The 15 Best TV Shows on Basic Cable

When it comes to television, basic cable gets kind of a bad rap. While network shows draw in massive viewership and premium channels have greater leeway to develop smart, cinematic programming, all but the very best cable fare can get lost in the shuffle. But in an article for Salon, Matt Zoller Seitz extolls the virtues of AMC, claiming it could very well become the next HBO. His piece got us thinking about all of the other great shows on basic cable. Our list of the 15 best, culled through an informal Flavorpill staff poll, tackles everything from the obvious picks (Mad Men, The Daily Show) to cult-y favorites like No Reservations and The League.

Mad Men, AMC

What, you thought we weren’t going to list our hands-down favorite show of the past few years? Just in case you’ve been in a sensory-deprivation chamber since 2007, here’s the deal: No TV series right now is as compelling, well acted, smartly written, lushly art-directed, or beautifully shot as this drama about a ’60s ad man with a dark past and uncertain future.