100 Best Shows from the Last Five Years

Updated June 29, 2024 • Staff

In the ever-evolving landscape of television, these ten extraordinary shows have stood out as shining beacons of excellence from the past five years. From gripping dramas to innovative comedies and groundbreaking narratives, these series have pushed boundaries, captivated audiences, and left an indelible mark on the medium. With compelling storytelling, stellar performances, and bold creativity, these shows represent the pinnacle of recent television achievements. So, whether you're looking to catch up on recent must-see series or seeking new binge-worthy obsessions, join us as we celebrate the best shows that have shaped the last five years and elevated the art of television to new heights.

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100.

Marco Polo

This colossal-budget show ($90 million for the first season alone) never caught a break. Somehow it didn’t make it to the big audience it deserved. It tells the grand story of Marco Polo the explorer, and the years he spent with the Mongols, going back forth in their ranks between prisoner and leader. It was during this crucial time for the empire that Kublai Khan had extended the reach of his empire even further than his more famous grandfather Genghis Khan. As you’d expect with a show featuring this many characters and such a new world, the first season is not as entertaining as could be, but the show becomes its full-self as a true epic in season 2.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Amr Waked, Benedict Wong, Chin Han, Claudia Kim, Gabriel Byrne, Jacqueline Chan, Joan Chen, Leonard Wu, Lorenzo Richelmy, Mahesh Jadu, Michelle Yeoh, Olivia Cheng, Pierfrancesco Favino, Remy Hii, Rick Yune, Tom Wu, Uli Latukefu, Zhu Zhu
Rating: TV-MA
99.

The Get Down

Watch out for Ezekiel in this show, he will steal your heart. And also please sit through the first episode. Yes, it's long, but if you get The Get Down, it is one of the best shows on Netflix. Created by Baz Luhrmann and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, it narrates the rise of hip-hop in a broken 1970’s New York. The impressive credentials don’t stop there, as the series is narrated by Nas, features work by four-time Academy Award winner Catherine Martin as well as hip-hop historian Nelson George. It is perhaps for this reason that the word “narration” takes its full meaning here. Every episode, every scene, every character are made with extreme care, resulting in sometimes longer than necessary sequences. A sacrifice that will make some viewers very happy, but which many might have a hard time adjusting to.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama, Music
Actor: Eric Bogosian, Giancarlo Esposito, Herizen F. Guardiola, Herizen Guardiola, Jaden Smith, Jimmy Smits, JR, Justice Smith, Kevin Corrigan, Mamoudou Athie, Michel Gill, Shameik Moore, Shyrley Rodriguez, Skylan Brooks, Stefanee Martin, TJ Brown, Tremaine Brown, Tremaine Brown, Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Zabryna Guevara
Director: Baz Luhrmann, Ed Bianchi, Stephen Adly Guirgis
Rating: TV-MA
98.

Wentworth

Dark and almost too realistic, Wentworth is the women’s prison drama that I’ve been waiting for.

This Australian show might have the same set-up as Orange is the New Black — following a recently incarcerated woman as she discovers a new world — but the two series couldn’t be more different. Wentworth is more Breaking Bad than Orange is the New Black.

The difference: It doesn’t follow people who are wronged by the system or who are misunderstood, but women that have actually done violent things, and continue being violent in prison.

It appeals to everyone’s dark side: It seems impossible for any character to achieve redemption. The show’s biggest selling-point is that it never goes the violence for the sake of violence route. Its immaculate character development guarantees reason and authenticity behind every act.

This a true hidden gem.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Aaron Jeffery, Bernard Curry, Celia Ireland, Danielle Cormack, Jacqueline Brennan, Kate Atkinson, Kate Jenkinson, Katrina Milosevic, Leah Purcell, Leanne Campbell, Nicole da Silva, Pamela Rabe, Ra Chapman, Rarriwuy Hick, Robbie Magasiva, Shareena Clanton, Sigrid Thornton, Socratis Otto, Susie Porter, Tammy MacIntosh
Rating: TV-MA
97.

Seven Seconds

The first episode is directed by the maker of Warrior, Gavin O’Connor, and shares its emotional, yet suspenseful and action-packed flow.

A white police officer and his squad are involved in an attempt to cover up the hit-and-run murder of a black teenager. You’ll see the officers weigh guilt and remorse against their fears of exposure and a backlash. You’ll also meet the teenager’s heartbroken family and a disorganized prosecutor.

Its tales of race and institutional bias are compelling, but its greatest strength is the script. Add strong acting, especially by Regina King and Russell Hornsby, and you get one of the best police dramas Netflix has ever had.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Actor: Beau Knapp, Clare-Hope Ashitey, David Lyons, Michael Mosley, Nadia Alexander, Patrick Murney, Raúl Castillo, Regina King, Russell Hornsby
Rating: TV-MA
96.

The Umbrella Academy

An eccentric billionaire. A freakishly strong character who is ashamed of his strength. A Captain America-esque leader. An old mentor in the form of a wise talking monkey. You guessed it; The Umbrella Academy is about superheroes.

One fateful day in 1989 many women across the globe give birth at the same time, but at the start of that day, none of them were pregnant. The eccentric billionaire adopts a number of these children to form The Umbrella Academy, a collective similar to X-Men or The Avengers. Except, because they are all kind of related, this show is about their family dynamic as much as it is about their superpowers.

The Umbrella Academy is an entertaining story of superheroes that is rarely original but always enjoyable. Ellen Page plays one of the kids (the black sheep of the family who has no superpowers), and she’s a joy to watch.

And substantial bonus: Mary J. Blige (!) plays a hitman.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Action, Action & Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Actor: Adam Godley, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton, Cameron Brodeur, Colm Feore, David Castañeda, David Castañeda, Eden Cupid, Ellen Page, Elliot Page, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Génesis Rodríguez, Justin H. Min, Mary J. Blige, Ritu Arya, Robert Sheehan, Tom Hopper
Rating: TV-14
95.

Hanna

Hanna the movie was the perfect mix between a coming-of-age story and a Bourne-Trilogy-type thriller. It was suspenseful, edgy, and so original.

How to make these attributes stick when the movie is stretched to a TV show? As it turns out, more of the same does the trick.

The majority of events have been imagined especially for the show, and it doesn’t stop there. The series is packed with great new talent who bring their uniqueness to the story. Hanna herself is played masterfully by British actress Esme Creed-Miles. Her father - much more present in the show than the movie - is also amazingly played by Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman (you may recognize him from House of Cards or The Killing).

High production value and incredible suspense make Hanna an enjoyable and prolonged thrill ride. It’s even more fun if you’ve never watched the movie, as all plot developments will be new to you. 

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Action, Mystery
Actor: Esme Creed-Miles, Joel Kinnaman, Mireille Enos
Rating: TV-MA

Free Watching Options:

Watch Hanna on Amazon Prime for free
94.

Patrick Melrose

A five-part mini-series where the camera rarely leaves Benedict Cumberbatch, enabling him to deliver possibly the best performance of his career. He plays Patrick Melrose, an autobiographical character from renown British writer Edward St Aubyn. A wealthy man who in the first scene of the show hears about his father's death, Patrick tries to get his act together to go retrieve his father's ashes. However, a nasty drug habit and a dark past stand in the way of sobriety. This is a fast-paced and impeccably-acted show with a solid supporting cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Allison Williams, Anna Madeley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Blythe Danner, Celia Imrie, Dainton Anderson, Holliday Grainger, Hugo Weaving, Indira Varma, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jessica Raine, Pip Torrens, Prasanna Puwanarajah
Rating: TV-MA
93.

Giri / Haji

This is an thrilling BBC/Netflix show and a Yakuza drama that takes place between Tokyo and London. About half of the dialogue is in Japanese and the other half is in English.

Yakuza families are no longer at peace when a boss’s nephew is assassinated in London. Trying to bring the culprit in without interference from the British police, a Tokyo detective is sent to the UK to try to find him. 

There is an undeniable appeal to seeing the world of yakuza unfold, but the show’s title, which translates to Duty/Shame is a reference to the detective’s own personal conflict: the suspected murderer he’s looking for is his brother. Ouu.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Actor: Anna Sawai, Aoi Okuyama, Charlie Creed-Miles, Jamie Draven, Katsuya, Kelly Macdonald, Masahiro Motoki, Mitsuko Oka, Sophia Brown, Takehiro Hira, Togo Igawa, Tony Pitts, Will Sharpe, Yoshiki Minato, Yosuke Kubozuka, Yuko Nakamura
Rating: N/A
92.

The Outsider

This creepy miniseries stars Jason Bateman, Bill Camp, and Ben Mendelsohn. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, it follows an investigation into the horrific murder of a child where all evidence leads to the local baseball coach, Terry Maitland (Bateman). However, Terry's demeanor and his shock when the police come to arrest him raise questions about whether he actually committed the crime. It's a grim and slow-burning story with immaculate acting although it suffers from the thing it aspires the most to: the (not entirely satisfying) book. Created by The Wire writer Richard Price.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery
Actor: Ben Mendelsohn, Bill Camp, Cynthia Erivo, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Bobb, Julianne Nicholson, Marc Menchaca, Mare Winningham, Paddy Considine, Yul Vazquez
Rating: TV-MA
91.

The Durells

This comedy-drama is about a British family that moves from England to Corfu, Greece, in hopes of a better life.

At first the cultural shocks and mishaps are hilarious, but The Durells quickly becomes a heartfelt drama centered around the mother, who has to push through a lack of money, new responsibilities and a sense of loneliness on top of the cultural adjustment.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Josh O'Connor, Keeley Hawes, Milo Parker
Rating: TV-PG

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