22. Sons Of Anarchy

Network: FX
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff, Mark Boone Junior, Theo Rossi, Kim Coates, Dayton Callie, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst

For most of its polarizing fourth season, Sons Of Anarchy was tense enough to cause viewers to bite through all ten fingernails. Wisely, showrunner Kurt Sutter brought the story back into its origins of Charming, avoiding any international exploits (a la last year’s uneven stretch of Ireland-set episodes) and meticulously imploding everybody’s favorite machine-gun-toting motorcycle gang, SAMCRO.

Introducing cocaine into the gang’s business regimen, Sons leader Clay (Ron Perlman) turned himself into a cancer of sorts for the group, a ballsy move on Sutter’s part that grew in seriousness once Clay, in an effort to protect past sins, tried having Jax’s (Charlie Hunnam) girl Tara (Maggie Siff) killed and beat Gemma’s (Katey Sagal) face into mural of bruises.

Up until the season finale, Sons Of Anarchy captivated us with its overpowering dread—you just knew that Clay was going to die for all he’d done wrong. But then he didn’t, thanks to an all-too-convenient reveal and a general, disappointing feeling of producers playing it safe. It’s a shame, too, because, aside from the letdown of a conclusion, Season Four was almost on par with Sons’ magnificent second season.