25 of the Best ’70s TV Shows of All Time

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Sure, bell bottoms and disco balls ruled the '70s, but if you grew up on Maude's sharp one-liners or George Jefferson's iconic strut, then you know that it was also one of the best decades for television. To celebrate all the classics that paved the way for today's most compelling comedies, we're revisiting 25 of the best '70s TV shows to satisfy your nostalgia.

We're talking Three's Company, Soap, All in the Family and, of course, The Facts of Life. Fortunately, all of your favorites are now available to watch on streaming services like Apple TV+Prime Video and Hulu. Keep reading for our list of must-watch classics that'll take you back to the '70s.

1. Columbo

  • Cast: Peter Falk
  • Number of seasons: 10

At first glance, you'd think Lieutenant Columbo—with his wrinkled raincoat and cigar—is a bumbling stranger who's perpetually confused. However, he's a crafty detective who can throw even the smartest people off guard. Follow the skilled detective as he uses the most unorthodox methods to crack the toughest cases.

2. Three's Company 

  • Cast: John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, Norman Fell
  • Number of seasons: 8

Jack, Chrissy and Janet are quite the trio in this popular ABC sitcom, which follows the misadventures of three platonic friends who live together in a Santa Monica apartment. The series, which ran from 1977 to 1984, spawned quite a few spin-offs, including The Ropers and Three's a Crowd.

3. Maude

  • Cast: Beatrice Arthur, Bill Macy, Adrienne Barbeau, Conrad Bain
  • Number of seasons: 6

Norman Lear's groundbreaking comedy focuses on Maude Findlay, who you might recognize as Edith Bunker's outspoken cousin on All in the Family. In the series, the proud liberal lives with her husband, daughter and grandson in New York, and she's best friends with her next-door neighbors. Maude doesn't shy away from serious or controversial themes, like depression, birth control, abortion and menopause.

4. Good Times 

  • Cast: Esther Rolle, John Amos, Jimmie Walker
  • Number of seasons: 6

Maude Findlay's housekeeper, Florida, landed her own spin-off in Good Times—television's first Black sitcom to feature a two-parent family. The series is about Florida and her husband, James, as they struggle to raise their three children and make ends meet in Chicago.

5. All in the Family

  • Cast: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, Rob Reiner
  • Number of seasons: 9

Lear had a knack for balancing complex issues with lighthearted comedy, and All in the Family is one of his best examples. The sitcom, which follows a middle-class American family in New York, tackled several important issues that were rarely covered on TV, including the Vietnam War, racism, religion, transphobia and antisemitism.

6. The Jeffersons

  • Cast: Isabel Sanford, Sherman Hemsley, Marla Gibbs, Roxie Roker
  • Number of seasons: 11

From Florence's unforgettable wisecracks to George's confident walk, there are plenty of reasons to love The Jeffersons. In this All in the Family spin-off, Louise Jefferson and her family move into a luxurious, high-rise apartment on the Upper East Side, thanks to her husband's successful business. George's narrow-mindedness and arrogance will definitely remind viewers of Archie Bunker.

7. Sanford & Son

  • Cast: Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson, Whitman Mayo
  • Number of seasons: 6

Widely considered NBC's response to Archie Bunker, the sitcom stars Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford, a streetwise schemer who runs a junkyard with his son, Lamont, in Los Angeles. Lamont is eager to gain independence, but he still chooses to stick by his widowed father, despite his blunt comments and silly antics.

8. Little House on the Prairie

  • Cast: Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson
  • Number of seasons: 9

Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's best-selling book series of the same name, Little House on the Prairie follows the adventures of the Ingalls family, who live on a farm near Walnut Grove, Minnesota during the 1800s. If you're drawn to historical shows about family dynamics and perseverance, this one's for you.

9. Soap

  • Cast: Rae Allen, Jimmy Baio, Rebecca Balding, Roscoe Lee Browne
  • Number of seasons: 4

This timeless gem pokes fun at daytime soap operas by taking the most common, melodramatic plotlines to bizarre extremes, whether it's time travel, demonic possession or alien abduction. Follow the Campbells and the Tates as they navigate countless twists in the fictional town of Dunn's River, Connecticut.

10. The Facts of Life

  • Cast: Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn, Nancy McKeon
  • Number of seasons: 9

We can't be the only ones who secretly wished that Edna Garrett was our housemom as teenagers. In The Facts of Life, the former housekeeper shares her guidance and wisdom with young girls as they deal with many challenges at Eastland School.

11. Happy Days 

  • Cast: Ron Howard, Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Henry Winkler
  • Number of seasons: 11

Let's face it, there would be no Happy Days without The Fonz, complete with his leather jacket and effortless charisma. Set during the 1950s, the comedy revolves around the young greaser and his BFF, Richie Cunningham, as they go through the ups and downs of adolescence.

12. Laverne and Shirley

  • Cast: Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Michael McKean, David Lander
  • Number of seasons: 8

The Happy Days spin-off follows the no-nonsense Laverne and her optimistic friend, Shirley who live together as roommates and work at the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The two BFFs depend on one another for support as they deal with their jobs, their love lives and crazy neighbors.

13. The Partridge Family

  • Cast: Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Susan Day, Danny Bonaduce
  • Number of seasons: 4

Created by Bernard Slade, this charming musical sitcom follows the escapades of a family of musicians, including Shirley, a Suburban widow, and her five children, as they tour the country. Meanwhile, the band has to put up with their agent, Reuben, who isn't the biggest fan of kids.

14. The Mary Tyler Moore Show 

  • Cast: Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Gavin MacLeod
  • Number of seasons: 7

Following a broken engagement, 30-year-old Mary moves to Minneapolis and launches her career as an associate producer at a news station. With such a talented ensemble cast, feminist themes and compelling characters, it's no wonder the classic sitcom earned a whopping 29 Primetime Emmy Awards.

15. CHiPs 

  • Cast: Larry Wilcox, Erik Estrada, Robert Pine, Tom Reilly
  • Number of seasons: 6

Allow us to introduce Frank "Ponch" Poncherello and Jon Baker, two motorcycle patrol officers with the California Highway Patrol. The series depicts their daily lives on the job, which can range from routine calls to high-speed chases and crime investigations. (P.S., if you like this series, you might want to check out the spin-off, CHiPs '99.)

16. Alice

  • Cast: Linda Lavin, Philip McKeon, Vic Tayback
  • Number of seasons: 9

Inspired by the 1974 film, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, the sitcom follows Alice, an unemployed widow who embarks on a journey to Los Angeles with her son to get a fresh start. However, her plans get derailed when her car breaks down in Phoenix, and she settles for a job at a roadside diner.

17. M*A*S*H

  • Cast: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, McLean Stevenson, Loretta Swit
  • Number of seasons: 11

Set during the Korean War, this fast-paced war comedy follows the staff of the U.S. Army's Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (aka MASH). The iconic series is known for its stellar cast, smart humor and commentary on war, which explains why it was nominated for over 100 Emmy Awards and scored 14.

18. Taxi

  • Cast: Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner
  • Number of seasons: 5

If you've ever wondered what life was like for New York taxi drivers during the late '70s, here's your chance to find out. The sitcom follows the lives of a group of cabbies who work the night shift at the Sunshine Cab Company. Each day, they deal with their overbearing dispatcher as they try to achieve their own dreams.

19. Mork & Mindy

  • Cast: Robin Williams, Pam Dawber, Elizabeth Kerr, Conrad Janis
  • Number of seasons: 4

Several months after the massive success of the Happy Days episode, "My Favorite Orkan," the spin-off, Mork & Mindy, was born. Robin Williams reprises his role as Mork, the alien sent to observe humans, and Pam Dawber plays Mindy, his human pal turned love interest. Among the show's guest stars were Kim Fields, David Letterman, Paul Reubens and, naturally, Henry Winkler.

20. The Love Boat

  • Cast: Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Ted Lange
  • Number of seasons: 9

Hop aboard the Pacific Princess, aka the "Love Boat," as passengers and crew members embark on a series of romantic and funny adventures. The hour-long romantic comedy was inspired by Jeraldine Saunders's autobiography, The Love Boats.

21. Charlie’s Angels

  • Cast: Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd
  • Number of seasons: 5

We'll admit, we instantly think of Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore when we think of the crime-fighting trio, but we can't forget about the '70s crime drama that spawned the franchise. Set in Los Angeles, California, the series centers on Jill, Sabrina and Kelly, three skilled investigators who work at a private detective agency and often go undercover.

22. Diff’rent Strokes

  • Cast: Conrad Bain, Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Lisa Whelchel
  • Number of seasons: 2

It's where the legendary Gary Coleman introduced his famous line, "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" And we can't forget about Arnold and Willis's amazing bond. Throughout the series, a wealthy widower and businessman named Phillip adopts the sons of his late employee, teaching them hard lessons about responsibility along the way.

23. Eight Is Enough

  • Cast: Dick Van Patten Diana Hyland, Betty Buckley, Grant Goodeve
  • Number of seasons: 5

This heartwarming comedy-drama follows Tom, a newspaper columnist, his wife Joan, a homemaker, and their eight children. When Joan passes away in season one, however, Tom remarries a widowed schoolteacher who tutors one of his children.

24. That’s My Mama

  • Cast: Clifton Davis, Theresa Merritt, Theodore Wilson
  • Number of seasons: 2

Clifton is living his best life as a bachelor, working at the barber shop he inherited from his late father in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, his widowed mom, Eloise, doesn't approve of his lifestyle. Until her son gets married like his sister, Eloise is determined to help him settle down.

25. Benson

  • Cast: Robert Guillaume, James Noble, Inga Swenson, Missy Gold
  • Number of seasons: 7

Calling all Soap fans! In this spin-off, Jessica Tate's former butler, Benson DuBois, is sent out West to work for Jessica's cousin and state governor Gene Gatling. As he deals with countless conflicts and challenges within the governor's home, he makes his way up the professional ladder, going from head of household affairs to state budget director.

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The 28 Best ’80s TV Shows, Ranked

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Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...