From daytime to primetime, soap operas have been a staple of television since Faraway Hill first aired in 1946. However, it wasn’t until the 50s that soaps really took off. Many of the most popular soap operas from the 50s first began as radio programs. For the next 6 decades, American soap operas ruled the airways during both daytime and primetime, becoming obsessions for millions of people. Many of these soap operas spanned decades, introducing many new characters and twisty plots all the time.
Many soaps dealt with the same types of settings. Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and The Doctors were all set in hospitals, while many other popular TV soaps like Dynasty surrounded the lives of wealthy families. There were also a few supernatural soap operas over the years, such as Dark Shadows, Passions, and Port Charles.
As the World Turns, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless were the highest rated soaps at one point in time. Primetime soaps, airing only once a week, have become incredibly popular as well.
What are the best soap operas ever? This list of the best soap operas of all time has been ranked by the community. Cast your votes for the greatest soap operas below and see how the soaps you think are great rank.
- Maurice Benard, Steve Burton, Michael Easton1,074 votes
- Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray1,301 votes
- #44 needs votesAlan Fletcher, Annie Jones, April Rose Pengilly10 votes
- Suzanne Rogers, Lauren Koslow, Josh Taylor1,120 votes
- Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight, Alicia Minshew942 votes
- Peter Bergman, Eric Braeden, Christel Khalil1,123 votes
- Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian, Marcia Cross761 votes