'Mad Men,' 'Downton Abbey' and more great TV that took viewers to decades past
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1900s: "The Knick"
Why it's the best: In its first season, Cinemax's Steven Soderbergh-directed hospital drama very wisely never acted like a period piece. For us, 1900 is the distant past, and a barbaric period in the world of medicine, where cocaine is a commonly-used painkiller and appendicitis can be fatal. But for John Thackery and his fellow surgeons, it is the thrilling present, and they are at the cutting edge of medical breakthroughs that will eventually lead the field to the world we know today. It's gorgeous to look at, and the Cliff Martinez electronica score conveys that sense of modernity, even as it should be wildly out of place in this setting.
Other '00s contenders: "Upstairs, Downstairs"
— Alan Sepinwall