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The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated March 24, 2020 149.8k votes 11.7k voters 228.6k views 132 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.

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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

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 144

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Suspense, Drama, Horror Film, Thriller, + more

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

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2
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 15

Number of Episodes: 318

Network: The WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Black comedy, Drama, Horror Film, Mystery, + more

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

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3
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
draga added Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 9

Network: History

Genres (Tv): War film, Drama, Historical fiction, Action

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

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4
The Blacklist is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
LanaYoshii added James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff

Premiered: 2013

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

The Blacklist (NBC, 2013) is an American crime drama television series created by Jon Bokenkamp. Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S Navy officer turned high-profile criminal, ...more

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5
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

Premiered: 2016

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Horror, Supernatural, Period drama

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

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6
Orange Is the New Black ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
voting closed at #4 LeneMadsen added Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 7

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy

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

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7
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
bojanthebest added Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 15

Number of Episodes: 324

Network: A&E, CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Crime, Suspense, Drama, + more

Criminal Minds (CBS, 2005) is an American police-procedural television program. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit based in Quantico, Virginia. The ...more

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8
The 100 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Drama, Dystopian, Sci-fi, Action

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

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9
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 17

Number of Episodes: 395

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Thriller, + more

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

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10
Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Raim Malek, Portia Doubleday, Christian Slater

Premiered: 2015

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: USA

Genres (Tv): drama, thriller

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

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11
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 103

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Anthology, Horror, Supernatural

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

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12
Arrow is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
nicolas.verret added Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell

Premiered: 2012

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 170

Network: The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Adventure film, Action, + more

Arrow (The CW, 2012) 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 ...more

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13
The Flash is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 114

Network: The CW

Genres (Tv): Superhero, Action, Sci-fi, Drama

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

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14
The Good Doctor is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
The Good Doctor Freddie Highmore, Antonia Thomas, Nicholas Gonzalez

Premiered: 2017

Network: ABC

Genres (Tv): Medical, Drama

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
15
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn

Premiered: 2015

Number of Seasons: 4

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Comedy

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

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16
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Genres (Tv): Drama, Action, Adventure Film, Science Fiction, Fantasy

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

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17
Jack Ryan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
John Krasinski, Abbie Cornish, Mena Massoud

Genres (Tv): Action, Thriller, Drama

Jack Ryan (Amazon Video, 2018) is an American television series created by Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, based on the character created by Tom Clancy. When CIA analyst Jack Ryan (John ...more

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18
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

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19
Suits is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 134

Network: USA Network

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Legal drama

Suits (USA, 2011) is an American legal drama created by Aaron Korsh. On the run from a drug deal gone bad, brilliant college dropout Mike Ross, finds himself working with Harvey Specter, one of ...more

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20
Mindhunter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv

Genres (Tv): Drama

Mindhunter (Netflix, 2017) is an American drama series based on the book written by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas. Set in the late '70s and early '80s, the series revolves around two FBI ...more

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21
Ozark is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz

Premiered: 2017

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Thriller

Ozark (Netflix, 2017) is an American crime drama series created by Bill Dubuque. Financial planner Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) must suddenly relocate his family (Laura Linney) from Chicago to a ...more

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#215 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #156 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate The Best Characters on Ozark, Ranked

22
The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski

Premiered: 2017

Network: Hulu

Genres (Tv): Drama, Dystopian fiction

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. In a dystopian future where women are brutally ...more

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23
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
RondaBandy added Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

Premiered: 2014

Network: Starz

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Outlander (Starz, 2014) is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon and created by Ronald D. Moore and produced ...more

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24
Elementary is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
voting closed at #25 Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Jon Michael Hill

Premiered: 2012

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Mystery

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

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25
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows
Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson

Premiered: 2013

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: BBC Two

Genres (Tv): Action, Drama, Period Drama

Peaky Blinders (BBC Two, 2013) is a British television action drama created by Steven Knight, based upon the exploits of the historical gang. In 1919 Birmingham, England, leader Tommy Shelby ...more

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