The Best '90s TV Dramas

3.7k votes 265 voters 12k views 37 items tags f p @

List Criteria: 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.
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 6 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 114
    - 64
    The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    The X-Files 1993

  2. 2
    + 100
    - 57
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1997

  3. 3
    + 61
    - 36
    ER is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

    added by dee123
    ER 1994

  4. 4
    + 68
    - 52
    Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 1999

  5. 5
    + 67
    - 53
    Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Law & Order 1990

  6. 6
    + 66
    - 53
    Charmed is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Charmed 1998

  7. 7
    + 60
    - 67
    The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

    most listed
    The Sopranos 1999

  8. 8
    + 53
    - 45
    7th Heaven is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    7th Heaven 1996

  9. 9
    + 49
    - 55
    Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Northern Exposure 1990

  10. 10
    + 48
    - 52
    NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    NYPD Blue 1993

  11. 11
    + 50
    - 55
    Beverly Hills, 90210 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Beverly Hills, 90210 1990

  12. 12
    + 44
    - 53
    Walker, Texas Ranger is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Walker, Texas Ranger 1993

  13. 13
    + 42
    - 51
    My So-Called Life is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    My So-Called Life 1994

  14. 14
    + 46
    - 60
    Angel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Angel 1999

  15. 15
    + 45
    - 64
    Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Twin Peaks 1990

  16. 16
    + 37
    - 67
    The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    The West Wing 1999

  17. 17
    + 35
    - 53
    Oz is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Oz 1997

  18. 18
    + 41
    - 54
    Dawson's Creek is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Dawson's Creek 1998

  19. 19
    + 34
    - 48
    Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Homicide: Life on the Street 1993

  20. 20
    + 37
    - 56
    Touched by an Angel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Touched by an Angel 1994

  21. 21
    + 34
    - 58
    Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Melrose Place 1992

  22. 22
    + 43
    - 46
    Xena: Warrior Princess is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Xena: Warrior Princess 1995

  23. 23
    + 44
    - 48
    Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 1993

  24. 24
    + 39
    - 47
    Ally McBeal is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Ally McBeal 1997

  25. 25
    + 23
    - 52
    Picket Fences is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Picket Fences 1992

  26. 26
    + 23
    - 55
    The Practice is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    The Practice 1997

  27. 27
    + 32
    - 44
    JAG is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

    ranked low on reranks & added by dee123
    JAG 1995

  28. 28
    + 24
    - 54
    Roswell is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Roswell 1999

  29. 29
    + 23
    - 57
    Hercules: The Legendary Journe... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Hercules: The Legendary Journeys 1995

  30. 30
    + 21
    - 31
    Felicity is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

    ranked low on reranks
    Felicity 1998

  31. 31
    + 23
    - 36
    Party of Five is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Party of Five 1994

  32. 32
    + 18
    - 54
    Sisters is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Sisters 1991

  33. 33
    + 22
    - 39
    Diagnosis: Murder is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

    about to drop off & added by dee123
    Diagnosis: Murder 1993

  34. 34
    + 7
    - 27
    Highlander: The Series is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

    added by teddybear1029
    Highlander: The Series 1992

  35. 35
    + 14
    - 50
    New York Undercover is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    New York Undercover 1994

  36. 36
    + 11
    - 36
    Popular is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Popular 1999

  37. 37
    + 6
    - 38
    Once and Again is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas


    Once and Again 1999

38 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >