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The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated May 22, 2020 221.6k votes 15k voters 299.5k views 283 items

List Rules Includes TV shows that have a significant fan presence that can be seen on forums, websites, clubs or fan-fiction

List of the best cult TV shows ever, ranked by their loyal fans. TV series that develop cult followings are known for their magnetic characters, pithy dialogue, and complex plots that interweave of the course of several episodes or seasons. The best cult TV fan bases are passionate and may feel deeply attached to the cult characters, their lives, and their relationships. Many devoted fan communities take to online message boards, writing fan-fiction, and attending conventions dressed as their favorite characters.

Long-running mainstream series such as The Twilight ZoneLost, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer easily attracted loyal fanbases, but even more impressive are those beloved shows that only lasted a season or two, like Freaks and Geeks and Firefly. Even after their favorite shows go off the air, fans of cult TV shows continue to collect memorabilia, replica props, and do cosplay at fan events. This subcultural phenomenon spans genres from sci-fi cult shows to fantasy, drama, and even comedy cult series. This list also includes cult classic TV shows and top cult TV series. 

What are the best cult TV series? To vote on more of the best TV series, check out these lists of the best sci-fi shows of all time and the best shows cancelled too soon.

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list ordered by
1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters

Premiered: 1997

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Horror, Comedy-drama, Teen drama, Action, + more

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997) is an American supernatural drama television series created by Joss Whedon, based on the 1992 film. Destined to slay vampires, a young woman (Sarah ...more

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2
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action, + more

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

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The Best 'Game Of Thrones' Characters #1 of 805 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #2 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

3
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

Premiered: 2002

Genres (Tv): Space Western, Space opera, Drama, Comedy-drama, Science Fiction

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

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13 Crazy Yet Plausible Fan Theories About Firefly #51 of 805 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #2 of 332 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time

4
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Adventure, Drama

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

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5
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Mabie1 added Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Mystery

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more

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6
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

Premiered: 1959

Genres (Tv): Anthology, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, + more

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

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7
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

Premiered: 1993

Genres (Tv): Cryptozoology, Supernatural, Crime Fiction, Drama, Live action, + more

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

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8
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
davec007 added Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Thriller, Neo-western, Tragedy

Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by Vince Gilligan. After being diagnosed with cancer, a depressed high school chemistry teacher (Bryan ...more

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9
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy

Premiered: 2005

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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10
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn

Premiered: 1990

Genres (Tv): Drama, Crime, Mystery

Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990) is an American mystery horror drama television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch and, despite being canceled after two seasons, sparked a cult following that ...more

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11
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Animation, Television comedy, Comedy, Family Film

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the ...more

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The Best Simpsons Characters of All Time #27 of 805 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Animated Series

12
Star Trek: The Original ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Premiered: 1966

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction

Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise and its crew. It later acquired the retronym of ...more

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13
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Comedy-drama

Freaks and Geeks (NBC, 1999) is an American teen comedy-drama television series created by Paul Feig. A gifted high schooler (Linda Cardellini) starts hanging out with a group of burnouts, while ...more

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14
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Arrested Development (Fox, 2003) is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz. Level-headed son Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) takes over family affairs after his father is ...more

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15
Community is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

Community (NBC, 2009) is an American comedy television series created by Dan Harmon. After being disbarred for faking his college degree, a narcissist lawyer (Joel McHale) enrolls in community ...more

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16
Star Trek: The Next Gene... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

Premiered: 1987

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction

Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry twenty-one years after the original Star Trek series debuted in 1966. Roddenberry, ...more

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17
Futurama is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
GennisMaringHalmi added Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Animation, Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the ...more

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18
Quantum Leap is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Deborah Pratt

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Procedural drama, Drama, Science Fiction

Quantum Leap is an American television series that originally aired on NBC for five seasons, from March 1989 through May 1993. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, it starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam ...more

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19
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
MichaelGuerrieri added Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

Premiered: 2010

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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20
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
davec007 added Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Dark comedy, Police procedural

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work ...more

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21
Monty Python's Flying Ci... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

Premiered: 1969

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Satire, Comedy

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British sketch comedy series commissioned by David Attenborough, created by the comedy group Monty Python and broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The shows ...more

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22
Lost is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, + more

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

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The Best LOST Characters #32 of 805 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #22 of 332 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time

23
Angel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Drama, Horror Film, + more

Angel (The WB, 1999) is an American supernatural television series created by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, and a spin-off from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel (David ...more

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24
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Space opera, Military science fiction, Political drama, Drama, Psychological thriller, + more

Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore and executive produced ...more

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25
Charmed is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Rose1 added Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano

Premiered: 1998

Genres (Tv): Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural

Charmed (The WB, 1998) is an American fantasy drama television series created by Constance M. Burge. Sisters Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) discover ...more

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