Mordeen wrote: Better Call Saul (Saul Goodman, "It's All Good, Man!") and Fargo are great examples of the stuff that mix style with substance and do it very well. I just have a harsh opinion for things that use shock or formulas for their ratings. Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead keep doing the same thing over and over again. Twin Peaks laughed at formulaic television, invoked taboos and got people to think about what they were watching way ahead of its time, and I still see too many shows trying to copy it rather than try to find their own style. It's kinda ironic that the show most likely to break the current mold of premium television will be the show that did it in the first place.
Agreed on Better Call Saul, Fargo (have you seen the cast for Season 3!? Ewan McGregor in a double-lead role playing twins!), Leftovers, Halt and Catch Fire ..
I agree on the Walking Dead being an example of 'doing the same thing over and over again'; people find a location, location is safe, people find baddies, baddies ruin safety, lather rinse repeat.
However, I respectfully, and vehemently, on Game of Thrones 'doing the same thing over and over again'. It's one of the most compelling dramas on television with some of the most nuanced characters I've seen in a show (Jamie Lannister is up there with Walter White). Baelor, Rains of Castamere, The Lion and the Rose, The Mountain and the Viper, The Laws of Gods and Men, The Winds of Winter .. just so many great episodes, and for all very different reasons. Don't get me wrong, it's not a *perfect* show (Dorne anyone?), but, few are (even the Wire had some weak aspects in Season 5 .. Breaking Bad was probably the most consistent drama I've seen, on an episode-by-episode basis).