Top 7 Must-Watch Soap Operas for Drama Lovers

For drama lovers who hunger for a blend of riveting storylines, remarkable characters, and minutes that range from completely heartwrenching to scrumptiously outrageous, soap operas are a great source of entertainment.

Over time, casual viewers have become devoted fans of these long-running series, which provide a daily dose of drama that can become a ritualistic viewing experience.

From stories of the powerful to the complexities of family quarrels and the intricacies of adoration and treachery, dramas have everything.

Here, we present the main 7 must-watch soap operas for show darlings, each offering a particular kind of enthrallment and a vivid review experience that vows to keep you as eager and anxious as ever. Take a look.

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows

The 175-year-old vampire Barnabus Collins, played by Jonathan Frid in the spine-tingling and incredibly underappreciated 1966 Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, awakens from a deep slumber when the wealthy Collins family moves into his expansive Collinsport, Maine estate, causing chaos and unexplained happenings to befall the group.

Even though Barnabus was only supposed to appear for a short while in the series, he quickly made a name for himself as the show’s star, saving it and contributing to strong viewership.

Zombies, ghosts, and werewolves were among the terrifying and extremely entertaining creatures in the series, which delivered some serious thrills and chills.

With a devoted fan base and a cult classic status, Dark Shadows’ popularity helped to establish an enduring media franchise that gave rise to two sequel feature films and even a Tim Burton-directed reboot in 2012.

Guiding Light

Guiding Light

The groundbreaking CBS soap opera Guiding Light, which debuted as a radio program in 1937 and made the transition to television in 1952, followed the challenges faced by the hardworking Bauer family and other Springfield residents as they attempted to survive and deal with the many challenges of life, love, and growing up.

Springfield is a fictitious town where the show was filmed. Throughout the course of the show’s 72 seasons, more colorful families like the Spauldings, Marlers, and Santos families were introduced, bringing drama and mayhem.

After concluding in 2009, Guiding Light ran for 72 years on radio and television, making it the longest-running soap opera ever. It also holds the fifth-longest run in TV broadcast history.

In addition to helping define the genre and launch the careers of well-known Hollywood actors like Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Kevin Bacon, and Matt Bomer, the show won numerous Daytime Emmy Awards.

General Hospital

General Hospital

A deranged artist played by James Franco preys on the residents of Port Charles for sixty sensational years, while mobsters terrorize the town and a weather machine threatens a deep freeze.

The show never fails to deliver excitement and delightfully exaggerated action.

Famously, General Hospital chronicles the lives of numerous colorful residents of the hospital named for New York City, including well-known families like the Quartermaines and the Cassadines, in addition to the hospital’s staff.

The soap opera featured a number of fan-favorite romantic pairings, such as the complex love story of Luke and Laura Spencer (Anthony Geary & Genie Francis), which appealed to the world in the 1980s.

On November 17, 1981, their one-hour wedding special became the most-watched event in the history of daytime television.

Holding the record for the most Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series with 14 wins, General Hospital is the longest-running serial.

As the World Turns

As the World Turns

The CBS soap opera As the World Turns appealed to audiences for 54 thrilling years with its vibrant ensemble cast and appealing main characters, including Chris Hughes, Lisa Grimaldi, and Nancy Hughes McClosky.

Irna Phillips was the creator of the program, which functioned as its sister project, Guiding Light.

The show, which was first set in the made-up town of Oakdale, Illinois, followed the upper-class Stewart and Hughes families through all the highs and lows of life, love, and work.

With an estimated ten million viewers per day on average, As the World Turns was the most-watched daytime drama from 1958 to 1978.

Longtime fans were delighted by the soap opera’s numerous cross-over episodes with The Young and the Restless and its 43 Daytime Emmy Awards during its stellar television run.

The Bold and the Beautiful

The Bold and the Beautiful

Crossovers are nothing new in the daytime soap opera genre these days, but back in the late 1980s, “The Bold and the Beautiful” was crafting intricate plots of its own.

The program served as a kind of sequel to “The Young and the Restless,” both of which were produced by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, a husband and wife team.

Both shows’ characters would cross over, but “The Bold and the Beautiful” would go one step further by collaborating with daytime GAME programs like “Let Us Make a Deal” and “The Price is Right.”

Because of the seemingly endless curiosity to watch rich people and their inevitably dramatic problems, the show continues to be popular.

With an estimated viewership of 26.2 million at one point, The Bold and the Beautiful became the most-watched soap opera in history when it debuted in 1987.

The Bold and the Beautiful celebrated its 9,000th episode in April 2023 and is still going strong, having won a staggering 77 Daytime Emmy Awards in its 37-year run.



The 1985 soap opera Neighbours, which is Australia’s longest-running drama series on television, follows the daily lives of the people living in the fictional suburb of Erinsborough while introducing viewers to the ongoing rivalry and feud between the rival families, the Ramsays and the Robinsons.

To the joy and relief of loyal fans, the show, which had completed 39 seasons, was canceled in 2022 and then brought back by Amazon Freevee and Fremantle.

Series creator Reg Watson set out to produce a show that would fascinate viewers in Australia and Britain, having previously directed the popular soap operas Sons and Daughters, The Young Doctors, and Prisoners.

Neighbours served as a crucial career stepping stone for a number of well-known celebrities, including Liam Hemsworth, Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, and Margot Robbie.

The Young and The Restless

The Young and The Restless

While there has always been an abundance of creative score music in the television and film industries, when was the last time you heard of a successful theme in a soap opera?

However, when music from the show’s score—particularly the piece “Nadia’s Theme”—exploded in popularity, “The Young and the Restless” defied that trend.

For the 1971 movie “Bless the Beasts and Children,” Perry Botkin, Jr. and Barry De Vorzon—the latter known for the “Warriors” soundtrack—originally wrote the song.

Two years later, a revised version was released on television. In the meanwhile, 45 years after its premiere, “The Young and the Restless'” stories of affluent rivalries and strife continue to be appealing.

A number of well-known Hollywood stars, including Tom Selleck, Eva Longoria, and David Hasselhoff, got their start in show business thanks to it. It has been the highest-rated daytime drama on American television for an incredible 34 years.

Perhaps the most well-known aspect of The Young and the Restless is the long-running rivalry between Jill Abbott (Brenda Dickson) and Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper), a plot that held viewers’ attention for decades.

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