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May 5, 2009 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I need more tv shows to watch. Specifically, shows which fit the 60 minute drama model. Shows which are best viewed from season one, episode one, and build upon characters and situations.

For example, previous wins have been Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, House, etc. Back in it's day, the original 90210 and the first seasons of ER were great. I'm currently in the middle of catching up on Brothers And Sisters, which is also good.

Failures have included Lost (I just got bored in the middle of Season Two; maybe it's gotten better, but... meh.) I also abandoned One Tree Hill for some reason, but I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps I've grown out of the teenage-drama scene. I also really dislike sci-fi.

So -- what else should I watch? Thanks in advance!
posted by cgg to Media & Arts (93 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
The Wire... The Wire... THE WIRE!!!

Seriously, The Wire.
posted by joelhunt at 10:34 AM on May 5, 2009 [12 favorites]

The Wire. It is, in my mind, the best show ever.
posted by charlesv at 10:34 AM on May 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

Mad Men!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

The West Wing! Love it, love it, love it. Mad Men, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

THE OC!!!!!!
posted by doorsfan at 10:37 AM on May 5, 2009

posted by heathergirl at 10:39 AM on May 5, 2009

Six Feet Under, definitely. The Sopranos.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:39 AM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

And nthing The West Wing.
posted by heathergirl at 10:39 AM on May 5, 2009

My wife and I have recently gotten hooked on The Unusuals. It's crime drama, but it doesn't take itself seriously the way Law and Order does.

However the best show on TV is Dexter. Incredibly believable characters, wonderful writing and great development. The second season story arc is a little weaker than the first season, but both seasons kept us hooked.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:40 AM on May 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

Rescue Me is actually a really hilarious, dramatic and engaging show. Watch the Wire first though.
posted by pwally at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2009

Have you watched Heroes yet? Only one season (the first) is worth watching, but that one season is really amazing.

Similarly, I actually thought the first 1.5 or so seasons of Prison Break were real good. Flew through them.
posted by inigo2 at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2009

Even if you are not a sports fan, watch Friday Night Lights. It is excellent. NBC was so confident in the show that the first season DVD set came with a money back guarantee.

Two testimonials: both my 70 year old mother in law and our foreign documentary/PBS loving intellectual neighbors recently borrowed the first season from us and thought the show was great.
posted by AgentRocket at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2009 [5 favorites]

I happen to like Nip/Tuck (some people love it, some hate it) and the first season of Prison Break was fantastic (I like the other seasons too, but not as much as the first). I also recently got hooked on Criminal Minds. Would Angel be too teenage-drama-y?

On preview, seconding Six Feet Under and Dexter.
posted by Nolechick11 at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2009

In that sort of format, we're currently watching (along with those previously mentioned):

Burn Notice
Lie To Me and

to be pretty much recommended in that order...
posted by benzo8 at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2009

Previous related thread.
posted by charlesv at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2009

Nthing Mad Men.
posted by blithecatpie at 10:46 AM on May 5, 2009

Six Feet Under... Six Feet Under... SIX FEET UNDER!!!

Seriously, Six Feet Under.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 10:46 AM on May 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

posted by RussHy at 10:47 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Wire.
posted by Perplexity at 10:48 AM on May 5, 2009

Breaking Bad is pretty great.
posted by PhatLobley at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

Dexter!! Amazing show.
And Supernatural is also fantastic. Not sci-fi exactly (no aliens or anything)... but scary. It deals with urban legends and whatnot, and really focuses on the relationship between the two lead characters. And it has only been getting better and better each season. I'm obsessed with it.

And yes, Lost eventually does get way better. The current season (5) has been great IMO.
posted by gwenlister at 10:51 AM on May 5, 2009

Breaking... Dammit! Nthing Breaking Bad, The Wire and Mad Men.
posted by box at 10:51 AM on May 5, 2009

I think that the question of whether you'll like The Wire and Deadwood (which are nothing like the shows you've liked so far) hinges on what you mean when you say you were bored by Lost. If you were bored because you thought it was silly or you disliked the characters or whatever - then maybe you'll dig these shows because they are not one bit silly at all. But if you were bored because you dislike not knowing what's going on or what people are up to, then you won't like those shows because they are both way more challenging and (initially) confusing viewing. That said - I think you'll really like Mad Men.
posted by moxiedoll at 10:53 AM on May 5, 2009

Jericho (now canceled)
Freaks and Geeks (if you haven't already)

I've also heard great things about:
The Wire
Mad Men
Breaking Bad
Six Feet Under
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:54 AM on May 5, 2009

How can a person hate sci-fi?

Anyway, I'd suggest Mistresses (the BBC version, not whatever god-awful thing Lifetime is apparently in the process of making), Boston Legal (that's sort of a comedy, but a good one), and Dead Like Me.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:54 AM on May 5, 2009

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was unexpectedly excellent.

HBO's Rome was incredible.

And though it's animated, everybody should watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, because it was the best genre show of the past decade, full stop, and I will go to my grave believing this.
posted by pts at 10:55 AM on May 5, 2009

I agree with benzo8 on Lie to Me and Kings. Both are available on Hulu.
posted by desjardins at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2009

The current season of Lost is really paying off if you stick with it.
posted by mkultra at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Life on NBC is quite good. I'm liking it a lot, the first season was especially good.
posted by crickets at 10:59 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Friday Night Lights... I just rented the first season and watched 22 hour long episodes in a single weekend. It is THAT good.
posted by elkerette at 11:00 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Surprised no one has mentioned Big Love. There have been many individual episodes that I thought were eventful enough to pass for season finales.
posted by hermitosis at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by roomwithaview at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

You might want to give LOST another try.
I watched the first season, went "MEH" and just went tearing through Seasons 2 through 4 via Netflix. I'm hopelessly addicted. I'm still behind a bit on Season 5, but good LORD did it get good.

I don't know if you like science fiction at all, but I used to love Babylon 5 back in the day.
posted by willmize at 11:06 AM on May 5, 2009

Doctor Who!!! (The revived series from 2005. You don't necessarily need to have a background with the classic series which ran from 1963 until the late 80's. You'll miss some in-jokes, but the new series stands alone just fine!)
posted by Hanuman1960 at 11:08 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

  • farscape
  • snuff box
  • dead set
  • survivorman
  • father ted
  • spaced

posted by izwalito at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2009

Dexter, LOST and 24.

The Wire and Mad Men are OK, but won't nearly live up to the hype people make out.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2009

Can't believe I forgot to mention arrested development.

Also I just remembered about the knight of prosperity and flight of the conchords
posted by izwalito at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2009

izwalito, they wanted hour long dramas. All of yours are half hour comedies (albeit awesome ones). ;)
posted by gwenlister at 11:17 AM on May 5, 2009

Oh, shit, I can't believe I forgot to mention Friday Night Lights. I heartily agree with anyone above who recommended it. Incredible, affecting show.
posted by pts at 11:22 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

nthing Dexter and adding Dead Like Me, though there's only 2 seasons. It's a tiny bit mystical I guess, but it's mostly about human nature. Very quirky, enjoyable show. If you like Dexter, odds are good you'll also like Dead Like Me, as they both have a fairly dark sense of humor.
posted by ashirys at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Six Feet Under is good and I second it but you will likely never want to see it again. Its emotionally exhausting, but rewarding.
posted by zennoshinjou at 11:32 AM on May 5, 2009

Freaks and Geeks was comedy/drama and only one season, but a really really amazing achievement. It's a travesty that it was canceled.

And seconding The Wire and Six Feet Under. Amazing works of art. Everything else that has ever aired on TV is kids' stuff by comparison.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:32 AM on May 5, 2009

I love Lost and Doctor Who, but these are very sci-fi shows. Lost is currently the most sci-fi it's ever been, so I would stay away, considering your tastes. Ditto for Dollhouse.

To me, this thread's spot-on suggestions include:

Mad Men
Breaking Bad
Six Feet Under (I would start here, actually.)
Friday Night Lights
The Wire
Freaks and Geeks

That's 20+ seasons of TV, and should keep you busy for some time. Not hour-longs, but similar to the above in regards to being character-driven, are Weeds and The Office. Those two are also more comedic, so I imagine them as a sort of palette cleanser between shows.
posted by greenland at 11:33 AM on May 5, 2009

Nthg Friday Night Lights and The Wire. The Shield was also totally awesome.
posted by _Mona_ at 11:34 AM on May 5, 2009

The Wire (reigns supreme - the sheer scope of the storytelling is unparalleled in TV; if you haven't seen it, don't start asking around for other stuff!)
Mad Men (visually fantastic, great writing)
The West Wing (fantastic. fantastic. fantastic dialogue)
Sopranos (one story, 6 seasons)
House (I love it, but it doesn't really fit what you want, though there is character development)
Rome (starts off kind of strange, but gets better and better towards fantastic)
Californication (redeems David Duchovny; amazing writing that is both witty and sexy. The take on sex in this series is refreshingly laid back)
Dexter (doesn't quite live up to the premise, but is still excellent)
Breaking Bad (hilarious and heartwarming)
Heroes (accept the premise, and you'll be fine)
Weeds (unexpectedly entertaining)
Terminator (good in spite of itself, but no more than good)
Intelligence (Canadian show with a good cop-robber dynamic and memorable characters; interesting and very watchable)

Also: I watch too much TV.
posted by flippant at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

Life on NBC is quite good. I'm liking it a lot, the first season was especially good.

Seconding this, emphatically. It just finished its second season, and it seems NBC has declined to continue it, the morons. It's a cop show - the main character is a police officer who was framed for a double homicide and did 12 years in prison, then get exonerated, gets a ton of money from the city (L.A.), and his job back. Writing and acting are uniformly good, and the character development is also very good. I'm sad that they're not picking up more seasons.
posted by rtha at 11:38 AM on May 5, 2009

Lots of good suggestions here. I'd add Melrose Place, which is available on DVD through mid-5th season. I was also a 90210 fan as a 20-something, but Melrose Place is much preferred now that I've reached my twilight years (37).
posted by coolguymichael at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2009

Nthing The Wire, which was awesome, but I think that Homicide: Life on the Street should be a *required* viewing prerequisite for The Wire. You can really see the evolution of TV when you look at two series, both from David Simon, as well as the differences in what can be done creatively on pay cable vs. network TV. Homicide does not get enough props for paving the way for The Wire. Also, there is a really great character arc in Tim Bayliss, and some of the most harrowing moments ever on network TV ("The Subway" episode from season 6), even if season 7 did kinda suck (but that was NBC's fault for wanting to sex-up the series).
posted by DiscourseMarker at 11:50 AM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Keep watching Lost, the re-boot starts in the middle of Season 3 and I dislike sci-fi as well.
Nobody's mentioned The Sopranos.
The first season of MI-5 was okay but it lacks the deadly precision of Sandbaggers.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:01 PM on May 5, 2009

posted by mullacc at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding Dexter and Farscape. Adding Wonderfalls to the list too. Sadly it's only one season.
posted by valadil at 12:07 PM on May 5, 2009

Northern Exposure. One of the best television shows ever. I can't say enough good things about it, so I won't even try.
posted by amyms at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2009

If you liked The West Wing, watch Sports Night. There's a sports theme, but it's not really about sports. Aaron Sorkin is a terrific writer, and it's an excellent cast. And if you're too young to have watched Hill Street Blues when it was on, recommended.
posted by theora55 at 12:14 PM on May 5, 2009

The Wire - deserves all the hype it gets.
Weeds - dark humour, potentially jumping the shark towards the end of the most recent season
Dexter - Simply awesome
Big Love - I wait anxiously for each season to start
Life - I can't believe there's not more love for Life (ahem)
Arrested Development - Can't wait until the movie arrives
Pushing Daisies - quirky and good, alas too quirky for it's own good
Firefly - ignore the fanboys and you'll find a pretty good series

Great thread.
posted by arcticseal at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2009

Here's the best part about Friday Night Lights: NBC has renewed it for two more seasons! This means you can rent the past three seasons or watch them on Hulu (feel free to fast forward through season two) over the summer, and then settle in comfortably this fall, secure in the knowledge that these characters are sticking around. It seems every show these days gets cancelled before it gets its footing.

If you can get over that cancellation thing, I just recently watched Firefly. I think if you liked Veronica Mars, you'll like it. Give it at least 4 episodes; I almost gave up on it but then got sucked in and watched all 14 episodes (plus the movie!) over the course of a single week.
posted by kidsleepy at 12:19 PM on May 5, 2009

nthing Criminal Minds, and nthing give Lost another try. It's gone through stages, but it's back to being great, and swiftly heading toward an end (next season will be the last). Also, you can do it with no loss to you, as ABC offers the entire series to watch free on its website.
posted by Night_owl at 12:33 PM on May 5, 2009

Southland has only had 3 episodes so far, but I really like it and think it could be a great series.

Even though it's not a drama whatsoever, I'll go ahead and 2nd Father Ted because it's a great show.
posted by ishotjr at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2009

Give Twin Peaks a try.
posted by Prospero at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sons of Anarchy has been grabbing my attention lately. Think Sopranos with an outlaw biker gang.
posted by vito90 at 12:41 PM on May 5, 2009

All of the above. And ALIAS. See JJ Abrams' stuff before he was who he is. (what?)
posted by Spyder's Game at 12:44 PM on May 5, 2009

Miami Vice.
posted by TimeDoctor at 12:51 PM on May 5, 2009

One more for The Sopranos and The Wire (the two best TV dramas). Also, Twin Peaks is definitely worth watching and Mad Men if you want something that is still being made.
posted by serak at 12:55 PM on May 5, 2009

You might like Queer as Folk.

Shameless is very very good. Oh when will they release Season 2 on DVD in the U.S.??
posted by ephemerista at 1:01 PM on May 5, 2009

No one's mentioned Hustle yet so I will.
posted by cabingirl at 1:08 PM on May 5, 2009

Weeds is only half-hour, I think, but it's phenomenal. It's a drama but with dark humor and it's hilarious.
posted by radioamy at 1:11 PM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Wire - there's a reason it consistently sneaks to the top of these lists.
The Shield
Entourage - doesn't quite fit your criteria but worth suggesting.
The Wire - repeated for emphasis.

With the previouslies you've listed Dirt Sexy Money might be up your alley - though its apparently been canceled after the second season.
posted by xqwzts at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2009

I found Damages very entertaining. It's a legal thriller with a wonderfully terrifying Glenn Close. The first season's a bit better than the second.
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 1:27 PM on May 5, 2009

Dexter still tops my list, but I'll through in a vote for Weeds and Life as well.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:29 PM on May 5, 2009

The Wire = best show ever made, for real. Just brilliant.
Nip/Tuck gets more perverse and over-the-top every season. The crazier the better. Some of this stuff, I can't believe they got it on TV frankly.
Friday Night Lights is worth it too.

There was a weird brief series on HBO called John from Cincinnati.. It didn't make any clear sense and was really like nothing else I've seen in a TV series. But requires patience and much appreciation for weirdness. As long as we're making a list, thought I'd throw it out there. I still don't know quite where it ended up, but it stuck with me. So strange and cool.

All my geek friends are huge fans of "Battlestar Galactica." I know you said you hate sci-fi. It's not my cup of tea either, but I plan to get over my own aversion to sci-fi and check it out anyway because it had quite a devoted following. FWIW those of them who like Joss Whedon think "Firefly" was the best thing he's done.
posted by citron at 2:01 PM on May 5, 2009

The Wire and Mad Men are fantastic.

Slings and Arrows is a Canadian comedy/drama about the backstage workings of a Shakespeare festival. It's three short seasons, each one focuses on the festival's production of one big Shakespeare drama. There's a weird ghostly element to it, but it's so beside the point of the show. There are some beautiful scenes of Shakespeare in it too, if you're into that.
posted by gladly at 2:06 PM on May 5, 2009

No one has mentioned Battlestar Galactica? Don't let the sci-fi element deter you; it's much deeper and relevant than other similar looking shows. I'd put it above Dexter and Lost (haven't seen the Wire yet).
posted by theDrizzle at 2:09 PM on May 5, 2009

Seconding "Sons of Anarchy". Great character development and bonus points for a plot that stays within the realm of feasibility.

The Lost Room is a mini-series that really shows how much you can accomplish with just a bit of imagination.

One I just remembered that shouldn't be forgotten is "Oz", a harrowingly bleak depiction of life inside a maximum security prison. Some of the finest sociopath performances on TV come from this show. Everyone is corrupted or damaged in some way or another (from the outset or as the show progresses), which makes for good storytelling. Once you get into the format, it is a great experience.
posted by flippant at 2:35 PM on May 5, 2009

I like how virtually every drama broadcast by American networks in the last five years has been recommended so far, rendering the value of each of these recommendations moot.


Life on Mars, the British version. Do not watch Ashes to Ashes, the follow-up.
The Wire. As good as they say it is.
The Hustle, first two seasons. Sucks when they start filming horseshit in America.
The Closer (though it got really inane in the last season and I hate the all the supporting per-episode actors are recognizable because they've been all over town but have never broken through). Kyra Sedgewick is great.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:03 PM on May 5, 2009

The Kingdom, a Danish ER clone mixed with a ghost story, made by Lars Van Trier is a decent Twin Peaks-esque take on the medical procedural. It leaves a lot of things unanswered, but is very funny and strange at the same time.
posted by rabbitsnake at 4:12 PM on May 5, 2009

3rding "Southland" (cop drama). It's really good; but I worry that it will be too depressing for viewers who are already on edge. Still, I read that NBC ordered another 13 episodes, so there will be more next year.
posted by parilous at 4:23 PM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mad Men is indeed fantastic. How I long for the third season..
Twin Peaks is a classic, but be warned that the first season is waaayyy better than the second.
Big Love is good too. Soapy yet morally ambiguous, with a ton of sex.
Gossip Girl is a total bitchfest and an awesome guilty pleasure.
posted by 912 Greens at 4:43 PM on May 5, 2009

If you are okay with high school drama and fantasy/horror, I highly recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don't like vampire fiction, so it took me ten years to actually try the show, but I love it. It's got a great action/comedy ratio. The first season needs to prove that it is horror, but after that it settles down to more of an action show. One of the things that is fantastic about it is that each season is recognizably different-- they weren't afraid to change it dramatically.

I love Bones, (murder mystery dramedy) but I don't think they're willing to take enough risks with it, the seasons just aren't that different. (Doesn't keep me from watching each new episode the moment it's released.) But the first episode is up on hulu right now, so you can try it and see.

I like Roswell, more for the love story than the alien story, but both pretty entertaining. Three seasons, drama with massive suspence. (Oh wait, are aliens sci fi? I get confused about the line between fantasy and sci fi sometimes.)

I'm working my way through Alias right now, very awesome, and you definitely have to see each episode in order. Spies, action, and lots of pretty disguises. Five seasons.

I also totally love Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, and House. Veronica Mars was too gloomy for me, so you know about where I am for your favorite shows. And I was hoping to find another good medical dramedy, but didn't like Nip/Tuck, and ER is a bit... old and slow.

I do like scifi, but I can't stand Battlestar Galactica. And while I like Doctor Who, I doubt you would. It's very scifi, without much else to distract you from it. Firefly seems the most scifi of Joss Whedon's shows. Dollhouse, I don't know if the amount of scifi would be annoying or not, but if you don't like the premise, the first few episodes are not going to suck you in, it takes eight or ten episodes to get really good. I like it, but it was only watching this latest episode that made me think Wow! Awesome!
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:06 PM on May 5, 2009

The Wire.
Friday Night Lights.

Northern Exposure.
The Shield.
posted by darth_tedious at 6:24 PM on May 5, 2009

LOST. The bold means that I submit my recommendation passionately (but respectfully).

Yeah, I read the question, I know you got bored halfway through Season 2. Everybody got bored halfway through Season 2. Except for the very beginning and the very end, Season 2 sucks. Most of Season 3 sucks, too. That's because it's mostly filler. From what I gather, the writers thought the show would be around indefinitely, so they diluted the story with useless characters and irrelevant and/or redundant flashback episodes. This was the point when everyone started to wonder if Lost was just in it for the lulz and the series finale was going to be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air song on a loop.

BUT! Near the end of the third season the creators signed a contract with ABC guaranteeing that Lost would have only three more (shortened) seasons. The CREATORS wanted this contract, because now they know how much time they have and can focus on telling their story. Uncoincidentally, the end of the third season is when the show started seriously kicking ass. Maybe I'm just a simple country lass, but Lost consistently manages to W the F out of me every single Wednesday.

So I recommend watching as much of Seasons 2 & 3 as you can stand, because some crucial characters and plot elements are introduced. Unfortunately, they're intermingled with bad CGI, pointless subplots, and timesuckery, so feel free to fast-forward and just read the synopses at Television Without Pity. But make sure you start watching again at around episode.....3x15? DO IT.
posted by granted at 6:50 PM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Maybe it's because I grew up in Rhode Island but I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Showtime's Brotherhood. A great family drama with politics and crime in the Biggest Little State thrown in for good measure. Plus Fionnula Flanagan!
posted by Biblio at 7:40 PM on May 5, 2009

These are moldy oldies (believe they were PBS/BBC from the 70s), but I just loved:
1) Flambards --set in pre World War 1 England
2) Poldark--set in 18th century England--real swashbuckling adventure
3) Mini-series version of Fanny and Alexander

Also, Firefly series is excellent. And the original BBC TV version of "The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy"--blows the recent movie version away, although special effects are cheesy.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 8:29 PM on May 5, 2009

Agreeing with Deadwood, disagreeing with Six Feet Under (and yes, I've seen ALL of it).

Deadwood is so good that in between season one and two I found myself wondering if it really could have been as good as I remembered, and then upon watching season two I was all "Damn, this is fucking fantastic!"

The Wire's solid. Rome, too. Mad Men is frequently interesting, but frankly it doesn't always grab me.

Too bad you won't watch Galactica, because it's one of the finest shows on modern TV.
posted by NortonDC at 8:36 PM on May 5, 2009

Freaks and Geeks: Classic and perfect - currently on my netflix queue.
Bones: Almost jumped the shark post- writers strike, but has returned with a vengance...
Lie to Me: Currently my #1 spot
House: Currently my #2 spot
Northern Exposure: Classic
Weeds: One hell of a commentary on suburban hell.
Band of Brothers

Heroes (first season is the best, third returns some glory... ignore the superpowers part and its a great allegory for some current events)

Arrested Development (30 minutes, but its been the most fun show I've ever re-watched multiple times - this has an amazing amout of character development, but nets zero character development thanks to extremely good writing...)
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:57 PM on May 5, 2009

n-thing Deadwood and The Shield, hands-down. And for opposite reasons.

Deadwood is character-driven with plot lines which develop more slowly. The Shield is VERY plot-driven -- You have to watch it from Season 1 absolutely. But both shows are just fantastic shows with writing you don't see too often on TV.

I am finally watching the Wire myself from Season 1 this summer.
posted by anthropoid at 10:05 PM on May 5, 2009

man i wish i had been home earlier and seen this, i cannot possibly recommend anything more than The Wire. it changed my life, seriously.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:38 PM on May 5, 2009

Also- Firefly. Great shwo cut down before it got off the ground. Only 13 episodes but the potential was amazing, and theres a moive (Serenity) that sort of wraps the whole thing up. Great for a week or two of solid TV.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:41 PM on May 5, 2009

I know you say you might have grown out of the teenage drama scene, but just in case that's not true I'd recommend My So Called Life. A little dated maybe, but a great show.

Also n-thing a bunch of other suggestions, mostly The Wire, Deadwood, Dexter, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Friday Night Lights and Mad Men. Those seven shows are some of the greatest in television history, and four of the seven are complete meaning you can watch them from first episode to last without having to wait for new seasons, which is a totally kick ass way to watch TV.
posted by imabanana at 12:52 AM on May 6, 2009

late to the party, but always glad to help

The Sopranos
Mad Men
House MD
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (there have been some terrific seasons of this show: dark, disturbing, and cleverly written, with well developed characters and great direction and music)
The Wire
The Shield (very much underrated, the first half of the first season is sometimes cringeworthy, but it matures nicely over the course of the seasons)
posted by NekulturnY at 3:30 AM on May 6, 2009

nthing Battlestar Galactica. It's really good TV. And it makes other sci-fi shows look really lame.
posted by ye#ara at 9:38 AM on May 6, 2009

2nd-ing My So Called Life, Intelligence

Here's a few that haven't so far been mentioned that we loved (all at Netflix):

Cold Feet
The Grand
The L Word
Doc Martin

And since nobody else seems to care that the OP doesn't like scifi, these are great too:

The 4400
posted by dpcoffin at 9:46 AM on May 6, 2009

The Wire. But don't watch the last season.
posted by McBearclaw at 10:44 AM on May 6, 2009

arrested development is at the top of the list for me, all on hulu for free

weeds is good (the earlier seasons > the later seaons though) -- if you like weeds you should also check out breaking bad on AMC (kind of like weeds, except not at all lol)

freeks and geeks is a MUST watch -- not that many episodes fwiw -- but if you liked freeks and geeks you need to watch undeclared, the follow up to freeks and geeks

nthing west wing, which to me is the best kind of show for what you want to see
posted by knockoutking at 6:13 AM on May 7, 2009

WEEDS. First season, sweet. Second season, awesome. Third season, crazy. Fourth, holy shit. I can't even wait for the fifth season. Seriously, sex, drugs, suburbia, Kevin Nealon. Now that's a recipe for success.
posted by faintly macabre at 7:34 PM on May 12, 2009

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