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The 20 Best TV Dramas of the Last 20 Years

  • Indiewire
The 20 Best TV Dramas of the Last 20 Years
Like it or not, TV dramas often set the standard for how television eras are remembered. Be it awards attention or Top 10 lists, dramas are looked to as a guide post for where we are, where we’re headed and what’s worth revisiting from the past. Series like “The Americans” and “Mad Men” look back to break down where we are now, while iconic moments in time are captured in series “of the now” like “The Wire” and “The O.C.” Eras matter, in your life and in all our lives, and these 20 series, all premiering in the last 20 years, have defined the past two decades in every aspect imaginable.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

Joss Whedon may have traded the supernatural for superheroes in recent years, but his first series remains his crowning achievement as King of the Nerds. “Buffy” was strong as a whole, with a well-rounded cast, top-notch writing, and a healthy dose of classic Whedon humor, but it’s in examining the series’ most famous episodes that the true genius shines through. Three “Buffy” episodes are widely regarded as some of the best in TV history: the eerily silent “Hush,” featuring only 14 minutes of dialogue and the scariest villains in the entire show; the genuinely catchy musical numbers of “Once More With Feeling,” which combined Buffy’s existential crisis with a musical-inducing demon; and “The Body,” a study in overwhelming grief as Buffy and her friends deal with the death of her mother. While “Buffy” may not be as critically acclaimed as other shows on this list, it redefined the supernatural genre, paving the way for countless other shows — none of which have lived up to to the original vampiric cult favorite. – Kate Halliwell

“Oz” (1997-2003)

Given how much attention is given to early HBO dramas “The Sopranos” and “The Wire,” it’s almost criminal just how overlooked “Oz” has become. Critics adore it, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find any “Game Of Thrones” or “Breaking Bad” fans who have seen a single episode. Ironically, “Oz” paved the way for nearly every Golden Age TV drama in its path. So much of what we’ve come to expect from TV drama — antiheroes, brutal violence, moral ambiguities, the fearless disposal of main characters — was born at the Oswald State Correctional Facility, where racial, sexual, and economic conflicts within the prison system gave way to some of the most complex characters TV has ever seen. Each episode, co-written by creator Tom Fontana, dynamically weaves a single theme through both the present storyline and flashbacks revealing inmates’ unspeakable crimes, all narrated by Harold Perrineau Jr.’s Augustus Hill with a lyrical slam pulse. “Orange Is The New Black” has used this format in recent years to create its own memorable world, but it could only dream of hitting as viscerally as “Oz.” At times brutally grounded and surreally poetic, the show uses its fictional environment as a microcosm for our society at large, showing how the divides and conflicts manifested in prison first start in the neighborhoods we live in. “Oz” has a burdensome power that you have to reckon with. – Zack Shark

Queer as Folk” (UK) (1999-2000)

With this intimate look at gay life in Manchester, England, creator Russell T. Davies brought joy, wit and pathos to the stories of Stuart (Aiden Gillen), Vince (Craig Kelly) and Nathan (Charlie Hunnam) as they struggled to find love in the city’s vibrant club scene. Balancing “Doctor Who” references with surprisingly explicit love scenes (yeah, look at that cast list again — some of the show’s hottest sex features “Game of Thrones'” Littlefinger and baby Jax Teller from “Sons of Anarchy), the original “Queer as Folk” was groundbreaking for British television and even game-changing for the U.S., when Showtime created an American adaptation that ran from 2000-2005. While short-lived in comparison to the remake, the original version remains singular and iconic. – Liz Shannon Miller

The West Wing” (1999-2006)

Here’s the pitch: A young, close knit group of Presidential staffers fight the good fight, with episodes centering around wonky debates over sexy topics like the census, foreign aid, and nuclear energy. Hard to believe, but it was a formula that that led Aaron Sorkin’s NBC drama to capture an audience of over 20 million weekly viewers and four consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series. Mixing the hard realities of modern politics and Sorkin’s romantic belief that a dedicated group of passionate people can bring about positive change, the show was equal parts entertaining and educational. Predictably, the show teetered after its fourth season, when Sorkin and his playful dialogue moved on, but under the leadership of showrunner John Wells the “West Wing” successfully reinvented itself with longer, more sober story arcs centered around characters’ existential/career crises and an oddly prescient election to replace President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), which predicted so many real-life political stories, including the 2008 match-up between Senators Obama and McCain. – Chris O’Falt

Read More: ‘The West Wing’ Reunion: Aaron Sorkin and Cast Remember How the Internet Saved the Series

The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

The greatness of “The Sopranos” cannot be overstated. Its lavish praise will never be hyperbolic. HBO, for all its excellent offerings, will never do anything better. David Chase’s six-season mob drama is equal parts American opus and Shakespearean drama, one that encompasses the grand spectrum of human emotion and experience (especially as it applies to strip club-loving tough guys) through the tight lens of what could be a slightly alienating focus. Mobsters have long entertained American audiences, but to distill the crime drama down to a series that is just as concerned with domestic troubles as it is with Mafia-related violence is bold indeed. Or, in other words: It’s just really, really good (and super entertaining). “The Sopranos” never shied away from its roots as a show about the mob, but it also fully embraced the kind suburban ennui that made Tony Soprano — a larger than life character — feel oddly relatable and often even kind of lovable. While Chase’s series is hardly in danger of being forgotten or maligned, its divisive final shot is often the subject of close reads that forget to acknowledge the kind of subtlety and power that ran through the entire series. It’s not just Tony’s last meal (maybe) that deserves a deep dive. It’s the entire series. – Kate Erbland

Related stories'The West Wing' Reunion: Aaron Sorkin and Cast Remember How the Internet Saved the Series'Friday Night Lights' Reunion: Connie Britton Thrills Fans & More Cast Highlights From Atx TV FestEven Indie Directors Who Make Great TV Can't Get Female-Driven Films Made (Consider This)
See full article at Indiewire »

Collision: NBC Adapts ITV Series

NBC is developing an adaptation of Anthony Horowitz's Collision, which aired in November, 2009, on ITV and Utv, as a five-episode event series. In the Us, an edited version of the original series aired on PBS, in two parts. Horowitz will serve as show runner on the new, Us version, and reportedly will write the first two episodes.

The cast of the ITV series includes: Douglas Henshall, Kate Ashfield, Christopher Fulford, Jo Woodcock, Craig Kelly, Dean Lennox Kelly, Zoe Telford, Claire Rushbrook, Phil Davis, Jan Francis, Sylvia Syms, Paul McGann, Lucy Griffiths, Lenora Crichlow, David Bamber, and Nicholas Farrell. Continue on for more about NBC's new Collision adaptation. Read More…
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

Time Machine: Best Picture Nominee Co-Star Timberlake on the Oscars' Red Carpet

Justin Timberlake on the Oscars' Red Carpet Justin Timberlake at the Academy Awards The Social Network actor Justin Timberlake arrives at the 83rd Academy Awards, which took place on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. At the ceremony, Timberlake and Black Swan actress Mila Kunis introduced the nominees – and eventual winners – in the animation categories. Throughout the proceedings, he pretended to be the elusive Banksy, whose Exit Through the Gift Shop was a Best Documentary Feature contender. The joke fell mostly flat, but Timberlake actually elicited some laughs when he imitated three-time Oscar-nominated veteran Kirk Douglas*, who mercilessly stretched the Best Supporting Actress announcement into what seemed like hours. Admittedly, Douglas was funny. (The winner in that particular category turned out to be Melissa Leo for David O. Russell's The Fighter.) As announced by the Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis duo, the Best Animated Short Film was Shaun Tan
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Queer As Folk cast - Then and Now: What the show's stars did next

A Russell T Davies TV project is always something to be excited about. From gifting us Queer as Folk to saving Doctor Who, he has given us a lot to be grateful for over the years. Hence why his various comeback series on Channel 4, E4 and online later this month are being greeted with such a sense of anticipation.

Cucumber, Banana and Tofu come 16 years after Davies shook up TV with Queer as Folk and his new shows look likely to be just as exciting, exploring the passions and pitfalls of 21st century gay life with a candid sense of humour.

But will it create as many stars as Davies's previous Channel 4 series? Here's what happened to the Queer As Folk stars after it ended in 2000.

Aidan Gillen (Stuart)

After playing the sexually rampant Stuart, Gillen landed a role in what many critics claim to be the "greatest
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

William & Kate's Visit Hailed as Historic on Last Night in Australia

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked their final night in Australia on Thursday with a cocktail party at the home of their host, who put their visit in historical perspective. Australia's governor-general, Sir Peter Cosgrove, likened the trip to a similar tour Down Under taken in 1927 by William's great-grandfather, the Duke of York - later King George VI - and his wife. "Accounts of their visit note the deafening cheers of the crowds, the fervent and spontaneous greetings of those they met, and the Duchess won hearts from the start - all words that could describe the last couple of weeks,
See full article at »

Queer As Folk is 15 years old: Looking back on a classic

15 years is a long time. It's a whole Nathan Maloney. And yet - as much as Stuart Alan Jones would hate the reminder - today marks 15 years since Queer As Folk hit our television screens.

Since I was 10 the first time the show was on air, it's not much of a surprise that I didn't see it then (I assume I was more concerned with the Spice Girls and getting the DJ at our Year Six disco to play 'Sex on the Beach'). But watching it now, it's a pleasure to see that the show lives up to all its hype.

Yes, it was a groundbreaking show. This was a series which focused on gay men, that didn't shy away from getting graphic, and that was unapologetic in its subject matter. But aside from breaking the taboos, and the importance of having a series like that on television, was it actually any good?
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

TV highlights 11/11/2013

  • The Guardian - TV News
Moving On | Junior Bake Off | Bear Grylls: Escape From Hell | Fresh Meat | Under The Dome | Storyville: Hotel Folly: Folie A Deux | The Shooting Gallery

Moving On

2.15pm, BBC1

Jimmy McGovern's week of stand-alone dramas kicks off with Strictly Come Dancing supremo Natalie Gumede in a modern-day parable about a frustrated stay-at-home mum. Gumede plays Jo, a policeman's wife so bored by her life of ironing and gazing longingly at the lives of besuited school mums that she shoplifts for thrills. Sharon Horgan, Craig Kelly and Amy Nuttall are among the familiar faces lined up for the series, a real daytime treat full of strong characters and subtle twists. Hannah Verdier

Junior Bake Off

4.30pm, Cbbc

While the tent's still up, another bus-load of bakers – tiny ones – arrive to perform floury stunts for Mary Berry and James Martin (replacing Paul Hollywood), egged on by an emphatic man in a floral shirt.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

BBC announces 'Moving On' as first drama to premiere on iPlayer

BBC One has announced a new series of Jimmy McGovern's Moving On.

The fifth run of the daytime series will be the first drama to premiere in its entirety on BBC iPlayer.

As with previous series, the drama will consist of five stand-alone films, produced by Accused creator McGovern.

Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street), Anita Dobson (EastEnders), Anthony Flanagan (The Village) and Jo Joyner (EastEnders) will be among the new series' stars.

Lee Ingleby (Inspector George Gently), Duncan Preston (Love And Marriage), Ray Fearon (Harry Potter), Emma Cuniffe (The Lakes), Sharon Horgan (Pulling) and Craig Kelly (Coronation Street) will also appear.

The lineup is completed by Taj Atwal (Stella), Amy Nuttall (Downton Abbey), Ramon Tikaram (White Heat), Jo-Anne Knowles (Waterloo Road) Rosalind Ayres (Outnumbered), Emma Lowndes (Cranford) and Keith Barron (The Chase).

Johnny Vegas and Robert Glenister will also direct two of the films.

BBC Daytime's Damian Kavanagh said: "Moving On
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka - DVD Review

Doctor Who’s fortieth anniversary was coming up but the BBC had no plans to celebrate it. A fledgling media called the Internet would have to step in and a brave, but small band of animators would step up and Scream for a new Doctor. The Doctor (Richard E. Grant) lands his Tardis in a sleepy English village, steered there by unknown forces and against his will. It’s a bit too quiet and the residents seem afraid of something. The Doctor makes the acquaintance of Joe (Craig Kelly) and Alison (Sophie Okonedo) and discovers from them that there are sinister creatures beneath the village. There were two attempts to revive Doctor Who, a TV movie and this animated attempt.
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

50 Shades of Grey: All you need to know about Charlie Hunnam, Dakota Johnson

50 Shades of Grey: All you need to know about Charlie Hunnam, Dakota Johnson
It was starting to seem as if the speculation would never end, but finally the identities of Fifty Shades of Grey's Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey have been revealed.

Dakota Johnson will play Ana in the big screen adaptation of El James's popular and controversial debut novel when it hits screens in the Us on August 1, 2014.

Meanwhile, the author confirmed that Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam will take on the role of Christian, despite speculation that the likes of Ian Somerhalder and Alex Pettyfer would be joining the project.

Following today's (September 2) announcement, Digital Spy offers up ten facts you need to know about the stars.

1. Dakota Mayi Johnson was born on October 4, 1989 in Austin, Texas. She is the daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. She won her first acting role in Crazy in Alabama in 1999, where she played the on-screen daughter of Griffith. She starred alongside her half-sister,
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

News Bits: The Indie Beat Edition!

  • Cinelinx
We have some amazing things we're about to announce for Cinelinx, and we've been working our tails off in order to get them done.  While this is great, it unfortunately means that I haven't kept up with my press releases like I should have been.  There's been a few things going on in the Indie world, so I've decided to bring them all together, News Bits style, for your enjoyment.  Come inside for casting news on Kickback, a new trailer for Entity, and a North American release date for Silent Cry!

Here at Cinelinx we like to talk about all aspects of filmmaking and movie news. To that end, we have Indie Beat where we highlight some of the latest news, trailers, and PR releases from the indie filmmaker scene.  So if you're an independent filmmaker and want some coverage on our site, be sure to drop us a line at  jordan@cinelinx.
See full article at Cinelinx »

Theatre Review: Chicken at Trafalgar Studios

As a native New Yorker turned Londoner there is nothing I delight in more than getting the chance to be transported to an apartment in the Bronx for a couple of hours with some colourful and desperate characters. The references to the Whitestone bridge, the Grand Concourse, and the 95 in “Chicken” by new playwright, Mike Batistick, made me giggle with a tinge of nostalgia for home.

This Bronx tale tells the story of two mates who grew up in an orphanage together so they’re like practically “brothas” ( insert your best Bronx accent here). However, years later we find Wendal (Craig Kelly) has turned into an unhappy fast-food eating toll collector and has to deal with Floyd (Cristian Solimano) who wants to train up an ailing rooster for an illegal cockfight. Wendal’s smoking and boozing pregnant wife Lina (Lisa Maxwell) is also dealing with some of her own problems
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

DVD Review - Queer As Folk: The Complete U.K. Collection

Russell T. Davies is primarily known for his work within the Doctor Who universe. Not only did he restart the long-running British sci-fi series in 2005, but he gave it two spinoffs: Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. But prior to Who, Davies had headed up some other pretty iconic shows. Case in point: 1999's Queer As Folk.

As a straight male, I don't really think that I'm quite the intended audience for the show. It is, after all, about two hard-partying gay friends who have relationship problems. Stuart (Aiden Gillen, Game of Thrones) is all about the one-night stands, while his best friend Vince (Craig Kelly) has less luck finding love. Fifteen-year-old Nathan (Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy) enters their lives and serves, in a way, as a catalyst to help Stuart and Vince get out of their respective ruts.

The show is stiflingly camp at times, but Davies' characteristic
See full article at »

Strictly Come Dancing – live blog!

Jimi Mistry is gone but can Ann Widdecombe survive yet another week? Join me to find out

Good evening all, and welcome to another week of the Ann Widdecombe Show. Our heroine tonight will demonstrate her exceptional second-to-none dancing skills in the foxtrot as her partner-in-crime Anton Du Beke gurns at the camera and wheels out more comedy choreography, and they'll both shoot down the evil Craig Revel Horwood when he tries to offer constructive criticism on how not to be so totally bloody inept. Oops, sorry, strayed from the script there.

But I do bid you a good evening and welcome to Strictly Come Dancing, where we'll have nine couples dancing nine different styles. Can Scott Maslen and Natalie Lowe reclaim their position at the top of the leaderboard with a jive? What does James Jordan wear under his kilt? And will we still be in that bizarre parallel
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

What makes a great TV voiceover?

Michael Buerk on Pineapple Dance Studios sets the bar for deadpan delivery

"It's not just about looking hench," deadpanned Michael Buerk this week. "These fly boys will have to bust some crisp moves if they want to get their swagger on." Pineapple Dance Studios is preposterous enough already – all botox, baby oil and bizarre fantasy sequences. And then just when it couldn't get any odder, in comes the voice of Ethiopian famine coverage and Radio 4's Moral Maze.

We're in a golden period for televisual voiceovers right now – with Buerk one of three primetime practitioners in their pomp. Over on Dancing On Ice, Tony Gubba blends technical geekery – "the rotating oxtail there, segued into a triple nipple with spatula jump to finish" – with wince-worthy wordplay and the odd trouser-rub at lady contestants' costumes (watch here four minutes onwards for the full effect). The result is pure Partridge-like genius. Thirdly there's Dave Lamb,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ask the Flying Monkey! (January 11, 2010)

Have a question about gay male entertainment? Send it to! (Please include your city and state and/or country.)

Q: I can't help feeling a little tingle when watching George Clooney. He seems so gay even though he never played a gay role. It's the twinkle in his eyes. His male friends are all dreamy and the women he's been attached to seem like they could care less. Is he the big gay secret in Hollywood, like Rock Hudson was? – Price, West Palm Beach, Fl

George Clooney

A: That little tingle you feel is called “being alive.” That said, Clooney seems unbelievably straight to me – the kind of man we here in Seattle call a “Seattle Straight Guy.” That means he’s thoughtful, articulate, fit, liberal as hell, well-dressed and well-groomed, but thoroughly straight, even as he’s totally cool with gay people.

If you mistake a Seattle Straight Guy for gay,
See full article at The Backlot »

Strictly Come Dancing: Ricky Whittle wants to see voting stats

Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle has admitted that he would love to see this year’s Strictly Come Dancing voting results.

The star, who came second on last weekend’s final of the show, called for BBC show to release the figures in a similar fashion to The X Factor.

“They never tell us and I don’t think they ever will, which is a bit of a shame,” The Guardian quotes him as saying.

“At the end of the day it’s a public channel. X Factor came out with all the stats and it would be nice to see how the voting was going to see what people were doing right and wrong.”

A BBC spokesman said: “We never reveal exact figures from our shows as we have a relationship of trust with our contestants and it would be unfair to disclose the exact nature of difference in their popularity.
See full article at Unreality »

Ricky Whittle won’t be on Strictly Come Dancing tour

Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle is reportedly devastated, after finding out that BBC bosses did not want him on the Strictly Come Dancing tour.

Ricky made it to the show’s final last weekend, losing out at the final hurdle to TV presenter Chris Hollins.

Inferior dancers like Natalie Cassidy, Ricky Groves and Chris Hollins have already been signed for the tour but poor old Ricky has been left out in the cold.

He told The Sun:

“I wasn’t asked. I would have snapped someone’s arm off to go on tour.”

“I asked someone about it but they never got back to me. It is a shame because I think we came up with routines to really entertain the audiences.”

He added: “They talked about Chris being an entertainer but surely if you’re spinning a girl above your head, would you not find that entertaining?

“Why are we not entertaining?
See full article at Unreality »

Strictly Come Dancing: Ricky Whittle danced through hernia pain

Strictly Come Dancing runner up, Ricky Whittle, has revealed that he has been suffering from a secret hernia since he started on the dance show, but didn’t tell BBC bosses in case they made him withdraw.

Ricky told The News Of The World:

“I had to keep it a secret. If they had known the BBC could have pulled me out on medical grounds. And I didn’t want the viewers to find out because I’d hate to think I was getting sympathy votes.”

He added: “I had to lie to Natalie too which I’m not proud of but I really wanted to be on Strictly and I know she would have made me stop.

“The only people who knew the truth were my Gp and my ex-girlfriend Carley Stenson.

“She kept trying to get me to stop dancing but I was determined to do my best and not fail.
See full article at Unreality »

Strictly Come Dancing: the final liveblog | Carrie Dunn

After 14 weeks of dancing – 14 weeks! – Saturday night sees Strictly 2009 draw to a close. So which celebrity will win: Ricky Whittle or Chris Hollins?

6pm: Good evening, everybody, and welcome to the official start of Christmas, otherwise known as the Strictly Come Dancing final! One by one, the contenders have fallen by the wayside - whether it be judging decisions, ineptitude or injury that cast them aside - and now Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan (aka Team Cola, aka the hobbits) take on Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe (aka...well, nothing really. Apart from "him off Hollyoaks and the scary robot lady") to lift the sacred trophy. The first instalment of tonight's action begins at 6.35pm, and it's time to lay all the cards on the table - I'm firmly Team Cola tonight for their sense of fun and enthusiasm; if Ricky and Natalie win, they will certainly have been the
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »
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