Watchworthy

The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now 

Ranker TV
Originally by
Updated July 31, 2020 12.9k votes 1.5k voters 33.4k views 48 items

List Rules Serial dramas only, no procedurals

The best dramas on cable right now are those serious, captivating dramatic television shows 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

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
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
LanaYoshii added Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more

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3
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
buzzy added Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

Premiered: 2014

Outlander (Starz, 2014) is a historical drama television series developed by Ronald D. Moore, based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon. A married former WWII nurse (Caitriona Balfe) is ...more

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4
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ghostdragon 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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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

Downton Abbey (PBS, 2010) is a British historical drama television series created by Julian Fellowes. A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in ...more

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6
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters

Premiered: 2011

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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7
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

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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8
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks

Premiered: 2014

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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9
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Premiered: 2011

Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. A CIA ...more

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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

Shameless (Showtime, 2011) is an American comedy-drama television series developed by John Wells, based on the 2004 British series. Led by drunk patriarch Frank (William H. Macy), the poor and ...more

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11
Westworld is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
carlybobarly added Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright

Premiered: 2016

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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12
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly

Premiered: 2013

House of Cards (Netflix, 2013) is an American political drama television series developed by Beau Willimon, and an adaptation of the BBC mini-series based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. ...more

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13
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
LanaYoshii added Mahershala Ali, Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson

Premiered: 2013

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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14
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hernández

Premiered: 2013

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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15
Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ghostdragon added Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday

Premiered: 2015

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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16
Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
CrimsonJohnson added Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

Premiered: 2014

Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014) is a British-American horror drama television series created by John Logan. Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh ...more

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17
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Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen, Kevin McNally

Premiered: 2014

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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18
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
ghostdragon added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn

Premiered: 2015

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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19
Preacher is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
LanaYoshii added Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga

Premiered: 2016

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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20
Ray Donovan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan

Premiered: 2013

Ray Donovan (Showtime, 2013) is an American drama television series created by Ann Biderman. Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), a professional "fixer" for the rich and famous in Los ...more

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21
Big Little Lies is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley
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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22
Billions is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff

Premiered: 2016

Billions (Showtime, 2016) is an American television drama series created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, loosely based on the legal battles between Preet Bharara and ...more

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23
Succession is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin
Succession (HBO, 2018) is an American television drama series created by Jesse Armstrong. When the aging patriarch (Brian Cox) of a global-media conglomerate decides to not retire, a power ...more

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24
The Son is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
voting closed at #52 Pierce Brosnan, Henry Garrett, Zahn McClarnon

Premiered: 2017

The Son (AMC, 2017) is a western drama television series based on the 2013 novel by Philipp Meyer. A multi-generational epic telling of the story of America's birth as a superpower through the ...more

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25
Penny Dreadful: City of ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Dramas on Cable Right Now
Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Adriana Barraza

Premiered: 2020

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (Showtime, 2020) is a British-American horror drama television series created by John Logan, and a spinoff of the 2014 series. In 1930s Los Angeles, LAPD's first ...more

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