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81 voters

The Greatest Period TV Shows Set in the '30s

Updated February 9, 2021 828 votes 81 voters 6.5k views82 items

List RulesVote up the best shows set in the 1930s. If you're adding an item to the list, be sure it's a period piece set in the '30s, not a series or film serial released during that decade.


The Great Depression spanned the entirety of the 1930s and television shows set in this decade reflect the tumult and worry of the era. The best television shows set in the '30s often follow the stories of families trying to make it through some of the country's hardest times. TV shows set in the 1930s also tend to be full of detectives, mysteries, and intrigue - finding the same solace in drama that many people did during the decade itself.

Television crime dramas such as The Untouchables are based on real stories of federal agents in the '30s. Even as the US was going through the Great Depression and the end of Prohibition, the UK was caught in-between Great Wars and there are many shows about spies that reflect that, including Spies of Warsaw and Ian Flemming: The Man Who Would Be Bond. The same sort of intrigue can be found in the adaptations of Agatha Christie's Poirot and other detective series such as Banyon. But not all television shows set in the 1930s are intense dramas, there are also many family stories such as The Waltons, The Durells and Paper Moon and even comedies like Jeeves and Wooster.

Which of these top TV shows set the 1930s are your favorites? Check out the list below and vote up your choices for the best shows set in the '30s, while voting down others the shows that aren't enjoyable.

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  • 1
    20
    9

    Boardwalk Empire

    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham
    Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 2010) is an American period crime drama television series created by...  more
  • 2
    18
    7

    Agatha Christie's Poirot

    David Suchet, Hugh Fraser
    Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989...  more
  • 3
    18
    8

    The Waltons

    Jon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough
    The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book...  more
  • 4
    18
    8

    TaleSpin

    Ed Gilbert, R.J. Williams
    TaleSpin is a half-hour animated adventure series based in the fictional city of Cape Suzette,...  more
  • 5
    17
    9

    Mosley

    Jonathan Cake
    Mosley was a 1998 television serial produced for Channel 4 based on British fascist Oswald...  more
  • 6
    14
    5

    Carnivàle

    Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau
    Carnivàle is an American television series set in the United States during the Great...  more
  • 7
    17
    10

    Seventh Avenue

    Steven Keats, Dori Brenner
    Seventh Avenue (NBC 1977) is an American television mini-series based on the 1967 Norman...  more
  • 8
    11
    2

    Brideshead Revisited

    Jeremy Irons, Laurence Olivier
    Brideshead Revisited is a 1981 British television serial produced by Granada Television for...  more
  • 9
    15
    9

    City of Angels

    Wayne Rogers, Clifton James
    City of Angels is a 1976 television series created by Stephen J. Cannell and Roy Huggins, who...  more
  • 10
    11
    5

    The Durrells

    Keeley Hawes, Leslie Caron
    The Durrells (ITV, 2016) is a British comedy-drama television series written by Simon Nye, and...  more
  • 11
    10
    5

    Apple Pie

    Rue McClanahan, Dabney Coleman
    Apple Pie is an American television sitcom that was broadcast on the ABC network from...  more
  • 12
    10
    5

    Spies of Warsaw

    David Tennant, Janet Montgomery
    Spies of Warsaw (BBC Four, 2013) is a British miniseries created by Dick Clement, Alan Furst,...  more
  • 13
    7
    2

    Remember WENN

    Tom Beckett, George Hall
    Remember WENN is a comedy-drama television series that aired from 1996 to 1998 on the cable...  more
  • 14
    7
    2

    Our Zoo

    Lee Ingleby, Liz White
  • 15
    11
    7

    Paper Moon

    Jodie Foster, Christopher Connelly
    Paper Moon is a short-lived situation comedy which aired on ABC during the fall of 1974,...  more
  • 16
    10
    7

    Babylon Berlin

    Volker Bruch, Liv Lisa Fries
    Babylon Berlin (Netflix, 2018) is a German period drama television series based on the novels...  more
  • 17
    8
    5

    A Young Doctor's Notebook

    Jon Hamm, Daniel Radcliffe
    A Young Doctor's Notebook is a British dark comedy television series. The series was adapted...  more
  • 18
    8
    5

    Heil Honey I'm Home!

    Neil McCaul, Denica Fairman
    Heil Honey I'm Home! is a British sitcom, written by Geoff Atkinson and produced in 1990, that...  more
  • 19
    8
    6

    The Untouchables

    John Rhys-Davies, William Forsythe
    The Untouchables is an American crime drama series that aired for two seasons in syndication,...  more
  • 20
    7
    4

    Upstairs Downstairs

    Jean Marsh
    Upstairs Downstairs is a British drama series, broadcast on BBC One from 2010 to 2012 and...  more
  • 21
    7
    5

    Entangling Love in Shanghai

    Alyssa Chia, Huang Shao-chi
  • 22
    The Making of the Mob (AMC, 2015) is a television docu-series detailing the emergence of...  more
  • 23
    8
    6

    And Then There Were None

    Douglas Booth, Charles Dance
    And Then There Were None (BBC One, 2015) is a British-American mystery thriller television...  more
  • 24
    10
    9

    The Time in Between

    Adriana Ugarte, Peter Vives
  • 25
    7
    5

    No Regrets

    Elliot Ngok, Raymond Wong
    No Regrets is a 2010 TVB Hong Kong television drama created and produced by Lee Tim-shing. It...  more