Television production in Chicago is booming: NBC’s Chicago Fire franchise shows no signs of letting up, Showtime’s The Chi was renewed for a second season before its first was done, and a handful of pilots are gearing up to shoot in the city this spring.
With the hype around The Chi’s debut coinciding with the long-running ER’s arrival on Hulu, we realized that we have just as many opinions about the best Chicago TV shows as we do about the best Chicago movies.
A few ground rules: We only included shows that were distributed nationally—so no Check, Please!, Wild Chicago or Chic-a-Go-Go, much as we love them. Shows had to be either made in Chicago or set in Chicago (if not both!), and we tried to take into consideration the programs’ cultural impact (hello, Oprah), overall quality, and a more amorphous factor: their “Chicago-ness.” But of course, like any such list, ours is meant to start arguments.