Film & TV

The Ten Best TV Shows Set in Miami

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5. Magic City
Some shows never get a chance to really shine, and that’s the case with the Miami throwback series Magic City. When this show was announced, fans of Mad Men and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny from Grey’s Anatomy) were psyched about it, as were many denizens of the real Magic City. Sadly, those who became enamored with the stories revolving around the Miramar Playa were let down when Starz lowered the ax. But although the show represented a Miami most of us weren’t yet alive to know, it was beautiful to see a show shot locally, with sets heavily influenced by architect Morris Lapidus (responsible for iconic locales such as the Fountainbleau, Eden Roc, and Deauville Beach Resort). Plus, showrunner Mitch Glazer grew up here, so it’s no surprise he got the spirit of the city right on this show.
4. The Golden Girls
Unless you watched the show back in the day, you might not have known The Golden Girls is set in the 305. The address of the house in which the “girls” lived was 6151 Richmond St., but if you’re from here, you know that no such address exists. There are, however, a Richmond Drive close to Zoo Miami, and a 6151 Richmond Lane in Homestead. But let's be real — those funny gals were definitely living someplace east of the Palmetto Expressway. In reality, most scenes were shot in Los Angeles. Still, despite its lack of authenticity, most Miamians have a soft spot in their hearts for this show about rowdy, raunchy senior citizens. 
3. ¿Qué Pasa, USA?
How many TV shows have taken place in Little Havana, one of Miami’s most interesting neighborhoods? A big, fat, whopping one. Some of you might remember watching new episodes ¿Qué Pasa, USA? or at least seeing reruns. Qué Pasa delves deep into what it means to be a first-generation Latino by telling the story of a Cuban-American family living exactly the same way many Miamians were raised. The intro shows a downtown that’s wholly unrecognizable today, but the spirit of Latino families growing up in the Magic City remains the same, so the show remains a beloved treasure in our hearts.
2. Ballers
Now in its second season on HBO, Ballers hasn’t been around long, but it has quickly dug itself deep into the hearts of locals for its ability to truly capture the 305 experience of the one percent. Expensive sports cars, sugar daddies, VIP parties, and, of course, “Miami snow” all make themselves known on this show about running a football team, among other things. Star Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson graduated from the University of Miami and is seriously in tune with what the city is all about (at least when you have seemingly endless amount of cash). Shot mainly if not fully in Miami, the show also has plenty of street cred for repping the MIA.
1. Miami Vice
Long before directing films such as Heat, Public Enemies, and The Last of the Mohicans, Michael Mann was busy driving around SoBe scouting locations for the quintessential Miami TV show: Miami Vice. When so many producers were opting to film in L.A., Mann decided to bring production to the 305. The Miami of the '80s was nothing like it is today. The crime rate was astronomical, and the streets of South Beach were often empty. Could you really imagine filming an entire TV show on Collins Avenue or Ocean Drive these days? Chances are the crew members would get their cars towed before saying cut. Sure, Miami Vice is completely cheesy (it was the '80s, after all), but it also feels like a love letter to the wondrous city it would one day become. P.S.: You can relive the show's glory days by streaming the entire series on Hulu for free.
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