Entertainment

The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s  

Ranker TV
1.2k votes 241 voters 10.9k views 52 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.

list ordered by
1
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 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
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon, 2017) is an American television series, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Rachel Brosnahan as a housewife in the 1950s who decides to become a ...more
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
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
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
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
4
Laverne & Shirley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander
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
5
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main
Call the Midwife is a BBC period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s. It stars Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Helen George, Bryony ...more
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
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
7
Roots: The Next Generations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Marlon Brando, James Earl Jones, Henry Fonda
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
8
The Doctor Blake Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
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
9
The Little Lulu Show is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Vanessa Lengies, Tracey Ullman, Ian James Corlett
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
10
All Creatures Great and Small is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy, Peter Davison
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
11
AfterMASH is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Rosalind Chao, Jamie Farr, Harry Morgan
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
12
The Thorn Birds is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Christopher Plummer, Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Simmons
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
13
Grantchester is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
James Norton, Robson Green, Morven Christie
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
14
Miss Marple is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Joan Hickson, Gwen Watford, David Horovitch
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
15
Velvet is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Velvet Paula Echevarría, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
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
16
Boone is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Amanda Peterson, Robyn Lively, Barry Corbin
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
17
A Place to Call Home is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Marta Dusseldorp, Noni Hazlehurst, Brett Climo
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
18
Masters of Sex is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald
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
19
American Horror Story: Freak S... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Michael Chiklis
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
20
Ordeal by Innocence is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Ordeal by Innocence Morven Christie, Anthony Boyle, Christian Cooke
21
I'll Fly Away is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Sam Waterston, Regina Taylor, Jeremy London
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
22
Back to the '50s is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Back to the '50s Tina Barrett, Paul Cattermole, Jon Lee
Back to the '50s is the first TV movie from the British pop group S Club 7. It first aired 1999 and was produced for CITV. In this movie, the cast proceeds with their long drive from Miami to ...more
23
Always and Ever is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Always and Ever Bobby Au-yeung, Esther Kwan
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
24
Bless Me Father is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Bless Me, Father Arthur Lowe, Daniel Abineri, Gabrielle Daye
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
25
Private Eye is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s
Private Eye Josh Brolin, William Sadler, Michael Woods
Private Eye is an American crime drama that aired from September 13, 1987 until January 8, 1988.