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.