February 24, 2013

Top 5 TV Dramas

1. The Sopranos
David Chase, 1999-2007

I recently re-watched this entire series, and fell in love with it again. The series is loosely based on the actual Boiardo New Jersey crime family. It won 21 Emmys and 5 Golden Globes and deserved every one of them. The show that put HBO on the map. The show is more than just a mob-drama. It has elements of psychology, pop-culture, romance, drug addiction, and family dynamics. Tony Soprano is the ultimate anti-hero. The only negative I can come up with is the characters were so well developed that they are now typecast.

2. The Wire
David Simon, 2002-2008

Best Season: Season 4

The Wire was so original and so well written, I don't believe we will never see anything like it again. Simon's followup to The Wire, Treme, just didn't do it for me. I'm going to try to give it another chance, but I know that even if it grows on me - it will never be remotely close to the Wire. There was so much purity to it, you get the feeling that David Simon, a Baltimore native, KNEW the city. I visited Baltimore in the middle of the show's run and got to spend time in some of the bars, and drink with the natives. What I noticed is although the show showed the not-so-pretty aspects of Baltimore, the residents really embraced the show. They are proud of their town, warts and all. The show has its own street-lingo, and after a few episodes you will be fluent. The Wire is filled with squatter-filled condemned brownstones, orange airborne extension cords running from window to window, and the constant harmony of gun-shots in the periphery. The average lifespan in the Wire is low, and you get attached to characters who might not make it to the next episode.

3. Boardwalk Empire
Terence Winter, 2010-

Best Season: Season 3

When you watch Boardwalk, you feel like you are literally standing on the 1920's Atlantic City Boardwalk. And it isn't the disgusting Boardwalk filled with Ed Hardy shirts and spray on tans. This Boardwalk has class. This one has Irish and Italian immigrants, with a well-defined class structure. It makes me wonder why we never really saw Steve Buscemi in a lead role like this before, he is SO GOOD. He's always shined in gritty supporting roles like in Reservoir Dogs but I can't picture anyone else playing Nucky Thompson.

4. Breaking Bad
Vince Gilligan, 2008-2013

Best Season: Season 1

I remember watching the pilot of this series a couple of years ago. I remember thinking to myself: "this is WAY too far-fetched". I didn't watch the next episode for about 6 months. My wife and I picked it up again a few months later, and after watching four or so more episodes in one viewing session we were both immediately sure that it was one of the best series we had ever seen. I don't think there has been another series that I've felt as ADDICTED to. It torments you with end of the episode cliffhangers. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are so amazing together. This show deserves all of the hype. Its that good. I really don't want it to end.

5. Game of Thrones
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, 2011-

Best Season: Season 2

There are so many dramatic elements to this series. Complicated family dynamics, deception and betrayal, love, grief. Big budget production paints a beautiful picture. The cast is perfect and so is the acting. There is so much richness to this series that you really can't miss a second of it.

Honorable Mentions:

Band of Brothers (2001)

Dexter (2006-

Lost (2004-2010)

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