25 Shows to Binge If You Love New York

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NEW YORK. Yas. Yas. Yas! The city that never sleeps is worth staying up for, especially to binge the most stellar comedies and dramas ever televised.

We can’t get enough of shows set in New York because of the City’s culture, fashion, restaurants, and hustle; not to mention the comedic timing and badass attitude of its talented stars.

And when it comes to television’s most epic series, nobody plays the leading lady quite like New York City herself.

1. Broad City

BFFs and diehard New Yorkers, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glaser make each of their days together wild adventures, under the influence of whatever drugs they’re carrying and sexual boundaries they’re crossing.

Created by the hilarious Jewish millennials themselves and Executive Produced by Amy Poehler, Broad City is one of the freshest comedies on TV and will take you around the City like no other show on this list.

Typically short on cash, the girls rarely hail cabs or grab an uber. When Ilana and Abbi need to get somewhere, they hop on CitiBikes, board the bus, strap on rollerblades, and most frequently, ride the subway.

But it's their destinations that are real Manhattan magic. The besties venture to spots so random and wild, even the most devout New Yorker may have yet to discover where the hell they end up.

Like when when Abbi leads Ilana down a dark Lower East Side alleyway to a Prohibition-era Back Room speakeasy. Or when Ilana and her mom go to Chinatown for purse knock-offs and end up crawling through an underground tunnel to score "the good bags."

And don't even get me started on the amazing celeb cameos by everyone from Seth Rogan and RuPaul to Susie Essman, Kelly Ripa, and the girls' holiest of heroes, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

2. The Deuce

New York City in the 70s was a dirtier, seedier time, particularly in the area known as The Deuce. The streets are littered with hookers and their pimps, porno theaters and prostitutes. Cops who both enforce the law break it. While mobsters make killer moves, climbing into bed with club owners for their cut of the nightlife.

Maggie Gillenthal nails her role as working girl Candy, trying to get off the streets by learning to direct adult movies. Heartthrob James Franco plays not one, but twin brothers each angling for their piece of the pie. HBO already ordered a second season of this titillating drama, so now’s your chance to binge Season 1!

3. Nurse Jackie

Edie Falco is drug-addicted nurse, Jackie Peyton, who struggles to balance the demands of her stressful job at a New York City hospital with an endless array of personal dramas.

Whether she’s on duty at All Saints Hospital handling whatever lunatics come off the City streets, at home with her family, or scoring pills from her lover, you’ll wonder how Jackie tackles each day to get to the next...until you get to know her.

Be warned, once you start binging Nurse Jackie, you may need medical assistance to peel you away from your TV.

4. Master of None

Comic Aziz Ansari stars in his own series as Dev Shah, a 30-year-old actor, struggling to make it in New York while juggling romantic pursuits and cultural, sometimes racist experiences. This series is worth binging not only for the laughs but for the crazy cuisine Dev is constantly sampling all over the City.

Don’t want to take my word for it? The first season of Master of None holds an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes! Season 2 is streaming on Netflix, and Ansari nabbed a 2018 Golden Globe for best actor in a television series. I mean really, what more do you need?

5. Mad About You

Documentary filmmaker, Paul Buchman and public relations specialist, Jamie Buchman are newlyweds living in Greenwich Village, near NYU.

The couple’s relationship is organic, adorable and charming, as they navigate newly married life through comedic situations that constantly challenge their relationship, but cannot derail their chemistry.

Good news for those of you missing Paul and Jamie...We hear whispers of a revival in the works at Sony Pictures Television Studios, wherein The Buchmans are suffering from empty nest syndrome as their daughter Mabel, born 20 years ago(!), is off to college.

6. Billions

U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades goes after hedge fund king, Bobby "Axe" Axelrod in a battle between two powerful New Yorkers, both egomaniac a**holes with both their wives caught in the middle. Yet my money's on you to find someone to root for on either side of the rivalry.

Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis are brilliant adversaries who have just been gifted a 3rd season by Showtime. Binge the first two seasons and you’ll wonder what took you so long to find this incredibly intense drama, loosely based on a true story.

Billions exposes a world of astronomical New York opulence, greed, risk, reward, and it’s all about the Benjamins baby.

7. Orange Is the New Black

Taylor Schilling is Piper Chapman, an Upper Middle class New Yorker convicted of a decade old crime of transporting drug money to an ex-girlfriend, Alex.

When she’s sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a women’s prison in Upstate New York, Piper is reunited with her ex who’s to blame for Piper’s arrest.

Stuck behind bars, Piper must learn how to survive not only with Alex, but among a group of eccentric, crazy, damaged inmates, who may not be that different from her after all.

8. Ugly Betty

Twenty-two-year old Betty Suarez scores a job at high fashion magazine Mode in Midtown Manhattan, as the assistant to the Editor-in-Chief, Daniel Meade. Betty's hired by Daniel's father because he knows she's the one woman in New York with whom his son won't sleep!

Executive Produced by Selma Hayek, Ugly Betty stands out as the first comedy series to star a Mexican American woman, as she catches her stride among the bustling, high fashion streets of New York City.

Spoiler alert: ”Ugly” Betty gets more attractive as the series progresses, thanks to the guidance/bullying of Wilhelmina Slater, played by Vanessa Williams, one of TV's greatest villains of all time.

9. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Ellie Kemper is Kimmy Schmidt, rescued from an underground bunker in Indiana where she was unknowingly held hostage for 15 years.

Kimmy moves to New York seeking a normal life and quickly befriends flamboyantly gay, African American roommate Titus. She then gets a job as a babysitter for Jacqueline Voorhees, the insane wife of a billionaire, played hilariously by Jane Krakowski.

Though the New York City streets are no place for clueless Kimmy, her spirit cannot be shattered, as she’s determined to make the best of her fresh start, adapting to the Mecca that is New York City.

10. 2 Broke Girls

Max and Caroline are waitresses at a diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The pair couldn’t be more different - Caroline was raised as the daughter of a billionaire, but lost every penny to her father’s ponzi scheme, while Max has always been poor - but they soon become comedic besties.

The real laughs, however, come from the misfits working with them - Han Lee, their super-short Asian boss, Oleg the perverted Ukrainian cook, Earl, the 75-year-old stoner cashier, and repeat customer, Sophie, a Polish immigrant whose smoldering sexuality creates the perfect setups for Oleg’s R-rated punch lines.

Created by Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings, 2 Broke Girls consistently serves up some of the most clever and dirty jokes on network TV.

11. Million Dollar Listing New York

Million Dollar Listing New York showcases some of the most luxurious apartments, condos and developments in Manhattan, but it’s the relentless real estate agents who sell the dream that make this series well worth watching.

Fredrik “Listings machine" Eklund, Ryan "Expansion always in all ways” Serhant, and ‘Who-cares-what-his-tagline-is-just-look-at-his-washboard-abs,’ model-turned-agent, Steve Gold fight for listings as they play to win the high stakes Manhattan real estate game.

Though you have to be in it to win it, potential buyers know better than to come out to play unless they have some seriously big bucks. Millions, if not billions of bucks. It’s real estate porn at its best... and the boys ain’t bad to look at either.

12. Will & Grace

This "Must See TV" classic focuses on the relationship between best friends Will Truman, a gay lawyer, and Grace Adler, an interior straight designer, who live together at 155 Riverside Drive.

Their friends, Karen Walker, an alcoholic socialite, and Jack McFarland, a flamboyantly gay actor, not only add to the show’s laughs, but also helped the series break ground for the LGBT community.

And just when you thought it was over, NBC revived the sitcom a decade after its initial run for a 9th season with a tenth already in the works.

13. Gossip Girl

Upper East Side teenage socialites - blonde, beautiful, Serena Van Der Woodsen and her brown haired bestie, Blair Waldorf - juggle their two suitors, Serena’s boyfriend Nate Archibald and Blair’s boy-toy, Chuck Bass.

That is until poor Brooklyn lonely boy, Dan Humphrey catches Serena’s attention. The deliciously addictive ingredient of this show? No secret is safe from the anonymous blogger, “Gossip Girl,” who sees and reveals everything. “XOXO, Gossip Girl.”

14. 30 Rock

Tina Fey stars as Liz Lemon, head writer and showrunner of the NBC sketch comedy series ‘TGS with Tracy Jordan,’ filmed in Studio 6H in 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Lemon supervises a crazy handful of cast and crew including star Jenna Maroney, while working with difficult network executive Jack Donaghy.

Though never a ratings juggernaut, 30 Rock was nominated for 103 Emmys over the course of its run and is worth binging for Fey’s comedic genius, along with a little help from her friends - Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and Jane Krakowski.

15. Real Housewives of New York

The most entertaining of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise continues to outdo itself with a 9th season so entertaining, you may laugh so hard you’ll pee your pants.

Credit Bethenny, Carole, and Dorinda, who are intelligent and hilarious, allowing Tinsley, Sonja, Luann and Ramona the freedom to just be themselves. You don’t need to adore every New York housewife, though you can’t help but like one or two of them, especially when they’ve had a few cocktails.

Quite certain reality shows aren’t your cup of tea? Check out the New Yorkers on their legendary trip to Mexico and then tell me there’s nothing here worth watching. Love ‘em or love to hate ‘em, these East Coast ball busters know how to be real and have a really f#*king good time!

16. Suits

The smokin’ hot Gabriel Macht plays Harvey Specter, who hires law associate Mike Ross, only to discover the incredibly talented lawyer never actually attended law school.

Come to this series for the nail-biting plot of Harvey and Mike closing cases while hiding Mike's dirty, not so little secret. Stay for the evolving romance between Mike and paralegal Rachel Zane — played by actress Meghan Markel, Prince Harry’s future bride.

17. Girls

Leah Dunham is Hannah, an aspiring writer, who, along with her friend Marnie and her cousins, Jessa and Shoshanna explore life and love in New York City through anything but rose colored glasses.

Controversial from the start for everything from Hannah's body-shaming-proof nudity to Marnie's public restroom masturbation, Girls ignored the naysayers and powered forward. The result? Six seasons of watching the Girls mature into women, with equal parts tears and laughter, struggle and triumph, heart and soul.

18. How I Met Your Mother

Ted Mosby sits down with his kids to tell them the story of how he met their mother, in voice over by Bob Saget. Through memories and flashbacks of his friends Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney, he recounts their crazy days and nights in Manhattan.

Their City struggle is real as Marshall and Lily are traumatized by "the cockamouse" in their apartment on the Upper West Side and the gang’s local bar, MacLarens, where Ted first meets and falls in love with Robin, was inspired by midtown pub, McGee’s on West 55th Street.

Binge all 9 seasons and you'll be hansomely rewarded, with the moment of Ted's final encounter with - and big series reveal of - "the one."

19. NYPD Blue

Detectives from New York City’s 15th police squad investigate brutal homicides within their precinct. Dennis Franz is alcoholic hothead detective, Andy Sipowicz, who relies on his partners - played brilliantly by Jimmy Smits, Rick Schroder, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar to keep him from losing his cool and his job.

NYPD Blue goes down as one of the best cop shows on TV and until Grey’s Anatomy surpassed it in 2016, was ABC's longest running drama series in history. Even more incentive to binge Blue - the show's controversial nudity of its male and female stars, particularly for scenes featuring their buck-naked buttocks.

It's some seriously sexy primetime skin...if you're into that sorta thing.

20. Mad Men

John Hamm is Don Draper, the complicated creative director of a New York ad firm where he and the rest of the “Mad Men,” advertisers working on Madison Avenue, drink during the day and may or may not go home to their families at night.

Initially at Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue and later at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in the Time-Life Building on Sixth Avenue, Don comes up with campaigns that don't just mesmorize clients, they win accounts.

He seduces Jaguar with, "At last, something beautiful you can own"; Smokes the competition at Lucky Stike with, "It's toasted!"; And dazzles Coca-Cola by saying, "He'd like to buy the world a Coke."

This riveting drama, set primarily in the 1960s, features an abundance of historically accurate sexism, misogony and style, decorated with truly iconic locations from the Golden Age of New York City.

21. Seinfeld

Set primarily in stand up comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment building on the Upper West Side and aroud the corner at the coffee shop, life with Jerry and his three neurotic friends, George, Elaine and Kramer is always full of surprises.

Whether you aim to be “The Master of Your Domain,” date a woman with “Shiksappeal” or without “Man Hands,” avoid “Shrinkage” or hate “The Pop In,” “Yada Yada Yada”... Each episode of this show about nothing is an absolutely hilarious, very special something.

22. The Sopranos

James Gandolfini is North Jersey “waste management consultant“ and mob boss, Tony Soprano. After blacking out, Tony sees a psychiatrist, but must keep his therapy a secret from the Mob.

No doubt he needs all the help he can get managing his aging mother, who's so old she's igniting her kitchen on fire, his teenage daughter, Meadow who repeatedly sets off the alarm trying to sneak back into the house, and his paranoid Uncle Junior who's likely trying to kill his dear nephew.

Of course there's also the constant tension between Soprano and his rightfully jealous wife, Carmela. Tony sees not one, but many gumars on the side, who meet his sexual needs by doing things no Mobster would do with his wife. After all, "That's the mouth she kisses our kids goodnight with!"

Tony’s Jersey territory often leads him and his crew to ‘taking care of business’ in the City, earning The Sopranos an Emmy-award winning spot on this Best of New York list.

23. Friends

Six 20-something New Yorkers - Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe - bond while fumbling, crying, and laughing their way through an arsenal of careers, romances and adventures.

It's all about the City as the gang hangs out in one of three places; At Soho coffeehouse, Central Perk where Rachel is a (very bad) waitress, over at Monica's West Village apartment to poke that naked guy, or across the hall at Joey and Chandler's to play their invention, "Fireball."

Of course, it isn't all fun and games, but when one of their own is in crisis - like when Monica loses Richard or when Joey's Dr. Drake Ramoray is killed off Days of Our Lives - the friends can always count on each other.

And you, the lucky viewer? You can count on episode after episode of one of the greatest ensemble comedies that spans an entire decade.

24. Sex and the City

Four fabulous New Yorkers, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda navigate their friendships, love lives and wild sexcapades, while Carrie ‘writes’ it all down in her Upper East Side brownstone for her newspaper column (it is the 90s!) “Sex and the City.”

This series may have aired years ago, but its organic female friendships and romantic ‘happily ever after’ possibilities stand the test of time. Nothing comes between Carrie and what might be the one great love of her life, New York.

'And she can't have nobody talking sh*t about her boyfriend!'

25. Rescue Me

Dennis Leary stars as Tommy Gavin, a veteran firefighter in the company of Engine 62, as he copes with the loss of hundreds of his ‘brothers’ and the stresses of his personal life in a post-9/11 world.

With celeb cameos by Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Tatum O’Neil and a hunky crew of firefighters, the series is not dark, deep, and heavy all the time.

Rescue Me has plenty of laughs and is one of the most outstanding dramas wherein New York City is not merely a location, but the indestructible star.


Contributor's note: Any of your favorite NYC shows not on this list? Tell it to me straight, what gems did I miss?

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