Friday, 27 March 2015

The Top 5 Must-Own TV Dramas

There’s nothing quite like losing yourself in a good TV drama. Whether you like crime stories, fantasies, supernatural tales or mysteries, there’s something for everyone in the beautiful world of boxsets. Here I pick my top 5 television dramas you simply must own, in no particular order.


Breaking Bad


We begin with the obvious - Vince Gilligan’s epic crime tale Breaking Bad. Most of you know the story but for those of you who don’t, Breaking Bad tells the story of chemistry teacher Walter White who, when diagnosed with terminal cancer, begins manufacturing and distributing crystal meth to financially secure his family’s future life without him in it. With quite simply phenomenal performances from Bryan Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, one of Walter’s ex-students who goes on to help him in the meth business, Breaking Bad is addictive, mesmerising television. Like many shows, it starts off small but slowly builds and builds until the mind-blowingly good final seasons. And the quicker you get this watched, the quicker you can dig into the brilliant prequel series Better Call Saul. Thrilling, tense, moving, funny, dark, brilliant. For the 6 people left in the world who haven’t watched Breaking Bad yet, what are you waiting for?!

The complete Breaking Bad is available on DVD & Blu-Ray now.

Game of Thrones


Game of Thrones, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, is a complex story of the battle for power in the mythical land of Westeros. Whilst Breaking Bad settles for a rather simple story in comparison with few characters, Game of Thrones is entertainment on a MASSIVE scale. Countless characters and plotlines dominate each season, but if you keep your head in the game you don’t get lost. It’s complex, but not overly complicated. With reported budgets of approximately $6million per EPISODE, Game of Thrones is television of immense quality. Each episode feels like a film, with gorgeous scenery, lush costumes, fantastic music and damn beautiful people all over the place. I was very reluctant to watch Game of Thrones following all the hype and it took me until a few months ago to sit and watch it. But once I started, I could hardly stop. Believe me when I say this is a show that truly deserves the hype. Phenomenal television.

The first 4 seasons of Game of Thrones are available on DVD & Blu-ray now.

The Walking Dead


One for you horror fans. The Walking Dead, based on the comic book series of the same name, stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma in a world ruled by the undead. But he soon encounters other survivors, both friend and foe, in the post-apocalyptic world. The Walking Dead is shot on 16mm film and so is often grainier than modern audiences are used to – especially when compared to the beautifully crisp Game of Thrones. But the grittiness of The Walking Dead’s visuals are essential. This is not a clean, bright or colourful world. The Walking Dead is dark, scary and violent. But it is superb viewing. Like Breaking Bad, it starts off small but by season 3 onwards The Walking Dead hits a high level of quality that it rarely dips below. 

The first 4 seasons of The Walking Dead are available on DVD & Blu-ray now.

Hell on Wheels


Now onto one of the more hidden gems. Hell on Wheels is a fantastic Western series about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. The series focuses on Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), an ex-soldier who initially joins the railroad to seek revenge on those who butchered his wife and child. But as he makes both friends and enemies along the railroad, he finds it difficult to leave. Hell on Wheels is a series I didn’t expect a huge amount from, but was soon addicted. It airs in America on the same channel as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and as such has been marketed in the UK as being from ‘the makers’ of those shows. Whilst it’s debatable whether these shows all share the same ‘makers’, Hell on Wheels is definitely up there with them in terms of quality. It’s criminal that the series never got a big audience here in the UK. Definitely worth a look.

The first 3 seasons of Hell on Wheels are available on DVD now.

Twin Peaks


And what better way to end this list but with a golden oldie. In 1990, David Lynch and Mark Frost introduced the world to the strange and wonderful town of Twin Peaks. With its quirky characters and even quirkier style, Twin Peaks took the world by storm. And it hasn’t lost any of its power to this day. Twin Peaks tells the story of an eccentric FBI agent called into town to investigate the murder of local beauty Laura Palmer. But where do you start in a town full of secrets, suspects and weird shit going on? Kyle MacLachlan is phenomenal in the lead role of Agent Dale Cooper and is supported by a perfect cast of odd characters that only David Lynch could create. Who else could create a world in which an FBI agent makes breakthroughs in a case by listening to the backwards ramblings of a dancing dwarf in a dream? If you’ve ever watched Twin Peaks, you won’t have forgotten any of its magic. But if you haven’t seen it yet, I am jealous of you. You’re in for a hell of a treat. And hey, you better get to it! Twin Peaks is returning to television after a break of over 20 years in 2016.

The first 2 seasons of Twin Peaks are available on DVD & Blu-Ray now.

In conclusion, I’ve barely scraped the surface of the vast number of phenomenal television programmes available to us today. Shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, House of Cards, Homeland, Dexter, Hannibal, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Fargo, True Detective and many others all deserve a mention too. But if I were to sit here and praise every good series, I’d still by typing now and you wouldn’t be reading this!

Sam Love


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