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15.5k voters

The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

Updated November 20, 2020 175.2k votes 15.5k voters 305.6k 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
    2,365
    1,307

    Firefly

    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    Premiered2002

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • Sherlock2
    1,870
    1,081

    Sherlock

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

    Premiered2010

    NetworkBBC One

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  • The Twilight Zone3
    1,753
    1,015

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    Premiered1959

    NetworkUPN, CBS

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  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer4
    2,829
    1,749

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan

    Premiered1997

    NetworkThe WB

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  • Game of Thrones5
    2,461
    1,463

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011-04-17

    NetworkHBO

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  • Breaking Bad6
    1,918
    1,086

    Breaking Bad

    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul

    Premiered2008

    NetworkAMC

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  • The X-Files7
    2,323
    1,541

    The X-Files

    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

    Premiered1993

    NetworkFox Broadcasting Company

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  • Doctor Who8
    2,199
    1,477

    Doctor Who

    Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant

    Premiered1963

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

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  • Supernatural9
    2,037
    1,226

    Supernatural

    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

    Premiered2005

    NetworkThe WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

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  • Twin Peaks10
    1,613
    1,102

    Twin Peaks

    Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn

    Premiered1990

    NetworkABC, Showtime

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  • Freaks and Geeks11
    1,341
    880

    Freaks and Geeks

    Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley

    Premiered1999

    NetworkNBC

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  • Futurama12
    1,022
    627

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    NetworkComedy Central, Fox Broadcasting Company

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  • The Simpsons13
    1,432
    981

    The Simpsons

    Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright

    Premiered1989

    NetworkFox

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  • Community14
    1,273
    950

    Community

    Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs

    Premiered2009

    NetworkNBC

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  • Arrested Development15
    1,437
    1,040

    Arrested Development

    Jason Bateman, Michael Cera

    Premiered2003

    NetworkFox

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  • Star Trek: The Original Series16
    1,621
    1,241

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    Premiered1966

    NetworkNBC

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  • Quantum Leap17
    928
    686

    Quantum Leap

    Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

    Premiered1989

    NetworkNBC

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  • Star Trek: The Next Generation18
    1,359
    1,111

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner

    Premiered1987

    NetworkCBS

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  • The Office19
    782
    552

    The Office

    Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkNBC

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  • Fawlty Towers20
    480
    367

    Fawlty Towers

    John Cleese, Prunella Scales

    Premiered1975

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation

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  • Dexter21
    1,221
    951

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    Premiered2006

    NetworkShowtime

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  • Battlestar Galactica22
    1,081
    893

    Battlestar Galactica

    Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell

    Premiered2004

    NetworkSyfy

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  • Angel23
    1,042
    847

    Angel

    David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter

    Premiered1999

    NetworkThe WB Television Network

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  • The Walking Dead24
    1,320
    1,055

    The Walking Dead

    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal

    Premiered2010

    NetworkAMC

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  • South Park25
    1,114
    820

    South Park

    Trey Parker, Matt Stone

    Premiered1997

    NetworkComedy Central

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