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The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

Updated November 20, 2020 181.2k votes 15.4k voters 304.2k 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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  • Firefly1
    2,426
    1,335

    Firefly

    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    Premiered2002

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • Game of Thrones2
    2,541
    1,501

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011

    NetworkHBO

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  • The Twilight Zone3
    1,799
    1,048

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    Premiered1959

    NetworkUPN, CBS

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  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer4
    2,896
    1,815

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan

    Premiered1997

    NetworkThe WB

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  • Sherlock5
    1,918
    1,127

    Sherlock

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

    Premiered2010

    NetworkBBC One

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  • The X-Files6
    2,371
    1,606

    The X-Files

    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

    Premiered1993

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • Breaking Bad7
    1,970
    1,127

    Breaking Bad

    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul

    Premiered2008

    NetworkAMC

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  • Doctor Who8
    2,256
    1,538

    Doctor Who

    Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant

    Premiered1963

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

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  • Supernatural9
    2,110
    1,254

    Supernatural

    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

    Premiered2005

    NetworkThe WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

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  • Twin Peaks10
    1,644
    1,147

    Twin Peaks

    Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn

    Premiered1990

    NetworkABC, Showtime

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  • Freaks and Geeks11
    1,362
    912

    Freaks and Geeks

    Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley

    Premiered1999

    NetworkNBC

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  • Futurama12
    1,046
    646

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    NetworkComedy Central, Fox Broadcasting Company

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  • The Simpsons13
    1,475
    1,020

    The Simpsons

    Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright

    Premiered1989

    NetworkFox

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  • Star Trek: The Original Series14
    1,655
    1,290

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    Premiered1966

    NetworkNBC

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  • Quantum Leap15
    950
    708

    Quantum Leap

    Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

    Premiered1989

    NetworkNBC

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  • Community16
    1,291
    987

    Community

    Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs

    Premiered2009

    NetworkNBC

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  • Arrested Development17
    1,460
    1,092

    Arrested Development

    Jason Bateman, Michael Cera

    Premiered2003

    NetworkFox

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  • The Office18
    794
    561

    The Office

    Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkNBC

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  • Star Trek: The Next Generation19
    1,388
    1,162

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner

    Premiered1987

    NetworkCBS

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  • Angel20
    1,070
    868

    Angel

    David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter

    Premiered1999

    NetworkThe WB Television Network

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  • Dexter21
    1,256
    988

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    Premiered2006

    NetworkShowtime

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  • Fawlty Towers22
    494
    386

    Fawlty Towers

    John Cleese, Prunella Scales

    Premiered1975

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation

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  • Battlestar Galactica23
    1,105
    930

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    Premiered2004

    NetworkSyfy

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  • The Walking Dead24
    1,368
    1,088

    The Walking Dead

    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal

    Premiered2010

    NetworkAMC

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  • Lost25
    1,384
    1,218

    Lost

    Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin

    Premiered2004

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

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