Top 5 TV shows (directed by famous film directors)

Television has long been considered the annoying idiot younger brother to movies but over the last few years this precocious little shit has matured and in many cases outshone the movie world. Show’s like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and Arrested Development are arguably as good if not better than most films Hollywood produces.

Loads has been written on famous movie actors who have starred in TV shows but what about directors? Have any of these guys and girls sullied their immaculate hands is the scum-filled pond that is television? More than you’d expect actually and the numbers are increasing as TV is gaining a reputation for being the best place to look for excellent comedy and drama. I’m not talking about your JJ Abrams or Joss Whedons who were primarily television guys, I’m referring to the people who dip their toes in the aforementioned scummy pond. Here they are!

5. Justin Lin
Movies: Fast and Furious
TV: Community

Justin Lin is the person who basically created The Fast and the Furious and also rescued it with Fast Five. Even more impressive is that he directed the amazing paintball episode of Community, a truly ridiculous John Woo inspired piece of comedy.

4. Neil Marshall
Movies: The Descent, Dog Soldiers
TV: Game of Thrones

You know that episode of Game of Thrones. The one with the siege and the castle and the cool green fire. It also includes the three trademarks of GOT – violence, betrayal, and full frontal nudity. Marshall previously directed The Descent, one of the most terrifying films ever made.

Not pictured – boobs

3. Rian Johnson
Movies: Brick, Looper
TV: Breaking Bad

Johnson has directed two episodes of the excellent Breaking Bad notably an entire hour of Walter White trying to kill a fly. It’s really worth checking out Johnson’s debut film Brick, it’s currently on Netflix and is brilliant.


2. Nicolas Winding Refn
Movies: Drive, Only God Forgives
TV: Miss Marple

Potentially crazy Danish auteur Nicholas Winding Refn is famous for his tremendously violent and dark dramas but before this he directed a feature length episode of gentle old lady detective show Miss Marple for British TV. Look out for his upcoming remimaging of Poirot starring Ryan Gosling as the Belgian sleuth.


1. Quentin Tarantino
Movies: Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Django Unchained

I could look into detail at Tarantino’s episodes of these famous American TV shows and how the typical trademarks of his style are present throughout but that sounds boring. Instead here’s a pic of an appearance by a young Tarantino in an episode of geriatric sitcom The Golden Girls. Thank you for being a friend, Quentin.


Any more to add to the list? Did Martin Scorsese direct an episode of Prisoner: Cell Block H I didn’t know about? Let me know in the comments. For more television related fun visit the Screenkicker Television Corner


  1. Nice post! I vividly remember that episode of GOT – one of the most dramatic (and that’s saying something, since the whole series is pretty dramatic). I loved that episode of Breaking Bad as well!


  2. hahahahaah way to go with that Miss Marple image. that is hilarious.

    And an otherwise very intriguing list, too. Nice Mikey. πŸ˜€


  3. Very interesting list Mikey. I had no idea Tarantino was even remotely connected to The Golden Girls, that is truly amazing.
    Also, I just watched Bronson last night and I had no idea that Nicolas Winding Refn was the same guy who did Drive, but now that you mentioned it, I can see major similarities between the two films. And P.S. I fuckin’ loved Bronson! That shit was insane in the membrane.


  4. Great post! I love Community so much-the paintball episode is great. Its blown my mind that the director of Drive also directed an episode of Miss Marple!


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