20 Best American Drama Shows of Recent Years

USA has always taken risks with drama, in recent years some of the best shows in the world have come out of the US of A. Here is a list of some of the best since the 90s. Due to a very good suggestion from Stan_D_Man I am changing one of my list, from Heroes to Breaking Bad, good suggestion that man!
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Twin Peaks (1990 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
An idiosyncratic FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks. (47 mins.)
“ A tense, twisty and surreal murder mystery. From the overactive mind of David Lynch. Unmissable in my opinion. ” - medwards1
 
2.
The X-Files (1993 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Two FBI agents, Fox Mulder the believer and Dana Scully the skeptic, investigate the strange and unexplained while hidden forces work to impede their efforts. (45 mins.)
“ Sometimes I like to imagine that Fox Mulder is the same character David Duchovny played in Twin Peaks, just changed his name and departments. However, my wandering mind aside, the first six series of this are some of the best, dark and scary TV ever made. The conspiracy theory overarcing narrative stuff gets a bit annoying after a while, but the self-contained narratives told in one episode are astounding all througout. Humbug and Home are two of the best espisodes ever made of any drama show. The chemistry between Anderson and Duchovny is scintilating. ” - medwards1
 
3.
Homicide: Life on the Street (1993 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A police homicide investigation unit investigates violent crimes in the city of Baltimore. (60 mins.)
“ One of the best police shows ever. A host of characters, all of whom are not necessarily what they seem, an endless struggle against currptuion, incompetency, public backlash and the terrible nature of the violent crimes they deal with begs the question who would want to work in the Baltimore Homicide department. This show answers that, and how! ” - medwards1
 
4.
Oz (1997 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants. (55 mins.)
Director: Gregory Dark
“ If you have ever thought to yourself; 'Criminals don't really get punished, they have it easy in prison' watch Oz. Brilliant and disturbing drama, that makes me grateful every single day of my life to be free. ” - medwards1
 
5.
The Sopranos (1999 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
New Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life. (55 mins.)
“ The best programme ever about the mob. With strong and continuous reference to all the films that have inspired this TV show, and with one of the most compelling characters ever penned in Tony Soprano, this show is a roller coaster ride from beginning to shocking end. WATCH IT NOW ” - medwards1
 
6.
Six Feet Under (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A drama series that takes a darkly comical look at members of a dysfunctional California family that runs an independent funeral home. (55 mins.)
“ Great family drama set against the backdrop of a small funeral business. Each episode starts with somebody dying, who then becomes the corpse being processed through the funeral home. Many great characters packed into one show. Breathtaking. ” - medwards1
 
7.
Firefly (2002 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them. (44 mins.)
“ Okay so this is more sci-fi western than pure drama, but it is so good if you watched it based on this list, you will not be disappointed believe me. Truly great character writing from Joss Whedon, yeah verily he of Buffy the Vampire fame. ” - medwards1
 
8.
Band of Brothers (2001 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.5/10 X  
The story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission in WWII Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day. (594 mins.)
“ If you ever wanted to get a real sense of what it was like to be a young American soldier heading off to Europe to fight in a giant conflagration that had already been going on for many arduous years, just watch this show. With poignant intros/outros from the real life veterans of the journey this account is based upon, this is simply pure class, and to my mind, a million times better than Saving Private Ryan. ” - medwards1
 
9.
Big Love (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A polygamist and his relationship with his three wives. (60 mins.)
“ A terribly twisted and complex tale of a polygamist family trying to go about their lives undertected by a society that regards them as unlawful and an extreme polygamist cult from which they have escaped. High calibre cast throughout. ” - medwards1
 
10.
Dexter (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Dexter Morgan is a Forensics Expert, a loyal brother, boyfriend, and friend. That's what he seems to be, but that's not what he really is. Dexter Morgan is a Serial Killer that hunts the bad. (53 mins.)
“ Wow. A serial killer as protagonist, how could that ever work as a show? Only by making the serial killer a blood-works expert with the Miama Homicide department, who has a strict moral code he applies to his killings, he only kills other killers, who have somehow managed to escape justice. THIS IS ABSURDLY GOOD. Watch it, and marvel at how much you come to like Dexter. Which is exactly how these people operate, going undetected for so long, they seem so normal, they often seem so likeable, because they are so very good at mimicking emotions that they simply don't have. Fascinating stuff. ” - medwards1
 
11.
Carnivàle (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
During the Great Depression, an Oklahoma farm boy and a charismatic minister learn that they are key players in a proxy war being fought between Heaven and Hell. (55 mins.)
“ Another masterpiece from HBO. Great characters. A classic fight between good and evil, etched out in the surreal world of a fairground/Freak troup touring the Dust Bowl Great Depression era America. I wish it had run for more seasons, but what we do have is damn near perfect. ” - medwards1
 
12.
The Wire (2002 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.4/10 X  
Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement. (59 mins.)
“ A brilliant slow build drama almost in a 1970s vein, with such a vast net of stunningly interesting characters, it could only be yet another HBO show. Thank you so much HBO, you have immeasurably improved the world. ” - medwards1
 
13.
The Chicago Code (2011 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Detective Jarek Wysocki, one of Chicago's toughest cops, struggles to clean up the town's violence and corruption. (44 mins.)
“ A great fiesty drama (far superior to the similar Blue Bloods) where three cops prove that inviduals can make a difference even against almost insurmountable curruption and a system that simply does not endorse anything that breaks the status quo. ” - medwards1
 
14.
Deadwood (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A show set in the late 1800s, revolving around the characters of Deadwood, South Dakota; a town of deep corruption and crime. (55 mins.)
“ Stunning. Just watch it. ” - medwards1
 
15.
Game of Thrones (2011 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.5/10 X  
Nine noble families fight for control over the mythical lands of Westeros. Meanwhile, a forgotten race, hell-bent on destruction, returns after being dormant for thousands of years. (56 mins.)
“ Finally a show that proves that fantasy can be done on TV, and done very well. This programme is so good that I even came to like Sean Bean (an actor I have disliked in almost everything I have seen him in before), this is slow build stuff, so if The Wire turned you off, this may not be your cup of tea. However, I strongly suggest you give it a chance, it grows on a lot of people. ” - medwards1
 
16.
Lost (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island. (44 mins.)
“ Now this is a reluctant inclusion, the first season completely gripped me, but I got bored with season 2 and stopped watching, however, I cannot argue with its success or with the clever trick of constant mystery. Interesting format however, and worth a watch. ” - medwards1
 
17.
Fringe (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An FBI agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena. (46 mins.)
“ Not as good as X Files, the chemistry between Olivia and Peter is flat, however the whole show is stolen by the great Australian actor John Noble, who plays Peter's father Doctor Walter Bishop, truly one of the best characters in drama. ” - medwards1
 
18.
Rome (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A down-to-earth account of the lives of both illustrious and ordinary Romans set in the last days of the Roman Republic. (90 mins.)
“ Not sure if I am cheating here or not, because this was a BBC and HBO co-production, so not strictly speaking entirely a USA drama, but this show is so good I constantly pray they will do another series set in the reign of a different Empreror. Violent, sexy and bizarre, makes the past seem both very recent, and utterly alien. Captivating stuff. ” - medwards1
 
19.
24 (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, races against the clock to subvert terrorist plots and save his nation from ultimate disaster. (44 mins.)
“ Just great fun. Quite silly in places, and I must admit I have only ever watched the first series, I fully intend to watch more, just have not got around to it, however, get a boxset of this, and see how rapidly you will lose 24 hours of your life! Mr Sutherland is good. Very, very good.

I want to make a spin off series called 15 mins, with all the minutes missing from each episode due to advert breaks, it would basically be Jack Bauer walking into rooms and then forgetting what he went in there for, frantically drinking coffee to stay awake, making peanut butter sandwiches and taking a piss. ” - medwards1
 
20.
Breaking Bad (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.5/10 X  
A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future. (49 mins.)
“ Ever wondered what might make your fuddy old science teacher become an expert at cooking the highest quality meth? No, well this show will tell you anyway. The first series, though criminally short, is utterly gripping, and I will never look at a bath the same way again. And it just keeps gripping tighter all the way through, the characters go on a massive journey, and you will find yourself cheering them on, with increasing passion. Go Science! ” - medwards1