I'm in the process of rewatching "The Sopranos" and "Deadwood" (my third watch for each show), and I'm starting to suspect that all the best culture has already happened, and we should just keep revisiting it instead of wasting our time trying to create anything new of value. Both shows are on Prime, as are 98 other shows possibly worth your time.
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“21 Jump Street”: Johnny Depp goes back to high school.
“Absolutely Fabulous”: The hysterical misadventures of two incredibly selfish drunks.
“The Addams Family”: They’re creepy and kooky, but also loving.
“All or Nothing”: NFL documentary series follows a different team each season.
“American Experience”: American history documented.
“American Horror Story”: FX’s batsh*t-crazy anthology series varies in quality from season to season. "AHS’s" finest effort is Season 2.
“The Americans”: The classic Cold War drama, now on Amazon Prime in its entirety.
“The Andy Griffith Show”: The homespun philosophy of TV’s wisest lawman.
“Angels in America”: Tony Kushner’s HBO miniseries adaptation of his award-winning play about the AIDS crisis.
“Arthur”: Will be nostalgia-triggering for millennial viewers.
“Band of Brothers”: The best miniseries ever made.
“Banshee”: This Cinemax action series doesn’t rank with the best of Golden-Age TV. It’s no “The Wire.” But it’s easily one of the most enjoyable series of television I’ve seen — a trashy, shameless slab of sweaty pulp, like a remake of every action movie from 1988.
“Baseball”: Ken Burns does baseball.
“Battlestar Galactica”: Don’t build A.I.
“Being Human”: Like a British “Friends” but with ghosts, vampires and werewolves.
“The Beverly Hillbillies”: They're new money.
“A Bit of Fry and Laurie”: The still-funny sketch show from Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
“Boardwalk Empire”: From some of the makers of “The Sopranos,” a gangster show that’s nowhere near as good as “Sopranos” but still, often, pretty good.
“Bored to Death”: Jason Schwartzman is a fake detective. Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson costar.
“Bosch”: Conventional but compelling cop drama with a great central performance by Titus Welliver.
“Burn Notice”: How many bad accents can Jeffrey Donovan do?
“Carnivale”: A strange, messy and engrossing afterthought of the Golden-Age-of-TV era.
“Catastrophe”: Cringe-inducing marriage comedy.
“Coupling”: Franker, funnier, British-er “Friends.”
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”: Pretty, pretty good.
“Damages”: An pioneer of the storytelling style that gives you glimpses of what’s going on without explaining it until the finale. Other examples: “Westword,” “This Is Us.”
“Dark Shadows”: Charming, spooky series.
“Dead Like Me”: Workplace comedy about grim reapers.
“Deadwood”: The three best TV shows of all time are “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” and “Deadwood.”
“Detectorists”: Sweet comedy about two oddball metal detectorists, played by Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook.
“The Dick Van Dyke Show”: Starring Dick Van Dyke.
“Downton Abbey”: It eventually got really bad, but that first season is nearly perfect.
“Drive”: Not the Ryan Gosling thriller but a one-season Fox series about an illegal cross-country road race starring Nathan Fillion and Emma Stone.
“The Dukes of Hazzard”: The fast-drivin', rubber-burnin' Duke boys of Hazzard County!
“Enlightened”: One of HBO’s unsung masterpieces, a dark comedy starring Laura Dern as a woman who has a mental breakdown at work and decides to do something good with her life.
“The Expanse”: If you’re looking for “Game of Thrones” in space, this is as close as it gets on TV.
“Family Ties”: Before partisan politics tore the American family apart.
“Fleabag”: Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote and stars in this ingenious series about an awkward and erratic woman trying to make better decisions in London.
“Flight of the Conchords”: Just a couple of fellas from New Zealand searching for the American dream.
“Forever”: Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen are dead.
“Fortitude”: An extremely cold-looking horror series starring Stanley Tucci in the first season and Dennis Quaid in the second.
“Frasier”: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
“Friday Night Lights”: Tossed salads and scrambled eggs.
“Generation Kill”: David Simon’s tremendous miniseries of American soldiers mired in the futility of the Iraq War.
“Girls”: Yes, Lena Dunham is annoying, but this series was really good for a few years.
“Good Girls Revolt”: A look at the personal and professional lives of female employees at a news magazine in the ’60s.
“The Good Wife”: This show had some VERY rocky seasons, but when it was good, it was the best non-cable drama since “Friday Night Lights.”
“Grounded for Life”: Shaggydog family sitcom from the early ’00s.
“Hannibal”: This always felt a little too fancy for my tastes, but many loved it.
“Howard’s End”: A Kenneth Lonergan-adapted miniseries based on E.M. Forster’s novel, starring Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen.
“How the Universe Works”: Documentary series serves as the instruction manual for EVERYTHING.
“Humans”: Don’t build A.I.
“Hung”: Fitfully funny HBO series starring Thomas Jane as a middle-aged high school basketball coach with a big penis. The series was executive-produced by Alexander Payne, who also directed the show’s pilot.
“Informer”: A second-generation British-Pakistani man is coerced into being an informer for a counter-terrorism officer.
“In Treatment”: Gabriel Byrne therapy show. Sometimes tedious, often engrossing.
“I Love Dick”: Kathryn Hahn-starring adaptation of Chris Kraus’ cult novel.
“I Spy”: So this show now has a bit of a hurdle to watching it.
“John Adams”: Giamatti as John Adams is about as good as casting gets.
“Justified”: FX doesn’t typically join the ranks of HBO or even AMC when it comes to great TV. But the modern Western “Justified,” along with “The Shield,” earned its star as one of the best TV dramas of all time.
“Luck”: David Milch’s prickly, bizarre one-season wonder, which was canceled due to horse abuse.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Rachel Brosnahan is unquestionably a goddess among us.
“Mildred Pierce”: Kate Winslet-starring miniseries, a remake of the 1945 Joan Crawford noir based on James M. Cain’s novel.
“Mission:Impossible”: The Cruise movies have supplanted the TV series' place in pop culture. But this was a really fun show. It's worth rediscovery.
“Monk”: The detective with OCD always gets the job done.
“Mr. Bean”: (indecipherable dialogue).
“Mr. Robot”: Had a perfect first season, went too far up its own ass in Season 2 and recovered somewhat in Season 3. That first season, though.
“NYPD Blue”: Before “Sopranos” and “Deadwood” changed the game, David Milch’s “NYPD Blue” brought some grit to the network TV cop show.
“Orphan Black”: This show loses its way after the first season, but has there ever been a more impressive breakout TV role than Tatiana Maslany’s multi-character performance?
“Oz”: HBO’s first drama. It looks ricketty and unsure compared to the prestige shows that came in its wake, but there’s a strong chase to be made that “Oz” was the one that started it all.
“The Pacific”: Like “Band of Brothers” but far more depressing.
“Parks and Recreation”: One of the few shows that actually makes me feel hopeful.
“Patriot”: An espionage thriller with a strong streak of absurdist comedy.
“Peep Show”: Two dumb roommates get into awkward mishaps. One of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen.
“Poldark”: Opulent period drama packed with intrigue and sexy time.
“Pride and Prejudice”: I’m partial to the Keira Knightley version, but many people’s hearts belong to this 1995 miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.
“The Prisoner”: The classic mystery series, starring a sentient, terrifying white balloon named Rover.
“Pushing Daisies”: Complicates the will-they-won’t-they plot because if they do, she dies.
“Red Oaks”: Fun ’80s coming-of-age comedy set in a country club.
“Roseanne”: Episodes from a simpler time.
“Sex and the City”: Not my thing but, in a way, as integral a series to HBO's future as “The Sopranos.”
“Six Feet Under”: Uneven series with a killer finale.
“The Sopranos”: Good show.
“Sneaky Pete”: Giovanni Ribisi cons his way into the family he never had, with some unintended consequences.
“Spaced”: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s very funny effort pre-“Shaun of the Dead.”
“Star Trek: The Next Generation”: Went where previous iterations had gone before, but did it very well.
“Strike Back”: Cinemax’s action-packed series about a group of elite, secret soldiers in British military intelligence.
“The Thick of It”: Before he did “Veep,” Armando Iannucci created the acidically funny satire set in the world of British politics
“The Tick”: Prime has both live-action versions — the ’00s show and Prime’s own reboot.
“Torchwood”: Occasionally delightful “Doctor Who” spinoff about alien hunters in Cardiff.
“Transparent”: Despite the eventual implosion of the show, on and off screen, the first few seasons are good stuff — a comedic portrait about a self-absorbed L.A. family whose patriarch (Jeffrey Tambor) has made the transition to a woman.
“Treme”: David Simon’s ode to New Orleans post-Katrina.
“The Twilight Zone”: Like 140 episodes of it are on Prime.
“Twin Peaks”: The groundbreaking first season and the barely-worth-watching second.
“Veep”: A brutal, bruising satire of American politics that lost some of its edge as the parodic qualities of the real world outpaced it.
“A Very English Scandal”: Hugh Grant plays a British party leader accused of conspiring to murder his ex-lover (Ben Whishaw) in the crime-comedy miniseries.
“The Vietnam War”: Ken Burns does “The Vietnam War.”
“Vikings”: S’bout “Vikings.”
“The Wire”: Good show.
“Wolf Hall”: Mark Rylance is flawless as Thomas Cromwell in this adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker-winning historical novel.