Entertainment

The Best ABC Dramas of All Time 

Ranker TV
Originally by
6k votes 652 voters 11.6k views 39 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.

list ordered by
1
Lost is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia
Lost is an American television drama series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 ...more

More Lost 

#23 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #358 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timefeaturing The Best LOST Characters

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
Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2005) is an American medical soap opera television series. The series focuses on the fictional lives of surgical interns and residents as they gradually evolve into seasoned ...more

More Grey's Anatomy 

#132 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing The Best 'Grey's Anatomy' Seasonslisted 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
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama-mystery series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. It aired Sundays at 9 P.M. Eastern/8 P.M. ...more

More Desperate Housewives 

#134 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #221 of 578 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Timefeaturing The Best Seasons of Desperate Housewives

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

More NYPD Blue 

#214 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #161 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Yearslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

5
Scandal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
MarySSpiegel added
Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick, Columbus Short
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

More Scandal 

#104 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #165 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing Scandal Season 4 Death Pool

6
Castle is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Angela Ciresi Brown added
Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan
Castle is an American drama television series, which premiered on ABC on March 9, 2009. The series is produced jointly by Beacon Pictures and ABC Studios. Created by Andrew W. Marlowe, it ...more

More Castle 

#226 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #67 of 265 The Best Female-Led TV Showsfeaturing The Best Seasons of Castle

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

More The Fugitive 

#377 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #194 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

8
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle
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

More The Practice 

#852 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #320 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #5 of 44 The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time

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

More Matlock 

#183 of 260 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #10 of 44 The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

10
The Love Boat is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange
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

More The Love Boat 

#55 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #230 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

11
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann
Revenge is an American primetime television series that airs on ABC, starring Madeleine Stowe and Emily VanCamp, which debuted on September 21, 2011. During its first season it aired on ...more

More Revenge 

#50 of 265 The Best Female-Led TV Shows #212 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

12
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins
Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989. The series, created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, ...more

More Dynasty 

#46 of 66 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #92 of 260 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

13
Boston Legal is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
James Spader, William Shatner, Candice Bergen
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

More Boston Legal 

#243 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #182 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Timefeaturing The Best Seasons of Boston Legal

14
Roots is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed
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

More Roots 

#202 of 260 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #52 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows

15
The Lone Ranger is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart
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

More The Lone Ranger 

#208 of 384 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #209 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timefeaturing The Lone Ranger Was Real And Most Likely A Black Man Named Bass Reeves

16
The Rifleman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
JimThomas added
Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix
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

More The Rifleman 

#261 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #292 of 408 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #32 of 245 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

17
Marcus Welby, M.D. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Robert Young, James Brolin, Elena Verdugo
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

More Marcus Welby, M.D. 

#535 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #82 of 245 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

18
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Twin Peaks
Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn
Twin Peaks (Showtime, 2017) is a miniseries that follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in a continuation of the original 1990 series, created by David Lynch.

More Twin Peaks 

#94 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #62 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

19
North and South is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
North and South
Elizabeth Taylor, Kirstie Alley, Johnny Cash
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

More North and South 

#102 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remade #18 of 40 The Best '80s Western Movies

20
A Million Little Things ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco
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

More A Million Little Things 

#20 of 160 The Best New Shows That Premiered in 2018 #10 of 17 TV Shows That Essentially Exist To Make You Cry #47 of 49 The Best Serial Dramas of the 21st Century

21
Fantasy Island is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Christopher Hewett
Fantasy Island is an American television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company network from 1977 to 1984. A revival of the series originally aired on the same network ...more

More Fantasy Island 

#243 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time #167 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

22
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Black Dragon added
Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen
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

More Vikings 

#4 of 128 The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows #26 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciatefeaturing Turns Out The Real Inspiration For 'Vikings' Lagertha Is Even Tougher Than The TV Version

23
Hart to Hart is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, Lionel Stander
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

More Hart to Hart 

#271 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #449 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #27 of 62 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series

24
Maverick is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore
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

More Maverick 

#229 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #94 of 151 The Best Action-Adventure TV Shows

25
The Outer Limits is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual
The Outer Limits is a US-Canadian television series that originally aired on Showtime, the Sci Fi Channel and in syndication between 1995 and 2002. The series is a revival of the original The ...more

More The Outer Limits 

#320 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #25 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Timelisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows