Television has come a long way in the past few years. It has taken a page from the cinema handbook and capitalized on good storytelling, creative direction, lots of crisp editing and some outstanding acting. From The Walking Dead to Suits to Rick and Morty, shows across all genres are stepping up their game and resonating with audiences. The bulk of these good shows, though, are not on mainstream networks — the basic cable shows still have some work to do, but they are getting there.
So, in the spirit of good television, we decided to ask some of our staff what their favorite show was in the past five years:
I still get emotional talking about The Wire, but considering that went off the air in 2008, it apparently doesn’t count. There have been a lot of amazing shows since then – Nathan For You, The Knick, Silicon Valley – but based strictly on the evidence I think I have to say Game of Thrones. That evidence being that I just finished listening to all five Game of Thrones titles on audiobook – which are 33, 37, 47, 33, and 49 hours long, respectively. That’s 199 hours of audiobook. I probably could’ve learned a foreign language in that time, but instead I read a book about shape-shifters and dragons that still isn’t over. #SorryNotSorry. I will bet you cash money Jon Snow comes back in some form.
I’m going to say Breaking Bad and assume that everyone else will do the same. It is a study in causality. Everything grows out of some tiny seed. I think there were flaws with the show, but I was far more in love with Breaking Bad‘s flaws (except for the plane wreck) because they came from a clockwork universe driven by cause and effect.
If we’re going absolute favorite that hasn’t let me down at all and doesn’t seem willing to do so in the near future, I’m choosing Rick and Morty.
VEEP, Key and Peele, Inside Amy Schumer, Drunk History
Clearly, there have been unbelievable dramas, and, when you are in the mood for heavy and want to watch the unmaking of a man, Breaking Bad is the best. But I like shows that blow my mind with great timing and fearless comedy, and as a collective, I wish there was a channel that was nothing but VEEP, Key and Peele, Inside Amy Schumer, and Drunk History. Armando Iannucci is such a genius, to say nothing of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but the joy I get from watching all of these shows is unmatched. I wish I could mainline them. I’d be permanently happy.
For all the hate they get for being the thick-rimmed glasses-wearing hipsters of the news scene, VICE is still generating some of the best journalism in the world right now. That this had to be done by the people who make one of the crassest magazines around is just another sign that the fourth estate is in serious trouble right now. HBO’s VICE has shown us what war zones in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine look like. They’ve been on the ground in Africa during the Ebola outbreak. And they’ve gone back to update us about forgotten stories, showing us the problems that still exist in the Gulf, the gang violence that plagues Chicago, and the fundraising corruption in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. It can be a bit depressing watching HBO’s VICE, but this is the realest news on television and a must-see show if you really want to know what’s going on in the world today.
For me, it’s got to be Breaking Bad. Like pretty much every show, it had its ups and downs, but the story arch and character development was pretty great. The attention to detail and foreshadowing always had to keep you on your toes, and final season (especially the latter half) basically had me on the edge of my seat for 60 minutes every week. It’s probably the most stressful watch I’ve ever had, but it was worth every second of it.
Justified never got the recognition it deserved, which was a special combination of confusing and infuriating, but while it was on, no show entertained me as consistently. The dialogue was funny and razor sharp, good guys and bad guys shot guns at each other, and it introduced us to one of the best TV villains of the past decade in Boyd Crowder. It is my sincere hope that the series will end up on Netflix some day soon so I can strap everyone who says “But I can’t watch on Amazon” into a comfy chair, pour them a tall glass of high-end bourbon, and force them to watch the first two seasons in one sitting. Is this kidnapping? Maybe. But all I need is one juror who’s seen the show, and I’m a free man.
I stumbled across the first episode of Suits when it first aired, and now I’m trapped. They show drew me in off the strength of Mike’s bike messenger/wiz kid character and managed to keep my attention with by pairing him with Harvey Specter, the two of them plowing through cases while avoiding the pesky fact that Mike doesn’t have a law degree. There’s also Rachel. And Donna. And Jessica. And just about every woman Harvey’s bedded along the way. Yeah, the eye candy helps.
Now it’s your turn. In the past five years, what’s been that one show you watch religiously?