Top 20 Television Shows That Defined the 1970s

There were many shows in the 1970s that changed the landscape of television. From the first shows that looked into social issues to creative animations that won over viewers, TV was a place for creativity, thought, and fun. Here are 20 TV shows that defined the best decade!

1. Mash (1972-1983)

Hawkeye MASH
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Mash was one of the most famous TV shows of the 1970s. It was about a mobile army surgery hospital during the Korean War, and it was both funny and sad. The show was known for its mix of comedy and serious drama. It looked at the medical team’s problems and how the war affected people. With its clever writing and memorable characters, Mash has become a classic that people still watch and talk about.

2. Happy Days (1974-1984)

Happy Days
Image Credit: ABC.

With the Cunningham family, Happy Days took fans back to the happy 1950s and gave them a nostalgic look at the American family and youth culture of the time. The show gave the world its first look at The Fonz (Henry Winkler) and his famous thumbs-up sign, which became a cultural touchstone and a beloved symbol of Americana.

3. All In The Family (1971-1979)

All in the Family
Image Credit: CBS.

Through the eyes of the working-class Bunker family, All In The Family took on important social problems head-on. With its uncensored talks about race, politics, and differences between generations, the show broke rules and attacked norms.

The show was a critical and societal landmark because Carroll O’Connor turned Archie Bunker into a complicated character with both conservative views and times when he felt weak.

4. Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981)

Charlie's Angels 1976 70s tv shows
Image Credit: ABC.

In Charlie’s Angels, viewers meet three beautiful private investigators who work for the mysterious Charlie Townsend. As the “Angels” solved cases and went about their personal lives, the show had action, excitement, and a dose of empowering women. People loved the show because it was one of the first to put strong, independent women in the lead parts.

5. Saturday Night Live (1975-Present)

Chevy Chase Saturday Night Live
Image Credit: NBC Productions.

With its sketch comedy style and constantly changing cast of funny people, Saturday Night Live changed how late-night TV was watched. By making fun of current events, pop culture, and politics, the show became a cultural phenomenon that helped many comics get their start. Even now, its effects on humor and social commentary are still felt.

6. The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)

The Brady Bunch 1969
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The Brady Bunch started in the late 1960s, but it also had an effect in the 1970s. The show was about the Brady family, which was made up of people from two families living together. The show’s catchy theme song and real-life family dynamics made it a popular look at suburban life and family ideals.

7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)

The Mary Tyler Moore Show 70s
Image Credit: CBS.

Mary Richards, played by Mary Tyler Moore, is a single woman with a job who worked in a newsroom in Minneapolis. The show was a first for female characters because it dealt with operating problems, friendships, and personal growth. It was also funny and had a cast of memorable characters.

8. The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)

The Carol Burnett Show 1967
Image Credit: CBS.

The Carol Burnett Show gave viewers a mix of variety, sketch comedy, and musical acts every week. The show became a place for laughs, parodies, and memorable moments that showed how versatile the group was, and Carol Burnett’s charm and comedic skills stood out.

9. Mork & Mindy (1978-1982)

Mork & Mindy 70s TV shows
Image Credit ABC and Paramount Television.

Mork & Mindy introduced the world to Robin Williams as the crazy alien Mork, who comes to Earth and makes friends with Mindy (Pam Dawber). The show was a hit because it was funny, and Williams was good at improvising. It captured the crazy energy of the late 1970s and helped Williams’ career go to new heights.

10. Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983)

Laverne & Shirley
Image Credit: network ABC.

The TV show Laverne & Shirley followed Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) as they went about their lives and jobs in Milwaukee and got into trouble. With its comedy and focus on friendship, the show was a hit with viewers and gave rise to catchphrases and memorable moments.

11. Little House On The Prairie (1974-1983)

Little House on the Prairie
Image Credit: NBC.

Little House On The Prairie brought the well-known books by Laura Ingalls Wilder to life. It told the story of the Ingalls family’s adventures and problems on the American plains. The show’s honest portrayal of family values, neighborhood ties, and hard times moved people who wanted to see life in a simpler time.

12. The Jeffersons (1975-1985)

The Jeffersons
Image Credit: CBS.

The Jeffersons was a groundbreaking show that followed the lives of George and Louise Jefferson as they moved up the social ladder. The show broke the rules by discussing race, class, and social problems. It also allowed people to discuss how African Americans are shown on TV.

13. The Muppet Show (1974-1981)

The Muppet Show 1976 Steve Martin
Image credit: CBS and Henson Associates.

The puppets, comedy, and music in The Muppet Show made it a family-friendly entertainment show. The show’s mix of humor and fun made it a staple of 1970s TV. It was led by the loveable Kermit the Frog and had a cast of strange characters.

14. Columbo (1971-2003)

Columbo Peter Falk
Image Credit: NBC.

In Columbo, Peter Falk played the title character, a detective who seemed stupid but was actually very smart. He solved crimes by paying close attention and working hard. The show differed from other crime procedurals because fans knew who the killer was right from the start.

15. Sesame Street (1969-Present)

Sesame Street 70s TV shows
Image Credit: PBS.

Sesame Street is still going strong but heavily impacted the 70s. Through well-known characters like Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster, the show teaches basic ideas to generations of kids while making them laugh. This is nostalgic show for kids and adults.

16. Taxi (1978-1983)

Taxi TV show
Image Credit: ABC.

Taxi was funny and touching in portraying the lives of New York City cab drivers and their clients. With actors like Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, and Andy Kaufman in the ensemble group, the show skillfully mixed humor and self-reflection to give a unique look at urban life and friendship.

17. The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978)

The Six Million Dollar Man
Image Credit: ABC.

Lee Majors played Steve Austin, a former astronaut who became a government spy with bionic powers. The show was a mix of science fiction and action, appealing to people in the 1970s who were interested in technology and brave acts.

18. Roots (1977)

Roots 70s TV show
Image Credit: ABC.

Roots was a big deal in TV history because it told the story of a Black American family’s trip from slavery to freedom over many generations. Based on Alex Haley’s book, the movie showed the Black American experience firmly and honestly, which led to conversations about race and history that are still being had today.

19. Sanford and Son (1972-1977)

Sanford and Son
Image Credit Columbia and NBC Studios.

Redd Foxx’s portrayal of junkyard owner Fred G. Sanford on Sanford And Son showcased his comedic abilities. Much of the show’s humor came from how Fred and his son, Lamont, dealt with their strange relationship and how they interacted with their eccentric neighbors.

20. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969-1978)

Scooby Doo Where Are You 70s TV show
Image Credit: Hanna-Barbera Productions and NBC.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is still being watched today. It follows Scooby-Doo and the gang as they ride around in the Mystery Machine, solving riddles involving the supernatural. The show’s mix of mystery, humor, and friendship made it a favorite that people have watched for decades.

50 Greatest Ensemble Casts in Cinematic History — Do You Agree?

The Outsiders 1983 cast
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Movies with star-studded casts are some of my favorites. From mysteries to dramas, comedies, and war films, these are some of cinematic history’s most extraordinary ensemble casts. Do you agree?

25 Greatest Comedy Films of All Time According To IMDb

Greatest Comedies of All Time
Image Credit: Animal House – Universal Pictures. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – Paramount Pictures. National Lampoon’s Vacation – Warner Bros.

Laughter is the best medicine, and I’ve got an incredible list of comedies for you. According to IMDb, these are the greatest comedies of all time, from cult classics to forgotten gems. Do you agree?

Top 25 Popular TV Shows That Would NEVER Be Made Today

The Big Bang Theory TBBT
Image Credit: Chuck Lorre Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

There is no contesting that pop culture is evolving, and what was acceptable in the past is being corrected for today. For example, many hit TV series were massive successes and would never be made today. Here are the top 25.

A Dish Best Served Cold: 12 Movies to Satisfy Your Thirst for Revenge

V for Vendetta
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Some of the most exciting films have been based on this desire for revenge. These films are suspenseful, full of action, and hard to figure out morally, with both vigilantes and people looking for payback. From classic Westerns to current thrillers and thought-provoking dramas, these films will satisfy your thirst for revenge.

16 Popular Movies That Bombed at the Box Office With Cult Followings Today

Showgirls 1995 kiss
Image Credit: MGM/UA Distribution Co.

Success doesn’t always come immediately in the unpredictable world of movies, and the first box office numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Some films that didn’t do well when they were in theaters have since developed a loyal cult following.

These movies were once ignored or passed over, but they have now won over viewers in ways that no one could have predicted based on how poorly they did at the box office.

Featured Image Credit: ABC.