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The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s 

Ranker TV
Updated May 1, 2020 1.3k votes 307 voters 15.3k views 53 items

List Rules If you're adding to the list, be sure to only add shows set in the 1950s, as opposed to shows simply filmed and released then. Shows where only a season of a few episodes are set in the '50s are fair game.

Of all the various TV programs set in different time periods, TV shows set in the '50s brought us some great content. The 1950s graced decades to come with style, great music, and much more, so it only makes sense some of the top TV shows would be set in this classic era. As you can imagine, it's more modern TV shows set in the '50s that make up this list, as there wasn't much going on in television before 1950. 

The hit sitcom Happy Days is easily one of the best TV shows set in the '50s—who doesn't love the Fonz? Similarly, you can't forget the great Laverne & Shirley—as these are two absolutely classic shows. More modern '50s-set series include American Horror Story: Freak Show, The Company, and M*A*S*H. Then you have animated shows set in the '50s like Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks and The Little Lulu Show

Which of these top shows set in the 50s is your favorite? Check out the extensive list below and vote up your choices, while voting others down accordingly. While you're at it, check out the best shows set in the 1980s.

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list ordered by
1
The Marvelous Mrs. Maise... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen, Alex Borstein

Premiered: 2017

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Video, 2017) is an American period comedy-drama web television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. A 1960s housewife (Rachel Brosnahan) discovers she has a ...more

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2
Happy Days is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross

Premiered: 1974

Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life ...more

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3
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Premiered: 1972

M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ...more

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4
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Laura Main

Premiered: 2012

Call the Midwife (BBC, 2012) is a British period drama series created by Heidi Thomas. The lives of a group of midwives living in East London are documented in the late-1950s to mid-1960s.

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5
Laverne & Shirley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander

Premiered: 1976

Laverne & Shirley is an American television sitcom that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976 to May 10, 1983. It starred Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, ...more

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6
Father Brown is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, John Burton

Premiered: 2013

Father Brown is a British television period drama which began airing on BBC One on 14 January 2013. It features Mark Williams as the eponymous crime-solving Roman Catholic priest. The series is ...more

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7
The Doctor Blake Mysteri... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
The Doctor Blake Mysteries Craig McLachlan, Nadine Garner, Charlie Cousins
The Doctor Blake Mysteries is an Australian television series which premiered on ABC1 on Friday 1 February 2013 at 8:30 p.m. The series stars Craig McLachlan in the lead role of Doctor Lucien ...more
8
Roots: The Next Generati... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Marlon Brando, James Earl Jones, Henry Fonda

Premiered: 1979

Roots: The Next Generations is a television miniseries, introduced in 1979, continuing, from 1882 to the 1960s, the fictionalized story of the family of Alex Haley and their life in Henning, ...more

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9
The Thorn Birds is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Christopher Plummer, Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Simmons

Premiered: 1983

The Thorn Birds is a television mini-series broadcast on ABC between 27 and 30 March 1983. It starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Jean Simmons, ...more

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10
Grantchester is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
James Norton, Robson Green, Morven Christie

Premiered: 2014

Grantchester is a British ITV detective drama, set in the 1950s Cambridgeshire village of the same name. The show features Anglican vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton), who develops a sideline ...more

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11
All Creatures Great and ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy, Peter Davison

Premiered: 1978

All Creatures Great and Small is a British television series, based on the books of the British veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. In 1977, the BBC tasked ...more
12
The Little Lulu Show is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Vanessa Lengies, Tracey Ullman, Ian James Corlett

Premiered: 1995

The Little Lulu Show is an animated television series, based on the Marjorie Henderson Buell comic book character Little Lulu. The show was produced by CINAR Animation after Buell's death in ...more
13
Brooklyn Bridge is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Jenny Lewis, Marion Ross, Amy Aquino

Premiered: 1991

Brooklyn Bridge is an American television program which aired on CBS between 1991 and 1993. It is about a Jewish American family living in Brooklyn in the middle 1950s. The premise was partially ...more

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14
Velvet is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Velvet Paula Echevarría, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón

Premiered: 2014

Velvet is a Spanish television series produced by Bambú Producciones for Antena 3. Its budget is estimated in 500,000 euros per chapter. The main storyline of the show is the love story ...more
15
Masters of Sex is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald

Premiered: 2013

This series is an American period drama television series that premiered on September 29, 2013, on Showtime. Set in the 1950s and 1960s, the series tells the story of Dr. William Masters and ...more

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16
AfterMASH is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Rosalind Chao, Jamie Farr, Harry Morgan

Premiered: 1983

AfterMASH is an American situation comedy that aired on CBS from September 26, 1983, to May 31, 1985. A spin-off of the series M*A*S*H, the show takes place immediately following the end of the ...more

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17
Miss Marple is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Miss Marple Joan Hickson, Gwen Watford, David Horovitch

Premiered: 1984

Miss Marple is a British television series based on the Miss Marple murder mystery novels by Agatha Christie. It starred Joan Hickson in the title role, and aired from 1984 to 1992. All 12 ...more

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18
Most Beautiful Thing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Maria Casadevall, Leandro Lima, Fernanda Vasconcellos

Premiered: 2019

Most Beautiful Thing (Netflix, 2019), in Portuguese "Coisa Mais Linda," is a Brazilian period drama television series. The show follows young and wealthy Maria Luiza (Maria Casadevall) ...more
19
American Horror Story: F... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Michael Chiklis

Premiered: 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show is the fourth season of the FX horror anthology TV series American Horror Story. It premiered on October 8, 2014 and concluded on January 21, 2015. The season ...more

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20
A Place to Call Home is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Marta Dusseldorp, Noni Hazlehurst, Brett Climo

Premiered: 2013

A Place to Call Home is an Australian television drama series that debuted on the Seven Network on Sunday 28 April 2013. Set in Country New South Wales in the period following World War II, it ...more
21
Bless Me Father is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Bless Me, Father Arthur Lowe, Daniel Abineri, Gabrielle Daye

Premiered: 1978

Bless Me Father is a British situation comedy starring Arthur Lowe, Daniel Abineri, Gabrielle Daye, Patrick McAlinney, David Ryall, and Sheila Keith. It was aired on ITV from 1978 until 1981 and ...more
22
Always and Ever is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Always and Ever Bobby Au-yeung, Esther Kwan

Premiered: 2013

Always and Ever is an 2013 Hong Kong TVB television romance drama serial starring Bobby Au-yeung and Esther Kwan and produced by Chong Wai-kin. The drama follows a love story which spans three ...more
23
Boone is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Amanda Peterson, Robyn Lively, Barry Corbin

Premiered: 1983

Boone is a dramatic television series which was broadcast on NBC from 1983 to 1984. It starred Tom Byrd and Barry Corbin. Byrd played teenager Boone Sawyer, who aspires to a career in rock and ...more
24
Young Hyacinth is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Young Hyacinth Jerry Howard, Debra Stephenson, Tony Gardner

Premiered: 2016

25
I'll Fly Away is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Sam Waterston, Regina Taylor, Jeremy London

Premiered: 1991

I'll Fly Away is an American drama television series set during the late 1950s and early 1960s, in an unspecified Southern U.S. state. It aired on NBC from 1991 to 1993 and starred Regina Taylor ...more

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