Mental Illness

The Greatest TV Shows About Depression  

Ranker TV
652 votes 193 voters 6.1k views 31 items

List Rules Vote up the shows that center their storyline around 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.

list ordered by
1
BoJack Horseman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie
BoJack Horseman is an American animated sitcom created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. The series stars Will Arnett as the eponymous character, BoJack Horseman. The supporting cast includes Amy ...more
2
Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday
Mr. Robot (USA Network, 2015) is an American drama–thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. Elliot (Rami Malek), a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who suffers from social anxiety ...more
3
House is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard
House is an American television medical drama that originally ran on the Fox network for eight seasons, from November 16, 2004 to May 21, 2012. The show's main character is Dr. Gregory House, a ...more
4
Rick and Morty is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer
Rick and Morty (Adult Swim, 2013) is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. Cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his fretful, easily ...more
5
Shameless is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy, Ethan Cutkosky
Shameless is an American television comedy-drama which airs on Showtime. This remake of the award-winning British series is set in Chicago's Canaryville neighborhood on the South Side, although ...more
6
Degrassi: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Stefan Brogren, Aislinn Paul, Melinda Shankar
Degrassi: The Next Generation is a Canadian teen drama television series set in the Degrassi universe, which was created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979. Degrassi is the fourth fictional ...more
7
The End of the F***ing World is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Alex Lawther, Jessica Barden, Gemma Whelan
The End of the F***ing World (Netflix, 2018) is an eight-part British absurdist dark comedy-drama television series, based on the comic series by Charles S. Forsman. 17-year-old James (Alex ...more
8
This Is Us is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown
This Is Us (NBC, 2016) is an American television series created by Dan Fogelman. Follows a unique ensemble, as their paths cross and their life stories interwine, from sharing the same birthday, ...more
9
A Million Little Things is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Jamie Fredrickson added David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco
A Million Little Things (ABC, 2018) is an American family drama television series created by D. J. Nash. A group of friends intertwined in each other's lives all realize they need to start ...more
10
Maniac is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Sonoya Mizuno
Maniac (Netflix, 2018) is an American dark comedy television series created by Patrick Somerville and directed by Cary Fukunaga. Based on a 2014 Norwegian series, the show revolves around the ...more
11
You're the Worst is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Chris Geere, Aya Cash, Desmin Borges
You're the Worst (FXX, 2014) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Stephen Falk. Jimmy (Chris Geere), a self-involved writer, and Gretchen (Aya Cash), a self-destructive Los ...more
12
Please Like Me is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Josh Thomas, Thomas Ward, John
Please Like Me is an Australian television comedy drama series starring Josh Thomas. The series premiered on 28 February 2013 on ABC2 in Australia. The show explores realistic issues with ...more
13
Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy
Six Feet Under is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on June 3, 2001, and ended on August ...more
14
Legion is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza
Legion (FX, 2017) is an American cable television series created by Noah Hawley, based on the Marvel Comics character. Diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age, David Haller (Dan Stevens) ...more
15
Glee is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison
Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that aired on the Fox network in the United States from May 19, 2009, to March 20, 2015. It focuses on the fictitious William McKinley ...more
16
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Santino Fontana
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW, 2015) is an American romantic musical comedy-drama television series created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna. After bumping into her first love, a New York ...more
17
Russian Doll is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez
Russian Doll (Netflix, 2019) is an American comedy web television series created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland. A young woman (Natasha Lyonne) in New York tries to escape ...more
18
Love is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O'Doherty
Love (Netflix, 2016) is an American romantic comedy web television series created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust, and Lesley Arfin. The series is a "down-to-earth look at dating," exploring ...more
19
Scrubs is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke
Scrubs is an American medical comedy television series created by Bill Lawrence that aired from October 2, 2001 to March 17, 2010 on NBC and later ABC. The series follows the lives of employees ...more
20
Bodyguard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes, Gina McKee
Bodyguard (Netflix, 2018) is a British television political thriller drama series created by Jed Mercurio. Police Sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden), a heroic British Army war-veteran ...more
21
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an American sitcom created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock and starring Ellie Kemper that has streamed on Netflix since March 6, 2015. Originally set for a 13-episode ...more
22
Big Mouth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein
Big Mouth (Netflix, 2017) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett, based on Kroll and Goldberg's tweenage years in the New ...more
23
One Day at a Time is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez
One Day at a Time (Netflix) is a 2017 sitcom loosely based on the 1975 Norman Lear series of the same name. Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado) is a newly-single Army Nursing Corps veteran ...more
24
13 Reasons Why is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh
13 Reasons Why (Netflix, 2017) is an American television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey. Told through a series of flashbacks, the ...more
25
Lady Dynamite is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows About Depression
Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, Mary Kay Place
Lady Dynamite (Netflix, 2016) is an American comedy series created by Pam Brady and Mitch Hurwitz. Stand-up comedian/actress Maria Bamford (portrayed by herself) moves back to Los Angeles after ...more