5. 'The Wire'
No, it wasn't a "school" show, any more than it was a "newspaper" procedural or a "shipping docks" kitchen-sink melodrama. But during the greatest season of what many consider to be the greatest TV show ever, we got to see how modern society had crippled the power of the classroom ‚ and it wasn't pretty. Co-creators David Simon and Ed Burns drew on Burns' experience as a Baltimore public school teacher to depict the all but insurmountable obstacles facing educators and students in inner-city schools, following ex-cop turned teacher "Prez" Pryzbylewski and eighth-grade friends Michael, Dukie, Randy, and Namond as their paths diverge, largely from the institutions (the schools, the police, the foster system) that continually collapse right on top of them. The result was stunning — and stunningly bleak. The show's five-season howl of moral outrage never rang out clearer.