The Best in Prime Time Drama

by ddfcmp8 | created - 07 Feb 2011 | updated - 07 Feb 2011 | Public

15 top-notch drama series rom all over!

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1. Falcon Crest (1981–1990)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Romance

Set in the vineyards of California, this prime-time soap opera featured the conflict within the powerful Gioberti family, owners of the vast Falcon Crest Winery.

Stars: Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, Chao Li Chi, David Selby

Votes: 2,597

May not have had big pockets, and big egos like "Dallas" or catfights and caviar like "Dynasty", but this one sure did beat them all with its more subtle play on scandal and mischief amongst the rich vineyards of its title winery. Jane Wyman led a top-notch cast for the better part of 9 seasons, and unlike the two aforementioned, this show had a proper conclusion. Cheers.

2. ER (1994–2009)

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Romance

The lives, loves and losses of the doctors and nurses of Chicago's County General Hospital.

Stars: Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, Eriq La Salle

Votes: 43,949

The most octane show of it's kind, ER still pleasures to this day, long after its best years are gone. Great cast line-ups, terrific and thrilling instances that stick with viewers long after, and one hell of a memorable theme.

3. Dallas (1978–1991)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Romance

J.R. Ewing, a Texas oil baron, uses manipulation and blackmail to achieve his ambitions, both business and personal. He often comes into conflict with his brother Bobby, his arch-enemy Cliff Barnes and his long-suffering wife Sue Ellen.

Stars: Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray

Votes: 9,598

Big Money, Bigger egos, and lots of blackmail. This show was the granddaddy of prime time drama, with non-stop excitement and loads of trouble around every corner. That Ewing clan taught everyone else how to do it right!

4. Dynasty (1981–1989)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Romance

The trials and tribulations of two feuding families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, both oil rich families in Denver, Colorado.

Stars: John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins, Gordon Thomson

Votes: 5,269

Originally a comment on Reagan's America, and later a sudsy soap box, this show remained lively and exciting throughout its entire run, despite stiff acting and bland production design, specifically for "poetic" purposes. You can't help but get into Blake, Krystal, Fallon, Alexis, and Adam. Just too fun to resist, not to mention the catfights that always delivered. Like it or hate it, "Dynasty" is still a guilty pleasure!

5. Beauty and the Beast (1987–1990)

60 min | Crime, Fantasy, Drama

The adventures and romance of a sensitive and cultured lion-man and a crusading assistant district attorney in Manhattan, New York City.

Stars: Ron Perlman, Roy Dotrice, Jay Acovone, Linda Hamilton

Votes: 5,163

Before you had "Charmed" and "Buffy", there was "Beauty & The Beast" that was mixing fantasy, with reality in its concept. In the later shows, a normality was emphasized in the plight of the series protagonist as he/she strived to live regular lives while juggling the trials of a supernatural imposition. While "B&B" didn't last near as long as the later shows of the genre, it certainly made an impact on die-hard fans, both new and old.

6. Party of Five (1994–2000)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Family

Five siblings are left to find their own way in the world when their parents are killed by a drunk driver. The series revolves around the struggles of raising each other and the struggles ... See full summary »

Stars: Matthew Fox, Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell, Lacey Chabert

Votes: 8,132

Nothing like some quality family times...including drunken rages, social services, gender confusion, pregnancy scares, cancer battles, and most of all, loosing your parents to an alcoholic in a car accident! Yep, this lovely but burdened family, the Salingers had it real bad, at times, but always put their best foot forward, and in the end...well, see for yourself.

7. The Pretender (1996–2000)

60 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery

A specially gifted man, with the ability to instantly master any skill, escapes from a secret testing facility and travels the country taking on different jobs and helping strangers while hiding from his kidnappers.

Stars: Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Patrick Bauchau, Jon Gries

Votes: 13,423

Gone before its time, "The Pretender" was a most unusual story of Jarod, a 'Pretender', who escaped the evil institution in which he had been kept for so long, and began to see the world for the first time in his flight to right wrongs, and remind the Centre that they'll never catch him again. Good heart felt performances, and a terrific serial storyline highlighted this action drama that ended far too soon!

8. Dr. Kildare (1961–1966)

60 min | Drama

The dramatic relationship between a young medical intern and his surgeon mentor.

Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Raymond Massey, Lee Kurty, Jean Inness

Votes: 544

Dr. your heart out! Kildare was here first!

9. Brothers & Sisters (2006–2011)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama

The story of the drama surrounding a family's adult siblings.

Stars: Dave Annable, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Ron Rifkin

Votes: 19,801

Nothing says annoying like family, especially your siblings. Still, nothing says comfort and joy quite like it either. Thank goodness we've been blessed to have this little slice of joy for the past five seasons. One of the best shows on TV right now. Blending humor with the trials and tribulations of everyday life with and without family, this show should NOT be missed.

10. The X-Files (1993– )

TV-14 | 45 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Two FBI agents, Fox Mulder the believer and Dana Scully the skeptic, investigate the strange and unexplained, while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.

Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis

Votes: 173,221

Standard setter in SO many ways. The truth is out there, and it is that this show was one hell of a punch! Remarkably well done. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson led the way for a very chilling series.

11. Thirtysomething (1987–1991)

60 min | Drama, Romance

Hope and Michael are a married couple in their thirties, living in Philadelphia, and struggling with everyday adult angst. Michael runs an ad agency with his friend Elliot, whose marriage ... See full summary »

Stars: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, Peter Horton

Votes: 1,792

Life is sex, life is harsh, life is special, life is sick, and it's best that we endure it with people we care about. Thirtysomething is Life.

12. Melrose Place (1992–1999)

60 min | Drama, Romance

The lives and loves of a group of young adults living in "Melrose Place" in California. Each with their own dreams and drives, the inevitable conflicts, conquests, and consummations ensue.

Stars: Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Thomas Calabro

Votes: 9,398

In it's first 4 seasons, this show had a real punch that was not equaled, not even by itself in later seasons. With some of the most twisted moments on Prime Time, this show was in fact, too much for its own good, but that wasn't too bad when it was good, but when it was bad, it was horrendous. Still, is better to remember this fondly, rather than mourn the departure of Daphne Zuniga(and who could blame her). The show just wasn't the same after.

13. The Closer (2005–2012)

46 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson runs the Priority Homicide Division of the LAPD with an unorthodox style. Her innate ability to read people and obtain confessions helps her and her team solve the city's toughest, most sensitive cases.

Stars: Kyra Sedgwick, J.K. Simmons, Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett

Votes: 19,918

Probably the only enjoyable cop show on TV. "The Closer" doesn't take itself as seriously as most other shows in the genre, and its heartfelt lead in Kyra Sedgwick helps make this above average.

14. Maude (1972–1978)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

This "All In The Family" spin-off centers around Edith's cousin, Maude Findlay. She's a liberal, independent woman living in Tuckahoe, NY with her fourth husband Walter, owner of Findlay's ... See full summary »

Stars: Bea Arthur, Bill Macy, Conrad Bain, Rue McClanahan

Votes: 2,736

Bea Arther...need I say more?

15. St. Elsewhere (1982–1988)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama

The lives and work of the staff of St. Eligius Hospital, an old and disrespected Boston teaching hospital.

Stars: Ed Begley Jr., William Daniels, Howie Mandel, David Morse

Votes: 2,802

Before ER, but not as intense, this nice show made medical drama quite visible. It dealt with medical issues that were, and today, still are socially relevant, such as AIDs. All they needed to do...was change the ending!