Soap operas have been a staple of the television world since they first gained traction in the 1950s. However, it wasn’t until the 80s that the primetime soap was born. While a daytime soap airs every weekday and are usually targeted to an audience of bored housewives and college students, primetime soaps only air once a week, during primetime hours. Primetime soaps also target a wider audience, so they tend to be more realistic. However, they still retain the drama and shocking plot twists that make soap operas so appealing. This list of the best primetime soap operas to ever air on television has been voted on and ranked by the community.
In the 80s, primetime soaps were all the rage, with "Dallas," "Dynasty, and "Knots Landing" as topics of conversation and can't miss viewing for every TV lover. When something exciting happened on one of these shows, such as the shooting of JR, everybody knew about it.
Although the primetime soap died out for a few years, it reemerged once again when "Desperate Housewives" became a huge hit. Since then primetime soaps have continued to entertain television fans.
What are the best primetime soap operas in the history of television? Vote up the all time best primetime soaps below and see where the soap operas you love to watch rank.
The oil-rich Ewings endure daily troubles.
- Premiered: April 2, 1978
Denver residents' lives intertwine.
- Premiered: January 12, 1981
Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979 to May 13, 1993 on CBS. A spin-off of Dallas, it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los Angeles, ...more
- Premiered: December 27, 1979
Eight adults live on their own for the first time in Los Angeles.
- Premiered: July 8, 1992
Mary Alice comments on her Wisteria Lane neighbors from the afterlife.
- Premiered: October 3, 2004
The adventures of a wine-making family in Tuscany Valley.
- Premiered: December 4, 1981
Friends face triumphs and tragedies as young adults.
- Premiered: October 4, 1990
A young woman returns to the Hamptons to take vengeance on the neighbors that wronged her family.
- Premiered: September 21, 2011
Following the adventures of a misfit fraternity at Larry Randall College.
- Premiered: 2006
An FBI agent investigates murders in a Pacific Northwest town.
- Premiered: April 8, 1990
The Colbys is an American prime time soap opera, which originally aired on ABC from November 20, 1985 to March 26, 1987. Produced by Aaron Spelling, it was a spin-off of Dynasty, which had been the ...more
- Premiered: November 20, 1985
Issues of sexuality and crime arise in the Tate and Campbell families.
- Premiered: September 13, 1977
Central Park West is an American prime time television soap opera that ran from September 1995 to June 1996 on CBS. The series was created and executive produced by Melrose Place's Darren Star. As ...more
- Premiered: 1995
A troubled young man makes waves in a wealthy, harbor-front community.
- Premiered: August 5, 2003
Peyton Place is an American prime-time soap opera which aired on ABC in half-hour episodes from September 15, 1964 to June 2, 1969. Based upon the 1956 novel of the same name by Grace Metalious, the ...more
- Premiered: September 15, 1964
Savannah is an American prime time television drama that ran from January 21, 1996 to February 24, 1997 on The WB. It was created by Constance M. Burge and produced by Aaron Spelling.
- Premiered: 1996
Doctors in Seattle try to balance life and work.
- Premiered: March 27, 2005
Models Inc. is an American prime time soap opera that aired on the Fox television network during the 1994–95 television season. It is the third series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise. The ...more
- Premiered: 1994
A diverse group of 20-somethings form a close-knit surrogate family.
- Premiered: September 8, 2009
A former media relations consultant to the president opens her own firm.
- Premiered: April 5, 2012
An unfashionable young writer from Queens tries to fit into the world of couture at Mode magazine.
- Premiered: September 28, 2006
Dawson Leery and his friends come of age.
- Premiered: January 20, 1998
The lives of privileged but dysfunctional friends on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
- Premiered: September 19, 2007
Five maids become close while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills.
- Premiered: June 23, 2013
Flamingo Road is an American prime time soap opera that aired on NBC. It was first seen as a TV movie on May 12, 1980, and as a series on January 6, 1981, after a rebroadcast of the pilot on December ...more
- Premiered: 1980