Ryan Murphy is without a doubt one of the most prolific showrunners of the modern generation. He's put together a number of hugely successful series, bringing audiences to the small screen in their millions and, in more recent years, securing a huge $300 million deal with the world's leading streaming service, Netflix.
With all of that in mind, it can be hard for some who are new to his material to sift through and decide on what is worth watching. Lucky for you, we've done the hard work, watched everything there is to watch, and given our top seven shows! Here's your essential viewing...
The brilliant 9-1-1 had been such a success through its first two seasons, that a spinoff titled 9-1-1: Lone Star was ordered by Fox, which premiered in January of this year (2020).
The original series follows the lives of first responders working in Los Angeles, including dispatchers, paramedics, police officers and firefighters. Audiences have seen some out-of-this-world scenarios take place throughout the series so far, including babies stuck in pipes and a bouncy house flying away in strong winds. They may sound unrealistic, but many of them are based in truth!
Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds and Kenneth Choi are all amongst the cast, with Connie Britton starring throughout Season 1, before taking a break in Season 2 and returning in a recurring role for Season 3.
6. Feud: Bette and Joan
There are a whole host of different celebrity feuds that Ryan Murphy and his team could have focused on in their debut season of Feud, but none would have been as entertaining or brilliant as that of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
Murphy was a huge fan of Davis since his earliest years, and had the opportunity to interview the actress in-person just months before her death in 1989. Despite agreeing to just a 20-minute chat, the conversation went on for four hours, and would eventually serve as inspiration for his characterisation of the Hollywood icon in Feud.
Not only exploring the real-life friction between the two titular stars, the series zones in on issues of sexism, ageism and misogyny in the entertainment industry. Whilst a second season was ordered and would focus on the relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, it was eventually scrapped. No new updates have been given since, but we wouldn't count this one as being put permanently on the shelf just yet...
5. American Horror Story
With a 10th season in the works, American Horror Story is still going mighty strong. It's been renewed right up to Season 13, and if the recent years are anything to go by, they're set to be some of the most entertaining of all time.
Last year (2019), we went back to the 1980s and enjoyed a slasher series that combined classic elements of some of the best horror movies, with modern twists and turns. Building a perfect atmosphere and tension to rival the best genre writers in the business, Murphy has shown he's capable of being consistent in his entertainment as his show goes through a plethora of evolution.
Whether you loved Glee or couldn't stand to hear the covers of classic hit songs all over the radio, the show had an undeniable impact on popular culture. Whilst tragedy and criminal activity has struck in recent years and left the series with a dark mark that's hard to disassociate, the work done by Murphy and the rest of the castmembers cannot go ignored.
With 121 episodes, it was one of the most beloved shows of its time, and even spawned the excellent reality series The Glee Project, which aimed to find talent from a bunch of auditioning everyday people. Whoever won the first and second season would be given a minimum seven-episode arc in the main show.
3. American Crime Story
Ryan Murphy decided he'd try to do something new with another anthology series, going down the criminal route with American Crime Story. He decided that the show would be a retelling of some of the most infamous criminal cases in American history, with episodes based in truth as well as having fictional elements woven throughout.
The first season was subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson, and would be based on the murder trial of O. J. Simpson. The second, subtitled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, explored the murder of the titular designer by spree killer Andrew Cunanan. A third season called Impeachment will look at the impeachment of former President of the United States, Bill Clinton.
There was another season in development that was based on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but FX announced in February 2019 that the production had been scrapped.
If you've not heard of Pose, then you've not been paying close enough attention! The show has been met with critical acclaim ever since it made its debut, thanks to the stunning performances put in by a stellar cast.
The series aims to give a realistic portrayal of 1980s-early 1990s New York City's African-American and Latino LGBTQ+ scene, all within the gender-nonconforming ballroom culture that we still see celebrated to this very day. Whilst the show is a lot of fun at times, it's also very good at tackling hugely important moments in history, such as the rise of HIV and AIDS, as well as the adversity that so many had to face during these times.
With a stunning cast that includes Billy Porter, Indya Moore, Mj Rodriguez, Evan Peters and Kate Mara, Pose is one of the most watchable shows of recent years.
Despite coming to an end over a decade ago, Nip/Tuck still remains the cherry on the cake for Ryan Murphy. Typically of Murphy's style, the show was camp and infectious, with charismatic personalities and addictive storytelling.
Nip/Tuck focused on a pair of longtime friends who practice plastic surgery, Dr. Sean McNamara and Dr. Christian Troy, played by Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon respectively. Though they're close companions, they go about their lives in completely different ways, with Dr. Sean a more reserved and compassionate soul, and Dr. Christian a playboy with a self-destructive personality.
The show's best moment came with a storyline that saw the rise of a serial slasher who terrorised Miami, known as The Carver. They were introduced in the second season before becoming the primary antagonist of Season 3, and their reveal is without a doubt one of the most compelling a television drama has ever produced.
If you've never had the chance to watch Nip/Tuck, be sure to check it out. It's a show that's managed to stand the test of time.
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