90s The Best '90s TV Dramas  

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List Rules The greatest drama TV series that aired during the 1990s

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 1990s 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 The West Wing. 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 (The West Wing), and Robert Downey, Jr. (Ally McBeal). 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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Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Charmed is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Charmed 1998

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ER is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
ER 1994

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Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Beverly Hills, 90210 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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7th Heaven is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
7th Heaven 1996

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Xena: Warrior Princess is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
NYPD Blue 1993

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Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Walker, Texas Ranger is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Angel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Angel 1999

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My So-Called Life is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Dawson's Creek is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Ally McBeal is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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JAG is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
JAG 1995

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Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Twin Peaks 1990

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Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Oz is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Oz 1997

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Touched by an Angel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Hercules: The Legendary Journe... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Party of Five is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Felicity is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Felicity 1998

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Highlander: The Series is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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The Practice is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Picket Fences is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Roswell is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Roswell 1999

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New York Undercover is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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Sisters is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Sisters 1991