Entertainment

The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time  

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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.

list ordered by
1
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows 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
2
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows 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
3
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows 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
4
Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
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
5
Monty Python's Flying Circus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
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
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
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
7
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows 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
8
Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes
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
9
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows 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
10
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn
Twin Peaks (Showtime, 2017) is a miniseries that follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in a continuation of the original 1990 series, created by David Lynch.
11
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Mabie1 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
12
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu
Mystery Science Theater 3000, often abbreviated MST3K, is an American television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains, Inc. The show premiered on KTMA in ...more
13
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
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
14
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
davec007 added 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
15
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi
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
16
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber
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
17
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner
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
18
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco
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
19
Community is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover
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
20
Lost is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows 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
21
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
davec007 added 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
22
Angel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof
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
23
South Park is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
MichaelGuerrieri added Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman
South Park (Comedy Central, 1997) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In the small town of South Park, four boys get caught up in all sorts of bizarre ...more
24
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
MichaelGuerrieri added 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
25
Quantum Leap is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Deborah Pratt
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