10 US TV shows we give thanks for this Thanksgiving

From Mad Men to Silicon Valley, True Detective to The Big Bang Theory, we celebrate the best of American telly in 2014...

How to Get Away with Murder


If proof were needed that showrunner Shonda Rhimes is the doyenne of primetime US TV, then this firecracker of a legal drama is it. Viola Davis takes the lead as ball-busting criminal law professor Annalise Keating in a show that combines the courtroom theatrics of The Good Wife with the melodramatic relationship angst of Grey’s Anatomy. But it’s the on-going mystery that impresses the most: a flash-forward murder plot which sees Keating’s students caught up in a sweaty-palmed whodunnit that conjures up the febrile atmosphere of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. David Brown


Silicon Valley

Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-head / King of the Hill / Office Space) presents an excruciatingly awkward portrait of the Californian tech-industry in this slick HBO comedy. Following the fortunes of Richard Hendricks (a man who looks a lot like Mark Zuckerberg) and his start-up, Pied Piper, this extremely well-observed show leaves every corner of the new media world saturated with satire as it picks apart a strange – and at times ridiculous – sector of the business world. Tim Glanfield  

Game of Thrones

We give thanks for Game of Thrones because we love its mix of political intrigue, bloody shocks, fascinating characters and quotable lines. We also give thanks on behalf of the actors of Britain – who make up the majority of the cast – and their agents, who must feel like the fantasy drama is the answer to their prayers (even if they never know exactly how long their clients are going to be in work for). Paul Jones


True Detective

With brilliant dialogue, beautifully shot scenes and a creepy, twisty plot, True Detective is probably the best and definitely the strangest show of the year. As odd, troubled detectives who must track down a serial killer, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey have a bizarre relationship that is just as absorbing as the murder investigation itself. Kasia Delgado


Mad Men

It’s the end of an era…well, almost. As Mad Men entered its final season, the sideburns got longer and the shirts louder. We are a long way from the Old Fashioned cool of the early episodes, but even with the approach of the gaudy 1970s, Mad Men is still the smartest and most literary show out there. We will have to wait until next year for the final seven episodes, and Don’s ultimate fate. Jonathan Holmes

Brooklyn Nine Nine

Combining the workplace antics of The Office with the one-liners of a club comedian, this Golden Globe-winning police comedy has taken the US by storm over the last year. It’s well written, but B99’s real strength comes from its diverse and talented cast, including Andre Braugher as a pathologically deadpan police captain. It’d be criminal not to tune in. Huw Fullerton



Slick and sexy, US political drama Scandal moves at a break-neck speed, following the eternally glamorous Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her band of Gladiators as she “fixes” scandals (dead bodies, horrible secrets, bureaucratic nightmares) in Washington DC, all while having an illicit affair with the married President of the United States. This Shonda Rhimes spectacular should be huge in the UK but a surprising number of viewers haven’t seen it yet. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Ellie Walker-Arnott

The Good Wife

This US import is one of the best shows on TV. It’s glossy, addictive and five seasons in doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick – the spouse of a corrupt politician who returns to work after a very public sex-scandal – The Good Wife is touching, gripping and, recently, heart-wrenchingly sad. Plus it’s full of powerful, no-nonsense women who more than hold their own in and out of the courtroom. Ellie Walker-Arnott


The Big Bang Theory

Eight series in and the Big Bang gang still reign supreme in the most watched comedy in America (there’s a reason they’re now commanding mammoth pay packets). The formula has hardly changed – social awkwardness and nerd gags a-plenty – but thanks to Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj, geek is now chic. Bazinga! Susanna Lazarus




I had to fight to get Nashville on this list. OK, it’s no Breaking Bad but the toe-tappingly good music, the sparkles, the Stetsons, and the accents – y’all know what I’m talking about – have me hooked. I’ve already booked flights to Nashville next year (largely in the hope of running into Deacon Claybourne). Susanna Lazarus