Here's Every FX Original Series, Ranked

Last week, FX said goodbye to one of the best shows of the year and one of its best-ever productions, The People v. O.J. Simpson. Meanwhile, Louis C.K. publicly expressed the likelihood that Louie, another great FX offering, could be over forever—or at least a very long time. With these events in mind—and off the blistering universal support for my ranking of Netflix's original series—we thought it'd be fun to look back over the duration of FX's lifespan as a facilitator of original programming. That's right, I'm rattling off every FX original scripted show from worst to best. LET'S DO THIS.


41. Son of the Beach, 40. Testees, 39. Starved, and 38. Lucky

We begin with four FX shows you probably forgot—and the channel would have it no other way. Son of the Beach, a legitimate Baywatch parody, ran for 42 episodes across two seasons. For the record, that's 29 more episodes than Terriers. It was a different time. Testees, Starved, and Lucky came much later in FX's run as a destination for original programming and didn't catch on for good reason. Shockingly, Testees couldn't overcome its magnificent title. Somehow Starved writer/star Eric Schaeffer got to make another bad show, Gravity, after this one. Lucky was about poker, during that wild time when America really cared about poker. 


37. Saint George, 36. Partners, and 35. Anger Management

Also known as FX's 10-90 club... well, had they not abandoned the plan to license these cheap sitcoms in two chunks mid-way through Partners's ugly first season. Remember that one? With Kelsey Grammer and Martin Short? It feels like Charlie Sheen's Anger Management aired somewhere between six and 10 years ago, but it actually finished in 2014. George Lopez's Saint George? Well, that could still be running new episodes at bizarre times and no one would know the difference. Consider this a decent experiment gone horribly wrong. 


34. The Bastard Executioner

Turns out that giving even the most respected of creative figures carte blanche to do whatever they want will eventually lead to boring, indulgent misfires, like Kurt Sutter's The Bastard Executioner. Who knew?!


33. Chozen and 32. Unsupervised

Two animated comedies that had some interesting ideas—Chozen was about a white, gay rapper, and Unsupervised was a Beavis and Butt-Head revisit—lingering around the fringes. Yawn.


31. Dirt and 30. Over There

Now we're getting to some of the more curious failures. Dirt and Over There arrived in that tricky period after FX's initial boom, and both offered compelling ideas only sort of successfully executed. Dirt had the unfortunate responsibility of being Courteney Cox's first big post-Friends role and then fell victim to the writer's strike, but its tabloid TV premise is just as relevant today in our TMZ-dominated landscape. Steven Boccho did his Boccho thing with Over There, the first major ongoing TV project to tackle the United States' involvement in Iraq. It was direct and occasionally harrowing, but lacking the strong performances that elevated Boccho's better, earlier offerings.


29. The Comedians and 28. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll

There are people in the world who will tell you that both The Comedians and Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll are "good shows," or that they "got better" as their respective first seasons limped to the end. I am not one of those people. 


27. Legit

Legit! This was a funny little show. Jim Jefferies, Dan Bakkedahl, and DJ Qualls made for a surprisingly great comedic trio, and the show tackled pretty dark subjects on the regular. Not really an essential watch and probably the replacement-level FX show, but clearly the channel has done much, much worse.


26. Tyrant and 25. The Strain

Two shows with tremendous pedigree behind and in front of the camera, two shows with flourishes of greatness, and ultimately two shows that have yet to put it all together across their first couple of seasons. The Strain gets the slight nod because it has a better handle on it what it is (complete schlock) than Tyrant, which still aims for something more than its political soap core. 


24. Thief, 23. Lights Out, and 22. The Riches

One (and a half for The Riches) season wonders. Thief featured the forgotten great Andre Braugher performance—inasmuch as an Emmy-winning turn can be "forgotten"—but didn't catch on with audiences. The Riches was another WGA strike victim and probably a little ahead of its time. Lights Out proved that people don't want to watch ongoing TV shows about boxing, no matter how good they are. These are the kind of solid failures that make up the back catalog of most significant channels.


21. The Bridge and 20. Married

FX doesn't have too many unfortunate cancellations in its history (I'll get to the biggie later), but these two still sting a bit. The frustrating thing about The Bridge and Married ending after their second seasons is that both had just finally grown into the great shows we thought they could be at the beginning. In reality, they both could have been canned after disappointing first seasons. The Bridge made great use of its border setting once it moved away from the staid murder mystery plot, just as Married found the proper focus after stumbling through a lifeless infidelity arc. Two great performances from Diane Kruger and Judy Greer, too. Sigh.


Next: Bikers! Clowns! Drunks! And more!

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