RANKED! Our 20 Favorite Family TV Dramas of the Last 20 Years
Ah, families. Whether you love them or hate them (or love to hate them), we all have one. It doesn’t matter if your family was made by blood or by choice (and if it’s the latter, lucky you); either way, there’s no shortage of drama among relatives. No matter how intense, messed up, or dysfunctional your family is, though, it probably can’t compare to the ones we watch on TV. Over the past 20 years, there have been more than a few crazy clans on the small screen. We’ve rounded up our 20 favorites from the past two decades. Go binge-watch these family TV dramas; they’ll make you feel so much better about your own kin.
Cover Photo: Netflix
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20. 'The Affair' (2014 - 2019)
Two families from different worlds intersect, partner-swap, and form new families (that inevitably break apart, too) in this soapy, sexy Showtime drama.
19. 'Queen Sugar' (2016 - ?)
Estranged siblings reunite at their family's sugar cane farm in Louisiana after their father's death in this complex and poignant series from the Oprah Winfrey Network.
18. 'Friday Night Lights' (2006 - 2011)
A Texas high school football team's new coach and his family are at the center of this beloved NBC drama.
17. 'Big Love' (2006 - 2011)
The daily chaos of a Salt Lake City polygamist, his three wives, and nine children is portrayed in this addictive, thought-provoking, and Golden Globe Award-winning drama.
16. 'Mad Men' (2007 - 2015)
Though the time capsule take on the advertising world is the draw of this surprise hit AMC series, all the subplots come back to family. Can alcoholic Don Draper continue to pull in accounts at work while keeping his wife Betty and two children happy at home? Spoiler alert: no. But the train wreck is oh-so-fun to watch.
15. 'Transparent' (2014 - 2019)
What if your dad no longer identified as a man? Would he still be your dad? That's the question the adult children in the Pfefferman family grapple with in this smart and groundbreaking Amazon Prime series concluding this fall.
14. 'The Chi' (2018 - ?)
Black lives in Chicago are the focus of this underappreciated drama series that follows how the murder of one young man causes a ripple effect of consequences in his grieving family and community.
13. 'Six Feet Under' (2001 - 2005)
Working in a family business is one thing, but a family funeral home is a whole other can of worms. This black dramedy garnered tons of critical acclaim for its insights on family and mortality.
12. 'Sons of Anarchy' (2008 - 2014)
Father and son bikers butt heads in this gritty and testosterone-fueled drama.
11. 'Weeds' (2005 - 2012)
A single suburban widow starts selling weed to support her family and ends up way over her (pot)head.
10. 'Empire' (2015 - ?)
Lucious Lyon, a father and CEO of Empire Entertainment, must choose a successor before he succumbs to a debilitating medical condition in this Fox drama.
9. 'Nurse Jackie' (2009 - 2015)
This blunt dramedy follows the high times and low lows of its titular character who over seven seasons sacrifices her marriage, children, friendships, and career to feed her drug habit.
8. 'Succession' (2018 - ?)
Four adult children, a stepmother, a new husband, and an estranged cousin vie for control over one of the biggest media conglomerates on the planet when the family patriarch begins to show his age. Let the sibling back-stabbing begin.
7. 'The Sopranos' (1999 - 2007)
There's your family and then there's your crime family. Tony Soprano struggles to juggle both in this Mafia drama.
6. 'Breaking Bad' (2008 - 2013)
This insanely popular show focused on Walter White, a teacher turned meth-maker willing to go to dangerous, illegal lengths to provide for his family.
5. 'Big Little Lies' (2018 - ?)
Divorce. Affairs. Abuse. Bankruptcy. Every major family crisis imaginable occurs in this HBO series that follows the lives of four women in Monterey, California.
4. 'Sharp Objects' (2018)
A troubled journalist returns home to report on a murder story but ends up uncovering horrors in her own family in this series based on the superb debut novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn (of Gone Girl fame).
3. 'Patrick Melrose' (2018)
A man hits rock bottom after his father's death brings back traumatic childhood memories in this Showtime drama based on the books by Edward St Aubyn.
2. 'Ozark' (2017 - ?)
What starts out as one man's attempt to launder a drug cartel's money quickly turns into a dark and convoluted family affair on this unmissable Netflix original series.
1. 'Game of Thrones' (2011 - 2019)
You won't find more dramatic – or more incestuous – family dynamics than those on Game of Thrones. The crown goes to you, GoT.