The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans

It is one thing for a show to have a large number of viewers; it is quite another to have a fandom. When it comes to cult TV shows, many of them have fans who are so enthusiastic that they’ve changed the course of a series, made being a fan of the show an activity in its own right, or even caused its impact to last for decades despite its brief runtime.

Fans of cult TV shows have joined online rallies to bring shows back for new seasons, and their devotion to their favorite show has become so widespread that conventions honoring the series now exist.

Cult TV shows cover a wide range, from a comedy that fans constantly encourage their friends to see to a long-running science fiction series that has captivated audiences for years. Read on to learn about 21 of them and determine where your allegiance lies.

1. Sex and the City

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans
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Sex and the City may have made its premiere in the 1990s, but the revolutionary HBO dramedy characterized the early 2000s. It also inspired a generation of millennials who grew up watching the program and fantasized about moving to Manhattan for lavish brunches and shopping sprees.

Those young individuals undoubtedly ended up enduring a more horrific, Great Recession-era, Girls-style adulthood. But maybe they weren’t paying attention anyway. Sex and the City’s lighthearted legacy stands in stark contrast to the severe pathos it showed.

Probing sex columnist Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), uptight attorney Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), prim trophy wife Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and man-eating publicist Samantha (Kim Cattrall) all struggled with middle age.

They faced cancer, divorce, financial ruin, an unplanned pregnancy, and the creeping existential fear that they would never be good enough for the men they adored.

Nobody fantasizes about being adrift in their 30s or later. Audiences were always supposed to be able to relate to and learn from these multifaceted ladies, but they ended up dressing up in costumes.

2. Doctor Who

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans

Fans of the British science fiction series Doctor Who are referred to as Whovians, indicating that they are a dedicated group. Doctor Who is about a time-traveling hero from another planet named the Doctor, who battles numerous foes with the support of (usually) human allies. Multiple actors have played the Doctor over the years, as the lore states that the figure can transform into a whole different person (although with the same memories) when on the approach of death. So far, there have been 15 Doctors in the primary role (now played by Ncuti Gatwa) and almost 40 seasons of Doctor Who, which aired from 1963 until 1989 before being revived in 2005.

3. Twin Peaks

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans
ABC Movies

Twin Peaks aired two seasons in the early 1990s, followed by the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. People were so interested in David Lynch’s show that it was renewed for a third season decades later, in 2017. There have also been other Twin Peaks novels published throughout the years to keep fans interested.

The series begins with an inquiry into the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), a popular high school girl, led by FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). However, while that is a simple premise, the show quickly becomes strange.

4. Freaks and Geeks

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans
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Freaks and Geeks only aired for one season from 1999 to 2000, but it gained—and continues to gain, due to streaming—a devoted following who can’t believe it didn’t run longer. The plot revolves around a Michigan high school in the early 1980s, specifically siblings Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam Weir (John Francis Daley). Lindsay joins the school’s “freaks” clique of unruly outcasts. Her younger brother, Sam, is one of the “geeks.” The sitcom is credited with launching the careers of several actors, including Seth Rogen, Busy Philipps, James Franco, and Jason Segel.

5. Mad Men’

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans

What if the folks who build our cultural narratives, the geniuses who teach us how we should feel about cars, perfume, photography, and politics, are flawed? What if our sense of morality and decency is created by those who are barely surviving?

It’s a question that viewers constantly addressed during our most recent Golden Age of television and the subsequent #MeToo period, and it runs through Matthew Weiner’s masterwork. Is Don Draper (Jon Hamm) beyond repair?

He didn’t think so, even if he gave everyone close to him reason to doubt. In many respects, Mad Men was more optimistic than its prestige television colleagues. Over seven seasons, reconciling those two seemingly opposing desires was tragic, amusing, gloomy, and uplifting, resulting in a lifetime of instantly identifiable memes, beautifully quotable lines, and memorable events.

Maybe you viewed yourself as Don, Joan (Christina Hendricks), or Peggy (Elisabeth Moss). Perhaps you knew deep down that you were a Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) or a Betty (January Jones). Perhaps you wanted them all to crash and burn in a beautiful hail of ’60s and ’70s debris?

6. Community

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans
Kyle Wiseman, Prime Video

“Six seasons and a movie” has become a catchphrase for lovers of cult TV shows, and it all started with Community. The statement is used on Community to describe a show-within-a-show, but fans quickly extended it to the comedy itself. Despite never receiving high ratings, the sitcom about an odd group of pals at a community college lasted six seasons. In actuality, the last season aired online on a now-defunct Yahoo! streaming platform rather than on NBC. Fans are also receiving that movie. It is currently in the works.

7. Lost

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans
NBC, Gettyimages

The sci-fi series Lost enthralled audiences from 2004 to 2010, and it continues to attract new fans on streaming platforms. The show follows a group of people who are stuck on an unfamiliar island after a plane catastrophe. This isn’t your typical survival scenario, though. There are several strange happenings as the group tries to find out where they are and who is with them. The mystery motivated superfans to tune in every week and develop their hypotheses. They are also currently contemplating the finale.

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The 21 Cult TV Shows Ever Ranked by Fans

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a California teen who discovers she is a slayer—someone destined to protect humanity from evil in the form of vampires and demons. Buffy’s hometown is located on top of a portal to another universe, therefore supernatural forces abound. In addition to Buffy’s seven seasons, viewers can enjoy a variety of associated content, including the spinoff series Angel, a comic book continuation, and the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer film, which serves as the basis for the late 1990s show.

9. The X-Files


Fans of The X-Files can enjoy their beloved characters, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), across 11 seasons and two films. The two are FBI special agents who work on cases involving the supernatural and extraterrestrial, which the government keeps hidden from the public. While there is a lot of talk about aliens and invasions, viewers really like seeing Scully and Mulder’s friendship blossom into a relationship.

10. Happy Endings.


Fans are still mourning Happy Endings, which aired for three seasons from 2011 to 2013. The show follows six friends living in Chicago, their relationships, and the difficulties they face in their dating and professional lives. Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) are siblings; Jane and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) are married, while Alex and Dave (Zachary Knighton) were formerly engaged.


11. The Comeback

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The Comeback, a cult sitcom starring Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish, a washed-up actor filming a reality program about her life, made a comeback. She also starts starring on a sitcom called Room and Bored, but she realizes she isn’t being treated as well as she was on a hit early 1990s show, so she tries to save face in front of the reality cameras. The first season of The Comeback premiered in 2005, and it was renewed for a second season over a decade later, in 2014.

12. Veronica Mars

ABC Movies

Kristen Bell plays Veronica Mars, a high school girl who follows in her father’s (Enrico Colantoni) footsteps as a detective following the murder of her best friend, Lilly (Amanda Seyfried). However, Veronica does not end her probe into Lilly’s death. During the first three seasons of the show, she takes on other cases while in high school and college, and as an adult during the fourth season, which premiered in 2019—13 years after the original run ended.

13. Supernatural

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There are both short-lived and long-running cult shows, with Supernatural falling into the latter category. The series aired for 15 seasons from 2006 to 2020 and follows the Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), who have been trained by their father, John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), to combat supernatural beings and encounter demons, angels, and other hunters along the way. The Winchesters, a spinoff prequel series, follows John Winchester (Drake Rodger) and Sam and Dean’s mother, Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) when they were little.

14. Battlestar Galactica

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Battlestar Galactica, a science-fiction show, began in 1978 and lasted one season. It returned for one more season in 1980 as Galactica 80, followed by a lengthier run from 2003 to 2009, which was particularly well received. There are also spinoffs, books, comics, and games for fans to get excited about.

The original series’ concept is that people are escaping sentient robots known as Cylons that wish to destroy humanity aboard the spacecraft Battlestar Galactica. The reboot series depicts So-Called humanity living in a new colony in deep space, where Cylons remain a menace.

15. Star Trek

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Trekkies are one of the most well-known fandoms, dating back to before the internet was invented. Star Trek: The Original Series aired in 1966 and tells the story of 23rd-century space travelers dispatched to learn about outer space, other planets, and the beings that live there. As stated at the start of each episode, the crew of the USS Enterprise “boldly go where no man has gone before.” There are now over a dozen Star Trek shows and films, as well as a plethora of extra content in other mediums

16. My So-Called Life


My So-Called Life, like Freaks and Geeks, is a high school-centered show that aired for only one season but garnered a large audience. Claire Danes plays Angela Chase, a schoolgirl struggling with typical difficulties such as crushes, friendships, and school. However, in addition to her troubles, the show addresses wider topics that were relevant to kids in the 1990s, such as drinking, drug usage, and school violence.

17. Mystery Science Theater 3000

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 is both a comedy series and a showcase for B-movies. The premise is that a man (series creator Joel Hodgson in the initial run) is stranded on a space station and forced by crazy scientists to watch B movies to determine which ones will drive humans nuts.

Joel and his robot companions offer critical comments while watching movies such as Mitchell and Invasion of the Neptune Men. There are also humorous situations in the space station sprinkled throughout.

The show originally aired from 1988 until 1999. It returns for two seasons in 2017 and 2018, followed by another in 2022. The primary reason the show was able to return in recent years was crowdsourcing, demonstrating how dedicated the following remains.

18. The Twilight Zone

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Each episode of this science fiction and fantasy anthology series, which aired from 1959 to 1964, transports viewers into the “Twilight Zone”. All of the solo stories involve a new ensemble of characters pushed into a terrifying and occasionally otherworldly circumstance, often with a horrible twist at the conclusion. Following its initial run, the show was renewed multiple times, most recently from 2019 to 2020, when Jordan Peele presented it.

19. Monty Python’s Flying Circus

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The sketch comedy ensemble Monty Python rose to prominence with the U.K. television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which aired from 1969 to 1974. They earned more followers after the series began airing in the United States. Monty Python is famed for its unique brand of absurdist humor, which is seen in several of their films, including Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

20. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s devoted fans were responsible for the show receiving three additional seasons after it was first canceled. After five seasons, Fox canceled the sitcom about police detectives in New York. However, after fans protested online, NBC picked up the show and continued it for several years.

21. The Other Two


This last cult tv shows may not yet be a cult hit, but it is well on its way. The comedic series The Other Two follows the two elder siblings, Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne York), of a young Justin Bieber-like pop star known as ChaseDreams (Case Walker). Brooke and Cary both want to be famous, therefore the show—which becomes progressively ridiculous—is about their struggles to realize their aspirations as a result of their younger brother’s success. Following its debut on Comedy Central, the show moved to Max as word of mouth spread.

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