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The Greatest TV Shows About Depression

Updated September 11, 2020 3.4k votes 884 voters 27.5k 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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  • House1
    266
    99

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    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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    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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    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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    Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Techno thriller, Psychological thriller

    Elliot Alderson suffers from depression, among other mental illnesses.

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    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Animation

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    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Drama

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    Chris Geere, Aya Cash

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

    Season two reveals Gretchen's struggle with clinical depression.

    You're the Worst (FXX, 2014) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Stephen...  more

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  • This Is Us8
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    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

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  • 13 Reasons Why9
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    13 Reasons Why

    Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama, Mystery, Thriller

    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. 

    13 Reasons Why (Netflix, 2017) is an American teen drama mystery series based on the 2007...  more

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    Russian Doll

    Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

    Russian Doll (Netflix, 2019) is an American comedy web television series created by Natasha...  more

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    Miriam McDonald, Cassie Steele

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama

    Degrassi: The Next Generation (CTV, 2001 ) is a Canadian teen drama television series created...  more

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    Jonah Hill, Emma Stone

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Psychological drama

    Maniac (Netflix, 2018) is an American dark comedy television series created by Patrick...  more

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    Josh Thomas, Thomas Ward

    Genres (Tv)Comedy Drama

    Please Like Me is an Australian television comedy drama series starring Josh Thomas. The...  more
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    Six Feet Under

    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall

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    Six Feet Under (HBO, 2001) is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan...  more

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    Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    One Day at a Time (Netflix) is a 2017 sitcom loosely based on the 1975 Norman Lear series of...  more

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    David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston

    Genres (Tv)Drama

    A Million Little Things (ABC, 2018) is an American family drama television series created by...  more

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    Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter

    Genres (Tv)Action, Crime, Drama

    Jessica Jones (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television series created by Melissa...  more

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    Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Musical

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW, 2015) is an American romantic musical comedy-drama television...  more

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    Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman

    Genres (Tv)Drama

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

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    Zach Braff, Donald Faison

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Medical drama

    Scrubs (NBC, 2001) is an American medical comedy-drama television series created by Bill...  more

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    Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust

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    Love (Netflix, 2016) is an American romantic comedy web television series created by Judd...  more
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    Olivia Colman, Julian Barratt

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

    Flowers (Channel 4, 2016) is a British black comedy-drama television sitcom. The series...  more
  • Legion23
    19
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    Legion

    Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller

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

    Legion (FX, 2017) is an American cable television series created by Noah Hawley, based on the...  more

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  • Bodyguard24
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    Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Political thriller

    Bodyguard (Netflix, 2018) is a British television political thriller drama series created by...  more

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  • Glee25
    27
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    Glee

    Lea Michele, Jane Lynch

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama, Musical

    Glee (Fox, 2009) is an American musical comedy-drama television series created by Ryan Murphy,...  more

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