The New York Times recently had a story on the 20 Best TV Dramas Since ‘The Sopranos’. The article argues that the Sopranos was the start of a new age in television “where TV dramas could take risks and tell stories about difficult people.” The Sopranos showed that TV shows could ask audiences to pay close attention to stories without the need for quick answers and tidy moral characters and outcomes. So when the Times showcased these great dramas, we wanted to let you know where you can see them on your Roku streaming player. So sit back and stream some of the best television shows of the last 20 years.
The West Wing on Prime Video
For many, the Bartlett administration may be the greatest presidency ever. “The West Wing” inspires a very loyal audience, and it’s not hard to see why.
Few people played the dirty cop better than Michael Chiklis in the Shield. Playing Vic Mackey, Chiklis’ character was a racist, violent and conceited cop who walked the line between good and evil.
The Wire on NOW TV
The entire five seasons of “The Wire” is a well-planned story. The show has a different focus each year with the city of Baltimore acting as the star.
Battlestar Galactica on Prime Video
Few old series reboots have been as well done as Battlestar Galactica. Coming out in the early noughties, Battlestar Galactica was a drama that hit on many of the themes of that time period.
Deadwood on NOW TV
“Deadwood” is the story of the town Deadwood, South Dakota following the massacre of George Custer’s army at the historical battle, Little Big Horn. The town is the wild west come to life, filled with crime and corruption.
After a plane crash leaves 48 passengers alive and stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific, they soon find out there’s much more to the island which is full of mystery, surprises, black smoke and polar bears.
Veronica Mars debuted a year after “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” ended. Although it only had a short run of three seasons, the show managed to capture the angst and drama that comes with teen life.
The show that kept going and going and managed to maintain its audience right until the very recent end. Grey’s Anatomy can be classed as one of Shonda Rhimes’s best work. Despite all the chaos that happens on the show (car pile-ups to breakthrough medical innovation), friendships are still considered the strongest bonds of all.
The Friday Night Lights television show showcases brilliantly the relationship between high school American football teams to the small towns they come from. The show is not just about American football, but it’s the story of hope and community.
Few shows captured the workplace dynamic of corporate life in the 1960’s America better than Mad Men. With the show set at an ad agency, Mad Men showcased the differences in how life was versus the way it really was.
No character transformed more than Bryan Cranston’s Walt in Breaking Bad. Living life as a low-key high school teacher, Walt is forced to “Break Bad” when confronted with costly cancer treatments and soon finds he likes the life of drug kingpin.
The Good Wife is the story of a political wife (Julianna Marguiles) who tried to stand by her corrupt husband and is forced to go back to a legal career to support her family. With her husband in jail, she has to deal with the fallout in the outside world from his sex and corruption scandals.
Adventure Time may be a cartoon, but it made NYT’s list of great dramas. While the shows target audience is children, it is more than watchable for adults with the main message being that everyone has flaws and are still awesome despite them.
Enlightened is the story of Amy (Laura Dern), a woman seeks treatment after being unable to cope with the stress in her life. She runs into problems when she tries to implement what she learned in treatment. “Enlightened” was different from other shows in that it tried to show what it means to be good and how hard it is to do and be good in the modern age.
Set during the early 1980’s in the Reagan administration, The Americans goes into the lives of Soviet spies who integrated into American society while working for the communist state. It showed the lengths spies went to, often living years in the United States, but still maintaining their loyalties to the USSR.
The Leftovers on Prime Video
Created by the same man who gave us Lost, The Leftovers has the same mysterious vibe of that program. The Leftovers is set after the disappearance of two percent of the global population and how a group of people in a small community try to continue their lives after the tragic event.
Transparent on Prime Video
Past middle age, Los Angeles area college professor Mort Pfefferman decides to act upon something they have felt all their life: to transition from being a male to a female. As Mort transitions to Maura, she tries to find support with some new friends and her self-absorbed adult children.
A young, devout Catholic woman discovers that she was accidentally artificially inseminated during her checkup. The fallout that ensues after among Jane’s circle of friends and acquaintances adds to the drama in her life.
Atlanta on Prime Video
Based in Atlanta, Earn (Donald Glover) and his cousin Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry) try to make their way in the world through the rap scene. The show touches on controversial issues and many struggle to classify what genre it falls under because its observations are so cutting.
Source: Official Roku Website