While there’s always been a ton of spy/espionage movies, there really haven’t been too many TV series. The one’s that have aired though, have generally been high quality.
So, we present the ALL-TIME BEST 10 SPY TV SHOWS!
10. La Femme Nikita (1997-2001)
La Femme Nikita, based on the film of the same name, was a massive hit for USA Network. It combined action, suspense, and drama in one incredibly sexy package. The show was also heavily promoted on WWE Raw, which aired on USA at the same time. Periodically, wrestlers would even appear on the show.
9. MacGyver (1985-1992)
MacGyver was easily the coolest show of the 80’s. The man could make a bomb out of a pack of toothpicks and a copy of Jingle All the Way. I guess that wouldn’t be too tough with the latter. I still remember Macgyver disarming an explosive device with a pair of hockey tickets. This show was unreal. Bear Grylls has nothing on this dude.
8. Archer (2009-Present)
One of the more unique shows of the last decade, Archer is an animated comedy/action series where even world-class spies are not above adolescent tomfoolery. The show is really twisted, but also hilarious at the same time. While it is animated, it’s definitely not for kids.
7. Get Smart (1965-1970)
One of the few comedy spy shows to truly hit the mark, Get Smart, was an incredibly fun show. You even start off with what has to be the best opening in TV history. The show was kind of a hybrid of comedy and action. I think most viewers will find something to enjoy.
6. The Americans (2013-Present)
Only two seasons in, but The Americans appears to be a major hit. Behind amazing performances and unrelenting tension, the show is a must-watch for any fan of the genre. I really like that the show explores the Russian side of the Cold War, as well as a time in history (the 1980’s) that is not often covered by spy shows and movies.
5. Burn Notice (2007-2013)
A terrifically-written show, with equal parts brain and heart, that really put USA Network back on the map. Jeffrey Donovan plays burnt spy, Michael Weston, who spends his days and nights helping out the citizens of Miami. Think Predator 2, without the whole merciless killing thing. When he’s not busy solving Miami’s problems, he’s trying to track down the people who ended his career as a spy. The supporting cast is also excellent, led by Bruce Campbell.
4. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968)
This was basically a serious version of Get Smart. The whole idea of American and Russian agents teaming up was pretty revolutionary for its time. Most though, will remember this one for its amazing gadgets. Not surprisingly, James Bond creator Ian Fleming, was a consultant on the show.
3. 24 (2001-Present)
24 had a crazy original premise and executed it to perfection. No spoilers here, but we learned in the first season that unexpected twists and turns are always lurking. Jack Bauer is also one of the most interesting characters in modern TV, and his co-stars are just as intriguing. 24 got a little predictable later in its run, but the early seasons were about as exciting as TV gets.
2. Mission: Impossible (1966-1973)
Before Tom Cruise was blowing up aquariums and helicopters, there was indeed a Mission: Impossible TV series…and it was quite dissimilar from the films decades later. Instead of the non-stop explosions and chase scenes, you had taut intrigue and drama. I really can’t think of a TV show that had a more intricate plot than Mission: Impossible. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out immediately.
1. Homeland (2011-Present)
Homeland is frankly, one of the most well-written shows on TV. While it doesn’t have the relentless action of 24 and the like, it more than makes up for it with impeccable character development and spot-on dialogue. Claire Danes, as Carrie Mathison, is masterful, balancing morality and duty in a world of ambiguity. Mandy Patinkin is pretty amazing as well. I still can’t believe he was Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.
Tomorrow, for Music Wednesday, the ALL-TIME BEST 10 EAGLES SONGS!
So, come down from your freaking fences!