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The Best TV Drama Shows of the 1970s

Updated April 19, 2020 4.4k votes 448 voters 28.2k views48 items

List RulesAny 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.

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  • Little House on the Prairie1
    Little House on the Prairie (NBC, 1974) is an American western historical drama developed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • Columbo2
    125
    50

    Columbo

    Peter Falk, Mike Lally

    Premiered1968

    Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los... more on Wikipedia
  • Hawaii Five-O3
    96
    35

    Hawaii Five-O

    Jack Lord, James MacArthur

    Premiered1968

    Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Charlie's Angels4
    101
    42

    Charlie's Angels

    Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett

    Premiered1976

    Charlie's Angels is an American drama television series that aired on ABC from September 22,... more on Wikipedia
  • The Streets of San Francisco5
    90
    29

    The Streets of San Francisco

    Karl Malden, Michael Douglas

    Premiered1972

    The Streets of San Francisco is a 1970s television police drama filmed on location in San... more on Wikipedia

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  • Starsky and Hutch6
    88
    32

    Starsky and Hutch

    David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser

    Premiered1975

    Starsky & Hutch is a 1970s American cop thriller television series, which consisted of a... more on Wikipedia
  • The Six Million Dollar Man7
    94
    38

    The Six Million Dollar Man

    Lee Majors, Richard Anderson

    Premiered1974

    The Six Million Dollar Man is an American television series about a former astronaut with... more on Wikipedia
  • Quincy, M.E.8
    95
    37

    Quincy, M.E.

    Jack Klugman, John S. Ragin

    Premiered1976

    Quincy, M.E. is an American television series from Universal Studios that aired from October... more on Wikipedia
  • The Waltons9
    92
    37

    The Waltons

    Jon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough

    Premiered1972

    The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book... more on Wikipedia
  • Bonanza10
    91
    38

    Bonanza

    Lorne Greene, Michael Landon

    Premiered1959

    Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16,... more on Wikipedia
  • Dallas11
    103
    48

    Dallas

    Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval

    Premiered1978

    Dallas is a long-running American prime time television soap opera that aired from April 2,... more on Wikipedia

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  • Kojak12
    76
    32

    Kojak

    Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer

    Premiered1973

    Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Rockford Files13
    58
    8

    The Rockford Files

    James Garner, Noah Beery Jr.

    Premiered1974

    The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on... more on Wikipedia
  • Roots14
    70
    38

    Roots

    LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole

    Premiered1977

    This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries... more on Wikipedia

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  • Eight Is Enough15
    69
    32

    Eight Is Enough

    Dick Van Patten, Lani O'Grady

    Premiered1977

    Eight Is Enough is an American television comedy-drama series that ran on ABC from March 15,... more on Wikipedia

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  • Emergency!16
    79
    39

    Emergency!

    Randolph Mantooth, Kevin Tighe

    Premiered1972

    Emergency! is an American television series that combines the medical drama and... more on Wikipedia
  • All in the Family17
    49
    10

    All in the Family

    Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton

    Premiered1971

    All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television... more on Wikipedia

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  • Barnaby Jones18
    62
    32

    Barnaby Jones

    Lee Meriwether, Buddy Ebsen

    Premiered1973

    Barnaby Jones is a television detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a... more on Wikipedia
  • The Incredible Hulk19
    67
    43

    The Incredible Hulk

    Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno

    Premiered1977

    The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Mod Squad20
    62
    36

    The Mod Squad

    Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III

    Premiered1968

    The Mod Squad is an American drama series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968 to August... more on Wikipedia
  • Dragnet21
    56
    32

    Dragnet

    Jack Webb, Harry Morgan

    Premiered1952

    Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a... more on Wikipedia
  • McMillan & Wife22
    59
    32

    McMillan & Wife

    Rock Hudson, Julie Newmar

    Premiered1971

    McMillan & Wife was a lighthearted American police procedural that aired on NBC from September... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Brady Bunch23
    43
    12

    The Brady Bunch

    Robert Reed, Florence Henderson

    Premiered1969

    The Brady Bunch is an American sitcom created by Sherwood Schwartz that originally aired from... more on Wikipedia
  • Wonder Woman24
    67
    45

    Wonder Woman

    Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner

    Premiered1975

    Wonder Woman is an American television series based on the DC Comics comic book superheroine... more on Wikipedia

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  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker25
    61
    38

    Kolchak: The Night Stalker

    Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland

    Premiered1974

    Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an American television series that aired on ABC during the... more on Wikipedia

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