Powered by i.TV
October 25, 2014

50 Best TV Dramas Ever

by Kim Potts, posted Mar 11th 2009 6:00AM
CSIIt's not easy winnowing more than 50 years of small-screen gems into a list of 50.

But AOL TV's picks of the top TV dramas include the most brilliant doctors and lawyers, the angst-iest teens, sci-fi series that transcend their genre molds, family dramas that both warm and break your heart, terrorist- and mobster-fighting heroes ... and a show that combined the best of family and gangster drama into one unforgettable series.

Click through to see all 50 of the best TV dramas of all time.
http://xml.channel.aol.com/xmlpublisher/fetch.v2.xml?option=expand_relative_urls&dataUrlNodes=uiConfig,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=957142&pid=957141&uts=1290528838
http://www.aolcdn.com/ke/media_gallery/v1/ke_media_gallery_wrapper.swf

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

It's not easy winnowing more than 50 years of small-screen gems into a list of 50, but AOL TV's picks of the top TV dramas include the most brilliant doctors and lawyers, the angst-iest teens, sci-fi series that transcend their genre molds, family dramas that both warm and break your heart, terrorist- and mobster-fighting heroes ... and a show that combined the best of family and gangster drama into one unforgettable series.

Click through to see all 50 of the best TV dramas of all time. -- By Kimberly Potts

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

50. 'House'
(2004-present)

In a lineup of TV's crabbiest characters, Dr. Gregory House is right up there with Archie Bunker, Mel Sharples and Oscar the Grouch. But being a smug know-it-all with no bedside manner works for House (Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie) mostly because he does usually know it all, using his incredible diagnostic skills and intuition to ferret out treatment for even the most baffling medical mysteries.



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

49. 'Little House on the Prairie'
(1974-83)

Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary, Carrie and the many adopted Ingalls small fries remain one of the tube's most endearing bunches, because when the going got tough, the Ingalls always stuck together. 'Prairie' life was often difficult -- ruined crops, harsh weather, Mrs. Oleson -- but the Ingalls, particularly father Charles (Michael Landon), always stuck to their principles, and by their friends, no matter what.



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

48. 'Moonlighting'
(1985-89)

Dramedy, romance, fantasy, lightning-quick dialogue and even the occasional song-and-dance -- 'Moonlighting' had it all, including a will-they-or-won't-they relationship between private eyes Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) and David (Bruce Willis). Off camera, the two leads butted heads, but their on-screen chemistry was scorching, as epitomized in the series' classic spoof of 'Taming of the Shrew.'



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

47. 'The Practice'
(1997-2004)

Handsome Bobby Donnell (Dylan McDermott) was the face man for his scrappy Boston legal firm, whose attorneys and clients weren't exactly the cream of the crop. In fact, Bobby and his colorful cohorts often resorted to desperate, unsavory antics to win their cases, leading to outrageous courtroom drama, memorable characters and, eventually, one of TV's greatest bromances, Denny Crane and Alan Shore.



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

46. 'Kung-Fu'
(1972-75)

Shaolin monk Caine was trained to believe in peace and the powerful skills of kung fu. But after using kung fu against Chinese royalty, he fled to the American West. David Carradine's quiet, thoughtful portrayal made Caine a hero of few words, torn between using his skills to help others and wandering the Earth alone, avoiding Chinese agents and bounty hunters and searching for his brother.



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

45. 'Mod Squad'
(1968-73)

This groovy cop drama lured younger viewers with Linc, Pete and Julie, hipster slackers who made amends for their own parole-earning misdeeds by investigating the uncool adults who were trying to prey on members of the Mod Squad's generation. Besides showcasing trendy duds and breakout star Peggy Lipton, 'Mod' also kicked off a decades-long streak of youth-oriented hits for TV legend Aaron Spelling.



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

44. 'Northern Exposure'
(1990-95)

Small-town America never seems more quirky and quaint than it does in TV land, and Cicely, Alaska, is the quintessential TV small town, filled with endearing characters like pushy retired astronaut Maurice; Maggie, a pilot who thought she was cursed to see all her boyfriends die; and Dr. Joel Fleischman, a big city guy who rued the day he was sent to practice in Alaska to repay his med school student loan.



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

43. 'Dr. Kildare'
(1961-66)

The drama set the standard for doctor shows that go beyond medicine and focus on the lives of the staff and patients of a large metropolitan hospital. 'Thorn Birds' star Richard Chamberlain became a teen star as the titular Kildare, an intern who juggled honing his medical skills and winning his mentor's respect with learning how to treat his patients humanely in life-and-death situations.



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

42. '24'
(2001-present)

Premiering shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, the real-time action-packed show follows counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) as he risks life and limb to save the country from baddies bent on destroying it. Controversial for Bauer's use of torture tactics, the drama was also ahead of its time for giving the country its first African-American President in the beloved David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert).



Related Links

Best Dramas Ever: 50-26

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

199 Comments

Filter by:
michael_jones53

awful, awful list. shows like "thirty something, ER, law and order, the practice, and most shows since the 1995 were terrible. Where is "Beauty and the Beast," for example, with Ron Perlman and Linda hamilton? Where is hawaii five-o? The FBI? The Rockford Files was not a great show. Why does everyone include that? Homicide Life on the street, NYPD Blue are also bores. Where is Route 66. Even "Cannon" was better than most on this list. Mission Impossible and The Fugitive are way too low on this list. ETc.
--Michael

May 10 2012 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anam Ali

Seriously, ever heard about 'Spoiler Alerts'? I guess it's my fault for trying to look for new shows to watch. Even Wikipedia is better than this, at least they give a heading when they're about to tell the plot!

February 28 2012 at 8:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

Great article! I am glad that the sopranos were listed, it would be bad if they didn't, I hope next time you compile the list you will include the new show on HBO starring Dusting Hoffman Luck. Thanks.

February 03 2012 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

http://www.aoltv.com/2009/03/11/50-best-tv-dramas-ever/

February 03 2012 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kristen

Loved seeing The Practice on there - even though it was number 47. ******PLEASE COME OUT WITH THEM ON DVD NOW ---- BEEN WAITING FOREVER!!!******

January 10 2012 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
oliverldrew

wait a minute no breaking bad!

November 09 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to oliverldrew's comment
Kristen

That was my thought, too!!!

January 10 2012 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rmw7691

OK, props for including an incarnation of Star Trek. But Buffy should have at least been in the top 10, if not number 1. That show is with forever be unsurpassed in greatness.

May 15 2011 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt Park

Thanks for ruining the endings of two shows I plan to watch in full and another I'm on the last season of. Class act.

April 16 2011 at 2:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew Myers

Was looking thru the list to find some new shows to watch - imagine my horror when they gave the ending away to Twin Peaks, a show I had heard about and was really interested in. Dudes, give a spoiler alert. That sucked.

January 10 2011 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
naomi

Hey what about Sex and the City??????????

September 20 2010 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners