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The 50 greatest TV dramas

As we mentioned in last weekend’s Square Eyes, Channel 4 did another of its clip shows this weekend — featuring a subject dear to our hearts, TV drama.

There was much to commend The 50 Greatest TV Dramas — specially shot clips of the ‘numbers’, in locations designed to complement the show at that position in the chart; the general high quality of the talking heads (Marina Hyde notwithstanding — if they were going to get a Guardian person, they should at least have chosen from Sam Wollaston, Gareth McLean or the beloved Nancy Banks-Smith); the complete absence of Jimmy Carr.

Of course, there were faults aplenty. As Rob Buckley points out (with screen grab), David Tennant was inexplicably billed as ‘The Eighth Doctor’, for example. And is it really just coincidence that The Sopranos tops the list the week the series returns to Channel 4?

Nowhere on Channel 4’s site does it list the overall placings. Well, to save you the effort of looking around the net for them, read on…

  1. The Sopranos
  2. Boys From the Blackstuff
  3. Edge of Darkness
  4. The Singing Detective
  5. Cathy Come Home
  6. The West Wing
  7. Cracker
  8. Our Friends in the North
  9. Twin Peaks
  10. Heimat
  11. Prime Suspect
  12. Pennies From Heaven
  13. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  14. I, Claudius
  15. Das Boot
  16. A Very British Coup
  17. This Life
  18. Abigail’s Party
  19. Hill Street Blues
  20. Queer as Folk
  21. Sex Traffic
  22. Bleak House
  23. House of Cards
  24. Shameless
  25. Talking to a Stranger
  26. Doctor Who
  27. 24
  28. Scum
  29. Brideshead Revisited
  30. Traffik
  31. Blue Remembered Hills
  32. Warriors
  33. The Naked Civil Servant
  34. Bloody Sunday
  35. Auf Wiedersehen Pet
  36. Talking Heads
  37. Hillsborough
  38. The Prisoner
  39. Shooting the Past
  40. Pride and Prejudice
  41. GBH
  42. Made in Britain
  43. The Jewel in the Crown
  44. Threads
  45. Z Cars
  46. Caught on a Train
  47. Upstairs Downstairs
  48. State of Play
  49. Roots
  50. Band of Brothers

16 Comments

THANK YOU!!!

Hmm, overall I have a sense of no major disagreements. Yes, too much Poliakoff but Shooting the Past remains a favourite. Not much Sci-Fi... no Holding On (our friends in the south). Nor Our Mutual Friend (probably one of the better pre-Bleak House Dickens adaptations of recent years). I'll come back to this. But big thanks for compiling the list - not finding it anywhere was bugging me!

Hang on... no Beiderbecke?! That's approaching criminal in terms of exclusions! Sorry, I just got overcome there. must resist urge of righteous indignation at lists... they are not worthy!

And no The Wire. Can any list of the great and the good be complete without The Wire?

It is false. All know that "Veronica Mars" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" are the bets shows.
And there is only shows from USA and Britain. and the others countries?

A fine list, but the absence of both Brimstone and Treacle and Prison Break left me a little dumbfounded.

what about the x files, superb show and not even in the top 50. it should have been secound behind the sopranos

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Where is " SIX FEET UNDER " ???

This series it´s a work of art ...

Big mistake ...
Big mistake ...

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I've no problems with the Soprano's occupying the number one slot and the placing of Edge of Darkness' and Twin Peaks was well deserved. But what about Six Feet Under, the Wire or the reimagined Battlestar Galactica? As Adam Curtis has recently observed, Galactica is using science fiction to raise fundamental questions about the metaphysics of the self, the limits of liberalism and justice, and the politics of technology. Compared to this, the work of Steven Poliakoff is little more than nostalgic meandering.

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Where the hell was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Six Feet Under?

where is The X files???????????????
where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????where is The X files???????????????

Where is Deadwood?
hoopleheads

No list is complete without The Wire. Simply the best TV drama ever created. Where is Deadwood and Six Feet Under? Far too anglo-centric.

Can anyone tell me what number 48 was on the list please ??

Six Feet Under should have been right up there with the West Wing and the Sopranos.

Everyone keeps mentioning shows like Buffy and the X-files - yes, they were great, fun shows - but they're not exactly great DRAMAS - more like great sci-fi/fantasy - for which I'm sure Channel 4 will do another list. The X-files also went on WAY too long.

Also, "Veronica Mars"- FromSpain? You are kidding - right?

Ugh, and too much Poliakoff. I HATE POLIAKOFF.

during these ten years past, has not, in many parts of the kingdom, been umGoTGpVHp Money, therefore, the great wheel of circulation, the great instrument of

Buffy/Angel and Battlestar Galactica (unlike the X-Files) are not merely "great sci-fi/fantasy" but serious dramas about real-life issues in a "non-real-life" context (as any "good" sci- fi/fantasy is) and there can be no excuse for leaving them off. Perhaps 24 and Upstairs Downstairs could be removed to make room for them.
Otherwise a very good list

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during these ten years past, has not, in...
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