Top 25 Drama TV shows of all time

by dahlberg31 | created - 09 Jan 2011 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

This is not a finished list as far as the order. The top 10 is in order but I'm in the process of watching some of the shows in this list. Also, shows that have only been on the air for one season can't rank as high as others with several seasons.

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1. The Shield (2002–2008)

TV-MA | 47 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Follows the lives and cases of a dirty Los Angeles Police Department cop and the unit under his command.

Stars: Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins, Michael Jace

Votes: 67,103

2. The Wire (2002–2008)

TV-MA | 59 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The Baltimore drug scene, as seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement.

Stars: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce

Votes: 254,107

3. Breaking Bad (2008–2013)

TV-MA | 49 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

Votes: 1,269,167

4. Boardwalk Empire (2010–2014)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, History

An Atlantic City, A New Jersey politician plays both sides of the law, conspiring with gangsters during the Prohibition era.

Stars: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham

Votes: 162,367

5. Justified (2010–2015)

TV-MA | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Old-school U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is reassigned from Miami to his childhood home in the poor, rural coal mining towns in eastern Kentucky.

Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts

Votes: 78,849

6. The Walking Dead (2010– )

TV-MA | 44 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins, and must lead a group of survivors to stay alive.

Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira

Votes: 801,669

7. Mad Men (2007–2015)

TV-14 | 47 min | Drama

A drama about one of New York's most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm's most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper.

Stars: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones

Votes: 186,083

8. True Detective (2014– )

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Seasonal anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.

Stars: Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch

Votes: 456,099

9. The Americans (2013–2018)

TV-MA | 44 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

At the height of the Cold War two Russian agents pose as your average American couple, complete with family.

Stars: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor

Votes: 75,007

10. Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

TV-MA | 57 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Nine noble families fight for control over the mythical lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for thousands of years.

Stars: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey

Votes: 1,596,951

11. House of Cards (2013–2018)

TV-MA | 51 min | Drama

A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.

Stars: Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright, Kate Mara

Votes: 438,922

12. Better Call Saul (2015– )

TV-MA | 46 min | Crime, Drama

The trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer, Jimmy McGill, in the time leading up to establishing his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, Patrick Fabian

Votes: 260,633

13. Damages (2007–2012)

TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A law school graduate becomes the protégée of a successful high-stakes litigator.

Stars: Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan, Zachary Booth

Votes: 26,705

Damages had the best season one of any show in television history. Every season was not as good as the one prior but still an elite show.

14. Caprica (2009–2010)

TV-14 | 60 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Two families, the Graystones and the Adamas, live together on a peaceful planet known as Caprica, where a startling breakthrough in artificial intelligence brings about unforeseen consequences.

Stars: Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson, Alessandra Torresani

Votes: 22,921

15. Terriers (2010)

TV-MA | 45 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Ex-cop and recovering alcoholic Hank Dolworth partners with his best friend, former criminal Britt Pollack, in an unlicensed private investigation business.

Stars: Donal Logue, Michael Raymond-James, Laura Allen, Kimberly Quinn

Votes: 9,779

16. Lights Out (2011)

TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Sport

A former heavyweight boxing champion struggles to find his identity after retiring from the ring.

Stars: Holt McCallany, Stacy Keach, Catherine McCormack, Pablo Schreiber

Votes: 2,938

17. The Bridge (I) (2013–2014)

TV-MA | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Two detectives work together to take down a serial killer operating on both sides of the Texas-Chihuahua border.

Stars: Demián Bichir, Diane Kruger, Thomas M. Wright, Ted Levine

Votes: 17,020

18. Fargo (2014– )

TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and murder in and around frozen Minnesota. Yet all of these tales mysteriously lead back one way or another to Fargo, North Dakota.

Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks

Votes: 284,017

19. Tyrant (2014–2016)

TV-14 | 60 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

An unassuming American family is drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation.

Stars: Adam Rayner, Jennifer Finnigan, Ashraf Barhom, Moran Atias

Votes: 21,427

20. TURN: Washington's Spies (2014–2017)

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, History, War

A Long Island farmer bands together a group of childhood friends to form an unlikely group of spies who turn the tide in America's fight for independence

Stars: Jamie Bell, Heather Lind, Samuel Roukin, Daniel Henshall

Votes: 17,963

21. Helix (2014–2015)

TV-PG | 40 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A team of scientists are thrust into a potentially life-or-death situation when they arrive in the Arctic to secretly investigate what could be an outbreak of a strange disease in a secluded international research facility.

Stars: Billy Campbell, Kyra Zagorsky, Mark Ghanimé, Jordan Hayes

Votes: 27,497

22. Halt and Catch Fire (2014–2017)

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama

Follows some players in the 80s technological revolution that lead to information society.

Stars: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé

Votes: 25,113

23. Gotham (2014–2019)

TV-14 | 42 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The story behind Detective James Gordon's rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman's arrival.

Stars: Ben McKenzie, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donal Logue, Camren Bicondova

Votes: 199,590

24. Rescue Me (2004–2011)

TV-MA | 42 min | Drama, Comedy

Tommy Gavin deals with the fears of his job as a firefighter and seeing his ex-wife dating other men.

Stars: Denis Leary, Michael Lombardi, Steven Pasquale, Andrea Roth

Votes: 24,121

25. Dexter (2006–2013)

TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

By day, mild-mannered Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. But at night, he is a serial killer who only targets other murderers.

Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar

Votes: 608,631

26. The Sopranos (1999–2007)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama

New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life that affect his mental state, leading him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.

Stars: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

Votes: 262,712

27. Deadwood (2004–2006)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, History

A show set in the late 1800s, revolving around the characters of Deadwood, South Dakota; a town of deep corruption and crime.

Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Brad Dourif

Votes: 87,150

28. Twin Peaks (1990–1991)

TV-MA | 47 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An idiosyncratic FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.

Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook

Votes: 158,635

29. The Leftovers (2014–2017)

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

Three years after the disappearance of two percent of the global population, a group of people in a small New York community try to continue their lives while coping with the tragedy of the unexplained nature of the event.

Stars: Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler

Votes: 67,805

30. 12 Monkeys (2015–2018)

TV-14 | 42 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery

Follows the journey of a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will nearly destroy the human race.

Stars: Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Noah Bean, Barbara Sukowa

Votes: 36,753

31. Westworld (2016– )

TV-MA | 62 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, explore a world in which every human appetite can be indulged without consequence.

Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton

Votes: 363,900

32. Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)

TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

When an old enemy, the Cylons, resurface and obliterate the 12 colonies, the crew of the aged Galactica protect a small civilian fleet - the last of humanity - as they journey toward the fabled 13th colony, Earth.

Stars: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber, James Callis

Votes: 143,911



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