There’s a ton of garbage on television these days. You got a bunch of lazy, formulaic reality shows (any reality show not starring Gordon Ramsey or the New York Jets is not worth your time). Then there’s all those sappy sitcoms and tiresome hour-long dramas on network (seriously, how many CSIs/Law and Orders can they churn out?). With all the clutter on TV, some quality shows are bound to slip through the cracks. If you like consuming television programs on a season-per-day basis, here are 10 shows you need add to your NetFlix queue and plow through (in no particular order).

Dexter

I was a little late to the Dexter party. I just couldn’t get into it at first. I thought it was a dark comedy that was too heavy on the dark and too light on the comedy. But it’s a good show, man. The supporting characters/storylines are all a little wack (I’m lookin’ at you Doakes), and the flashback scenes with Dexter’s Dad can get a little cheesy, but Michael C. Hall makes it all worthwhile. The last season with Jon Lithgow was intense as hell, and the new season just got rolling. It’s a good time to get yourself all caught up.

The Wire

If you’re sick and tired of hearing people say that The Wire is the greatest show of all time, shut the hell up. People gush endlessly about this show for good reason. If it’s not the best show ever then it’s in the top three for damn sure. Why? It’s just so well-done. The writing is absolutely fantastic. You have deep and honest sociological insights wrapped up in a tight dialogue that’s spoken by dozens of characters whose arcs enjoy multiple seasons’ worth of development. Plus, there’s McNutty.

The Shield

Comparing The Shield to The Wire is unfair. It’s apples and oranges, really. The Wire tinkers with root-causing systemic societal woes, but The Shield is a much more individualized, inward psychological study of badass anti-hero Vic Mackey. The series sets Mackey up as this terribly corrupt yet loveably effective detective who does some disgraceful things for mostly the right reasons. Each season is a little different, but the intensity of Michael Chiklis is the one constant you can look forward to throughout the series.

Breaking Bad

Moody and visceral, Breaking Bad is simply amazing television. The pacing, the uniqueness of each episode, the characters, everything is incredible. The funny parts are hilarious, the suspense isn’t contrived and the oh-shit moments are genuinely jaw dropping. There’s a reason why Bryan Cranston has won three-consecutive Emmys for his portrayal of Mr. White. Watching the Chemistry teacher turned meth chef’s gradual transition into a total gangsta is must-see TV.

Sons of Anarchy

I don’t ride motorcycles and I don’t wear leather jackets. I do love the film Green Street Hooligans though (Elijah Wood is still a pansy but we’ll gloss over that for now), and anyone who’s seen that movie knows that Charlie Hunnam plays the tough guy role well. The Brit actor carries Sons of Anarchy almost single handedly. Sure, tough-old-lady Peggy Bundy and ringleader Hellboy are cool too, but the show revolves around his character Jax. Fun fact: Kurt Sutter, the show’s creator, is married to Katey Segal and also wrote for The Shield.

Mad Men

Here’s another critically/culturally acclaimed show that lives up to the hype. Sure all the boozing and womanizing and goofy 60s mores get all the attention, but Mad Men is full of rich subtleties. The show doesn’t stuff character traits and conflicts down your throat. There’s a whole lot of subtext to play with. Don Draper is also one of the coolest TV characters of all time. It’s hard to see Jon Hamm as anything but Draper at this point. If you haven’t seen every episode of the three-time Emmy award winning outstanding drama series, get on that shit.

Californication

Part romance, part ridiculous Californication is great television. David Duchovny shows his acting range by playing an artsy, boozin’ sex-crazed maniac. Okay so he’s playing himself, but he does it really, really well. His little daughter has a voice that’ll make you wanna jump out a window, but with all the T & A, funny dialogue and family dysfunction, the three seasons of this show are certainly worth a lazy weekend investment.

The Sopranos

I know what you’re thinking… The Sopranos was a good show? No shit, bro, thanks for the memo! The reason the show’s on this list is cause I know there are people out there that letsome episodes (or maybe even seasons) of The Sopranos slip through the cracks. There was a two year break between seasons 4 and 5 and another two year gap between seasons 5 and 6. Don’t try to catch reruns on basic cable. Do the show some justice and get fully caught up on any episodes you missed.

True Blood

Is it gay? Yes, yes it is. Is Anna Paquin hot? Sadly, no. Even with those two strikes, True Blood is still an interesting show. I’m as vampired out as the next guy, but there are some fun characters and storylines to get behind in this series. Catch up on it if you haven’t already.

24

Look, we all know that 24 starting sucking bad (real bad) in those last few seasons. But think back to a different time. Think back to a time when news outlets were debating the finer points of torture to keep our country safe. Things were different back then. Threats we’re everywhere and the greater LA area always seemed to be a target. If a nuclear bomb or chemical attack is about to go off in Chattsworth, Valencia or Encino, there’s really only one guy you’d want to save Southern California… Jack Bauer when he’s sober. I had a hard time including this show on the list, cause it got really, really bad. Unwatchable even. But those first couple/few seasons were like crack, man. You needed that shit. Doot…Doot…Doot…Doot. Y’know what I’m talking about. It’s hard to say when this show lost it’s way, but the first two-three seasons are definitely worth a NetFlix push.

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