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The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now 

Ranker TV
Originally by
Updated February 4, 2020 12.8k votes 1.5k voters 32.3k views 49 items

List Rules Serial dramas only, no procedurals

The best dramas on cable right now are those serious, captivating dramatic television shows of 2019 that we just cannot miss. While network television drama shows are great too, cable shows are perhaps better with fewer restrictions on what can be said, shown and done, making the shows appear more real and definitely more appealing to watch. These are not just the best dramas on cable, they are also arguably the best current dramatic TV shows on anywhere right now.

While few years ago AMC was an unlikely choice to break out with original drama series, in the recent past it has earned great praise for its work. With headlining shows like Better Call Saul, The Terror, and The Walking Dead, AMC has quickly become a favorite among cable channels. Movie channels like HBO and Showtime are no different with top series like The Chi, Shameless, Westworld, and Big Little Lies keeping viewers on the edges of their seats each week.

That's not to say other networks are not holding their own among original cable drama series. Shows like Doctor WhoAmerican Horror Story, and Outlander are easily among the favorite drama shows on cable right now.

There is little doubt that many of these best cable dramas are not just the best in their category but also the best TV shows in recent memory. Have a favorite drama series on cable TV that you just can't miss? Vote for your selections below!

 

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1
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 35

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Suspense, Drama, Horror Film, Thriller, + more

The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more

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2
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
buzzy added Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

Premiered: 2014

Network: Starz

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Created by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Left Bank ...more

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3
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ghostdragon added Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 9

Network: History

Genres (Tv): War film, Drama, Historical fiction, Action

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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4
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
LanaYoshii added Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Crime, Drama, + more

Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more

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#4 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #8 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock'

5
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 25

Network: ITV

Genres (Tv): Drama

Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series created by Julian Fellowes and co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece. It first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and Ireland on ...more

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6
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

Number of Seasons: 26

Number of Episodes: 798

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC America, BBC One, S4C, BBC HD

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Adventure, Drama

Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more

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7
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 1

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Comedy, Drama, Crime

Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah Hawley, and inspired by the 1996 film. Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and wrong doings ...more

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8
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 103

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Anthology, Horror, Supernatural

American Horror Story (FX, 2011) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, ...more

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9
Westworld is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
carlybobarly added Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright

Premiered: 2016

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Drama, Western

Westworld (HBO, 2016) is an American science fiction western thriller television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and based on the 1973 film. In a technologically advanced Wild ...more

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#31 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time #15 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate The Best Characters on Westworld, Ranked

10
Shameless is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ChrissyBaker added Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy, Ethan Cutkosky

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 36

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy

Shameless is an American television comedy-drama which airs on Showtime. This remake of the award-winning British series is set in Chicago's Canaryville neighborhood on the South Side, although ...more

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11
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
LanaYoshii added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

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12
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Suspense, Drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Thriller

Homeland is an American political thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. The series stars ...more

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13
Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ghostdragon added Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Drama, Thriller

Mr. Robot (USA Network, 2015) is an American drama–thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. Elliot (Rami Malek), a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who suffers from social anxiety ...more

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14
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ghostdragon added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn

Premiered: 2015

Number of Seasons: 4

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Comedy

Better Call Saul (AMC, 2015) is an American television drama series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, and a spinoff prequel of Breaking Bad. The trials and tribulations of lawyer, Jimmy ...more

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#53 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #32 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing All of the Breaking Bad Easter Eggs in Better Call Saul

15
Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
CrimsonJohnson added Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

Genres (Tv): Horror, Supernatural, Mystery

Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014) is a British-American horror TV series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan, who also acts as executive producer alongside Sam Mendes. The title refers to ...more

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16
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hernández

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Period drama, Thriller

The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe Weisberg. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) are two Soviet KGB officers posing as ...more

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17
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Drama

House of Cards is a 2013 American political drama television series developed and produced by Beau Willimon. It is an adaptation of the BBC's mini-series of the same name and is based on the ...more

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18
Preacher is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
LanaYoshii added Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga

Premiered: 2016

Genres (Tv): Drama, Black Comedy, Supernatural, Horror, Action

Preacher (AMC, 2016) is an American television series developed by Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen, based on the comic book series created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. After a ...more

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19
Suits is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 134

Network: USA Network

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Legal drama

Suits is a USA Network legal drama created by Aaron Korsh that stars Patrick J. Adams as Michael "Mike" Ross and Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter. The first episode debuted on June 23, ...more

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20
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ghostdragon added Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson

Premiered: 2013

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: BBC Two

Genres (Tv): Action, Drama, Period Drama

Peaky Blinders (BBC Two, 2013) is a British television action drama created by Steven Knight, based upon the exploits of the historical gang. In 1919 Birmingham, England, leader Tommy Shelby ...more

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#27 of 128 The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows #87 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate The Best Characters On 'Peaky Blinders'

21
Ranker Video
Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen, Kevin McNally

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Drama

TURN: Washington's Spies is a period drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring, a history of the Culper Ring. The series debuted on AMC on ...more

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22
Ray Donovan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 12

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Crime, Drama, Action

Ray Donovan is an American television drama series created by Ann Biderman for Showtime. The twelve-episode first season premiered on June 30, 2013. The pilot episode broke records of ...more

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23
Big Little Lies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley

Genres (Tv): Comedy

Big Little Lies (HBO, 2017) is an American dramatic miniseries created by David E. Kelley, based on the novel by Liane Moriarty. While Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and Celeste (Nicole Kidman) ...more

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24
Billions is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff

Premiered: 2016

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Drama

Billions (Showtime, 2016) is loosely based on the activities of crusading federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bobby "Axe" Axelrod ...more

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#203 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #234 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate The Best Seasons of 'Billions'

25
Snowfall is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Damson Idris, Carter Hudson, Emily Rios

Premiered: 2017

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Crime, Drama

Snowfall (FX, 2017) is an American crime drama television series created by John Singleton, Eric Amadio and Dave Andron. Set in 1983 Los Angeles, the series revolves around the first crack ...more

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