Best Shonda Rhimes TV shows: from 'Grey's Anatomy' to 'Bridgerton'
Shonda Rhimes is one of TV's most prolific creators, here are some of our favorites.
If you’ve ever checked out a “must-watch” television series, you’ve likely seen something with Shonda Rhimes’ seal on it. Rhimes, a producer and screenwriter, has become a household name thanks to hits like the groundbreaking political drama Scandal and the long-running medical series Grey’s Anatomy.
Though Rhimes has left her deal at ABC to walk the yellow brick road at Netflix, it didn’t take long for her to find the same level of success. Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos summed it up best: “Shonda knows how to entertain, knows how to get people thinking and knows how to craft a story better than anyone I’ve ever dealt with.” He even told The Hollywood Reporter that Grey’s has logged the most viewing hours of any single show on Netflix. So it's hardly surprising that she's become TV’s highest-paid showrunner in the process of putting out such hugely popular work.
Grey's Anatomy is just one in a very long line of shows from Shondaland — the television company that Rhimes founded. But where does it sit among the rest of her credits? We’ve ranked Shonda Rhimes’ TV shows, from scrappy outsider to primetime smash.
9. Still Star-Crossed
If you were always curious about what happened after the deaths of Romeo & Juliet, this period piece aimed to answer that question while building on the world first created by playwright William Shakespeare.
Rosaline Capulet was betrothed against her will to Benvolio Montague, but as they worked together to stop the marriage, they only furthered the drama between their feuding families.
The treachery and ill-fated romance fell short, as the drama although praised for its diversity, failed to live up to expectations or retain its audience. It was axed after just seven short episodes.
8. The Catch
The comedy thriller was anything but a “catch” despite its ambitious premise. Mireille Enos took on the role of a private investigator who specialized in exposing fraud until she learned that she was the victim. Upon finding out that her fiancé (Peter Krause) conned her out of millions, she indulged in a game of “cat and mouse” to catch him.
The drama was plagued with so much off-screen drama that not even the star-studded cast, which included Gina Torres and John Simm, could save it. It was canceled after two seasons.
7. For the People
For the People tapped into the already-saturated market of legal dramas, but delivered a refreshing storyline as it trailed young lawyers in the Southern District of New York Federal Court trying to make a name for themselves by handling some of the most high-profile cases.
Unfortunately, it didn’t hold a candle to more established legal dramas, as Variety noted that it was the second lowest-rated Shondaland series, which ultimately led to its cancellation.
6. Station 19
There was a time when it seemed like anything that Rhimes touched would turn to gold, so when she decided to jump into the fire and deliver a firefighter drama, ABC was immediately on board.
But while the TV landscape has plenty of room for new medical dramas, the window for fire procedurals is much more competitive.
Station 19 — centered on Jaina Lee Ortiz’s Andy Herrera — found success by tapping into Grey’s Anatomy’s already established fanbase and featuring Jason George as Ben Warren, Miranda Bailey’s husband. However, it never reached the cultural echelons of some of Rhimes’ other shows.
5. How to Get Away With Murder
How to Get Away With Murder hit the ground running — intoxicating and hooking audiences with just its pilot. On the surface, the series was your average legal drama, but once you peeled back the layers, it was a dark and gripping murder mystery that kept you on the edge of your seat with one suspenseful twist after the other.
Much of that success was attributed to Viola Davis’s powerhouse performance as Annalise Keating, a law professor who selects a handful of ambitious law students to work at her firm.
4. Grey’s Anatomy
Sometimes most successful doesn’t equate to best. In its prime — when tongues were wagging for Patrick Dempsey’s Dr. Derek Shepherd, aka “McDreamy” — Grey’s Anatomy would’ve taken the top spot on this list hands down, but creeping into its 19th season (with no end in sight), there’s a bit of fatigue over the medical drama set at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. That fatigue doesn’t just extend to the audience — it’s felt by the actors as well, many of whom have already exited the medical drama over the years.
While there’s no doubt the brilliant storylines that left fans shocked, upset, heartbroken and “in their feels” will leave a lasting mark on the TV landscape, it might be time to hang up the scrubs.
3. Private Practice
When one medical drama does so well, why not add another to the mix? Rhimes did just that with her Grey’s Anatomy spin-off starring Kate Walsh as neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery. If there’s one thing Rhimes excels at, it’s creating strong and confident females who are ready to change the world.
Addison may not have been painted in the best of light during her time on Grey’s, but she was able to redeem herself by trading in the public hospital in Seattle for an intimate yet trendy clinic in Los Angeles.
With its charming cast and relatable situations, the series made a name for itself independent of its counterpart while gaining a dedicated fandom.
When Scandal was considered peak television, there wasn’t a single soul that wasn’t plopping down on the couch on Thursday night and drinking red wine out of a long-stemmed wine glass.
In the political drama, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is a former White House communications director who opens up her own crisis-management firm. But when the secrets of her past — including a sexy and forbidden love affair — bubble up to the surface, her loyal gladiators help to clean up the mess.
Dear readers, it has been brought to my attention that the steamy Netflix period drama produced by Rhimes was a smashing success. Time even noted that Bridgerton was the streaming giant’s second-most-watched original show ever.
Set in the Regency era in England and following eight siblings of the powerful Bridgerton family looking for love, the series includes all the ingredients that made other shows from the TV mogul such a smash: romance, drama, scandal, comedy, elaborate costumes and an array of dashing (Simon Basset, aka Regé-Jean Page) and well-developed characters.
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Lizzy Buczak is a digital content producer and self-proclaimed TV fanatic. While she’s been watching television ever since she can remember, her obsession with covering TV kicked into high gear in college while she was studying music business and journalism. She started her own TV blog, CraveYouTV, but her musings can also be found on Audacy and TVFanatic. If you ever want to strike up a conversation, just bring up her favorite shows: Money Heist, Good Girls, and Manifest.