Many people today spend their leisure time the old fashioned way: in front of the TV. However, a large number of channels that have appeared recently does not indicate a high quality of programs, so choosing the right program to watch is not as easy as we would like. In this review, we will tell you about the best domestic series in the history of domestic television, which are interesting to watch. Without further ado, let’s take a look at them so that you can choose the most suitable one for yourself. When compiling this rating of the best Russian TV series, we relied primarily on user reviews, so only the most famous programs are included here.
Top 15 Best TV Shows in 2022
15. Penal Battalion
This multi-part film with a single plot was released by the MakDos film company in 2004. It was based on the novel of the same name by Eduard Volodarsky, directed by Nikolai Dostal. The author of the work, when creating it, relied on real memories of participants in the Great Patriotic War, who had to fight as part of penal battalions. Unfortunately, they were not destined to see the film itself, since by the time it was released, none of them were left alive. Military consultants were not involved during the filming, the services of technical consultants were involved, who were responsible for the accuracy of the costumes and their relevance to the era. Due to the fact that there were no military consultants, many factual inaccuracies can be found in the film. One of the most obvious is the following: political prisoners and ordinary criminals were not sent to general penal units.
The series won a fairly large number of Russian awards. He was nominated for the TEFI-2005 award in five categories at once, and he took the coveted statuette in the nomination “Television Feature Series”. He received the Golden Sword award at the Yu.N. Ozerov. At the same festival, he became a laureate in the nomination “Best Screenplay for the Film”, as well as “Best Leading Actor”. Critics and viewers also reacted very favorably to this series.
- Eleven episodes united by a common plot;
- Full compliance with the era in terms of weapons, costumes and so on;
- Quality acting.
- There are factual inconsistencies.
Another multi-part film dedicated to the Great Patriotic War and featuring an interesting and exciting plot. A total of 12 episodes were filmed, which are united by a common and fully completed story. The plot is based on the work of the NKVD during the war years. The history of the creation of the series is quite complicated – take at least the fact that three directors worked on the film at once. It was started by Gennady Sidorov, who, after filming about half of the materials, left the project with a big scandal. He was so grandiose that his name did not even get into the credits – instead of him is the fictional Ivan Ivanov. He was replaced by Nikolai Lebedev, who was also not included in the credits. At the final stage of work, Yuri Moroz joined the project – they worked together with Lebedev until the very end.
The plot is quite original: in 1942, the German command decides to throw a sabotage group into the territory controlled by Soviet troops. However, everything does not go according to plan – the radio operator kills everyone on board the aircraft, parachutes from its side and voluntarily surrenders to the Soviet Chekists, immediately telling them about their readiness to cooperate with the authorities. Not everyone on board the plane died – one of the members of the group was only stunned, he manages to escape. It turns out to be the thief Pyotr Istomin, who had previously completed a training course at the fascist school of saboteurs. At first, he also agrees to cooperate, but later decides to run away and dies during the escape. Instead, the NKVD decides to use his twin brother Pavel Istomin. The story will develop around him.
- Non-linear plot;
- Good selection of actors;
- Complete story.
- There are several banal and predictable plot moves.
13. Lethal force
This is one of the first series dedicated to the employees of the then Russian police, its difficult working days. It was created as a competitor to the most famous series about cops – “Streets of Broken Lanterns”, but the result was a rather interesting and original project that lasted for 6 whole seasons. This is quite a decent period for domestic television. The plot begins in 1999 in the northern capital, it develops around the operatives of the homicide department. In the first season, which includes nine episodes, the plot is the same. Subsequently, each series is a complete story.
The main characters of the series are police officers who are investigating not only domestic crimes, but also the activities of organized criminal groups. In the series you can find a large number of different references to the works of Russian cinema, foreign TV series and so on. Estimates of professional critics were very controversial. On the one hand, it was noted that the series was made at a qualitatively high level, especially with regard to directing and camera work, non-standard script, good humor. However, many have said that the film itself is largely a copy of Streets of Broken Lights. Here, most of the stories are openly adventurous and even adventurous in nature, there is a political accent, and there are many guest stars of Russian cinema.
- The series is made qualitatively, it is very interesting to watch it;
- There are many references to works of Russian and world culture;
- Good acting.
- Some absurdity of the characters.
This is a cult domestic serial film, released in 2002. He immediately became very popular among the audience, and also earned a large number of reviews among critics, both positive and negative. The film includes 15 episodes, the action in which develops from 1989 to 2000. In the center of the picture is the story of four friends who created their own criminal gang, in which Sasha Bely became the main one. The film was produced by Avatar Film. The series was the debut of director Alexei Sidorov, and the leading actors – Panin, Bezrukov, Dyuzhev, Vdovichenkov and other actors became famous after being released on the screens.
The script for the film was written by Alexander Veledinsky, who was prompted to create the plot by the events of the 1998 default. The director subsequently noted that although the characters did not have prototypes in real life, all the events of the TV movie were almost completely realistic. When creating the script, consultations were held with police officers, employees of special services, as well as representatives of criminal structures. Direct work on the series took a very long time – only the shooting itself took about 10 months – from September 2000 to June 2001. In general, the creation took more than two years. “Brigade” became one of the most expensive Russian series at that time – the cost of each series was about 180 thousand dollars. Due to the timing requirements of television series, some episodes had to be cut or shortened, which made certain moments seem incomprehensible.
- One of the few cult Russian series;
- Excellent acting;
- Original plot.
- Because of the carved sen, some of the motives of the characters seem incomprehensible.
11. The death of an empire
This is another serial film, each series of which is a logical continuation of the previous one. As critics noted after the release of the series, which was first shown on television in 2005, there are a large number of various inaccuracies in the picture, but even they did not cause rejection among the audience. The plot basis covers literally a few months of 1914, which precede the start of the First World War. In the center of the story is Captain Kostin, who went through the Russo-Japanese War and by the time the action begins, he enters the service of counterintelligence. Its tasks include the disclosure of criminal plans, the suppression of terrorist acts. The closer the beginning of the war, the more difficult his work becomes, as clouds are gathering more and more over the capital. One of the main negative characters are the employees of the German embassy, who are regularly seen in all sorts of espionage plots. They are trying to get Russian military secrets and send them to their country.
Good, albeit not very popular actors were involved in the work on this series. The main role here was played by Alexander Baluev, who was able to perfectly get used to the role of a military man. In addition, Marat Basharov and Andrey Krasko were involved. On the screen, it was possible to reproduce some real historical characters – General Renenkampf, Lavr Kornilov and many others. The main thing that the viewer liked that series is the realism and maximum truthfulness of both the story itself and the characters.
- The spirit of the era is well conveyed;
- Non-standard plot moves;
- Many of the story lines are based on reality.
- Some one-sidedness of the plot, as critics noted, but most viewers did not pay attention to this.
The death of an empire
10. Gangster Petersburg
A very interesting and popular domestic series, which was shown on the screens of Russian television in the mid-2000s. Several works by Andrey Konstantinov formed the basis, but the plots of other authors were also borrowed. According to critics, the series can be conditionally divided into two parts: from the first to the sixth films and from the seventh to the tenth. The first tells about the 90s of the last century, when gangster lawlessness reigned, corruption flourished both in law enforcement agencies and in the environment of power structures, which merged with criminal groups. The second part is distinguished by the almost complete replacement of characters, the actions are transferred to the present, and the main theme of the story is leaning towards big business. Each part consists of several series, united by a common plot.
The series is based on stories about the fate of characters who, for one reason or another, are forced to face the criminal circles of the northern capital, and often even the best intentions can lead them to the wrong path. As a result, each hero has to decide for himself which priorities are most important for him: love and friendship or the desire for revenge. Often the line between good and evil is quite thin, so the hero himself does not even have time to understand when he turns from a good guy into a bandit. The series received a decent number of awards, it was well received by the audience.
- The originality of the development of the plot;
- The atmosphere of the mid and late 90s is excellently conveyed;
- Interesting actors whose characters develop over the course of the series.
- Critics note that the atmosphere of the TV movie is rather gloomy.
This is the first comedy series included in our review of the best serial films in the history of modern Russian television. It was produced by the film companies Yellow, Black and White and KeyStone Production, and the customer was the STS channel. It is based on the elite French cuisine restaurant Claude Monet, since season 5 it has been renamed Victor. The idea arose in the spring of 2011, and literally six months later they managed to shoot a pilot episode, which had a number of significant differences from the version familiar to the audience. First of all, the role of the owner of the institution was played not by Dmitry Nagiyev, but by Vladimir Kristovsky, the restaurant had a different name. The producers of the STS company ordered two seasons at once, shooting started on July 6, 2012.
This project has become one of the most expensive among domestic comedy productions: about 200 thousand dollars were spent on the release of one series. $8 million was allocated for the initial 40 episodes (the rights to only one song by Beyonce amounted to 1 million rubles). The first episode was shown to viewers on October 22, 2012. In the future, 4 more seasons were filmed. The producers, despite the support of the audience and their demands to continue shooting, abandoned the idea of continuing. However, a full-length film was released, called “Kitchen. The Last Battle, which was released in theaters on April 20, 2017.
- Good acting, realistic interiors;
- Original plot moves;
- The series was well received by the audience.
- It was decided not to continue shooting even with the active support of the audience.
Another detective multi-part feature film that was released on television screens back in 2007. The director here was Sergei Ursulyak. The story about the struggle of NKVD workers against crime after the end of the Great Patriotic War serves as the event basis of the series. Here, the well-known myth that Marshal Zhukov managed to cope with Odessa crime was widely reflected with the help of reckless arrests of all criminal authorities and the execution of street robbers without trial or investigation. The main roles in the series were played by Vladimir Mashkov, Mikhail Porechenkov, Sergey Makovetsky.
The plot begins to develop in 1946 in Odessa. Police officers catch the bandit Senka Shaly, who leads them to a warehouse with a large number of various stolen items, among which there are about a thousand sets of military uniforms. The criminals received the goods at the expense of fake invoices. At the same time, the poorly thought-out actions of Marshal Zhukov only cause irreparable harm: the bandits organize many pogroms, and the execution of petty criminals without trial and investigation leads to mass discontent among the common population. The plot is based on the diary of David Kurlyand, who worked as the deputy head of the criminal investigation department in Odessa.
- Good historical accuracy;
- The unsurpassed Odessa flavor is transferred;
- Interesting and twisted plot.
- A large number of characters, it is difficult to keep track of all of them.
7. National Security Agent
Another detective serial film dedicated to the adventures of the agent of the federal security service Alexei Nikolaev, who was brilliantly played at that time by the little-known actor Mikhail Porechenkov. The first three episodes were shown on television from the first to the third of January 2019 on TNT. The entire premiere season was released from August to November of the same year. Starting next year, the show begins on NTV. The same thing happened with the second season. A total of 60 episodes were filmed. All stories take place in St. Petersburg, especially since the main character has lived in this city all his life. Alexey Nikolaev spent his childhood on Ligovka, after school he entered the theater institute, from where he was expelled for a fight. Later he went to Afghanistan.
The producer of the series was Alexander Kapitsa, who previously worked with Streets of Broken Lanterns. The series is quite intriguing: all the stories are original, the cameramen and the director managed to organically convey the atmosphere of St. Petersburg in the 1990s. The main character is very interesting, makes you empathize with him, has a good sense of humor. All other characters are real men who are devoted in friendship, always ready to come to the rescue of their comrades. As critics note, this series was able to show the Russian soul and our national character well.
- original series;
- Well filmed;
- Pretty long.
- Some implausibility of a number of stories.
National Security Agent
One of the most modern series among all included in our review. It is a psychological thriller with detective elements. This TV movie is distinguished by a rather interesting fate. The pre-premiere closed screening of two episodes, which was attended by representatives of the media and the film business, took place in September 2015 at the Pioneer cinema in Moscow. It was attended by the producer of the picture and the general director of Channel One, Konstantin Ernst, who immediately after that concluded a contract with the creators of the picture to extend the series for at least one more season. The TV premiere took place in October of the same year, the new season will be released in the fall of 2020.
The main role here is played by Konstantin Khabensky, his character is an extraordinary and very mysterious person. He works as an investigator, and a very high level. They resort to his help when it is necessary to investigate complex and extremely intricate murders. He works, as a rule, alone and does not tell anyone the features of his methods. He almost always catches murderers and other criminals, and often executes them right upon arrest. One fine day, a trainee, Evgeny Steklov, is assigned to him, the role of which is played by Paulina Andreeva. However, working with an extra-class investigator is not as easy as it might seem at first glance.
- Non-trivial plot;
- Good development of heroes;
- The atmosphere of gray reality is excellently conveyed.
- The motivation of the protagonist in the murder of criminals is not always clear.
It was released on TV screens in 2004, the series was written based on the novel of the same name by Anatoly Azolsky. The action takes place at the height of the Great Patriotic War – in 1942. The plot is based on the theme of young scouts-saboteurs. Young guys who have just graduated from the intelligence school are developing and implementing very complex operations, operating mainly behind enemy lines. This topic here received a new and original development, the director and actors managed to bring it to a fundamentally new level. The plot is dynamic, constantly keeps in suspense, all the set stylistic tasks are implemented impeccably.
At the center of the story are two young novice scouts: 16-year-old Lenya Filatov and 20-year-old Alexei Bobrikov, played by Alexei Bardukov and Alexei Solonchev, respectively. They operate under the command of a young lieutenant Kaltygin, whose role was perfectly played by Vladislav Galkin. Despite the fact that the series was received very favorably by the audience, it caused a large number of negative reviews among critics. In particular, many of them said that the film distorts national history. In addition, many inconsistencies were noticed – sergeants receive officer ranks without completing officer courses, saboteurs are thrown into the rear of enemy troops with asterisks on caps.
- The dynamism of the plot;
- The creators tried to reveal one of the unknown pages of the Great Patriotic War.
- Grotex image of command;
- There are plot and factual inconsistencies.
4. Special Forces
It appeared on TV screens quite a long time ago – in 2002, not too long: it includes three episodes, a year later a sequel was released, consisting of four episodes. Initially, it was planned to shoot about 24 episodes, but after the terrorist attack in Beslan, the head of Channel One, Konstantin Ernst, decided to suspend work on the film. In fact, filming began in 2001. Initially, Igor Lifanov, Evgeny Sidikhin and Evgeny Dyatlov were involved in the roles of the central characters. Four episodes were filmed with them, but the management did not like the production, which is why the material was shelved.
In the version that nevertheless appeared on TV screens, quite well-known actors starred – Alexei Kravchenko, Igor Lifanov, Mikhail Porechenkov, Vladimir Turchinsky, Alexander Baluev and many others. The plot is based on complete stories about the difficult everyday life of soldiers serving in the elite units of the armed forces. They are responsible for the heaviest operations in various hot spots located both on the territory of the country and abroad. In particular, the action of the first series takes place in Chechnya, where special forces capture Chechen terrorists. The second series is devoted to the history of the destruction of the terrorist Sharaf and his group, the third episode takes place in the northern capital, where special forces are fighting against counterfeiters.
- Dynamic development of the plot;
- Good scenery;
- Excellent acting.
- It is difficult to call the series intellectual.
3. Streets of broken lanterns
One of the first Russian-made detective series, which was released on TV screens in 1998, but the first pilot episodes were filmed three years before. To date, this series has as many as 16 seasons. Each episode is a complete story, however there are several two-part episodes. They are dedicated to the everyday life of employees of the homicide police department of St. Petersburg. Today it is the longest-running series on the air in the history of modern domestic television. The first episodes were filmed based on the works of Andrei Kivinov, who worked as an employee of the murder detection department in the Kirovsky District Department of Internal Affairs of St. Petersburg. Initially, the RTR channel acted as a customer. Unfortunately, the producers refused to release products on screens due to the low quality of sound and picture.
Later, the creators of the series bought the rights from RTR and sold them to the TNT channel, where the premiere took place. All episodes of the first season (32 episodes) are based on the stories of Andrei Kivinov, then there were other screenwriters, but he remained in the project as a consultant. The viewer reacted positively both to the characters themselves and to the shown atmosphere of the series. Critics also received it very favorably, especially since “Streets of Broken Lights” became a truly new milestone in the history of modern Russian television. The first few episodes were literally pulled apart into aphorisms, and the episode where the entire team of the main characters performs A. Pugacheva’s song “Call me with you” eclipsed almost everything on television in its popularity.
- Very lively and interesting characters, each of which is an extraordinary personality;
- Good plot moves that are almost always unpredictable;
- St. Petersburg atmosphere is conveyed with all scrupulousness.
- Viewers could have seen this series a few years earlier.
Streets of broken lights
2. Master and Margarita
Moscow, 1934. Two writers are walking along the Patriarch’s Ponds. It seems to be nothing unusual, but now they come across none other than the ruler of the underworld himself. And this is only the beginning of the exciting story of the great master of the artistic word M.A. Bulgakov, which was filmed by no less remarkable director V. Bortko. As he himself noted in an interview, he set himself the goal of conveying the content of the novel as fully and close to the text as possible. He succeeded, especially since he was able to attract to work on this project a whole scattering of stars of national cinema – O. Basilashvili, V. Galkin, K. Lavrov, S. Bezrukov, R. Kartsev and many others. The premiere took place on December 19, 2005 on the Rossiya channel, the first two episodes were watched by over 40 million people.
Despite the huge popularity among ordinary viewers, critics mostly came out with negative reviews, calling the series an empty shell, a monstrous film, and so on. Indeed, V. Bortko undertook a very difficult task – to film the most mysterious novel of Russian and Soviet literature. For the most part, he succeeded, but flaws were still present. The following move seemed quite interesting to both viewers and critics: all Moscow episodes are given in black and white, and the Yershalaim chapters are in full color.
- A large-scale adaptation of one of the most popular novels in Russian literature;
- Excellent casting;
- Almost complete absence of flaws and stylistic inaccuracies.
- Some discrepancy between the age of the characters and the real age of the actors.
The Master and Margarita
Another large-scale adaptation of a work of Russian classical literature from the famous director V. Bortko. The series includes ten episodes, each of which is 55 minutes long. It was filmed by Studio 2-B-2 Entertainment, and the Rossiya TV channel acted as a customer. The series became available to a wide audience of viewers in 2003. Immediately after the release, he was nominated for many TEFI awards, and he was able to receive seven statuettes. The series won in the nominations “Best Feature TV Movie”, “Best Male Performer”, “Best Female Performer” and so on. In the same year, he won several Golden Eagle awards, also in several categories at once.
The plot is well known to all people who read the novel of the same name by F.M. Dostoevsky. Before filming, the director carefully studied the novel itself, the script for it, read the writer’s diaries and found places in the northern capital that are somehow related to this work. Prince Myshkin, performed by Yevgeny Mironov, turned out to be a very lively and extraordinary character. The shooting took place exactly in those places that were reflected in the work: the group was not only in St. Petersburg, but also in Moscow, and a couple of episodes had to be filmed in Switzerland. All the props are authentic, not adapted – things were borrowed from museum compositions, antique collections. All this made it possible to give the picture a real historical authenticity.
- High-quality adaptation of a classic work;
- Excellent casting;
- Detailed characterization.
- Not detected.
Our review of the best Russian TV series in 2022 has come to an end. If you have not found your favorite work, do not be offended by us, as we have given the rating a certain amount of subjectivity. You can tell us about your favorite TV shows in the comments to this article – it will be very interesting for us and our readers to find out which films you prefer.