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Is The Bear the greatest FX show ever? We ranked the best FX has to offer

Where does your favorite FX show fall on the list?

A scene from The Bear.
IMDB

Now that Succession on HBO is over, TV critics and fans alike are starving for similar high-level, artistically enthralling television to sink their teeth into. Just a few weeks later, FX’s The Bear returned for its second season, and it’s done more than just fill that void. This comedy-drama about an emotionally traumatized chef working amongst his dead brother’s co-workers in a dive restaurant has become the hit of the summer.

The show gives us hope that there is still room for unique ideas rather than just tired reboots on our screens. It shouldn’t be shocking that FX has produced another great show, though. The FOX-affiliated cable network has been one of the true trailblazers in original programming for two decades now, fighting with peers such as AMC for supremacy during the age of the antihero. We’ve ranked the 10 best FX  shows ever to see whether The Bear comes out on top, or needs to get back in the kitchen and try again.

10. Archer (2009)

10. Archer
tv-ma
14 Seasons
Genre
Comedy, Action & Adventure, Animation
Stars
H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash
Created by
Adam Reed
Watch on Hulu

Adult animation is starting to really garner a lot more respect from critics and fans in TV circles, and Archer is one of the shows that deserves a lot of credit for this. The series is an anthology-style sitcom that critiques and analyzes the humor of workplace interactions through satirical takes on spies and the CIA. The animation looks like it comes straight from a comic strip in the Sunday morning newspaper of your local town, and the seething and striking humor will leave you wanting to binge more.

9. What We Do in the Shadows (2019)

9. What We Do in the Shadows
tv-ma
5 Seasons
Genre
Comedy
Stars
Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou
Created by
Jemaine Clement
Watch on Hulu

Originally based on the 2014 film directed by Taika Waititi, What We Do in the Shadows is successful because it understands what fans want out of a modern mockumentary. The series stands apart from shows like The Office or Abbott Elementary because of its unique vampire family at the center of the story, and the humorous and intelligent writing concerning supernatural events and how they would affect our everyday lives if they were real. The fifth season premiere is one of the most anticipated Hulu releases of July.

8. Snowfall (2017)

8. Snowfall
tv-ma
6 Seasons
Genre
Drama, Crime
Stars
Damson Idris, Carter Hudson, Sergio Peris-Mencheta
Created by
John Singleton, Eric Amadio, Dave Andron
Watch on Hulu

If you like shows such as The Wire on HBO, then Snowfall is a more modern and updated take on this crime show. Set in Los Angeles in the 1980s, the series is a rollercoaster of action and drama centering on the people who facilitated the crack cocaine epidemic during this time period. Criminals and cops alike are the main players in the game, yet we live for the human elements of the show centering it.

7. Pose (2018)

7. Pose
tv-ma
3 Seasons
Genre
Drama
Stars
Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Billy Porter
Created by
Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals
Watch on Hulu

Pride month isn’t the only time you should consider checking out this vital, rich LGBTQ+ show focusing on ball culture in New York during the 1980s. A record number of queer and transgender actors are in the cast of Pose, which will inspire you with its poignant reminder of the strength and triumphs of communities of people who society tried to leave behind. 

6. American Horror Story (2011)

6. American Horror Story
tv-ma
12 Seasons
Genre
Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Russell Tovey, Joe Mantello, Billie Lourd
Created by
Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
Watch on Hulu

Even though it’s most known for its large number of celebrity cameos through the years, this Ryan Murphy production is an all-time creative endeavor that uses the anthology format to enhance the horror genre beyond anything people thought imaginable on TV since maybe The Twilight Zone. Incredible actors such as Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, and Evan Peters have played roles in AHS through the years.

5. Atlanta (2016)

5. Atlanta
tv-ma
4 Seasons
Genre
Comedy, Drama
Stars
Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield
Created by
Donald Glover
Watch on Hulu

Donald Glover is a powerhouse in this dark comedy about the difficulties of traversing and succeeding in the world of hip hop music in Atlanta, Georgia. The sitcom is a daring and explosive exposé of the rigors that go into Black excellence, and audiences were impressed with the realistic and thoughtful humor incorporated into each storyline. 

4. Justified (2010)

4. Justified
tv-ma
6 Seasons
Genre
Crime, Drama
Stars
Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Joelle Carter
Created by
Graham Yost
Watch on Hulu

Timothy Olyphant is an authoritative presence in the fictional world of Kentucky depicted in Justified. Raylan Givens is an interesting, yet inspiring main character that makes audiences think about the ways law enforcement is used in small-town American cities. A miniseries continuation of the show titled Justified: City Primeval will premiere in July 2023 on FX and Hulu.

3. The Bear (2022)

3. The Bear
tv-ma
2 Seasons
Genre
Drama, Comedy
Stars
Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ayo Edebiri
Created by
Christopher Storer
Watch on Hulu

There obviously aren’t many drama or comedy series set in the culinary world, but this unique setting is only a fraction of the reason The Bear is quickly becoming one of the best shows in modern TV history. Jeremy Allen White’s performance as head chef Carmy Berzatto is nuanced and filled with both rage and compassion all at once. The series is profound because it takes different aspects of working in a kitchen, such as teamwork, purpose, togetherness, efficiency, and love, and makes a statement about each theme that goes far beyond whether a customer likes the new risotto on the menu. Bottle episodes, perfectly selected musical numbers, and montages that rival even shows like Better Call Saul make this series the current phenomenon on FX’s resume.

2. Sons of Anarchy (2008)

2. Sons of Anarchy
tv-ma
7 Seasons
Genre
Crime, Drama
Stars
Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Tommy Flanagan
Created by
Kurt Sutter
Watch on Hulu

Motorcycle clubs get a bad reputation for the crimes they commit and the havoc they wreck on the environments they infiltrate. Sons of Anarchy granted us a different lens to inspect these bad boys, giving credence to the brotherhood and love poured into biker culture all around the world. Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) will do whatever it takes to protect both his motorcycle and home families, and the way one must balance out the other is reminiscent of shows like The Sopranos. The excessive amount of violence may be a turnoff to some, so ensure you’re ready for stuff like tongues being ripped out and fingers being bitten off. 

1. The Shield (2002)

1. The Shield
tv-ma
7 Seasons
Genre
Crime, Drama, Action & Adventure
Stars
Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins
Created by
Shawn Ryan
Watch on Hulu

We are all well aware of the ways that some police officers can be corrupt and ironically unlawful, but The Shield was the first show to recognize this on-screen. Before FX’s greatest show became famous, most crime dramas were black and white in their efforts to depict cops against criminals. Blurring the line between the two created some incredible TV, with Vic Mackey serving as the conduit for this message. Mackey is a cop without a code, and his unbridled passion for serving the community in the way he saw most suitable offers a perspective on real-life police work that is more nuanced and truer to life than most cop shows that came before it. 

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Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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