Our list of the top 10 Best Cult TV Shows of All Time is based on television series that develop cult followings for their magnetic characters, pithy dialogue, and complex plots.
The best cult TV fan bases are passionate about the series and feel deeply attached to the characters, their lives, and their relationships.
Many of these fan communities keep the series alive through online message boards, writing fan-fiction, creating Youtube videos, and of course, attending conventions dressed as their favorite characters.
Top 10 Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
#10 Game Of Thrones
Game of Thrones broke the hearts of its fans base with its disastrous eighth and final season.
Game Of Thrones was #1 on our list of best TV shows Since 2000.
- Premiered: 4/17/2011.
- Episodes: 73
- Starring: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington
Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for millennia.
Game of Thrones was an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin.
Game of Thrones attracted record viewership on HBO and had a broad, active, and international fan base.
Critics have praised the series for its acting, complex characters, story, scope, and production values, although its frequent use of nudity and violence (including sexual violence) has been subject to criticism.
Unfortunately, after the finale episode aired on May 19, 2019. GOT had received significant critical and fan backlash for its creative decisions, with many considering the eighth and final season to be a disastrous conclusion to an otherwise awe-inspiring series.
Philip J. Fry, a pizza delivery boy, is accidentally frozen in 1999 and thawed out on New Year’s Eve 2999.
- Premiered: 3/28/1999
- Episodes: 140
- Starring: Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal
Futurama was an American science fiction animated sitcom created by Matt Groening that aired on Fox from March 28, 1999, to August 10, 2003, and on Comedy Central from March 23, 2008, to September 4, 2013.
In June 2009, Comedy Central picked up the show for 26 new half-hour episodes, which began airing in 2010 and 2011.
Two brothers hunt down and kill all things manner of things that go bump in the Night.
Supernatural was #10 on our list of best TV shows Since 2000.
- Premiered: 9/1/2006
- Episodes: 327
- Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as hunters, fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds, including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.
Supernatural made its debut on September 13, 2005, on The WB network, which subsequently became The CW.
Originally, planned for three seasons it was later expanded to five which concluded the series’ main storyline. The series eventually went on to air a total of fifteen seasons.
With its fifteenth and final season, Supernatural became the longest-running American live-action fantasy TV series.
The series concluded on November 19, 2020, with 327 episodes aired.
A young woman, destined to slay vampires, demons, and other infernal creatures, deals with her life fighting evil, with the help of her friends.
- Premiered: 3/10/1997
- Episodes: 175
- Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American supernatural drama television series based on the 1992 film of the same name.
The series premiered on March 10, 1997, on The WB, and concluded on May 20, 2003, on UPN.
The series follows Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as “Vampire Slayers”.
In the story, Slayers, or the “Chosen Ones”, are chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness.
The series received critical and popular acclaim and usually reached between four and six million viewers on original airings.
The success of Buffy, as well as its spinoff series Angel, has led to hundreds of tie-in products, including novels, comics, and video games.
Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive.
Supernatural was #8 on our list of best TV shows Since 2000.
- Premiered: 9/20/2002.
- Episodes: 14
- Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk
Firefly was an American space Western drama television series is set in the year 2517, after the arrival of humans in a new star system.
The show follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a “Firefly-class” spaceship.
Firefly premiered in the U.S. on the Fox network on September 20, 2002.
But by mid-December, it was canceled after 11 of the 14 produced episodes after it averaged a measly 4.7 million viewers per episode, which placed it 98th in Nielsen ratings.
Despite Firefly’s relatively short life span, it received critical acclaim as well as a very loyal fan base.
The post-airing success of the show led Universal Pictures to produce Serenity, a 2005 film.
The Battlestar Galactica is tasked with protecting a ragtag civilian fleet as they search for the fabled 13th colony, called Earth.
- Premiered: 9/18/1978
- Episodes: Original 24 / Reboot 74
- 1978-79: Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Lorne Greene
- 2004-09: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber
All Battlestar Galactica productions share the premise that in a distant part of the universe, a cybernetic race known as the Cylons, whose goal is the extermination of the human race, launches a sneak attack that utterly destroys the 12 human colonies (planets).
The last of humanity flee in a ragtag array of ships, which is protected by the Battlestar Galactica, as they search for the fabled thirteenth colony known as Earth.
The franchise originated in 1978 with the September 17, 1978 premier of the original television.
The original show which only lasted one year was followed by a short-run sequel series (Galactica 1980).
A line of book adaptations, original novels, comic books, a board game, and video games kept the series alive.
And in 2003 a re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica aired as a two-part, three-hour miniseries.
That miniseries led to the critically acclaimed rebooted weekly television series, which aired until 2009.
The rebooted series was followed by, Caprica, a short-lived prequel series that aired in 2010.
The adventures in time and space of the Doctor, a Time Lord who is joined by human companions in battles against aliens and other megalomaniacs.
- Premiered: 11/23/1963.
- Episodes: 862
Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television program broadcast by BBC One since 1963.
Beginning with William Hartnell, thirteen actors have headlined the series as the Doctor, and in 2017 Jodie Whittaker became the first woman to play the role.
The program depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called “the Doctor”, an extraterrestrial being who appears to be human.
The Doctor explores the universe in a time-traveling spaceship called the TARDIS.
Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired.
#3 The X-Files
Two F.B.I. Agents investigate the strange and unexplained, while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.
- Premiered: 9/10/1993.
- Episodes: 217
- Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson
The X-Files revolves around Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena.
The original Fox television series aired from September 10, 1993, to May 19, 2002, spanning nine seasons, with 202 episodes.
A short tenth season consisting of six episodes premiered on January 24, 2016, and concluded on February 22, 2016.
The X-Files was inspired by earlier television series which featured elements of suspense and speculative fiction, including The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Tales from the Darkside, Twin Peaks, and especially Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.
- Premiered: 11/2/1959
- Episodes: 156
- Starring: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts |
The Twilight Zone is an American media franchise based on the anthology television series created by Rod Serling.
The episodes are in various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, absurdism, dystopian fiction, suspense, horror, supernatural drama, black comedy, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral.
A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to common science fiction and fantasy tropes.
The first series shot entirely in black and white, ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964.
The Top 10 Best List ranks the original Twilight Zone TV series #5 on our list of the 10 greatest shows of all time and #4 on our list of the 10 greatest Television dramas.
- First series (1959–64)
- Second series (1985–89)
- Third series (2002–03)
- Fourth series (2019–20)
- Twilight Zone: The Movie Film
#1 Star Trek
In the 23rd Century, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise explores the galaxy and defends the United Federation of Planets.
- Premiered: 9/8/1966
- Episodes: 80
- Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
The show is set roughly during the 2260s and follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), First Officer and Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Chief Medical Officer Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (DeForest Kelley).
Star Trek’s Nielsen ratings while on NBC were low, and the network canceled it after three seasons and 79 episodes.
Several years later, the series became a hit in broadcast syndication, remaining so throughout the 1970s, achieving cult classic status and a developing influence on popular culture.
Star Trek eventually spawned a franchise, consisting of eight television series, 13 feature films, and numerous books, games, and toys.
Star Trek is now widely considered one of the most popular and influential television series of all time, this making it #1 on our list of Best Cult TV Shows of All Time
|Star Trek Film(s)||Star Trek Original Series films
Star Trek The Next Generation films
Star Trek Reboot (Kelvin Timeline) films
|Star Trek Television series||Broadcast television Star Trek series
Star Trek Streaming series
|Star Trek Animated series|
|Star Trek short(s)||Short Treks (2018–2020)|
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