The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

70k votes 6.8k voters 134k views 186 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
  • 68 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 2,186
    - 1,443

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,668
    - 1,169

    most listed
    Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,614
    - 784

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,344
    - 809


    Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

    ;
  5. 5
    + 826
    - 733


    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,091
    - 950


    Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

    ;
  7. 7
    + 642
    - 518

    added by gschwayze
    Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright

    ;
  8. 8
    + 750
    - 679


    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

    ;
  9. 9
    + 774
    - 862

    often listed
    Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

    ;
  10. 10
    + 1,024
    - 1,081


    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

    ;
  11. 11
    + 835
    - 960

    often listed
    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

    ;
  12. 12
    + 712
    - 542

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

    ;
  13. 13
    + 772
    - 654


    Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

    ;
  14. 14
    + 709
    - 822

    often listed
    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

    ;
  15. 15
    + 864
    - 755


    Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

    ;
  16. 16
    + 573
    - 455

    added by gschwayze
    Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson

    ;
  17. 17
    + 536
    - 600


    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy

    ;
  18. 18
    + 551
    - 569


    Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Matt Smith

    ;
  19. 19
    + 458
    - 470


    Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

    ;
  20. 20
    + 466
    - 460


    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

    ;
  21. 21
    + 244
    - 147

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

    ;
  22. 22
    + 553
    - 565


    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior

    ;
  23. 23
    + 441
    - 498


    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

    ;
  24. 24
    + 425
    - 525


    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

    ;
  25. 25
    + 434
    - 456


    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

    ;
  26. 26
    + 516
    - 557


    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

    ;
  27. 27
    + 256
    - 193

    ranked low on reranks
    Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

    ;
  28. 28
    + 437
    - 439


    Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick

    ;
  29. 29
    + 385
    - 372


    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

    ;
  30. 30
    + 409
    - 526


    Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

    ;
  31. 31
    + 407
    - 505


    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

    ;
  32. 32
    + 373
    - 448


    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

    ;
  33. 33
    + 469
    - 566


    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

    ;
  34. 34
    + 346
    - 400


    Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

    ;
  35. 35
    + 158
    - 125

    added by RondaBandy
    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

    ;
  36. 36
    + 341
    - 406


    Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins

    ;
  37. 37
    + 409
    - 623

    often listed
    Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

    ;
  38. 38
    + 294
    - 465

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 289
    - 431

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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 193
    - 176

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

    ;
  41. 41
    + 362
    - 368

    ranked low on reranks & added by bojanthebest
    Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

    ;
  42. 42
    + 315
    - 368


    Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

    ;
  43. 43
    + 313
    - 383


    Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

    ;
  44. 44
    + 298
    - 416


    Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

    ;
  45. 45
    + 252
    - 429

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 305
    - 274

    ranked low on reranks & added by SibunASeason34
    Alex Sawyer, Eugene Simon, Brad Kavanagh

    ;
  47. 47
    + 89
    - 81

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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 95
    - 69

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

    ;
  49. 49
    + 301
    - 547

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell

    ;
  50. 50
    + 238
    - 348


    Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

    ;
187 +

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