Entertainment

The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
148.1k votes 11.6k voters 225.5k views 105 items

While some of the best drama TV shows are long gone (we'll never forget you, Breaking Bad), others like Vikings and even American Horror Story keep us interested, toy with our emotions, and certainly keep our DVRs busy as we follow along with the dramatic story lines.

Many of the best, most acclaimed series come from networks like CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX while others were only available from basic cable stations like AMC and FX. Even others were limited to those with the pay channels like HBO and Showtime or streaming providers like Netflix and Hulu - which make it easy to decide which shows to marathon. Regardless of network, these series get us interested and keep us hooked to all the action throughout the year.

The best drama shows of all time provided a bit of something for everyone. Sci-fi and horror lovers had plenty of options like The Strain and American Horror Story while those looking for courtroom dramas could choose from the likes of How to Get Away with Murder and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Old favorites like Criminal Minds and NCIS continue to hold strong on network TV, but the best dramatic television shows also include Netflix series such as House of Cards and Daredevil, along with cable favorites including Homeland and True Detective.

So whether you're a fan of the warm and fuzzy dramas or the hard-hitting crime shows or any in between, one or another of the best current dramatic series is sure to keep you crying, cheering, or simply entertained.

Check out more lists like the most loved tv shows of all time, the top premium cable series, and the best sci-fi shows. Or, check out the best new and returning drama TV shows in 2019.

list ordered by
1
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies
The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more
2
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
IsabelBaker added Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs
Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more
3
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy
Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. Two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), follow their father's ...more
4
Orange Is the New Black is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
voting closed at #4 LeneMadsen added Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning
Orange Is the New Black is an American comedy-drama series created by Jenji Kohan and first released on Netflix on July 11, 2013. The series, produced by Tilted Productions in association with ...more
5
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
draga added Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen
Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A farmer (Travis Fimmel) rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes a ...more
6
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American police procedural, legal, crime drama television series set in New York City, where it is also primarily produced. In the style of the ...more
7
The Blacklist is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
LanaYoshii added James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff
The Blacklist is an American crime drama television series that premiered on NBC on September 23, 2013. Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S Navy officer turned high-profile ...more
8
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend
Homeland is an American political thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. The series stars ...more
9
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette
NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts investigations ...more
10
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
RondaBandy added Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies
Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Created by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Left Bank ...more
11
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
bojanthebest added Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson
Criminal Minds is an American police-procedural television program that premiered September 22, 2005, on CBS. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit based ...more
12
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn
Better Call Saul (AMC, 2015) is an American television drama series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, and a spinoff prequel of Breaking Bad. The trials and tribulations of lawyer, Jimmy ...more
13
The 100 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell
The 100 (The CW, 2014) is an American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama television series developed by Jason Rothenberg, loosely based on the book by Kass Morgan. 97 years after a nuclear ...more
14
Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Raim Malek, Portia Doubleday, Christian Slater
Mr. Robot (USA Network, 2015) is an American drama–thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. Elliot (Rami Malek), a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who suffers from social anxiety ...more
15
Suits is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle
Suits is a USA Network legal drama created by Aaron Korsh that stars Patrick J. Adams as Michael "Mike" Ross and Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter. The first episode debuted on June 23, ...more
16
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters
American Horror Story (FX, 2011) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, ...more
17
The Flash is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker
The Flash (The CW, 2014) is an American superhero television series developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns, based on the DC Comics character. CSI Barry Allen (Grant ...more
18
Arrow is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
nicolas.verret added Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell
Arrow is an American superhero television series developed by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg, based on the DC Comics character. Five years after being stranded on a hostile ...more
19
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or simply Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is an American television series created for ABC by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen, based on the Marvel ...more
20
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard
Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), ...more
21
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith
Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more
22
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan
True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.
23
Fear the Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Elizabeth Rodriguez
This show is an American post-apocalyptic horror drama television series created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson. A dysfunctional, blended family must reinvent themselves by learning new ...more
24
The Good Doctor is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Freddie Highmore, Antonia Thomas, Nicholas Gonzalez
The Good Doctor (ABC, 2017) is an American medical-drama television series based on the 2013 South Korean series of the same name. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is a young pediatric surgeon ...more
25
Elementary is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
voting closed at #25 Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Jon Michael Hill
Elementary (CBS, 2012) is an American procedural drama series created by Robert Doherty, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. Following his fall from grace in London and ...more