No, these aren’t the “crown jewel” TV shows that most people think of when discussing God-tier television (shows like Lost, The Wire, M*A*S*H, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development). But these shows are just as good and deserve to be recognized for their divine qualities.
1. The West Wing
A political drama that is the only show in history to win the Best Drama Emmy for 4 years in a row. Mixes great characters, witty banter, and high stakes drama surrounding the fictional President of the United States and his staff to great effect. The first 3 seasons are some of the best television that has ever been produced. Period.
2. Freaks and Geeks
Before he landed a career making comedy films, Judd Apatow made this drama series that is without a doubt the best high-school television series ever. It follows two groups of unpopular kids as they navigate the hells of high school in 1981. It Stars James Franco (Spider Man), Seth Rogan (Knocked Up), Jon Francis Daly (Bones), Linda Caredlini (ER), Busy Phillips (Cougar Town), Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds), Martin Starr (Party Down), and Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
3. Pushing Daisies
A forensic fairy tale that’s a mix of whimsical fairytale and noir murder mystery. From Brian Fuller (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls), there has never been and likely never will again be a series quite like this.
4. Friday Night Lights
An adaptation of the hit film and book, this is likely the most underrated show on television. It centers on a small town in Texas and their devotion to the local high school football team. But you don’t have to care about football, cause like all great shows this is really a series about people and about this community. It features some of the best television acting and writing I’ve ever seen.
5. In Treatment
This is a show like no other. Essentially a stage play captured on film and broadcast as 5 half hour episodes a week, this HBO series focuses on a therapist named Paul who holds sessions with a different patient each day, then sees his own shrink at the end of the week. Some of the stand out performances in the first 3 seasons were Antagonistic fighter pilot Alex (Blair Underwood – The Event), self-destructive teenage gymnast Sophie (Mia Wasikowska – Alice in Wonderland), and in-denial cancer patient April (Alison Pill – Scott Pilgrim). If you like movies like The Man From Earth, The Breakfast Club, or 12 Angry Men, this is the show for you.
RUNNER UPS: Luther, Damages, The Good Wife