10 Influential Shows of the Last Decade (PHOTOS)

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ABC/Robert Ashcroft

Modern Family (ABC)

ABC’s sitcom Modern Family focuses on the humor in contemporary domestic life yet always maintains an underlying sincerity, with some poignant lesson that ties each episode’s antics together. Many of the best dramatic moments come from Claire (Julie Bowen) and her two daughters, Alex (Ariel Winter) and Haley (Sarah Hyland).


Black Mirror (2011)

Dubbed a modern-day Twilight Zone, Black Mirror steals our 2011 spot for most influential series. This anthology has been widely praised for its originality and well-written episodes that creepily warn of the consequences of modern technology. Conceptually, cinematically, and creatively, Black Mirror is bordering on classic territory with a devout, and now quite paranoid fanbase.

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Scandal (2012)

You can thank Scandal for making you crave a glass of wine and popcorn every Thursday night. But more importantly, Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope captivated audiences as one of the few non-white female leads on TV.


House of Cards (2013)

It might be hard to think of a time when shows didn’t drop an entire season at once, but back in 2013, first Netflix original House of Cards was amongst the very firsts to do just that. You can thank this political thriller for your binge-watching ways.

Comedy Central

Broad City (2014)

New York natives are pretty picky about how shows capture the essence of NYC, but Broad City definitely makes the cut. Showcasing the grueling extremes of climate, rats, and wealth (or not) in the city, Broad City captured our hearts back in 2014. We should also note that Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, creators and stars of the series, broke the comedic glass ceiling in helming their own show.


Master of None (2015)

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of this decade in TV has been the voice it’s given to the once-voiceless. We’ve seen the introduction of diverse stories and characters who are complex and well rounded. Master of None was revolutionary in its honest and human portrayal of people who were outliers to the hegemonic norm.


Atlanta (2016)

Donald Glover can sing, rap, act, and crack jokes — so it was no shock when Atlanta, the show he created in 2016, was a big success. And Glover truly changed the game with his commentary on race to class and the entertainment industry. Atlanta displaying the harsh realities of the rap industry and dulled the blow with its humor and ever-present wackiness, i.e “Go for Broke” (Season 1, Episode 3), “Teddy Perkins” (Season 2, Episode 6) and “North of the Border” (Season 2, Episode 9).


The Handmaids Tale (2017)

Adapted from Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, the Hulu series captivated audiences with this dystopia that felt alarmingly more plausible than it should. Though difficult to watch at times, the show keeps us coming back with its impeccable writing, acting, and critique on the government’s policing of women’s bodies.


The Conners (2018)

For years, we thought all sitcom reboots were doomed to flop — The Conners changed our minds. After the reboot of Roseanne was canceled over the titular star’s racist comments, fans were left devastated. Thankfully, ABC came through with The Conners which proved TV comebacks can work.


Euphoria (2019)

From the storylines to the cinematography and cast, Euphoria has been a game-changer in TV. The show portrays addiction honestly thanks to creator Sam Levinson, a recovering addict himself. Additionally, the show doesn’t shy away from tackling other difficult topics like domestic violence, gender identity, sexuality, and more.

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The new year is only weeks away which means the end of a decade is fast approaching! While it might feel like we just rang in 2010, a lot has changed in 10 years.

Within a span of one decade, the first iPad was released, Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the VMAs, and both Prince William and Prince Harry got married.

Preparing for 2020 is making us all pretty nostalgic, and we know no better way to commemorate this milestone than with a look at 10 influential, game-changing shows for each year of the decade.

Click through the gallery above for a look at our top picks!