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The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time

Updated October 12, 2020 21.0k votes 2.6k voters 90.8k views50 items

List RulesVote up the best soap operas of daytime or primetime.

From daytime to primetime, soap operas have been a staple of television since Faraway Hill first aired in 1946. However, it wasn’t until the 50s that soaps really took off. Many of the most popular soap operas from the 50s first began as radio programs. For the next 6 decades, American soap operas ruled the airways during both daytime and primetime, becoming obsessions for millions of people. Many of these soap operas spanned decades, introducing many new characters and twisty plots all the time.

Many soaps dealt with the same types of settings. Days of Our LivesGeneral Hospital, and The Doctors were all set in hospitals, while many other popular TV soaps like Dynasty surrounded the lives of wealthy families. There were also a few supernatural soap operas over the years, such as Dark ShadowsPassions, and Port Charles.

As the World TurnsGeneral Hospital, and The Young and the Restless were the highest rated soaps at one point in time. Primetime soaps, airing only once a week, have become incredibly popular as well.

What are the best soap operas ever? This list of the best soap operas of all time has been ranked by the community. Cast your votes for the greatest soap operas below and see how the soaps you think are great rank.

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  • 1
    Dallas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    650
    377

    Dallas

    Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval

    Premiered1978

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  • 2
    All My Children is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    466
    262

    All My Children

    Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight

    Premiered1970

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  • 3
    General Hospital is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    505
    331

    General Hospital

    Eva Longoria, James Franco

    Premiered1963

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  • 4
    Knots Landing is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    476
    376

    Knots Landing

    Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford

    Premiered1979

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  • 5
    Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    564
    461

    Dynasty

    John Forsythe, Linda Evans

    Premiered1981

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  • 6
    Days of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    495
    402

    Days of Our Lives

    Kristian Alfonso, Matthew Ashford

    Premiered1965

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  • 7
    The Young and the Restless is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    471
    448

    The Young and the Restless

    Eva Longoria, Shemar Moore

    Premiered1973

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  • 8
    Another World is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    341
    226

    Another World

    Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford

    Premiered1964

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  • 9
    One Life to Live is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    366
    254

    One Life to Live

    Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian

    Premiered1968

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  • 10
    Ryan's Hope is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    244
    219

    Ryan's Hope

    Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett

    Premiered1975

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  • 11
    Guiding Light is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    313
    301

    Guiding Light

    Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer

    Premiered1937

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  • 12
    Dark Shadows is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    338
    392

    Dark Shadows

    Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall

    Premiered1966

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  • 13
    As the World Turns is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    275
    269

    As the World Turns

    Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland

    Premiered1956

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  • 14
    Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    298
    227

    Santa Barbara

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Wright

    Premiered1984

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  • 15
    The Bold and the Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    279
    373

    The Bold and the Beautiful

    John McCook, Katherine Kelly Lang

    Premiered1987

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  • 16
    Falcon Crest is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    288
    378

    Falcon Crest

    Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas

    Premiered1981

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  • 17
    Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    316
    418

    Melrose Place

    Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue

    Premiered1992

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  • 18
    The Edge of Night is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    206
    189

    The Edge of Night

    Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross

    Premiered1956

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  • 19
    Coronation Street is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    228
    262

    Coronation Street

    Ian McKellen, Michelle Keegan

    Premiered1960

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  • 20
    Passions is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    267
    267

    Passions

    Lindsay Hartley, McKenzie Westmore

    Premiered1999

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  • 21
    The Colbys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    142
    252

    The Colbys

    Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck

    Premiered1985

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  • 22
    Sunset Beach is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    157
    143

    Sunset Beach

    Kelly Hu, Susan Ward

    Premiered1997

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  • 23
    EastEnders is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    181
    325

    EastEnders

    Steve McFadden, Adam Woodyatt

    Premiered1985

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  • 24
    Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    160
    304

    Peyton Place

    Mia Farrow, Leslie Nielsen

    Premiered1964

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  • 25
    Search for Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
    127
    233

    Search for Tomorrow

    Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen

    Premiered1951

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