The Best 1960s Soap Operas

Over 600 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best 1960s Soap Operas
Voting Rules
Vote up the best daytime soaps that aired new episodes between 1960 and 1969.

Although television was still relatively new and still finding its groove, in the '60s soap operas were extremely popular. There were anywhere between nine and seventeen soap operas on at the same time, delivering entertainment to large audiences every day. The biggest soap operas of the 1960s were As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and Search for Tomorrow. This list of the best daytime soap operas that aired between 1960-1969, has been voted on and ranked by your votes.

Many of the most popular daytime soap operas of all time were introduced in the 1960s. General Hospital debuted in 1963, while Days of Our Lives first aired in 1965. Both soaps went on to live long lives on television, still airing new episodes today. While these popular old soap operas made their debut during the 1960s, there were also quite a few flops. Many of the new soap operas of the '60s only lasted one or two seasons, such as Morning Star, Paradise Bay, and Never Too Young.

What are the best '60s soap operas? Did the daytime soaps you think were the best make this list? Vote up the 1960s soap operas you think are the best of the decade and see where the soaps you loved to watch during the '60s rank.


Photo: flickr / CC0

  • Dark Shadows
    Photo: Dark Shadows
    208 votes

    A bewitching concoction of horror, romance, and mystery, this supernatural saga transfixed audiences with its enigmatic vampire protagonist, Barnabas Collins. Salvador Dalí himself would be proud of the surreal and eerie atmosphere pervading the series, as seances give way to sinister curses, hellish hounds, and fiendish doppelgängers. Yet amidst the macabre storylines, enduring themes of redemption and forgiveness resonate in the turbulent lives of the doomed but indomitable Collins family.

    • Actors: Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles, Louis Edmonds, David Henesy
    • Premiered: June 27, 1966

    Available On:

  • The Edge of Night
    Photo: flickr / CC0

    Veering from the conventional domestic tropes of its contemporaries, this trailblazing crime drama plunges into the murky depths of moral ambiguity and legal complexity. Prosecutor Mike Karr grapples with duplicitous adversaries in his tireless quest for justice, navigating labyrinthine cases rife with homicide, kidnapping, and ruthlessly ambitious social climbers. Boldly experimental in its narrative structure, this tautly-paced series challenges traditional boundaries of morality, illuminating the inherent grayness permeating U.S. criminal and juvenile law systems.

    • Actors: Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross, Lori Loughlin, Larry Hagman, Kate Capshaw
    • Premiered: April 2, 1956
  • Another World
    Photo: user uploaded image
    158 votes

    Reverberating with depth and vigor, this virtuosic successor to As the World Turns remains a shining beacon in television history. Eschewing standard melodrama, it unfolds as an intricate symphony of narratives, delving into multiple scintillating storylines while seamlessly blending internal tumult with external intrigue. Notable social dilemmas interweave with emotionally charged anecdotes, granting entrancing glimpses into the maelstroms of love and betrayal lurking beneath the placid suburban facade of fictional Bay City.

    • Actors: Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford, Hugh Marlowe
    • Premiered: May 4, 1964
  • Guiding Light
    Photo: user uploaded image
    125 votes

    As a veritable tour de force among daytime dramas, this sprawling epic weaves together the intricate lives and loves of seven distinct generations in the city of Springfield. Pioneering narrative techniques masterfully transport viewers through decades of rich characterization, exploring authentic personal clashes and societal reflections that remain salient hallmarks of the mid-1960s milieu. A compelling testament to the tumultuous nature of the human experience, Guiding Light flourishes at the intersection of compelling dialogue and nuanced portrayals.

    • Actors: Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer, Brittany Snow, Nia Long, Paul Wesley
    • Premiered: January 25, 1937
  • As the World Turns
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use

    Invoking a powerful sense of intimacy and scope, this long-running saga chronicles the glamorous, heartbreaking, and morally complex latticework connecting the residents of Oakdale. Innovatively circumventing demarcated conclaves, the story enfolds various iterations of the Hughes, Snyder, Stewart, and Ryan families, providing glimpses into the struggles of everyday existence while boldly tackling topics such as racism, mental health, and addiction. Brilliant ensemble performances lend authenticity and soul to the unfolding tableau, bestowing a transcendent aura upon this lauded classic.

    • Actors: Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland, Ming-Na Wen, Alexandra Chando, Tamara Tunie
    • Premiered: April 2, 1956
  • An enchanting blend of relatable pathos and thrilling escapism characterizes this exquisite chronicle of the sprawling Horton and Brady clans. As mortal passions are amplified by otherworldly encounters, stories steeped in love triangles and malicious plots are counterpoised by extraterrestrial visitations, sinister mind control, and enthralling time travel sojourns. Touted as an American treasure, this heritage series garners praise for its captivating cast of characters, varied settings, and audacious excursions into the realm of the fantastic.

    • Actors: Suzanne Rogers, Lauren Koslow, Josh Taylor, James Reynolds, Galen Gering
    • Premiered: November 8, 1965

    Available On: