TV Hero

10 Movie Directors That Have Redefined TV

1. David Fincher

The Fight Club and Gone Girl director has often been described as a trend-setter, and his forays on the small screen are exactly that. Fincher helped define what a Netflix Original series could be through his work on House of Cards, and he improved on this with the more Fincheresque series, Mindhunter.

2. Jane Campion

Lauded on the indie circuit for feminist films like the Oscar-winning The Piano, Campion has proven to be even better on TV. Her first series, Top of the Lake, is a hard-hitting, female-centric take on the small-town mystery, and gave Elizabeth Moss her first great lead role before The Handmaid’s Tale.

3. David Lynch

Lynch’s work on Twin Peaks will probably stay in the cultural consciousness longer than an of his brilliant cinematic works. This is mainly due to the fact that he ripped up the TV rulebook at least twice, and continues to baffle fans and critics alike by constantly remodelling what an hour of entertainment is capable of.

4. Ava DuVernay

While Ava DuVernay is still very much a film director, with her adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time out later this year, she has done wonders with her limited television experience, as she is responsible for the visual identity of Scandal.

5. Cary Fukunaga

Cary Fukunaga is the director responsible for the good season of True Detective, which is enough to get him on this list. There’s more though, as the director of acclaimed films like Beasts of No Nation and Sin Nombre is returning to TV with Maniac, starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.

6. Rian Johnson

Currently ruffling the feathers of Star Wars fans, the Last Jedi director has a varied and distinctive filmography out side of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. His previous films include the high school noir, Brick, and the best sci fi movie of the decade, Looper. He’s no slouch on TV either, as he has directed one episode of the short-lived cop show, Terriers, and three episodes of Breaking Bad. Two of which, Fly and Ozymandias, are classics.

7. Dee Rees

An exciting director that has managed the seemingly impossible: making a truly great Netflix original film with Mudbound. Next up for Rees is an episode of Amazon’s sci-fi anthology show Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams.

8. Justin Simien

Justin Simien is one of the few directors to successfully make his mark with the same property in two different mediums with Dear White People. His Netflix series smartly reinterprets and extends the themes and issues of his film, and is also extremely funny.

9. Jill Soloway

Soloway has gained praise and awards in equal measure for her Amazon drama Transparent. Despite the show hitting a difficult patch, thanks to the allegations made against star Jeffery Tambour, nothing should take away from the director’s achievement that has helped her adapted tougher material like the Kevin Bacon starring I Love Dick.

10. Steven Soderbergh

Soderbergh pulled a Jay Z and announced his retirement from filmmaking after his thriller Side Effects. This led to the director trying his hand at television in the form of the Cinemax original series, The Knick. Starring Clive Owen, Soderbergh directed every episode of the show’s two seasons that was unlike any period drama before or since.




Kevin Boyle

Freelancer pop and culture writer that loves watching TV Shows! Huge comic fan which you have probably noticed from the articles I write for TV Hero.

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