If you grew up in the 1970s, then you remember the excruciating wait from week to week to find out what would happen next in your favorite TV show. No binge watching for us! But these days, you can find just about any sitcom or drama you want and knock it out in a weekend … even the old stuff. In fact, these old TV shows from the 70s fit the bill perfectly and are worthy binge material.
This 1970s cop drama started with a trio of ladies who were recruited by a private detective named Charlie to work for his agency. When the series debuted, it became one of the most-watched TV shows on air and made superstars of the lead actors, including Farrah Fawcett.
The original Charlie’s Angels also inspired remakes and reboots in the decades that followed.
One of the most recognizable old TV shows from the 70s is Happy Days and it’s easy to see why. This sitcom ran for 11 seasons, starting in 1974, and was set during a time when American culture had become more permissive than ever. It was a time when the old American Dream of getting rich quick by working hard and playing by the rules seemed to be alive and well.
The premise is simple enough: The show follows Richie Cunningham, who’s living in his hometown of Milwaukee with his parents while he attends high school during the 1950s and 1960s.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
This groundbreaking show ran from 1970 until 1977 and was set in Minneapolis. It starred Mary Richards as a single woman who was trying to make it on her own in the world at a time when that wasn’t always easy for women, and she juggled work with dating and family life.
Mary became a hero for women everywhere and was the first single woman to have her own TV show.
This show ran from 1972-1977 and was set in a fictional Los Angeles County Fire Department. The crew of Station 51 consisted of Johnny Gage, Roy DeSoto, Captain Denny Storch, Dr. Kelly Brackett (who doubled as the head medical officer at Rampart General Hospital), and occasionally others who rotated through their shifts.
This was one of the first medical dramas to hit it big and helped set the stage for the success of later series like St. Elsewhere, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, etc.
Notable stars included Kevin Tighe, Randy Mantooth, Julie London and Gary Burghoff.
Sanford and Son
This show ran from 1972-1977 and was set in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The series starred Redd Foxx as Fred G Sanford, a junk dealer who gets into all sorts of crazy situations with his son Lamont (played by Demond Wilson).
This show, set in the Chicago projects during the 1970s, stars Esther Rolle as Florida Evans and John as her husband, James. This is a sitcom about an African American family living in poverty who struggle with good times (and bad).
In addition to Florida and James, the Evans family includes their daughter Thelma and sons J.J. and Michael.
J.J. turned out to be the big personality of the show, with his antics often leading to chaos and tending to overshadow some of the heavy issues that Amos and others wanted to tackle.
The Jeffersons is a sitcom that ran on CBS from January 18, 1975 until July 1985. The show stars Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as George and Louise Jefferson respectively.
George and Weezy first came to the small screen on All in the Famly before moving on up to the big time.
The show was set in a Manhattan apartment building and followed George’s adventures to reach the American Dream as he becomes rich, powerful, well-connected and ultimately successful thanks to his and wife Louise’s hard work.
Three’s Company is a sitcom that ran on ABC from March 15, 1977 until September 18, 1984. The show stars John Ritter and Suzanne Somers as Jack Tripper and Chrissy Snow respectively, along with Joyce DeWitt as Janet Wood.
The show was set in a small apartment building in Santa Monica, CA, where Janet and Chrissy take on Jack as a third roommate after their original roomie — Eleanor — leaves to get married.
(Like TV Shows from the 70s? Then you might like our article on TV Shows from the 60s, click here.)
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