“I need a new show, let me know what’s good?”, “What show should I binge watch next?”, “What are you watching?” These were the type of questions I saw on social media and heard from friends when I was out socially and now see more frequently since Covid-19 has us quarantined in our homes. Those questions and others like them gave me the idea to start this binge watch list eight years ago and it slowly turned into a massive time-consuming project. I wanted to create a list from an everyman’s point of view that was a mix of the taste of the average viewer and professional critic.
We are presently in a Television renaissance. The past ten years have been the best years of binge watch television ever, because of the rise in production value since 2012 and how we can consume it. Both, Netflix and Amazon Prime entered the production business in 2013 with original programming. Hulu had its first original scripted program in 2012 but stepped up it’s original programming shortly after in 2014 because of the upgrades made by the other streaming services. HBO Now was launched in 2015 (With HBO Max coming soon); YouTube Red/Premium TV started original scripted programming in 2016. Apple TV + and Disney + recently launched in 2019. It seems everyone from DC Entertainment to Playstation to Facebook has released original shows in the past ten years. These initiatives and changes have led to TV being more entertaining in the past decade than ever before.
There were some great moments and iconic television just in the recent past. In my opinion, these binge worthy shows eclipsed a lot of what we have seen on the big screen. Although there are some superb shows, most of the series I have watched the past couple of years are in the fast-growing category of TV good enough to binge watch and enjoy, but not quite good enough to make specific time for. The Premium Channel shows are far superior to most of the shows on Prime Time Network TV but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for those shows. Family programming and light-hearted fun are still present on the “Big 5” networks and that’s something cable and streaming don’t do as well.
400 Shows to Binge Watch Count Down
These 400 + series was NOT the top shows on TV of the decade. In fact, the bottom 35% of the series on this list is absolutely horrible and I don’t recommend you wasting your time on any of those bottom dwellers. The top 100 to 150 of these shows are stellar can’t miss TV and about half of these series are worth your time if you like the specific genre they encompass or the actors on the show.
I have written short reviews for the top 50 best shows to binge watch. Please feel free to add in the comments if you would like to see more content like this on this site or would like a longer review on any of the shows on this list. I am the first to admit, this list is very much written in my opinion. Everyone has their own taste and typically leans toward entertainment that they identify with, I am no different. I tended to rank AMC Dramas, Michael Schur Comedies, Damon Lindelof created shows, modern British dramas, and basically most HBO shows very high because of their extreme quality. With that said, I really tried to get out of my comfort zone and take a chance on a lot of shows I wouldn’t have normally watched before I started this list; I was pleasantly rewarded.
Before anyone makes comments on my list, there are some rules (see below) and obviously shows I haven’t seen. I would have liked to have seen everything to be fair, but I honestly don’t think I will ever watch as much TV as I did in the last seven or eight years. Some series are so easy to get through, running only a half-hour or having less than 12 episodes. Other shows are long but worth the time spent bing watching. This was a major project, that I will never do again (now that I have kids), and these were the series I did watch.
This started out with a friend challenging me about what I thought the best shows on TV were after I expressed hearing people name a lot of series that didn’t seem very good, and me not wanting to be a sciolist hypocrite. It turned out, some of the shows I was watching were great, and others quickly dropped down the list. It eventually evolved into me wanting to help friends and acquaintances avoid bad television.
Now, I am hoping this list can help some people find some great shows while we are quarantined and social distancing. It started as something fun and ended up as a lot of work, but learning more as the process went on was still pretty enjoyable. Hopefully, people can use this list to maximize their time and cut out any terrible TV series they are watching. Below, I have ranked in order, the TV series I have watched in the past ten years. I couldn’t watch every show, but I really did try to watch all the best programming. If there is a show you think is great that I missed, please let me know! Please feel free to make comments and give me your top five or top ten binge worthy shows of the decade in the comments section.