Many have referred to the last ten years as the Golden Age of Television. With some of the best shows we’ve ever had the luck to see gracing our television screens in the last decade, it’s almost impossible to choose what could be considered the “best” and what could be considered the “worst.”
While that’s all so subjective, people do generally have the ability to come to a consensus and a common ground, and that’s definitely the case with the best television shows of the decade. IMDb users cast their votes and came up with what they consider to be the best of the best from 2010 through 2019.
10 The Vietnam War
The very first entry on this list may come as a shock to many, but it has most certainly earned its spot here in the top ten. It’s the ten-part documentary miniseries The Vietnam War, created by god-king Ken Burns in conjunction with director Lynn Novick and writer Geoffrey C. Ward.
With a 9.1 rating from the general populace of IMDb, this PBS documentary series is considered to not only be one of the best documentaries about the Vietnam War but could even be one of the greatest documentaries, period, of our time.
Anyone with an Internet connection knows that Sherlock Holmes saw an absolutely bananas surge in popularity over the course of the last decade, mostly due to the BBC crime drama Sherlock. The show first aired in 2011 and was insanely well-received on the Internet, with an entire fandom dedicated to Sherlock springing up seemingly overnight.
Despite the fact that the show has only gotten fifteen total episodes since 2011, it still has legions of dedicated followers eagerly awaiting a potential fifth season, which is constantly getting teased by the showrunners. With such immense popularity, it’s not surprising IMDb users rated Sherlock with 9.1/10 stars.
8 Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty is a show which attracted legions of fans from the start. It is an Adult Swim/Cartoon Network cult hit that first aired in 2013 and is still producing new episodes as we speak.
Rick and Morty has some of the most intense superfans of any show that was released this decade. Likely, most of them logged right onto IMDb to help out with the polls too, and gave Rick and Morty a total of 9.2 stars on the database.
7 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
In 1980, Carl Sagan used to come on PBS to share the vast knowledge of the cosmos with viewers on Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The show was so captivating, so informative, and so profoundly beautiful that, in 2014, a follow-up series titled Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey was born.
Like the original, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey captivated audiences instantly. With astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson taking over the Carl Sagan role, the show explores scientific concepts with its viewers to help them understand the basics of the universe we live in. With 9.2/10 stars, this documentary series is actually meant to be getting a sequel series soon on the National Geographic channel with the title Cosmos: Possible Worlds and a potential airdate of March 9th, 2020.
6 Our Planet
Viewers enjoyed exploring the cosmos but wanted to feel a little more grounded, and so they returned to our planet in the 2019 series Our Planet. Created by the British and produced by Netflix, this series, of course, features narrator David Attenborough and tries to address topics such as preservation and conservation.
As the climate crisis comes to a boiling point, Our Planet seeks to show viewers the impact of humans on their environment and on the living creatures that share our planet Earth with us. This show is a triumph and is somehow only the first nature documentary Netflix ever made itself. With a 9.3 rating and a rapid spread through word-of-mouth, Our Planet is hopefully setting the precedent for more of its kind to arrive.
5 Game of Thrones
Of course, no list of the best television shows of the decade is complete without the immensely popular and wildly controversial HBO series Game of Thrones. Beginning in 2011 and spanning all the way until just a few months ago, in May of 2019, Game of Thrones truly encompasses nearly the entirety of the last decade with its scope.
Some love it, some hate it, but IMDb users agree that Game of Thrones deserves 9.3 stars out of 10 on their website. Though the ending caused a great deal of controversy, one thing we think we can all agree on is that Game of Thrones certainly was incredible, trailblazing, and very, very popular, be it for better or for worse.
4 Blue Planet II
David Attenborough strikes again as he narrates the number four entry on this list, Blue Planet II. With a score created by Hans Zimmer, this show, of course, was always going to be good, but audiences gave it a glorious 9.3 rating on IMDb.
The series took four years to film and aired entirely in 2017, but it quickly won its way into the hearts of viewers as well as their minds. This show is even credited with creating the “Blue Planet effect,” as it is responsible for a drastic uptick in worldwide awareness of plastic pollution.
If you weren’t in a coma in 2019, then it’s incredibly likely that somebody said the words, “Are you watching Chernobyl? You have to watch it if you’re not!” to you at some point. The thing is, whoever said that to you was right. Though Chernobyl only came out this year, audiences need not worry about the dangers of recency bias; the show has more than earned its spot at number three on this list, with an overall IMDb rating of 9.4 stars.
This HBO miniseries received nineteen Emmy nominations alone, with several more for acting, with only five episodes to its name. Run, do not walk, to your nearest friend with a login to HBO Go.
2 Breaking Bad
Another unsurprising entry on this list, that has absolutely earned its position as the second-best television show of the decade (at least, according to IMDb), is Breaking Bad. Universally acclaimed and generally loved, Breaking Bad ran on AMC from 2008 until 2013 and captivated not only the nation but even found fame internationally, as well.
Breaking Bad brings one of the greatest characters of our time, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), to the small screen, and audiences just could not get enough. In fact, viewers loved the show so much that they took to IMDb to shout it from the cyber-rooftops, giving the show a 9.4/10.
1 Planet Earth II
And the honor of IMDb’s greatest show of the decade goes to… Planet Earth II! This 2016 nature documentary is, like Blue Planet II was to Blue Planet, a follow-up to the obviously-named Planet Earth. BBC’s Planet Earth II is also narrated by David Attenborough, who had a very exciting and busy decade, with more music by Hans Zimmer. Nominated for countless awards and winner of several more, Planet Earth II is not only IMDb’s best television show of the decade but is also its highest-rated television show period.
IMDb users gave Planet Earth II a 9.5/10, the highest of any other show on the website, and yet the series’ popularity doesn’t stop there. Critics, Internet users, and general audiences alike have come to the general consensus that Planet Earth II is certainly the greatest nature documentary ever made and possibly even the greatest television series, full stop, ever made. Every day, we must be thankful that we get to live through, contribute to, and be a part of one of the greatest ages of television that humankind has ever seen.