Last year, we bid farewell to the mysterious hatch-filled island of Lost. Year before that, we waved goodbye to the good ship Battlestar Galactica (so say we all) for the last time. And, in the three years prior to that, The Wire, The Sopranos and The West Wing all exited stage left on an annual basis. So, with all the heavy-hitters having packed up their bags and marched off to immortal glory like an outnumbered Spartan, what is now the best show on television?
For sure, this is no easy question. No doubt, debate will be sparked and cans containing worms will lay open everywhere. Certainly, there's no definite right or wrong answer (aside from anyone voting Hollyoaks; that is wrong). But with the throne arguably vacant just now since all the televisual game-changers of recent years have departed, let's debate anyway.
My criteria are these. The show needs to still be currently airing, so ones that are shown as repeats obviously don't count. It needs to have been running for a reasonable while, to give us a true reflection and ensure it's not a Heroes-esque flash-in-the-first-season-pan. It needs to have great writing, acting and storytelling. And, it needs to be just plain awesome. Of course, sheer entertainment value is an important factor (how could it not be?), but said programme also needs to produce consistent quality that stimulates, challenges, amuses, asks questions and has us itching to find fellow fans. There are lots of contenders, but which one should stand astride them?
Before casting my sure-to-be-controversial vote though, let's consider what else is out there. In all honesty, there's nothing that I currently look forward to as much as addictive bromance Entourage, but I wouldn't describe it as the 'best' show on television and with the final episode hitting a few weeks back, it's time has come and gone. Dexter, likewise, is another strong personal favourite of mine, but isn't nearly as devastatingly unpredictable or sharp as it once was. House MD offers one of TV's most endlessly-watchable characters in Hugh Laurie's Sherlockian diagnostician (with a side order of moving drama), but it's simply too formulaic to be realistically considered.
Moving into comedic territory and there's much out there to love. The wonderfully-observed Peep Show just refuses to get crap, Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm is rarely anything other than genius and The American Office, despite undeniably going downhill in recent years, remains one of the wittiest watches on the box. If I absolutely had to pick one comedy, it'd be Armando Iannucci's criminally under-known political satire The Thick Of It, but aside from sublime spin-off In The Loop, when the fourth season eventuates in 2012, we won't have seen those guys in over three years. As for obvious choice The Simpsons, it's a boring, predictable answer so let's not start the inevitable arguments about how far it's declined since it's heyday.
In terms of sci-fi, debatably the only genuine candidate is the genre's daddy, Doctor Who. But even though the team of writer-showrunner Steven Moffat and new Doctor Matt Smith have installed a dark fairytale vibe which has elevated the show from curiosity to mind-bending appointment TV, it’s still too silly at times to be considered as the top television banana. Elsewhere (genre-wise), I expect there will be some love for the likes of Sons Of Anarchy, True Blood, Spartacus, Misfits and Fringe, yet I doubt any of these would be viewed by many as serious contenders.
There's also a few shows which have shown great promise, but haven't been around long enough to meet the criteria. HBO's Boardwalk Empire arrived with about as much pedigree as you could possible expect (Martin Scorsese involved and directed the pilot, Steve Buscemi in the lead), but it never came close to captivating me. Moffat and Mark Gatiss' Sherlock on the other hand, was engrossing viewing as a triumphant reinvention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian sleuth (with perfect central casting), but thus far we've only seen three episodes, albeit feature-length ones. Then there's the worth-the-hype Game Of Thrones which, in my eyes, has the best potential to wear the crown one day - but only time will tell.
Now, before revealing what I think is the best show currently on television (for those of you who haven't already impatiently scrolled down), it's worth noting my close second choice - Matthew Weiner's Mad Men. Boasting all the quality, class and depth you'd expect from one of The Sopranos top writers and co-producers, it's a sublimely-written, immaculately-constructed and superbly crafted slice of period drama, which is as impossibly good-looking as its handsome cast. Predictably, the glacial pace and decidedly understated manner of storytelling (where virtually every sentence has a double meaning) will lose many viewers, but for me this measured approach lends a spellbinding quality, once you adjust your mindset to it.
But no, my numero uno choice is ... (drumroll)... (more drumroll, milking it)... Breaking Bad. Like Mad Men, this isn't a widely-popular mainstream favourite by any stretch of the imagination, but in terms of overall quality, I cannot think of a better show currently on the air. The premise itself is brilliant enough to carry the series: a mild-mannered, constantly shat-upon chemistry teacher gets cancer and uses his aptitude for chemical cooking to concoct crystal meth in order to provide for his family after he's gone. And the kicker (bearing in mind a spoiler lurks ahead)? When his cancer enters remission, the milquetoast teacher has been irreversibly corrupted by the power and is unable to tear himself away from the dark side...
Part crime-thriller, part family-drama, Breaking Bad is more talky than action-packed, but its slow-burn approach leads to some tension-filled, punch-packing moments that explode into life and leave you genuinely reeling afterwards. Sort of like the stand-out bank heist in Heat. Though not as ultra-realistic as The Wire (what is?) it’s not far off, while also boasting far greater emotional stakes as we witness the slow decay of a good man's soul, flawlessly essayed by Bryan Cranston and a terrific ensemble. Creator Vince Gilligan has openly admitted that he and the writers make much of the seasons up as they go along, but when the outcome is as hugely unpredictable and constantly gripping as this (whilst also playing true to the story), who cares? Quite simply, it's dazzling television.
So what about you? What is your top choice? Who deserves the tile of 'Best Show Currently On TV'? Here's a giant blog-like penny for your thoughts, so let us know...
Calsterman Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 11:34
Perfect pick if you ask me, Breaking Bad is the best show on TV. Honourable mentions to Mad Men, Dexter and Community.
Norsedwarf Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 11:36
Yeah, I said it.
kickpuncher Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 11:39
Admittedly not on UK TV (well, it was on Viva, but I think all now that doesn't count) at the moment, but I'm gonna go ahead and say Community. I'll admit I haven't seen Breaking Bad (yet), Community does things with the sitcom format far beyond what anyone else is doing. It is the US Spaced, in the best possible sense of that idea. Also, I'm sick of mockumentaries. And Richard Ayoade directed an episode.
Paulo1 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 11:39
I agree with you on almost everything. I'm at a loss what to watch in the off-seasons. I've done pretty much every series you mentioned, I'm hoping people will mention some good ones I hadn't thought to try. I can't really pick an outright favourite, though Mad Men is certainly up there. I'm looking forward to series 2 of the Killing (both Danish and US) and Game of Thrones, I'm on book 3 thanks to that series. My favourite comedy has to be Community, which I have to torrent as it's not available in the UK, closely followed by 30 Rock. All time favourite though is Sopranos, can't beat it.
chris wootton Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 11:47
Mad men currently.. disappointed with Game of Thrones (some of the acting is awful, and I actually got fed up with the sex scenes - it was like, ooh we haven't had any tits for 10 minutes). Walking dead was ok, looking forward to the second season. Sopranos?... best show ever. Sons of Anarchy is worth a look too as it's now on it's fourth season (US - 3rd in the UK) but it does tend to be a bit repetitive. Still haven't seen Breaking Bad but will get round to it soon.
guysalisbury Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 11:53
Without question, Curb Your Enthusiasm is the best show on TV and has been since The Office, 24, Extras and Blackadder. In all 8 seasons they have never come close to making a bad episode. I got 8 episodes into Boardwalk Empire and lost interest. I gave it as long as I could but it was very dull. Unfortunately the same happened with The Wire for me. Got 6 episodes in and really couldn't get into it. Ill give it another go one day I'm sure. Its a real shame Entourage has gone, it was quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Blyman Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 11:57
I miss the golden era - West Wing, Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield - so I hope you all come up with a definitive answer as I'm nearing the end of Battlestar Galactica (brilliant but depressing the frak out of me) and need a replacement......
khac6876 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:03
Agree with Breaking Bad. Best comedy - Parks and Rec. The last series (3) was phenomenal.
kojaksmoneybox Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:10
This blog is acting like Breaking Bad is all of a sudden brilliant, this is not new news, it has been the best show on TV since the departure of The Wire. The only thing that has run it close recently is Friday Night Lights and now that has tearfully departed.
It is the last great show out there and the season finale last Sunday was simply mesmerising. Each episode of Breaking Bad is like a best film of the year.
I remember Empire scandalously giving Season 2 a paltry 4 stars in its TV review section. This is the benchmark for all TV and whilst the likes of Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones are unquestionably good, they don't deserve to be muttered in the same breath as Breaking Bad.
Only 16 episodes left of the show and if it continues along the same vain as season 4, it will have a very real shout for the greatest TV show of all time.
joe (mavrick) horton Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:32
my faves when they were on air was:
they all took over one an other when the shows finished, and now entourage is done breaking bad has taken over but a close second of mine is hung. Boardwalk empire didnt really grab me in the first 3 episodes. there was only really one good episode of the walking dead and that was the first one all the other eps went down hill from there. Breaking Bad at the moment you are the King of TV.
jmebaby25 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:39
Exactly right Empire. Breaking Bad is magnificent.
Anyone know when Series Three (region 2) is coming to the UK?
kisswithatear Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:39
Game of Thrones left me breathless. It's a slow burner yes but it's also packed to the brim with engaging characters and twisted storylines.
Lets not forget it did something few television shows would dare to do. *SPOILERS*Inkindofkillingthemaincharacterinaflurryofemotionandblood*SPOILERS* But I guess it was all necessary and I cannot wait for the second series, the quality can only be retained. I only worry about the fourth and fifth series but hopefully the showrunners can make even those novels a little interesting.
MrsG Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:49
I started watching Breaking Bad less than a week ago (now halfway through season 3) and I have to say I'm in agreement here.
My only regret is that I didn't start sooner.
Kavandclay Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:59
I'm glad I'm not the only one who lost interest in Boardwalk Empire (funnily enough happened to Lost as well). All the critics like to describe it as "lavish", which pretty much translates to: a lot of money has been spent on costumes and set design.
Much love to Sons of Anarchy and Curb. Final series of Spooks and Entourage have been/were disappointing.
Shame there was no mention of the ending of Friday Night Lights. Quality tv series based on the film - Go Lions!
dave123 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:05
Surprised that Being Human (UK) has not been mentioned - I have not seen the US version so can not compare it to the UK version but for me, that's the best show on TV.
Some of the scenes are genuinely scary! Although that might come from my fear of werewolves after watching 'American Werewolf in London' when I was about 9 years old.
*** Spoiler - for those who have not seen the end of season 3 ***
It will be interesting to see how Season 4 pans out without Mitchell but the introduction of the new 'old' vampire looks interesting.
AlexMaija Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:09
Community! Love it. Hope it stays around, it doesn't have that many viewers in the US, not for NBC's doing anyway.
Bigandyt Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:09
Ive seen most of the shows listed in this article and Dexter is my favourite show by far and i think its as good now as its always been.
Sons of Anarchy is still going strong into its 4th season and in my opinion majorly underrated.
Ive not seen Breaking Bad yet but almost everyone telling me its awesome is forcing my hand.
captainrentboy Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:11
Breaking Bad would also be my current favourite show on TV. Especially after that Season 4 finale a couple of days ago.
Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire are also great TV, they're a considerably 'slower' watch than BB and some other US shows, but the acting, characters and set design just seem to drag me in week after week.
Dexter, SOA and True Blood are the only other biggies I currently watch every year. They can wildly vary in quality season by season, infact all three had fairly poor/stale seasons last year, but thankfully seem to have got back on track this year. (Or in the case of True Blood just went soooo crazily OTT, I couldn't help but be entertained)
Caught the pilot of Homeland last week too. Seems like it could be one to keep an eye on.
Hawros Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:14
Well that was a surprise choice....
if you missed the picture at the start of the article.
I would have plumped for Dexter - still excellent. Good choice tho, although my choice for comedy would go to Modern Family.
Y2Neildotcom Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:33
I find the following shows fabulous and just love to watch them:
- Glee - How I Met Your Mother - The Big Bang Theory - Mad Men - Boardwalk Empire - The Walking Dead
I'm one of the minority that's never seen Breaking Bad, Dexter or Game of Thrones. I have been told to check out Suits so will give that a go eventually. But I was a huge Lost geek and I'm sad its gone.
I have also never seen all of the Sopranos. I was a late comer to that and got up to season 4 when they ended it. I can't bring myself to watch the rest of the seasons for knowing that it'll end. This way, in my mind, it's still going.
K0rrupt Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 14:15
You can question whether some of those programmes would be the de facto best but they are some of my favourites shows to watch
K Grandaddy Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 14:51
Don't get enough time to watch enough quality telly what with the wife watching the soaps every night. But anything that tops Dexter (getting through season 4) will be be bloody good. Vince Masuka is one of my favourite TV characters for the immortal line
"Its not opinion, its science. And science is a cold hard bitch......
...... with a 14 inch strap-on"
jolietjake78 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 14:55
I'm surprised nobody had mentioned Justified yet. It was a little formulaic in the first season but the second really changed things up and Timothy Olyphant & Walton Goggins are both awsome
Stef_Ish Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 15:04
I haven't read the other comments, so something similar may've been said already. Breaking Bad is, quite simply, the greatest television show of all time. It's brilliantly original, unpredictable &, particularly in the earlier seasons, side-splittingly funny.
Mad Men is superb, Community's entertaining, Curb's hilarious (& inexplicably under-watched) & Californication's good, light-hearted fun, too. The Walking Dead's initial episodes were super-enthralling, but it's naturally too early in its run for consideration.
I'd argue, then, Breaking Bad is by far & away the best show on television. And almost certainly ever. And I thought nothing would supersede my love for T. Soprano.
Dieter Von Cunth Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 15:04
Deep breath... best shows currently on air are... Community, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Treme, Parks and Recreation. Honourable mentions to Dexter (too cheesy) & Walking Dead (too pulpy).
claudemg Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 15:04
Anyone who calls Boardwalk Empire 'boring' needs to re-evaluate the show as a whole. Yes, it is slow but when the moment of tension and violence erupt - it has earnt it and therefore pleases us all that much more. It reminds me of the bar scene in inglorious basterds. There is a slow build up and then suddenly an 'o' of violence. 2 seconds and it's over. would we have been so entralled and satisfied with those 2 seconds without the foreplay?
Boardwalk Empire is to me, the best thing on television and I only hope that the shifting dynamics of the plot do not detract from its overall scope. excellence.
claudemg Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 15:05
* s *h etc
Turd Ferguson Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 15:11
Breaking Bad is easily the best show on television. Also, Game of Thrones is an epic in the works, but I'm a little biased as I'm a huge fan of the books. I'll be interested to see how they handle the 4th season since the 4th & 5th books run concurrently, by and large.
For best comedy, The League is incredible and, surprisingly, appeals to both the guys and ladies (at least from what I gather from my group of friends). It might not resonate with audiences in Europe or elsewhere since it's focused around a group of guys in a fantasy NFL football league, but it's top notch comedy nonetheless. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Louie are also contenders in the comedy arena, in my humble opinion.
RobotDevil Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 15:37
Best TV show right now - Archer.
Breaking Bad is the best drama right now and I hope the fifth and final season will do the rest justice although I think it peaked with season 3 which was flawless.
Honorable mentions to Justified, SoA, Community and Supernatural.
I'd also like to point out that Lost wasn't the best TV show to finish last year. That was Friday Night Lights, as others have mentioned.
batmagnet Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 15:52
Either Community or Parks and Rec for best comedy,but, yeah Breaking Bad for best overall tv show
Navthedon Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 16:29
The best show by miles is Games of Thrones. The storylines, the acting, the script, the sets, its bloody well flawless! Seriously if you havent seen it give it a go, you wont be disappointed. Ill give breaking bad a go then...better be good!
paulmullan1 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 16:35
The best show on TV right now is Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men is also a close second for me. But no show will ever come close to the brilliance of Firefly and Dollhouse both cut down in there prime.
linkinpython Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 16:49
The walking dead, hands down one of the best shows ever
England4Me Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 16:56
What a great blog - that's my viewing sorted up until middle of next year then
Haven't had the pleasure of watching any Breaking Bad yet - but will certainly be chasing it up after seeing all the feedback above.
Really glad to see Friday Night Lights getting a mention too - Anyone with daddy issues will be crying for a coach Taylor in their life by the end of the first series - and it just keeps getting better from there.
I could watch Weeds for hours when it was in it's first three series, then it managed to gradually descend into unfulfilling mush before being cancelled all together.
Although it's only two series in - Misfits is consistently funny and imaginative - and Nathan is definitely one of the most amusing (if crass) characters out there today.
RIP entourage - home to some of the best characters ever to grace the small screen
ccfoster Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 16:57
No mention of Damages? Admittedly, I've only seen the first season, but found it incredible. Perhaps it's not airing anymore so you didnt mention it.
goonerstu72 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 17:03
I am yet to see Breaking Bad and I would say entourage (despite the rushed endings) but obviously that has ended. Certainly the best looking show has to be Boardwalk Empire, it just feels so grand and above the regular TV. Maybe it isnt quite as incredible as I had hoped but nonetheless its the best for me. Also worth mentioning I feel is Treme. Its certainly the best sounding show on TV!!
bill the butcher Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 17:08
it is on mtv
like a JUNO tv series
i love it
markscott24 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 17:16
Boardwalk Empire gets my vote. I can understand why people can't get to grips with the slow pace but for me, that is the whole beauty of the show. When the action scenes do come, it makes me savour them even more. The set is incredibly realistic as are the performances from Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt. I haven't been as gripped to a series since the days of The Sopranos.
Entourage was one of the best shows ever despite the rather flat final season. I will be forever grateful that Entourage was made though as it gave us one of the best comedy characters of all-time in Ari Gold.
T12AV15 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 17:45
Great blog! Though I don't understand why you picked Mad Men as 2nd choice as its not currently airing? or is it? Anyway, when it is on Mad Men is superb I love the 60's vibe and I never realised the "old days" could be so cool.
Obviously gutted now that entourage has finished, it was the program I looked forward to more than any other ever. However Sons of Anarchy is a brilliant brilliant drama which along with the also fantastic Boardwalk Empire has filled a big hole left by the Sopranos.
I'm currently making my way through The Wire season 2 which I am thoroughly enjoying and I do have Breaking Bad on my list of things to watch.
As for comedy I don't watch much, maybe only Two and a Half Men, I haven't really watched a good comedy since Scrubs finished to be honest.
kickpuncher Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 18:05
Many good calls. I love talking about this shit. I know it's not on any more, but since it never gets mentioned in great TV discussions, I'm throwing Gilmore Girls out there as a lost great. And I will not hear any of your disagreements. Amazing how many people only made it 7-8 episodes into Boardwalk Empire, I had the same problem. I've left it on my Sky Plus, I'm hoping it's a Wire scenario when you need almost half a series to really get into it at all. Also, I like the shout-out for In Treatment, I'm watching Season One now and it's fricking awesome.
Community Mad Men Louie
Also, Archer is pretty much the funniest thing on TV right now. Not the best, but certainly the funniest.
Dunder_Mifflin Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 18:30
No love for Justified?
durelius Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 18:39
Seen a few episodes of B Bad and thought it was pretty good Brian Cranston is excellent as evident by the swarm of movies offers he's had this year. For me though Fringe is the one I watch, has the quirkiness of X-Files and John Noble is tremendous as Walter Bishop. Loved first season of Damages as well
Coro1234 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 18:42
Doctor Who! No question about it.
rhodaus Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 18:44
I'll go with Breaking Bad and add a couple of shows that gave terrific potential.
Justified, if they can get the romantic side right Game of Thrones and a very very new one Homeland
rhodaus Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 18:46
or even HAVE terrific potential
snakes_on_a_plane Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 19:24
Agreed. Breaking Bad, both best drama and best show on TV. In terms of best comedy, I'll have to go for Modern Family.
MEarnshaw Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 20:18
Treme surely is up there with the very best! Having just seen the end of BB 4, I am itching for 5, amazing!
Return of Arrested Development? Does that make it current? If so, it's the best comedy, it's my favourite comedy EVER! Am going to delve into community based upon these comments though.
t1nkerbell Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 20:31
Lots of love in my house for Weeds. Brilliant show and Mary Louise Parker is all kinds of sexyawesome. I keep recommending it and have yet to leave someone disappointed.
Californication. filthy excellence.
30 Rock. Alec Baldwin. 'nuff said.
Mad Med. Beautiful in every way.
Community. Alison Brie is amazing.
South Park. Just because I love it.
artilleryman Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 20:37
The Killing and Mad Men are the only decent shows on at the moment
Ethanial Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 22:22
Last year I would have said Arrested Development, but Breaking Bad was at the top of their game for two seasons in a row, and top of their game is far from the reach of any other show, or film. The season finale this year, with it's massive "Holy S**t!!!" moment, where you weren't sure what you just watched, but it moved you in a way you never expected, and remained adrenaline packed and enthralling, is a perfect example of a show at it's prime, doing things no one else dares to do.
edjones95 Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 22:38
Although it has like only just started Fresh Meat on Channel 4 is quite probably one of the best comedy dramas I've seen in recent years. It's on equal level to Peep Show's earlier series in the amount of cringe inducing moments but they are generally hilarious. Also even though it's not been on now for about 12 years or something Spaced is the king of television hands down. nuff said :L
beebs_ Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 23:24
I like Boardwalk Empire, but it is a bit... dull? It's well acted but the pace is just a bit slow. It's not that gripping. It's good but no Sopranos.
I think Game of Thrones is top dog right now (I don't watch Breaking Bad or Mad Men. Shame on me!). OK, we're only one season in but it had me hooked pretty quickly and as we know nobody is safe...
I like True Blood and Dexter, but they've fallen off a bit over he last season. I'm addicted to The Vampire Diaries, but one might call that a guilty pleasure, if one felt guilty about watching it! Curb season 8 wasn't as good as S7, but I love it. Still watching the office, but it isn't as good as it has been.
Homeland looks like it could be pretty damn good though. I like what I've seen so far.
roogieman Posted on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 23:51
Curb Your Enthusiasm is just one of the best things that has ever been on TV, I haven't met one person who doesn't love Leon Black.
I though Treme had a good first season, and am looking forward to it opening up more.
Also, Futurama is back- so we don't have to talk about the Simpsons' declining quality.
I love Game of Thrones- but I'm a huge swords n sorcery fan, so it's just right up my alley anyway.
TomBowler Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 04:40
Recently watched the first episode of Entourage for the first time - then a week later I was up to season 4 with bloodshot eyes surrounded by empty red bull cans. I never, ever get tired of watching Jeremy Piven. Favourite show of all time is The West Wing, simply because, unlike the Sopranos (second fave) I can put on any episode and watch it without having to consult an episode guide to tell me what the hell is going on. Just started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and I'm in some mild trauma over the extreme awkwardness. I am liking it a lot though. And I just got into Deadwood season 2 which has to be coming close to swearing its way into the number 3 spot on my list but at the moment Arrested Development holds it firmly, just over Battlestar Galactica which Deadwood will have to get past as well. I desperately pray that Community will lift its game back up to the like of season 1 despite the fact that there is no better sitcom on TV - yes, over 30 Rock and Parks and Rec, despite my undying love for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I also think that How I Met Your Mother is a fantastic show, despite the fact that it's a little too inconsequential to be in the contention. I keep putting it off due to the fact that I know I won't be able to stop watching once I start but I have not started watching Breaking Bad as yet. I know! I'm sorry! But my favourite show on TV at the moment would have to be your second choice, Mad Men. Everything about it oozes class, even with the occassional dip in quality it's still the best drama in my books.
Zimbo Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 05:06
Breaking Bad is the best show I've ever seen period....and I've seen a lot of shows.
Its the only show that made me jump out of my bed. And Season 4 finale was one of the best episodes of any show I've ever seen.
Recently tried watching Tera Nova and all these other shows but none of them compare in a way I hate how Breaking Bad set such a high standard for me now.
Dexter, House, Fringe are all ok, but shows with episodic structures where there is an obvious beggning middle and end in every episode makes it boring and predictable. Breaking Bad forever, last season to go (or 2 small ones if the rumours come true) and I dont know what to do with my life.
tommypocket Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 07:37
There's an infamous quote somewhere regarding The Wire that goes along the lines of:
"There are two types of people; those who think it's the best show ever made... and then there are those that haven't seen it yet."
I think this pretty much sums up Breaking Bad on this thread.
It's by a long way the best drama of the last few years and deserves to be mentioned alongside the two shows everyone unanimously agrees are on a pedestal of greatness - The Sopranos and The Wire. For me, Breaking Bad is one season away from eclipsing both (just please don't 'pull a Lost' in your final season)...
I'll probably give it a few years before I watch The Wire again - but as soon as BB finishes, I'll happily start over from episode one...
It's about time Empire got on the bandwagon - it only took you four seasons...
kelkatdev Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 08:57
For me it's easily Supernatural. But also excellent viewing would be Dr Who, Game of Thrones, Justified and Mad Men. But for the comedy, music and general brilliance nothing beats Supernatural!
odddaze Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 09:45
Treme and South Park beat all!
Murchison Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 09:46
There is just too much on to watch everything, i'm loving Boardwalk Empire just now, but can understand why some haven't taken too it. Has devided opinion of my friends and family. There are a few shows just now I missed the start of, like Breaking Bad, will need to try and catch up.
One show which hasn't been mentioned, unbelieveably in my opinion, is Southland. Maybe been missed by a lot of people, but it's the favourite show of just about everyone i've recommended it too (which is lots, can't stop raving about it!) I came across it by accident, but glad I did.
Please everyone start watching it, another brilliant American show that keeps struggling to get recommisioned for a new series due to audience numbers. It deserves a bigger audience. Series 3 starts tonight, can't wait!!
gary warr Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 10:00
Can I come down on the side of Burn Notice which is on its 4th or 5th season and is still going strong, I know its not The Wire but it is the A team for adults.
Also missing off British television Leverage which is Hustle for grown ups.
I can't believe no one has mentioned Treme which in season two has become really engrosing.
RJNeb2 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 10:30
Yep, Breaking Bad is never less than amazing. Really fond of The Closer too.
BUT I can't believe that no one has mentioned The Good Wife. Season 1 was involving and intelligent. Season 2 knocked it out of the park. What a great cast - Julianna Marguilies, Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski and particularly the fantastic (and Emmy Award-winning) Archie Panjabi. Season 3 probably won't hit our shores till late this/ early next year. Do yourself a favour and box set your way through Seasons 1 and 2 NOW. You won't regret it.
Droog Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 10:39
Just to echo what markscott24 said, I can't understand people not being able to get to grips with Boardwalk Empire, I was completely engrossed from Episode 1! And it contains some of the most interesting and complex characters I've seen for yonks - Michael Pitt's conflicted Jimmy Darmody, Michael Shannon's fire-and-brimstone Agent Van Alden and Jack Huston's WW1 vet Richard Harrow who steals every scene he's in.
Like others here, I'm obsessed with Game of Thrones, a show that got me chomping at the bit so much for the next series that I devoured all 5 George RR Martin books in a matter of weeks - Christ, there is so much good stuff to come. Absolutely brilliant.
Also like to pour one out for the all-time-gone-but-not-forgotten stars of TV: The Wire, Sopranos, Lost and - naturally - Spaced.
cadz Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 10:47
Fine choice, BB is exceptional. Although you lost me with the paragraph more or less denouncing S.O.A (maybe my 2nd fave now airing) as fluff, after praising Dr Who of all things....that must be an English thing, because it's treated as pap everywhere else!
AprilShowers Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 10:49
I love, love, love Wednesday nights - you got Supernatural on Sky Living and Sons of Anarchy on 5USA. Everything you could possibly want for a night of viewing; Dean Winchester deadpanning away with, as mentioned in a post above, great music and humour, and the high drama and tension that has been Sons of Anarchy season 3. Brilliant! I should probably say that I started watching these shows mainly because of the attractiveness of their leading men, but they've had me gripped, especially Sons of Anarchy.
Only thing is I don't get to bed unitl after midnight, so I'm a wreck all day Thursday! Oh well, the triple gorgeousness of Dean and Sam Winchester and Jax Teller kinda makes up for it....
ronniem Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 11:29
For me, Game of Thrones trumps all...admittedly I haven't watched BB (will do so, after this blog!). For the acting, immaculate attention to detail and solid writing, I give my vote to Game of Thrones...hope the second season is as top notch as the first. Comedy-wise I go for Modern Family, an engaging bunch of characters who work so well as an ensemble. For a macho, blood, guts and gore, sex-filled, 300-on-steroids fix I go for Spartacus...such a guilty pleasure! My fav of all time though are Sopranos and 24(why...their leads gave tour-de-force perfomances over and over for years...c'mon people, we're talking about Jack Bauer DAMMIT!!!)
shinycarot Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 12:49
Fringe. It's gripping, funny, engaging, original. Walternate, Fauxlivia, Bellivia! Fantastic. Best thing since the all time best TV series ever... The X Files. The first series of Fringe was similiar in some aspects to The X Files but it has developed into something completely different. It is just a shame that it is shown here on Sky, so I have to buy it on DVD which means you watch the whole thing in a week.
romonakoo Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 13:06
French crime series Spiral. Dark, gripping and each series gets better.
bryanbotsareli Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 13:18
SONS of ANARCHY IS GREAT !!
filmburner30 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 13:29
Being a Brit my fave shows so far have been
Sherlock -buried in last summers schedules but its a real winner and written with due care.
The Shadow Line - Stephen Rea was the scariest villian in TV this year
Vera - yes its another TV tec series but Brenda Blethlyn could sit and read the phone book and still be a great actress.
blue_lion Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 13:30
Have not seen Breaking Bad, but have heard good things.
Although I do enjoy Boardwalk Empire / Game Of Thrones, I do agree that these programmes seem to have a boob quota they have to reach per episode. The great story alone is all shows need.
Falling Skies on FX was a nice surpirse (if you like SCi-FI) am hoping there will be a second season fo that. A good mix of charectors with a family at its heart.
True Blood is a great little show as well, even though the last season was not as strong as those previous.
As for comedy, surely "The Inbetweeners" (UK) deserves a mention, best comedy on TV in ages and a fun movie to boot !
krazyivan666 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 16:23
I'm voting Sons of Anarchy.. hasn't always been the best but the new season is absolutely storming right now!!
Still haven't got round to Breaking Bad yet, but heard so many trusted friends heaping praise all over it, i'm sure it's a great contender for the throne... ...and speaking of Thrones, thought Game Of.. was great! Watched the whole season in 2nights and can't wait for the follow-up. Tits & Dragons ftw!!!
rhinoceross Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 16:25
Disgusted that It's always sunny in philadelphia is not mentioned more. Top Three without question are Breaking Bad, Its always sunny and Curb.
Community, Parks and rec, GoT, Boardwalk empire, dexter, episodes, weeds also tres good
crazyben66 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 16:30
I'm a massive fan of Dexter but I too agree that it's been going downhill since that Season 4 Finale shocker. Sons of Anarchy always seems to pipe out good finales but gets lost along the way occasionally.
How I Met Your Mother still appears relatively fresh, as does Community but time will tell.
Personally, the best and cleverest to me, is still South Park.
mrblonde Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 16:37
OK 1st up and I know I am going to be roasted like well-done beef here but it has to be Glee. What appears to be all loves and hugs actually has a very dark under-current and a villan in Sue that would give Darth Vader the willies.
Comedy wise nothing comes close to the brilliance of Big Bang Theory. Instead of taking the "Friends" route and repeating the same concept over and over. Producers took a risk and enlarged the cast giving everyone (except poor Raj) a girlfriend and the risk worked. Sheldon now has the perfect partner in the sublime Amy Farrah-Fowler.
Now keeping the Brit end up - Dr Who brilliant but too easy a choice. The Shadow Line I really enjoyed, but for me and I realise that this breaks the rules already set out (but I don't care), it has to be The Fades. A really nice riff on the Zombie concept (so well done in The Walking Dead), with some wonderful characterisation.
Of course no discussion about current tv drama would be complete without mentioning Spooks. Series 9 (unfortunately the last series) has upped the intensity again and one of the things I've always admired about the series is that no character is safe from real heart-break or death - hell they killed Glaire Goose off within 3 episodes of the 1st series.
raelc70448 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 16:58
I'll agree with the call for Justified, just finishing the second season which is far better than the first one. Dexter is also very good but might be stretching a very good idea too thin. Haven't seen the more recent HBO stuff like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and Treme yet.
Breaking Bad is exceptional and I'm just getting into series 3 and catching up fast. Cannot understand why it is not shown over here. John de Lancie (Q from Star Trek) was absolutely incredible in a small part at the end of season 2.
In terms of comedy Wiflred and Angry Boys are both worth a look but obviously haven't had long runs so far.
rosskies Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 16:59
Well Game Of Thrones, Dexter, Weeds, Breaking Bad, Community and Curb all deserve special mention as shows that are awesome and still on air, but they'va all had shouts here so I want to show a little love for the effortlessly cool, sexy, funny and exciting Burn Notice. I know it gets a little repetitive here and there but as lightweight and damn fun entertainment it cannot be beat, and Bruce Campbell is awesome.
sjsmith88 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 17:16
Breaking Bad. No question. If you're trying to watch it on UK TV though, give up. No one's picked it up post-season 2. The season 4 finale was literally the most thrilling piece of television I have ever seen. And I hate it when people say 'literally' and don't mean it.
bowz88 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 17:25
so often with television the quality drops as the show progresses. True Bloods first series was great, as were the first few from lost. (I only carried on with lost because it got so annoying i had to know how it was gonna end!) But I can only hope that the second series of The Walking Dead keeps up the quality because series one is one of the best things to happen to television in years and the graphic novels have some brilliant material that the show could use. I can also say that Terra Nova has started pretty well in the first 3 episodes although its not exactly ground breaking stuff.
In terms of comedy the best show without a doubt is The Big Bang Theory, one of only a few shows that actually gets better, can only hope it doesn't peak too early. Must also say that Modern Family is genius
Darko2006 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 17:51
My favorite shows are
Game of Thrones Mad Men Breaking Bad Dexter
But the scandinavian shows like the killing, wallander, borgen and those who kill are all very high level and deserve a mention.
mulligano Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 18:04
Fantastic call on "Breaking Bad", I'd say it was easily on par with "The Sopranos"! It is criminally under-advertised in the UK. For it to have just finished its fourth outstanding season and to have won so many awards and still not be widely known is really frustrating!
Domovoi Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 18:06
I have to agree with romonakoo. Spiral (Engrenages) is the best thing on tv now. Fantastic writing, tense, gripping. Most importantly it has great characters who are in no way confined to stereotypical depictions (I'm looking at you The Wire). People seek this out. You must get to know Captain Berthaud and Juge Roban.
Breaking Bad is my favourite when it comes to our American friends. Comedy-wise it's got to be Modern Family.
Goddamnitsaveme Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 18:49
If it weren't for the last season I'd call True Blood the best thing on tv, but it really took a bit of a nose-dive in my opinion. Some new shows that just finished their first season I think are huge contenders but as mentioned in the article it is too soon to call them the best of anything because of no proof of continuity. But to give my favourite newcomers a mention I'd say Game of Thrones (of course), Suits, The Killing and Falling Skies; all of which I'm very excited to see again next year. To first put a guilty pleasure out there as best show I have to say America's Next Top Model just because of pure entertainment value and the fact it won't die. Second, and more realistically, I vote for Breaking Bad as my favourite thing to watch. I had to purposely put season four on hold simply because it was putting a strain on my college work; I can't handle the dramatic pressure!!
willkillyoulast Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 19:36
Oh boy...talking about my favorite TV shows is a bad idea.
Okay, the TV Shows I Love Despite Obvious Erros:
How I Met Your Mother - it was great in Seasons 1-4. 5 and 6 lost that charm a little, and so far in Season 7, only one episode has really brought that back (Ducky Tie). Still, I want to find out who the mother is, I want more Slapsgiving, and I want to find out who Barney marries. So there you are.
Glee - well, not so much Glee, but I've heard Season 3 is a maHOOsive improvement on the unwatchable Season 2 (trust me...I didn't watch it.)
Chuck - man, I nerd-heart this show, but let's be honest, it can be very...fluffy. A bit corny. Of course, Zachary Levi plays the character awesomely and Adam Baldwin makes for a winning scowler, but even if Season 5 is the last Season, and I will miss it terribly...there is just a lot of fluff in this show.
Now, the TV Shows I Love Because They Rock:
Supernatural - even after a shaky Season 6, it's still loveable. Season 7 has brought it right back. Even Cas's absence is almost unnoticeable - haters will say what they will, but Gamble is doing a good job.
Mad Men - seriously, if you need a reason, clearly you haven't watched this show.
Breaking Bad - this might tie in with Mad Men for first...I don't know. Dare I say I prefer Mad Men? Only slightly, but still.
It's Always Sunny - you're honestly asking why? Really? Oh, alright. Fine. Kitten Mittens. There. I said it.
Aaand Guilty Pleasures:
The Secret Circle - simply because the lead character is nowhere near as irritating as The Vampire Diaries's (READ PRICE PETERSON'S PHOTO RECAPS. I LOVE THAT MAN), and I actually quite enjoyed the books when I was younger... I actually watch this show. Hey. I'm 17. All 17 year olds need at least one corny teen drama to feast their eyes on after watching quality TV.
Others: Criminal Minds (messes with yo head!) Psych (WATCH THIS SHOW FOR OBSCURE 80's REFERENCES GALORE)
Old favorites: Veronica Mars Reaper The Wire Heroes S1.
aamoran10 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 19:37
I think an idiot abroad is the best comedy show on tv for years
dbedgood Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 20:06
How could you not have mentioned Modern Family? It's quality.
MIKETHEBIKE2006 Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 21:12
The Big Bang Theory
Enough geeky references to all those classic shows and yet they still manage to keep the quality level up to laugh out loud funny each episode. I know folk who find this funny whilst not getting any of the SF references which is high praise indeed?
Murray_Futterman Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 21:27
'justified' has become my favourite show. The 'Bennett' story thread was stunning.
Juliette Posted on Thursday October 13, 2011, 23:30
True Blood. But close behind, Community and The Big Bang Theory. And I've recently started watching Downton Abbey, and it's pretty good.
pottynoodles Posted on Friday October 14, 2011, 10:22
I’m glad to see Justified, Fringe and The Good Wife getting some love. Unfortunately, it looks like old fashioned ratings measurements used in the US will end Fringe’s run pre-emptively, which is a real shame. It’s highly episodic, whereas most of the critical darlings these days tend to broader arcs. But the quality of the cast (give John Noble a round of applause) and writing shines through. The Good Wife is a real testament to what high standards network television can reach when done well, although it sometimes can be a bit “ripped from the headlines”. Great to see Simon Delaney guest starring in Season Three! Justified is proof of how a show can be saved by a quick change in approach – perhaps this is the best advantage of cable shows rather than network shows that tend to get cancelled quickly if they don’t immediately find their niche. Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins are fantastic and really showcase the writers’ talent and the show has been great in casting its supporting and guest characters. I would ultimately have to agree that Breaking Bad is the benchmark at the moment though. Stunning. Plain and simple.
parkylufc Posted on Friday October 14, 2011, 12:00
House M.D for me is the best show on TV right now. Hugh Laurie is unbelievably convincing in the mad-doctor role, justifying his acting credentials as you compare Greg House to his former roles. Although some of the medical jargon and diagnosis differentials are impossible to keep up with, the relationships between key characters and House's regular relapses means you can almost switch off when they are in the operating room. I also love the way that although House represents everything wrong with personal sociability, we still root for him and will him to succeed in every aspect of his journey.
Gimmesomesugarbaby Posted on Friday October 14, 2011, 17:55
Fringe. Fringe, Fringe....John noble...nuff said Supernatural....The Music, The car, The comedy and Cass the angel watching porn. Most of the Tv shows around at the moment seem to peak early and then get really dull. The above 2 shows have remained consistent, patchy at times yes but every episode always has something the other shows don't..Their Fun.
metal_fan_101 Posted on Friday October 14, 2011, 18:08
I don't have one favorite but I love watching The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, for black comedy has to be Wilfred (US) and Nurse Jackie.
Drama has to be Treme, SOA, Justified, Game of Thones, Boardwalk Empire and Dexter.
For pure entertainment it has to be Supernatural and Burn Notice.
marfaducal Posted on Friday October 14, 2011, 20:29
Castle, Burn Notice, Supernatural in that order.
casheliser Posted on Friday October 14, 2011, 21:03
Yeah definitely Breaking Bad is the best by far, I find it amazing though that the only way I get to see this great show is streaming it online, and this season's finale was a brilliant shocker too, you never know what's around the corner with this show. As far as scifi is concerned the one show which in my view would have been an excellent contender was Stargate Universe, i'm still feeling a little raw after its cancellation, I suppose in some other universe the show is still running...
gorshkov Posted on Friday October 14, 2011, 23:04
wouldn't say that breaking bad is a controversial decision at all. i watch a lot of tv and there's nothing that fits your criteria that beat breaking bad, although disappointed to not hear at least a mention for it's always sunny. it's worth that much for de vito's frank alone.
john o callaghan Posted on Saturday October 15, 2011, 23:05
Community, Wilfred, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Modern Family, How to make it in America, Hung, Dexter, Happy Endings, Treme, All shows i'm watching now and some that just started are Terra Nova, Person Of Interest, Homeland, A Gifted Man and American Horror Story.
Draven Cage Posted on Sunday October 16, 2011, 17:32
My favourite TV show at the moment is Burn Notice (I'm now watching Season 5); I just love the characters, the dynamic between them and the way the narration informs without overpowering the show itself.
parasite Posted on Thursday October 20, 2011, 23:04
Breaking bad for me. Also liking Supernatural, Fringe, Dexter. Watched the first season of Justified and thought it pretty good. Best comedy of all time? Has to be Arrested Development. Best Sci Fi of all time? Babylon 5 (old but amazing). Looking forward to Season 2 of Walking Dead. I'm a sucker for a zombie story.
stu 2 stu Posted on Thursday October 27, 2011, 09:04
The Walking Dead . . . . not sure it meets your criteria but its the only thing that i look forward to on TV at the moment.
JJJ777 Posted on Tuesday January 10, 2012, 18:30
Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Community, Parks and Rec, Louie and Boardwalk Empire are probably the best at the moment. Boardwalk Empire only because it got significantly better with 2nd season. Breaking Bad is brilliant, the season 4 finale left me floored and the fact that season 3 hasn't even been broadcast here is pretty depressing. In terms of British TV there's less to say, Misfits has become pretty poor, Rev is good but no more than that and Downton Abbey is terrible.
kristof07 Posted on Thursday January 19, 2012, 13:10
I can only see 1 person that has mentioned Sons of Anarchy! 4 seasons in an still utterly engrossing. Best show on telly. Start at season one and try to turn off after 3 episodes.
Elliot97 Posted on Saturday January 21, 2012, 00:06
Breaking Bad is by far the best tv series of the year, nay, the decade.
dsysa06 Posted on Saturday May 12, 2012, 16:52
I started watching Mad Men and just got bored. The actors are good and stuff but I just have no interest in the story... If you can call it one.
BREAKING BAD IS THE BEST SHOW EVER MADE IT IS PERFECT
frenchy22 Posted on Tuesday May 15, 2012, 15:44
Breaking Bad is top of the list for me! Love Game of thrones, and Sons of Anarchy too.