The 2010s was a rough decade, ending with the world literally on fire. Nevertheless, throughout all the craziness we still had some great TV!
When things are a mess and the world starts to feel depressing, comforting shows that offer you a ray of hope – or at the very least a brief escape – become more vital than ever.
With that in mind, we have looked back over the past ten years of TV and taken note of the shows shaped us in the 2010s, adding some light to our lives.
The Great British Bake Off
A reality TV show may seem a little strange to be ranked as one of the top shows that changed the decade, as in general this TV genre only makes you lose hope in humanity. However, the Great British Bake Off achieves the unimaginable. You may be forgiven for thinking little of a camera following a bunch of British people baking things in a tent in a field, and yet it’s so much more. The way contestants help and support one another is genuinely heart-warming, and the tone of the production is so gentle and calming, making it one of the purest shows of the decade.
News of a Queer Eye for The Straight Guy reboot was met with a lot of scepticism, and while it’s certainly not a perfect show, watching it often feels like diving into a group hug with the Fab Five themselves. Their focus on communication, emotional vulnerability and helping others is more relevant than ever.
For a show that opens with the main character musing over her body, Fleabag has an incredible amount of nuance and depth.
It’s one of the best-written shows of all time, and the way it explores grief and self-loathing is especially remarkable. It makes you laugh one minute and punches you in the gut the next, but overall it leaves you with a feeling of hope and catharsis. No wonder it has won so many awards.
The Good Place
The Good Place is a sitcom about being a better person. It doesn’t get much more wholesome than that, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring or cheesy. It’s a very smart show, mixing high-brow subjects and low-brow humour in beautiful ways. The characters are relatable, even in their extreme situation, making their message about kindness and goodness all the more powerful.
Schitt’s creek is a bit of a slow burn, but if you commit to the series, allowing the time and space it needs to unfold and come into its own, you’ll undoubtedly love it forever. It’s one of the very rare shows that is very funny without ever really punching down. As obnoxious as the Rose family seems at first, it’s hard not to love them.
Who knew a show originally titled Scrotal Recall and based around the premise of a twenty-something white guy getting chlamydia would actually be so darn sweet? If you haven’t given Lovesick a chance yet, you MUST. It’s a beautiful rom-com and a wonderful depiction of friendship, with a great big heart.
The End of the F***ing World
This is another show that is so much more than its premise first makes it seem. Starting with a self-declared psychopathic boy planning to murder a lost and lonely girl, it quickly morphs into a complex story of love and trauma and what it takes to survive in the world. It’s about how people can save each other and, perhaps even more importantly, how we can save ourselves.
A musical comedy about a woman having a mental breakdown sounds like it shouldn’t work, and yet it does, completely.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is actually one of the best explorations of mental health that has graced our screens in the last 10 years. While the format is over-the-top, the characters and their internal journeys are very raw and real. It’s funny, it’s emotional, and it’s ultimately very empowering.
Set in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, the contrast between the petty interests of the teen girls (and one boy) at the centre of the plot and the political chaos around them feels relevant in 2019 in a way that hits rather close to home.
But crucially, while deriving a lot of humour from the girls and their interactions, the show is never judgemental. Instead it highlights the very human instinct to just want to get on with things, and the desperation we all have to not just survive but thrive. It’s wonderful to be reminded that that is not such a bad thing.