Gillen, who is currently appearing in ITV's Identity, explained that working on such an acclaimed show has made him look out for more good drama.
"It definitely raised the bar, which you can look at in two ways," he told The Daily Telegraph. "You can say, 'Is anything else I do going to be as good?' Or maybe, by setting a standard, The Wire will make everything else a bit better."
He continued: "There's a lot of reality TV around these days and it's nice to see straight drama making an impact. You can still find good television dramas but there's not as many as there used to be. When I was 16, there were loads of good things on - The Singing Detective, Boys From The Blackstuff... They were a big influence on me wanting to become an actor."
Gillen also revealed that he is attracted to "bold, risk-taking scripts", saying: "Both The Wire and Queer As Folk had a big scope.
"They were panoramas, telling ambitious stories about two cities, Baltimore and Manchester, for the first time. Some people said that Queer As Folk was sensationalist and had too much sex. The real mayor of Baltimore complained that The Wire was too bleak. But they're missing the point."
He added: "In drama you can either pretend everything is OK, or you can show the world as it really is in the hope that it gets better."
Identity continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV1.