The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

76k votes 7.3k voters 143k 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
  • 74 ReRanks
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    • Men
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  1. 1
    + 2,293
    - 1,517

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,775
    - 1,234

    most listed
    Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,696
    - 832

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,418
    - 852


    Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

    ;
  5. 5
    + 883
    - 776


    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

    ;
  6. 6
    + 690
    - 570

    added by gschwayze
    Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright

    ;
  7. 7
    + 792
    - 726


    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

    ;
  8. 8
    + 817
    - 918


    Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

    ;
  9. 9
    + 1,077
    - 1,138


    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

    ;
  10. 10
    + 1,126
    - 1,000


    Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

    ;
  11. 11
    + 868
    - 1,010

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

    ;
  12. 12
    + 739
    - 860

    often listed
    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

    ;
  13. 13
    + 754
    - 575

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

    ;
  14. 14
    + 805
    - 680


    Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

    ;
  15. 15
    + 604
    - 485

    added by gschwayze
    Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson

    ;
  16. 16
    + 912
    - 791


    Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

    ;
  17. 17
    + 566
    - 624


    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy

    ;
  18. 18
    + 579
    - 600


    Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Matt Smith

    ;
  19. 19
    + 288
    - 210

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

    ;
  20. 20
    + 483
    - 495


    Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

    ;
  21. 21
    + 594
    - 594


    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior

    ;
  22. 22
    + 461
    - 522


    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

    ;
  23. 23
    + 450
    - 551


    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

    ;
  24. 24
    + 534
    - 584


    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

    ;
  25. 25
    + 477
    - 484


    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

    ;
  26. 26
    + 268
    - 170

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

    ;
  27. 27
    + 451
    - 478


    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

    ;
  28. 28
    + 511
    - 590


    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

    ;
  29. 29
    + 406
    - 392


    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

    ;
  30. 30
    + 448
    - 464


    Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick

    ;
  31. 31
    + 396
    - 469


    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

    ;
  32. 32
    + 426
    - 548


    Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

    ;
  33. 33
    + 177
    - 146

    added by RondaBandy
    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

    ;
  34. 34
    + 418
    - 530


    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

    ;
  35. 35
    + 370
    - 417


    Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

    ;
  36. 36
    + 430
    - 651

    often listed
    Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

    ;
  37. 37
    + 355
    - 431


    Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins

    ;
  38. 38
    + 303
    - 489

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 210
    - 200

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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 303
    - 451

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

    ;
  41. 41
    + 330
    - 405


    Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

    ;
  42. 42
    + 336
    - 385


    Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

    ;
  43. 43
    + 324
    - 440


    Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

    ;
  44. 44
    + 382
    - 384

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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 113
    - 98

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 97
    - 76

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

    ;
  47. 47
    + 262
    - 452

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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 309
    - 299

    added by SibunASeason34
    Alex Sawyer, Eugene Simon, Brad Kavanagh

    ;
  49. 49
    + 89
    - 70

    added by LanaYoshii
    Keri Russell

    ;
  50. 50
    + 246
    - 368

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

    ;
189 +

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