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The Greatest TV Shows About Depression

Updated September 11, 2020 2.8k votes 689 voters 21.5k views31 items

List RulesVote up the shows that best portray characters dealing with depression.

Depression can often be an all-consuming feeling that makes you feel totally alone in the world. Even so nearly everyone has experienced depression at one time or another in their lives, and sometimes the best way to understand depression is to watch how others deal with it. In our current age of television, there's no shortage of shows that star characters with depression written in utterly compelling, human ways that can go from heartbreaking to empathetic to hilariously satisfying all in one episode. 

Shows about depression can be therapeutic for those suffering from that seemingly endless black cloud, but they can also be cathartic for everyone else. Sometimes there's nothing better than a good, dark binge of other people feeling like crap and the best shows about depression understand that sense of schadenfreude, though they often do so while humanizing and explaining the disease. Much like the illness itself, these TV shows about depression (and the lives of those who suffer from it) can whisk you from hopeless lows to a small ray of light, all before crashing the whole thing down on you before one episode is through. From prestige dramas to network sitcoms to big-budget genre epics, the shows on this list all manage to say something unique about depression and show the variety of ways that mental illness can affect us. Whether these shows are full on cry-fests or manage to wrap up the central themes in a happy ending, they understand the complexity of depression in all its forms and are able to turn that complexity into endlessly riveting television.

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  • 1
    House is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    238
    77

    House

    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps

    Genres (Tv)Medical drama

    Character James Wilson suffers from clinical depression, and believes Dr. House does as well. 

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  • 2
    Rick and Morty is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    210
    71

    Rick and Morty

    Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell

    Genres (Tv)Adult animation, Sci-fi, Comedy, Adventure

    Rick is in a constant state of existential crisis, and his depression is documented throughout the series.

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  • 3
    Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    146
    39

    Mr. Robot

    Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Techno thriller, Psychological thriller

    Elliot Alderson suffers from depression, among other mental illnesses.

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  • 4
    BoJack Horseman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    316
    167

    BoJack Horseman

    Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Animation

    The titular character's struggle with depression, among other possible mental illnesses, is a main plotpoint throughout the series.

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  • 5
    The End of the F***ing World is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    140
    50

    The End of the F***ing World

    Alex Lawther, Jessica Barden

    Genres (Tv)Comedy-drama

    Other mental illnesses are covered as well, but Alyssa spends the second season battling depression.

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  • 6
    Shameless is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    87
    30

    Shameless

    Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Drama

    Fiona, among other members of the Gallagher family, struggles with depression throughout the series.

  • 7
    You're the Worst is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    45
    14

    You're the Worst

    Chris Geere, Aya Cash

    Genres (Tv)Comedy-drama, Romantic comedy, Black comedy

    Season two reveals Gretchen's struggle with clinical depression.

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  • 8
    This Is Us is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    45
    25

    This Is Us

    Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Family drama

    This Is Us (NBC, 2016) is an American television series created by Dan Fogelman. Follows a... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Degrassi: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    48
    29

    Degrassi: The Next Generation

    Miriam McDonald, Cassie Steele

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama

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  • 10
    13 Reasons Why is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    134
    127

    13 Reasons Why

    Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama, Mystery

    The first season is predominantly about Hannah Baker's depression. However, later seasons show other characters also struggling with depression, such as Justin Foley in season two. 

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  • 11
    Russian Doll is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    36
    18

    Russian Doll

    Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

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  • 12
    Please Like Me is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    30
    12

    Please Like Me

    Josh Thomas, Thomas Ward

    Genres (Tv)Comedy Drama

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  • 13
    Maniac is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    35
    19

    Maniac

    Jonah Hill, Emma Stone

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Psychological drama

    Maniac (Netflix, 2018) is an American dark comedy television series created by Patrick... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Jessica Jones is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    34
    22

    Jessica Jones

    Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter

    Genres (Tv)Action, Crime, Drama

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  • 15
    A Million Little Things is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    24
    11

    A Million Little Things

    David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston

    Genres (Tv)Drama

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  • 16
    Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    26
    13

    Six Feet Under

    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall

    Genres (Tv)Black comedy, Drama, Comedy-drama

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  • 17
    One Day at a Time is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    30
    21

    One Day at a Time

    Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

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  • 18
    Scrubs is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    21
    17

    Scrubs

    Zach Braff, Donald Faison

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Medical drama

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  • 19
    Flowers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    11
    4

    Flowers

    Olivia Colman, Julian Barratt

    Genres (Tv)Black comedy, Comedy-drama, Sitcom

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  • 20
    Love is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    16
    10

    Love

    Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust

    Genres (Tv)Romantic Comedy

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  • 21
    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    20
    17

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

    Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Musical

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  • 22
    The Leftovers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    14
    9

    The Leftovers

    Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman

    Genres (Tv)Drama

    The Leftovers (HBO, 2014) is an American supernatural mystery television drama series created... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Legion is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    17
    16

    Legion

    Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller

    Genres (Tv)Sci-fi, Action, Horror, Drama, Superhero

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  • 24
    Bodyguard is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    12
    13

    Bodyguard

    Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Political thriller

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  • 25
    Glee is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
    24
    33

    Glee

    Lea Michele, Jane Lynch

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama, Musical

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