13 Most Popular Drama Series Cast Ensembles Ranked From Worst To Best
Creating a long-running and successful series is the dream of every producer and network, but actually achieving that dream is a difficult task. Along with an intriguing storyline, the cast has to be one that fans really connect with and actors and actresses who make their role believable. Dramas are the most common series on TV and some have seen incredible success along the way with huge and extremely loyal and passionate fanbases thanks in large part to the amazing cast that was brought together to tell the story! Here are 13 cast ensembles from some of TV’s most popular drama series ranked from worst to best:
Nashville might be heading for a sixth season, but it hasn’t been an easy road. The American musical drama has a legion of loyal fans and two fantastic lead actresses in Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, but over time things have began to fall apart in the series. The over-the-top dramatics have at times proven to be too much for some of the stars of the show and it was reflected in the falling ratings that caused ABC to cancel the series. Luckily, CMT picked up the series but now, with the exit of Britton, the series has not only lost a key member of its ensemble but has an even bigger battle ahead to keep the series running with the remaining cast without encountering the same drop in ratings.
The summer of 2017 will see the seventh season of USA’s hit series Suits and when the show first began in 2011 it was hard to predict how successful it would become. There is no doubt that Suits has a fantastic cast with Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle, Sarah Rafferty and Rick Hoffman, but there is also no denying the series could be better. Fans grew tired of the endless cycle of Mike and Rachel’s romance heating up only to face an obstacle and the constant storyline of whether Mike was going to be found out or not. Despite the cast’s strengths it has been difficult for them to carry the same storylines again and again and now they have lost a huge presence in Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson, leaving a major gap in the cast’s strong ensemble that was formed in the beginning.
11. The Good Wife
The Good Wife was an absolutely great drama, so great in fact it warranted its own spin-off, The Good Fight, but looking back on the series, cracks can be seen in the cast. Julianna Marguiles as the lead was spectacular and undoubtedly the strongest in the cast, and it is always noticeable when one actor or actress outshines the other. The Good Wife also suffered from having perhaps too many main characters with individual storylines to carry which made it hard for fans to focus on anybody in particular. The show perhaps could have ended its seven season run better if Josh Charles’ Will Gardner had not been killed off and the acting force of Jeffrey Dean Morgan had been brought in before the final season.
10. Sons Of Anarchy
On the outset, Sons of Anarchy was an incredible and unique series but as time went on, and looking back now, there were many faults. The first season was unquestionably the strongest and gave fans things they didn’t even know they were looking for in a series which included an amazing cast. A relatively unknown Charlie Hunnam really pulled his weight in the lead as Jax Teller, and Katey Sagal gave an incredible performance, and perhaps was the strongest of all as Gemma Teller. Despite this, even the talents of the cast couldn’t recapture the strength of the early seasons as the storyline became harder to follow and more ridiculous as time went on all. It also didn’t help that Maggie Siff and Charlie Hunnam had very little chemistry for their central romance and, despite being one of the best characters and actors, Ryan Hurst as Opie Winston’s death in the series removed a major part of what made the cast great.
Supernatural is one of the best series on TV and is now the longest-running American fantasy series ever, so there is no denying that it is incredible. Of course, a lot of its success is due to the casting of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as Dean and Sam Winchester. The two were the perfect choices for the roles and in real life truly are best friends, so it makes the portrayal of brothers even more natural. Unfortunately, Supernatural lands so low on the list because, aside from the two stars, there isn’t much of an “ensemble” around them. Misha Collin has become a great addition to the main cast, but three still does not make much of an ensemble, and Collins has only appeared in 105 episodes versus Ackles and Padalecki’s 287.
8. Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls is one of the most iconic comedy-drama series of the 2000s and it saw some of the most hype ever leading up to its Netflix revival series in the fall of 2016, 10 years after it came to an end. While Gilmore Girls fans find it hard to criticize anything about the series, it lands at number eight of the most popular cast ensembles for a few reasons. Like Supernatural, the “central” cast is really own two actresses: Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore and Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore. Aside from there being not too much of a cast ensemble, it cannot be overlooked that, especially in early seasons, Bledel seemed too far in over her head, and did not give a very strong performance when delivering very witty and quick lines. Not to mention, some of the best performances came from the supporting cast including Melissa McCarthy as Sooki and Milo Ventimiglia as Jess.
Lost quickly became one of TV’s most talked about series following its premiere in 2004 and needed quite the cast to carry the immense story the series would tell over six seasons. With eight actors and actresses cast as leading characters it took a lot of talent to balance screen time, and of course, there was the addition of many recurring characters along the way. The show intrigued fans and had them hooked, and while the cast was powerful and made for an amazing ensemble, there were a few that definitely could have been stronger.
6. 13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why is a hard series to pinpoint in terms of genre because, while it could be considered a teen series due to its central characters and story all being based around teenagers and high school, but it is so much more than. The Netflix original series gives a powerful and emotional look at bullying, rape and suicide, making it one of the best dramas on TV, and the reason it is resonating so much with audiences of all ages is because of the incredible cast performances. Finding out that the role of Hannah Baker was Katherine Langford’s first major acting credit is astounding given her unbelievable performance, but what makes it even more amazing is that there is no weak link in the cast. From Christian Navarro as Tony to Dylan Minnette as Clay as well as Kate Walsh as Olivia Baker, each member of the cast is equally as strong and plays a key part in making the series as impactful as it is. The only reason it is at number six is because it may not be considered a drama over a teen series to some.
As “America’s favorite television show” it isn’t shouldn’t be surprising to find NCIS so high on this list. With 15 seasons under its belt, its success cannot be questioned and that is because fans can’t get enough of the nearly perfect cast. Mark Harmon as NCIS Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs alone is enough to keep fans coming back but the talented cast around him is what makes it one of the best ensembles including Pauley Perrette, David McCallum and Sean Murray. The cast is only nearly perfect, however, because of the recent exits of two major stars: Cote de Pablo as Ziva David and Michael Weatherly Anthony DiNozzo. Fans know the two played a huge part in making the cast and the show what it is, and they can never be replaced.
4. Desperate Housewives
When Desperate Housewives first premiered on October 3, 2004, there was no telling that it was going to become the huge hit that it did. The series went on to win numerous awards and became the most popular series in its demographic worldwide through eight incredible seasons, and a lot of it was thanks to the incredible cast. Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, and Eva Longoria rounded out the main stars of an all-around fantastic cast and not only was Desperate Housewives one of few shows led by multiple female stars with men as secondary characters, it is also one of few shows that all the leads stuck around for the entire length of the series. The cast was therefore great, but the constant rotation of other starring or recurring characters led the ensemble to be a little cracked
3. Criminal Minds
When it comes to the best cast ensembles ever, Criminal Minds cannot be overlooked, and that is why it lands so close to the top of this list. Fans will be quick to agree that the original core cast was the best of all including Thomas Gibson, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, A.J. Cook, and Shemar Moore as each character completely embodied their role. The actors and actresses were so good at embodying their roles and the stories being told, the show has become remarkably and eerily believable. Despite the fact it will not be the same without Gibson or Moore, credit has to be given to the strong actors they have brought in over the years to revamp the cast including Adam Rodriguez and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
2. This Is Us
Many may not like a brand new series ending up close to the top spot, but This Is Us most definitely belongs here. It is one of the most successful new series ever, gaining millions of fans in no time at all and not to mention was also renewed for two additional seasons before season one had even concluded. Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore do such a fantastic job as Jack and Rebecca Pearson that fans are wishing for a relationship between the two in real life, and the amazing performances of Justin Hartley, Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Metz have only boosted the show further. The acting of each star is at an extremely high level, making it hard for any cast to compete with the kind of chemistry storytelling abilities that this cast has.
1. Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most iconic series of its time and is the defining show of a generation. There was absolutely no telling that it was going to be the pop culture phenomenon that it is when Grey’s first started in 2005. Through 14 seasons fans have endured the loss of many, many main characters, but what is remarkable is that the show remains one of the best and loved by fans no matter how many main stars exit. Many would agree the best Grey’s cast ensemble would be the original which featured Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight. All but two are now gone, but Grey’s has always had a talent at forming new core casts that fans love just as well and no matter who comes and goes, Grey’s always seems to have a fantastic cast.