Genre television is our favorite, so it's no surprise that we wound up with two different lists! If your favorite genre show didn't appear on one or the other, it might be upcoming on the decade's best shows list!
Please remember that with have almost two dozen favorites lists that we couldn't showcase every show on every list, so we parsed them out a bit to make it more fun.
And these lists are not in any particular order. They're in the order the entries were received by TV Fanatic staff, so don't read into them!
To qualify, a show that began in another decade had to be airing during the decade, run a larger number of seasons from 2010 through 2019 if it started before 2010 or run the entire decade. Here we go!
Colony - USA (2016-2008)
Using the backdrop of an alien invasion, creators Ryan Condal Carlton Cuse created a world that could explore the morality and devastation associated with the Nazi's invasion of numerous countries across Europe without broaching the topic outright.
Instead, Colony features alien forces who attempt to eradicate an entire segment of humanity using them in their last hours only as tools to broaden their message and complete work on their behalf.
Colony Season 2 was especially harrowing as the “rendition” of friends and family within the occupied zones began in earnest and the full plan for the colonies that hadn’t met the invaders’ expectations came to light.
Josh Holloway, Sarah Callies, and Peter Jacobson brilliantly toed the line between black and white considering what people will do to survive even if it’s not ultimately in their best interests.
Hannibal - NBC (2013-2015)
It’s still admirable to think that this genre-bending look at Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter aired on NBC.
The series was as disturbing as any portrayal of Hannibal should be, and creator and showrunner Bryan Fuller used some of the best imagery ever depicted on television to tell his story.
Mads Mikkelson’s portrayal of the titular character has become the defacto version possibly edging out Anthony Hopkins who still gets quoted with his tongue-lapping and purring of “Clarice.”
Mikkelson made Hannibal an alluring individual who could pull others under his spell, such as Hugh Dancy’s Will Graham. Graham allowed his quest to stop the man grow too close to understanding throwing his entire existence into turmoil.
Perfectly cast and written, Hannibal will be remembered for years to come.
Bates Motel - A&E (2013-2017)
When you think of how perfectly Bates Motel added to the well-established world of Norman Bates by discovering how he turned into the Psycho he ultimately became, it’s hard to believe that A&E turned their backs on scripted television.
Created by Kerry Ehrin, Carlton Cruse, and Anthony Cipriano, Bates Motel took viewers back to Norman’s formative years when his tragic past and abnormally close relationship with his mother, Norma, contributed to his deadly path.
Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga so perfectly embodied the mother/son duo that they effectively allowed viewers to hope for an outcome different than the inevitability we expected.
Born of unfortunate circumstances, their tragic twists of fate were bolstered by the addition of an additional son and Norma’s brother played by Max Theriot and Kenny Johnson, and Norma’s unfulfilled quest for happiness with Nestor Carbonell’s Sheriff Romero added an extra layer of emotion to the tale.
Goliath - Amazon Prime (2016-present)
Billy Bob Thornton plays a thoroughly amusing lawyer who has fallen from grace fighting with many life struggles.
But he’s still a sharp attorney who gets to the bottom of the mystery each season.
Watching his acting alongside costar Nina Arianda is worth the experience alone. But the cases draw us in and keep us guessing and wanting more.
The guest stars each season are also always a fun surprise too (Amy Brenneman, Dennis Quaid, William Hurt, Mark Duplass, etc.). The cliffhanger at the end of Goliath Season 3 left us on edge, compelling Goliath Season 4, its last.
Defiance - SyFy (2013-2015)
If you like great science fiction with loads of alien races, you really ought to have visited Defiance (formerly St. Louis).
A western/sci-fi hybrid, Defiance delved into issues of diversity, acceptance, and the challenges of a galaxy-load of alien lifeforms forced to cohabitate.
The beautiful Grant Bowler led the talented cast. But we were only left with three meager seasons.
There was so much more to explore in this premise. And some of what made it so creative were the “cuss” words the creators threw in to amuse us, words like schtako, jek, and haigl (which is meant as a sort of version of “bitch” though we are sure there is no purposeful synonymical relation to Katherine Heigl who has nothing to do with this series, just saying).
Orphan Black - BBC America (2013-2017)
Orphan Black is a mindblowing series that became an instant cult hit. It introduced the world to the extraordinary and incomparable talent of Tatiana Maslany, and the genre has been forever changed.
It’s a series that left you on the edge of your seat as you followed the life of refreshingly flawed Sarah Manning down a dark path of secret organizations, conspiracies, and science experimentation that included meeting nearly a dozen clones of herself.
It’s rightfully praised as one of the greatest feminist series, using its subject matter to artfully touch upon body autonomy, female agency, and women’s rights. It’s a slick, thrilling sci-fi action series in addition to being a compelling family drama.
It’s an incredibly smart drama that perfected the female antiheroine and portraying the complexities of womanhood authentically. Orphan Black was and will forever remain a phenomenon.
Counterpart - Starz (2017-2019)
Spanning only two far too short seasons, Counterpart starred Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (with one of the best casts ever to air on television) as a man at the center of two worlds -- parallel universes.
Playing with alternate universes and time shifts is one of the greatest adventures on television and pitting the two worlds, and their protagonists against each other was a brilliant twist.
Howard Prime and Howard Alpha couldn’t have been more different, but they were called together to save the woman they loved in both worlds and to keep the leaders of their worlds from annihilating the other.
Creator Justin Marks made sure the stakes were always high, and no character was above being the latest casualty. He was also unafraid to dig deep into why there were parallel earths which offered a thrilling discussion about how guilt, jealousy, and power inspires and corrupts.
Westworld - HBO (2016-present)
Making a television show about previously beloved IP can be tricky.
But Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan took the best of the movie franchise and deepened the discussion about the proliferation of AI into our modern world by considering what humanity is and what drives any being to choose right over wrong.
In this iteration of the franchise, the newly awakening sentience of the AI creates interesting dramatic arcs for them as they learn from some of the most despicable humans and still make better choices.
The set detail and production have been stunning, and the performances worthy of accolades. Westworld has taken us to a place that exceeds our imaginations and delivers consistent thrills with a strong emotional investment.
The Handmaid’s Tale - Hulu (2017-present)
The Handmaid’s Tale resonated for decades before getting the TV treatment, but the circumstances somehow felt more timely than ever proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, and Ann Dowd portray lead women of the drama with all the conviction and pathos needed for women living in a male-dominated society that stands on women’s subservience and rituals to escape the horrors they’ve created in the name of preserving life.
All of the characters dangerously walk hover in their own morally ambiguous gray area, making The Handmaid's Tale as unexpected as it is entertaining.
Black Mirror - Netflix ( 2011-present)
We rely on technology more than ever, and Black Mirror calls us out for it.
The series brilliantly shines a light on our worst fears with technological advancement while also pointing out the effects already made. Never has a pair of contact lenses been so scary, or star rating omitted so much anxiety.
The series woke us up to our lack of presence in reality and desperation for human connection.
For that, we couldn’t be more grateful.
12 Monkeys - SyFy (2015-2018)
Deriving its source material from the 1995 movie of the same name, 12 Monkeys provided viewers with a jam-packed four-season saga full of love, loss, and time travel.
The series’ timeline was woven so carefully and expertly that even the most dogged viewers could not find any continuity flaws.
The big appeal, though, was the relationship between prominent virologist Dr. Cassandra Railley and scavenger James Cole from the year 2043.
Their love story is one for the ages, as its evolution from reluctant friends to lovers was pure perfection.
Scream Queens - Fox (2015-2016)
This fun and witty slasher cut its way into our hearts as an instant cult classic.
Scream Queens embodied everything great about cheesy horror movies while injecting a modern and sharp-tongued flair.
The talents of Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Billie Lourd, Abigail Breslin, and more shined as love-to-hate characters during each season mystery. Scream Queens had plenty of iconic moments and one-liners that will live on as GIFs for years to come.
With news of the series potentially returning in the future, let’s cross our fingers that the story is far from over!
What is YOUR favorite non-supernatural genre series of the decade?