Before I get to my Top 5 Television Dramas of All Time, and in place of the “One That Doesn’t Make It” entry, I have to include a TV show that I only started watching two weeks ago, and one that would have undoubtedly made it into the Top 25 had I known about it when I started this series.
One That Should Have Made It:
Though it started slowly with one or two rather pedestrian episodes in the first season, it drastically improved in short order and built up to become must-see TV.
It hit its groove fully when it started to go with two-part stories, as they allowed the villains time to develop.
In particular, I loved the two-part story with the role-playing twins going on murdering sprees.
It’s gritty, it’s gruesome and having spoken about it to people who come to my exercise classes, it scares the shit out of women.
Anyway, now that’s out of the way, let’s get back to the countdown.
#5: Grey’s Anatomy
It really isn’t.
Grey’s Anatomy is the best medical drama I’ve ever seen and – as per its ranking – one of the finest dramas of any kind too.
Sure, it focuses a bit too much on the relationships between the Doctors at times, but that’s not why I like it; I like it because it manages to provide interesting medical storylines while blending in humour and drama every single week.
As of now there have been 196 episodes and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say at least 190 of those episodes have been very good or better.
And the finales? Awesome.
Yes, it does mean that more tragedy befalls Mercy West Hospital than anywhere else in the known universe with the possible exception of Emmerdale, but it provides a hell of a lot of entertainment.
#4: I, Claudius
It’s as if the best actors of the day got together and said “Fuck it, let’s make the best possible drama we can make”.
And they did.
Some people might struggle with the slow pace and hefty dialogue scenes, and also the way it’s presented more like a play than a TV show, but that’s of no consequence to me.
I just find the quality (and quantity) of cast and the slickness of the script to be different class.
And it also has bits that manage to give you goosebumps; they are just that good. In particular I’m thinking about the death scene of Augustus (which isn’t a spoiler because of the way the story is told) and the “Poison is Queen” scene.
In fact, I just watched that scene again and it still gives me goosebumps.
#3 – Life on Mars
Life on Mars combines some of the funniest and most politically incorrect lines ever seen in TV drama (e.g. “Slower than a spastic in a magnet factory”) with gripping police drama and perhaps the greatest Television Character of them all; Gene Hunt.
Perhaps the best thing about it though is just how authentic it looks.
1970s Manchester really does look like a different world compared to now.
Definitely a show that anyone can enjoy, so track it down and watch it ASAP.
#2 – The West Wing
Well acted, well written and at times genuinely educational, it’s a treat almost all the way through.
I say “almost” because it dipped a little bit around season 5 before reinventing itself and rallying back with the awesome Matt Santos for President storyline.
I remember watching the last episode and feeling a genuine sense of loss that such a great TV show had come to an end.
But hey, I can always watch it again, and so should you.
#1 – Doctor Who
Doctor Who probably can’t compare to many of these shows for consistency, acting standard, budget or even writing, and yet it’s my favourite.
It’s the show I can watch most often.
It’s the show I’ve been moved to write hundreds of thousands of words on in this very blog.
I grew up watching it, I still watch it and the prospect of new episodes or – better than that – the rediscovery of missing episodes remains probably the most exciting thing for me in terms of TV,
Entertainment wise, the only thing I love more than Doctor Who is Dundee United.
And hey, there have been over 800 episodes; they can’t all be of the standard of the likes of Life on Mars which had 16 of them.
So this blog couldn’t go any other way.
The Final Tally
So there we have it; The Top 50 Television Dramas of All Time.
I’ll be honest; I look at the list now and think “Wow, I ranked X over Y?” But when I created the list that seemed to be the right idea at the time.
I guess a lot of rankings depend upon what you’ve just recently watched. I’m rewatching the first season of The Newsroom just now and would probably place it a lot higher than I have done, but then if I was to rewatch almost any of those shows between #50 – #26 I’d probably feel the same. The top shows will always be the top shows, though it doesn’t mean a new one can’t break through.
But enough about my opinion; what about yours?
What should have made it, but didn’t?
What have I not watched that I should have?
What shouldn’t be on the list?
Which shows have you seen and which shows have I moved you to see?
Let me know, and remember to give this page a like on Facebook; the link is on the panel on the right hand side.
50. No Angels
48. Grange Hill
45. The O.C.
44. Smiley’s People
41, The Walking Dead
38. Game of Thrones
37. Survivors (1970s version)
36. The Newsroom
35. Diagnosis Murder
33. House of Cards (US)
31. Crime Traveller
30. The Sopranos
29. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
28. Veronica Mars
27. The Wire
25. Prison Break
23. Band of Brothers
20. House of Cards (UK)
19. One Tree Hill
18. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
17. Blake’s Seven
16. The Shield
15. Friday Night Lights
14. Ashes to Ashes
12. Battlestar Galactica
09. Jonathan Creek
07. Breaking Bad
05. Grey’s Anatomy
04. I, Claudius
03. Life on Mars
02. The West Wing
01. Doctor Who