The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

73k votes 7.1k voters 139k views 188 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
  • 72 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 2,246
    - 1,487

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,727
    - 1,207

    most listed
    Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,660
    - 811

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,387
    - 835


    Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

    ;
  5. 5
    + 862
    - 762


    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

    ;
  6. 6
    + 669
    - 551

    added by gschwayze
    Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright

    ;
  7. 7
    + 803
    - 891

    often listed
    Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

    ;
  8. 8
    + 1,061
    - 1,111


    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

    ;
  9. 9
    + 773
    - 706


    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

    ;
  10. 10
    + 1,110
    - 983


    Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

    ;
  11. 11
    + 852
    - 991

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

    ;
  12. 12
    + 729
    - 840

    often listed
    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

    ;
  13. 13
    + 737
    - 559


    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

    ;
  14. 14
    + 791
    - 667


    Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

    ;
  15. 15
    + 590
    - 467

    added by gschwayze
    Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson

    ;
  16. 16
    + 895
    - 778


    Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

    ;
  17. 17
    + 552
    - 612


    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy

    ;
  18. 18
    + 567
    - 587


    Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Matt Smith

    ;
  19. 19
    + 475
    - 485


    Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

    ;
  20. 20
    + 272
    - 203


    Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

    ;
  21. 21
    + 578
    - 580


    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior

    ;
  22. 22
    + 455
    - 511


    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

    ;
  23. 23
    + 529
    - 571


    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

    ;
  24. 24
    + 262
    - 158

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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 471
    - 473


    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

    ;
  26. 26
    + 439
    - 540


    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

    ;
  27. 27
    + 448
    - 467


    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

    ;
  28. 28
    + 504
    - 577


    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

    ;
  29. 29
    + 399
    - 383


    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

    ;
  30. 30
    + 445
    - 453


    Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick

    ;
  31. 31
    + 385
    - 461


    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

    ;
  32. 32
    + 417
    - 541


    Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

    ;
  33. 33
    + 415
    - 519


    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

    ;
  34. 34
    + 169
    - 138

    added by RondaBandy
    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

    ;
  35. 35
    + 359
    - 411


    Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

    ;
  36. 36
    + 353
    - 419


    Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins

    ;
  37. 37
    + 425
    - 636

    often listed
    Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

    ;
  38. 38
    + 298
    - 479

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 200
    - 190

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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 299
    - 440

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

    ;
  41. 41
    + 326
    - 393


    Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

    ;
  42. 42
    + 323
    - 378


    Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

    ;
  43. 43
    + 92
    - 66

    added by BenHawkes113
    Charlie Cox, Vincent D'Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll

    ;
  44. 44
    + 373
    - 378

    added by bojanthebest
    Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

    ;
  45. 45
    + 103
    - 92

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 309
    - 432


    Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

    ;
  47. 47
    + 258
    - 439

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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 308
    - 286

    added by SibunASeason34
    Alex Sawyer, Eugene Simon, Brad Kavanagh

    ;
  49. 49
    + 105
    - 80

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

    ;
  50. 50
    + 241
    - 360

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

    ;
189 +

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