DAR TV: 6 Of The Greatest TV Dramas

By @TrueGodImmortal

In television, one notable genre of programming that tends to spawn huge ratings and acclaim are dramas. Whether these shows detail a violent world with  drugs and police, a look at families and their own struggles, or any other form of dramatic plot, drama is the ruler of television at the moment. Sitcoms used to be a huge deal before, and they still are popular, but shows like The Walking Dead, Power, Game Of Thrones, and more pull in the big time ratings and attention. With that being said, in the history of TV, there have been a lot of classic dramas, and today, I wanted to take a brief look at 6 of those. Let's get into it.

*Breaking Bad
(5 Seasons, 62 Episodes)

-Of course, the story of Walter White became one of the most revered stories in TV history. Fans tuned in regularly to see the adventures of Walter White and what would come of his possible mishaps. The premise of the show is heartbreaking from the start, as Walter, a high school chemistry teacher tries to make the best out of what is a mostly mundane existence. In addition to the terrible salary he makes, his wife is pregnant, his teenage son has cerebral palsy, but that's not even the worst of the news. Walter is diagnosed with terminal cancer and makes a decision  that changes his life and his family's life for the better and worse (and it happens to involve a meth lab). Over the course of the 5 seasons, we were introduced to a number of memorable characters from Jesse to Hank to Saul to Gus, and where you loved Walter White or hated him, you couldn't deny how impactful this show was to television. It might be the greatest drama ever.

*Law And Order: SVU
(19 Episodes, 412 Episodes)

-The Law And Order brand has spawned a number of spinoffs, but rarely is the spinoff better than the original. This is the rare case where that rings true, as SVU is the best Law And Order program without question. It is currently the longest running non-animated scripted show since the cancellation of the original Law And Order and the longevity of the program can be attributed to the great stories told and the fact that a number of scenarios are pulled from real life headlines, enticing viewers to tune in. Centered around the detectives in the Special Victims Unit of the fictional 16th precinct in the NYPD, the show will take a look into the lives of the victims, the criminals, but the depth of the show rests within the story narratives of the actual detectives and their personal lives. Two of the most infamous characters in TV drama history are on this show, as Detective Stabler and Detective Benson were fan favorites for the first 12 seasons, and after the departure of Stabler, many wondered would the show be the same. 7 seasons later, the show is still going strong. For fans, they've watched the characters progress, age, and go through a number of scenarios, and experience another fan favorite in Ice T's role as Detective Fin. SVU is the longest running show on this list and it's easily one of the best dramas in TV history. 

*Friday Night Lights
(5 Seasons, 76 Episodes)

-This was initially a movie and book that didn't take off in the way that it should, but a few years later, it would become a popular show and one of the better dramas on TV in the 2000s. Based in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, a small rural community that has a very close knit feel to it, the show is mostly based around a football coach and his family, but has multiple dimensions. On the surface, the show seems to be centered around football, but there's much more to it. The show tackles issues that affects every community from abortion to racism to school funding and more, and it allows the character to be given much more story than most shows. For the 5 seasons the show was in existence, it was the biggest ratings draw, but it was critically acclaimed and provided hours of excellent television throughout the duration, and I think it's definitely one of the greatest dramas in TV history.

(9 Seasons, 204 Episodes)

-This was one of those shows that surprised me in terms of longevity and popularity, and the concept was unique for the time. With Kiefer Sutherland in the starring role, the show centered around his character Jack Bauer and his position in the Counter Terrorist Unit as a high profile agent who gets things done while racing against the clock. The show tackles terror plots, the concept of presidential assassinations attempts, weapons of mass destruction, and many of the things that come up in conspiracy theories like government and corporate corruption. The show would earn rave reviews, awards, and be a huge critical success and I have to give a lot of credit to Kiefer and his performance as Jack Bauer, but also to Dennis Haybert for his role as David Palmer. All in all, 24 was one of the most thrilling dramas on TV and the fanbase still won't let the show go and we've seen reincarnations and a spinoff of the program, which proves the impact of the show.

*NYPD Blue
(12 Seasons, 261 Episodes)

-I am not fond of cop shows usually, and to be honest, I wasn't extremely fond of this show in general, but to deny the power of this show and the longevity would be impossible. When I first caught an episode of the show, I was pretty young and didn't really care for it (due to it being about cops and their lives), but eventually I would start to enjoy the episodes and what came with them. One thing that was good about NYPD Blue was that it was raw and one of those shows that didn't hide from the tough and gritty life that one would assume cops live while working. The ability to humanize the experiences of the cops and their own personal and internal struggles helped push this show to 12 total seasons and over 260 episodes, a feat that very few dramas have been able to accomplish. From killing off the fan favorites to showing depictions of alcoholism and nudity (which was a rarity on network TV), NYPD Blue took risks and they paid off big time. For that, the show is undoubtedly a classic drama.

*The Wire
(5 Seasons, 60 Episodes)

-There was no way in hell that I could write a list on classic drama shows and leave off what is probably the greatest of them all, The Wire. Based in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, The Wire is one of the most gritty shows in history of TV and there was no network other than HBO that could have presented this hard look at life in Baltimore. While the show was a bit exaggerated at times, it does manage to capture the cut throat way of the streets here, and how quickly things change. The show focused a lot on the Baltimore City Police Department, and while there are some inaccuracies in that as well, make no mistake about it, The Wire was still engaging to all viewers and there were so many characters to pay attention to and love or hate. You could take a look into the mind of a Stringer Bell, the struggles of McNulty, the ideals of Bunk, the ruggedness and ruthless style of Avon, the loyalty of Wee-Bey, and the carelessness of Omar, among other characters. The Wire is one of the best dramas to grace the small screen, and much like the other shows on this list, the impact of the program will be felt for years to come. 



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