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.
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  1. 1
    Up 521
    Down 412

    most listed Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer

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  2. 2
    Up 715
    Down 514

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

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  3. 3
    Up 532
    Down 311

    Steve Buscemi, Jamie Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini

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  4. 4
    Up 374
    Down 307

    Idris Elba, Bobby Brown, Method Man

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  5. 5
    Up 401
    Down 323

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alyson Hannigan

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  6. 6
    Up 263
    Down 319

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Jon Hamm

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  7. 7
    Up 321
    Down 360

    Yvonne Strahovski, Julie Benz, Mos Def

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  8. 8
    Up 414
    Down 423

    Lauren Cohan, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln

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  9. 9
    Up 263
    Down 330

    Gillian Anderson, Lucy Lawless, David Duchovny

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  10. 10
    Up 289
    Down 281

    Morgan Freeman, Rod Serling, John McGiver

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  11. 11
    Up 228
    Down 228

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott

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  12. 12
    Up 274
    Down 275

    Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Morrison, Hugh Laurie

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  13. 13
    Up 314
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    Evangeline Lilly, Ian Somerhalder, Michelle Rodriguez

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  14. 14
    Up 182
    Down 225

    George Clooney, Jared Padalecki, Julianna Margulies

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  15. 15
    Up 209
    Down 281

    Michael C. Hall, James Cromwell, Lauren Ambrose

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  16. 16
    Up 255
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    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman

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  17. 17
    Up 241
    Down 237

    ranked low on reranks Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, David Schwimmer

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  18. 18
    Up 177
    Down 221

    Paul Giamatti, Shirley MacLaine, Maggie Smith

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  19. 19
    Up 192
    Down 255

    Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

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  20. 20
    Up 132
    Down 88

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

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  21. 21
    Up 194
    Down 241

    Eric Roberts, Tom Baker, Paul McGann

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  22. 22
    Up 192
    Down 235

    Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Gretchen Mol

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  23. 23
    Up 148
    Down 142

    added by gschwayze Ian Richardson, James Villiers, Damien Thomas

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  24. 24
    Up 177
    Down 224

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Ciarán Hinds

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  25. 25
    Up 143
    Down 212

    Elisabeth Shue, Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger

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  26. 26
    Up 202
    Down 312

    Elisha Cuthbert, Kiefer Sutherland, Lana Parrilla

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  27. 27
    Up 157
    Down 264

    Grace Park, Tricia Helfer, Lucy Lawless

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  28. 28
    Up 191
    Down 233

    Christopher Meloni, Edie Falco, J.K. Simmons

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  29. 29
    Up 166
    Down 230

    Mary-Louise Parker, Rob Lowe, Martin Sheen

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  30. 30
    Up 212
    Down 291

    Christina Hendricks, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin

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  31. 31
    Up 148
    Down 192

    Ken Campbell, Alan Ford, Derek Martin

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  32. 32
    Up 141
    Down 213

    Natalie Dormer, Joss Stone, Henry Cavill

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  33. 33
    Up 157
    Down 160

    ranked low on reranks & added by bojanthebest Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rachel Nichols, A. J. Cook

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  34. 34
    Up 166
    Down 245

    Jeffrey Jones, Timothy Olyphant, Sarah Paulson

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  35. 35
    Up 163
    Down 238

    Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn

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  36. 36
    Up 124
    Down 210

    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

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  37. 37
    Up 148
    Down 224

    Glenn Close, Forest Whitaker, Alex O'Loughlin

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  38. 38
    Up 180
    Down 265

    Anna Paquin, Evan Rachel Wood, Deborah Ann Woll

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  39. 39
    Up 240
    Down 257

    ranked low on reranks & added by SafeWordApple Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Molly Quinn

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  40. 40
    Up 144
    Down 176

    Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon

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  41. 41
    Up 96
    Down 126

    added by VanessaNelms Katherine Heigl, Sara Ramirez, Sandra Oh

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  42. 42
    Up 142
    Down 193

    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei

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  43. 43
    Up 117
    Down 181

    Alfre Woodard, Dennis Franz, Jeffrey Tambor

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  44. 44
    Up 144
    Down 214

    Timothy Olyphant, Alicia Witt, Natalie Zea

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  45. 45
    Up 131
    Down 219

    Robin Tunney, Wentworth Miller, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe

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  46. 46
    Up 23
    Down 13

    new! Alan Alda, David Ogden Stiers, Jamie Farr

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  47. 47
    Up 110
    Down 188

    Mark-Paul Gosselaar, David Caruso, Amy Brenneman

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  48. 48
    Up 39
    Down 73

    added by onry49 Katheryn Winnick, Gabriel Byrne, Alexander Ludwig

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  49. 49
    Up 60
    Down 122

    Jeremy Hotz, Peter Keleghan, Karen Hines

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  50. 50
    Up 58
    Down 182

    often listed & added by KarynLake Hayden Panettiere, Robert Downey Jr., Lucy Liu

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