2019 is coming to an end and with that the 2010’s is ending as we push toward the 2020’s. The 2010’s bought some quality television shows to the masses, through traditional network and cable television and the new method of watching entertainment streaming media. For the culture these television shows were relatable, provided a voice when messages needed to be heard, and at times were just flat out entertaining. Here are ten TV shows of the 2010’s I think were the top of the heap for the culture.
10. The Carmichael Show
Debuting in 2015 on NBC, this comedy starring Jerrod Carmichael, Tiffany Haddish, Lil Rel, Loretta Devine, and David Alan Grier. This comedy was unapologetically Black, funny, politically aware of the current climate in America. It also made comedic situations of life occurrences you may expect could have funny undertones. Episode topics such as confronting death, changing eating habits as you grow older, religion, Black lives matter, gentrification, even touched on cancel culture with an episode around still supporting Bill Cosby or not. The show ended in 2017 after a few disputes between Jerrod and NBC, sadly there were a couple more seasons left in the tank. Underrated and honestly slept on by many, if you’ve never seen the Carmichael Show it’s available on Hulu.
“Greenleaf” debuted in 2016 on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). The series follows the leaders of a Megachurch, Bishop James Greenleaf played by a ninja that always looks like he’s up to something Keith David, and his first lady Mae Greenleaf played by the always classy Lynn Whitfield. Their family and church congregation contain a lot of secrets and scandals that unfold over the series 4 seasons. Greenleaf touches upon a section of the Black community, many often talk about but don’t highlight much. The influence of megachurch’s, “celebrity” preachers, and the issues that exist within the confines of those walls. If you enjoy a good drama with some scandal thrown in check out Greenleaf. A fifth season will premiere sometime next year.
Created by Lee Daniels and starring Terrence Howard, Tariji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, and Jussie Smollet. This Fox drama debuted in 2015, and was an instant hit. A combination of soap opera and musical drama this series followed music mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrance Howard), and the exploits of his family and record label. The series fired on all cylinders in the first few seasons, having guest appearances from various musical artists, and a hit soundtrack to boot. The series is now in it’s sixth season and has jumped the shark as far as content, in addition to the Jussie Smollet scandal earlier this year. Empire has seen better days but it definitely left a mark on the culture this decade.
The brainchild of Donald Glover, this series debuting in 2016 on FX is unlike any other series currently on television. It follows down on his luck Earn (Donald Glover) who goes about life just trying to make it, with his cousin local rapper Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), and homeboy Darius (Lakeith Stanfield). The series has a very surreal vibe to it, including invisible cars and revolving nightclub doors. Had some very Black moments, such as an episode where Earn wiggles his way out of paying for a expensive dinner, and an episode featuring a barber that does everything but cut hair. It also had a genius episode in the first season satiring the medias portrayal of the Black community through the lens of a talk show, with accompanying commercials. The series third and fourth seasons are on the horizon, scheduled to begin filming in early 2020.
The series that put Starz original programs on HBO levels, Power debuted in 2014. Starring Omari Hardwick, Joseph Sikora, and Naturi Naughton. The series follows Omari Hardwick as James St. Patrick better known as Ghost. A drug dealer turned legitimate businessman who is constantly in conflict with which life he wants to live. Along the way he encounters numerous foes with his best friend/brother turned on again off again enemy Tommy (Joseph Sikora) and Kanan (50 Cent). Power was a highly anticipated show every season, and every week the previous episode was heavily discussed while looking forward to the next one. 2020 brings the last 5 episodes of the series and no matter which way it goes; it will be highly debated.
5. How To Get Away With Murder
I admit I have never watched a episode of “How To Get Away With Murder”, however the series starring Viola Davis and produced by Shonda Rhimes definitely left it’s mark on the culture. Debuting in 2014 on ABC, the series involves a lawyer Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) who’s involved in a murder and is always caught up in some shit related to the murder. The story involves a lot of twist and turns, when each episode airs you cannot escape the chatter around the show. It's talked about on social media and water coolers across the country. Now in it’s sixth and final season How To Get Away With Murder shows strong Black women in successful positions and has left it’s mark on the culture, just as the next series on the list.
Starring Kerry Washington and created by Shonda Rhimes. “Scandal” debuted in 2012 on ABC and followed Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) as a high-powered Washington D.C. crisis manager. She fixes a lot of crises that arise in political circles in D.C., while being involved in quite a few herself namely her affair with the President of the United States Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn). The show ran for seven seasons ending in 2018, and despite creating the successful series “Greys Anatomy”, Scandal really was the series that raised Shonda Rhimes status. Many aspired to be like Olivia Pope and through reruns, she will likely inspire generations to come to hop into the crisis’s management field.
Issa Rae started the decade on YouTube with her web series “Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” and ended the decade a bonafide star. Starring in films, being a creative mastermind, and being included on numerous “one’s to watch” list, all of the praise she received was amplified by her 2016 HBO series “Insecure”. Starring Issa as a 30 something LA resident who life hasn’t quite gone to plan, whether in her work life or personal life. The show is very relatable to members of the Millennial generation male or female with the current landscape of life. Being a Millennial I feel like it’s one the first television series that accurately addressed some of the issues Millennials face. Like “Atlanta”, “Insecure” has been renewed for a fourth season but due to Issa’s hectic schedule has not yet commenced filming.
Created by the late John Singleton this FX series debuted in 2017 and chronicled the origins of the crack epidemic in 1980’s Los Angeles. The series follows main character Franklin Saint (Damson Idris) and his rise through the drug business from a naïve small-time dealer to a kingpin. The series also covers how crack destroyed families and neighborhoods, drug distributors and their role and federal agents assigned to fight the war on drugs, and the games they play. Snowfall will be returning for a fourth season and after the ending of season 3, I’m looking forward to where Franklins story heads next.
Debuting in 2014 on ABC, Blackish was originally perceived as a Cosby show for the 2010’s. Mannn the series has turned out to be even more then that. Starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis-Ross, Blackish follows the Johnson Family Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis-Ross). A highly successful upper middle-class Black couple raising their four later five children in a life of privilege, while still ensuring they appreciate their “blackness”. Blackness has had educational episodes and has not shied away from controversial topics on the series, having episodes focus on the “N” word, police brutality, being biracial, the existence of God, and Juneteeth. It also famously had a episode pulled due to a controversal topic that caused a rift between ABC and series creator Kenya Barris The series has spawned two spin-off series “Grownish” and “Mixed-ish” and now in it’s sixth season has created it’s own legacy and will be enjoyed by many for years to come.
About The Author
B.Easy is the co-host of Talkin' Suplexes. He's a self-professed geek loving movies, wrestling, comic books, and using his imagination. Goal in life is to become a world traveler and get paid to hop on lear jets. Follow him on Instagram @iam_beasy, Follow Talkin' Suplexes @talkinsuplexespod