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The Best TV Dramas of 2013 

Ranker TV
Originally by
Updated November 5, 2019 7.4k votes 963 voters 29.2k views 51 items

List Rules Only serial dramas - no procedurals

Drama television shows often get a lot of attention from viewers and critics because they have a bit of everything. There is suspense,romance, bits of comedy, and tons of other elements that keep viewers coming back for more, counting the days until a new episode airs. Dramas are also usually the shows that get the most attention during award season because they attract the best actors and top writers in the television industry. These shows stand the test of time because they tell human stories that are relatable to people all over the world.

This list features the best dramatic shows that aired during 2013. Shows like Breaking Bad and Dexter had their final seasons, which garnered a lot of critical and media attention. Amazing, underrated shows like The Good Wife and Justified had their best seasons yet during 2013, while other dramas like Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey continued to grab headlines. New shows like Elementary, The Blacklist, and Nashville grabbed the attention of millions of viewers to become the biggest hits of 2013.

What are the best drama shows of 2013? This list features shows from cable, network TV, and online streaming that had their top critical seasons in 2013. When you're done voting, check out the newest dramas of 2019.

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list ordered by
1
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action, + more

Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more

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2
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Crime, Suspense, Drama, + more

Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to ...more

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The Best Breaking Bad Characters of All Time #1 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #3 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

3
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 144

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Suspense, Drama, Horror Film, Thriller, + more

The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more

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The Most Brutal Kills on The Walking Dead #3 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #25 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

4
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
LauraWhellum added Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy

Number of Seasons: 15

Number of Episodes: 318

Network: The WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Black comedy, Drama, Horror Film, Mystery, + more

Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. Two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), follow their father's ...more

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The Best Supernatural Characters #281 of 717 The Best Cartoons of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

5
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Political drama, Political thriller

House of Cards (Netflix, 2013) is an American political drama television series developed by Beau Willimon, and an adaptation of the BBC mini-series based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. ...more

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32 Facts You Didn't Know About House of Cards #8 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #9 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

6
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 52

Network: ITV, PBS

Genres (Tv): Period drama

Downton Abbey (PBS, 2010) is a British historical drama television series created by Julian Fellowes. A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in ...more

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The Best Downton Abbey Actors #25 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #22 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

7
The Blacklist is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

The Blacklist (NBC, 2013) is an American crime drama television series created by Jon Bokenkamp. Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S Navy officer turned high-profile criminal, ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'The Blacklist' #24 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #42 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

8
Sons of Anarchy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior

Number of Seasons: 7

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, Adventure film, + more

Sons of Anarchy (FX, 2008) is a television drama series created by Kurt Sutter. A biker struggles to balance being a father and being involved in an outlaw motorcycle club.

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9
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
cmrising8 added Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 9

Network: History

Genres (Tv): War film, Drama, Historical fiction, Action

Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A farmer (Travis Fimmel) rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes a ...more

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10
Justified is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 52

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

Justified is an American television drama series developed by Graham Yost. It is based on Elmore Leonard's short story. Timothy Olyphant portrays Raylan Givens, a tough U.S. Marshal enforcing ...more

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The Best Seasons of 'Justified' #77 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #34 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

11
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Elise Hennigan added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

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12
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Suspense, Drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Thriller

Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. The ...more

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The Best Homeland Characters of All Time #37 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #51 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

13
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
ChangesDownClub added Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

Number of Seasons: 17

Number of Episodes: 395

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Thriller, + more

NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts investigations ...more

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14
Once Upon a Time is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
ManningFranks added Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 55

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Drama, Mystery, Fairy tale, Comedy-drama, Fantasy

3 Once Upon a Time is an American fairy tale drama series that premiered on October 23, 2011, on ABC. The show takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, whose residents are ...more

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The Best Once Upon a Time Characters #75 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #71 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

15
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 96

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Dark comedy, Police procedural

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work ...more

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Dexter Morgan’s Infamous ‘Work’ Rooms, Ranked By Practicality #7 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #14 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

16
The Good Wife is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 44

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Drama, Legal drama

The Good Wife (CBS, 2009) is an American television legal and political drama created by Robert King and Michelle King. Alicia has been a good wife to her husband, a former state's attorney. ...more

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17
Suits is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 134

Network: USA Network

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Legal drama

Suits (USA, 2011) is an American legal drama created by Aaron Korsh. On the run from a drug deal gone bad, brilliant college dropout Mike Ross, finds himself working with Harvey Specter, one of ...more

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All the Top Suits Characters, Ranked by Fans #34 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #56 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

18
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 31

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, + more

Person of Interest (CBS, 2011) is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan. The series revolves around John Reese, a former CIA officer, who is recruited by ...more

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19
Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood

Network: Fox

Genres (Tv): Drama, Horror, Action, Procedural

Sleepy Hollow (Fox, 2013) is an American supernatural drama television series loosely based on the short story by Washington Irving. Upon awakening in modern times, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) ...more

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20
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 36

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Costume drama

Boardwalk Empire is an American period drama television series created by Terence Winter. Airing on premium cable channel HBO, the series is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the ...more

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The Best Seasons of 'Boardwalk Empire' #75 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #141 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

21
Scandal is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick, Columbus Short

Network: ABC

Genres (Tv): Procedural drama, Political drama, Drama

Scandal (ABC, 2012) is an American political thriller television series created by Shonda Rhimes. A former White House Communications Director (Kerry Washington) starts her own crisis management ...more

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22
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
PhoenixRainbowSky added Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Crime, Drama, + more

Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more

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23
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 44

Network: ABC

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Serial drama

Revenge (ABC, 2011) is an American drama television series created by Mike Kelley, inspired by the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. An emotionally troubled young woman (Emily ...more

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#233 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #73 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

24
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Number of Seasons: 7

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Period drama, Serial drama

Mad Men (AMC, 2007) is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. Womanizing advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) balances work and pleasure, while harboring ...more

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25
Grey's Anatomy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Dramas of 2013
Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson

Number of Seasons: 16

Number of Episodes: 356

Network: ABC

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Medical drama, Romance TV, Drama, Comedy-drama, + more

Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2005) is an American medical soap opera television series. The series focuses on the fictional lives of surgical interns and residents as they gradually evolve into seasoned ...more

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