News Column

10 years of amNY: The 10 most important television shows

October 9, 2013


Oct. 09--Television is in a new golden age, and many of its greatest shows emerged since amNewYork debuted 10 years ago today. From teachers turned ruthless meth dealers to a high school glee club, here are some of the most important stories to hit the boob tube:

'Arrested Development'

Besides being a hilarious, critically acclaimed comedy, it is significant for a couple of reasons. First, after it was canceled after three seasons, it was revived on Netflix, and second, it helped launch the careers of Will Arnett, Michael Cera and Tony Hale and revitalized the career of Jason Bateman. (2003, 2013)


The survivors of a plane crash stranded on an island became a serious phenomenon, with seemingly everyone trying to figure out the mystery of the remote locale. The finale might not have made all the fervent followers happy, but it sure had them talking. (2004)

'Grey's Anatomy'

McDreamy, McSteamy, Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) dying and Dylan Young (Kyle Chandler) getting blown up ? There are a lot of memorable characters in this medical drama, and that's not even counting the main doctors. It's been a stable ensemble drama for the key 18-49 demo. (2005)

'The Colbert Report'

Spun off from "The Daily Show," Stephen Colbert and his riff on pundit vehicles like "The O'Reilly Factor" has given Comedy Central a strong one-two punch in the late-night battleground. And this year, after 8 years of losing the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Series, it finally landed its first trophy. (2005)

'The Office'

This remake of an amazing British sitcom replaced Ricky Gervais' David Brent with Steve Carell's Michael Scott and -- after a hit-or-miss first season -- managed to, some would say, surpass the brilliance of the original. It also made stars of Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and many others. (2005)

'30 Rock'

After Tina Fey left "Saturday Night Live," she took her former co-star Tracy Morgan and started this new sitcom, a parody of a sketch comedy series, with a perfectly cast Alec Baldwin as her boss. This is perhaps the most NYC-centric sitcom since "Seinfeld." (2006)

'Mad Men'

Just imagine, if AMC didn't have a hit with this show about NYC admen in the 1950s, it might not have ever gotten to air "The Walking Dead" or "Breaking Bad." The smoky adventures of Jon Hamm's Don Draper showed that basic cable could deliver drama that you'd formerly expect only on HBO. (2007)

'Breaking Bad'

When high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is diagnosed with cancer, he turns to making meth to financially support his family after he dies. But he lives, and then he turns into one of the baddest drug kingpins around. Best show ever? (2008)


Who would have ever imagined that a musical drama about an Ohio high school glee club would become a huge success? Fox hit it big with Ryan Murphy's socially conscious series that was as powerful on TV as it was off, with tons of albums and a 3-D concert movie. (2009)

'Game of Thrones'

Genre television doesn't often cross over to the mainstream, especially when it's sci-fi or fantasy. HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's epic series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," took a dense fantasy world and merged it with complex political machinations for a genre show for the masses. (2011)


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