Critics’ choice: The top 3 series of the decade

23 December 2019

Critics’ choice: The top 3 series of the decade

With the 2010s about to become the 2020s, there are a lot of Best TV of the Decade lists doing the rounds. So we went to the definitive source – IMDb. Based on their list of top-rated shows of all time, but excluding documentary series and shows from previous decades, these are their top 3 shows. You can stream them all on Showmax.

#1. Chernobyl

Chernobyl dramatises the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and of the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Listing Chernobyl on their list of the Best TV Shows of the Decade, says, “Chernobyl is masterful in its storytelling, as it shines a spotlight on the domino effect of what happens when a government values their own agenda over human lives.”

That Chernobyl’s May 2019 premiere wasn’t completely drowned out by the Game of Thrones final season frenzy is in itself a testament to the strength of the show. As Vanity Fair put it in their roundup of The 10 Best TV Shows of 2019, Chernobyl “is not just excellent television; it’s paradigm-shifting historical storytelling, the kind of tale that alters, ever so subtly, the texture of the real world.”

Directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), the five-part miniseries stars Emmy nominee Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men), People’s Choice nominee Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia, Good Will Hunting) and Oscar nominee Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie, Breaking the Waves), among others. 

  • The top-rated fiction series of the decade on IMDb, at #5 on the list of Top Rated TV Of All Time. 
  • Still at #74 on IMDb’s Most Popular TV list, seven months after its release
  • Won 10 Emmys this year, including Outstanding Limited Series, Directing, Writing, Cinematography, and Music Composition. It was nominated for nine more, including acting nominations for Harris, Watson and Skarsgård.

#2. Game of Thrones

Tyrion, Cersei, Arya. Jon Snow, Daenerys, Sansa. Jaime, Joffrey, Theon and Brienne … Admit it, you’ve got the theme music in your head already. 

When the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros went to war for the most iconic throne in TV history, they brought us ruthless queens, loyal knights, tragic heroes, some of the evilest villains in the villain-verse, a frozen army of the undead, the Mother of Dragons… passion, ambition, power, sex, and of course, death – lots and lots of death. And boy, did we lose our collective minds for it.

The HBO fantasy drama based on George RR Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire became the biggest show of the decade, smashing all-time records for viewership figures, awards and production budgets. 

USA Today called it “the defining pop-cultural experience of the millennial generation”, saying “As a cultural phenomenon, Thrones is as impossible to escape as Star Wars or Marvel films.”

It’s  #1 on Buzzfeed’s list of 55 Best TV Shows Of The Decade, and regarded as one of the seminal shows “generally considered the basis of the so-called Golden Age of Television”, (alongside The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad and others), according to Wikipedia.

If this phenomenon passed you by, or if you just want to relive every glorious, gory moment, you can still binge all eight seasons on Showmax.

  • 89% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes | 9.4/10, IMDb
  • #8, Top Rated TV | #12, Most Popular TV on IMDb
  • Holds the record for most Primetime Emmy wins for a scripted TV series, with 58 wins

Critics’ choice: More top-rated shows

#3. Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty follows a sociopathic genius scientist, Rick, who drags his inherently timid grandson, Morty, on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. lists Rick and Morty among The 60 Best TV Shows of the Decade, saying: “Was there any TV show more unexpectedly brilliant this decade than Rick and Morty? What began as a semi-parody of Back to the Future turned into one of the smartest, most emotionally devastating pieces of sci-fi storytelling across any medium.”

As Indiewire put it in their roundup of the best animated series of the 21st Century, “Few shows can match the intricate plot machinations that send its two heroes to strange new corners of distant planets and suburbia alike. It’s the perfect blend of high-brow, existential dread humor and a main character whose every fifth word is a rumbling belch.” 

Responding to the news that Rick and Morty was coming back for a fourth season, Kanye West took to Twitter to announce, “This is the greatest news. This is my favorite show. I’ve seen every episode at least 5 times each.” 

Even the late, great Anthony Bourdain was a fan, saying on Twitter: “Rick and Morty is everything.” Enough said. 

Binge S1-3, and watch weekly new episodes of Rick and Morty, coming First to Showmax.

  • 95% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes | 9.3/10, IMDb
  • #12 Top Rated TV Of All Time | #6, Most Popular TV, IMDb
  • S3 won an Emmy, an Annie and a Critics Choice Award in 2018

The Top 10 shows of the decade

Showmax also has the acclaimed crime anthologies True Detective (#5 with 9/10) and Fargo (#7 with 8.9/10), giving it half of IMDb’s top-rated 10 series of the decade – more than any other streaming service in Africa. 

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