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Throwback Thursday: the most binge-worthy 2000s dramas

Throwback Thursday: the most binge-worthy 2000s dramas

Throwback Thursday: the most binge-worthy 2000s dramas
July 21
13:00 2022

A sweltering heatwave and surging COVID-19 cases are enough to make anyone hesitant to go outside this summer. Take a staycation and indulge in all the romance, mystery and scandal TV dramas have to offer. As the most in-demand TV genre in 2020, according to Statista, there’s plenty of material to choose from. For nostalgia’s sake, consider revisiting one of these essential 2000s series:

“Glee” (2009-2015)

There are plenty of reasons to criticize “Glee” but for what the show set out to be, it excelled in every aspect. The satirical teen drama had the wittiest and edgiest one-liners on TV at the time. There is yet to be another small screen musical to upstage “Glee’s” crisp individuality.

The cast members established the show as one of the greats. Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) positioned herself as a powerhouse vocalist and Jane Lynch earned a Golden Globe for her snappy performance as Sue Sylvester. For some, seeing the late Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez) on screen again is a moment to savor. Fan favorite Corey Monteith (Finn Hudson) died in 2013 during the show’s fourth season. Finn was the charmingly naïve heart of the series and his buttery vocals shined especially on ballad covers.

On the contrary, some of the  “Glee” cast distracts from what the show did well. Lea Michele’s racist misconduct, Mark Salling’s child pornography possession guilty plea and Matthew Morrisson’s inappropriate relationship with a “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant — it’s a mouthful.

If you can see past the gloom surrounding the cast, “Glee” is a smart, quick-witted guilty pleasure that delivered top-tier covers of hits from the 70s to the 2010s.

“Desperate Housewives” (2004-2012)

An all-female-led cast offers a comedic caricature of womanhood’s taxing demands. “Desperate Housewives” puts domestic life at the forefront of the drama with plucky vulnerability. Despite relying on a rotating ensemble cast, the show kept the original four housewives through its eight-year run. The consistent main cast gave fans something to hold on to and allowed less dedicated viewers a sense of familiarity.

“Desperate Housewives” main pitfall is that it dragged on too long. 8 years isn’t a groundbreaking duration, but the show covered 15 years of the characters’ lives. The story relies heavily on flashbacks, so it’s not something you can simply pick back up after abandoning it for months. Nevertheless, “Housewives” is one of the longest-running female-led TV shows and received 71 awards.

“Supernatural” (2005-2020)

Bloated episode count aside, Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles led the show through an impressive run. The Texas-born duo mastered the, at times overwhelming, broody brother dynamic. Sam and Dean’s paranormal misadventures accumulated 46 awards and for better or worse, spurred six spin-off series.

The spooky drama’s greatest strength and weakness is its dedicated fanbase — the SPN Family. Most seasons averaged two to three million viewers, and the 2020 series finale brought in 1.4 million viewers. Adversely, the SPN Family is deeply divided into subgroups — Dean, Sam and Castiel fans. The division turned a fun pastime into a toxic, cliquey environment.

Ultimately, the show’s lack of racial diversity and lore that felt like a stretch (even for a fantasy drama) are its glaring flaws. Nonetheless, it’s almost impossible not to root for Dean and Sam. With commendable endurance, the show appealed to a vast audience and maintained a loyal fanbase for 15 years.

“Breaking Bad” (2008-2013)

2008 had many stand-out crime drama debuts, including “Fringe” and “The Mentalist.” Even so, Bryan Cranston’s seasoned acting triumphed and “Breaking Bad” achieved overwhelming success. The show set the Guinness World Record for “Highest-Rated TV series” in 2014 following the series finale.

Exploring the life and relationships of Walter White, a teacher turned meth connoisseur, is ideal for dark drama fans. Like “Supernatural,” there are many spin-offs and reboots to explore. Prequel “Better Call Saul” (2015) evaded the mediocre spin-off curse — it premiered to 6.9 million viewers and each season has received 97 to 100 percent ratings from Rotten Tomatoes.

Too many dramas are spoiled by bizarre storylines used for the sake of keeping the show alive. “Breaking Bad” creators were wise to end the show after five years. The decision cemented the show’s unparalleled focus.

“Gossip Girl” (2007-2012)
With privileged teens as the subject matter, Gossip Girl could have been an insufferable weekly viewing of extreme wealth. Instead, it incorporated storylines about class struggle, familial pressure, substance abuse and body image — issues teen and adult viewers alike can relate to. Still, like any drama, “Gossip Girl” has its share of farfetched storylines.

Blake Lively (Serena van der Woodsen) and Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf) executed their characters’ toxic friendship with ease. Penn Badgley’s (Dan Humphrey) quirky boy-next-door act was so convincing that fans were floored when he was revealed as Gossip Girl. Ed Westwick’s early portrayal of Chuck Bass felt overindulgent, but his development as an actor and character was satisfying to witness.

With “The O.C.’s” Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage at the helm, “Gossip Girl” writers offered a consistency that made the Upper East Side feel like home. Persistent top-notch quality solidifies “Gossip Girl” as a staple drama. The verdict is still out on the reboot, though.

Honorable mentions: “Fringe” (2008-2013), “Burn Notice” (2007-2013), “90210” (2008-2013), “The O.C.” (2003-2007), “Friday Night Lights” (2006-2011), “The Wire,” (2002-2008) “Gilmore Girls” (2000-2007), “Dexter” (2006-2013), “Veronica Mars” (2004-2019) “Medium” (2003-2011).

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Rhema Joy Bell

Rhema Joy Bell

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