The general population has busy lives that mostly consist of careers and family. However, during down time, we like to unwind and catch a good TV show. Luckily, there’s a vast amount of talented actors, directors, writers and producers, that make our lives entertaining by delivering our favorite shows. Whether you like drama, comedy or crime, there’s something out there for everyone. While much of these shows are fiction, some of the plots are inspired by real-life events or experiences that have happened or could possibly happen. Networks such as ABC, CBS and NBC have showcased some of the most popular TV shows. Other networks also include HBO and AMC.
Shows such as Orange is the New Black and Empire have seen extreme success since they first premiered. The reasoning could possibly be the drama surrounding these shows. Orange is the New Black centers around a women’s prison and experiences that inmates encounter, while Empire centers around the music industry. Some of the newly aired shows, such as Lucifer, have also seen immediate popularity. If you’re not much of a TV person or are curious about the popular TV shows out there, then this is the place to be. Let’s check out the most loved TV shows of 2016.
15 American Crime
The show first debuted in 2015 on ABC starring Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, Regina King and many others. The series focuses on privilege, accountability, trauma and drugs. A high school boy was allegedly sexually assaulted at a party by fellow students. His mother works tirelessly to solve this crime and get justice for her son. Many people can relate to real-life scenarios that happen throughout the series. American Crime was the recipient of 10 Primetime Emmy Award nominations. The nominations include Movie or a Dramatic Special, Outstanding Limited Series, and Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. The series was renewed for season 3 by ABC.
14 Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black is a hit Netflix series that portrays the lives of incarcerated women. Most of the show’s focus is on Piper Chapman, who was sentenced to spend 15 months in prison. Her seemingly perfect life was interrupted and she had to leave behind her family, friends, and her fiancé. Once Chapman was officially an inmate, she had to learn how to transition from being an upper middle-class woman to living the prison life. While in prison, she ran into her ex-girlfriend, Alex Vause, whom she routinely blamed for being locked up in the first place. The series is based on a true story written by Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. OITNB isn’t only focused on Piper Chapman, it’s also focused on the lives of the other prison inmates and what happens inside of prison. Viewers have been able to see corruption, drug smuggling, abuse by correction officers, and other dark experiences. Many viewers of OITNB binge-watch the series almost as soon as the seasons are released each Summer. Its first season was nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards while the second season gained four Emmy nominations.
13 The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Based on a true story, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story centers around the infamous O.J. Simpson case. It is also based on the book titled The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, written by Jeffrey Toobin. The acclaimed TV series won nine out of 22 Primetime Emmy Award nominations which includes Outstanding Limited Series. The cast includes Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta and Courtney B. Vance, among many others. The series delves into what went on behind the scenes during the trial on both sides of the fence. Cuba Gooding Jr. is an Oscar-winning actor known for his roles in Jerry Maguire, Boyz ‘N the Hood and American Gangster. He also starred in Fighting Temptations alongside Beyoncé and Norbit alongside Eddie Murphy.
12 Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones takes you on a journey based on a series of fantasy novels. The filming is based in multiple locations including the United States, United Kingdom and Croatia. Its first USA season premiered in the Spring of 2011 and was renewed for its seventh season. The cast includes Emilia Clarke, Richard Madden, Sophie Turner, Sean Bean and Lena Headey. The Game of Thrones show wound up caught in the middle of one of its cast member’s custody battles. Lena Headey has joint custody of her son with Peter Loughran. Headey has been able to take their son with her while filming in the U.K. until recently when the series was renewed for its seventh season. Loughran is convinced that having their son in the U.K. restricts the child. Bernadette Caulfield, who is the show’s executive producer wrote a short letter about Headey’s availability. She wrote, “This is a notification to confirm that you must be available in November and December 2016 for filming and throughout January 2017 for possible additional scenes and pick-ups. As you are well-aware, we are shooting through February 2017. Hopefully, you will not be required past January 31.”
Veep is a comedy series that focuses on the political arena. The first show debuted in 2012 on HBO. Veep is nearly a reminder of the recent presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In the show, Seline Meyer becomes president of the United States. Meyer’s campaign is followed throughout the series as she tries to make history. The cast includes Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matt Walsh, Anna Chlumsky and Reid Scott. In a Deadline interview with David Mandel, he spoke out about his thoughts regarding the season 5 finale and what’s in store for season 6. He said, “One of the things I am really excited about is, much in the way of the President of the United States when she became president, we are now going to sort of check out what it’s like for her to be the former president of the United States—and not perhaps a well-regarded former President of the United States.” Tony Hale explained what’s about to happen in season 6 in an interview with TVLine. He said, “It’s post-presidency. With that comes a lot of breaking down and anxiety for Selina & Co. It’s kind of opening up a whole new world of 'What do these people do after they were president of the United States?'”
10 The Walking Dead
Created by Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead is based on a world that has been taken over by zombies which are also referred to as “walkers.” Deputy Rick Grimes develops a group of survivors that must acclimate to living in a post-apocalyptic world. There are other opposing survivor groups who are surprisingly more dangerous than the actual zombies. The walkers are a threat to the humans as they go out of their way to cause some form of injury, such as a scratch or bite, to transform the humans into walkers themselves. The first season of The Walking Dead debuted in 2010 with most its filming taking place in Atlanta. Viewers can catch episodes of the series on AMC and it was renewed for its eighth season (which is scheduled to air in the later part of 2017). The cast includes Josh McDermitt, Melissa McBride, Andrew Lincoln and Laurie Holden. In an interview with Pop Sugar, McDermitt revealed his thoughts on Abraham’s death. He said, “It’s devastating, not just for him, but the entire crew. We didn’t just lose Abraham… we lost Glenn as well. The whole group had been separated during season four, and Glenn was kind of the first person within Rick’s group to vouch for Eugene and his group, so I think losing both of them is just devastating.”
Lucifer, as the name implies, is based on the Devil who was tired of being the king in Hell. He left behind is loyal subjects to start a new life in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, Lucifer began operating a piano bar along with his associate Mazikeen (aka Maze). Once he found out that a person who was murdered at his club was a celebrity he helped, he decided to assist the LAPD to find the killer. Once the killer is caught, Lucifer’s plan is to induce his own punishment upon them. The cast includes Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro, Lesley-Ann Brandt and Rachael Harris. Recently, Fox renewed the show for another 22 episodes. In the wake of the presidential election, the show allegedly mocked Donald Trump as someone who would be spending an eternity in Hell. One of the lines used by the character of Lucifer was, “So, we can…you know, talk about Caligula, Stalin, Trump. I mean, I know he’s not dead, but he’s definitely going.”
8 Modern Family
The hit ABC TV series first debuted in 2009 as a show that follows a suburban, Los Angeles family. Throughout the show, the characters portray themselves as doing a documentary when certain situations arise. The acclaimed series won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In 2011, Modern Family received the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series. The family in this show does not portray the perfect life with the white picket fence. In fact, the series portrays a combination of step-parent, same-sex, and nuclear. The cast includes Sofia Vergara, Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Pop Star Britney Spears is an enthusiastic fan of the show. In a post on Instagram, she wrote, “Holy s***! Modern Family’s on!!!” when the new season aired September 21.
Fox’s Empire first aired in January 2015. The show was an immediate success as it focuses on Empire Entertainment, the music industry, and the Lyon family. It shows the audience that the music industry is not all glitz and glam all the time and power and fame come with a lot of drama. Terrence Howard, who plays Lucious Lyon, went from being a drug dealer to running a successful record label which he named Empire Entertainment. However, his life winds up engulfed in a world full of drama as his past comes back to bite him. Throughout the show, Lucious plans on having one of his sons take over Empire, but it causes them to turn on each other. Cookie Lyon who is played by Taraji P. Henson is Lucius’ ex-wife who has no filter. She spent 17 years in prison for drug charges and is back to take what she believes she is entitled to. In an interview with Variety, Henson revealed what she believes is the most difficult part about playing Cookie. She said, “You’re walking down the street and they’re just like, ‘Hey Cookie’—Maybe I didn’t want the world to see how I looked today, maybe I wore these sweats yesterday. It was fine until Cookie came, I was okay under the radar, I could go to Target. I never saw that coming. I go from this normal life to having to find a house on a private gated road, it’s crazy.”
6 Silicon Valley
The HBO series debuted in 2015, and it spotlights six professional men who launch their own startup company. The show has received many accolades including SXSW Audience Award, 5th Critics Choice Television Awards, and Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Art Direction for a Contemporary Program. The cast includes Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr and Zach Woods. Vice.com hailed Silicon Valley as the most realistic show on TV. As quoted from Vice.com, “Silicon Valley’s staff has gone above and beyond in creating a world that feels like the real Silicon Valley, from major plot points to lines of code that appear on the show for just a second.”
5 The Blacklist
The NBC series first premiered in September 2013, with episodes that are also on Netflix. It focuses on a high-profile criminal, Red Reddington (James Spader), who was listed as one of the most dangerous criminals in the world on the FBI list. When the show first started, Red was adamant about working closely with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). While working with the FBI as an informant, he is granted immunity from prosecution in exchange. Throughout the show, Red’s enormous interest in Keen starts to look like he may be her father. In a recent episode, Red may have revealed that he is Keen’s father during a battle with Kirk in the mid-season finale. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, The Blacklist producer Jon Bokenkamp was asked about the subliminal meanings in the finale. Bokenkamp said, “Well, he did say he was her father and he sounded like he meant it. That said, he was also heavily drugged with god knows what. I’ll let you decide.”
4 Grey’s Anatomy
This show highlights life at the hospital with interns and residents as they gradually grow into doctors. The main character is Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) who is the daughter of Ellis Grey. After she gets accepted into the Seattle Grace Hospital residency program, she gains her experience by working alongside Izzie Stevens, Cristina Yang and Alex Karev. Each of the staff must manage their stressful work lives with their personal lives outside of the hospital. The show was created by Shonda Rhimes who said, “I was obsessed with the surgery channels. My sisters and I would call each other up and talk about operations we’d seen on the Discovery Channel. There’s something fascinating about the medical world. You see things you’d never imagine, like the fact that doctors talk about their boyfriends or their day while they’re cutting somebody open.” Former cast member, Patrick Dempsey, spoke out about leaving the show. Dempsey said, “It had been long enough. It was time for me to move on with other things and other interests. I probably should have moved on a couple of years earlier. I stayed a bit longer than I should have.”
3 Person of Interest
This CBS series is a crime drama that began airing in September, 2011, and ended with its last show June 21, 2016. Arstechnica.com labeled it as “One of the best shows about spy tech ever made.” The series finale ended with the death of one of the main characters. In an interview with Deadline, executive producers Greg Plageman and Jonah Nolan revealed their reasoning for having Reese’s death in the show’s plot. Plageman said, “It seemed to spring organically from the sacrificial nature of what Reese was doing. It felt right in terms of that relationship from the very beginning. He continued on to say, “You almost knew at some point in time that sort of sacrifice was going to be required in order for them to ultimately defeat Samaritan and for one to allow the other to go on.”
2 Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
The NBC series gives you insight on the legal system, policing, and sometimes, experiences that were inspired from the headlines. Law and Order first debuted in September, 1999 and has featured many celebrity guest stars. SVU has received many nominations and awards such as the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2006. A recent scheduled episode which centered around the presidential win for Donald Trump was removed from the schedule by NBC. Earlier in November, Wyclef Jean made a guest appearance as the CEO of a record label as part of the season finale. He played the character of Vincent Love “whose new artist got into a fight with a transgender woman at a party and now the woman’s in a coma.”
1 New Girl
The show centers around Jess who is a teacher that relocated to live in a Los Angeles loft with three guys. The audience sees that the characters have situations regarding career decisions and relationships. The cast includes Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone and Damon Wayans Jr. The main character, Deschanel, is an acclaimed actress who has been nominated for Golden Globes, Emmys and Grammy Awards. She is also the winner of the Critics’ Choice Award. She is known for appearing in Elf, 500 Days of Summer and The Happening. She also played Sarah Jessica Parker's best friend in Failure to Launch. Her goofy and funny persona has allowed her to dominate the small screen and an Emmy Award nomination in 2012 for New Girl.