DVD Release DateBest 11 Serial Dramas of 2023 in the 21st Century

Best 11 Serial Dramas of 2023 in the 21st Century

Best 11 Serial Dramas of 2023 in the 21st Century

When it comes to TV shows, serial dramas have a captivating allure that sets them apart from sitcoms and action-packed shows. These shows are like a puzzle, with each episode adding a new piece and keeping you glued to the screen throughout the entire season. It’s like watching a never-ending movie, which has become a popular binge-watching trend nowadays.

Since the turn of the century, television has been blessed with a plethora of incredible dramas that come and go, and even make a triumphant return. These top serial dramas of the 21st century offer a smorgasbord of intriguing plots and settings, ranging from epic sagas like Game of Thrones to pulse-pounding thrillers like Dexter. They never fail to leave us on the edge of our seats.

Take a peek at some of the most remarkable serial dramas from recent years below and feel free to share your favorites. If you have any hidden gems that aren’t on this list, please add them. And if you’re a movie enthusiast, don’t forget to explore the finest films of the 2000s.

(Note: The Handmaid’s Tale sparks intense debate among viewers.)

1. Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is a highly acclaimed drama series that tells the captivating tale of Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, who goes from being a chemistry teacher to a methamphetamine producer. Alongside him is Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul, his former student. Together, they navigate the dangerous world of drug production and distribution.

What sets the show apart is its perfect balance between intense character development and dark humor, which has earned it numerous accolades, including an impressive 16 Primetime Emmy Awards. As the story unfolds, viewers are drawn into the complex moral dilemmas faced by the main characters, leading them to question the boundaries of their own principles.

With its gripping storytelling and unforgettable performances, Breaking Bad has rightfully earned its place in television history.

Premiered: January 20, 2008
Actors: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

2. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Welcome to a realm filled with political intrigue, mythical creatures, and rival dynasties, where the quest for power and survival takes center stage. Enter Game of Thrones, an award-winning fantasy drama that whisks audiences away to the fictional world of Westeros. Here, noble families are locked in a relentless battle for the coveted Iron Throne, as supernatural threats lurk in the shadows, ready to pounce.

Game of Thrones weaves a tapestry of captivating storytelling and intricate characters. From the cunning Tyrion Lannister, brilliantly portrayed by Peter Dinklage, to the fierce and determined Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, the series delves into timeless themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the complex nature of good and evil in humanity.

With its breathtaking visuals and gripping narratives, Game of Thrones has captivated the hearts and minds of millions around the globe. The series has become a cultural phenomenon, drawing people into its mesmerizing world and leaving them eagerly awaiting each new episode.

Premiered: April 17, 2011
Actors: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey

3. The Sopranos

The Sopranos
The Sopranos invites viewers into the intriguing world of mob life, where the tangled webs of family dynamics and personal ambitions come to light. Over six seasons, this highly acclaimed crime drama has earned a staggering 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, thanks to the exceptional talents of its ensemble cast. Leading the pack is the remarkable James Gandolfini, who portrays the complex character of Tony Soprano, a mob boss from New Jersey. As we journey alongside Tony, we witness his constant struggle to navigate the treacherous waters of organized crime while also managing his tumultuous personal life. What sets this show apart is its masterful blend of dark humor and intense emotional moments, creating a captivating narrative that keeps fans hooked until the very end.

Premiered: January 10, 1999
Actors: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

4. Dexter

Dexter is an intense drama with a twisted plot. It’s all about a seemingly ordinary guy named Dexter Morgan who does blood-spatter analysis by day, but by night, he becomes a vigilante serial killer. Michael C. Hall plays the main character, and he does a fantastic job of portraying Dexter’s double life. He’s constantly balancing his insatiable need for justice with trying to appear normal.

The story takes place in sunny Miami, which provides an interesting backdrop for this award-winning series. It’s a great mix of crime, mystery, and psychological thrills that keeps viewers hooked. One of the things that sets Dexter apart is his complicated relationships. His sister Debra, played by Jennifer Carpenter, and his love interest Rita, played by Julie Benz, add depth and emotion to the narrative. It’s these interpersonal connections that make us truly invested in what happens to the characters throughout the show’s suspenseful eight seasons.

Premiered: October 1, 2006
Actors: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, C.S. Lee

5. Hannibal

Hannibal is a gripping psychological thriller that explores the intricate dynamics between FBI special investigator Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) and the enigmatic Dr. Hannibal Lecter (portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen), a psychiatrist with a taste for the disturbing. This show skillfully combines elements of crime, horror, and drama to offer a fresh perspective on the iconic characters created by Thomas Harris. It has received numerous award nominations, including a Saturn Award for Best Network Television Series, and has been praised by critics for its compelling storytelling, visually stunning aesthetics, and the chilling performances of its talented lead actors. As the story unfolds, the boundaries between the hunter and the hunted become increasingly blurred, leaving viewers questioning the true nature of trust.

Premiered: April 4, 2013
Actors: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne

6. Vikings

Vikings, a historical drama of epic proportions, takes us back to the brutal and complex world of Norse warriors. It delves into their customs, beliefs, and conquests, giving us a fascinating insight into their way of life. The series revolves around the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, played by Travis Fimmel, who goes from being a simple farmer to a great king. Along his journey, he faces both political intrigue and intense battles, all in his pursuit of greatness.

The show boasts an incredible cast, with standout performances by Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha and Gustaf Skarsgård as Floki. Their portrayal of these characters has received widespread acclaim and the series itself has been recognized with numerous award nominations over its six-season run.

One of the standout features of Vikings is its breathtaking cinematography and meticulous attention to detail. The visuals are stunning, transporting viewers back in time to an era of bloodshed, loyalty, and ambition. It truly immerses you in this long-gone world, making for an enthralling viewing experience.

Premiered: March 3, 2013
Actors: Katheryn Winnick, Moe Dunford, Josefin Asplund

7. Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black
Orange Is the New Black is an incredibly captivating drama series that gives us a unique glimpse into the lives of women who are trying to navigate the challenges of a minimum-security federal prison. This show has received a lot of well-deserved recognition, including 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and it’s not hard to see why. With a perfect balance of humor and emotion, the storytelling in this series is truly exceptional.

The talented ensemble cast, led by Taylor Schilling in the role of Piper Chapman, brings to life a diverse group of characters. Each of them has a fascinating backstory that sheds light on the circumstances that landed them in prison. It’s through these characters that the series tackles important themes like race, identity, and the flaws in our criminal justice system. The impact that this show has on its viewers is truly unforgettable.

Premiered: July 11, 2013
Actors: Taylor Schilling, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba

8. The Wire

The Wire
The Wire is a gritty exploration of the urban landscape, diving deep into the complex web of crime, law enforcement, and societal issues in Baltimore. It has received critical acclaim and numerous award nominations, which speak to its captivating storytelling and exceptional ensemble cast. At the heart of the story is Detective Jimmy McNulty, portrayed by Dominic West, whose unwavering commitment to justice leads him into the dark underbelly of the city. The show skillfully weaves together the lives of different characters, including drug dealers and politicians, to give viewers an unflinching look at the intricate connections that unite them. Through this, The Wire goes beyond your typical crime drama, delivering a thought-provoking and compelling experience.

Premiered: June 2, 2002
Actors: Dominic West, John Doman, Frankie R. Faison

9. Fargo

Venturing into the frosty landscape of Minnesota, Fargo is a darkly humorous crime drama that skillfully intertwines deception and violence. Each season presents a self-contained narrative inspired by the Coen Brothers’ original film, immersing viewers in the lives of its multidimensional characters.

At the heart of the series is Lorne Malvo, portrayed by the talented Billy Bob Thornton, who embodies pure chaos and leaves a trail of destruction wherever he goes.

Fargo has received widespread critical acclaim for its exceptional storytelling and outstanding performances, resulting in numerous award nominations, including Emmys and Golden Globes.

What sets Fargo apart is its distinct blend of wit, suspense, and intricate plotlines, ensuring a memorable viewing experience that doesn’t compromise on substance.

Premiered: April 15, 2014
Actors: Juno Temple, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Jason Leigh

10. The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale is a chilling portrayal of a dystopian society that invites viewers to step into the oppressive world of Gilead. This Emmy Award-winning drama series does a masterful job of adapting Margaret Atwood’s renowned novel, exposing the dark underbelly of power and control. Through the eyes of Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss, we witness the incredible resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable horrors. The show is accompanied by a haunting score and captivating cinematography, which further immerses us in its gripping narrative. It tackles themes of resistance, identity, and the unbreakable bonds of love and family.

Premiered: April 26, 2017
Actors: Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski

11. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead
In a world devastated by a catastrophic outbreak, The Walking Dead takes us deep into the gritty struggles and inspiring triumphs of humanity in the midst of a gruesome reality. This captivating drama series, recognized with numerous awards and even a Golden Globe nomination, skillfully blends heart-rending emotions with heart-pounding action. We follow the journey of Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), a former sheriff’s deputy, as he navigates through this unforgiving landscape alongside a diverse and dynamic group of characters. Together, they confront not only flesh-eating walkers but also treacherous fellow humans, putting their resilience and morality to the ultimate test. The result is a thought-provoking exploration of survival and the essence of human nature.

Premiered: October 31, 2010
Actors: Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan