Network: HBO
Air Dates: June 3, 2001 – August 21, 2005
Stars: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, James Cromwell, Freddy Rodriguez, Rachel Griffiths, Justina Machado, Jeremy Sisto, Mathew St. Patrick, Joanna Cassidy, Tim Maculan, Patricia Clarkson, Lili Taylor

Death is the great equalizer, but it’s also what separates Six Feet Under from other dramas. Centered on the survivors of a funeral director who dies accidentally in the pilot and leaves the Fisher family funeral home to his sons, the multi-layered series, created by American Beauty writer Alan Ball, explored familial conflicts as well as personal, religious, and philosophical perspectives on mortality.

Death was never distant, as each episode opened with someone’s expiration, bringing a new body and more questions into the lives of the grieving family members, who continued to converse with imagined versions of their deceased patriarch, hoping to sort out the great mystery of life.

Profoundly moving and resonant for anyone who will die someday—which, if you haven’t realized yet, means you—Six Feet Under is a must-watch before you kick the bucket. —JM