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8 Excellent TV Dramas You’ve Probably Never Seen (And Should Download Now)

8 Excellent TV Dramas You’ve Probably Never Seen (And Should Download Now)

November 27th, 2013
Posted in Entertainment By
  • damages16

    "Damages"
    If you haven't seen this addictive legal thriller, get on it—you'll be hooked after episode 1. It stars Glenn Close as ruthless litigator Patty Hewes and Rose Byrne as her protegé Ellen Parsons, a relationship that takes on a captivating cat-and-mouse narrative throughout. What's so interesting about the show is that each season is based on one case—modeled after something going on in the world right now—and never steps foot into a courtroom. Instead, it uses non-linear storytelling to focus on the characters' lives. Plus, the guest stars throughout the show's five seasons are excellet, and include Ted Danson, Željko Ivanek (who snagged an Emmy for his role as a slow-burning Southern lawyer), Marcia Gay Harden, and John Goodman. 

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    "Boss"
    One of the best dramas you've probably never heard of, "Boss" originally aired on Starz and stars Kelsey Grammer as Tom Kane, the ruthless mayor of Chicago, who—in the first amazing scene—is diagnosed a fatal form of dementia. The slickly-shot show delves deeply into Chicago's often-corrupt political system, and the intense Grammer puts his dramatic acting chops to excellent (if a little frightening) use. 

    Photo: Photo By: Chuck Hodes/A Starz Original Series
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    "Ringer"
    This addictive drama—based on the 1964 Bette Davis film “Dead Ringer”—first aired on the CW, but was likely a little too high-minded for the network, thanks to its very adult themes (drugs, sex, murder) and twisty, serialized plot. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays estranged twins—Bridget, a down-on-her-luck former addict and stripper being chased by a Native American gangster who thinks she witnessed a murder, and Siobhan, a cold-as-ice devious Park Avenue society wife (think a grown-up version of Gellar’s Catherine from “Cruel Intentions.”) The two reunite briefly, Siobhan disappears, and Bridget assumes her identity. And that’s just in the first few minutes. Still not convinced? Here's a complelling case as to why you should watch it, stat.

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    "Rectify"
    After 19 years on Death Row for the rape and murder of his teenage girlfriend, Daniel Holden's conviction has been vacated due to new DNA evidence and he's a free man. This razor-sharp drama—airing on Sundance—follows him home, where his reentry into the outside world isn't easy, and the show does an excellent job of creating character studies of Daniel, his extended family, and the people in his Southern town.

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    "Twin Peaks"
    There's a reason why David Lynch's groundbreaking series earned its spot in the pop culture canon, despite the fact that viewership wasn't through the roof. Set in a small rainy Pacific Northwest town, the series was—at face value—about a murder (“Who killed Laura Palmer?” was a catchphrase you couldn’t escape in the early 1990s), but the murder served as an excuse to create a show about the secrets that lie beneath small-town living, and the odd characters that inhabit it.The show is rife with strange symbolism, spooky music, and more than its share odf "huh?!" moments, but we suggest you give it a shot—the two-hour pilot is a brilliant way to get involved.

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    "Sons of Anarchy"
    This FX drama has gotten some extra press lately due to star Charlie Hunnam's "50 Shades of Gray" drama, but it hasn't overtaken the fact that it's a really good show. Loosely based on Hamlet, the series centers around a Northern California motorcycle gang, and manages to fuse its abundant violence with family drama, led by Hunnam and Katy Segal, who plays a fiercely protective (if a little crazy) matriarch. 

  • in-treatment

    "In Treatment"
    This drama—which originally aired on HBO five nights a week—stars Gabriel Byrne as a psychotherapist and each episode centers around his weekly sessions with a patient, in addition to his time with his own therapist. Blair Underwood, Diane Wiest, Melissa George, and Mia Wasikowska are among the actors who play Byrne's patients. 

  • the-shield-pilot

    "The Shield"
    Some call this one of the best dramas of all time, "The Shield" broke new ground for FX, and ran from 2002 to 2008. Essentially, it's about an experimental division of the LAPD that features a group of unethical detectives called the Strike Team who will stop at nothing to bring their version of justice to the streets. Michael Chiklis portrays the show's shady main character Vic Mackey, who uses questonable methods to maintain peace on the streets, while making a profit through illegal drug protection schemes and robbery. 

Ah, holiday time. That festive month between Thanksgiving and New Years, when a substantial chunk of time is spent with family, family, and—oh yeah—more family. Whether you’re planning to travel by  train, plane, or car, or just kicking it in the house you grew up in, odds are you’ll have downtime to spare in the coming weeks.

MORE: Why You Should Watch ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Before The New Remake

While we absolutely suggest using the time to catch up on those books you’ve been meaning to crack (The Goldfinch won’t read itself, people), we’re also huge advocates of watching TV. More specifically,  finally tucking into all those juicy dramas you’ve been meaning to start, but  haven’t had time to keep up with before now.

MORE: 50 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie and TV Roles

The shows we’ve rounded up here aren’t all new—many aren’t on the air anymore—but they’re all compelling, entertaining, and totally worth watching. From pop culture stalwarts like “Twin Peaks” and “The Shield” to razor-sharp lesser-known series like “Damages,” and “Rectify,” here are 8 excellent TV dramas you’ve probably never seen and need to download immediately.

Hey, if nothing else, some of these characters are so flawed, it’ll make going home to your dysfunctional family this season feel like a bonafide vacation.

Click through the gallery abouve and let us know which shows you’ve seen, and which you’re planning to watch!

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