You’ve put in 1/1000th of the time I’ve put in watching these shows. Let’s get to the top 10 shows since 2007.
#10: Hannibal (2013-2015)
Next to Arrested Development, Hannibal may be the most underrated network TV show in history. The #10 ranking is high, and perhaps it’s my own way of rewarding a show that NBC managed to butcher, consistently putting it on Fridays at 10 PM. Maybe they had to. This show makes Dexter’s killings look pedestrian. The show is visually stunning, the music is great, and Mads Mikkelson–who plays Hannibal Lector–is arguably better than Anthony Hopkins ever was. The show is not without its flaws. There are some mediocre actors and some cheesy moments but overall, the show is well worth the watch.
#9: Broad Church (2013-present)
The murder of a young boy in a small coastal town brings a media frenzy, which threatens to tear the community apart. Either BBC has hit after hit, or we Americans are just finding out the Brits know television. The show is bingeable and thought-provoking. It’s devastating and splendid all wrapped up into a few fantastic seasons. This is one of those shows not everyone has seen and they should. And it’s one of the rare shows that follows up a whodunit season with an almost as compelling follow-up. I give it a Nick Lachey 98 degree score on The Tub.
#8: The Newsroom (2012-2014)
With only three seasons, it’s surprising this one made the top 10, but it did. It’s about the ongoings of —get this–a newsroom, and the fast-paced dialogue of Aaron Sorkin is fantastic. It’s a modern version of the West Wing on speed and I loved every second of it. For those who may be hesitant to get into a show that expresses a political view, don’t be. Even though Sorkin is as liberal as they come, it won’t affect your viewing experience if you think that’s a bad thing. The relationship between Will and Mackenzie is the best depiction of a real-life relationship that I’ve seen. Betrayal, abandonment, love, and the news. What’s not to love?
#7: Stranger Things (2016-present)
It’s my list so I can damn well put on a show that only has one season. There’s no doubt in my mind that all the magic will be lost in another season but that season was just too damn enjoyable. In many ways, we’ve experienced it before. Stand by Me. ET. Everything 80s. But it’s also a TV experience like no other I’ve had. Just fun all around. I’m sorry Barb, but Dustin stole my heart.
#6: Westworld (2016-present)
A Western-themed futuristic theme park, populated with artificial intelligence, allows high-paying guests to live out their fantasies with no consequences or retaliation from the android hosts.
Welp! Another show with just one season cracking the top 10. The show has gotten praise but I firmly believe people fell victim to the internet during this show. YOU NEED TO STOP READING REDDIT THREADS for spoilers, people. If you haven’t seen the show, just watch it. Don’t read anything. Just fucking watch it. Jonathan Nolan has officially matched his brother. He gave us a top 35ish show with Person of Interest and then just crushes it with this one. Great writing. Great acting. Awesome story. And unlike some of these other shows, it’s not going to burn out. There’s a lot more story to be told and the finale to Season 1 may be the best season finale of all time. Hot take alert.
#5: LOST (2004-2010)
Honestly, I want to put LOST higher. It’s the Big Fish of television for me. Big Fish is a movie I really like and it’s just for me. I can’t quite explain or justify why I liked LOST so much. There are plenty of flaws in that show; and for many, the ending is one of them. But it’s a sum-of-all-the-parts show. Sure, it started to go off the rails after Season 3 but this show is your first love. She’s a little bit uglier the more you look back but damn, she was the first and nobody can tell you otherwise. If any show in history could come back, I’d want it to be this one. I’m listening to LOST music on Youtube now just trying not to tear up.
#4: Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer turns to selling meth in order to secure his family’s future. But you already knew that.
Breaking Bad is tough to rate when everyone seems to think it’s the first or second greatest show of all-time. It’s tough for me because of the way I watched it. I recall binging a bunch of seasons and then making that horrible mistake of watching week to week. YOU CAN’T DO THAT. DON’T DO THAT. It’s just so hard. The slower episodes seem extra slow and you lose all the viewing momentum that comes with binging like a fiend.
All that being said, it’s a great show. I can’t think of a show that was so heavily reliant on a single character. Sure, people liked Jesse Pinkman and some of the other cast of characters from BB but it’s a WALT show. There’s another show that I’ll get to soon (TEASER!) that I believe is superior because at any given time, a main character could die and the show could go on.
Not with this show.
You knew Walt was going to make it–or at least until the series ended. Either way, there were some unbelievable moments in this show and it’s in everybody’s top 10.
#3: Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
It’s the Shawshank Redemption of television shows. Sure, it may not be your #5 ranked show but goddamn if you didn’t confuse Tim Riggins with Jesus himself. This is in the LOST family tree of tv shows for me. All nostalgia, all the feels. Fell in love with Lyla Garrity until she got religious. I really wondered if the world’s problems would be solved if Coach Taylor was everyone’s dad. Also wondered if the school systems would be better with more Tami Taylors at the helm. If Dawson’s Creek, The Wonder Years, and Remember the Titans had a baby, it would be this show.
Now, to be honest, I’m a sucker when it comes to anything sports related. You put a football game in slow motion and add some instrumentals? I’m done. A puddle. But the show is more than that.
The show, like many, started to go off the rails after Season 3 but if you start it now, I give you a month before you’re done with the entire series.
#2: Game of Thrones (2011-present)
If you asked me a few years ago where this show would rank, it would be somewhere between 10 and 20. But here on The Tub we reward consistent greatness. Let me begin by saying I DON’T EVEN LIKE THE FANTASY GENRE. I’m not into Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or any bad movies with swords in them. But this show is about a complex world that you’re not even sure you fully understand. I purposely read nothing about this show. I’m not doing the Reddit thing, trying to figure out who fucked John Snow’s mother back in ’62. I don’t care. This show is the ultimate escape. There’s people who watch The Walking Dead for the same reason, but
you’re they’re stupid people. I’ve kept that show off the list and I know some of you are going to pout a bit. THE GOOD WIFE OVER THE WALKING DEAD? I hate-watched two or three seasons of that show just to have the right to say this.
A 7 year-old could explain the plot to The Walking Dead to me in a minute. Game of Thrones? I have no clue where to begin. The budget of a billion dollars an episode helps but the show has the writing to back up the theatrics of dragons and beheadings. This past season was just ridiculous. I rewinded the Hodor part seven times and texted 10 people just to make sure they watched the same thing at the same time. It’s the nerdiest TV tribute you can do.
Every episode is a mini-Braveheart movie and it’s just the best thing about Sundays. It’s probably the only show right now that can manage to survive week to week under an enormous amount of pressure to have stuff happen. But no, you got George R. Martin taking his time, writing 1,000 page books at his own pace. That’s the best type of television.
That type of TV that answers to no one.
#1: The Wire (2002-2008)
My number one show of the past decade is The Wire.
IMDB describes the show this way: Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement.
Sure, it covers that and about every other thing in the human condition. I’ll try not to get pretentious on the show but you have to justify your #1 pick, no? It’s a trendy pick. It’s the critics pick. I get it.
But as far as I know, it’s the only television show that has functioned like a great novel. Each season–or chapter–is necessary. There isn’t a wasted episode in this thing. It’s a goddamn fancy wine you need to savor. And I savored it, which is hard for me to do–you know–because of my drinking problem.
Now if you’re looking for a show to binge, I’m not sure this is for you. If you’re not ready for a commitment, don’t bother. I’m not even sure this show could exist right now in our binge-crazy culture. I just don’t know. But I specifically recall watching each of these episodes. I haven’t went back and re-watched them all to be honest. I do this sometimes with the greats. I just let it sit for a long fucking time.
This is the only show I’ve ever watched without a true main character. Sure, McNulty hogged a lot of the show but each character was equally important. And there were just absolute stud characters. A few classics come to mind:
- Stringer Bell
Just so good.
I am curious how this show holds up 20 years from now. A lot of people love The Sopranos and I actually had never seen it. About a year ago, I started it. I watched the first season and didn’t like it at all. I don’t mean that like “it’s not in my top 10.” I mean that as in I literally had to stop watching. Maybe The Sopranos paved the way for The Wire and the multitude of great shows that have come from HBO. If that’s the case, I’ll gladly give it a slow clap.
There’s a few shows that I need to watch that may be on people’s top 30 list. Fargo–which I’ve seen about 3 episodes, may be a show high-ranked in due time. Man in the High Castle (seen 5 episodes) and Sneaky Pete (5 episodes in) don’t seem like they’re going to make it. Ray Donovan is probably a top 30 show for many people but it just didn’t get in this time. Like the Hall of Fame, maybe it can get in with some time. The Blacklist and The Following just fell off the map after Season 1 so they are penalized forever. Never making my list. How The Crown won all those awards makes zero sense to me. Girls is garbage. Fuck Lena Dunham, too. I know hating her is as trendy as a top TV list but I really do despise the Lena Dunham’s of the world.
This is my way of saying I’ve seen most of your shows not on this list and I strongly, but kindly, say eat a bag of dicks and make your own list.