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The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series 

Ranker TV
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Updated January 21, 2020 3.8k votes 433 voters 4.6k views 41 items

List Rules Vote up the best shows that won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series

Each year, the big prize at the Primetime Emmys goes to the best drama series on television - the award for Outstanding Drama Series. This list of the best Emmy winning dramatic series has all the best drama Emmy winners, ranked as the best of the best by TV fanatics (just like you!) Whether you were a fan of these great television dramas who won Emmys while they were first airing, or you found them later on Netflix, now you can vote on and rerank this list to help determine which TV show drama that won an Emmy is the absolute best.

These Emmy nominees didn't just have the honor of being nominated - they won the top drama award in all of television. Though all of these TV dramas are good, which are the best Hollywood has churned out? From recent hits like Breaking Bad and Homeland, to classic TV dramas like Gunsmoke and L.A. Law, where do the drama series you think are the greatest rank among the Emmy best drama winners?

This list of all Emmy winning dramatic series includes top TV dramas like Mad Men, 24, Lost, The Sopranos, The West Wing, The Practice, and Northern Exposure. Upvote the Emmy winning dramas you think are the all time best below!
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list ordered by
1
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

Premiered: 1999

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 86

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama

Years Won: 2004, 2007 The Sopranos is an American drama television series created by David Chase. Revolving around the fictional New Jersey-based Italian-American Tony Soprano, the show portrays the difficulties he ...more
2
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Crime, Suspense, Drama, + more

Years Won: 2013, 2014 Breaking Bad is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, ...more
3
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

Premiered: 1990

Number of Seasons: 20

Number of Episodes: 456

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama, Legal drama, Legal

Year Won: 1997 Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It originally aired on NBC and, in ...more
4
ER is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

Premiered: 1994

Number of Seasons: 15

Number of Episodes: 331

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Medical drama, Drama, Medical fiction

Year Won: 1996 ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994, to April 2, 2009. It was produced by Constant c Productions and ...more
5
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Premiered: 2007

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 78

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Drama, Period piece, Costume drama

Years Won: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on July 19, 2007 on the cable network AMC and is produced by Lionsgate Television. The ...more
6
24 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, + more

Year Won: 2006 24 is an American television series produced for the Fox network created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each ...more
7
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

Premiered: 1999

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 156

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Political drama, Drama, Serial drama

Years Won: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 The West Wing is an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999, to May 14, 2006. The series is set ...more
8
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

Premiered: 1981

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 146

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

Years Won: 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. Chronicling the lives of the staff of a single police ...more
9
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
William Conrad, Richard Anderson, David Janssen

Premiered: 1963

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 120

Network: CBS, American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, + more

Year Won: 1966 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
10
The Rockford Files is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos

Premiered: 1974

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 123

Network: NBC

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

Year Won: 1978 The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974, and January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to ...more
11
Lost is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 121

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, + more

Year Won: 2005 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
12
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris

Premiered: 1966

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 171

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, + more

Years Won; 1967, 1968 Mission: Impossible is an American television series that was created and initially produced by Bruce Geller. It chronicles the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the ...more
13
NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Dennis Franz, Gordon Clapp, James McDaniel

Premiered: 1993

Number of Seasons: 12

Number of Episodes: 261

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Crime, Drama, Live action

Year Won: 1995 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
14
Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Rob Morrow, Janine Turner, Barry Corbin

Premiered: 1990

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 110

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Medical drama, Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy, Medical fiction

Year Won: 1992 Northern Exposure is an American television series that ran on CBS from 1990 to 1995, with a total of 110 episodes. It dealt with a New York City physician, Dr. Joel Fleischman, who is sent to ...more
15
Gunsmoke is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake

Premiered: 1955

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Western, Action/Adventure

Year Won: 1958 Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during ...more
16
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action, + more

Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more
17
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: Showtime

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

Year Won: 2012 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
18
The Waltons is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Jon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott

Premiered: 1972

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 210

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Drama

Year Won: 1973 The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book Spencer's Mountain, and a 1963 film of the same name. The show is centered on a family in a rural ...more
19
L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, Alan Rachins

Premiered: 1986

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 172

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Drama, Legal drama, Legal

Years Won: 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991 L.A. Law is an American television legal drama series that ran for eight seasons on NBC from September 15, 1986 to May 19, 1994. Created by Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher, it contained ...more
20
Picket Fences is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Kathy Baker, Tom Skerritt, Lauren Holly

Premiered: 1992

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 88

Network: CBS

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

Years Won: 1993, 1994 Picket Fences is an American television drama about the residents of the town of Rome, Wisconsin, created and produced by David E. Kelley. The show initially ran from September 18, 1992, to June ...more
21
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn

Premiered: 2015

Number of Seasons: 4

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Comedy

Year Won: 2019

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
22
The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski

Premiered: 2017

Network: Hulu

Genres (Tv): Drama, Dystopian fiction

Years Won: 2017

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. In a dystopian future where women are brutally ...more
23
The Practice is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 168

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Drama, Legal drama, Legal

Years Won: 1998, 1999 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
24
Cagney & Lacey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Tyne Daly, Al Waxman, John Karlen

Premiered: 1982

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 125

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

Years Won: 1985, 1986 Cagney & Lacey is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television network for seven seasons from March 25, 1982 to May 16, 1988. A police procedural, the show stars ...more
25
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series
Edward Asner, Robert Walden, Mason Adams

Premiered: 1977

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 114

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Drama

Years Won: 1979, 1980 Lou Grant is an American television drama series starring Ed Asner in the title role as a newspaper editor. This drama series was a spinoff from a sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Aired from ...more