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The Best ABC Dramas of All Time 

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Updated May 14, 2020 6.1k votes 670 voters 12.3k views 41 items

List of the best ABC dramas of all time, ranked by fans who viewed them live or as reruns. This list includes everything from "Matlock" and "The Outer Limits" to "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives. Which were the greatest drama shows ever to air on ABC? Since its acceptance into homes around the world in the 1950s, TV has been a vital part in molding character and asserting social influence. We have watched everything from Elvis performing like to a space shuttle launching into orbit; television is deeply ingrained into our social lexicon.

At first, there were only three stations - ABC, CBS, and NBC. This list focuses on only drama series that have aired on the American Broadcasting Corporation, aka ABC. The transmission of moving images through television has allowed the public to live vicariously through stories of imagination and also seem themselves reflected in stories more based in reality. From cartoons to talk shows programs, daytime dramas to primetime sitcoms, TV gives us a myriad of programs from which to be endlessly entertained and informed. Which is the best ABC drama of all time? n help you find the top shows you’re looking for.

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1
Lost is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin, Matthew Fox Jorge Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Lost (ABC, 2004) is an American drama television series created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof. After a horrific plane crash, a group of strangers are forced to work ...more

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2
Grey's Anatomy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson

Premiered: 2005

Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2005) is an American medical soap opera television series created by Shonda Rhimes. A group of young doctors faces the pressure that comes from practicing medicine in a ...more

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The Best 'Grey's Anatomy' Seasons #36 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

3
Desperate Housewives is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross

Premiered: 2004

Desperate Housewives (ABC, 2004) is an American mystery comedy-drama television series created by Marc Cherry. Secrets and truths unfold through the lives of female friends (Teri Hatcher, ...more

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The Best Seasons of Desperate Housewives #162 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #15 of 94 The Best Dramedy TV Series

4
NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Dennis Franz, Gordon Clapp, James McDaniel

Premiered: 1993

NYPD Blue is an American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Each episode typically ...more

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#139 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #162 of 389 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Yearslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

5
Roots is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

Premiered: 1977

This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the ...more

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#161 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #82 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #24 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

6
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle

Premiered: 1997

The Practice is an American legal drama and comedy-drama created by David E. Kelley centering on the partners and associates at a Boston law firm. Running for eight seasons on ABC from 1997 to ...more

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#318 of 389 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #241 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #285 of 422 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

7
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
William Conrad, Richard Anderson, David Janssen

Premiered: 1963

This film is an American drama series created by Roy Huggins and produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard ...more

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#510 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #165 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #184 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

8
Castle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Angela Ciresi Brown added Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan

Premiered: 2009

Castle (ABC, 2009) is an American crime-comedy-drama television series created by Andrew W. Marlowe. A homicide detective (Stana Katic) reluctantly works with a best-selling mystery novelist ...more

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The Best Seasons of Castle #78 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #6 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series

9
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday

Premiered: 1986

Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of attorney Ben Matlock. The show, produced by The Fred Silverman Company, Dean Hargrove Productions, ...more

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#131 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #183 of 422 The Best TV Shows to Rewatchlisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

10
Scandal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick, Columbus Short

Premiered: 2012

Scandal (ABC, 2012) is an American political thriller television series created by Shonda Rhimes. A former White House Communications Director (Kerry Washington) starts her own crisis management ...more

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27 Scandal Facts You Never Knew #115 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #172 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

11
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann

Premiered: 2011

Revenge (ABC, 2011) is an American drama television series created by Mike Kelley, inspired by the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. An emotionally troubled young woman (Emily ...more

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The Best Seasons of Revenge #157 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #347 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

12
The Love Boat is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange

Premiered: 1977

The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24, 1977, until February 27, 1987. The show revolves around the ...more

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#120 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #74 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

13
The Rifleman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
JimThomas added Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix

Premiered: 1958

The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. It was set in the 1870s and 1880s in the town ...more

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#299 of 422 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #31 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s #113 of 154 The Best Action-Adventure TV Shows

14
Boston Legal is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
James Spader, William Shatner, Candice Bergen

Premiered: 2004

Boston Legal is an American legal dramedy created by David E. Kelley and produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC. The series aired from October 3, 2004, to December 8, ...more

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The Best Seasons of Boston Legal #193 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #18 of 94 The Best Dramedy TV Series

15
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins

Premiered: 1981

Dynasty (ABC, 1981) is an American prime time television soap opera created by Richard and Esther Shapiro. The trials and tribulations of two feuding families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, ...more

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#180 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #284 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

16
North and South is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
North and South Elizabeth Taylor, Kirstie Alley, Johnny Cash

Premiered: 1985

North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994.The 1985 first installment, North and South, remains the seventh-highest ...more

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#762 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #148 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Madelisted on Civil War Movies List

17
The Lone Ranger is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart

Premiered: 1966

The Lone Ranger is the central character of an American animated television series that ran 26 episodes on CBS from September 10, 1966, to September 6, 1969. The series was produced by Herb ...more

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The Lone Ranger May Have Been A Black Lawman Named Bass Reeves #286 of 378 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #360 of 422 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

18
A Million Little Things ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco

Premiered: 2018

Check out other shows like A Million Little Things.

A Million Little Things (ABC, 2018) is an American family drama television series created by D. J. Nash. A group of friends intertwined in each other's lives all realize they need to start ...more

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The Best Episodes of 'A Million Little Things' #21 of 160 The Best New Shows That Premiered in 2018 #10 of 17 TV Shows That Essentially Exist To Make You Cry

19
Hart to Hart is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, Lionel Stander

Premiered: 1979

Hart to Hart is an American television series, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a wealthy couple who moonlight as amateur detectives, much in the style ...more

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#32 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #197 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #31 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

20
The Baker & the Beau... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Nathalie Kelley, Victor Rasuk, Belissa Escobedo

Premiered: 2020

The Baker & the Beauty (ABC, 2020) is an American romantic musical comedy-drama series and an adaptation of the Israeli romantic-comedy series Beauty and the Baker. Daniel Garcia (Victor ...more
21
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Black Dragon added Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Premiered: 2013

Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A farmer (Travis Fimmel) rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes a ...more

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22
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn

Premiered: 1990

Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990) is an American mystery horror drama television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch and, despite being canceled after two seasons, sparked a cult following that ...more

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'Twin Peaks' Is The Scariest Thing Ever Aired On Television #137 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #55 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series

23
Maverick is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore

Premiered: 1957

Maverick is an American Western television series with comedic overtones created by Roy Huggins. The show ran from September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962 on ABC and stars James Garner as Bret ...more

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#191 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #273 of 1,317 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows #101 of 154 The Best Action-Adventure TV Shows

24
Marcus Welby, M.D. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Robert Young, James Brolin, Elena Verdugo

Premiered: 1969

Marcus Welby, M.D. was an American medical drama television program that aired on ABC from September 23, 1969 to July 29, 1976. It starred Robert Young as a family practitioner with a kind ...more

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#27 of 41 The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series #84 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows #79 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

25
Combat! is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
JimThomas added Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert

Premiered: 1962

Combat! is an American television program that originally aired on ABC from 1962 until 1967. The show covered the grim lives of a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in France during ...more

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#804 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #207 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #48 of 249 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s