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The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

Updated November 20, 2020 179.6k votes 15.3k voters 303.2k views266 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
    Firefly
    2,406
    1,322

    Firefly

    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    Premiered2002

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • 2
    Game of Thrones
    2,526
    1,479

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011

    NetworkHBO

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  • 3
    The Twilight Zone
    1,789
    1,044

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    Premiered1959

    NetworkUPN, CBS

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  • 4
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    2,880
    1,808

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan

    Premiered1997

    NetworkThe WB

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  • 5
    Sherlock
    1,904
    1,116

    Sherlock

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

    Premiered2010

    NetworkBBC One

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  • 6
    Breaking Bad
    1,957
    1,108

    Breaking Bad

    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul

    Premiered2008

    NetworkAMC

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  • 7
    The X-Files
    2,354
    1,600

    The X-Files

    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

    Premiered1993

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • 8
    Doctor Who
    2,246
    1,530

    Doctor Who

    Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant

    Premiered1963

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

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  • 9
    Supernatural
    2,091
    1,246

    Supernatural

    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

    Premiered2005

    NetworkThe WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

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  • 10
    Twin Peaks
    1,636
    1,141

    Twin Peaks

    Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn

    Premiered1990

    NetworkABC, Showtime

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  • 11
    The Simpsons
    1,465
    1,014

    The Simpsons

    Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright

    Premiered1989

    NetworkFox

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  • 12
    Freaks and Geeks
    1,353
    906

    Freaks and Geeks

    Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley

    Premiered1999

    NetworkNBC

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  • 13
    Futurama
    1,035
    642

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    NetworkComedy Central, Fox Broadcasting Company

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  • 14
    Star Trek: The Original Series
    1,641
    1,287

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    Premiered1966

    NetworkNBC

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  • 15
    Quantum Leap
    934
    704

    Quantum Leap

    Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

    Premiered1989

    NetworkNBC

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  • 16
    Arrested Development
    1,455
    1,086

    Arrested Development

    Jason Bateman, Michael Cera

    Premiered2003

    NetworkFox

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  • 17
    Community
    1,281
    984

    Community

    Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs

    Premiered2009

    NetworkNBC

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  • 18
    The Office
    782
    553

    The Office

    Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkNBC

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  • 19
    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    1,380
    1,159

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner

    Premiered1987

    NetworkCBS

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  • 20
    Angel
    1,062
    864

    Angel

    David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter

    Premiered1999

    NetworkThe WB Television Network

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  • 21
    Dexter
    1,249
    981

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    Premiered2006

    NetworkShowtime

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  • 22
    Battlestar Galactica
    1,095
    924

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    Premiered2004

    NetworkSyfy

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  • 23
    Fawlty Towers
    489
    383

    Fawlty Towers

    John Cleese, Prunella Scales

    Premiered1975

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation

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  • 24
    The Walking Dead
    1,365
    1,078

    The Walking Dead

    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal

    Premiered2010

    NetworkAMC

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  • 25
    Lost
    1,378
    1,208

    Lost

    Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin

    Premiered2004

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

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