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The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated September 13, 2019 219.1k votes 14.9k voters 297k views 281 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

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 144

Network: UPN, The WB Television Network

Genres (Tv): Paranormal romance, Supernatural drama, Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Drama, + more

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

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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

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: HBO

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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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

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 14

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

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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4
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Mabie1 added Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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

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

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5
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

Number of Seasons: 26

Number of Episodes: 798

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC America, BBC One, S4C, BBC HD

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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6
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

Premiered: 1993

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 202

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

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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7
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

Premiered: 1959

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 156

Network: UPN, CBS

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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8
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 158

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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9
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
davec007 added Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Crime, Suspense, Drama, + more

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

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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

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 48

Network: ABC, Showtime

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

Number of Seasons: 24

Number of Episodes: 528

Network: Fox

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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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

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 79

Network: NBC

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

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 18

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Drama, Period piece, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig with Judd Apatow as executive producer, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. ...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

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 68

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Arrested Development is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz, which originally aired on Fox for three seasons from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006. A fourth season of ...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, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 84

Network: Comedy Central, NBC

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

Community is an American television sitcom created by Dan Harmon that premiered on NBC on September 17, 2009. The single-camera series follows an ensemble cast of students at a community college ...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

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 178

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

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 140

Network: Comedy Central, Fox Broadcasting Company

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

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 95

Network: NBC

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
Monty Python's Flying Ci... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

Premiered: 1969

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 45

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC One, IFC

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Satire, Comedy

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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

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 80

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Suspense, + more

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

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21
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
MichaelGuerrieri added Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 35

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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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

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 121

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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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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

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 110

Network: The WB Television Network

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

Angel is an American television series, a spin-off from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was created by Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon, in collaboration with 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

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 75

Network: Syfy

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 Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, Brian Krause

Premiered: 1998

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 178

Network: The WB Television Network

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Supernatural drama, Supernatural, Romance TV, Drama, + more

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 ...more

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