TV The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time  

Originally by
89k votes 8.6k voters 164k views 206 items Follow Embed

List Rules 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.

list ordered by

1
+ - 2,670 1,723
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time The Best Series Finales

2
+ - 2,141 1,442
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Game of Thrones Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington

3
+ - 1,955 959
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Sopranos James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

4
+ - 1,613 981
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Wire Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

5
+ - 1,054 939
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

6
+ - 958 1,062
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Mad Men Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

7
+ - 838 711
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
House of Cards Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright

8
+ - 880 674
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Band of Brothers Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

9
+ - 933 869
House is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
House Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

10
+ - 1,031 1,147
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Dexter Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

11
+ - 1,232 1,314
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

12
+ - 830 977
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The X-Files David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

13
+ - 898 766
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Twilight Zone Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

14
+ - 1,219 1,139
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan

15
+ - 1,057 899
Lost is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Lost Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

The Best TV Shows That Never Got a Real Finale These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models

16
+ - 713 572
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
True Detective Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson

17
+ - 396 226
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Fargo Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks

18
+ - 646 706
Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Six Feet Under Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy

19
+ - 369 281
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
M*A*S*H Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

20
+ - 701 677
Sons of Anarchy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Sons of Anarchy Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior

21
+ - 576 574
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The West Wing Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

22
+ - 620 654
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Firefly Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

23
+ - 646 689
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Doctor Who Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Matt Smith

24
+ - 521 590
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Boardwalk Empire Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

25
+ - 529 623
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Downton Abbey Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

26
+ - 472 444
Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

27
+ - 498 531
Oz is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Oz Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

28
+ - 597 665
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Supernatural Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

29
+ - 526 545
Rome is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Rome Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

21 Famous Schizophrenics Awesome Superpowers We'd Give Anything to Have

30
+ - 461 516
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Deadwood Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

31
+ - 240 197
Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

32
+ - 480 599
ER is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
ER Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

33
+ - 508 523
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, M├Ądchen Amick

34
+ - 470 586
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Battlestar Galactica Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

35
+ - 491 713
24 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
24 Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

36
+ - 426 466
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Law & Order Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

37
+ - 404 481
The Shield is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Shield Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins

38
+ - 406 440
Justified is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Justified Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

39
+ - 291 261
Orange Is the New Black is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Orange Is the New Black Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning

40
+ - 343 537
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads

41
+ - 349 500
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Fringe Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

42
+ - 140 82
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Better Call Saul Bob Odenkirk, Michael Mando, Jonathan Banks

43
+ - 182 139
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T

8 TV Actors Who Turned Out Just Like Their Characters The Best Soju Brands

44
+ - 393 491
Prison Break is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Prison Break Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

45
+ - 389 430
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
NCIS Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

46
+ - 147 115
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Americans Keri Russell

47
+ - 150 124
Daredevil is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Daredevil Charlie Cox, Vincent D'Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll

48
+ - 442 434
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Criminal Minds Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

49
+ - 160 105
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Homeland Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

50
+ - 303 497
The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Tudors Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy