The Sundering by Jacqueline Carey. On the issue of making the fantasy epic shade of grey she does a great job about it. She succeeds in making it us vs. them not good vs evil.
The Conan short stories by Robert E. Howard. The the one's written by the creator. Mentioned for the great action prose and general ethos of the works.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Song of Ice and Fire George RR Martin
Star Wars. The ones not written or directed by George Lucas.
Breaking Bad for the amazing characters
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Because unlike other people on this thread I will say that Tolkien is good.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
"Sojourn is never early, nor it is late-- it arrives precisely when it needs to." --Dan, ep. 334