It’s always challenging to build a television show around an iconic movie character, but the creators of “Hannibal” seem to have succeeded. Gifted criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) enlists the help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to help him catch a twisted serial killer. Of course, he has no clue that Lecter is much more than just a brilliant psychiatrist, and that sets the stage for this psychological thriller.
It’s easy to make fun of politicians these days, but the writers and stars of this show are particularly good at it. The show captures the futility of the office of the Vice President with the nakedly ambitious and utterly incompetent Selina Meyer as the VP. She’s played brilliantly by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who easily belongs in the sitcom Hall of Fame (does one exist?). Selina is surrounded by an equally ambitious and incompetent staff that will do almost anything to curry favor and further their own careers.
Stand-up comedian Louis C.K.’s second stab at a television series has been more successful, with “Louie” receiving rave reviews from numerous critics. He stars as a fictionalized version of himself as a divorcee raising two daughters in New York City. The show isn’t very structured, consisting of short scenes and standup bits thrown together. Some are hilarious, while others will just make you feel uncomfortable.
24. Magic City
With the popularity of “Mad Men,” it was only a matter of time before we saw more shows set in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. “Magic City” is set in Miami Beach starting on the eve of 1959 and centers around Ike Evans and his Miramar Playa Hotel. There’s plenty of drama involving the mob and the local D.A., and there’s also plenty of eye candy (including Bond babe Olga Kurylenko) to go along with the great clothes and beautiful cars of the era, as well as the South Beach locations.
25. The League
Guys love mercilessly abusing their friends, and that’s all you need to know if you’ve ever pondered the popularity of fantasy football. For some guys, fantasy football also offers an outlet from a life filled with work, wives and kids, while for many, it’s a way to keep in touch with old friends. Many women don’t get it, as the fun goes well beyond the game itself. Now, ratchet up all the fun, competition, idiocy and juvenile behavior you’ve experienced in your own league and you have “The League” on FX. The show has been described as a “semi-improvised” comedy, and it follows a group of six goofball friends as they battle from draft day throughout the season and deal with their everyday lives. No topic is taboo on this show, so the audience gets an endless stream of silly but hilarious situations.
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