It used to be that when watching great shows, you had to wait at least a week in between each episode, meaning it was the worst when you madly wanted to know what happened next after a cliff-hanger and you wanted to know right now! However, thanks to the many streaming services available to us today, those stresses are mostly a thing of the past, as you can now seamlessly watch as many episodes as you desire in one sitting.
Whilst we’ve previously discussed the five most hated TV shows streaming on Netflix, here at Seriable, we thought this time we’d go in the opposite direction and take a look at which are some of the greatest dramatic shows to binge through. These are definitely the kinds of shows that will have you deeply enthralled as you mindlessly utter ‘just one more episode’ well into the night.
If you want a show that will more often than not have you sat right on the edge of your seat, as you can’t help but peer through your fingers at the thrilling chaos unfolding before your eyes, then Breaking Bad is a hundred percent the drama show for you. It tells the story of a cancer-stricken high-school teacher named Walter White, who upon realising that he can’t afford his medical bills, teams up with one of his former students to become a meth cook and together they wade into an illegal drug empire.
If that doesn’t sound enticing enough, he also has to hide his secret from his family, including his brother-in-law, Hank Schrader. Oh yeah, and Schrader just happens to be a cop, working for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is in charge of the actual investigation tasked with taking down their meth kingdom. It’s this elaborate game of interpersonal cat and mouse that makes the show so compelling to watch, and the strain that it puts on White and his surrounding family, as he desperately tries to keep his business booming.
Breaking Bad was created by Vince Gilligan and first debuted on AMC in 2008, running for a whirlwind five seasons, before finishing in 2013. It catapulted Bryan Cranston, who played the dynamic role of Walter White exquisitely, from being an actor who was only really known for his comedic TV roles, to bonafide Hollywood star, performing in serious movies, such as 2015’s Trumbo, which even garnered him an Oscar nomination.
Plus, the fantastic thing about getting into Breaking Bad is that if you’ve binged it all at breakneck speed (which you ultimately will) then there’s the spinoff series Better Call Saul to also get stuck into, which is currently getting rave reviews for its own sixth season.
When you hear the opening lyrics of The Soprano’s theme tune, ‘you woke up this morning, got yourself a gun’ it’s easy to think that the HBO series will be a non-stop look at all the violent dealings of the New Jersey Mafia. However, the show also deep dived into showcasing the difficulties mob boss Tony Soprano faced trying to balance his erratic criminal life, with his equally dysfunctional family life, all in a rapidly changing America. It also featured a focus on mental health that was revolutionary, with many episodes featuring captivating therapy sessions with Dr. Melfi, who delved into discovering Tony’s greatest insecurities.
The acting in the show by the leads, the late James Gandalfoni as Tony, Edie Falco as his wife Carmella, and Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Melfi, was some of the greatest that has ever been seen on the small screen. It’s no wonder, then, that the series created by David Chase has gained such popularity in mainstream culture since it was first broadcast in 1999 that there’s been a recent prequel movie, The Many Saints of Newark, a cook book, many podcasts, video games, and even an online virtual slot game made by Playtech which is based on the show.
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The series concluded in 2007, after six seasons, and the final episode was a real cultural moment that straight up divided fans and critics between either thinking it was the best culmination of a TV show ever, or that they were just really confused by the ending. Let’s just say that you’ll never hear ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey in the same way again, especially if you’re munching on some onion rings at the time.
Ok, the two previously mentioned shows are fantastic, but what if you don’t have as much time spare to watch two amazing, but admittedly, long shows. Well, luckily for you we’ve got the answer, with one of the best dramatic mini-series of recent memory, 2019’s Chernobyl. It somehow manages to make must-watch TV out of one of the most horrific tragedies in human history, 1986’s nuclear accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in the then Soviet Union.
There’s only five hour-long episodes of the show though, making it perfect fodder for bingeing over a weekend, although you’ll probably need to watch something much cheerier afterwards. It’s a haunting, but wonderfully made, series that tried to be as historically accurate as possible and has magnificent performances from some heavyweight actors. Standouts include Stellan Skarsgard, Jared Harris, and Emily Watson.
The series perfectly illustrates the shocking horror that was born out of a cocktail of human error, negligence, and the desire to suppress information by a deceitful governing body. It was created by Craig Mazin, who until then was amazingly only known for writing both the parody Scary Movie sequels, and also for the tepidly reviewed Hangover sequels, as you can tell by checking out the Rotten Tomatoes page for The Hangover Part III.