soap operas The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time  

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From daytime to primetime, soap operas have been a staple of television since Faraway Hill first aired in 1946. However, it wasn’t until the 50s that soaps really took off. Many of the most popular soap operas from the 50s first began as radio programs. For the next 6 decades, soap operas ruled the airways during both daytime and primetime, becoming obsessions for millions of people. Many of these soap operas spanned decades, introducing many new characters and twisty plots all the time.

Many soaps dealt with the same types of settings. "Days of Our Lives," "General Hospital," and "The Doctors" were all set in hospitals, while many other popular soaps like
Dynasty" surrounded the lives of wealthy families. There were also a few supernatural soap operas over the years, such as "Dark Shadows," "Passions," and "Port Charles."

"As the World Turns," "General Hospital," and "The Young and the Restless" were the highest rated soaps at one point in time. Primetime soaps, airing only once a week, have become incredibly popular as well.

What are the best soap operas ever? This list of the best soap operas of all time has been ranked by the community. Cast your votes for the greatest soap operas below and see how the soaps you think are great rank.

list ordered by

1
235 193
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Dynasty John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989. The series, created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, revolved around the Carringtons, a fictional ...more

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2
282 163
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Dallas Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy Dallas is a long-running American prime time television soap opera that aired from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991, on CBS. The series revolves around a wealthy and feuding Texan family, the Ewings, who own the independent oil company Ewing Oil ...more

3
213 170
The Young and the Restless is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
The Young and the Restless Eva Longoria, Shemar Moore, Tatyana Ali The Young and the Restless is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS. The show is set in a fictional Wisconsin town called Genoa City, which is unlike and unrelated to the real life village of ...more

4
150 179
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Melrose Place Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith Melrose Place is an American primetime soap opera that aired on Fox from July 8, 1992 to May 24, 1999, for seven seasons. The show follows the lives of a group of young adults living in an apartment complex called Melrose Place, in Los Angeles, ...more

5
235 164
Days of our Lives is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Days of our Lives Pamela Anderson, Shelley Hennig, Melinda Clarke Days of Our Lives is an American daytime soap opera broadcast on the NBC television network. It is one of the longest-running scripted television programs in the world, airing nearly every weekday since November 8, 1965. It has since been ...more

6
178 154
Dark Shadows is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Dark Shadows Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The series became hugely popular when vampire Barnabas Collins appeared a year into its run. Dark ...more

7
185 148
Knots Landing is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Knots Landing Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979 to May 13, 1993 on CBS. A spin-off of Dallas, it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los Angeles, and centered on the lives of four married ...more

8
120 144
Falcon Crest is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Falcon Crest Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, Chao Li Chi Falcon Crest is an American primetime television soap opera which aired on the CBS network for nine seasons, from December 4, 1981 to May 17, 1990. A total of 227 episodes were produced. The series revolves around the feuding factions of the ...more

9
224 150
General Hospital is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
General Hospital Eva Longoria, James Franco, Kelly Monaco General Hospital is an American daytime television medical drama that is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running American soap opera in production and the third longest-running drama in television in American history after ...more

10
161 160
Desperate Housewives is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Desperate Housewives Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama-mystery series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. It aired Sundays at 9 P.M. Eastern/8 P.M. Central, on ABC from October 3, 2004, until May 13, ...more

11
133 130
The Bold and the Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
The Bold and the Beautiful Usher, Katherine Kelly Lang, Hunter Tylo The Bold and the Beautiful is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS. It premiered on March 23, 1987 as a sister show to the Bells' other soap opera The Young and the Restless; several ...more

12
141 151
Beverly Hills, 90210 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Beverly Hills, 90210 Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry Beverly Hills, 90210 is an American drama series that originally aired from October 4, 1990 to May 17, 2000 on Fox and was produced by Spelling Television in the United States, and subsequently on numerous networks around the world. It is the ...more

13
75 116
Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Peyton Place Mia Farrow, Leslie Nielsen, Ryan O'Neal Peyton Place is an American prime-time soap opera which aired on ABC in half-hour episodes from September 15, 1964 to June 2, 1969. Based upon the 1956 novel of the same name by Grace Metalious, the series was preceded by a 1957 film ...more

14
131 137
Guiding Light is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Guiding Light Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer, Brittany Snow Guiding Light is an American television soap opera that is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running drama in television in American history, broadcast on CBS for 57 years from June 30, 1952 until September 18, 2009, preceded by a ...more

15
77 128
Dawson's Creek is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Dawson's Creek James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams Dawson's Creek is an American teen drama television series about the fictional lives of a close-knit group of friends beginning in high school and continuing in college. The series stars James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery, Katie Holmes as his ...more

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16
169 123
All My Children is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
All My Children Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight, Alicia Minshew All My Children is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC for 41 years, from January 5, 1970, to September 23, 2011, and on The Online Network from April 29, 2013, to September 2, 2013, via Hulu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes. Created by ...more

17
98 141
EastEnders is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
EastEnders Steve McFadden, Adam Woodyatt, Pam St. Clement EastEnders is a British soap opera; the first episode was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London ...more

18
126 119
As the World Turns is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
As the World Turns Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland, Ming-Na Wen As the World Turns is an American television soap opera that aired on CBS for 54 years from April 2, 1956 to September 17, 2010. Irna Phillips created As the World Turns as a sister show to her other soap opera The Guiding Light. Running for 54 ...more

19
155 121
One Life to Live is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
One Life to Live Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian, Marcia Cross One Life to Live is an American soap opera broadcast on the ABC television network for more than 43 years, from July 15, 1968, to January 13, 2012, and then on the internet as a web series on Hulu and iTunes via The Online Network from April ...more

20
59 102
Neighbours is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
dee123 added Neighbours Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, Margot Robbie Neighbours is an Australian television soap opera. It was first broadcast on the Seven Network on 18 March 1985. It was created by TV executive Reg Watson, who proposed the idea of making a show that focused on realistic stories and portrayed ...more

21
37 15
Friends is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Benjamin2 added Friends Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which originally aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004. It lasted ten seasons and is now in syndication. It revolves around a circle of friends ...more

22
37 94
Central Park West is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
JonathanWilliams added Central Park West Raquel Welch, John Barrowman, Lauren Hutton Central Park West is an American prime time television soap opera that ran from September 1995 to June 1996 on CBS. The series was created and executive produced by Melrose Place's Darren Star. As the title suggests, CPW was set in New York, in ...more

23
56 105
Hollyoaks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
dee123 added Hollyoaks Gemma Atkinson, Roxanne McKee, Emma Rigby Hollyoaks is a British soap opera, first broadcast on Channel 4 on 23 October 1995. It was originally devised by Phil Redmond, who had also devised the Channel 4 soap Brookside. The programme is set in a fictional suburb of Chester called ...more

24
89 131
Coronation Street is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Coronation Street Ian McKellen, Michelle Keegan, Helen Flanagan Coronation Street is a British soap opera created by Granada Television and shown on ITV since 1960. The programme centres on Coronation Street in Weatherfield, a fictional town based on Salford, its terraced houses, café, corner shop, ...more

25
117 138
Grey's Anatomy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Grey's Anatomy Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson Grey's Anatomy is an American medical soap opera television series that premiered on American Broadcasting Company as a mid-season replacement on March 27, 2005. The series has aired eleven seasons, and focuses on the fictional lives of ...more

26
62 90
Home and Away is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
dee123 added Home and Away Isla Fisher, Chris Hemsworth, Melissa George Home and Away is an Australian television soap opera. It was created by Alan Bateman and has been produced in Sydney, New South Wales since July 1987. It commenced broadcast on the Seven Network from 17 January 1988. It is the ...more

27
80 68
Charmed is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Charmed Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, Brian Krause Charmed is an American television series created by Constance M. Burge and produced by Aaron Spelling and his production company Spelling Television, with Brad Kern serving as showrunner. The series was originally broadcast by The WB for eight ...more

28
97 148
Passions is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Passions Lindsay Hartley, McKenzie Westmore, Galen Gering Passions is an American soap opera which aired on NBC from July 5, 1999 to September 7, 2007 and on The 101 Network from September 17, 2007 to August 7, 2008. Passions follows the lives and loves, and various romantic and paranormal adventures ...more

29
109 105
Another World is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Another World Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford, Hugh Marlowe Another World is an American television soap opera that ran on NBC for 35 years from May 4, 1964 to June 25, 1999. It was created by Irna Phillips along with William J. Bell, and was produced by Procter & Gamble Productions at NBC Studios, ...more

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30
54 85
The Colbys is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
The Colbys Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Ross The Colbys is an American prime time soap opera, which originally aired on ABC from November 20, 1985 to March 26, 1987. Produced by Aaron Spelling, it was a spin-off of Dynasty, which had been the highest rated series for the 1984–1985 U.S. ...more

31
111 113
Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Santa Barbara Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Wright, Judith Anderson Santa Barbara is an American television soap opera, first broadcast in the United States on NBC on July 30, 1984, and last aired on January 15, 1993. The show revolves around the eventful lives of the wealthy Capwell family of Santa Barbara, ...more

32
61 53
Bewitched is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Bewitched Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Dick Sargent Bewitched is an American TV situation comedy fantasy which was broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972. It was created by Sol Saks under executive director Harry Ackerman, and starred Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Agnes ...more

33
58 96
Emmerdale is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Emmerdale Jenna Coleman, Patsy Kensit, Sammy Winward Emmerdale, known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989, is a long-running British soap opera set in Emmerdale, a fictional village in the Yorkshire Dales. Created by Kevin Laffan, Emmerdale Farm was first broadcast on 16 October 1972. It is produced by ...more

34
42 95
Models Inc. is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
RichardBeecher added Models Inc. Carrie-Anne Moss, Garcelle Beauvais, Emma Samms Models Inc. is an American prime time soap opera that aired on the Fox television network during the 1994–95 television season. It is the third series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise. The series was created by Charles Pratt, Jr. and Frank ...more

35
43 72
Dynasty: The Reunion is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Dynasty: The Reunion Heather Locklear, Joan Collins, Linda Evans Dynasty: The Reunion is a 1991 miniseries reuniting the characters from the American prime time television soap opera Dynasty, a series which aired on ABC from 1981 to 1989 and was the highest-rated U.S. series in 1985. The miniseries continues ...more

36
23 10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Benjamin2 added Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later ...more

37
70 93
Ryan's Hope is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Ryan's Hope Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Mary-Louise Parker Ryan's Hope is an American soap opera created by Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer, originally airing for 13 years on ABC from July 7, 1975 to January 13, 1989. It revolves around the trials and tribulations within a large Irish-American ...more

38
21 8
Gilmore Girls is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Benjamin2 added Gilmore Girls Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson Gilmore Girls is an American comedy-drama series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. On October 5, 2000, the series debuted on the WB to widespread critical acclaim and remained a tent-pole to the WB ...more

39
33 79
Flamingo Road is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
SusanChildressBatey added Flamingo Road Mark Harmon, Morgan Fairchild, Stella Stevens Flamingo Road is an American prime time soap opera that aired on NBC. It was first seen as a TV movie on May 12, 1980, and as a series on January 6, 1981, after a rebroadcast of the pilot on December 30, 1980. The show is based on the 1949 ...more

40
20 8
Will & Grace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Benjamin2 added Will & Grace Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally Will & Grace is an American sitcom, based on the relationship between Will Truman and Grace Adler, and is set in New York City. It was broadcast on NBC from September 21, 1998 to May 18, 2006, for a total of eight seasons. Will & Grace, ...more

41
52 70
Sisters is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Sisters Swoosie Kurtz, Patricia Kalember, Sela Ward Sisters is a television drama which aired on NBC for six seasons, from 1991 to 1996. The series was created by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, who were also the executive producers and showrunners. The show debuted on May 11, 1991 for a ...more

42
54 97
Search for Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Search for Tomorrow Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen, Kevin Bacon Search for Tomorrow is an American soap opera that aired on CBS from September 3, 1951 to March 26, 1982, and on NBC from March 29, 1982 to December 26, 1986. At the time of its final broadcast, it was the longest-running non-news program on ...more

43
37 68
Capitol is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Capitol Teri Hatcher, Kelly Preston, Carol Alt Capitol is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from March 29, 1982 to March 20, 1987 for 1,270 episodes. As its name suggests, the storyline usually revolves around the political intrigues of people whose lives are intertwined in ...more

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44
64 90
One Tree Hill is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
One Tree Hill Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Hilarie Burton One Tree Hill is an American television drama series created by Mark Schwahn, which premiered on September 23, 2003 on The WB. After the series' third season, The WB merged with UPN to form The CW, and since September 27, 2006, the network has ...more

45
54 105
The Doctors is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
The Doctors Alec Baldwin, Kathleen Turner, Terry O'Quinn The Doctors is an American television soap opera which aired on NBC Daytime from April 1, 1963, to December 31, 1982. There were 5280 episodes produced, with the 5000th episode airing in November 1981. The series was set in Hope Memorial ...more

46
63 73
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Revenge Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann Revenge is an American primetime television series that airs on ABC, starring Madeleine Stowe and Emily VanCamp, which debuted on September 21, 2011. During its first season it aired on Wednesday nights at 10 pm Eastern/9 pm Central time, and ...more

47
62 99
Gossip Girl is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Gossip Girl Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley Gossip Girl is an American teen drama television series based on the book series of the same name written by Cecily von Ziegesar. The series, created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, originally ran on The CW for six seasons from September ...more

48
15 8
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Benjamin2 added The Wonder Years Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern The Wonder Years is an American television comedy-drama created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black. It ran on ABC from 1988 through 1993. The pilot aired on January 31, 1988, following ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XXII. The show achieved a spot in ...more

49
42 47
Brothers & Sisters is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Brothers & Sisters Sally Field, Emily VanCamp, Rob Lowe Brothers & Sisters is an American television drama series that centers on the Walker family and their lives in Los Angeles and Pasadena, California. The series premiered on ABC on September 24, 2006, and aired its final episode on May 8, ...more

50
34 76
Brookside is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
JonathanWilliams added Brookside Anna Friel, Jennifer Ellison, Claire Sweeney Brookside was a British soap opera set in Liverpool, England. The series began on the launch night of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982, and ran for 21 years until 4 November 2003. Originally intended to be called Meadowcroft, the series was ...more