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The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '50s

Updated October 20, 2020 2.1k votes 364 voters 18.8k views56 items

List RulesIf 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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  • 1
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    217
    52

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen

    Premiered2017

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Video, 2017) is an American period comedy-drama web... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 2
    Happy Days
    104
    26

    Happy Days

    Ron Howard, Henry Winkler

    Premiered1974

    Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 3
    Call The Midwife
    91
    26

    Call The Midwife

    Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart

    Premiered2012

    Call the Midwife (BBC, 2012) is a British period drama series created by Heidi Thomas. The... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 4
    M*A*S*H
    79
    18

    M*A*S*H

    Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers

    Premiered1972

    M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 5
    Laverne & Shirley
    59
    23

    Laverne & Shirley

    Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams

    Premiered1976

    Laverne & Shirley is an American television sitcom that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976 to... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 6
    The Queen's Gambit
    14
    0

    The Queen's Gambit

    Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp

    Premiered2020

    The Queen's Gambit (Netflix, 2020) is an American drama miniseries based on the 1983 novel by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 7
    Father Brown
    34
    25

    Father Brown

    Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack

    Premiered2013

    Father Brown is a British television period drama which began airing on BBC One on 14 January... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    Hollywood
    12
    2

    Hollywood

    Patti LuPone, Elizabeth Smidth

    Premiered2020

    Hollywood (Netflix, 2020) is an American drama television series created by Ryan Murphy and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    Boone
    20
    19

    Boone

    Amanda Peterson, Robyn Lively

    Premiered1983

    Boone is a dramatic television series which was broadcast on NBC from 1983 to 1984. It starred... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 10
    The Doctor Blake Mysteries
    21
    21

    The Doctor Blake Mysteries

    Craig McLachlan, Nadine Garner

    Premiered2013

    The Doctor Blake Mysteries is an Australian television series which premiered on ABC1 on... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 11
    Grantchester
    20
    20

    Grantchester

    James Norton, Robson Green

    Premiered2014

    Grantchester is a British ITV detective drama, set in the 1950s Cambridgeshire village of the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 12
    The Thorn Birds
    20
    19

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 13
    Masters of Sex
    21
    23

    Masters of Sex

    Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan

    Premiered2013

    This series is an American period drama television series that premiered on September 29,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    The Company
    19
    21

    The Company

    Michael Keaton, Alfred Molina

    Premiered2007

    The Company is an American miniseries about the activities of the CIA during the Cold War. It... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 15
    Back to the '50s
    20
    23

    Back to the '50s

    Tina Barrett, Paul Cattermole

    Premiered1999

    Back to the '50s is the first TV movie from the British pop group S Club 7. It first aired... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    Ordeal by Innocence
    13
    14

    Ordeal by Innocence

    Morven Christie, Anthony Boyle

    Premiered2018

    Amazon buy button
  • 17
    Roots: The Next Generations
    22
    27

    Roots: The Next Generations

    Marlon Brando, James Earl Jones

    Premiered1979

    Roots: The Next Generations is a television miniseries, introduced in 1979, continuing, from... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 18
    All Creatures Great and Small
    16
    19

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    Miss Marple
    15
    19

    Miss Marple

    Joan Hickson, Gwen Watford

    Premiered1984

    Miss Marple is a British television series based on the Miss Marple murder mystery novels by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 20
    Private Eye
    10
    12

    Private Eye

    Josh Brolin, William Sadler

    Premiered1987

    Private Eye is an American crime drama that aired from September 13, 1987 until January 8,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 21
    Brooklyn Bridge
    15
    19

    Brooklyn Bridge

    Jenny Lewis, Marion Ross

    Premiered1991

    Brooklyn Bridge is an American television program which aired on CBS between 1991 and 1993. It... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 22
    Demob
    13
    16

    Demob

    Griff Rhys Jones, Martin Clunes
    Demob was a short-lived British comedy-drama television series, which screened for one... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 23
    In Plain Sight
    10
    14

    In Plain Sight

    Martin Compston, Gilly Gilchrist

    Premiered2016

    Amazon buy button
  • 24
    Sons and Daughters
    10
    14

    Sons and Daughters

    Barry Livingston, Debralee Scott

    Premiered1974

    Sons and Daughters is a nine-episode 1974 CBS series launched from the pilot television movie... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 25
    Velvet
    10
    14

    Velvet

    Paula Echevarría, Miguel Ángel Silvestre

    Premiered2014

    Velvet is a Spanish television series produced by Bambú Producciones for Antena 3. Its budget... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button