Ranked Top TV Shows Synopsis with Reviews Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad
Written and Ranked By: C. A. Ponch
As a reminder – To qualify for the list I followed these basic guidelines:
- I watched at least three to five episodes of each show finishing most first seasons of every series on this list. Some shows were so bad that it was not worth watching more than three to five episodes. I gave them a chance. For the majority of the series, I have seen every episode.
- Each of the top TV shows could not have more than 30 episodes a season. That eliminated all late-night shows like “The Tonight Show”, variety of programs like “Sports Center”, and singing competitions like “American Idol” and “The Voice”. Also, I didn’t include morning shows like “The Today Show”, etc. If it were a series that aired more than once a week, it was unfortunately just too much content for me to review.
- Each series had to have at least three episodes air/stream per season to qualify. This eliminated event TV and made for TV movies but did include some great mini-series.
- No reality competitions or junk reality TV. That is not acting, and they show no real craftsmanship to judge. Those series are almost impossible to review. Variety shows with actual writers like SNL were included.
- Documentaries were accepted, but only if they were season-long documentaries with more than three episodes. I decided the difference between what qualified as a documentary series and a reality series. Reality series generally create situations and observe those situations for the entertainment of the viewer in an on-going manner much like life itself. A documentary series attempts to educate the viewer by presenting facts through a series of observations that are a full product having a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a fine line, but documentaries tend to inform or educate while entertaining.
- Each program had to have at least three episodes air during the past decade (2010-2019) that I actually saw, but I ranked TV shows from their full body of work of which that I have seen since their inception. This eliminated anything that didn’t have an episode air after 2009 but it also eliminated a few shows like “The Simpsons”, and “NCIS” which although I have seen more than three episodes of; I haven’t seen enough episodes of those shows in the past ten years. In fact, a few series on this list would have been ranked higher, had they just ended earlier before the quality of the show deteriorated.
- Lastly, there is one exception on this list of the shows I have watched this decade but can’t rank: “Sesame Street”. It’s still one of the greatest children’s top TV shows of all time. If you have young children, “Sesame Street” should be #1 on this list, if you don’t have young children, why are you watching “Sesame Street”? That’s strange and you may want to seek help.
Don’t see your favorite show below? Check out our Binge Watch – 400 Top TV Show #2
1a. Game of Thrones (HBO – 2011 to 2019): Ponch: 10/10
George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” is adapted for TV by HBO. “Game of Thrones” is a medieval fantasy epic like the “Lord of the Rings”. Kings, queens, knights, and spies fight for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and to sit atop the Throne. The series has received an astounding 160 Primetime Emmy Award nominations winning 59 times, including six consecutive Outstanding Drama Series nominations winning four times.
Fighting for control
In 2016, it became the most awarded series in Emmy Awards history, with a total of 59 Emmys. Peter Dinklage has won twice for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. There are so many cast members that it would be hard to name them all here. What the showrunners have done with this many moving parts is amazing.
The pieces all come together
This show is hugely popular; a cult-like following. Throughout the show’s history and in the seasons leading up to season eight; it deserved that following. When the show started it felt like there were too many characters and it was sometimes hard to follow, then by the end of the first season, it came together just in time for the showrunners to tear it all down, creating TV that was far beyond anything you could imagine it could be. This show was like nothing ever made before. HBO caught up to the books and you could feel the difference. The Producers filled in the blanks and they made it a more entertaining show for the masses.
Worth the cost of HBO
The acting, the sets, the wardrobe, the writing, the cinematography; are all the best on TV. HBO put so much money into the series, that it is movie-level quality. All the actors are great, but Peter Dinklage as Tyron Lannister stands out in every scene he is in. It was by far the best show on TV for the last decade for seven seasons. The storytelling was as great as the spectacle. Everyone should spend the money on an HBO account to just watch this series.
It’s a TV show with a movie budget that is just spectacular. Even if you are not into “Dungeons and Dragons” type tales, this show still delivered a great drama. The spectacle of it all just added to the series’s great premise.
It’s the greatest fantasy series ever made and quite possibly the best TV show ever made.
A let down in the end?
There was only one problem, Season eight. The final season was less than stellar and disappointed a lot of longtime fans. Up until that point, it was the best show on TV by a large margin. Then because of the high cost of production, the pressure of finishing the series without proper source material, and the popularity of the show’s stars moving them towards other projects; “Game of Thrones” was extremely rushed, leading the final season to be less nuanced and contemplative than previous seasons.
The production value was still extremely high, and I still felt that most major plot points were brought to a close. Unfortunately, a large portion of fans felt differently. Nothing was out of character, but the pacing definitely took away from the plotting and made it feel like some of the characters didn’t get the endings they deserved. “Game of Thrones” final season was still better than most other shows and still won the Emmy, even though it may have not given most fans the closure they wanted. The series became so popular that it was going to be very hard for the creators to please everyone. It was event TV at its finest and one of the two most watchable TV shows of the decade and even the eighth season had its huge moments. Had “Game of Thrones” ended strong, there wouldn’t be a 1b on this list, to me it’s still easily one of the top 3 series of all time. Nothing was better, but one show did the one thing that “Game of Thrones” couldn’t do as well (see 1b” Breaking Bad”).
IMDB 9.3/10 – RT 90% – 86% Metacritic
Game of Thrones FAQs:
The finale of HBO hit Game of Thrones left many fans wondering if the dragon-powered epic could really be over. … The UK’s Boyle Sports is taking bets that HBO will shock the world and announce that the battle for the Iron Throne, or what’s left of it, will continue for a ninth season.
Watching Game of Thrones from the very beginning is pretty simple. HBO currently has all seven seasons available to subscribers on both HBO Go (for cable subscribers) and HBO Now online, through their respective device apps, or with an Amazon Prime Video + HBO subscription.
With a subscription, you can stream every Game of Thrones episode on any device you want, including old seasons and season 8 (once it’s released). … Not all streaming services let you watch Game of Thrones and other HBO shows, though. For example, you can‘t stream Game of Thrones on Netflix, Sling TV, or YouTube TV.
Game of Thrones seasons one to eight are not available on Netflix. That sadly means that Game of Thrones, however desirable to be on Netflix, will never end up streaming on Netflix, simply because HBO won’t even entertain the option to.
Watch on HBO Go
The excellent service provides unlimited access to all of HBO’s original programming — including past seasons of Game of Thrones and behind-the-scenes footage with the cast — along with a wide variety of theatrically released films and television specials currently playing on the premium channel.
– HBO on Hulu: an additional $14.99/month. Hulu offers an HBO add-on for an additional $14.99 a month.
– HBO Now: $14.99/month.
– HBO Go: free with a TV Subscription.
– HBO Amazon Prime: $14.99/month.
1b. Breaking Bad (AMC – 2008 to 2013): 10/10 Ponch
“Breaking Bad” is a crime drama series and was one of the two best shows of the decade. High school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has a loving family. He is a brilliant man living a simple life. He has a teenage son with cerebral palsy and a wife who is about to give birth when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Walter realizes that his illness probably will ruin his family financially.
With help from a former drug-dealing student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), he tries to make as much money as he can before he dies by turning an old RV into a meth lab. “Breaking Bad” was nominated for a variety of different awards, including 58 Primetime Emmy Awards including 16 wins. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn all have won Emmy’s multiple times and Bob Odenkirk as the shifty smooth-talking Saul Goodman steals every scene he is in, leading to a spin-off series called “Better Call Saul”, which is also in the top 50 of the decade.
Get past season one, then hold on!
All I can say is, stick with this one. The first season is interesting but a little slow, and then it turns into one of the best dramas in the history of television. Everyone is cast perfectly in roles that will come to define their careers. Bryan Cranston’s transformation and final descent into darkness is master class acting. It’s mesmerizing. You can see him slipping away, and at the point that you know, that he knows it’s all falling apart, you still cheer for him. A drug dealer! You hope and pray for a drug dealer! It’s polarizing. It’s hard to watch, you just want his fall to stop, but deep down you know he wants this. It’s not about his family anymore.
The acting is as good as what you will ever see on television. Anna Gunn and RJ Mitte’s performances as Walter’s family are equally impressive. Aaron Paul’s story arc as the low life drug dealer partner is almost as powerful as Cranston’s.
What a finale
It will go down as one of the top five TV shows of all time and one of two best shows of the decade. What separates “Breaking Bad” from most shows including “Game of Thrones” is its incredible final season. It’s the best final season and series finale of any TV show ever produced. What makes it even more incredible is when you think about how many series fail to do this well, making it all that more impressive. “Game of Thrones” may have been better overall for most of its shows history but no show was better at building a story arch and finishing it properly than “Breaking Bad”.
The creators stuck the landing like no other and that ending makes “Breaking Bad” the best non-premium channel show ever and one of two of the most bingeworthy shows of the decade.
9.5/10 IMDB – 96% RT – 88% Metacritic
Streaming On: Netflix Subscription
Breaking Bad FAQs:
The final 12-15 minutes of nearly every episode usually has a huge plot turn. This is both good and bad as the show is always a must-watch but also becomes incredibly difficult to stop viewing. If you’re binge-watching, “Breaking Bad” becomes as addictive as the blue meth Walt’s buyers can’t go without. Sep 20, 2019
The actor who plays Walt Jr, RJ Mitte, does in fact have cerebral palsy just like his on-screen character. However, Mitte’s case is relatively mild compared to Junior’s, so he had to learn to walk convincingly on crutches and change his speech for the part.
Ultimately, Gilligan chose to end Breaking Bad with Walter’s death, occurring in-story two years after he had been first been diagnosed with cancer and given two years to live.
Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad and explores in detail the life of Saul, Walt’s lawyer from Breaking Bad. El Camino (Netflix Original movie) is a sequel to Breaking Bad and shows what happens to Jesse right after the events of Felina.
Following Fring’s death, Skyler becomes terrified of Walt, as well as the prospect of going to prison as his accomplice. She breaks down in front of Marie at the car wash and falls into a deep state of depression.