Best TV The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time  

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List Rules American/British shows only; fantasy/sci-fi's included; live action only; mini-series included

The greatest TV dramas of all time are the ones that make you feel connected to characters you will never meet in real life to the point where you obsess about their exploits as much as your own. These top TV dramas rank high among the best TV shows of recent memory with many touting characters on the list of best TV characters ever.

Many of these greatest TV drama series, like Lost and the Sopranos, have already come to a close (earning them places on the list of the best TV series finales), while others like Mad Men and Breaking Bad are on the verge of closing up TV shop and leaving us to inevitably wonder about the lives of the surviving characters and what could have happened with the characters that get killed off (I've got even odds on Walter White buying a ticket to the meth lab in the sky in the Breaking Bad finale). Medical TV shows, crime shows, and more grace this list of excellent TV dramas. 

What is the best drama series in TV history? Tough question to answer considering many of the best TV series are dramas (and a lot of them are good!) Use this list of the greatest TV dramas ever to cast your vote for the top drama series and, if your favorite drama series isn't on the list, make sure to add it so other real people can get caught up in the fictional lives of your favorite TV drama characters.

 

list ordered by

1
4,140 2,498
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn
Breaking Bad is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, ...more

2
3,469 2,235
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke
Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more

3
2,943 1,447
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco
The Sopranos is an American drama television series created by David Chase. Revolving around the fictional New Jersey-based Italian-American Tony Soprano, the show portrays the difficulties he ...more

4
2,348 1,448
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn
The Wire is an American drama television series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was ...more

5
1,476 1,543
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser
Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on July 19, 2007 on the cable network AMC and is produced by Lionsgate Television. The ...more

6
1,601 1,489
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
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

7
1,581 1,677
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas
Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life ...more

8
1,414 1,354
House is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard
House is an American television medical drama that originally ran on the Fox network for eight seasons, from November 16, 2004 to May 21, 2012. The show's main character is Dr. Gregory House, a ...more

9
1,187 1,333
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi
The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more

10
1,723 1,948
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
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

11
1,208 1,035
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts
The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more

12
1,338 955
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston
Band of Brothers is a 2001 American WWII drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom ...more

13
1,177 1,230
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
gschwayze added Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright
House of Cards is a 2013 American political drama television series developed and produced by Beau Willimon. It is an adaptation of the BBC's mini-series of the same name and is based on the ...more

14
1,541 1,571
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
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 ...more

15
1,569 1,286
Lost is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia
Lost is an American television drama series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 ...more

16
936 978
Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy
Six Feet Under is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on June 3, 2001, and ended on August ...more

17
1,070 955
Sons of Anarchy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior
Sons of Anarchy is an American drama television series created by Kurt Sutter, about the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional town in California's ...more

18
1,036 854
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
gschwayze added Matthew McConnahey, Woody Harrelson
True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

19
819 888
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern
Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series created by Julian Fellowes and co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece. It first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and Ireland on ...more

20
908 801
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney
The West Wing is an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999, to May 14, 2006. The series is set ...more

21
635 468
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi
M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ...more

22
870 978
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
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

23
704 420
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
LanaYoshii added Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks
Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah Hawley, and inspired by the 1996 film. Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and wrong doings ...more

24
703 694
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker
Deadwood is an American western television series created, produced, and largely written by David Milch and aired on the premium cable network HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, ...more

25
845 869
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time
Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk
Firefly is an American space western science fiction drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label. Whedon served as an executive ...more