Ranking the best TV dramas of all time is certainly no easy feat, especially considering the speed at which we are consistently getting new contenders for this list. From Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon to more traditional broadcast and cable networks, television programming is now more prolific than ever. Remember when Netflix said they were producing over 700 TV shows in 2018?
In all its forms, television is more popular than ever, and it has become a one of the best mediums with which to tell interesting and nuanced stories. Film directors have pointed out that television is currently telling the tales that film doesn’t have the capacity for or is afraid to tell. Viewers are getting the television experience of a lifetime right now, with many shows (finally) placing an importance on diverse casts and stories.
So, how exactly does one whittle down the hundreds upon hundreds of great dramatic programming? A lot of arguing between co-workers, of course. But beyond just our peers, we’ve also taken into account the many of the shows that paved the way for what we’re tuning into today, from Twin Peaks to The West Wing—many of these OG classics have had a direct influence on the shows we love, like the creepy procedural of Hannibal or the fragmented dramatic timelines of This Is Us. You’ve gotta appreciate the predecessors!
That’s why our best TV dramas span many time periods, dabble in other genres (Sci-Fi! Fantasy! Teens!) and, in our humble opinion, encapsulate what makes these TV dramas so damn watchable. So get your favorite TV snacks ready and prepare for your watch lists to double: these are the best TV dramas of all time.