Game of Thrones
HBO have done a remarkable job of adapting George R.R. Martin’s epic ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book series from the page to the small screen.
While Game of Thrones is a television production, it’s made with the scope and scale of a major movie.
The story is set in the fictional world of Westeros and is a tale of political intrigue. There’s conflict, despair, romance, lust, backstabbing and epic battles. Oh and dragons too!Shop now on Amazon
Regarded by many as one of the finest, if not the best ever TV shows, The Sopranos is credited for raising the profile of HBO and lifting the TV industry to new heights.
The untimely death of the incredibly talented James Gandolfini was sad in that we’ll never know how the rest of his acting career would turn out. However, he’ll forever be remembered for his role as New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano.
For six seasons we see Tony juggling the needs of his dysfunctional family life and being the head of his other ‘family’. Amidst all the murders, mistresses, racketeering and attempts on his life was the tale of man struggling to deal with his own life and whether it had any meaning.
Not only one the best TV shows ever written but an incredibly influential one too. With no Tony Soprano, there’d be no Walter White, Don Draper, Al Swearengen or Vic Mackey.Shop now on Amazon
From the fertile imagination of Vince Gilligan comes this tale of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), an ordinary high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has Stage III lung cancer.
With the cost of treatment and wishing for his family to be taken care of once he’s gone, Walter decides to turn to a life of crime and starts using his chemistry skills towards manufacturing meth. Over the course of five seasons, we see Walter turn from mild-mannered teacher to drug kingpin. In the words of Gilligan himself, it’s ‘Mr Chips turned Scarface’.
It’s amazing to think that Breaking Bad was rejected by almost every major network in America before being greenlit by AMC. It wasn’t even shown at all by UK networks. This masterpiece gets better and better with each series.Shop now on Amazon
After shooting dead a suspect in Florida, US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is sent back to his hometown of Harlan, a nondescript mining town in Kentucky.
Raylan Givens is reminiscent of a 19th-century–style, Old West lawman living in modern times. His unconventional enforcement of justice makes him not only a hate figure among criminals but also a problematic loose cannon for his superiors.
While the story of a maverick cop is nothing new for films or TV shows, what makes Justified stand out are its quirky cast of criminals. You have crime family matriarch Mags Bennett, who will kill a rival drug-dealer one day and take in a young orphan girl the next; and Boyd Crowder, who fires a rocket-launcher at a church one episode only to be found later helping an old lady across the road.
Justified is an underrated gem of a show and one worth checking out.Shop now on Amazon
4) American Horror Story
Ryan Murphy has done a fantastic job of bringing horror to the small screen with his chilling slices of American-style horror. Each season is a self-contained story which taken us everywhere from a haunted house in the present day to a sixties era mental asylum and a carnival freak show during the Great Depression.
American Horror Story has grown to become a hit, with the latest series set in a bizarre hotel owned by ‘The Countess’, a bloodsucking fashionista played by none other than Lady Gaga.
American Horror Story is a wonderful collection of dark and twisted tales of the macabre. One of the few TV shows airing right now that does the horror genre justice.Shop now on Amazon
Set in the early 1980s during the Cold War, The Americans is the story of Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American married couple living in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. with their unsuspecting children (Holly Taylor and Keidrich Sellati) and their neighbour, Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent working in counterintelligence.
Currently on its fourth series, The Americans is one of the best TV shows on at the moment and has just been renewed for a fifth and sixth series by FX.
Gritty, exciting, tense and occasionally very dark, it’s criminal how underappreciated The Americans is.Shop now on Amazon
Sons of Anarchy
Taking inspiration from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, Sons of Anarchy follows the lives of a close-knit motorcycle club headed by president Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman).
SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original) are involved with gun-running throughout the western United States but the clubs activities are at odds with the Utopian vision of deceased former member John Teller and father of current vice-president Jax (Charlie Hunnam).
Jax wishes to fulfill his father’s wishes and eventually turn his back on a life of crime, but to do so he must negotiate a number of obstacles: local cops, federal agencies, white supremacists, the IRA, Mexican Drug Cartels, the Russian Mafia,porn producers and rival biker gangs.
Sons of Anarchy is a brash, rough but compelling drama with plenty of action and LOTS of violence.Shop now on Amazon
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Andy Samberg plays Jake Peralta, a talented but carefree police detective working out of the fictional 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn.
Season 4 is set to start this month so now’s the perfect time to get started. It’s 22 episodes per season but you’ll breeze through them all as Brooklyn Nine Nine is one of the best ensemble comedies on air right now. You can’t help but like all of the cast members as they’re all just so damn likeable.Shop now on Amazon
The Walking Dead
Based on the popular comic books by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead is a gruesome tale of a band of survivors led by Rick Grimes.
The Walking Dead is more of a ‘human drama’ rather than a straight up horror show. Although there’s violence and gore aplenty, it’s usually the living that are the scarier antagonists rather than the shambling zombies (or ‘walkers’ as they’re referred to in the show).
Season 7 is about to begin and we can’t wait, especially after THAT cliffhanger.Shop now on Amazon
The Peaky Blinders are an English street gang from Small Heath in Birmingham during the 1910s and 1920s. Their name comes from the fact that they have razor blades sewn into the brims of their flat caps to give someone an impromptu mauling.
When we first see them, they’re a small time outfit collecting protection money and running an illegal bookies. However, over the course of three seasons, we see them rise to become a criminal enterprise running southern England.
It’s fun seeing Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) verbally sparring with establishment figures such as the obsessive and morally rigid Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), a Belfast law enforcer sent to hunt down a missing cache of weapons bound for Libya that the Peaky Blinders stole.Shop now on Amazon
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny follows the misadventures of a group of four friends (or ‘The Gang’ as they refer to themselves) who can only be described as delusional and idiotic.
Taking place in a dingy Irish pub in Philadelphia, each episode sees them cooking up a ridiculous scheme. Whether it’s for personal gain, revenge or simply for the hell of it.
If you like your humour outrageous and incredibly dark, this is the show for you.Shop now on Amazon
Inspired by the 1973 film of the same title from Michael Crichton, Westworld takes place in a a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated completely by synthetic androids dubbed “hosts”.
Westworld caters to high-paying visitors who can do whatever they wish within the park, without fear of retaliation from the hosts. The show raises the question of where consciousness comes from and how it might arise in machines.
Brilliantly written, addictive, intelligent and trippy, Westworld is one of the best shows to have come out in 2016.Shop now on Amazon
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