The Best '90s TV Dramas TV Programs
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The Best '90s TV Dramas

List Criteria: The greatest drama TV series that premiered between 1990 and 1999

The best ‘90s drama shows weighed heavily toward sci-fi premises, but gave equal time to angsty teen dramas and crime procedurals. In fact, we have the ‘90s to thank for the exponential growth of the Law and Order franchise. Though some of the greatest TV dramas of the ‘90s might be comedy-drama hybrids rather than straight-up drama, the hour-long format allowed those shows to tackle more serious subjects than a sitcom.

Some of the ‘90s greatest dramas dominated what came to be known as water-cooler viewing, like The X-files, Twin Peaks, and
0. Other shows didn’t quite dominate in the ratings, like Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and The Sopranos, yet they secured a spot in TV history as some of the best ever in the genre.

As the Internet grew in access and popularity, we saw some of the greatest ‘90s dramas draw from the new phenomenon. (Recall Ally McBeal’s use of the dancing baby meme.) Though DVR wasn’t introduced until 1999, VHS recording allowed for delayed viewing, necessitating the rise of the SPOILER ALERT.

Finally, we have to thank a few of the best ‘90s drama shows for launching the careers of Jessica Biel (7th Heaven), Claire Danes (My So-Called Life), and James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek), reviving the careers of James Spader (The Practice), Rob Lowe (
0), and Robert Downey, Jr. (
1l). And, really, we have to thank Dick Wolf for filling the airwaves end to end with witty banter and weeping victims.
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    Chris Noth, Sam Waterson

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    Steve Buscemi, Jamie Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini

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    Sharon Stone, Mariska Hargitay, Ann-Margret

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    Mark-Paul Gosselaar, David Caruso, Amy Brenneman

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    Christopher Meloni, Edie Falco, J.K. Simmons

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    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alyson Hannigan

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    added by dee123 Dick Van Dyke, Scott Baio, Victoria Rowell

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    added by dee123 Catherine Bell, David James Elliott, Trevor Goddard

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    Hilary Swank, Tiffani Thiessen, Shannen Doherty

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    Mary-Louise Parker, Rob Lowe, Martin Sheen

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    Jane Seymour, Chad Allen, Orson Bean

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    Rhona Mitra, James Spader, Lara Flynn Boyle

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    Don Cheadle, Lauren Holly, Marlee Matlin

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    Alyssa Milano, Heather Locklear, Marcia Cross

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    Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn

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    Katie Holmes, Jensen Ackles, Michelle Williams

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    Lucy Lawless, Bruce Campbell, Kevin Sorbo

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    Hayden Panettiere, Robert Downey Jr., Lucy Liu

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    Claire Danes, Jared Leto, Wilson Cruz

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    new! & added by teddybear1029 Marion Cotillard, Jason Isaacs, Stella Stevens

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    Jeri Ryan, Kate Mulgrew, Robert Picardo

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    George Clooney, Ashley Judd, Sela Ward

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    Terry Farrell, Rene Auberjonois, Nicole de Boer

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    Jennifer Garner, Keri Russell, Scott Speedman

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    Evan Rachel Wood, Sela Ward, Shane West

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