Top 25 Dramas on Amazon Prime

The best dramas currently available on Amazon Prime, as ranked by our custom Best Show Ever list.

1. The Sopranos

First Aired: 1999-01-10 | Network: HBO | Runtime: 60
Starring: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Dominic Chianese, Federico Castelluccio, Robert Funaro
Top Attributes: Mafia, Strong Male Lead, Drama, Violence
Similar Shows: Brotherhood, Sons of Anarchy, Ray Donovan, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood
Description: Modern day morality tale about New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, as he deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life.

2. The Wire

First Aired: 2002-06-02 | Network: HBO | Runtime: 60
Starring: Dominic West, Michael Kenneth Williams, Idris Elba, Felicia Pearson, Corey Parker Robinson
Top Attributes: Cop Show, Drama, Drugs, Realism
Similar Shows: Homicide: Life On The Street, The Shield, Southland, The Chicago Code, Life (2007)
Description: Unlike most television crime dramas, which neatly introduce and then solve a case all in the space of one hour, HBO's THE WIRE follows one single drug and homicide investigation throughout the length of an entire season. Centered on the drug culture of inner-city Baltimore, the series' storyline unfolds from the points of view of both the criminals lording the streets and the police officers determined to bring them down.

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

First Aired: 1997-03-10 | Network: The WB | Runtime: 60
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Emma Caulfield, Michelle Trachtenberg
Top Attributes: Supernatural, Drama, Geekiness, Strong Female Lead
Similar Shows: Eastwick, Charmed, Being Human, The Vampire Diaries, Angel
Description: In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy Summers, The Chosen One, the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to fight the vampires. With the help of her close friends, Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander (Nicholas Brendon), and her Watcher Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) she balances slaying, family, friendships, and relationships.

4. The X-Files

First Aired: 1993-09-10 | Network: FOX | Runtime: 60
Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, William B. Davis, Robert Patrick, Mitch Pileggi
Top Attributes: Strong Male Lead, Plot Twists, Science Fiction, Supernatural
Similar Shows: Fringe, V, FlashForward, The Event, Nikita
Description: The X-Files focused on the exploits of FBI Agents Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, John Doggett and Monica Reyes and their investigations into the paranormal. From genetic mutants and killer insects to a global conspiracy concerning the colonization of Earth by an alien species, this mind-boggling, humorous and occasionally frightening series created by Chris Carter has been one of the world's most popular sci-fi/drama shows since its humble beginnings in 1993.

5. Deadwood

First Aired: 2004-03-21 | Network: HBO | Runtime: 60
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Brad Dourif, Leon Rippy, Jim Beaver
Top Attributes: Drama, Serial, Strong Male Lead, Historical Elements
Similar Shows: Boardwalk Empire, Rome, Magic City, Brotherhood, The Tudors
Description: In the Black Hills Indian Cession, the town of Deadwood is a settlement violating treaty obligations; a violent and uncivilized outpost that attracts outlaws and entrepreneurs, ex-soldiers and racketeers, Chinese laborers, prostitutes, city slickers and gunfighters.

6. The Shield

First Aired: 2002-03-12 | Network: FX | Runtime: 60
Starring: Michael Chiklis, Benito Martinez, CCH Pounder, Brian J. White, Anthony Anderson
Top Attributes: Serial, Diversity, Strong Male Lead, Character Focus
Similar Shows: Homicide: Life On The Street, Life (2007), Sons of Anarchy, Detroit 1-8-7, The Wire
Description: The story of an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct where some of the cops aren't above breaking the rules or working against their associates to both keep the streets safe and their self-interests intact.

7. Six Feet Under

First Aired: 2001-06-03 | Network: HBO | Runtime: 60
Starring: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Lauren Ambrose, Frances Conroy, Lili Taylor
Top Attributes: Drama, Family, LBGT Elements, Serial
Similar Shows: In Treatment, Queer as Folk, Nip/Tuck, Army Wives, Big Love
Description: When death is your business, what is your life? For the Fisher family, the world outside of their family-owned funeral home continues to be at least as challenging as--and far less predictable than--the one inside. Oscar-winning screenwriter Alan Ball's breakout series that takes a darkly comic look at members of a dysfunctional L.A. family that run a funeral business.

8. The Twilight Zone

First Aired: 1959-10-01 | Network: CBS | Runtime: 30
Starring: Rod Serling, , , ,
Description: The Twilight Zone was a popular American anthology series. The series was a collection of various tales that range from the tragic to the comedic. They may be scary or just thought-provoking. Most episodes have unexpected endings and a moral lesson. But, no matter what, it's "a journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are that of the imagination."

9. 24

First Aired: 2001-11-06 | Network: FOX | Runtime: 60
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Carlos Bernard, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jude Ciccolella, Glenn Morshower
Top Attributes: Drama, One Man/Woman Against the World, Strong Male Lead, Serial
Similar Shows: Dexter, Burn Notice, The Following, The Chicago Code, Life (2007)
Description: "24" is a TV thriller presented in "real time" with each minute of airtime that corresponds to a minute in the lives of the characters. "24" employs fast-paced and complex stories, and often contains unexpected plot twists. Though each day's events typically revolve around thwarting an impending terrorist attack, each season is made up of various interwoven story threads. These may run for just one hour, but more usually run over several hours. These typically involve investigations of leads on terrorists, tracking suspects, and averting attacks. The exact objective of the day evolves over the course of the season as the antagonists adapt, contingencies arise, and larger scale operations unfold.

10. Firefly

First Aired: 2002-09-20 | Network: FOX | Runtime: 60
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin
Top Attributes: Cult Hit, Science Fiction, Strong Male Lead, Drama
Similar Shows: Battlestar Galactica (2003), Alias, Dollhouse, Falling Skies, Revolution
Description: In the far-distant future, Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds is a renegade former brown-coat sergeant, now turned smuggler & rogue, who is the commander of a small spacecraft, with a loyal hand-picked crew made up of the first mate, Zoe Warren; the pilot Hoban "Wash" Washburn; the gung-ho grunt Jayne Cobb; the engineer Kaylee Frye; the fugitives Dr. Simon Tam and his psychic sister River. Together, they travel the far reaches of space in search of food, money, and anything to live on.

11. NYPD Blue

First Aired: 1993-09-01 | Network: ABC | Runtime: 45
Starring: Dennis Franz, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Charlotte Ross, Currie Graham, Justin Miceli
Description: The gritty details of life as a member of a New York City police unit.

12. Star Trek: The Next Generation

First Aired: 1987-09-28 | Network: Syndicated | Runtime: 60
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn
Top Attributes: Nerdiness, Geekiness, Ensemble Cast, Interwoven Storylines
Similar Shows: Star Trek, Stargate Universe, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary
Description: A century after Captain Kirk's five year mission, the next generation of Starfleet officers begins their journey aboard the new flagship of the Federation. Commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard the Galaxy class starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D will seek out new life and new civilizations - to boldly go where no one has gone before.

13. Boardwalk Empire

First Aired: 2010-09-19 | Network: HBO | Runtime: 60
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Kelly Macdonald, Vincent Piazza, Stephen Graham
Top Attributes: Drama, Alcohol, Historical Elements, Serial
Similar Shows: Brotherhood, Deadwood, Magic City, The Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy
Description: Boardwalk Empire is a period drama focusing on Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on the historical Enoch L. Johnson), a political figure who rose to prominence and controlled Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition period of the 1920s and 1930s. Nucky acts with historical characters in both his personal and political life, including mobsters, politicians, government agents, and the common folk who look up to him. The federal government also takes an interest in the bootlegging and other illegal activities in the area, sending agents to investigate possible mob connections but also looking at Nucky's lifestyle—expensive and lavish for a county political figure. The final season jumps ahead seven years, to 1931, as Prohibition nears its end.

14. Star Trek

First Aired: 1966-09-08 | Network: NBC | Runtime: 60
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Walter Koenig, George Takei
Top Attributes: Nerdiness, Geekiness, Ensemble Cast, Interwoven Storylines
Similar Shows: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stargate Universe, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary
Description: Star Trek was an influential science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that followed the adventures of the crew of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise. The show began with the production of the 1964 pilot "The Cage". "The Cage" featured Jeffrey Hunter as Enterprise captain Christopher Pike. The pilot was rejected by NBC executives as being too cerebral. In order to demonstrate the action-adventure potential of the series, another pilot entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was produced. Replacing Jeffrey Hunter as Enterprise captain was William Shatner who starred as Captain James T. Kirk. The new pilot also starred Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock who was the only character to return from the original pilot after NBC's rejection of "The Cage". Response to the second, action-oriented, pilot was good and NBC gave the go ahead to the series. The series premiered on NBC on Thursday, September 8, 1966 in the 8:30-9:30 PM timeslot with the episode "The Man Trap". Critical response to the series was mixed and rating were lower than expected. In its second season, reoccurring guest star DeForest Kelley was added to the series' starring cast and the show was moved to Friday at 8:30. A decline in the ratings, however, prompted NBC to attempt to cancel the series after its second season, but a letter writing campaign by die hard fans of the show saved it from cancellation. An additional season of episodes were produced, but ratings continued to decline most likely due to the quality of the third season episodes and a bad 10:00 PM Friday night time slot. Despite another letter writing campaign, the series was finally cancelled after its third season. The last new episode "Turnabout Intruder" was shown on June 3, 1969. After its three year run Star Trek began running syndication where it was discovered by legion of new fans and became a phenomenon. The show inspired six features films, an animated series, and four additional spin-off television shows. Other spin-off's include novels, comic books, merchandise and an enormous amount of fan-fiction based on the series. Despite its short network run, Star Trek has become one of the most successful shows in television history. Aside from its three main stars, Star Trek featured a large cast of reoccurring guest stars that includes James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, and Grace Lee Whitney. Other notable guest stars include Diana Muldaur, Gary Lockwood, Ricardo Montalban, Sally Kellerman, Julie Newmar, Frank Gorshin, John Colicos, Roger C. Carmel, William Campbell, Ted Cassidy, Michael Ansara and Elisha Cook, Jr. Notable writers for the series include Gene Roddenberry, Gene L. Coon, George Clayton Johnson, Jerry Sohl, Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, and D.C. Fontana.

15. Justified

First Aired: 2010-03-16 | Network: FX | Runtime: 60
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Natalie Zea, Jacob Pitts, Joelle Carter
Top Attributes: Strong Male Lead, Drama, Cop Show, Action
Similar Shows: Blue Bloods, Ray Donovan, Southland, The Following, The Good Guys (2010)
Description: Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is something of a 19th century-style officer in modern times, whose unconventional enforcement of justice makes him a target with criminals and a problem for his superiors in the U.S. Marshals Service. As a result of an eager but "justified" shooting of a Miami fugitive while on assignment in Florida, Givens is reassigned to Lexington, Kentucky, in a district that includes his hometown of Harlan, a rural mining town in the east of the state.

16. Survivor

First Aired: 2000-05-31 | Network: CBS | Runtime: 60
Starring: Rob Mariano, Parvati Shallow, Jeff Probst, Brian Heidik, Anthony
Top Attributes: Reality Show, Mainstream, Ensemble Cast, Drama
Similar Shows: The Amazing Race, The Apprentice (US), Big Brother, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette
Description: Sixteen or more castaways are split between two or more "Tribes", are taken to a remote isolated location and are forced to live off the land with meager supplies for roughly 39 days. Frequent physical challenges are used to pit the tribes against each other for Rewards, such as food or luxuries, or for "Immunity", forcing the other tribe to attend "Tribal Council", where they must vote off one of their players. Once about half the players are remaining, the tribes are merged into a single tribe, and competitions are on an individual basis; winning Immunity prevents that player from being voted out, while several that are voted out at this stage form the game's "Jury". Once down to two or three people, a Final Tribal Council is held where the remaining players plead their case to the jury members. The jury then votes for which player should be considered the "Sole Survivor" and win the $1 million prize. Survivor has introduced numerous modifications, or "twists", on the core rules in order to keep the players on their toes and to prevent players from relying on strategies that succeeded in prior seasons. These changes have included tribal switches, seasons starting with more than two tribes, the ability to exile a player from a tribe for a short time, Hidden Immunity Idols that players can use to save themselves at Tribal Council and a chance to return to regular gameplay after elimination through "Redemption Island".

17. Veronica Mars

First Aired: 2004-09-22 | Network: The CW | Runtime: 60
Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Tina Majorino, Francis Capra
Top Attributes: Drama, Teen Presence, School, High School
Similar Shows: Revenge, Weeds, The O.C., Pretty Little Liars, Ringer
Description: In the wealthy, seaside community of Neptune, California, the rich and powerful make the rules. Unfortunately for them, there's Veronica Mars, a smart, fearless 17-year-old apprentice private investigator. During the day, Veronica must negotiate high school like any average teenage girl. But at night, she helps with her father's struggling private investigator business.

18. Avatar: The Last Airbender

First Aired: 2005-02-21 | Network: Nickelodeon | Runtime: 30
Starring: Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack DeSena, Jennie Kwan, Melendy Britt
Description: In a world where the four elements can be controlled by people known as Benders, Fire Nation is waging a war to control other nations. The only hope for stopping the brutal war led by them rests on the shoulders of a reluctant young boy named Aang. The last known survivor of the peaceful Air Nomads and the Airbenders, Aang is The Avatar, Bender of all elements. Aided by a Waterbender named Katara and her brother Sokka, Aang begins a perilous journey to restore balance to their war-torn world.

19. Rome

First Aired: 2005-08-28 | Network: HBO | Runtime: 60
Starring: Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Ciar, n Hinds, Nicholas Woodeson
Top Attributes: Drama, Historical Elements, Violence, Strong Male Lead
Similar Shows: Spartacus, The Tudors, Deadwood, Band Of Brothers, Generation Kill
Description: "Rome" is the saga of two ordinary Roman soldiers and their families. An intimate drama of love and betrayal, masters and slaves, and husbands and wives, it chronicles epic times that saw the fall of a republic and the creation of an empire. The series begins in 52 BC, as Gaius Julius Caesar has completed his masterful conquest of Gaul after eight years of war, and is preparing to return to Rome. He heads home with thousands of loyal battle-hardened men, huge amounts of loot in gold and slaves, and a populist agenda for radical social change. Terrified, the aristocracy threatens to prosecute Caesar for war crimes as soon as he sets foot in Rome. Caesar's old friend and mentor, Pompey Magnus, attempts to foment mutiny in order to maintain the balance of power. Two of Caesar's soldiers, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, thwart Pompey's plan and in the process, win the eternal gratitude of Caesar and the Julian clan, affording the two plebian officers an intimate view of the ruling class. The fates of Pullo and Vorenus become entwined with those of Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra and the boy Octavian, a strange and awkward child who, by political guile and bloody force, will become the first emperor of Rome.

20. The Good Wife

First Aired: 2009-09-22 | Network: CBS | Runtime: 60
Starring: Julianna Margulies, Archie Panjabi, Josh Charles, Matthew Goode, Zach Grenier
Top Attributes: Strong Female Lead, Workplace, Drama, Law
Similar Shows: The Whole Truth, Raising the Bar, Harry's Law, Dirty Sexy Money, Damages
Description: The Good Wife is a drama starring Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies as a wife and mother who must assume full responsibility for her family and re-enter the workforce after her husband's very public sex and political corruption scandal lands him in jail.

21. Downton Abbey

First Aired: 2010-09-26 | Network: ITV | Runtime: 60
Starring: Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt
Top Attributes: British, Historical Elements, Melodrama, Drama
Similar Shows: Pan Am, Mad Men, House of Cards (US), Scandal (2012), Luck
Description: Downton Abbey depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era—with great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.

22. Hannibal

First Aired: 2013-04-04 | Network: NBC | Runtime: 60
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Pitt
Top Attributes: Murder, Strong Male Lead, Darkness, Drama
Similar Shows: The Following, Fargo, The Blacklist, True Detective, Dexter
Description: Explores the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.

23. Oz

First Aired: 1997-07-12 | Network: HBO | Runtime: 60
Starring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Anthony Chisholm, B.D. Wong, Blake Robbins, Christopher Meloni
Description: OZ is set deep inside the Oswald Maximum Security Prison, in an experimental unit known as Emerald City. Em City focuses on prisoner rehabilitation over public retribution. There's one set of rules from the outside looking in, and another once you're inside. Every group - Muslims, Latinos, Italians, Aryans - stick close to their mutual friends and terrorizes their mutual enemies.

24. Angel

First Aired: 1999-10-05 | Network: The WB | Runtime: 45
Starring: David Boreanaz, J. August Richards, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof, Glenn Quinn
Top Attributes: Serial, Magic, Detective, Supernatural
Similar Shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pushing Daisies, Supernatural, FlashForward, Being Human
Description: Angel, a 240-year old vampire cursed with a conscience, haunts the dark streets of Los Angeles alone. But after he meets a half-demon with mysterious visions, Angel realizes his true purpose: to help those in danger with the hope that he may have a chance to redeem himself and save his own soul. With Cordelia and Doyle at his side, he forms Angel Investigations. He is soon joined by Wesley, Gunn, Lorne and Fred, and he will need all their expertise to fight the growing forces of evil, and the supernatural law firm of Wolfram and Hart.

25. The Real World

First Aired: 1992-02-01 | Network: MTV | Runtime: 60
Starring: William Hernandez, Alton Williams II, Arissa Hill, Brynn Smith, Frank Roessler
Top Attributes: Reality Show, Alcohol, Sex, City Setting
Similar Shows: Jersey Shore, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, America's Next Top Model, The Amazing Race, Big Brother
Description: "This is the true story of seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped Find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. The Real World, Austin." How many times have we heard those words? The Real World was the first reality show on tv, premiering in 1992. It is still on the air, currently airing its 15th season, set in Philly, and filming its 16th season in Austin. When TRW was created, it created a new genre of television that years later would be copied by other networks and become almost an obsession around the world. MTV originally wanted to make a soap opera, but the costs were too high, so they thought "what if we could get rid of writers, and scripts, and sets?". That resulted on the first Real World, set in NY neighborhood of SoHo, Manhattan, where 7 people that had never met before had to live in a house together for some time. As the years went by, The Real World slowly gained its shape and space. New York

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