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The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s 

Ranker TV
Updated March 15, 2020 1.4k votes 176 voters 6.9k views 34 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.

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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

Premiered: 1963

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 120

Network: CBS, American Broadcasting Company

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

Premiered: 1968

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 69

Network: American Broadcasting Company, NBC

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

Premiered: 1968

Number of Seasons: 12

Number of Episodes: 279

Network: CBS

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

Premiered: 1957

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 271

Network: CBS

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

Premiered: 1966

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 171

Network: CBS

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
Star Trek: The Original ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Premiered: 1966

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 79

Network: NBC

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
7
Bonanza is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker

Premiered: 1959

Number of Seasons: 14

Number of Episodes: 430

Network: NBC

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
8
Gunsmoke is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake

Premiered: 1955

Network: CBS

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
9
Lassie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
June Lockhart, Andy Clyde, Pamelyn Ferdin

Premiered: 1954

Number of Seasons: 19

Number of Episodes: 571

Network: CBS

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
10
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross

Premiered: 1952

Network: American Broadcasting Company, NBC

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
11
Marcus Welby, M.D. is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Young, James Brolin, Elena Verdugo

Premiered: 1969

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 169

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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
12
The Rifleman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix

Premiered: 1958

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 168

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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 Avengers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman

Premiered: 1961

Number of Episodes: 161

Network: ITV, Thames Television

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
14
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll

Premiered: 1964

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 105

Network: NBC

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
15
Route 66 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Martin Milner, George Maharis, Glenn Corbett

Premiered: 1960

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 116

Network: CBS

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
16
Wagon Train is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
RobLein added Frank McGrath, Terry Wilson, Robert Horton

Premiered: 1957

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 284

Network: NBC

Wagon Train is an American Western series that ran on NBC 1957–62 and then on ABC 1962–65, although the network also aired daytime repeats, as Major Adams, Trailmaster and Trailmaster, from ...more
17
Rawhide is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Clint Eastwood, John Ireland, Charles Gray

Premiered: 1959

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 217

Network: CBS

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
18
Ben Casey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
RobLein added Vince Edwards, Sam Jaffe, Jeanne Bates

Premiered: 1961

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 153

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Ben Casey is an American medical drama series which ran on ABC from 1961 to 1966. The show was known for its opening titles, which consisted of a hand drawing the symbols "♂, ♀, ✳, †, ...more
19
Ironside is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Bruce Lee, Raymond Burr, Don Galloway

Premiered: 1967

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 199

Network: NBC

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
20
Branded is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
RobLein added Chuck Connors, Chuck Hamilton, William Bryant

Premiered: 1965

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 48

Network: NBC

Branded is an American Western series which aired on NBC from 1965 through 1966, sponsored by Procter & Gamble in its Sunday night 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time period, and starred Chuck Connors as ...more
21
Combat! is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert

Premiered: 1962

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 152

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Stack, Jerry Paris, Walter Winchell

Premiered: 1959

Number of Seasons: 4

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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
23
I Spy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Robert Culp, Bill Cosby, Kenneth Tobey

Premiered: 1965

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 82

Network: NBC

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
24
The Virginian is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
RobLein added Doug McClure, James Drury, Lee J. Cobb

Premiered: 1962

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 249

Network: NBC

The Virginian is an American Western television series starring James Drury and Doug McClure which aired on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for a total of 249 episodes. It was a spin-off from a 1958 ...more
25
Adam-12 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s
Martin Milner, Kent McCord, Shaaron Claridge

Premiered: 1968

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 175

Network: NBC

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