(1) Six Feet Under: This show was brilliantly written and well cast. There are not too many shows in which every single character and supporting characters are interesting. Even the minor roles, every single character was written so dynamically and three dimensional. The show follows the ups and downs of the Fisher family and their business -- a funeral home. It seems that in dealing with death on a daily basis, the Fishers have trouble living and the series documents their journeys. Each of the main character's storylines are rich. I am collecting the seasons and catching up with the Fishers.
(2) Rome: It only rain for two glorious seasons. I believe that was the intent as it was an expensive show to produce. The series follows the rise and fall of Ceasar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, and Augustus. This is a brutal translation as HBO doesn't hold off on the blood and sex. This series was awesome!
(3) The Sopranos: If you haven't heard, then obviously you have been living under a rock. One of the greatest shows ever.
(4) Nip/Tuck: This is a guilty pleasure. If anything, this drama is an illustration of the seven deadly sins at work. The characters in this show all checked any moral compass at the door. For this, the show may not be as easily digestible for those with earnest sensitivities. I can't think of any character on the show not severly flawed in character. And that is the genious of the show. The show is about individuals' pursuit for physical perfection without regard for their internal ugliness. This beautiful cast of characters is just as ugly on the inside as they are beautiful on the outside. In their debauchery, each character finds themself deeper in disparity with each passing season and each passing season.
(5) Damages: This show just premiered last year and it is amazing. The whole season was built around a lawsuit and a mysterious "who done it-style" murder. It is brilliantly acted, and Glenn Close's portrayl of a shrewd and take-no-prisoners attorney is bone chilling. This is legal drama done right.
(6) Tru Blood: From the creators of Six Feet Under comes this tale about vampires. Oh, but it is so much more. The vampires represent a new exposed part of society trying to fit in among individuals who fear or hate them. Sound familiar? Set in the deep South, the allusions and metaphors are strong and constant. This is a must see for the southern studies crowd. And for the record, never before on television has anyone captured the proud bravado and childish ignorance of the southern redneck like the actor who plays Jason Stackhouse. From accent to swagger, this guy has nailed it. Usually, I cringe at hollywood attempts to paint accurate pictures of southern dynamics, but Tru Blood gets it right.
(7) Oz: an old HBO series set in a maximum security prison. Grim, gritty, and unpredictable. This show helped to cement HBO's place among groundbreaking television.
(8) South Park: Satire, satire, satire. How well these four kids illustrate just how dumb adults can be!