What makes a show worthy to be on the top ten list of the decade? You might be expecting a list of Emmy or Golden Globe award winning shows that have shocked and entertained the world but for me, that’s not what it’s about. My top ten are comprised on how much a show has stuck with me or whether or not I’d be happy to have it playing on repeat day in and day out. They may not all be to your taste or be shows that you’ve even considered, but I’m here to make their case in 100 words or less.
Drifters (All 4)
Drifters is one of the most underrated British comedies of the decade. Drifters tells the story of three friends, Meg, Bunny and Laura, two of which have just left university, who are struggling to make the transition into adulthood. At one point they’re homeless, jobless, hungry and in need of a shag, none of which comes easy to them as they are pretty disastrous at functioning as normal human beings. No matter what they go through, getting dumped, having scabies or dressing up like giant telephones at the hands of their humiliating job, these three have each other’s backs through it all.
Release date: 2013-16
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
OITNB is truly one of a kind: the very first season made it evident that no matter what crimes were committed, in the end you’d be rooting for the stars – except the Nazi’s, Ruby Rose and the CO’s (guards). OITNB brought characters to life in an unrivalled way and made you feel things you didn’t know you could for people who aren’t supposed to deserve them. It has everything that makes a show: sex, drama, violence and an uprising. OITNB never lost its necessity in raising awareness on the issues of American society and the penal system. For six years, every July, Litchfield Prison was the place to be.
Release date: 2013-19
Brooklyn 99 (E4)
There was a time when I would trash Brooklyn 99 to anyone who would listen. Now I would challenge anyone who dares badmouth what I now see as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Brooklyn 99 is not only hilarious but it effortlessly promotes diversity and societal issues in a way that no other sitcom does. Every single character is loveable in their way, from Captain Holt to Scully, they each serve a purpose that adds layers to a show that already punches above its weight. Keep the Halloween heists coming because the 99, now here to stay, has so much more to offer... “OK byeeeeee”.
Release date: 2013-present
Idris Elba (Yardie) is the tortured DCI Luther in BBC’s first-class drama and plays the role with a flawless conviction. The relationship between Luther and everyone’s favourite red-headed psychopath, Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson (The Affair), provides a lot of the drama that you can’t help coming back for. Throughout all five seasons you’re faced with some cold-hearted betrayals, tragic losses from the beloved ensemble and the inevitable end of Luther’s career. Us Brits know nitty gritty, but what takes Luther to new heights is the fine line between the law breakers and those who fight to uphold it.
Release date: 2014-19
Chewing Gum (All 4)
Tracey, played by Michaela Coel (Black Earth Rising), is a sheltered girl living on an estate in London. Coming from a religious, and somewhat whacky family, Tracey’s life experiences are limited. Everything changes when she meets Connor, a white boy that her mother doesn’t approve of and the more she discovers about herself and the world around her, the less she understands. This BAFTA winning comedy is full of hilarious surprises but it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s cringey and offensive but will bring you to hysterics with every episode.
Release date: 2015-17
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of the most bold, outlandish, original sitcoms I’ve ever seen. Kimmy Schmidt, played by Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids), was kidnapped by a Reverend and kept underground having been told that the world had come to an end. When she’s eventually found, many years have passed and she has to start her life over. In doing so she meets the hilariously flamboyant Titus Andromedon, a down and out actor, and his landlady Lillian, who devotes her life to stopping the gentrification of Brooklyn, and a hilariously unlikely friendship is forged.
Release date: 2015-19
American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson (Netflix)
It’s common knowledge that most people think the O.J. Simpson verdict, for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, was wrong. What people might not know, is when the evidence was so overwhelmingly incriminating, how on earth he got away with it. I’ve watched a few documentaries on ‘The Juice’, but this brilliantly captured limited series really breaks down the madness of the Simpson trial and shows just exactly how he managed to get away with murder. The acting in this series from Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Sterling Brown, David Schwimmer and John Travolta was the perfect mix of all the emotions central to the tragedy that occurred in Brentwood, CA in 1994.
Release date: 2016
You Me Her (Netflix)
I’ve never seen a TV show that focusses on polyamory quite like this: there’s a reason why it’s been coined TV’s “first polyamorous romantic comedy”. You Me Her tells the story of a sexually frustrated married couple whose relationship takes a turn for the surprising, when they fall in love with a college student moonlighting as an escort. Living in the suburbs of Portland, the “throuple” deal with a society that doesn’t understand their relationship and, more importantly, doesn’t like them muddying the reputation of their cookie-cutter neighbourhood. However, they’re willing to fight to make their relationship work against all odds.
Release date: 2016-19
The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-present, Channel 4)
The Handmaid’s Tale was originally published in 1985 by Margaret Atwood and the most shocking thing about it is how things for women have nary improved. Starring Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men), The Handmaid’s Tale is devastating, infuriating and completely addictive. It tells the story of a place called Gilead, now under totalitarian rule, where fertile women have a doomed future ahead of them. June has the life she coveted taken away to serve as a concubine for the Waterford family. Never being the kind of woman to follow the rules, she embarks on the fight of her life to get back everything she lost. This is one for the revolution.
Release date: 2017-present
A Very English Scandal (BBC)
A Very English Scandal is a perfectly cast adaptation of the novel by John Preston, of the Jeremy Thorpe scandal that took place in the 70s. Jeremy Thorpe, played by Hugh Grant, (Love Actually) was a liberal politician and a closet homosexual who kept a secret lover Norman Scott, played by Ben Whishaw (Spectre). Through fear of some incriminating letters causing Thorpe’s ruin, he decides to have Scott killed. If you love secrets, lies and scandal set against a political backdrop then this BBC miniseries is the guilty pleasure you won’t believe only happened forty years ago.
Release date: 2018