Entertainment
155 voters

The Greatest Period TV Shows Set in the '40s

Updated February 9, 2021 1.1k votes 155 voters 6.8k views64 items

List RulesVote up the best shows set in the 1940s. If you're adding an item to the list, be sure it's a period piece set in the '40s, not a series released during that decade.

The world hadn't had long to enjoy being out of the Great Depression when World War II came along. Most TV shows set in the 1940s, even comedies, don't ignore how WWII affected daily life. The best television shows set in the '40s do an impressive job balancing entertainment with drama and giving us a glimpse of what the Greatest Generation lived through. In that way they're a lot like the television shows of the 1940s themselves, even though they're made much later.

Hogan's Heroes might be one of the most fondly remembered older TV shows set during WWII. A lot of television set in the '40s is also based on books - both memoirs and fiction. There are 1940s shows based on canon novels All Creatures Great and Small and The Diaries of Ann Frank to shows adapting the Miss Marple mystery novels. The bustle of the '40s is also a popular era to set alternate universe stories or to take a little liberty with real events. The time traveler in Goodnight Sweetheart, the dramatization of Manhattan and the superhero-adjacent antics of Agent Carter all play with the tropes of the decade.

Which of these top TV shows set the 1940s are your favorites? Check out the list below and vote up your choices for the best shows set in the '40s, while voting down others the shows that aren't enjoyable.

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  • Agent Carter1
    72
    9

    Agent Carter

    Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy

    Premiered2016

    Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an American television series created for...  more
  • Hogan's Heroes2
    49
    12

    Hogan's Heroes

    Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer

    Premiered1965

    Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom set in a German prisoner during WWII. It ran...  more
  • The Waltons3
    32
    7

    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
  • The Diary of Anne Frank4
    32
    8

    The Diary of Anne Frank

    Felicity Jones, Iain Glen

    Premiered2009

    The Diary of Anne Frank is a BBC adaptation, in association with France 2, of The Diary of a...  more
  • Ellery Queen5
    27
    4

    Ellery Queen

    Jim Hutton, David Wayne

    Premiered1975

    Ellery Queen is an American television detective mystery series based on the fictional...  more
  • Hollywood6
    18
    0

    Hollywood

    Patti LuPone, Elizabeth Smidth

    Premiered2020

    Hollywood (Netflix, 2020) is an American drama television series created by Ryan Murphy and...  more
  • The Time in Between7
    28
    12

    The Time in Between

    Adriana Ugarte, Hannah New

    Premiered2013

  • Homefront8
    19
    6

    Homefront

    John Slattery, Kyle Chandler

    Premiered1991

    Homefront is an American television drama series created and produced by Lynn Marie Latham and...  more
  • Bomb Girls9
    18
    7

    Bomb Girls

    Meg Tilly, Jodi Balfour

    Premiered2012

    Bomb Girls is a Canadian television drama that debuted on January 4, 2012 on Global. The plot...  more
  • Ike (miniseries)10
    16
    5

    Ike (miniseries)

    Ike is a 1979 television miniseries about the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower, with heavy...  more
  • Foyle's War11
    17
    6

    Foyle's War

    Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks

    Premiered2002

    This series is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after WWII,...  more
  • The Thorn Birds12
    13
    4

    The Thorn Birds

    Christopher Plummer, Barbara Stanwyck

    Premiered1983

    The Thorn Birds is a television mini-series broadcast on ABC between 27 and 30 March 1983. It...  more
  • Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond13
    16
    8

    Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond

    Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond is a miniseries, broadcast on 29 January 2014 in four...  more
  • All Creatures Great and Small14
    15
    7

    All Creatures Great and Small

    Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy

    Premiered1978

    All Creatures Great and Small is a British television series, based on the books of the...  more
  • Goodnight Sweetheart15
    16
    10

    Goodnight Sweetheart

    Michelle Holmes, Nicholas Lyndhurst

    Premiered1993

    Goodnight Sweetheart is a British sitcom that ran for six series on BBC1 from 1993 to 1999. It...  more
  • Catch-2216
    11
    5

    Catch-22

    Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler

    Premiered2019

    Catch-22 (Hulu, 2019) is an American-Italian drama miniseries, based on the novel of the same...  more
  • Home Fires 17
    13
    8

    Home Fires 

    Wendy Crewson, Gerard Parkes

    Premiered1980

    Home Fires was a Canadian television drama series, which aired on CBC Television from 1980 to...  more
  • 'Allo 'Allo!18
    10
    5

    'Allo 'Allo!

    Gorden Kaye, Carmen Silvera

    Premiered1982

    'Allo 'Allo! is a BBC television sitcom broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 to 1992, comprising...  more
  • Das Boot19
    8
    2

    Das Boot

    Vicky Krieps, Tom Wlaschiha

    Premiered2018

    Das Boot (Sky plc, 2018) is a German historical drama television series based on the...  more
  • Manhattan20
    11
    7

    Manhattan

    Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Chernus

    Premiered2014

    Manhattan is an American television series that premiered on July 27, 2014, on WGN America. It...  more
  • The Making of the Mob: Chicago21
    The Making of the Mob (AMC, 2015) is a television docu-series detailing the emergence of...  more
  • Shine on Harvey Moon22
    8
    5

    Shine on Harvey Moon

    Colin Salmon, Linda Robson

    Premiered1982

    Shine on, Harvey Moon! is a British television series made by Witzend Productions and Central...  more
  • Small Island23
    7
    5

    Small Island

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris

    Premiered2009

    Small Island is a 2010 International Emmy Awards winning tv program aired on December 6, 2009...  more
  • Get Well Soon24
    13
    13

    Get Well Soon

    Hugh Bonneville, Eddie Marsan

    Premiered1997

    Get Well Soon was a short-lived 1997 BBC television comedy series starring Matthew Cottle and...  more
  • War and Remembrance25
    9
    8

    War and Remembrance

    Sharon Stone, Jane Seymour

    Premiered1988

    War and Remembrance is a 1988 film....  more