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.
list ordered by

1
159 82
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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2
159 101
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

3
131 70
Charmed is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Charmed 1998

4
89 66
ER is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
dee123 added ER 1994

5
101 81
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

6
95 80
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

7
88 77
Beverly Hills, 90210 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

8
81 97
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

9
74 80
7th Heaven is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
7th Heaven 1996

10
76 70
Xena: Warrior Princess is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

11
66 79
NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
NYPD Blue 1993

12
65 84
Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

13
70 86
Angel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Angel 1999

14
65 75
Walker, Texas Ranger is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

15
64 74
My So-Called Life is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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16
62 78
Dawson's Creek is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

17
57 79
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

18
47 94
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

19
59 89
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Twin Peaks 1990

20
58 69
Ally McBeal is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

21
45 65
JAG is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
dee123 added JAG 1995

22
45 80
Oz is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Oz 1997

23
44 70
Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

24
56 76
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

25
46 80
Touched by an Angel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

26
39 60
Party of Five is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

27
38 82
Hercules: The Legendary Journe... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

28
33 55
Felicity is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Felicity 1998

29
29 78
Picket Fences is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

30
28 77
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

31
17 51
Highlander: The Series is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
teddybear1029 added Highlander: The Series 1992

32
29 78
Roswell is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Roswell 1999

33
24 76
Sisters is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Sisters 1991

34
21 70
New York Undercover is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas