Best soap operas ever

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Best Soap Operas Ever List 📺 Classic TV Series A-E

All the best Soap Operas on TV at one glance. Who had the idea, who was the director, who where actors or actresses and how many episodes were there? Any TV listing will always be a work in progress so share your favorites and we’ll consider adding them to our best soap operas list.

  • ADDucation’s list of best soap operas ever was compiled by Robert Junker and last updated Nov 7, 2022 @ 11:31 am.

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Best Soap Operas Genre/s Episodes First aired Country Synopsis TV Show Creators, Actors & Roles
Addams Family Comedy horror sitcom 64 1964 – 1966 🇺🇸 USA Family of supernatural misfits doing their best to blend in fails every time with hilarious results.
  • Concept: Charles Addams
  • Producer: David Levy
  • Actors: Morticia (Carolyn Jones), Gomez (John Astin), Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax), Wednesday (Lisa Loring), Itt (Felix Silla), “Thing” (the hand) (Ted Cassidy).
Alf Sitcom 102 1986 – 1990 🇺🇸 USA ALF (acronym for Alien Life Form) crash lands in the garage of the Tanner family in California who take him in.
  • Concept: Paul Fusco, Tom Patchett
  • Actors: Alien Gordon Shumway (ALF), Willie Tanner (Max Wright), mother Kate (Anne Schedeen), Lynn (Andrea Elson), son Brian (Benji Gregory).
Ally McBeal Legal drama 112 1997 – 2002 🇺🇸 USA Follows the career and life of Ally McBeal, a young lawyer in a Boston law firm.
  • Producer: David E. Kelley
  • Actors: Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart), Richard Fish (Greg Germann), John Cage (Peter MacNicol), Billy Alan Thomas (Gil Bellows) and Georgia (Courtney Thorne-Smith).
The Avengers
Spy drama 161 1961 – 1969 🇬🇧 UK 60s spy drama mostly led by John Steed and a succesion of stylish, intelligent female collaborators. One of the best soap operas ever.
  • Concept: Sydney Newman, Leonard White
  • Actors: John Steed (Patrick Macnee), Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), Tara King (Linda Thorson), Purdey (Joanna Lumley) and Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt).
Baywatch Action drama 243 1989 – 2001 🇺🇸 USA Beach lifestyle centered around the lives of Los Angeles County lifeguards. One of the most popular TV shows.
  • Producer: Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Gregory J. Bonann
  • Actors: Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff), CJ Parker (Pamela Anderson) and Matt Brodie (David Charvet).
Beverly Hills, 90210 Teen drama 293 1990 – 2000 🇺🇸 USA Soap opera stlye drama following the lives of fictitious rich kids in the 90210 zip code area of California through high school and university.
  • Concept: Darren Star
  • Actors: Brenda (Shannon Doherty), Brandon (Jason Priestley), Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering), Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) and Donna Martin (Tori Spelling).
Big Bang Theory, The (TBBT) Sitcom 148 in 7 seasons since 2007 🇺🇸 USA Comedy revolving around nerdy physicist flatmates Leonard and Sheldon, their co-workers, and Penny – a waitress with common sense and social skills, set in Pasadena, California
  • Concept: Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady
  • Actors: Two young and highly talented physicists Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) live in an apartment across from their pretty neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco). Frequent guests in the apartment are two friends – engineer Howard (Simon Helberg) and the Indian astrophysicist Rajesh (Kunal Nayyar).
The Bill Cosby Show Sitcom 201 1984 – 1992 🇺🇸 USA Bill Cosby plays Chet Kincaid, a cool bachelor PE teacher, at a Los Angeles high school who tries to help people.
  • Concept: Bill Cosby, Ed. Weinberger
  • Actors: “Cliff” Huxtable (Bill Cosby), Clair (Phylicia Rashad), Sandra (p. LeBeauf), Denise (L. Bonet), Theo (M. Jamal Warner) and Vanessa (T. Bledsoe).
Bonanza Western drama 426 1959 – 1973 🇺🇸 USA Follows the lives of Ben Cartwright and his three sons living on the fictional Ponderosa ranch on the shore of Lake Tahoe near Virginia City, Nevada.
  • Concept: David Dortort
  • Actors: Pa Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), Adam (Pernell Roberts), Hoss (Dan Blocker), Little Joe (Michael Landon), Hop Sing (Victor Sen Yung) on the Ponderosa Ranch.
Catweazle Fantasy comedy drama 26 1969 – 1974 🇬🇧 UK Adventures of Catweazle (an 11th century wizard who accidentally travelled through time to 1969) and, with the help of “Carrot” (a young boy) searches for a way to return to his time.
  • Concept: Richard Carpenter, D: Q. Lawrence
  • Actors: Catweazle (G. Bayldon) and Harold Bennett (R. Davis).
Columbo Cop mystery drama 69 1968 – 2003 🇺🇸 USA Follows the cases of Lt. Columbo, homicide detective, with the LA police department. The twist if the viewers know the bad guy/s up front.
  • Concept: Richard Levinson, William Link
  • Actors: Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk).
Daktari Childrens drama 89 1966 – 1969 🇺🇸 USA Follows the work of Dr Tracy, his daughter and staff as they protect animals in East Africa from bad guys with the help of Clarence, a cross-eyed lion and Judy, a chimpanzee.
  • Concept: Ivan Tors, Marshall Thompson
  • Actors: Dr. Tracy (Marshall Thompson), Paula (Cheryl Miller), Jack Dane (Yale Summers), Mike macula (Hari Rhodes), Leo Clarence and chimpanzee Judy.
Dallas Soap opera 357 1978 – 1991 🇺🇸 USA Classic larger than life drama revolving around the Texan Ewing oil family set at Southfork cattle ranch. One of the best soap operas ever.
  • Concept: David Jacobs
  • Actors: Jock Ewing, head of Ewing Oil (Jim Davis), Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), JR Ewing (Larry Hagmann † 2012), Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and Willard Barnes (David Wayne).
Desperate Housewives Soap opera, mystery comedy 180 in 8 seasons 2004 – 2012 🇺🇸 USA Follows the lives of surburban housewives set in the fictional suburban neighborhood of Wisteria Lane in Fairview, Eagle State. Seemingly perfect until you look beneath the surface.
  • Concept: Marc Cherry
  • Actors: Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria), Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross), Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher) and Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan).
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Western drama 150 1993 – 1998 🇺🇸 USA Dr. Michaela Quinn sets up practice in wild west town of Colorado Springs in 1867. She adopts three children, finds love and sets out to prove herself as a women doctor.
  • Concept: Beth Sullivan
  • Actors: Michaela “Mike” Quinn (Jane Seymour), Byron Sully (Joe Lando), Matthew (Chad Allen), Colleen (Erika Flores, later Jessica Bowman), Brian Cooper (Shawn Toovey).
Dynasty Soap opera 220 1981 – 1989 🇺🇸 USA Centered around the lives of oil magnate Blake Carrington and his wife Krystle set in Denver, Colorado, USA. One of the best soap operas ever.
  • Concept: Richard and Esther Shapiro
  • Actors: Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), Krystle Jennings (Linda Evans), Fallon Carrington (Pamela Sue Martin, later Emma Samms) and Alexis Colby (Joan Collins).
ER (Emergency Room) Medical drama 331 1994 – 2009 🇺🇸 USA Revolves around the critical events that take place to the staff and patients in the fictional Emergency Room in County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Author: Michael Crichton
  • Actors: Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards), Dr. Douglas Ross (George Clooney), Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) and Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle).

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