The TV Fanatic staff has picked their best drama candidates for 2014.
This list is in alphabetical order and does not designate the best by order of the slideshow.
The 100 had a rocky start to its freshman run, but improved dramatically as the show progressed. The second has season has been like a different show. Sure, we still have the group mostly apart, but the storytelling is up there with some of the best shows that have been on the air. The cast put in solid performances week to week. The best thing the show did was dropping the love triangle. It was only present in the beginning because this is a CW show and it had to fit into the CW DNA to get past the pilot stage. It feels like one of the shows you would get on cable! -- Paul Dailly
The Affair is a riveting drama had me hooked with its tale of Noah and Allison (oddly enough, names of the characters in The Notebook...), their personal lives and the effects the affair has on them. But what really sets it apart is the two different perspectives of the affair. The story is told from both the viewpoints of Noah and Allison, offering similar yet different experiences as the character tale unfolds. It's such a creative endeavor brought to life with a solid cast and writing that really just sucks you right into the show. -- Sean McKenna
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of Shield got off to a bit of a slow start, but it hit the ground running in 2014 and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Finding out Ward was a double agent and the show's tie in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier became the turning point of the series. Delving into the mysteries surrounding Skye's father and background, the alien text consuming Coulson, and the obelisk has kept me on the edge of my seat each week in a way no other drama has this year. -- Stacy Glanzman
While fighting for their homeland, the Soviet Union, spies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings masquerade as Americans. Our protaganists constantly battle their own desires and dreams for their future as Americans and Soviets, but when their eldest daughter starts to question everything so soon after another family is murdered in cold blood, tensions rise. Is love of country or love of family more important? Can they choose? The pacing, acting and storytelling on the Americans keeps us on our toes, constantly wondering what is best for all sides. It's a world filled with grey areas and every avenue is riveting. -- Carissa Pavlica
When we talk about best dramas, the CW doesn't usually come to mind. Neither do shows based on comic books. Which is unfortunate, because Arrow is one of the best dramas on television right now. It's about more than Stephen Amell's shirtless allure. This is a show that's fearless, that allows main characters to fail, that allows disasters and their consequences to happen. Arrow manages to keep us riveted without needlessly dragging out storylines for suspense. The show isn't afraid to shake things up or raise the stakes, and we are always on our toes knowing that no character is ever safe from harm. Team Arrow -- Oliver, Diggle and Felicity -- keeps our hearts in the game, as we care about these people. Lastly, we can't talk about Arrow without talking about the beauty of the fight sequences; the show's stunt coordination is simply unmatched on TV right now. -- Robin Harry
Last season, The Bridge was a suspenseful ride, but the two aimless episodes between the conclusion of the first season and the actual season finale had me wondering where the show would go once the bad guy was put away. What I didn’t anticipate was that the show’s rich characters and sense of place were more than enough to carry the show regardless of the villain (and Fausto Galvan was more than capable of filling the void). What’s more, the second season nicely wove the aftermath of the David Tate plot along with the disparate side plots into a larger picture. The show had a lot going for it: A well-paced plot, topicaliy, and the most underrated ensemble on TV. -- Orrin Konheim