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.
- 1Little House on the Prairie (NBC, 1974) is an American western historical drama developed by... more
- 2Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los... morePeter Falk, Mike Lally
- 3Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and... moreJack Lord, James MacArthur
- 4The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book... moreJon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough
- 5Starsky & Hutch is a 1970s American cop thriller television series, which consisted of a... moreDavid Soul, Paul Michael Glaser
- 6The Streets of San Francisco is a 1970s television police drama filmed on location in San... moreKarl Malden, Michael Douglas
- 7Quincy, M.E. is an American television series from Universal Studios that aired from October... moreJack Klugman, John S. Ragin
- 8The Six Million Dollar Man is an American television series about a former astronaut with... moreLee Majors, Richard Anderson
- 9Charlie's Angels is an American drama television series that aired on ABC from September 22,... moreKate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett
- 10Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16,... moreLorne Greene, Michael Landon
- 11Dallas is a long-running American prime time television soap opera that aired from April 2,... moreLarry Hagman, Ken Kercheval
- 12Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York... moreTelly Savalas, Dan Frazer
- 13The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on... moreJames Garner, Noah Beery Jr.
- 14Eight Is Enough is an American television comedy-drama series that ran on ABC from March 15,... moreDick Van Patten, Lani O'Grady
- 15This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries... moreLeVar Burton, Olivia Cole
- 16Emergency! is an American television series that combines the medical drama and... more
Emergency!Randolph Mantooth, Kevin Tighe
- 17Barnaby Jones is a television detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a... moreLee Meriwether, Buddy Ebsen
- 18The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The... moreBill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno
- 19All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television... moreCarroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton
- 20The Mod Squad is an American drama series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968 to August... moreMichael Cole, Clarence Williams III
- 21McMillan & Wife was a lighthearted American police procedural that aired on NBC from September... moreRock Hudson, Julie Newmar
- 22Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a... moreJack Webb, Harry Morgan
- 23Wonder Woman is an American television series based on the DC Comics comic book superheroine... moreLynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner
- 24Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an American television series that aired on ABC during the... moreDarren McGavin, Simon Oakland
- 25Kung Fu is an American action-adventure martial arts western drama television series starring... moreDavid Carradine, Keye Luke