s The Sopranos (1999-2007): There’s just too much of it to consume.

To help them decide, viewers sometimes rely on critics. But, as review aggregate site Metacritic points out, it can be hard to get a sense of a show’s overall appeal based on reviews of individual episodes or seasons—especially when only a handful of episodes might have been made available early to press.

To help cut through the noise, the site used best-of decade lists issued by entertainment journalists to compile a top 25 list of the best shows that aired from 2010 to 2019. The list is based on a points system, so if a series took first place on one critic’s list, it got 3 points; second place on another list netted 2 points, and so on.

Here are the Metacritic rankings:

  1. The Leftovers (2014-2017) // 42 points
  2. Fleabag (2016-2019) // 41.5 points
  3. Game of Thrones (2011-2019) // 38 points
  4. Breaking Bad (2008-2013) // 36.5 points
  5. The Americans (2013-2018) // 36 points
  6. Atlanta (2016-Present) // 34 points
  7. Mad Men (2007-2015) // 22 points
  8. BoJack Horseman (2014-2020) // 21 points
  9. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) // 20 points
  10. Stranger Things (2016-Present) // 16 points
  11. The Good Place (2016-2020) // 15 points (Tie)
  12. Hannibal (2013-2015) // 15 points (Tie)
  13. Veep (2012-2019) // 12 points
  14. Twin Peaks: The Return (2017 // 12.5 points)
  15. Better Call Saul (2015-2022) // 10 points)
  16. Justified (2010-2015) // 9 points
  17. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021)
  18. Succession (2018-Present) // 7.5 points (Tie)
  19. Watchmen (2019) // 7.5 points (Tie)
  20. The Walking Dead (2010-2022) // 6 points (Tie)

Is this the infallible list of the absolute best shows to air in the last decade? Probably not. (No Cobra Kai, for one thing.) But if you’ve got some bing-ing time over the holidays and spot some shows you haven’t seen, now might be a good time to give them a shot.

Do you love television? Do you spend most weekends lounging on the couch binge-watching your favorite TV shows? Would you like to learn some incredibly fascinating facts about the best series of the past 20 years and the people who made them? Then pick up our new book, The Curious Viewer: A Miscellany of Streaming Bingeable Shows from the Last 20 Years, available now.