I figured it would be interesting to list and discuss our 20 favourite shows of the last 10 years. I’ve read (and listened to podcast episodes) on this topic over the last few weeks, but frankly I care less about what random people think and more about what you fine forum members think. Perhaps some parameters for our lists (or not—I’m not your boss! Do what you like!): 1) The shows must have debuted on or after January 1, 2010. So no Community or Mad Men or Breaking Bad, for example. The exception is Twin Peaks as it was marketed mostly as “Twin Peaks: The Return” and “Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series”. This isn’t a thread to discuss when a decade starts and ends (because it’s expressly not asking for your favourite shows of the last “decade”—whatever that means). 2) The shows can be on broadcast TV or a streaming service, and on any release schedule (all-at-once “bingeable” mode, once-per-week, or a hybrid). 3) Scripted TV only—so no reality shows like The Voice, The Masked Singer, talk shows, comedy specials, or documentary series (except Documentary Now!). 4) The shows much have more than one episode to qualify as a series. So, no sneaking in The Irishman or Roma. Bandersnatch is fair game, though, since it’s part of Black Mirror. 5) For anthology shows like American Horror Story and True Detective, maybe treat each season as its own separate show? Or not! 6) Try to keep your list to 20. Or not. Again, I’m not your boss! I’m doing 20, though. There has been a lot of quality television in the last 10 years (the last 20, really), so doing a classic “top 10” seemed liked a disservice. 7) The list is your personal favourites. Use whatever metrics you want. No need to needlessly qualify all your statements as being “your opinion.” If you write that something was “the best” we all assume you aren’t saying it was objectively the best and that anyone who disagrees is wrong. One more thing I would invite you all to consider is recency bias. While there were shows debuting in 2019 that were undoubtedly amazing, I personally am viewing them all a particularly critical eye. Watchmen, for example, was absolutely fantastic. Is it the best of the last 10 years? Maybe. Lastly, I think it’s fair that as a hard rule, we all agree to a no spoilers whatsoever policy. If you want to discuss any plot elements at all (and please do!), then kindly use the spoiler tag. That noted, I think it’s equally fair to say this thread is reader beware. If you click a spoiler tag for a given show, be prepared for absolutely anything to be spoiled about that show. I’m really looking forward to reading your lists! Here are my selections. Damn was this hard. My list starts with my most favourite show. I’ve written a brief commentary on my top 10, which I arbitrarily chose stopping point purely out of self-interest because I’m interesting in reading all your posts before I go on. 1. Twin Peaks: The Return Not much can be written about Twin Peaks that hasn’t already been written. At turns funny, thought-provoking, and haunting, The Return did the seemingly impossible: wrap up the Twin Peaks story yet…not? The show broke almost every rule. From ending almost every episode with an extended musical performance to an episode eight that can only be described as unfettered art (and perhaps the most interesting episode of television ever). I still think about the final scene. 2. The Leftovers If it wasn’t for Twin Peaks, The Leftovers would be number one on my list. Perhaps the only “perfect” show on my list (including Twin Peaks), there was not a single dud in the 28 episodes. Damon Lindelof and his team managed to craft the saddest show about loss and what it means to be human. It was all wrapped in a “mystery box” type show Lindelof, Carleton Cuse, and JJ Abrams are famous for—but one that never really wanted to be answered. Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon delivery performances of their careers. The spiritual two-parter of “International Assassin” and “The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)” nearly rival Twin Peaks’ episode 8. 3. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Without a doubt the funniest show on my list. If The Leftovers is a perfect show, Mrs. Maisel is probably the most polished (maybe tied with The Crown in this regard). Every piece of costume, dialogue, movement—everything—is meticulously chosen and expertly delivered. Nothing (not a single extra) is out of place. All of the actors are making choices. Nothing is phoned in. The dialogue sizzles and the show just shines. 4. Mr. Robot With Mr. Robot, Sam Esmail demonstrates his absolute mastery of the camera. His angles and framing are able to generate unease and tension like almost nobody else. Almost every episode is a visual essay on how to make the perfect shot. Like most shows on my list, the cast is phenomenal from top to bottom. Rami Malek of course does the heavy lifting, but Mr. Robot is probably the best thing Christian Slater has ever done. BD Wong steals almost every scene he’s in. Noah Hawley, Damon Lindelof, and Sam Esmail are the modern day successors to David Lynch. 5. Legion Noah Hawley proved that comic book shows can be stylish, entertaining, and challenging all at the same time. He also proved that he didn’t need the “MCU connection” but could make a show that could stand on its own. Each episode was a visual treat—moreso than even Twin Peaks or Mr. Robot. Legion is what happens when a creative team at the top of their game is allowed to do whatever they want with a small corner of one of the most lucrative pieces of IP (Marvel comics). It’s not an overstatement to say that Legion probably paved the way for visually astonishing things to come in Marvel and Star Wars. 6. Dark All but overlooked by North American audiences (and indeed this forum and most critical review sites), Dark is a German-language mind-bending time travel show about family, the nature of good and evil, and point of view. Seemingly every aspect of the show is a clue to unravel the greater mystery. But Dark isn’t like LOST (though it sort of is…) or The Leftovers, because it’s abundantly clear that the show is driving toward an ending (three seasons are planned) and with each episode you can almost hear the pieces slide into place. The final season isn’t out yet and so I can’t say that Dark “sticks the landing.” So far, however, it doesn’t jerk the viewer around. 7. The Crown Like Mrs. Maisel, The Crown is meticulously crafted and dialogue-driven. It’s also utterly gorgeous to look at. By loosely adapting actual people and history events the show is arguably working against a harder-than-usual degree of difficulty. Add to this an almost complete cast change every two seasons. Yet The Crown continues to deliver on every level episode after episode. The writing is as actor’s dream: almost every scene is a monologue or audition-worthy piece. 8. Halt and Catch Fire Another critically acclaimed show that never seemed to reach any sort of mass appeal, Halt and Catch Fire paired the evolution of friendship, business partnership, and family, with the evolution of computers and the internet. This was a scrappy little show that saw standout performances from Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy, but especially from Kerry Bishe and Mackenzie Davis. There’s a scene in the final season—the “Phoenix scene”—that I would count amongst the most beautiful and heartfelt two minutes in any episode of any show on my list. 9. Daredevil Daredevil is the rare combination of phenomenal camera work, stunt work, and choreography all wrapped up in a comic book plot that largely makes sense and characters making believable choices. Out of all the “bingeable” shows on my list, no show made me want to watch the next episode like Daredevil did. It’s not the most challenging or inventive show on my list, but it’s incredibly entertaining and one of my favourites. 10. The Americans The Americans is perhaps the slowest of slow burns on my list. Like The Leftovers, The Americans examines family. The entire main cast (okay, maybe not Henry…) gets multiple opportunities to shine across the four seasons. The American’s has some of the tensest moments in recent television. At times it’s the pinnacle of taught thriller. 11. Barry 12. Black Mirror 13. Black Sails 14. Rick and Morty 15. True Detective 16. Watchmen 17. Mindhunter 18. Stranger Things 19. Westworld 20. Sherlock Honourable Mentions (no particular order, and I’ve noted why they were each excluded): a) The Mandalorian Excluded for recency bias. That noted, The Mandalorian is probably amongst the finest Star Wars content there is. b) Russian Doll Also excluded for recency bias. c) Maniac Another show excluded for recency bias and for thematic/stylistic overlap with Twin Peaks, Mr. Robot, Legion, Russian Doll, and Watchmen. Even I can have too much weird! d) Homecoming Excluded to avoid too much Sam Esmail (although I broke that rule with Lindelof’s The Leftovers and Watchmen…). e) Chernobyl I think the decision to use British actors doing Russian accents (instead of subtitling Russian dialogue) kept this fantastic mini-series from being truly excellent. f) Rectify Excluded because while excellent from technical and performance standpoints, the subject matter is so disturbing and viscerally explored that I never want to watch it again. Second only to The Leftovers for the saddest show on my list. g) Fargo Excluded to avoid too much Noah Hawley.