What to watch after Breaking Bad?
August 15, 2012 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Have loved Breaking Bad, but it's nearing its end. What are some other high production value TV thrillers should I watch? I like season-long story arcs, suspense, and excellent writing and acting. I love BBC's Sherlock, 24, Dexter, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones.
posted by shivohum to Media & Arts (63 answers total) 125 users marked this as a favorite
If you haven't already seen The Wire, that's a must.

I also really enjoyed the first season of Homeland, and the second season should be starting up soon.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 1:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]

Battlestar Galactica, if you've never seen it.
posted by griphus at 1:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

The Danish (original) version of The Killing: Forbrydelsen.
posted by Specklet at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by infinitywaltz at 1:42 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Do I have to add "Seriously." at this point? If so: Seriously.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:43 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

I really just enjoyed "Luther" and I'm a fan of most of the other things you've mentioned.
posted by jph at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, seconding Luther. Idris Elba is ... intense.
posted by rocketpup at 1:45 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

+ 1 the Wire and Boardwalk Empire.
posted by bensherman at 1:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

+1 The Wire
Boardwalk Empire
Mad Men
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:48 PM on August 15, 2012

Boardwalk Empire, definitely. The second season, in particular, was tremendous (a little less on-the-nose in terms of writing than the first).
posted by scody at 1:49 PM on August 15, 2012

Rome hasn't been mentioned and I was a big fan of that.
posted by zephyr_words at 1:53 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by littlesq at 1:55 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sons of Anarchy, which is about to start its.. 4th? 5th? season?

It's the story of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club - Redwoods Chapter (aka SAMCRO, which is the originating chapter though there exist several other chapters of SOMC), and the families that make it up. You could call it Sopranos on wheels-- it has the same mix of violence and non-violent drama (and a pinch of porn). Excellent family drama, great acting by Katie Segal, Ron Perlman, and main guy, Australian actor Charlie Hunnam (otherwise best known as the blonde guy from Undeclared).

BBC: The Shadow Line, a 7-part drama featuring a cop returned to service after a shooting, the whole dimensions of which take a while to reveal, while various parties search for the killer of a gang-boss. Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Christopher Eccleston, and some other brilliant and familiar character actors.

Deadwood-- 2 seasons. The third was not so great.
Terriers-- absolutely terrific show that had no business being cancelled.
The Wire-- the language lacks superlatives good enough for this show. The 2nd dn 4th seasons drop the pace considerably, but hang in there-- rewards are coming!
Justified-- I can't get enough of this. The first episode is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, but the show carries the characters to new depths.
Foyle's War-- BBC movie-series about a police department in Hastings, covering the years of WWII. (Hastings is the among the shore areas that faces France, and thus invasion fears run particularly deep in this.)
posted by Sunburnt at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

I know it may sound hokey but the season-long story of Season One of Nikita (2010), the TV show with Maggie Q, was quite engrossing. The writing is not nearly up to par with the new wave of incredibly good TV dramas and thrillers but I quite enjoyed it.
posted by dgeiser13 at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2012

SOAMC, durrr
posted by Sunburnt at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2012

I just came in to recommend The Shadow Line too.
posted by crocomancer at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2012

The West Wing - caveat that Seasons 1-4 are spectacular (Sorkin), 5 loses the path, and 6-7 regain most of the original strength and quality.
posted by kcm at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hell on Wheels! We started watching it last weekend and fell in love with it. Excellent production quality, gorgeous people and good acting. I will also highly recommend Boardwalk Empire for similar reasons.
posted by godshomemovies at 1:59 PM on August 15, 2012

Friday Night Lights
posted by k8t at 2:00 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

Nthing The Wire, but watch WITH subtitles. You miss a ton without them. After awhile you'll have your ear and won't need them.
posted by bearwife at 2:03 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I thought that the Swedish/Danish collaboration The Bridge was excellent.

The first two series of Heroes.

Doctor Who.
posted by lizabeth at 2:09 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Closer, and its new spinoff (roughly the same cast and formula, brand new lead character who was a recurring character before) called Major Crimes.

Both shows are police procedurals about the LAPD Major Crimes unit, which is both a powerful crime-solving unit, and an expensive political football. It's headed (in the The Closer's 7 seasons) by Brenda Lee Johnson, a disarming southerner who is in fact an ex-CIA interrogator; Mary McConnall (of Battlestar Galactica fame, most recently) takes over as the division head. The Closer ended, and Major Crimes began just last monday. The Closer, at least, had good season arcs as well as episodic crimes, and while there was no explicit comic relief, there often had some comedic elements in their show.

And while I'm at it, Southland is a very good show about LAPD cops, uniformed and plainclothes, in south central LA. Just as I had committed to never watching new shows set in LA or NY, this show came along-- it's outstanding.

Life on Mars (UK)-- skip the US version. I'm not a fan of the UK spinoff, Ashes to Ashes, but it had more seasons than LoM, so there you have it. Both shows are about a cop in the late 2000s who is injured and finds themselves transported back to the 1970s and 1980s, respectively-- both work with the same bizarre crew of Manchester Detectives who do things the old-fashioned way. Hilarious, dramatic, and disturbingly mysterious, all.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:11 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you like science fiction at all, fringe is a good show to watch. The first is a bit slow at times but subsequent seasons are excellent.
posted by Harpocrates at 2:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Wire.
posted by Joh at 2:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Old school but still good: I Claudius

N'thing Battlestar Gallactica. Damn that was a good show.
posted by Leezie at 2:32 PM on August 15, 2012

You'd probably enjoy State of Play, which is an excellent political thriller miniseries from the BBC. (It later got adapted into a movie with Russell Crowe, which apparently is decent, but not quite up to the source material.)
posted by kagredon at 2:37 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lots of great suggestions here. I'd just add the BBC's The Hour.
posted by eugenen at 2:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Along with The Wire, Treme.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:53 PM on August 15, 2012

Six Feet Under
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:01 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

And if you like State of Play, you could go back over twenty-five years to Edge of Darkness (yes, also source of a lousy Hollywood remake). An while you're there, actually, you could watch The Singing Detective, and catch GBH and Our Friends in the North on the way back.

We really don't make 'em like that any more. It's very sad.
posted by Grangousier at 3:05 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Sadly there is only one season of it, but I really liked Kings.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

So glad you posted this, I'm already mourning the upcoming loss of Breaking Bad.

Check out Boss - according to Wikipedia, the second season starts tomorrow. This, and Breaking Bad, are the only television shows I watch.
posted by she's not there at 3:58 PM on August 15, 2012

Try The Red Riding Trilogy
posted by dortmunder at 4:10 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

Try The Red Riding Trilogy

Oh my god yes. Seconding times infinity. It's a masterpiece. It didn't occur to me 'cause I don't think of it as a series, I guess.
posted by eugenen at 4:21 PM on August 15, 2012

posted by Sys Rq at 4:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

The Killing
posted by invisible ink at 5:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Southland. Funny, interesting, and occasionally very intense.
posted by roomwithaview at 5:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

+1 on Red Riding. (But it was tough parsing the accents...)

An oldie but goodie: Michael Mann's Crime Story. Only 2 seasons, but very high-quality TV.
posted by Bron at 5:27 PM on August 15, 2012

You've watched The Wire, right? If not, do so as soon as possible. Please don't be put off by critics and viewers slobbering all over it. It's really THAT good. No, really. I didn't think it was possible but it really, really is. Sometimes I'll think about a line or a scene at random and be stunned all over again at how amazing it was.

I've also loved Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Dexter, Justified. If you're feeling experimental, you might try to dig up an old show from the mid-90s called Profit. OMG. This show is so fucking crazy and was, sadly, about 10 years ahead of its time and got cancelled almost immediately. But it was BRILLIANT and really original. A lot of the tech stuff will be hilariously outdated, but the bulk of the show holds up. I got the DVDs as soon as they were released and my brother and I watched every episode in delighted horror.

I really like British tv shows. I feel like the shorter seasons lead to higher quality and less filler. The BBC series Cracker (not the abysmal U.S. remake) is pretty great. REALLY intense and amusing features a pre-Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston and a pre-Harry Potter Robbie Coltrane. BBC's Life on Mars is worth a whirl (again, don't watch the U.S. version). I ADORED MI:5 (it's called Spooks in the U.K.). It tapers off a bit after season 3 or 4 but until then I was basically breaking down the library door to get each disc. (My library has, like, every British television series and mini-series ever made and yours may too!)
posted by Aquifer at 6:47 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ooh: Dead Like Me! Only two seasons, but damned good while it lasted.
posted by jph at 7:29 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Tudors.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 7:32 PM on August 15, 2012

House of Cards: BBC mini-series about a fictional quiet coup in the ranks of the conservative party that is full of intrigue and cold evil men in pinstripes.
posted by girlpublisher at 7:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Damages with Glenn Close and Rose Brynes and a rotating cast of evil male characters.
posted by cairnoflore at 7:41 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nthing Justified and BSG. 2nd Damages and Nikita.

BBC's Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren. It was done a while ago, it didn't feel dated at all. I really enjoyed Mirren as the lead. Don't watch the American remake, just don't.

These are more popcorn thrillers, but I enjoyed them:

American Horror Story
posted by jyorraku at 8:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Prime Suspect was Granada, not the BBC. A common mistake. (As were Brideshead Revisited, Jewel in the Crown and Jeeves & Wooster, which the Beeb often gets credited with too.)

Seconding The Shield, The Wire and Deadwood. If you've never watched it how about The Soprano.
posted by NailsTheCat at 10:30 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Hah. And Cracker is Granada too. But an excellent, excellent suggestion.
posted by NailsTheCat at 10:32 PM on August 15, 2012

Homicide: Life on the Street. Basically the warm up for The Wire. Andre Braugher was amazing.
posted by OHSnap at 10:45 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

The first season of "Boomtown."
posted by jbickers at 6:48 AM on August 16, 2012

Ooh, no one's said Oz yet. It can be slightly cheesy but the writing and acting is usually pretty good, and once you get into its prison soap opera groove it's addicting as anything else.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:41 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you like the Wire, you're probably going to like Homicide. Fantastic story arcs (one of the first dramas to have arcs lasting several episodes, overlapping and intertwining) and it really changed a lot of how tv is made. It might seem a little dated now, but so much of what we think of as normal really got started there. And as great as Andre Braugher was, the rest of the cast was outstanding too.

Bonus: if you pay attention, you'll see several actors popping up in both shows, usually in roles completely the opposite from the other show.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:27 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sadly only one series but stellar writing, acting and probably the best score I've ever heard on a TV series.

+1 to Justified, can't get me enough Raylan either.
posted by Ness at 8:29 AM on August 16, 2012

I can't believe I'm the first one to say this, but you might like Twin Peaks. It's definitely excellent in a lot of ways, and it is exquisitely weird.
posted by cirgue at 10:14 AM on August 16, 2012

The only thing I can think of that hasn't been mentioned a few times already is Farscape. It's Sci-fi, and the first half of the first season is made up of bottle-episodes with not-quite-high production values, but the story and production quality pick up greatly from there.

I'll nth the following, though: Lost, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, Six Feet Under, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Twin Peaks (how did that get missed??)

People have mentioned The Killing, which I have watched all of so so far I can't say it is bad, per se. However, I will say the victim's parents in the US version were incredibly annoying to me - ok, you're sad, I get it. You have all these emotions, your daughter is dead, you are struggling to keep it together, etc, ok, really, I get it. But do you have to cry IN. EVERY. SINGLE. SCENE. ??? I really want to get around to watching The original some time, because I like to think the parents originally had much more depth, and they were simply rewritten badly in the US version. Also, fair-weather writers writing scenes set in Seattle mean it rains so more more than it should. Which, honestly, is only noticeable if you've ever actually been to Seattle.

And regarding The Wire: season 4 seems to be polarizing. Some people (in this thread even) seem to think it was a bit slow. Personally, I thought it was perhaps the most engrossing season, especially given the after-effects you see in season 4. Season 2 is a bit slow, however. Hang in there.
posted by mysterpigg at 11:04 AM on August 16, 2012

Lots of good suggestions. I will add The Event, which I personally really liked.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:53 PM on August 16, 2012

I was surprised how much I liked The Walking Dead.

I've set my DVR to record Copper (previews and sneak peeks are under the VIDEOS tab) on BBC America, looks pretty good, I hope it lives up to my expectations. Series premiere is Sunday August 19th.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:29 PM on August 16, 2012

Nthing Boss, it's Breaking Bad and Sopranos cooked together in a dirty chicago pizza pie.
posted by elphTeq at 2:11 PM on August 16, 2012

BBC's Bodies. Brilliant and real and hard to watch at times.
posted by Dragonness at 7:13 PM on August 16, 2012

LIFE is great, as is FLASH POINT. Both riveting!
posted by msleann at 10:39 PM on August 16, 2012

Nthing Homeland and Boardwalk Empire.

Not trying to start a war, but if you are ok with suspending your reality and having a lot of questions go unanswered, Lost is a good choice. If you're freakishly logical (like myself) and always wonder "Why?", don't bother with Lost.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:48 AM on August 17, 2012

Downton Abbey isn't exactly a thriller but it meets your criteria of long story arcs, suspense, and good writing/acting.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:22 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Although it is nothing like Breaking Bad, the lone season of Freaks and Geeks is wonderful and filled with emotional pain.
posted by mecran01 at 9:19 PM on August 18, 2012

The Mentalist is great for suspense, story, and comedy. - Kanaan Minks
posted by kanaan_minks at 7:29 PM on August 19, 2012

Firefly was only one season, but meets your requirements
posted by Metro Gnome at 7:54 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

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