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15.7k voters

The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

Updated May 4, 2021 170.7k votes 15.7k voters 308.4k views271 items

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

This is a 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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  • 1
    1,732
    979

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    PremieredOctober 2, 1959

    NetworkCBS Corporation

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  • 2
    2,301
    1,280

    Firefly

    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    PremieredSeptember 20, 2002

    NetworkFOX Broadcasting Co.

    More Firefly 

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  • 3
    2,762
    1,694

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan

    PremieredMarch 10, 1997

    NetworkWB

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  • 4
    2,388
    1,445

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

    PremieredApril 17, 2011

    NetworkHBO

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  • 5
    1,810
    1,051

    Sherlock

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

    PremieredJuly 25, 2010

    NetworkBBC1

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  • 6
    2,277
    1,477

    The X-Files

    Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny

    PremieredSeptember 10, 1993

    NetworkFOX Broadcasting Co.

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  • 7
    1,866
    1,074

    Breaking Bad

    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul

    PremieredJanuary 20, 2008

    NetworkAMC

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  • 8
    2,143
    1,423

    Doctor Who

    Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant

    Premiered1963

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation, BBC America, BBC One, S4C, BBC HD

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  • 9
    1,610
    1,067

    Twin Peaks

    Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean

    PremieredApril 8, 1990

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

    More 

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  • 10
    1,973
    1,217

    Supernatural

    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

    PremieredSeptember 13, 2005

    NetworkWB

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    24 Supernatural Memes For The Fans That Have Been There Since The Start20 Tweets From The Cast Of 'Supernatural' That Prove They're The Show's Biggest Fans

  • 11
    1,333
    864

    Freaks and Geeks

    John Francis Daley, Linda Cardellini

    PremieredSeptember 25, 1999

    NetworkNational Broadcasting Company

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  • 12
    1,394
    969

    The Simpsons

    Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright

    PremieredDecember 17, 1989

    NetworkFOX Broadcasting Co.

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  • 13
    1,007
    622

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    PremieredMarch 28, 1999

    NetworkFOX Broadcasting Co.

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  • 14
    1,408
    1,011

    Arrested Development

    Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi

    PremieredNovember 2, 2003

    NetworkFOX Broadcasting Co.

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  • 15
    1,585
    1,203

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    PremieredSeptember 8, 1966

    NetworkNational Broadcasting Company

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    #20 of 342 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#85 of 202 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

  • 16
    1,247
    931

    Community

    Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs

    PremieredSeptember 17, 2009

    NetworkNational Broadcasting Company

    More Community 

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  • 17
    917
    675

    Quantum Leap

    Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

    PremieredMarch 26, 1989

    NetworkNational Broadcasting Company

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  • 18
    1,322
    1,071

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes

    PremieredSeptember 28, 1987

    NetworkSyndicated

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    Every Time Picard Said 'Make It So,' Ranked By How Well They Made It So#312 of 489 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Are

  • 19
    775
    560

    The Office

    Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson

    PremieredMarch 24, 2005

    NetworkNational Broadcasting Company

    More The Office 

    Jim Halpert Is A Scumbag, And It's Obvious If You Just Pay AttentionEvery Episode Of 'The Office,' Ranked

  • 20
    1,190
    933

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    PremieredOctober 1, 2006

    NetworkShowtime

    More Dexter 

    Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Michael C. Hall And Jennifer Carpenter On 'Dexter'#1 of 52 The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked

  • 21
    1,052
    874

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    PremieredJanuary 14, 2005

    NetworkSYFY

    More Battlestar Galactica 

    The Best Battlestar Galactica Characters#2 of 84 The Best Syfy Original Shows

  • 22
    472
    364

    Fawlty Towers

    John Cleese, Prunella Scales

    PremieredSeptember 19, 1975

    NetworkBBC2

    More Fawlty Towers 

    #1 of 106 The Best British Sitcoms of All Time, Ranked#280 of 1,313 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows

  • 23
    1,017
    834

    Angel

    David Boreanaz, J. August Richards

    PremieredOctober 5, 1999

    NetworkWB

    More Angel 

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  • 24
    1,286
    1,026

    The Walking Dead

    Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride

    PremieredOctober 31, 2010

    NetworkAMC

    More The Walking Dead 

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  • 25
    1,301
    1,159

    Lost

    Naveen Andrews, Nestor Carbonell

    PremieredSeptember 22, 2004

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

    More Lost 

    The Best LOST Characters#1 of 82 The Best ABC Shows of All Time