We all have television shows that we love and are inordinately invested in. For Scandal fans, every Thursday night meant a wine-fest combined with endless tweets and posts about the latest plot twist and emotional turn. For Friday Night Lights fans, it was the waterworks every time Coach Taylor gave a motivational speech or shared a loving moment with Tammy. Television has a way of coming into a viewers life and taking over. These addictive and emotional TV shows have tugged at viewers heartstrings, both in the sad moments and uplifting scenes, and captivated audiences with their popular characters and well-developed worlds.
Which TV series have you been the most emotionally tied to? Some of the shows on this list, like Orange Is the New Black, are serious binge-watch series with characters you care so much about, that you simply have to know what happens next in their stories. Others, like Friends, are classics that had television lovers gathered around their sets once a week to follow the ups and downs of their favorite fictional characters.
We spend so much time with these TV characters that when they succeed, we're happy, and when they die... well, there's always more wine. What are some of the most gripping and captivating television series ever? Which TV shows make you feel the most deeply?Vote for the series you still care about today, whether they're still airing new episodes, or long ago moved to Netflix and your DVD collection.
- Shonda Rhimes made Thursdays on ABC her own with Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. She is the master of the soapy drama and it all began, with the hospital drama of Doctor McDreamy and his fellow staffers. You'd be hard pressed to find an avid TV fan who hasn't tuned in to this gripping medical primetime soap and become invested in the characters of Seattle Grace Hospital in a big way.
- It's okay, you can hate the series finale. But that doesn't mean you weren't strung along for the entirety of the "legen-wait for it-dary" ride.
- A zombie show that is really about the people and not the zombies, The Walking Dead refuses to give its characters any rest. Every death is painfully felt, especially as the seasons grow longer. These characters have survived so long in this post-apocalyptic world, but a simple fever is something to worry about?!
- "How you doin'?" is now an iconic line and part of the pop culture lexicon. Six friends who somehow lived in amazing New York apartments despite the dubiousness of their employment statuses were America's sweethearts for a solid decade. Even now, college-aged Millennials return to this show for binge watching purposes when contemplating the daunting prospects of their twenties.
- It's not easy being invested in characters when they could be offed at any given moment. An expensive and majestic production, Game of Thrones brought to television what we thought could only be done in film. It also showed us what a true badass lady looks like. All hail, Khaleesi!
- What is it about hospital shows? The quirky and eccentric sitcom Scrubs made us and laugh and cry with J.D. and friends. And, who didn't love the idiosyncratic musical numbers sprinkled throughout.
- It's still questionable whether anyone really understands what this show truly means. IS ANYTHING REAL?! In any case, it doesn't matter, because America couldn't tear its eyes away, especially during the first two seasons.
- Two strong female leads and a healthy dose of witty banter is all you need to become emotionally invested in the love lives, careers, and emotional roller-coasters of the Gilmore girls. Rory and Lorelai touched the lives of viewers of all ages and will go down in TV history as some of the best female characters of all time.
- Glee might have been filled with cheese, but when the show first premiered, high school teens everywhere connected with the outcasts and misfits of Ryan Murphy's world. Plus, there were the amazing vocal talents of Lea Michele and Co. When Corey Monteith passed in 2013, it was a rough blow for everyone, not just because of the tragedy of the situation, but because his character on Glee had struck such an emotional chord with so many viewers.
- Talk about an ensemble cast. OITNB follows the travails of Piper Chapman as she navigates a women's federal prison. The show has one of the most diverse casts on television, with the wonderful Laverne Cox as a transgender prisoner. Each woman has her own backstory, and as the show reveals more and more about each character, you can't help but empathize with them all.
- Bryan Cranston's tour de force performance as a high school chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin had everyone rooting for his success by the end of the show, whether or not you agreed with the morality of his actions. And, you needed to know what happened to everyone's favorite TV sidekick, the wonderfully damaged Jesse Pinkman.
- The sexual tension between a good cop and a philandering mystery novel writer is palpable from the get-go. The crime is fun, but you're really just sitting around waiting for Beckett and Castle to get together. Castle executed where Bones couldn't - there's only so much emotional investment you can put into the two leads until you explode with the tension happening on-screen.
- This show was all sorts of awful and melodramatic during season two, and a train wreck during season four. Nevertheless, the annoying antics of Claire Bennet and HRG, the confused daddy issues of Gabriel "Sylar" Gray, and the dysfunctional status of the Petrelli family somehow had us committed all the way up to the weirdo circus ending.
- So bad, but so good. True Blood was the soft core porn we didn't know we wanted, but absolutely needed. Somehow, Sookie Stackhouse ends up sleeping with the most beautiful men in the world, half of them end up dead, and we can't stop watching the blood, guts, and nudity. Alexander Skaarsgard shirtless though. Yes, please.
- Chuck is your everyday, average nerd genius who downloads a supercomputer into his brain, becomes a spy, and falls in love with his handler. Okay, maybe he's not so "everyday" and "average." Chuck lays on the camp real thick, but let's be honest, we all shed a happy tear when Chuck and Sarah finally hooked up.
- The West Wing was hands down Aaron Sorkin's best work. Each character - from press secretary C.J. Cregg, to personal assistant Donna Moss, to First Lady Abbey Bartlet - was distinct, hilarious, and deep in their own way. There wasn't a single main character that you loved to hate and by the end of the series, you loved to love them all.