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The Best ABC Dramas of All Time 

Ranker TV
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Updated February 11, 2020 6k votes 656 voters 11.8k 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.

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

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 121

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

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#32 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #31 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time The Best LOST Characters

2
Desperate Housewives is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 180

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

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#302 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #11 of 92 The Best Dramedy TV Series The Best Seasons of Desperate Housewives

3
Grey's Anatomy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 16

Number of Episodes: 356

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

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#66 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch The Best 'Grey's Anatomy' Seasonslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

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

Number of Seasons: 12

Number of Episodes: 261

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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#214 of 590 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
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 168

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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#665 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #323 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #5 of 44 The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time

6
Scandal is listed (or ranked) 6 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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#104 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #165 of 216 The TV Shows with the Best Writing The Best Seasons of Scandal

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

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 120

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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#377 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #87 of 262 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

8
Roots is listed (or ranked) 8 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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#202 of 262 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #52 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows

9
Castle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Angela Ciresi Brown added Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 105

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

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#75 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #187 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time The Best Seasons of Castle

10
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday

Premiered: 1986

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 195

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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#183 of 262 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #10 of 44 The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

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

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 44

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

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#452 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #233 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

Number of Episodes: 249

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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#58 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #66 of 204 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

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

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 101

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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#243 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #239 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time The Best Seasons of Boston Legal

14
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins

Premiered: 1981

Number of Seasons: 9

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

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#46 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #92 of 262 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

15
The Rifleman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
JimThomas added Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix

Premiered: 1958

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 168

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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#171 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #319 of 422 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #32 of 247 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

16
The Lone Ranger is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart

Premiered: 1966

Number of Episodes: 26

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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#208 of 384 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #209 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time The Lone Ranger Was Real And Most Likely A Black Man Named Bass Reeves

17
North and South is listed (or ranked) 17 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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#102 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remade #18 of 40 The Best '80s Western Movies

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

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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#21 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

19
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn

Premiered: 1990

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 48

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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#94 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #170 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #147 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

20
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Black Dragon added Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 9

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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#60 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #4 of 131 The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows Turns Out The Real Inspiration For 'Vikings' Lagertha Is Even Tougher Than The TV Version

21
Combat! is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
JimThomas added Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert

Premiered: 1962

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 152

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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22
Maverick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore

Premiered: 1957

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 124

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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23
For Life is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Nicholas Pinnock, Indira Varma, Joy Bryant

Premiered: 2020

For Life (ABC, 2020) is an American legal drama television series created by Hank Steinberg. Prisoner Aaron (Nicholas Pinnock) becomes a lawyer and fights to overturn his life sentence for a ...more

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#15 of 16 The Best New True Crime Movies And TV Shows For February 2020 #26 of 44 The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time #120 of 134 The Best TV Crime Dramas

24
The Outer Limits is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual

Premiered: 1995

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 154

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

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#180 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #25 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Timelisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

25
Grand Hotel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best ABC Dramas of All Time
Demian Bichir, Roselyn Sanchez, Denyse Tontz
Grand Hotel (ABC, 2019) is an American drama television series based on the Spanish TV series. Charismatic Miami Beach hotel owner Santiago Mendoza (Demian Bichir), his second wife (Roselyn ...more