Las Vegas appears in dozens of TV shows and films every year, and for good reason. Vegas is a stand-in for the collective American consciousness and symbolizes a Dionysian release that is thematically significant for many cinematic plots and themes. Vegas is also great for filming – it is only 400 miles away from Hollywood, the city that never sleeps, so filming can go on all day and night if need be, and the hospitality industry there is accustomed to catering to the specific needs and whims of the ultra-wealthy and famous.
Many TV shows that are set in Vegas do not last for more than a season or two, but others have had long runs, become critically acclaimed and extremely popular. Below are some of the best TV interpretations of Las Vegas over the years.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
CSI is one of the most popular and iconic crime shows in America and features a team of forensic investigators chasing leads and closing cases while sharing jibes and jokes. Set in Las Vegas, the show spanned 15 seasons from 2000 to 2015. If crime shows are your cup of tea, then CSI is definitely worth a watch as the show features all of the fun, wildness, chaos and excitement of Vegas.
The classic Reno 911 is a more entertaining cop show, set in nearby Reno. Reno is located very close to Vegas and the show provides a comedic look into a city that lives in the shadow of its bigger, glitzier neighbour.
First aired in 2017, GLOW has become a crowd favourite and a critically acclaimed hit. The first two seasons of GLOW were filmed in LA but the third season is set in Las Vegas. GLOW is a dramedy that follows female professional wrestlers and their successes, trials and travails in the 1980s. Their take on 1980s Vegas is a fun throwback featuring all of the hit songs you love, together with the zany aesthetic choices of the 80s.
Reality TV and Vegas
Vegas, colloquially known as Sin City, is a wild city and so it should not surprise anyone that it makes for a great setting for reality television. One of the top reality shows set in Vegas is called Pawn Stars and it follows the Harrison family. The Harrison family are a group of rough-and-tumble men who own and manage one of the most famous pawn shops in the world – Gold & Silver Pawn in Las Vegas.
The show was launched in 2009 and is still a hit with audiences who enjoy the quirky antics of the staff and customers along with the weird antiques that appear on the show. Pawn Stars was actually so popular that it launched a spin-off show, American Restoration, which follows the daily work of Rick’s Restorations, a company that works with the Pawn Stars’ cast to restore beautiful antiques to their former glory.
Other popular reality shows include Flip or Flop Vegas, Tanked, and Bad Ink. Flip or Flop Vegas follows MMA fighter turned realtor Bristol Marunde and his wife Aubrey as they flip homes and play the property market in Vegas. This show is great for people who enjoy property shows and like viewing some of the absolutely outrageous homes that the Flip or Flop team encounter.
Tanked is an Animal Planet reality show that follows a group of aquarium enthusiasts who build luxurious tanks for the aquatic pets of the rich and famous. The show encountered its fair share of controversy, however, before being taken off the air. Bad Ink follows a group of tattoo artists who work to cover up truly heinous tattoos.
Breaking the fourth wall
Online gambling has made it possible for gamblers to enjoy watching gambling and Vegas television shows while also playing casino games themselves. Breaking the fourth wall has arguably never been so much fun.
The online gambling industry was considered something of an outlier and an oddity for years. However, in the last 10 years or so, the industry has skyrocketed in popularity. Now companies such as Mr Green feature extensive games libraries, a multitude of slots online, robust platforms and high-performing apps to play on. If you enjoy watching the lively casino floors, romantic intrigue and wildness of Vegas on TV, you can join in the fun simply by using the casino apps on your phone.
These are just a few of the many popular TV depictions of Vegas. Vegas is one of America’s favourite cities and the list of great television shows – and the list of great movies set in Vegas – could go on indefinitely.