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.

  • 45 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1011
    - 756

    most listed
    Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 1392
    - 986

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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 1027
    - 531

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

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 845
    - 579


    Idris Elba, Bobby Brown, Method Man

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 516
    - 459


    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 768
    - 643


    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alyson Hannigan

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 557
    - 488


    Morgan Freeman, Rod Serling, John McGiver

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 511
    - 584

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

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 465
    - 594

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Gillian Anderson, Lucy Lawless, David Duchovny

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 469
    - 392


    Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, David Schwimmer

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 392
    - 302

    added by gschwayze
    Ian Richardson, James Villiers, Damien Thomas

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 383
    - 278

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

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 519
    - 709

    often listed
    Yvonne Strahovski, Julie Benz, Mos Def

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 478
    - 482


    Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Morrison, Hugh Laurie

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 672
    - 770


    Lauren Cohan, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 577
    - 561


    Evangeline Lilly, Ian Somerhalder, Michelle Rodriguez

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 361
    - 441


    Michael C. Hall, James Cromwell, Lauren Ambrose

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 394
    - 408


    Eric Roberts, Tom Baker, Paul McGann

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 324
    - 363


    Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Gretchen Mol

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 340
    - 339


    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Ciarán Hinds

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 276
    - 377


    Paul Giamatti, Shirley MacLaine, Maggie Smith

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 275
    - 398


    George Clooney, Jared Padalecki, Julianna Margulies

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 379
    - 429


    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 316
    - 437


    Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 302
    - 384


    Grace Park, Tricia Helfer, Lucy Lawless

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 332
    - 348


    Christopher Meloni, Edie Falco, J.K. Simmons

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 392
    - 439


    Christina Hendricks, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 285
    - 354


    Mary-Louise Parker, Rob Lowe, Martin Sheen

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 322
    - 341


    Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 261
    - 303


    Ken Campbell, Alan Ford, Derek Martin

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 217
    - 357


    Elisabeth Shue, Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 271
    - 351


    Jeffrey Jones, Timothy Olyphant, Sarah Paulson

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 278
    - 505

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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 93
    - 42

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

  35. 35
    + 242
    - 320


    Glenn Close, Forest Whitaker, Alex O'Loughlin

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 272
    - 278


    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 125
    - 94


    Alan Alda, David Ogden Stiers, Jamie Farr

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 213
    - 323


    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 258
    - 281

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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 193
    - 325


    Natalie Dormer, Joss Stone, Henry Cavill

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 210
    - 278


    Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 307
    - 389

    added by SafeWordApple
    Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Molly Quinn

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 236
    - 298


    Timothy Olyphant, Alicia Witt, Natalie Zea

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 168
    - 267


    Alfre Woodard, Dennis Franz, Jeffrey Tambor

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 234
    - 430


    Anna Paquin, Evan Rachel Wood, Deborah Ann Woll

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 179
    - 323


    Robin Tunney, Wentworth Miller, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 276
    - 156

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

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 95
    - 148

    added by onry49
    Katheryn Winnick, Gabriel Byrne, Alexander Ludwig

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 21
    - 17

    added by CamiloMarino
    Sarah Shahi, Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 161
    - 266


    Mark-Paul Gosselaar, David Caruso, Amy Brenneman

    ) open
80 +

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