The US and the UK may often be the first port of call when we're looking for a new show to watch, but to ignore the quality hard hitting drama series that we've produced on our own shores over the years would be a crime.
Since 2000 in particular, we've been treated to a whole host of great homegrown drama series that have showcased a variety of aspects of Irish life, from brutal gangland warfare to rural bereavement.
We've put together our list of the five best that have graced our screens since 2000.
1. Smalltown (TV3) - Vodafone TV channel 103
Gerard Barrett has made his name on the big screen with hard hitting dramas but 2016 saw him make the move to television for the first time with Smalltown on TV3. The three part series follows Conor, a young twenty something who emigrates to London due to a lack of opportunities in his hometown. After sometime he's called home due to a family illness and he has to face up to some harsh truths from the people he left behind. The series is anchored by a terrific performance from Pat Shortt and for our money features the most accurate portrayal of bereavement that has ever graced Irish television screens.
2. Pure Mule (RTÉ TWO) - Vodafone TV channel 102
Written by playwright, Eugene O'Brien, Pure Mule burst onto our screens in 2005 and gave us a look at rural Ireland that hadn't been on our television screens before. Set in an unnamed midlands trade town, each episode follows the journey of one character over a weekend. A follow up series, Pure Mule: The Last Weekend was released in 2009. The series pushed boundaries, featuring a threesome storyline which at the time was something that had never been seen in a homegrown series. There were terrific performances throughout from the likes of Garret Lombard, Charlene McKenna and Eileen Walsh. The standout though from the original series was the great Tom Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2007.
3. Raw (RTÉ ONE) - Vodafone TV channel 101
Raw struck a chord with audiences when it debuted on RTÉ2 in 2008 and gave us a glimpse at the fast pace of the restaurant world. Charlene McKenna, who'd already made a name for herself thanks to her performance as Jennifer in Pure Mule, lead the cast here which included the likes of Aisling O'Sullivan, Keith McErlean, Padraic Delaney, Tara Lee, and Sam Keeley. The show followed the trials and tribulations of Jojo Harte (McKenna) and her friends who worked in the restaurant, Raw. The initial couple of seasons were edgy and was an interesting look at Dublin's youth at the time. However when the show was moved to the Sunday night slot on RTÉ1 previously occupied by The Clinic, it lost a bit of its bite. The series ran for five seasons before being cancelled due to budget constraints in 2013.
4. Amber (RTÉ ONE) - Vodafone TV channel 101
Amber debuted on RTÉ in January 2014 after a long gestation period and in an innovative approach, the series was broadcast nightly over a four day period. It was the closest thing to event television RTÉ has produced outside of Love/Hate. Teenager Amber Bailey disappears at the beginning of the series and we follow the desperate attempts of her parents to track her down in the intervening months while flashbacks of 'Day One' reveal clues as to what may have happened to her. The series is dominated by David Murray and Eva Birthistle's performances as the distraught parents desperately trying to unravel the mystery. The ambiguous ending divided audiences and to this day there are people that can launch into a severe rage at the mention of the baby and the mobile phone but there's no question that it proved to be gripping television.
5. Love/Hate (RTÉ ONE) - Vodafone TV channel 101
What is there to say about the insanely popular gangland drama that hasn't already been said? Over the course of it's five year run it became event television with viewers tuning in every week to see what Nidge and co. would get up to. Some of the show's critics argued that it glamourised the gangland lifestyle and while that may be true to an extent, there's no denying that the series also showcased the unflinching brutality of its setting. The series boasted terrific performances from the likes of Aidan Gillen, Robert Sheehan and Ruth Negga but Tom Vaughan-Lawlor became a breakout star thanks to his turn as Nidge. The series concluded in devastating fashion in 2014 and although there had been hopes that a sixth season might make its way on to our screens in the future, RTÉ confirmed in 2015 that it was no longer in active development.
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