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The Greatest TV Shows About Depression

Updated September 11, 2020 3.2k votes 810 voters 25.3k 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
    258
    95

    House

    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps

    Genres (Tv)Medical drama

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

    House, M.D. (Fox, 2004) is an American television medical drama created by David Shore. An... more on Wikipedia

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  • Mr. Robot2
    176
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    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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  • Rick and Morty3
    232
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    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.

    Rick and Morty (Adult Swim, 2013) is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created... more on Wikipedia

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  • BoJack Horseman4
    369
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    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.

    BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014) is an American animated sitcom created by Raphael... more on Wikipedia

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  • The End of the F***ing World5
    175
    57

    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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  • Shameless6
    103
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    Shameless

    Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Drama

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

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  • You're the Worst7
    51
    17

    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.

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

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  • Russian Doll8
    50
    23

    Russian Doll

    Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

    Russian Doll (Netflix, 2019) is an American comedy web television series created by Natasha... more on Wikipedia
  • This Is Us9
    53
    28

    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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  • 13 Reasons Why10
    166
    148

    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. 

    13 Reasons Why (Netflix, 2017) is an American television series based on the 2007 novel... more on Wikipedia

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  • Degrassi: The Next Generation11
    54
    31

    Degrassi: The Next Generation

    Miriam McDonald, Cassie Steele

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama

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

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  • Please Like Me12
    33
    12

    Please Like Me

    Josh Thomas, Thomas Ward

    Genres (Tv)Comedy Drama

    Please Like Me is an Australian television comedy drama series starring Josh Thomas. The... more on Wikipedia
  • Maniac13
    39
    22

    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
  • One Day at a Time14
    34
    21

    One Day at a Time

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • Six Feet Under15
    27
    13

    Six Feet Under

    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall

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

    Six Feet Under (HBO, 2001) is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan... more on Wikipedia
  • Jessica Jones16
    36
    23

    Jessica Jones

    Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter

    Genres (Tv)Action, Crime, Drama

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

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  • A Million Little Things17
    24
    11

    A Million Little Things

    David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston

    Genres (Tv)Drama

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

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  • The Leftovers18
    19
    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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  • Flowers19
    14
    4

    Flowers

    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 on Wikipedia
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend20
    24
    17

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

    Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Musical

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

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  • Scrubs21
    24
    19

    Scrubs

    Zach Braff, Donald Faison

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Medical drama

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

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  • Love22
    16
    12

    Love

    Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust

    Genres (Tv)Romantic Comedy

    Love (Netflix, 2016) is an American romantic comedy web television series created by Judd... more on Wikipedia
  • Legion23
    18
    16

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • Bodyguard24
    13
    14

    Bodyguard

    Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Political thriller

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

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  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt25
    15
    19

    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

    Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television sitcom created by Tina... more on Wikipedia

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