TV Drama 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
99 32
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 detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and show, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, ...more
2
88 30
Little House on the Prairie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Merlin Olsen, Jason Bateman, Melissa Gilbert
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
70 24
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
71 25
Quincy, M.E. is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
81 31
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
69 25
Bonanza is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
72 27
The Six Million Dollar Man is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
61 20
The Streets of San Francisco is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
66 25
Charlie's Angels is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith
Charlie's Angels is an American 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 Goff ...more
10
16 1
The Rockford Files is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos
The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974, and January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to ...more
11
58 23
Kojak is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
59 25
Starsky and Hutch is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
60 31
The Waltons is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
52 23
The Mod Squad is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s
Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton
The Mod Squad is an American 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
15
47 22
Roots is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
53 26
The Incredible Hulk is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
56 29
Emergency! is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
44 20
Marcus Welby, M.D. is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
46 23
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
46 23
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
43 22
Barnaby Jones is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
57 34
Hart to Hart is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
41 23
McMillan & Wife is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
50 31
Wonder Woman is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
47 30
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 25 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