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The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows

While some of the best drama TV shows are long gone (we'll never forget you, Breaking Bad), others like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and even American Horror Story keep us interested, toy with our emotions, and certainly keep our DVRs busy as we follow along with the dramatic story lines.

Many of the best, most acclaimed series come from networks like CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX while others were only available from basic cable stations like AMC and FX. Even others were limited to those with the pay channels like HBO and Showtime or streaming providers like Netflix and Hulu - which make it easy to decide which shows to marathon. Regardless of network, these series get us interested and keep us hooked to all the action throughout the year.

The best drama shows of all time provided a bit of something for everyone. Sci-fi and horror lovers had plenty of options like The Strain and American Horror Story while those looking for courtroom dramas could choose from the likes of The Good Wife and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Old favorites like CSI and NCIS continue to hold strong on network TV, but the best dramatic television shows also include Netflix series such as House of Cards and Daredevil, along with cable favorites including Game of Thrones and True Detective.

So whether you're a fan of the warm and fuzzy dramas or the hard-hitting crime shows or any in between, one or another of the best dramatic series on TV is sure to keep you crying, cheering, or simply entertained.

Check out more lists like the most loved tv shows of all time, the top premium cable series, and he best sci-fi shows

The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows TV Programs
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  1. 1
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    • Actors: Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer, Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage + 87 more
    • Premiered: 2011
    • Number of Seasons: 3
    • Number of Episodes: 34
    • creator: D. B. Weiss, David Benioff
    • Producers: D. B. Weiss, Mark Huffam, Frank Doelger, George R. R. Martin, Carolyn Strauss + 4 more
    • Network: HBO
    • Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action + 2 more
    • Characters: Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Joffrey Baratheon, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark + 85 more
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    • Actors: Lauren Cohan, Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Christian Serratos, Sarah Wayne Callies + 17 more
    • Premiered: 2010
    • Number of Seasons: 3
    • Number of Episodes: 35
    • creator: Frank Darabont
    • Producers: Gale Anne Hurd, Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
    • Network: AMC
    • Genres (Tv): Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Suspense, Drama, Horror Film, Thriller + 1 more
    • Characters: Rick Grimes, Shane Walsh, Michonne, Lori Grimes, Beth Greene + 17 more
  3. 3
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    • Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott, Rupert Graves, Mark Gatiss + 5 more
    • Premiered: 2010
    • Number of Seasons: 3
    • Number of Episodes: 8
    • creator: Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss
    • Producers: Beryl Vertue, British Broadcasting Corporation, Piers Wenger, Steven Moffat, Charlotte Ashby + 5 more
    • Network: British Broadcasting Corporation
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Crime, Drama + 2 more
    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Dr. Watson, Mycroft Holmes, Molly Hooper + 5 more
  4. 4
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    • Actors: Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon, Sasha Alexander, Lauren Holly + 20 more
    • Premiered: 2003
    • Number of Seasons: 10
    • Number of Episodes: 218
    • creator: Donald Bellisario, Don McGill
    • Producers: Donald Bellisario, Shane Brennan
    • Network: CBS
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Thriller + 4 more
    • Characters: Abby Sciuto, Mossad Agent Ziva David, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Caitlin Todd + 21 more
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    • Actors: Laura Prepon, Natasha Lyonne, Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs, Taryn Manning + 10 more
    • Premiered: 2013
    • Number of Seasons: 1
    • Number of Episodes: 13
    • creator: Jenji Kohan
    • Producers: Jenji Kohan, Liz Friedman
    • Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy
    • Characters: Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett, Alex Vause, Joe Caputo, Crazy Eyes + 10 more
  6. 6
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    • Actors: Sharon Stone, Mariska Hargitay, Ann-Margret, Melissa Joan Hart, Ice-T + 26 more
    • Premiered: 1999
    • Number of Seasons: 13
    • Number of Episodes: 319
    • creator: Dick Wolf
    • Producers: Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski, Warren Leight, Neal Baer, David J. Burke
    • Network: NBC
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama, Live action, Legal drama + 1 more
    • Characters: Olivia Benson, Elliot Stabler, John Munch, Fin Tutuola, Sheila Tierney + 20 more
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    • Actors: Claire Danes, Morena Baccarin, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, Nazanin Boniadi + 12 more
    • Premiered: 2011
    • Number of Seasons: 3
    • creator: Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Alex Gansa
    • Producers: Avi Nir, Michael Klick, Ran Telem, Michael Cuesta, Howard Gordon + 2 more
    • Network: Showtime
    • Genres (Tv): Suspense, Drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Thriller
    • Characters: Nicholas Brody, Carrie Mathison, Dana Brody, Saul Berenson, Jessica Brody + 12 more
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    • Actors: Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Molly Quinn, Tamala Jones, Susan Sullivan + 6 more
    • Premiered: 2009
    • Number of Seasons: 4
    • Number of Episodes: 105
    • creator: Andrew W. Marlowe
    • Producers: Rob Bowman
    • Network: American Broadcasting Company
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Crime, Drama, Mystery + 1 more
    • Characters: Kate Beckett, Richard Castle, Lanie Parish, Alexis Castle, Kevin Ryan + 6 more
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    • Actors: Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alona Tal + 9 more
    • Premiered: 2005
    • Number of Seasons: 8
    • Number of Episodes: 158
    • creator: Eric Kripke
    • Producers: Eugene Ross-Leming, Jerry Wanek, Richard Hatem, Adam Glass, Matt Witten + 24 more
    • Network: The WB Television Network, The CW Television Network
    • Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Black comedy, Drama, Horror Film, Mystery + 4 more
    • Characters: Dean Winchester, Bobby Singer, Sam Winchester, Castiel, John Winchester + 9 more
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    • Actors: Paul Giamatti, Maggie Smith, Shirley MacLaine, Rose Leslie, Michelle Dockery + 29 more
    • Premiered: 2010
    • Number of Seasons: 3
    • Number of Episodes: 25
    • creator: Julian Fellowes
    • Producers: Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge, Rebecca Eaton, Julian Fellowes
    • Network: ITV
    • Genres (Tv): Drama
    • Characters: Lady Mary Crawley, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham + 32 more
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    • Actors: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rachel Nichols, A. J. Cook, Shemar Moore, Paget Brewster + 11 more
    • Premiered: 2005
    • Number of Seasons: 8
    • Number of Episodes: 186
    • creator: Jeff Davis
    • Producers: Peter Schindler, Aaron Zelman, Mark Gordon
    • Network: A&E, CBS
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Crime, Suspense, Drama + 2 more
    • Characters: Penelope Garcia, Spencer Reid, Emily Prentiss, David Rossi, Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner + 11 more
  12. 12
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    • Actors: Emma Roberts, Jessica Lange, Connie Britton, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates + 16 more
    • Premiered: 2011
    • Number of Seasons: 2
    • Number of Episodes: 20
    • creator: Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy
    • Producers: Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tim Minear, Dante Di Loreto
    • Network: FX
    • Genres (Tv): Special Interest, Anthology series, Drama, Horror Film, Mystery + 3 more
    • Characters: Constance Langdon, Tate Langdon, Lana Winters, Sister Jude Martin, Fiona Goode + 24 more
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    • Actors: Kevin Spacey, Kate Mara, Robin Wright, Sandrine Holt, Constance Zimmer + 21 more
    • Premiered: 2013
    • Number of Seasons: 1
    • Number of Episodes: 13
    • creator: Beau Willimon
    • Network: Netflix
    • Genres (Tv): Drama
    • Characters: Francis Underwood, Claire Underwood, Rep. Peter Russo, Doug Stamper, Linda Vasquez + 21 more
  14. 14
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    • Actors: Jennifer Morrison, Jamie Chung, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parrilla, Emilie de Ravin + 19 more
    • Premiered: 2011
    • Number of Seasons: 2
    • Number of Episodes: 44
    • creator: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
    • Producers: Adam Horowitz, Jane Espenson, David H. Goodman, Damon Lindelof, Edward Kitsis
    • Network: American Broadcasting Company
    • Genres (Tv): Drama, Mystery, Fairy tale, Comedy-drama, Fantasy
    • Characters: Captain Hook, Princess Aurora, Queen, Snow White, Fa Ping + 23 more
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    • Actors: Sarah Shahi, Taraji P. Henson, Jim Caviezel, Amy Acker, Michael Emerson + 1 more
    • Premiered: 2011
    • Number of Seasons: 2
    • Number of Episodes: 31
    • creator: Jonathan Nolan
    • Producers: Richard J. Lewis, Bryan Burk, J.J. Abrams, David Semel
    • Network: CBS
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller + 2 more
    • Characters: Joss Carter, John Reese, "Root", Harold Finch, Lionel Fusco + 1 more
  16. 16
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    • Actors: James Spader, Megan Boone, Parminder Nagra, Harry Lennix, Annet Mahendru + 8 more
    • Premiered: 2013
    • Network: NBC
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama
    • Characters: Raymond 'Red' Reddington, Elizabeth Keen, Dembe, Tom Keen, Harold Cooper + 9 more
  17. 17
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    • Actors: Katie Cassidy, Willa Holland, Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, Emily Bett Rickards + 6 more
    • Premiered: 2012
    • Number of Seasons: 1
    • Number of Episodes: 23
    • creator: Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim
    • Network: The CW Television Network
    • Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Adventure film, Action + 2 more
    • Characters: Black Canary, Deathstroke, Roy Harper, Felicity Smoak, John Diggle + 6 more
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    • Actors: Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Tamara Taylor, Ryan O'Neal, Michaela Conlin + 8 more
    • Premiered: 2005
    • Number of Seasons: 9
    • Number of Episodes: 166
    • creator: Hart Hanson
    • Producers: Barry Josephson, David Boreanaz, Ian Toynton, 20th Century Fox Television, Emily Deschanel + 3 more
    • Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
    • Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Procedural drama, Drama + 2 more
    • Characters: Temperance "Bones" Brennan, Seeley Booth, Dr Lance Sweets, Angela Montenegro, Jack Hodgins + 8 more
  19. 19
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    • Actors: Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Graham McTavish, Grant O'Rourke, Tobias Menzies + 5 more
    • Premiered: 2014
    • creator: Ronald D. Moore
    • Network: Starz
    • Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy
    • Characters: Claire Randall, Jonathan Randall, Jamie Fraser, Ned Gowan, Frank Randall + 6 more
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    • Actors: Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi, Matthew Goode + 5 more
    • Premiered: 2009
    • Number of Seasons: 3
    • Number of Episodes: 44
    • creator: Robert King, Michelle King
    • Producers: Tony Scott, Dee Johnson, Brooke Kennedy, Corinne Brinkerhoff, David W. Zucker + 8 more
    • Network: CBS
    • Genres (Tv): Drama, Legal drama
    • Characters: Alicia Florrick, Kalinda Sharma, Will Gardner, Diane Lockhart, Grace Florrick + 5 more
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