Modern US shows highlighting pivotal moments in the States
There have been plenty of hit TV series to come out of the US in the 236 years since it declared independence from Great Britain (on July 4 1776). From Korean War army sitcom M.A.S.H to the adventurous Gilligan’s Island, the long list continues. Our grandparents (and John Cleese) may argue that the golden years of television have passed, but if you ask any one of us, the US has started turning things up a notch in the past 20 years. Here, we recap five of America’s recent smash TV series and reveal the eras that they represent in US history.
The ’20s: Boardwalk Empire The fact that this series is produced by legendary American producer and screenwriter Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed) is cause enough to warrant an entry into the history books. The Emmy-winning series accurately documents the life and times of an Atlantic City community during the Prohibition era and flapper culture of the ’20s. Many of the characters are based on historical figures of the time. Season one from Dhs100, available at www.amazon.co.uk. Season two available from September 2012.
The ’60s: Mad Men It’s not every day that a TV series spawns trends or revives hairstyles. Set during the advertising boom era of ’60s Manhattan, Don Draper may be the word on everyone’s lips, but, personally, we think Sterling Cooper copywriter Freddy Rumsen is the one to watch: he comes from a good pedigree (the actor who plays him, Joel Murray, is Bill Murray’s brother). Season five of Mad Men airs on Fridays at 7.05pm on MBC 4.
The ’90s: The Sopranos Before there was ‘gym, tan and laundry’ on Jersey Shore, there was this. The mafia-style modern-day Godfather shone a spotlight on the New Jersey underworld and the Italian-American community – one of the US’s largest immigrant populations. So which character nailed the most hits? Quick-talking Paulie Gaulteri (Tony Sirico) committed nine murders throughout the series. Complete series from Dhs1,070, available at www.amazon.co.uk.
The noughties: Treme Set in New Orleans in 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina, this slow-burning series follows the plights of survivors as they try to pick up the pieces. Steve Zahn’s character, Davis – a struggling DJ and musician – was based on a real-life person who acts as a series consultant and shares the same first name. Season two from Dhs160, available at www.amazon.co.uk.
The present: Entourage We may not like to admit it, but Entourage succeeds in portraying society’s universal obsession with fame, money and the material. When it’s handed to you in a fun 30-minute package, it doesn’t seem so bad. The series writers put a lid on things this year after eight seasons penning the Hollywood escapades of A-list movie star Vincent Chase, his live-in buddies and permanently agitated agent Ari Gold. It was fun while it lasted. Complete series from Dhs410, www.amazon.co.uk.