American Crime Story (2016 – Present)
A crime anthology series from prolific creator Ryan Murphy, which dramatises historic criminal cases in the US, including the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the assassination of Gianni Versace by spree killer Andrew Cunanan. A terrific first season followed by a slightly less powerful second.
- American Horror Story (2011 – Present)
Another anthology series from Ryan Murphy, this one in the horror genre, with seven seasons to show for it already. The best years are season two “Asylum” set at a mental institution in 1964 and season three “Coven” following a group of witches fighting for their survival.
- The Americans (2013 – 2018)
Set during the Cold War, two Russian spies (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) who have kids pose as an American family living in 1980s Washington, D.C., to spy on the US government. Excellent from start to finish, thanks to terrific writing and acting, bolstered by a family focus and resonating themes.
- Band of Brothers (2001)
A 10-part miniseries based on Stephen Ambrose’s 1992 book about a World War II unit called Easy Company – offering an intense look at the horrors of war through dramatisation, interviews and archive footage – which begins with their training in 1942 and ends with Allied victory in Europe in 1945.
- Barry (2018 – Present)
A dark comedy about a former marine working as a hit man in the Midwest who goes to Los Angeles for a job and discovers a new passion for acting as he gets involved with eager hopefuls in the local theatre scene.
- Better Things (2016 – Present)
Pamela Adlon is the creator and star of this comedy-drama, about a single mother who struggles to balance raising her three girls and her career as an actor. Just like its protagonist, the show has charted its own path, pairing caustic humour and poignant observation in marvellous ways.
- Big Little Lies (2017 – Present)
The lives of three wealthy but emotionally-troubled young women (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley) living in in an idyllic California town are upended after their involvement in a murder investigation, sending ripples across the community.
- Billions (2016 – Present)
Set in the world of New York high finance, a shrewd, savvy US attorney (Paul Giamatti) and a brilliant, ambitious hedge-fund manager(Damian Lewis) try to outmanoeuvre each other in this slightly-soapy and larger-than-life drama about greed, power and competition.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000 – Present)
Seinfeld co-creator Larry David plays a fictionalised version of himself in this semi-improvised sitcom about a semi-retired TV writer dealing with cringe-inducing situations, mostly caused by his own faux pas. Laugh out loud during its original run, but it couldn’t scale those heights when it returned in 2017.
Deadwood (2004 – 2006)
Profanity and violence are omnipresent in this 19th-century Western tale of a lawless South Dakota settlement, which incorporated historical characters (Ian McShane playing one) as it presented a richly-textured portrait that stands as one of the best in its genre, with its only fault being a lack of closure.