FX’s hit TV shows to binge watch and die for
Since launching in 1994, the Fox-owned cable channel FX has gained a reputation for pushing the boundaries of what’s successful on the small screen, by bringing unique and genre-bending TV shows to audience’s eyeballs.
As such, FX has become a force for compelling dramas, original comedies, and a few shows that don’t even fit neatly into any one category. In celebration of this progressive content provider, we’ve decided to rank the network’s top shows – some new, some old, all brilliant. Let’s go:
This self-satirizing comedy received great critical acclaim and packed impressive star power with an icon in Billy Crystal (City Slickers) and his co-star Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast). Although the show worked on multiple levels, with Crystal and Gad poking fun at themselves, the world, and everything else in between, it was only short-lived, and was axed after season one. In this case, The Comedians failed to maintain the laughs.
The storyline of Wilfred initially reeked of desperation – Ryan (Elijah Wood) survives a suicide attempt, only to find his neighbor’s dog has manifested as a man (Jason Gann) in a dog suit. Clutching at straws much? However, Wilfred evolved into a dark comedy, taking it past the whole “man in a dog suit” gag, and settled on an uncertain narrative that somehow just worked.
American Horror Story
Ryan Murphy really pushed the boundaries with this show, shelling out enough sex, violence, and freak shows to keep its audiences hooked for seven seasons and counting. Presenting the horror anthology with differing themes each season has clearly proved a popular concept, with the franchise morphing into a monster that could keep on living for years to come.
Baskets is a dark-comedy starring Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) in a tragi-comic performance as the clownish black sheep of his family. But the true shining star in this series is Emmy-winner Louie Anderson in his LOL role as Christine Baskets – the mom we all wish we had (purely for comedic reasons).
No nip & tuck needed for this show, which ran for a solid six seasons back in the 00s. The plot followed the dark and twisted trials of two top plastic surgeons Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), containing enough sexy sex to render it “soft porn” material.
Sexual misconduct allegations against Louis C.K. aside, there’s no denying how much this show changed the TV landscape. As IndieWire put it, “for better or for worse, the show represented what could happen when a creator was given complete control over a small-budgeted production of their own sitcom.”
While we’re on the topic, here’s hoping Pamela Adlon’s wonderful comedy Better Things will survive her association with longtime collaborator Louis C.K.; with season three on the cards, the outlook is positive. Offering a quiet and grounded story of a single mom and her three girls, the show made an impression with audiences thanks to Aldon’s warmth and vision as creator & producer. Looks like this show will move on to better things.
Archer – the animated comedy where covert black ops and espionage take a back seat to zany personalities and awkward relationships between secret agents and drones. The show has proved so popular since launching back in 2009 that it’s coming back for a ninth season this year.
Donald Glover (The Martian) triumphed in his debut as creator with the critically-acclaimed Atlanta, about an aspiring rapper named Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and his cousin-slash-manager Earn (Glover). Season one was an odd ride, embracing a surreal narrative and highlighting just how bizarre, dangerous, and unfair life can be, especially when you’re black.
While some series might have been stronger than others, overall Fargo has offered up some of the most daring TV-based storytelling swings of the last decade, as well as a glut of impactful characters including Mike Milligan, Lester Nygaard, Lorne Malvo, Gloria Burgle, and the entire Solverson family. With season four on the slate, no doubt Fargo will continue to go far.
Sons of Anarchy
Created by Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy followed the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in the fictional Californian town of Charming. As one of FX’s most popular shows, Sons of Anarchy saw success by keeping viewers hooked with twist after twist over the course of its seven seasons.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
For comedy lovers around the world, It’s Always Sunny will continue to hold a special place in our hearts. The controversial black comedy based on the depraved antics of the gang in Paddy’s Pub builds on a solid foundation of laughing at idiocy. Also, Dennis and Frank Reynolds (Glenn Howerton and Danny DeVito) are two of television’s greatest gifts to the world.
In one of the most critically heralded series of all time, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields’ portrait of two Russian spies thrust together to form a makeshift American family takes on so many genres and ideas from scene to scene – first it’s dramatic, then it’s funny, then it’s got a lot of fighting action. Overall it’s a fantastically addictive and original show, and, in the words of Paste, “The Americans may well turn out to be the last great drama of television’s most recent Golden Age.”