Shonda Rhimes is a powerful producer who knows no limits. After bursting onto the TV scene with a medical mega-hit Grey’s Anatomy, Rhimes has proven time and time again that she knows exactly the right ingredients to keep an audience hooked. Over the years, she has created expert characters in popular series such as Bridgertonto develop a range of sexy, soapy dramas that viewers couldn’t get enough of Scandal.
As Shonda Rhimes continues to add more intriguing series to her ever-growing lineup, there’s never been a better time to find a Shondaland series that will keep you hooked until the very last episode.
11) “Always Cursed”
Rhimes’ first foray into the world of period dramas, Always cursed was a dud that left a lot more to be desired. Based on the book of the same name, the series followed Rosaline Capulet (Lashana Lynch) and her future husband Benvolio Montague (Wade Briggs) as they attempted to end their forced engagement following the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
While all the ingredients of a good Shonda Rhimes series are present, Always cursed was overwhelmed with dialogue issues, uninteresting characters, and a bloated budget that saw the series burned in the summer.
10) “For the People”
The second Shondaland series to join the ranks of legal dramas, For the people, takes a judicial approach to gender, with mixed results. Britt Robertson and Savoy Jasmine Brown star Sandra Bell and Alison Adams, two close friends and attorneys working in the Southern District of the Federal Court of New York.
Following a redesign of the two protagonists which caused a delay in filming, significant rewrites of the first season hampered the tone of the series and in turn caused an uneven series that was not entirely sure of itself. Although For the people found his footing in the second season, it was too little too late for the burgeoning drama, and he was quickly removed from court.
9) “Off map”
Exploring the world of medical dramas, off map set its sights on a small community of doctors working in a hospital in a small South American village. Featuring Grey’s Anatomy veteran Martin Hendersonthe series explored medicine in remote parts of the world.
While not as sexy as the other shows in Rhimes’ arsenal, off map has a subtle charm that sets it apart from the rest. His ability to incorporate fresh and compelling stories into the realm of medical drama was admirable. However, the series never had a chance to delve into the richness of its setting and was canceled after one season.
8) “The Catch”
Shondaland family’s lightest comedy-drama, The catch was a pulpy, fun moment that made for perfect escape television. The series follows Los Angeles-based private detective Alice Vaughn (Mireille Enos) as she tracks down the con man who stole her heart (and money).
Although the series was not as action-packed as its sisters, The catch had a heart that made him stand out. Unfortunately, after a lackluster pilot episode, the series has been rearranged. However, The catch always struggled to define its characters outside of its two leads and was later canceled.
7) ‘Station 19’
The second series derived from Grey’s Anatomy universe, Post 19 focused on a fire crew in Seattle. Known for its frequent crossovers with its parent series, Post 19 takes an action-packed approach to its storytelling, as firefighters frequently battle out-of-control blazes, sinkholes, and collapsing buildings across the city.
The series brought a whole new high-octane energy to the Shondaland universe by expanding the genres and themes explored within the roster. While Post 19 is a commendable addition led by an incredible performance from Jaina Lee Ortizthe series’ dynamic pales in comparison to the series that came before it, leaving this fiery drama in the cold.
6) “Inventing Anna”
Based on an article from New York, Invent Anna is the first series created and directed by Shonda Rhimes since her hot and steamy series Scandal. The Southern comedy-drama starring Julia Garnier and Anna Chlumsky delves into the life of Anna Delvey aka Anna Sorokin, a supposed German heiress and real-life con artist whose wits and style have seduced (and robbed) New York socialites.
Invent Anna draws viewers in with a world of sex, scandal, and effect deception. However, where the limited series fails is its ability to deconstruct the world apart from the main crook. Although the series is an uneven watch, Invent Anna sheds light on its limitations for an easy-watching afternoon.
5) ‘Private practice’
The first of two successful spin-off series in the Grey’s Anatomy universe, Private practice saw fan-favorite surgeon Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) swaps Seattle rain for Los Angeles sunshine. While featuring an endless series of crossovers that connected the two series, Private practice often attempted to deviate from its predecessor by craving a darker tone which worked to mixed effect.
Although it wasn’t quite perfect, Private practice managed to expertly flesh out the world of Addison, while adding new characters such as Amelia Shepherd, to the Grey’s universe. You never get bored with the staff at the Oceanside Wellness Center.
The first Shondaland series to debut on Netflix, Bridgerton burst onto the scene as a period drama full of soapy romance, quirky characters, and beautiful visuals. Based on that of Julia Quinn novels, the series follows the lives of the Bridgerton siblings as they explore life and love in Regency London.
Featuring star turns from Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page starring Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, each episode delivered fleshed-out relationship drama and top-notch chemistry. While some characters in the series are yet to be fully developed, each season pivots to a new character perspective that will allow each character to have some time in the sun. Bridgerton is sure to stay ahead of the dramatic period brake.
There is nothing Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) cannot handle and Scandal proved that there’s nothing Shonda Rhimes can’t handle either. Immerse yourself in the world of DC politics, Scandal is a series that has never dared to stray from the dark side of the political landscape. As Olivia Pope and Associates tackled the most salacious stories before they saw the light of day, Olivia dealt with her outrageous feelings for the President of the United States (Tony Goldwyn).
Unlike other Rhimes series, Scandal is unbalanced in the best possible way. True to its name, the series features the most shocking moments from the Shondaland catalog, making the series Rhimes’ most unforgettable.
2) “How to get away with murder”
Full of twists and turns that kept the spectators spellbound, How to get away with murder is a masterclass of salacious writing and thrilling revelations. After law professor Annalize Keating (Viola Davis) as she helps five of her students cover up a murder, the series used a modified structure to unravel each season’s mystery.
As the deeply flawed Annalise, Davis brought an energy to her performance that made it hard not to root for the character, even if her actions were questionable at best. The show is never shy about using mere revelations to shock the entire world, making it hard to trust anyone on screen. There is no other series that can throw curve balls like How to get away with murder.
1) ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
The series that made Shondaland the popular production house it is, Grey’s Anatomy will always be number one. From the moment Meredith Gray (Ellen Pompeo) entered the halls of Gray Sloane Memorial Hospital, the long-running series has etched itself into the hearts of viewers around the world.
Create a franchise that includes sister series Private practice and Post 19, Grey’s Anatomy created a universe that deftly fused sexy, soapy storytelling with compelling medical mysteries to dynamic effect. The series survived behind-the-scenes drama, the deaths of fan-favorite characters, and countless episodes of disaster, to continue to run for eighteen seasons. Grey’s Anatomy is a series that has reinvented the medical drama wheel and there is no slowing down in sight.
KEEP READING: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: 16 Essential Episodes to Celebrate the Show’s 16th Anniversary
About the Author