desperate-housewives.jpgCurrently airing its eighth and final series, Desperate Housewives will be sorely missed from our screens when we have to wave goodbye to Susan, Lynette, Bree and Gaby for good later this year.

A dark comedy-drama with very little competition in our post-Sex and the City, reality-led era of television, Desperate Housewives has been making us laugh, gasp and cringe for eight solid years and is sure to go out on a high.

From the very first episode back in 2004 viewers were treated to mischief and scandal amid the outwardly perfect street of Wisteria Lane, with its white picket fences, beautiful residents and seemingly idyllic suburban lifestyle. Narrated throughout by a character who committed suicide in the opening episode, the drama is nothing if not original; we have witnessed murder, adultery, alcoholism, countless divorces and more, held together by the friendship - and often catty disagreements - between the strong female leads.

Perhaps its most redeeming feature though is not just the witty script and far-fetched storylines, but its characters and the actresses playing them. Since Carrie and co disappeared off to Hollywood to make substandard movies, there have been very few leading ladies in top TV series who are over the age of 25. The surprisingly funny Teri Hatcher, brilliant Felicity Huffman, fiery Marcia Cross and 'because she's worth it' Eva Longoria make a great lead cast, proving that age is just a number and, cosmetic help or not, it's possible to be sexy when middle-aged. Seriously.

The series has had its fair share of gorgeous men too of course, from dreamy gardener Jesse Metcalfe to James Denton, but it's the women that make this neighbourly drama a must-see. With sassy ex Ugly Betty star Vanessa Williams adding to the mix in the past couple of seasons, as an audience we get to envy their pristine hair and makeup, carefully maintained figures and year-round tans while relishing their crazy far-from-perfect lives - and yet the sheer magic of the show is that we still love them at the end of it.

Yes, thanks to Desperate Housewives we've been spoilt with sharp tongues and tough storylines, complicated characters and dramatic exits - where we'll get our fix of upper class criminal adventures from when it's gone, we have no idea. Boxset, anyone?

See the final season of Desperate Housewives on Sundays at 10pm on E4, Tuesdays at 11.05pm on Channel4 or watch on catch-up with 4OD.