The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

74k votes 7.1k voters 139k views 188 items tags f p @

List Criteria: American/British shows only; fantasy/sci-fi's included; live action only; mini-series included

The greatest TV dramas of all time are the ones that make you feel connected to characters you will never meet in real life to the point where you obsess about their exploits as much as your own. These top TV dramas rank high among the best TV shows of recent memory with many touting characters on the list of best TV characters ever.

Many of these greatest TV drama series, like Lost and the Sopranos, have already come to a close (earning them places on the list of the best TV series finales), while others like Mad Men and Breaking Bad are on the verge of closing up TV shop and leaving us to inevitably wonder about the lives of the surviving characters and what could have happened with the characters that get killed off (I've got even odds on Walter White buying a ticket to the meth lab in the sky in the Breaking Bad finale).

What is the best drama series in TV history? Tough question to answer considering many of the best TV series are dramas (and a lot of them are good!) Use this list of the greatest TV dramas ever to cast your vote for the top drama series and, if your favorite drama series isn't on the list, make sure to add it so other real people can get caught up in the fictional lives of your favorite TV drama characters.
Collection Photo:  via hbo
  • 72 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 2,250
    - 1,490

    the people's #1
    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,729
    - 1,211

    most listed
    Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,663
    - 814

    ranked low on reranks
    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,389
    - 837


    Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

    ;
  5. 5
    + 863
    - 764


    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

    ;
  6. 6
    + 670
    - 552

    added by gschwayze
    Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright

    ;
  7. 7
    + 804
    - 894

    often listed
    Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

    ;
  8. 8
    + 774
    - 708


    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

    ;
  9. 9
    + 1,062
    - 1,114


    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

    ;
  10. 10
    + 1,111
    - 984


    Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

    ;
  11. 11
    + 853
    - 993

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

    ;
  12. 12
    + 730
    - 842

    often listed
    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

    ;
  13. 13
    + 739
    - 562

    ranked low on reranks
    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

    ;
  14. 14
    + 793
    - 668


    Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

    ;
  15. 15
    + 591
    - 468

    added by gschwayze
    Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson

    ;
  16. 16
    + 897
    - 779


    Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

    ;
  17. 17
    + 553
    - 613


    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy

    ;
  18. 18
    + 567
    - 588


    Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Matt Smith

    ;
  19. 19
    + 475
    - 486


    Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

    ;
  20. 20
    + 273
    - 204


    Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

    ;
  21. 21
    + 581
    - 583


    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior

    ;
  22. 22
    + 455
    - 512


    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

    ;
  23. 23
    + 529
    - 572


    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

    ;
  24. 24
    + 441
    - 541


    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

    ;
  25. 25
    + 262
    - 159

    ranked low on reranks & added by LanaYoshii
    Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks

    ;
  26. 26
    + 471
    - 474


    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

    ;
  27. 27
    + 448
    - 468


    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

    ;
  28. 28
    + 505
    - 578


    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

    ;
  29. 29
    + 399
    - 384


    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

    ;
  30. 30
    + 445
    - 454


    Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick

    ;
  31. 31
    + 385
    - 462


    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

    ;
  32. 32
    + 418
    - 542


    Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

    ;
  33. 33
    + 416
    - 520


    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

    ;
  34. 34
    + 169
    - 139

    added by RondaBandy
    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

    ;
  35. 35
    + 359
    - 412


    Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

    ;
  36. 36
    + 354
    - 420


    Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins

    ;
  37. 37
    + 426
    - 637


    Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

    ;
  38. 38
    + 298
    - 480

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads

    ;
  39. 39
    + 202
    - 191

    ranked low on reranks & added by lilyclaire
    Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning

    ;
  40. 40
    + 299
    - 441

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

    ;
  41. 41
    + 326
    - 395


    Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

    ;
  42. 42
    + 327
    - 380


    Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

    ;
  43. 43
    + 92
    - 67

    added by BenHawkes113
    Charlie Cox, Vincent D'Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll

    ;
  44. 44
    + 374
    - 379

    added by bojanthebest
    Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

    ;
  45. 45
    + 311
    - 433

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

    ;
  46. 46
    + 103
    - 93

    added by Greer Baudreau
    Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T

    ;
  47. 47
    + 259
    - 440

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

    ;
  48. 48
    + 309
    - 287

    added by SibunASeason34
    Alex Sawyer, Eugene Simon, Brad Kavanagh

    ;
  49. 49
    + 106
    - 80

    ranked low on reranks
    Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas

    ;
  50. 50
    + 241
    - 361

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

    ;
189 +

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