TV The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time  

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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
+ - 2,664 1,716
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

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2
+ - 2,129 1,438
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
+ - 1,952 957
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
+ - 1,613 979
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
+ - 1,050 937
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

6
+ - 957 1,059
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
+ - 836 706
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
+ - 879 672
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
+ - 931 865
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
+ - 1,028 1,144
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
+ - 1,228 1,309
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
+ - 829 972
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
+ - 896 762
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
+ - 1,218 1,135
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
+ - 1,056 894
Lost is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Lost Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

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16
+ - 713 571
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
True Detective Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson

17
+ - 394 225
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
+ - 643 705
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
+ - 368 279
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
+ - 700 675
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
+ - 646 688
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Doctor Who Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Matt Smith

22
+ - 574 573
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The West Wing Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

23
+ - 619 653
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Firefly Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

24
+ - 521 588
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
+ - 527 622
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
+ - 472 442
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
+ - 498 530
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
+ - 596 664
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Supernatural Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

29
+ - 525 544
Rome is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Rome Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

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30
+ - 460 514
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Deadwood Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

31
+ - 239 195
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
+ - 480 597
ER is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
ER Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

33
+ - 508 522
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
+ - 491 712
24 is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
24 Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

35
+ - 467 583
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Battlestar Galactica Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

36
+ - 424 465
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
+ - 402 480
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
+ - 405 439
Justified is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Justified Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

39
+ - 289 260
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
+ - 343 535
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
+ - 348 499
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Fringe Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

42
+ - 139 81
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
+ - 180 138
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

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44
+ - 393 490
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
+ - 388 429
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
NCIS Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

46
+ - 146 113
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Americans Keri Russell

47
+ - 160 103
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Homeland Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

48
+ - 441 432
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
+ - 149 123
Daredevil is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Daredevil Charlie Cox, Vincent D'Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll

50
+ - 302 496
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