Last Updated on 21 October 2023

I searched the Internet for lists of the best TV drama shows of all time. Criteria included the shows being ranked, not just listed; covering all time, not just a decade; and generally created by groups, whether teams or committees or based on general public voting (like

I was able to find 12 lists. I took the 12 lists and added all their content into a spreadsheet, noting the rank of every TV show. I experimented with different formulas, trying to balance the value of being ranked high on any list and being included on the most lists. I ended up averaging the rankings each one got (there were 100 that were on at least 2 lists) and dividing that average by a factor of the number of lists that show was on. The lowest score meant a high ranking average on many lists. The complete spreadsheet is attached at the bottom.

The TV shows that were on the most lists (out of 12) were:

  • Breaking Bad (2008-2013) – 10 lists
  • Game of Thrones (2011-2019) – 10 lists
  • The West Wing (1999-2006) – 10 lists
  • The Sopranos (1999-2007) – 9 lists
  • Mad Men (2007-2015) – 9 lists
  • The Wire (2002-2008) – 8 lists
  • Six Feet Under (2001-2005) – 8 lists

Here are links to the lists I used along with dates the lists were created: