Entertainment

The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s  

Ranker TV
1.2k votes 166 voters 6.5k views 30 items

List Rules Drama series that aired on television during the 1960s

Television dramas really got their start in the 1960s. Although there were a few dramatic programs in the 1950s, they didn’t really catch on until the 60s, when hour-long programming began to grow more popular. Many of the biggest shows of the decade were more dramatic than the ever-popular sitcoms. Westerns were huge in the 60s, with hit dramas like "Bonanza," "Gunsmoke," and "Have Gun—Will Travel." These western programs lasted longer than most TV shows in history. Bonanza aired for 14 seasons, while "Gunsmoke" lasted 20.

Other popular genres of television in the 60s included spy and police dramas, with programing like "Mission Impossible," "Ironside," and "I Spy." Science fiction first made its television debut in the 60s and became one of the most popular genres, with the introduction of shows like "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek."

What are the best 1960s drama series? This list of the top dramas that aired in the 60s, from 1960 to 1969 has been voted on and ranked by the community. Cast your votes for the best drama series from the 1960s below.

list ordered by
1
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
William Conrad, Richard Anderson, David Janssen
This film is an American drama series created by Roy Huggins and produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard ...more
2
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan
Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and show, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, ...more
3
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong
Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and Leonard Freeman. Set in Hawaii, the show originally aired for 12 seasons from 1968 to 1980, and ...more
4
Perry Mason is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper
Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los ...more
5
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris
Mission: Impossible is an American television series that was created and initially produced by Bruce Geller. It chronicles the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the ...more
6
Bonanza is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker
Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series, and ...more
7
Lassie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
June Lockhart, Andy Clyde, Pamelyn Ferdin
Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer ...more
8
Marcus Welby, M.D. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Young, James Brolin, Elena Verdugo
Marcus Welby, M.D. was an American medical drama television program that aired on ABC from September 23, 1969 to July 29, 1976. It starred Robert Young as a family practitioner with a kind ...more
9
Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise and its crew. It later acquired the retronym of ...more
10
Gunsmoke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake
Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during ...more
11
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross
Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name ...more
12
The Rifleman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix
The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. It was set in the 1870s and 1880s in the town ...more
13
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American television series broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1964, to January 15, 1968. It follows secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who ...more
14
Rawhide is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Clint Eastwood, John Ireland, Charles Gray
Rawhide is an American Western TV series starring Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood that aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, ...more
15
Adam-12 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Martin Milner, Kent McCord, Shaaron Claridge
Adam-12 is a television police drama that followed two police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, as they rode the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol ...more
16
Route 66 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Martin Milner, George Maharis, Glenn Corbett
Route 66 is an American television drama that premiered on CBS on October 7, 1960, and ran until March 20, 1964, for a total of 116 episodes. The series was created by Herbert B. Leonard and ...more
17
The Avengers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman
The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created in the 1960s. The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel and his assistant John Steed. Hendry left after the first series and ...more
18
Ironside is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Bruce Lee, Raymond Burr, Don Galloway
Ironside is a Universal television series that ran on NBC from September 14, 1967, to January 16, 1975. The show starred Raymond Burr as a paraplegic Chief of Detectives, Robert T. Ironside. The ...more
19
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Stack, Jerry Paris, Walter Winchell
The Untouchables is an American drama that ran from 1959 to 1963 on the ABC Television Network, produced by Desilu Productions. Based on the memoir of the same name by Eliot Ness and Oscar ...more
20
I Spy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Culp, Bill Cosby, Kenneth Tobey
I Spy is an American television secret-agent adventure series. It ran for three seasons on NBC from 1965 to 1968 and teamed Robert Culp as international tennis player Kelly Robinson with Bill ...more
21
Combat! is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert
Combat! is an American television program that originally aired on ABC from 1962 until 1967. The show covered the grim lives of a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in France during ...more
22
Have Gun – Will Travel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Richard Boone, Kam Tong, Hal Needham
Have Gun – Will Travel is an American Western television series that aired on CBS from 1957 through 1963. It was rated number three or number four in the Nielsen ratings every year of its first ...more
23
Dark Shadows is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles
Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The series became hugely popular when vampire ...more
24
Lost in Space is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard
Lost in Space is an American science fiction television series created and produced by Irwin Allen, filmed by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for three seasons, ...more
25
The Prisoner is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick
The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series first broadcast in the United Kingdom from 29 September 1967 to 1 February 1968. Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined ...more