Aired: 2001-2005

Before True Blood, Alan Ball flipped a different kind of gothic tale for HBO-about a pair of brothers who take over the family funeral home when their father dies. Sex, death, and plenty of melodrama made for one of the better written shows the network had ever aired, and, along with The Sopranos, Oz, and The Wire, solidified its critical ascension during in the late '90s/early 2000s.

Playing central character David Fisher was the first screen role Michael C. Hall—you know, Dexter—had ever taken on. And considering he got an Emmy nomination after the first season, it seems like he did ok.