Television shows are very much a time capsule of the years they portray, from socioeconomics to humor, ideology, and fashion. Some shows fall through the cracks of time, but the classics never do. Below are classic shows that are a must (re)watch.
I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
Lucille Ball changed the way sitcoms were filmed and created. A show that has transcended generations, I Love Lucy was a slapstick humor comedy with a female lead when female leads were rare. The show first aired in 1951, where Ball starred next to her husband, Desi Arnaz, who also directed episodes and produced the show through Desilu Productions. The show was also the first to show a mixed-race couple and pregnancy on TV. Watch now on Hulu.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
Mary Tyler Moore rose to fame on the Dick Van Dyke Show, leading her to star in her own program during the 1970s. The show tackles (then taboo) topics such as workplace discrimination, equal pay, sexuality, divorce, and premarital sex. The show won a Peabody Award and 29 Emmys. The Mary Tyler Moore Show wasn’t afraid to portray societal changes while being funny. Watch now on Hulu.
Good Times (1974-1979)
Airing for six seasons, Good Times was a sitcom about a family – parents Florida and Henry, played by Esther Rolle and John Amos, and their three children – who lived in the projects of Chicago. A spin-off of the show Maude, it was the first program to have two Black parents as the heads of the family. The characters are often shown trying to overcome poverty and portraying the hardships of Black families in the ’70s with some comedic relief. Watch now on Peacock.
Family Ties (1982-1989)
Family Ties aired throughout the 1980s. Both parents portrayed career-driven people: The mom was an architect; the dad was a public station manager. They grew up embracing counter-culture and had very progressive “hippie” views. Their three kids, Alex, Mallory, and Jennifer, were their antitheses: They were conservative, materialistic, and apolitical. While Family Ties portrayed heavy topics, it also was funny and wholesome. Watch now on Pluto (free) or Paramount Plus.
The Wonder Years (1988-1993)
The Wonder Years detailed the life of an American family in the 1960s and 1970s through the eyes of the lead character, Kevin Arnold. An adult Kevin narrates the show. It is a coming-of-age show about a teen boy who goes through the classic growing pains of puberty, relationships, school, rebellion, and friendship. Watch now on Hulu.
What are some of your favorite classic TV shows? Share them with us in the comments below!