The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time TV Programs
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The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

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.

  • 43 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 945
    - 720

    most listed Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 1308
    - 936

    the people's #1 Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 966
    - 513

    ranked low on reranks Steve Buscemi, Jamie Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 794
    - 564

    Idris Elba, Bobby Brown, Method Man

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 534
    - 465

    Morgan Freeman, Rod Serling, John McGiver

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 725
    - 614

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alyson Hannigan

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 479
    - 552

    Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Jon Hamm

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 487
    - 423

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 367
    - 277

    added by gschwayze Ian Richardson, James Villiers, Damien Thomas

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 447
    - 563

    Gillian Anderson, Lucy Lawless, David Duchovny

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 498
    - 670

    Yvonne Strahovski, Julie Benz, Mos Def

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 448
    - 380

    Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, David Schwimmer

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 650
    - 742

    Lauren Cohan, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 346
    - 430

    Michael C. Hall, James Cromwell, Lauren Ambrose

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 458
    - 460

    Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Morrison, Hugh Laurie

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 546
    - 545

    Evangeline Lilly, Ian Somerhalder, Michelle Rodriguez

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 356
    - 261

    ranked low on reranks & added by gschwayze Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 371
    - 397

    Eric Roberts, Tom Baker, Paul McGann

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 310
    - 355

    Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Gretchen Mol

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 321
    - 332

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Ciarán Hinds

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 267
    - 387

    George Clooney, Jared Padalecki, Julianna Margulies

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 370
    - 416

    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 266
    - 364

    Paul Giamatti, Shirley MacLaine, Maggie Smith

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 305
    - 428

    Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 292
    - 380

    Grace Park, Tricia Helfer, Lucy Lawless

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 321
    - 343

    Christopher Meloni, Edie Falco, J.K. Simmons

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 386
    - 431

    Christina Hendricks, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 311
    - 336

    Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 276
    - 348

    Mary-Louise Parker, Rob Lowe, Martin Sheen

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 208
    - 354

    Elisabeth Shue, Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 267
    - 348

    Jeffrey Jones, Timothy Olyphant, Sarah Paulson

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 254
    - 298

    Ken Campbell, Alan Ford, Derek Martin

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 237
    - 316

    Glenn Close, Forest Whitaker, Alex O'Loughlin

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 272
    - 497

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Elisha Cuthbert, Kiefer Sutherland, Lana Parrilla

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 82
    - 39

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 207
    - 320

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 250
    - 278

    added by bojanthebest Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rachel Nichols, A. J. Cook

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 261
    - 274

    ranked low on reranks William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 189
    - 319

    Natalie Dormer, Joss Stone, Henry Cavill

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 116
    - 88

    Alan Alda, David Ogden Stiers, Jamie Farr

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 204
    - 273

    Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 306
    - 380

    added by SafeWordApple Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Molly Quinn

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 233
    - 294

    Timothy Olyphant, Alicia Witt, Natalie Zea

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 230
    - 419

    Anna Paquin, Evan Rachel Wood, Deborah Ann Woll

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 272
    - 150

    ranked low on reranks & added by SibunASeason34 Nathalia Ramos, Jade Ramsey, Bobby Lockwood

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 163
    - 263

    Alfre Woodard, Dennis Franz, Jeffrey Tambor

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 172
    - 318

    Robin Tunney, Wentworth Miller, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 90
    - 143

    added by onry49 Katheryn Winnick, Gabriel Byrne, Alexander Ludwig

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 131
    - 257

    added by VanessaNelms Katherine Heigl, Sara Ramirez, Sandra Oh

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 157
    - 263

    Mark-Paul Gosselaar, David Caruso, Amy Brenneman

    ) open
77 +

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