Five shows to watch after Breaking Bad

Posted on 14 October 2013
By Craig Kell
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Breaking Bad has come to an end, but having been forced to say goodbye to Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and co, us telly addicts need some new shows to sink our teeth into, so we’ve put together a group of new shows to help ease the pain…

1. BATES MOTEL & HANNIBAL

Our list begins with not one, but two shows that both share similar plots in focusing on the origins of two of the greatest villains in fictional history.

Bates Motel takes us back to the teenage years of creepy Norman Bates, the main antagonist of the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho with British actor Freddie Highmore putting aside his child-star image to portray the future shower killer.

At times though, he is almost overshadowed in the ten part series by co-star Vera Farmiga who plays the intimidating Norma Bates to perfection. Just as inspiring is the decision to set the plot in the modern age of I-Phones as we see a moody Norman and his ‘mother’ having to deal with the weird goings-on of their new town. The show has already been commissioned with a second series which will surely begin to build on Norman’s eventual madness.

In contrast, we have Bryan Fuller’s exceptional crime series Hannibal. Like Bates Motel, the show is set before the events of its antagonist’s reign of terror but still manages to capture the deranged persona of that man, the charming yet monstrous Hannibal Lecter.

It was always going to be a tough ask for anyone to top Anthony Hopkins’ iconic performances from the films but the casting of Mads Mikkelsen proved a real masterstroke for NBC as he plays Lecter as a well-liked man who secretly hides a twisted personality. It’s just a pity the Danish actor was overlooked for recognition!

However he is matched nearly every step of the way by British actor Hugh Dancy in his role as the jittery FBI agent Will Graham, another individual with a troubled mind who ultimately seeks help from Lecter when investigating some brutal murder cases. It is also visually impeccable in its production but that isn’t a good thing if you’re squeamish about horrible-looking corpses!

2. BOARDWALK EMPIRE

Produced by the legendary Martin Scorsese himself, this 1920s-based crime series was released back in 2010 and made a big impact on audiences with its fascinating focus on prohibition America. Steve Buscemi excels in his award-winning role as the half-gangster, half-politician Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson who uses his influential power to get things his own way. However he doesn’t bank on being confronted by rival gangsters and even members of his own family!

Buscemi is aided by the exceptional ensemble cast of film and television stars which include Kelly McDonald, Michael Shannon and Michael K. Williams while Liverpool’s own Stephen Graham sports a top-notch accent in his portrayal of a young Al Capone.

The show is also beautifully crafted with its authentic production design and use of jazzy music but doesn’t hold back on its violence which can be gruesome at times (as has been the case with many HBO programmes!).

Boardwalk is already halfway into its fourth season (and has been commissioned for a 5th!) with UK viewers having to wait till the end of October for it to arrive on Sky Atlantic! No fair!

3. HOMELAND

HBO’s post 9/11 series has already made a splash on both sides of the Atlantic with its intriguing look at terrorism in America with the third season already premiering recently.

British actor Damian Lewis is instrumental in his role as troubled militant convert Nicholas Brody but talented co-star Claire Danes dominates with her double Emmy award-winning performance as bi-polar suffering intelligence analyst Carrie Matheson, a female character with plenty of fight and ambition and one who isn’t affected by relationships or sex!

Plenty of twists and turns are incorporated into the series as the plot thickens with every episode and enables you to feel as though something big is about to happen.

It also manages to highlight the ongoing struggles with the war on terror without being too sensitive which is probably why President Obama rates it so highly! Channel 4 is the place to catch it right now!

4. MAD MEN

Backed by the same studio as Breaking Bad, this excellent show has produced six series of riveting television and is set to conclude in 2014.

Set in the 1960s, it focuses on the hard-drinking anti-hero Don Draper (played by a mesmerising Jon Hamm) as he deals with the pressures of working as creative director of the Sterling Cooper office as well as putting up with the many people in his life.

The ensemble all do their part to support their leading actor though it is the girls who stand out as Elizabeth Moss, January Jones and Christina Hendricks produce effective performances.

Adored by many for its authentic approach (as well as winning many Emmy awards), the series has also touched upon many themes including sexism, racism and social identity as part of the changing values of 60s America but has even got away with plugging product placement throughout the narrative!

5. SONS OF ANARCHY

Fans of the classic crime series The Shield can take pride in enjoying the equally-captivating Sons of Anarchy which makes you born to be wild.

Influenced in some way by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it depicts the activities of an outlaw motorbike gang led by Charlie Hunnam (the future Christian Grey) as leading protagonist Jax Teller who is forced to question his own social identity as well as clashing with other characters including his stepfather (Ron ‘Hellboy’ Perlman).

The series takes the ‘Easy Rider’ approach of showing the outlaw spirit that dominates many American subcultures but also goes overboard with its bloody violence. However each character is created with precision and distinction and it is a credit to the actors and writers that it has become widely regarded by emerging fans.

Once again, it should be pointed out that this is another show that won’t be on our screens for long as it reaches its dramatic conclusion next year!