Without Oz, modern TV drama would have been a decidedly different creature. Oswald State Penitentiary gave birth to the HBO we now recognise while reinventing the template of TV drama for the modern age. Oz would lace its narrative with grit, social commentary, and unflinching violence in a way few before or after have managed.
DOCTOR WHO (BBC)
Few TV shows can claim the legendary status of Doctor Who. Not only is this BBC science fiction show the longest-running sci-fi series in TV history, but it is also, without a doubt, the most unique. Doctor Who’s strength lies in its ability to appeal to different audiences at different times, reinventing itself for each new generation through every regeneration.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY (FX)
American Horror Story transformed TV horror, taking us from a sexy haunted house to a Coven of Witches and a seaside den of vampires. While some seasons shine more than others, with Asylum the best of them so far, American Horror Story remains a must-see TV event.
BREAKING BAD (AMC)
If Oz gave birth to modern TV drama, then Breaking Bad changed how we viewed TV forever. Launched on mainstream cable TV in the USA back in 2008 to rave reviews Breaking Bad initially struggled to find its audience. However, when Netflix picked up the show, the binge-watch was born through a TV streaming marriage made in heaven.
Chernobyl combines the abject horror of the 80s disaster with heart-stopping political and social tension in a genuinely masterful slice of gripping television that never spirals into melodrama. Here the reality of the nuclear disaster at the heart of the drama remains horrifyingly authentic.