Television has come a long way from its early beginnings when viewers had only two or three channels to choose from in black and white on tiny nine inch screens.
With the advent of cable, we heard Bruce Springsteen complain about getting “57 Channels (And Nothin' On)” in the early 1990s. That seems paltry when compared to today’s offerings.
Here are Newsmax’s list of the top 10 TV shows of the last 10 years, in alphabetical order.
"Better Call Saul" (AMC, 2015-present)
This is a crime drama depicting a con man turned Albuquerque, N.M. lawyer. It’s both a spinoff and prequel to “Breaking Bad” (below). The series follows the conversion of James "Jimmy" McGill as an earnest storefront lawyer attempting to turn over a new leaf from his past and failing. He turns instead into a greedy criminal defense attorney named Saul Goodman (“it’s all good man!”).
“How will Jimmy McGill, a hard-hustling, low-level lawyer taking poorly paying public defender cases and sleeping on a pullout couch in his dingy office, trying like hell to fight his inner huckster, become Saul Goodman?” asked Willa Paskin reviewing for Slate. “This is the question driving Better Call Saul. ”
"Billions" (Showtime, 2016-present)
This is a crime drama depicting a battle between two powerful New York figures — hedge fund king Bobby "Axe" Axelrod, who often cross over into the illegal in his quest for wealth and power, and U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades’ attempts to rein him in and prosecute him for his crimes.
“It is so rare that you find a show with such a diverse cast coming together so seamlessly. Each character is perfectly cast. The writing allows you to live each characters journey throughout each scene,” wrote one user IMDb reviewer. “You do not know who's side you are on; all you know is they are all "right" in their convictions in some way.”
"Breaking Bad" (AMC 2008-2013)
This series tells the story of Walter White’s transformation from a New Mexico high school chemistry teacher into a meth kingpin — from Walter Mitty to Scarface. After he learns that he’s dying of lung cancer, he approaches former student Jesse Pinkman with a proposal: “I’m thinking that you and I can partner up,” he says. “You know the business, and I know the chemistry.”
Although “Breaking Bad” got its start in the previous decade, the final three seasons were the most explosive, and made “Newsmax's List of the Best TV Series Finales of All Time” last month.
“I cannot stress enough how good this show is,” an IMDb reviewer said. “I've watched a lot of TV in my life and this show still remains the best show I've ever seen”
"The Crown" (Netflix, 2016-present)
This series, still in production, thoughtfully depicts the the reign of England’s remarkable current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Thus far, it takes the viewer from her coronation in 1953, through the Suez Crisis three years later, and on to the Profumo affair of 1963.
“[Olivia] Colman is masterful as a cold but not uncaring figurehead for a country in need of solace,” writes Lorraine Ali reviewing season three of the series for the Los Angeles Times. “Sweeping historical significance aside, it’s the intimate, internal battles make this season just as riveting as — if not stronger than — the last two.”
"Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011-2019)
This geopolitical fantasy epic was adapted from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books. It depicts the inhabitants’ of Westeros and Essos struggles, and often failures, to survive in an exceedingly cruel world.
“It’s been nigh impossible to ignore the ‘Game of Thrones’ frenzy in recent years,” writes Lauren Sharkey for Soda. “Over the past decade, the series has dominated the TV landscape, going on to win 59 Emmys and being named by critics as one of the best shows in history.”
"The Handmaid’s Tale" (Hulu, 2017-present)
Based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, this series envisions a dystopian American future in which the Constitution has been suspended following a second civil war. A new totalitarian government subjects fertile women into slavery.
NPR TV critic Eric Deggans describes “A Handmaid’s Tale” as “a horror show unveiled in slow motion.” He concludes that “In a country where sexual harassment scandals regularly land on the front page, the patriarchy of ‘The Handmaid's Tale’ doesn't feel so far-fetched, which is the most horrific thing about it.”
"Homeland“ (Showtime, 2011-2020)
“Homeland” is a political thriller based on an Israeli TV series, “Prisoners of War.” The series centers on CIA officer Carrie Mathison, who is bipolar. It opens with the rescue of Marine Corps sniper Nicholas Brody, who was held captive by al-Qaeda terrorists. Mathison is convinced that he was "turned" by the terrorists and as such is a danger to the United States.
TV Guide rated “Homeland” as the best offering of 2011, and Metacritic gave it a 92 out of 100 based on 29 critics. And it just kept getting better, receiving six Emmy Awards including Outstanding Drama Series during its run. One viewer wrote for IMDb that “season 8 is just amazing!! A deserving end to the series which has captured our hearts for the last 10 years.”
"Outlander" (Starz, 2014-present)
Based on Diana Gabaldon’s series of time travel novels of the same name, “Outlander” opens with a World War II nurse named Claire who suddenly finds herself transported to Scotland 200 years in the past.
“Though largely historical in nature, "Outlander" has touches of the fantasy genre with Claire often travels between her current century and the 18th,” wrote Justine Naboya for TV Show Pilot, rating it among “The Best TV Shows Set in the 18th Century.”
"Ozark" (Netflix, 2017-present)
Martin "Marty" Byrde offerers to set up a huge money-laundering operation in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks region after a similar scheme based in a Chicago suburb for a Mexican drug cartel goes bad. The Byrdes soon become embroiled in local criminal elements, including the Kansas City Mafia.
“The show’s writing is sharp and smart,” writes Bruce Miller for the Sioux City Journal. “Its acting is clever and curt. Toss in that casino wild card and you’ve got a season that’s just as remarkable as the first.”
“Schitt’s Creek” (CBC TV, 2015-2020)
In this Canadian comedy series, mega-rich video store magnate Johnny Rose and his family suddenly find themselves on hard times and are forced to leave their tony lifestyle and rebuild their empire from the rural village of Schitt’s Creek, their only remaining asset.
“I think this show is refreshing and smart,’ wrote one viewer for IMDb. “It's a bit quirky so I can see it not being to everyone's comedic taste but I just love it.”
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