10 Best Drama Series Of All Time

Saturday, February 5 by Travis Petersen

The 10 best drama series of all time changed the landscape of modern television, putting it in competition with the best of film in terms of visual storytelling. The 10 best drama series of all time have the advantage of time, allowing stories to unfold in a way film does not. Here they are, the 10 best drama series of all time:

  1. "The Sopranos" - HBO's signature series about a mobster dealing with his two families, the one at home and the crime family he ends up overseeing, became the defining gangster drama, building on films by Coppola and Scorcese. It is an easy choice to top the list of the 10 best drama series of all time.
  2. "Breaking Bad" - AMC's first entry on the 10 best drama series of all time list is ostensibly about a teacher who, when he learns he has terminal cancer, decides to make meth to support his family once he's gone. It's really about good people doing bad things, all across the board.
  3. "The Shield" - The grittiest, darkest cop show of all time is the third entry on our list of the best drama series of all time. Vic Mackey, played by Michael Chiklis, is the best anti-hero in TV history.
  4. "The Wire" – This Dickensian tapestry of a show about the failing institutions on the American city, set in Baltimore, takes a while to get into, but once you do, you are rewarded with one of the 10 best drama series of all time. It is five solid seasons of greatness.
  5. "Deadwood" – Another HBO show, this is a revisionist western that is foul-mouthed and gritty. This entry on the best drama series of all time list is probably the most beautifully-written show, dialogue-wise, ever.
  6. "Mad Men" – AMC's other signature drama is a sexy look at ad men in the fifties and sixties. Jon Hamm's lead performance as the square-jawed Don Draper heads up a wonderful cast.
  7. "Oz" - HBO's first original drama, about a maximum security prison, made many of these other shows possible. It is compelling and complicated, a soap opera for fans of violence.
  8. "Picket Fences" – This quirky nineties show from David E. Kelley brought political issues to the small screen like no show before. For that, and its odd sense of humor, it is one of the 10 best drama series of all time.
  9. "NYPD Blue" – This gritty cop show pushed the limits of primetime network drama in terms of language, violence, and especially nudity. That it was also a solid show is just a bonus.
  10. "Hill Street Blues" – The final entry on our list of the 10 best drama series of all time is the show that made it all possible, mixing procedural elements with serial elements in a way never done before. It is a perfect capper for our list.
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  1. February 5, 2011 3:19 pm

    Isaac Prusky

    Switch “The Wire” with “The Sopranos” and then we’ll talk.

  2. February 5, 2011 3:19 pm

    Guido Raso

    Good list, sorta – Wish Breaking Bad were number 1….

  3. February 5, 2011 3:19 pm


    shit list, none of those are really a drama series??? c’mon guys…

  4. February 5, 2011 3:19 pm


    I agree Breaking Bad should have been one. And the Wire #2

    But what you left out is Boomtown. The creator of Boomtown later created Justified. Justified, I haven’t really seen, but it is by the creator of the 2002-03 NBC series Boomtown, which is in the top 5 list of greatest series of all time, so I will be sure to watch the first season of Justified at some point. Also, some of the writers/directors of Justified worked on Boomtown such as Fred Golan, Fred Keller, Michael Watkins, Peter Werner, and Jon Avnet.
    Also Graham Yost wrote for WWII HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific (also directed an episode of Pacific). Also, other writers/directors of Boomtown worked on those two legendary miniseries. Boomtown is just sooo good. If you liked Justified, buy the first season of Boomtown on eBay and watch it in order! It only went one and a half seasons (season 2 was lame cause NBC they completely changed it up and messed it up due to ratings.)
    Yost wrote 5 episodes in season 1 and was also the executive producer/showrunner. Jon Avnet (director of Fried Green Tomatoes) was also an executive producer and directed 9 episodes. Yost and Avnet (especially together) are amazing. Other amazing writers who didnt work on Justified but are still amazing are Michelle Ashford, Chris Brancato, and Larry Andries. Ashford and Andries also wrote for the Pacific. Boomtown really is  one of the best shows. And when you watch it, give it four episodes. No that the first episode isnt good, its amazing. Its just, it might take a bit to kind of get hooked. First time i saw it i liked it, i didnt love it. But watching it again, in retrospect its just as amazing. Watch Boomtown. Its so good.
    Im taliking more about the behind the scenes people, so here are some of the stars.
    Donnie Wahlberg (The Sixth Sense, Band of Brothers, Blue Bloods) Neal MCDonough (Band of Brothers, Walking Tall) Mykelti Williamson (Forrest Gump) And Gary Basaraba (Fried Green Tomatoees, Brooklyn South). Possibly the Best Cast and crew in the world. One of the best tv series of all time.
    It gooes
    1. Breaking Bad
    2. Boomtown
    3. Malcolm in the Middle (seasons 3-6, 2nd half of 7)
    4. The Wire.
    5. Law & Order (seson 1-3 1990-1993)
    so yes, it is time Graham yost gets his due at the emmys, cause ive heard Justified was really good, and plan on watching it soon, also, if nothing else, to make up for nobody on Boomtown winning any emmys.

  5. February 5, 2011 3:19 pm


    Now as far as my top 5 list, keep in mind there are shows that I have yet to see that I really want to such as

    The Shield, The Sopranos, Damages, Dexter, Rescue me, Terriers, Sons of Anarchy, Lost, so i dont know how that would affect the list. Im pretty sure those first 4 would stay the same. the only one that would be bumped maybe is Law & Order.

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