70s TV The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s  

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List Rules Any drama series that aired during the 1970s.

List of the best dramas on television in the 70s, as ranked by television critics and fans. The 1970s was not just about Farrah Fawcett haircuts and skinny jean fashion. The culture was also defined by the groundbreaking dramas that were popping up on television in both the UnitedStates and United Kingdom. Trends that were once popular in the 60s were beginning to die off, such as the televised western. Bonanza and Gunsmoke were the only two westerns that survived into the 70s.

Two genres steadily rose in the 70s: crime shows and science fiction dramas. The stars of crime dramas quickly became icons, with their feathered hair and serious dispositions. Many of the detectives from these shows became legends of the genre, from Kojak’s lollipop sucking detective skills to Columbo and his cunning ways of tricking a criminal into slipping up.Science fiction shows like Wonder Woman and Battlestar Galactica worked as a foundation for a drama genre that would continue to grow over the years.

This list answers the question, “What are the best TV dramas of the 70s?” The shows on this list range from family friendly period pieces like The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie to medical dramas like Quincy,M.E. These dramas truly capture the feel of the 70s.

list ordered by

1
78 29
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and show, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, ...more

2
66 24
Little House on the Prairie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Little House on the Prairie is an American Western drama television series, starring Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Karen Grassle, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, ...more

3
59 21
Quincy, M.E. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Jack Klugman, John S. Ragin, Robert Ito Quincy, M.E. is an American television series from Universal Studios that aired from October 3, 1976, to September 5, 1983, on NBC. It stars Jack Klugman in the title role, a Los Angeles County ...more

4
56 20
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
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

5
58 21
The Six Million Dollar Man is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks The Six Million Dollar Man is an American television series about a former astronaut with bionic implants working for a fictional government office known as OSI. The series is based on the ...more

6
50 17
The Streets of San Francisco is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Karl Malden, Michael Douglas, Reuben Collins The Streets of San Francisco is a 1970s television police drama filmed on location in San Francisco, California, and produced by Quinn Martin Productions, with the first season produced in ...more

7
65 28
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy Dallas is a long-running American prime time television soap opera that aired from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991, on CBS. The series revolves around a wealthy and feuding Texan family, the ...more

8
54 23
Charlie's Angels is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith Charlie's Angels is an American crime drama television series that aired on ABC from September 22, 1976 to June 24, 1981, producing five seasons and 110 episodes. The series was created by Ivan ...more

9
48 18
Kojak is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. Taking the time slot of the popular Cannon ...more

10
53 23
Bonanza is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
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

11
51 22
Starsky and Hutch is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser, Antonio Fargas Starsky & Hutch is a 1970s American cop thriller television series, which consisted of a 70-minute pilot movie and 92 episodes of 50 minutes each. The show was created by William Blinn, ...more

12
52 23
Hart to Hart is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, Lionel Stander Hart to Hart is an American television series, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a wealthy couple who moonlight as amateur detectives, much in the style ...more

13
41 17
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren ...more

14
44 19
The Incredible Hulk is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. The series aired on the CBS television network and starred Bill Bixby as David Banner, Lou ...more

15
45 20
The Mod Squad is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton The Mod Squad is an American crime drama series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968 to August 23, 1973. It stars Michael Cole as Peter "Pete" Cochran, Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes, ...more

16
39 16
Marcus Welby, M.D. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
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

17
40 19
Roots is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the ...more

18
46 25
Emergency! is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Randolph Mantooth, Kevin Tighe, Julie London Emergency! is an American television series that combines the medical drama and action-adventure genres. It was produced by Mark VII Limited and distributed by Universal Studios. It debuted as a ...more

19
45 28
The Waltons is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Jon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book Spencer's Mountain, and a 1963 film of the same name. The show is centered on a family in a rural ...more

20
37 20
Eight Is Enough is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Dick Van Patten, Lani O'Grady, Connie Needham Eight Is Enough is an American television comedy-drama series that ran on ABC from March 15, 1977, until August 29, 1981. The show was modeled after syndicated newspaper columnist Thomas Braden, ...more

21
35 19
McMillan & Wife is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Rock Hudson, Julie Newmar, Stefanie Powers McMillan & Wife was a lighthearted American police procedural that aired on NBC from September 17, 1971, to April 24, 1977. Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James in the title roles, the ...more

22
42 26
Wonder Woman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner, Tom Kratochvil Wonder Woman is an American television series based on the DC Comics comic book superheroine of the same name. Starring Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and Lyle Waggoner as Steve ...more

23
34 21
Kung Fu is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
David Carradine, Keye Luke, Radames Pera Kung Fu is an American action-adventure martial arts western drama television series starring David Carradine. The series aired on ABC from October 1972 to April 1975 for a total of 63 episodes. ...more

24
39 25
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson, that began the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk ...more

25
32 20
Barnaby Jones is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Lee Meriwether, Buddy Ebsen, John Carter Barnaby Jones is a television detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a father and daughter-in-law who run a private detective firm in Los Angeles, California. The show ran ...more

26
28 19
Buck Rogers in the 25th Centur... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Felix Silla Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is an American science fiction adventure television series produced by Universal Studios. The series ran for two seasons between 1979–1981, and the feature-length ...more

27
28 20
Ironside is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
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

28
30 23
Gunsmoke is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
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

29
30 23
S.W.A.T. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Steve Forrest, Robert Urich, Rod Perry S.W.A.T. is an American action/crime drama series about the adventures of a Special Weapons And Tactics team operating in an unidentified California city. A spin-off of The Rookies, the series ...more

30
30 23
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
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

31
32 25
Knots Landing is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979 to May 13, 1993 on CBS. A spin-off of Dallas, it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los ...more

32
32 27
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more

33
3 1
Fantasy Island is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Christopher Hewett Fantasy Island is an American television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company network from 1977 to 1984. A revival of the series originally aired on the same network ...more

34
20 24
Upstairs, Downstairs is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Jean Marsh Upstairs, Downstairs is a British television drama series originally produced by London Weekend Television and revived by the BBC. It ran on ITV in 68 episodes divided into five series from 1971 ...more

35
5 35
The Duchess of Duke Street is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
June Brown, Lalla Ward, Richard Vernon The Duchess of Duke Street is a BBC television drama series set in London between 1900 and 1925. It was created by John Hawkesworth, previously the producer of the ITV period drama Upstairs, ...more

36
4 33
Flying High is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Connie Sellecca, Howard Platt, Kathryn Witt Flying High is an American comedy-drama series that aired on CBS from August 28, 1978 until January 23, 1979. Created by Dawn Aldredge and Martin Cohan, the series stars Connie Sellecca, Pat ...more