We’re already halfway through March and once we reach the end of April (something that will happen unsettlingly soon), we’ll be able to say we’ve gotten through one quarter of 2016. More than that, we’ve already left half of the 2010s behind us. Considering this, I think it’s a safe time to stop for a moment and draw some lines – you know, make some summaries. In the last few years, TV shows have started to win numerous fanbases, sometimes even topping movie productions. Some had an unredeemable impact on pop culture, changing forever the way storytelling is made on screen. Halfway through the second decade of 2000, we count down the 6 Most Iconic TV Shows Of The 2010s.
1. Breaking Bad
It’s very difficult to run across a person who hasn’t seen Breaking Bad and hasn’t appreciated it for the masterpiece many deem it as. The series tells the story of a chemistry teacher named Walter White, who receives the harsh diagnosis of cancer. Wanting to ensure a future for his family after his imminent death, he pairs up with student Jesse Pinkman and starts a meth-cooking business. Getting involved in such a vicious world is undoubtedly going to come at a price and perhaps the biggest one is Walter’s personality drastically changing.
Breaking Bad is the highest-rating TV show of all time, having won an impressive array of awards and having been critically acclaimed. It definitely benefits from a compelling story and amazing directing, but it’s Brian Cranston’s performance as Walter White that really pulls you in. He’s perfectly capable of making us love and hate him at the same time.
2. Game of Thrones
When George R.R. Martin launched in 1996 the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I don’t think he was expecting a TV show adaptation to outshine it. Game of Thrones is a compelling story, uniquely crafted in a way that offers us the perspectives of a multitude of characters, without essentially having a protagonist. It’s a tale about a political game, played by several Houses, all of which wish to claim ownership of the highly desirable Iron Throne. This series makes us pick sides and favorites and it’s a fantastic way of getting us immersed into the plot.
HBO broke viewership records with Game of Thrones, managing to produce a TV show that has won multiple awards and international recognition. The world of Westeros is visually represented in a beautiful way, the characters are portrayed by an incredibly talented cast, and we can’t forget the biggest thing that makes Game of Thrones what it is: rawness. From the nudity to the gruesome violence, no character in this world is safe and it’s been proven that even the most beloved of characters can be shamelessly killed off.
3. The Walking Dead
The zombie apocalypse genre isn’t a new entry, having been present in many movies, books, games, and TV shows before. However, it’s The Walking Dead that managed to give it a fresh take, essentially reviving it and saving it from turning into a clichéd trope. The premise of the story is exactly what you think it is: we follow a group of zombie (called “walkers” in their world) apocalypse survivors as they, well, survive. What makes this series special is the ingenious blend of internal, human drama and the action resulting from trying to survive flesh-eating, undead creatures.
The Walking Dead stood out, in the same way Game of Thrones did, by letting viewers know that no character is safe on the show. Audiences started to grow tired of the same linear, stylized stories with happy endings and this AMC product was one of the first to change it. There’s a lot of violence, sure, and there are plenty of insufferable characters, but, at least, it’s believable. And while many shows today prefer an excessive use of violence just for the sake of it, The Walking Dead has an environment that sort of calls for it.
4. Boardwalk Empire
Steve Buscemi has been playing side characters for far too long. When he was finally given a chance to shine, it was in the role of Nucky Thompson in the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire. The series tells the story of the lead previously mentioned, as he meddles with criminal masterminds in his quest to gain power.
Everything about this TV show has managed to enthrall audiences, from the tone set by the Prohibition-era setting to the stellar performance delivered by Buscemi. Boardwalk Empire was a guaranteed success from the pilot episode, which managed to land the series eighteen Emmy nominations alone. During its five-season run between 2010 and 2014, the HBO production managed to amass a total of fifty-seven Emmy nominations, having won twenty.
5. House of Cards
Speaking of gaining power, this Netflix original series might as well be a synonym for this expression. House of Cards is what established Netflix as capable of producing content of serious quality. It follows Frank Underwood, brilliantly played by Kevin Spacey, a ruthless Republican politician who will stop at nothing in his run for the White House.
House of Cards was praised for its impressive cast, fantastic storytelling, as well as cinematography and directing. With all of these factors considered, it was only a matter of time before critical acclaim would start raining down on the series. It managed to nab plenty of award nominations, with Robin Wright having won a Golden Globe for her performance.
Ever since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published his first book depicting the adventures of the now legendary Sherlock Holmes, there have been more adaptations than we can count. And just when we thought there was no other way to tell the story without entering a cycle of dull repetition, BBC showed up and gave us Sherlock. As expected, the story follows the crime-solving duo composed by Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, except, this time, the setting is modern day London.
This series did more than just throw the characters in the 21st century. It completely adapted them, letting us know that the famed detective would make good use of the technology around him. The directing and cinematography are engaging and the mysteries keep us on our toes. It doesn’t hurt that Benedict Cumberbatch plays his part memorably, having now become an equivalent to the Sherlock Holmes name.
There are definitely many other titles worthy of being included in a more extensive version of this list, but for now, we’ve decided to end it here. These 6 Most Iconic TV Shows Of The 2010’s have definitely dominated the first half of the decade and they’ve become undoubtedly memorable. All we can now do is sit and wait to see what the second half has in store for us, television wise.