Dave Lister Craig Charles is the last man left alive on the eponymous mining vessel, with just an uptight hologram Chris Barrie's Rimmer, an all-time great comedy loser snob , an evolved cat-man Danny John-Jules' ebullient, vain Cat , a nervy android Robert Lewellyn's Kryten and the ship's less-than able computer Holly Norman Lovett for company.
The show expanded beyond its initial concept and enjoys a revival run on Dave, but those first three seasons remain the glory days. But beneath the layers of Prada hid a series that was smartly written and incredibly brave, even if it did totter across the screen on a pair of immaculately fitted Jimmy Choos. It's easy to forget now how groundbreaking the adventures of four sexually liberated okay, three, plus Charlotte Manhattan thirtysomethings were not just for women on TV, but for the treatment of sex on the box.
The entire vibrator industry owes Carrie and Co an enormous debt. The writing stays incredibly strong across all nine series, bolstered by great supporting work from Olivia Colman, Patterson Joseph, Matt King and more. The gambling, chain-smoking, heavy-drinking, overweight psychologist may have incorporated almost every vice known to man, but viewers delighted in the ease with which he mercilessly beat lesser men to an intellectual pulp.
Jimmy McGovern's tautly-written drama was never concerned with the whodunit aspect the perpetrator was generally revealed in the first scenes but rather built up to the moment Fitz got the suspect in an interview room. Assaulting them with cutting insight and outright provocation, the portly profiler bent them to his will and put the squeeze on until they finally cracked. One of the finest dramas Britain has produced.
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Hall brings a cool detachment and smirking pitch-black humour in the title role as the blood spatter analyst who harbours a burning desire to kill — a murderous impulse that he channels into bumping off the bad guys the police are unable to touch. At its best, the show bubbles with will-they-won't-they-catch-him tension as Dexter's own colleagues pore over his crime scenes — and its fourth season, with John Lithgow's terrifying 'Trinity Killer' is perhaps its peak. BoJack himself is a has-been, entirely aware of his ever-diminishing status and the ego-driven, alcohol-fuelled self-destructive choices he makes.
Given a nurturing platform on Netflix, the show has cultivated an audience who has embraced its bruised heart — which isn't to say it's not funny too. Stacked with animal puns to balance out the darkness, it's a singularly unique brew sure to go down as a definitive animated series for its complexity of emotion. The U. Mars is an independent military power.
The planets rely on the resources of the Asteroid Belt, where air and water are more precious than gold. For decades, tensions have been rising between these three places. Earth, Mars and the Belt are now on the brink of war.
And all it will take is a single spark Blending smart, humanistic science fiction with relatable human characters and, as the series has expanded, a growing alien presence , it's grown a considerable following, which surely will have helped it find a new show at Amazon after being cancelled by the US SyFy network. Sometimes, good things do happen to good shows. Don't let the largely one-room setting fool you — Cheers is a masterpiece of construction, with finely-tooled gags , well-sketched characters, and familiar rhythms delivered with clear panache.
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There's a reason it ran for more than 10 years and spawned the just-as-successful Frasier. Initially exploring a noir vibe before moving into more colourful and lively storytelling, Angel is a show that constantly shifts identity — even its ensemble cast varies from season to season. In its strongest run, Season 3 arguably superior to Buffy 's concurrent Season 6 , it got the formula just right — a bold and dramatic story arc, the perfect combination of side-characters, and a wrenching climax.
Just don't mention how badly it handled Charisma Carpenter's exit. A wider parallel universe story creeps in early on, which sometimes clashes with the case-of-the-week format, but it works thanks to the fine work of the leads. What started as a goofy, weird, rude animation about four friends — Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny — living in a small Colorado town has long since evolved into a platform for talking about current events in a knowing, clever, funny fashion, firing jabs at all sides and never pulling its punches. With its on-the-fly, written-the-week-of-release style, South Park aims for big targets and still manages to generate controversy and chatter.
The show is anchored by Zach Braff's John 'JD' Dorian, given to flights of fantasy all while he and his fellow fledgling medics — Donald Faison's Chris Turk and Sarah Chalke's nervy, talented Elliot Reed — brave the pressure of their chosen profession and the wrath of perennially grumpy mentor Dr. Through its several years on the air, Scrubs mixed the madcap with solid character work, and a cast of funny supporting characters helped flesh out its world.
That's the situation faced by Joel Fleischman Rob Morrow , who despite his early protestations, finds that he enjoys life in Cicely more than he's willing to admit. There's a real charm to Northern Exposure , helped by some carefully calibrated performances that anchor its oddball characters, and the writing is full of unusual poetry. Spinning the clock back to the Prohibition era, the series explores the tough politics and criminal activity of s Atlantic City. The nominal focus is Enoch "Nucky" Thompson Steve Buscemi , who makes deals with gangsters even as the Federal government starts to close in.
It's full of the usual HBO staples — blood, boobs and bad language — but all used judiciously.
After all, this is a man who used to go out on stage for stand-up shows, peer at the audience and then walk off if he didn't like the look of them. Every episode draws him into ass-puckeringly awkward scrapes with waiters, doctors, salesmen and other celebrities, from Ben Stiller to Martin Scorsese. The combination of David's lack of social skills with the right-on political correctness of LA's denizens makes for edgy, hilarious viewing.
Its titular duo consists of a gruff-voiced alcoholic grandad and his overly sweet and naive grandson, playing out a twisted version of Back To The Future 's Marty McFly-Doc relationship, as they embark on 'adventures' riffing on Mad Max , infinite alternate universes, The Purge — and, in one particularly famous episode, sentient pickles.
Dark, weird, unique, and sometimes emotionally perceptive — don't let its more annoying fans put you off.
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And yet Father Ted really, really works. Dermot Morgan's Father Ted Crilly, punished for stealing the money was "resting" in his account, honest , lives with supreme idiot Dougal Ardal O'Hanlon and drunken nuisance Jack Hackett Frank Kelly , each episode cooking up some new madness for the trio to become embroiled in — with highlights including Ted leading a pack of terrified priests through a lingerie section as if they're in a war film, and a recreation of Speed on a milk float.
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Wendy Carr Anna Torv talking to convicted killers in order to understand, track and catch current offenders. It has a lot on its mind, but it's never, ever boring. And though The Handmaid's Tale sometimes suffers from being unremittingly bleak, some light and hope has started to show through the cracks. Sparking real-life protest gear and any number of think-pieces, Tale 's big ideas are standing the test of time — and the show marks a stellar example of how to take a novel's key concept and run with it, the series weaving its own world from the threads established by the original writer.
A series of standalone episodes often set in worryingly plausible possible futures, the storytelling largely leans towards the bleak, shot through with Brooker's sardonic sense of humour. From its Channel 4 days to its current home on Netflix, the series has consistently drawn big name talent — from Daniel Kaluuya and Jon Hamm, to Bryce Dallas Howard, Anthony Mackie and Andrew Scott — a testament to the filmic quality and cultural cache the series has attracted.
Each season has had a different flavour, but elements recur: world-weary cops, unsolved cases, multiple timelines unspooling different eras of the case.
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The first season, with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson tracking down the 'Yellow King', is widely regarded as its best — an important milestone in 'Golden Age TV' for attracting such star names, and a key text in the McConaissance. But it endured, and rightly became known as one of the most audacious series on TV, effectively re-inventing the cop drama. It eschewed much of the hard-nosed cop cliches but used them well when embracing them and presented a serialised mixture of drama and comedy, featuring a diverse cast of three-dimensional characters at a run-down police precinct.
It scored 98 — count 'em — Emmy nominations across its run, and won eight in the first season alone, while also becoming a template for the sort of ambitious TV drama that was to follow. Aiming to explore universal concepts while creeping us out or making us think or both , Zone merged big ideas with popular ideals and proved that smart storytelling could work on television. Once seen, rarely forgotten; especially with that unnerving theme and Serling's iconic introductions. The most recent iteration is overseen by Get Out 's Jordan Peele.
Sometimes, there's nothing like a bit of old-fashioned British pessimism, but that isn't the whole story, either — with real emotion in the highs and lows of the relationship between Tim Martin Freeman, in an early star-making role and Dawn Lucy Davis , and plenty of fun with the rest of the weirdos who populate the Wernham Hogg office.
Yet Laurie was the perfect person to bring the grumpy genius doctor to life. Diagnosing the cases that appear to confound others, he's a difficult character in the Sherlock mould, battling his own demons even as he fights the worst, most confusing medical issues in his patients. Keeping to his personal credo that "everybody lies", he drives his staff to the heights professionally even as he castigates them personally.
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Bringing a little extra spice to the medical procedural genre, House established a solid spin on a well-used template. And Line Of Duty is just the latest example, the acronym-stuffed look at the efforts of a team of corruption-battling cops and the moles they just can't seem to squash. Jed Mercurio who also whipped up Bodyguard has Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar as the driven central trio of officers who must navigate twisty cases as they root-out wrongdoers from within and without.
It'll keep you guessing as to who's really manipulating events behind the scenes, while the dialogue crackles in extended interrogation sequences, and the show looks as good as anything from across the pond. Absolutely, but in the best way.
With its ultra-non-linear storytelling from the perspective of it unreliable androids, Westworld is ambitious, baffling, and totally thrilling. Expanding on the robo-theme-park-gone-wrong premise of Michael Crichton's film, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's series deals in weighty themes like the existence of consciousness, the experience of time, and the morality of predestination — with all the astonishing production values and incredible performances Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright in particular you expect from HBO.
It's not quite the new Game Of Thrones , but when its storytelling coalesces and its twists are unveiled, it's hard not to be swept along by its smarts. Mirren is always watchable as Tennison, deeply ambitious and fiercely able, who nevertheless has to justify herself at every turn. Later series saw her promoted, even as the challenges continued, but the series remained as great as ever. Unafraid to probe into dark places, Prime Suspect has such a standing impact that it has generated both a prequel and a short-lived attempt to remake it for the States.