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
+ - 2,610 1,683
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
+ - 2,074 1,406
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
+ - 1,923 939
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
+ - 1,572 960
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
+ - 1,019 911
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

6
+ - 941 1,030
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
+ - 816 683
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
+ - 910 840
House is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
House Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

9
+ - 860 658
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Band of Brothers Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

10
+ - 1,214 1,284
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

11
+ - 1,001 1,121
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Dexter Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

12
+ - 808 955
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
+ - 1,202 1,117
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan

14
+ - 879 753
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Twilight Zone Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

15
+ - 1,038 880
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
+ - 698 560
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
True Detective Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson

17
+ - 380 218
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
+ - 633 695
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
+ - 357 270
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
+ - 679 667
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
+ - 635 680
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
+ - 561 563
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
+ - 605 645
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Firefly Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

24
+ - 512 580
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
+ - 464 435
Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

26
+ - 511 614
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Downton Abbey Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

27
+ - 492 524
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
+ - 517 538
Rome is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Rome Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

29
+ - 583 658
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Supernatural Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

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30
+ - 452 509
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Deadwood Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

31
+ - 230 188
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
+ - 474 591
ER is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
ER Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

33
+ - 500 516
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
+ - 482 703
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
+ - 416 460
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Law & Order Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

36
+ - 454 579
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Battlestar Galactica Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

37
+ - 395 473
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
+ - 392 435
Justified is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Justified Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

39
+ - 271 254
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
+ - 338 529
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
+ - 341 493
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Fringe Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

42
+ - 171 131
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T

43
+ - 127 78
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Better Call Saul Bob Odenkirk, Michael Mando, Jonathan Banks

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44
+ - 381 481
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
+ - 382 423
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
NCIS Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

46
+ - 139 108
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
The Americans Keri Russell

47
+ - 431 424
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Criminal Minds Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

48
+ - 141 117
Daredevil is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Daredevil Charlie Cox, Vincent D'Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll

49
+ - 149 98
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Homeland Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

50
+ - 295 488
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