Ten Of The Best US TV Shows

Top 10 List of Best TV Shows

In many of the best TV shows, the locations are just as integral to their success as casting, script and direction. For some fans, visiting these places becomes a form of pilgrimage, just as New Zealand saw a massive tourism boost after the Lord of the Rings films.
Here are what I consider ten of the greatest American tv shows of all time, and where they were filmed.

Twin Peaks

One of the most famous cult shows ever made, David Lynch’s masterpiece ran for only two seasons during the early nineties. Beginning with the murder of Laura Palmer, a resident of the town of Twin Peaks, a sprawling, sinister mystery unfolded. Twin Peaks was populated with delightfully weird characters, given some great dialogue to use. Most of the exterior shots were filmed around the state of Washington, especially Snoqualmie, a logging town with a majestic waterfall which featured in the show’s credits.

The Wire

Beyond any doubt the greatest police procedural of all time, The Wire follows the cops and criminals of Baltimore, Maryland, and the innocents caught up in their warfare. Tackling powerful themes such as political corruption; the failings of the educational system, and industrial decay, it was a heart-rending ode to wasted opportunity as much as a gripping thriller. The city streets are bleak and dangerous, adding to the sombre subject matter.

The Sopranos

A mob epic, The Sopranos followed Tony Soprano and his two families as they bickered, fought and loved over six seasons. Predominantly filmed in New Jersey, many of the show’s key locations feature on regular tours.

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad has been a white-knuckle thrill-ride from start to finish. A high-school chemistry teacher, bitter after years of mediocrity, grows to become a drug lord, before tumbling to earth with a bump. The show is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the wild desert landscapes encapsulate the emptiness at the heart of this twisted American Dream.


Sadly cancelled after three seasons, Deadwood was set in North Dakota, but it was filmed mainly in California. Critically-acclaimed, this study of the formation of American civilization at the time of Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane was just too caustic and impenetrable to attract many viewers.


Although the long-running comedy Cheers was filmed almost entirely on a film-set, the exteriors of the famous bar were the Bull & Finch pub in Boston. Fans of the show often pop in to see replicas of the set.

Mad Men

Due to its setting in the 60s, Mad Men very rarely uses exterior shots. Based on Madison Avenue, New York, the iconic skyline is frequently visible through skyscraper windows.

Northern Exposure

Like a wintery Twin Peaks, with it’s weird subplots and quirky characters, Northern Exposure was a gentle comedy drama, with bags of charm. Although the town of Cicely is fictional, it was based on a place called Talkeetna, and visitors to Alaska can often incorporate a tour into their itinerary for fans of the show.


A bit of a controversial one, as far as I’m concerned, since the final season was such a huge disappointment. Lost was mainly filmed on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii, and of all the places listed above, I think it’s the one most people would love to visit!

The Simpsons

At it’s peak, the greatest show ever made. The Simpsons live in the town of Springfield which doesn’t actually exist of course, but various clues in the series have indicated its possible location as one of the following states: California; Michigan; Oregon and Massachusetts.

About the Author

Rob is a complete and utter American TV show buff and likes nothing more than kicking back with an HBO box set and a massive packet of pretzels.

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