90s The Best '90s TV Dramas  

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List Rules The greatest drama TV series that aired during the 1990s

The best ‘90s drama shows weighed heavily toward sci-fi premises, but gave equal time to angsty teen dramas and crime procedurals. In fact, we have the 1990s to thank for the exponential growth of the Law and Order franchise. Though some of the greatest TV dramas of the ‘90s might be comedy-drama hybrids rather than straight-up drama, the hour-long format allowed those shows to tackle more serious subjects than a sitcom.

Some of the ‘90s greatest dramas dominated what came to be known as water-cooler viewing, like The X-files, Twin Peaks, and The West Wing. Other shows didn’t quite dominate in the ratings, like Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and The Sopranos, yet they secured a spot in TV history as some of the best ever in the genre.

As the Internet grew in access and popularity, we saw some of the greatest ‘90s dramas draw from the new phenomenon. (Recall Ally McBeal’s use of the dancing baby meme.) Though DVR wasn’t introduced until 1999, VHS recording allowed for delayed viewing, necessitating the rise of the SPOILER ALERT.

Finally, we have to thank a few of the best ‘90s drama shows for launching the careers of Jessica Biel (7th Heaven), Claire Danes (My So-Called Life), and James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek), reviving the careers of James Spader (The Practice), Rob Lowe (The West Wing), and Robert Downey, Jr. (Ally McBeal). And, really, we have to thank Dick Wolf for filling the airwaves end to end with witty banter and weeping victims.
list ordered by

1
161 82
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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2
163 104
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

3
138 71
Charmed is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Charmed 1998

4
108 82
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

5
92 67
ER is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
dee123 added ER 1994

6
96 82
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

7
96 77
Beverly Hills, 90210 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

8
82 98
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

9
78 81
7th Heaven is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
7th Heaven 1996

10
77 71
Xena: Warrior Princess is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

11
67 80
NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
NYPD Blue 1993

12
66 85
Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

13
72 86
Angel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Angel 1999

14
67 74
My So-Called Life is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

15
66 77
Walker, Texas Ranger is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

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16
65 79
Dawson's Creek is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

17
60 80
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

18
47 94
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

19
60 89
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Twin Peaks 1990

20
59 69
Ally McBeal is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

21
47 80
Oz is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Oz 1997

22
45 66
JAG is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
dee123 added JAG 1995

23
57 76
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

24
45 71
Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

25
47 81
Touched by an Angel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

26
41 60
Party of Five is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

27
35 55
Felicity is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Felicity 1998

28
38 83
Hercules: The Legendary Journe... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

29
30 78
Picket Fences is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

30
29 77
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas

31
18 52
Highlander: The Series is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
teddybear1029 added Highlander: The Series 1992

32
30 78
Roswell is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Roswell 1999

33
26 77
Sisters is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas
Sisters 1991

34
21 70
New York Undercover is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '90s TV Dramas