Most television programmers break shows into a small number of categories. These include, at least, sports, reality TV shows, soap operas, talk shows, comedies, news, cartoons, and dramas. Other major categories which once dominated ratings are gone. The leader among these was the Western. But “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza” are distant memories.
To determine the best TV drama of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience reviews from the Internet Movie Database. Television shows with the drama genre label on IMDb were ranked based on average IMDb user rating. Only shows with at least 75,000 user ratings, that have been or were on the air for at least one year, and have a rating from the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board were considered. Data was collected in November 2021.
Some of the shows we considered, like “Twin Peaks,” “Oz” and “The Sopranos,” blazed the trail for modern day series. They helped elevate the medium to rivaling movies when it comes to storytelling.
Some of our candidates were critically-acclaimed — until they weren’t. But they still have plenty of great plot and characters even if they crumble in the later seasons.
The longform aspect of TV dramas lets writers and directors dive deep into the worlds they create and allows them to sculpt complex characters and settings. It’s hard to imagine “The Office ” being as funny if audiences didn’t have time to understand the characters and their relationships well.
TV series are also debatably a much better way to translate books to digital media than movies. Limited time means that a lot of the story is often cut out in movies. Meanwhile, series have more room to include details and tell stories properly.
The best TV drama of all time was “Breaking Bad”. Here are the details:
> IMDb user rating: 9.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,600,709
> Series run: 2008-2013
> Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt