Top 10 American TV Series
Guest post by Ruth
I am delighted to publish the first guest Top 10. American TV series have become increasingly popular since the first imports appeared in the UK in the 50′ and 60′s. I well remember the first such as Dragnet and Highway Patrol but I think a more contemporary view is needed. Â I leave you in the capable hands of Ruth.Â Please let me have any other suggested Top 10 lists that you have.
10. How I Met Your Mother
On air since 2005, and now into it’s fifth season, this multi-award winning series follows a group of friends living in New York – sounds familiar, yes, but the structure of the show sets it apart from it’s predecessors. The title gives it away – we watch as future Ted tells his children, well, how he met their mother. Plenty of genuinely laugh out loud moments, that chap who was quite funny in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and a heartfelt moment at the end of each episode that can, at times, be a bit cloying, but overall a brilliant show.
What an obvious choice. But despite having seen every episode at least half a dozen times, it’s still funny. Maybe not laugh out loud funny, like it was the first time round, but chuckle to yourself funny, certainly. At school, it was the programme you had to watch, and the ability to recite the best lines was a sure sign of coolness. It’s just been announced that Channel 4 are dropping the series, which is inevitable but still sort of sad. A show destined to be classic American television.
It may have lost it’s edge over some of it’s more recent series, but when it first aired, 24 was innovative and terrifying. Each series, of course, is set over the course of 24 hours, during which the indomitable Jack Bauer must fight to stop various criminals and terrorists from causing havoc and generally blowing stuff up. With so many twists, double-agents, cliff-hangers and edge-of-your-seat moments, it’s ridiculously hard to stop watching.
Only a few episodes in at the moment, but it was love at first sight. Everything about it is a joy. The dance routines, the wit, Sue, the romance. It spreads joy in the belly of the viewer. Unless you’re one of the few who finds it sickly, nauseating, annoying ! But on a rainy evening, with a cup of tea, there’s little better than watching a group of football players shake their things along to Beyonce. One to watch.
The ER saga, spread over fifteen series, never really hit a low point. It was praised endlessly for it’s realism, and written by an ex-medical resident, it’s no wonder. Viewers could get a glimpse inside hospital life, and the characters became something like family. The saddest moments, when Dr Greene died, for example, were truly heart wrenching. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes warming, but never straying too far into the overindulgent like other hospital dramas have tended to. A wonderful, epic series.
5. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David is a genius. The often hard to watch because it’s just so awkward show is still going strong, with an eighth series hopefully to be confirmed soon. David plays a version of himself, with his real-life friends playing versions of themselves too. Sounds strange, and it is, a bit. It’s the kind of programme that you watch at times through your hands, but can’t turn off, and still manages to be thoroughly laugh out loud hilarious.
4. Gossip Girl
It’s trashy, but that’s alright. Everyone needs a bit of trash. Maybe not as critically acclaimed as some of the other programmes in this list, but just about as good. It follows the lives of rich New-Yorkers who party hard and fall in and out of love with each other with worrying speed. The clothes are vintage-inspired, it’s full of bitchiness and back stabbing, fall outs and make ups. And the plot may be slightly ridiculous. But it’s just so much fun, any flaws can quite easily be overlooked.
3. Mad Men
Ah, Mad Men Cocktails at lunchtimes, a cigarette at all times, sharp suits and beautiful dresses, big hair and red lipstick – ¦ it’s classy, and sleazy, and really, really, wonderful.
2. Arrested Development
It’s one of the great travesties of the world that Arrested Development got the plug pulled on it in the middle of what was only it’s third season. The Bluth family are a wonderful group of characters, all of them weird and endearing in their own ways. Every episode brings a new favourite moment. Some of the best ‘ Tobias and his water-cooler buzz, Gob and his big mistakes, and Buster’, well, just Buster in general. A series that can be watched again, and again, and again.
1. The Wire
Nothing can touch The Wire. I’ve yet to meet a single person who hasn’t loved every single second of the five series It’s gritty, and funny, and complicated, horrifying, heartbreaking and honest, all at the same time. Written by an ex-Baltimore policeman and an ex-homicide detective, the programme delves into various worlds, from the politicians, to the docks; the double agendas of the police to the drug dealers they try to take down. Series four takes us into the schools, and follows a group of young boys who are trying to find their feet. It’s so diverse, and so multi-layered, it never gets boring, not for one second. There are so many good characters that a top 3 doesn’t suffice. Even the bad guys are good. And when any one of your favourites could be killed off at any moment, it makes for some tense viewing, and jaw dropping moments.