A spin-off of All in the Family, The Jeffersons followed Louise and George moving on up to the East side of NY. Louise was very sweet and most of the time had to calm George down after he got wound up about something. George usually got irritated with friends Tom and Helen Willis, a mixed race couple, whose daughter ends up marrying the Jefferson’s son. He also sparred often with the housekeeper Florence, played wonderfully by Marla Gibbs.
Notable Performance: Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson
Memorable Episode: Season 3 Episode 2: Louise Gets Her Way
#71. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005)
I didn’t watch Raymond until quite a while after it had ended. I would just catch reruns here and there and it really started to grow on me the more I watched it. I really didn’t think Ray Romano was that funny, but I was wrong, he is, along with the rest of his family. He kind of exemplifies the typical male and Patricia Heaton, as his wife Debra, is constantly trying to battle that part of him. That, along with his parents living across the street, many crazy things end up happening to this funny family.
Notable Performance: Peter Boyle as Frank Barone
Memorable Episode: Season 6 Episode 5: Marie’s Sculpture
#70. Married With Children (1987-1997)
Married with Children was crude but it was hysterically crude. It centered around the Bundy’s. Al worked in a shoe store, Peg shopped and watched tv all day, daughter Kelly was dumber than a stick and son Bud was just girl crazy. Al pretty much thinks his life sucks and isn’t afraid to say so, but even through all the sarcasm he loved his family and did whatever he could for them.
Notable Performance: Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 20: Peggy Made a Little Lamb
#69. The Flintstones (1959-1966)
The animated sitcom is a classic, geared towards adults and kids. Set in the stone-age, The Flinstones are a family that lives in Bedrock with their friends Barney and Betty Rubble. The Flinstones was way ahead of it’s time, paving the way for shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Jetsons. To think that this animated sitcom went on the air, on primetime TV, in 1959 is really something.
Notable Performance: Alan Reed as Fred Flintstone
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 10: Hollyrock, Here I come
#68. Diff’rent Strokes (1978-1986)
Diff’rent Strokes focused on 2 African American kids adopted by a wealthy businessman Philip Drummond. Much like the Jeffersons, it dealt with how they fit in to the very white bred society of New York City. A superb cast made this show an instant hit. Gary Coleman was so adorable and precocious, that America just fell in love with him. Todd Bridges and Dana Plato were also great as Willis and Kimberly, yet their personal tragedies will always outshine their performances here. On a high note, this is our first introduction to Edna Garrett who we will come to know and love for many years on The Facts of Life.
Notable Performance: Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson
Memorable Episode: Season 1 Episode 13: No Time for Arnold
#67. Designing Women (1986-1993)
Designing Women was a show about 4 southern belles who were interior decorators in Atlanta. The women had tremendous chemistry with each other and Meschach Taylor who also worked with them. Delta Burke, being the biggest name at the time, ended up leaving the show and the ratings went down after that. It was a pretty humorous look at life in the south, but also dealt with controversial issues such as racism, abuse and weight problems.
Notable Performance: Jean Smart as Charlene Frazier Stillfield
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 8: Julia Gets Her Head Stuck in a Fence
#66. Medium (2005-2011)
Patricia Arquette plays Allison Dubois, based on the real life medium, who helps the Phoenix Police with mysterious cases. Allison either has dreams or visions of people and she tries to figure out what they mean. A really great show that deals with not only the supernatural, but also with family life as Allison is raising 3 children with her husband Joe, who tries to support all her insights.
Notable Performance: Patricia Arquette as Allison DuBois (Emmy Winner 2005)
Memorable Episode: Season2 Episode 22: Twice Upon a Time
#65. Night Court (1984-1992)
Night Court was one of those shows that every time you watched it, it was silly and made you laugh but it wasn’t too heavy. It was a night court, so obviously only the crazies are out at that time. Just a very silly show and, it took a couple of years, but by the fourth season, the cast was perfect.
Notable Performance: John Laroquette as Dan Fielding (Emmy Winner 1985, 1986, 1987 & 1988)
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 15: A Day in the Life
#64. Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2002 & 2008-Present)
There is no wonder why this show is so great, it says it right in the title. Unsolved Mysteries is intriguing and fascinating. They don’t just talk about the mysteries, they reenact them to tell the story. UFO’s , missing families, murders and historical mythology are just some of the topics that they delve into. This show would work at any time because people will always be captivated by the unknown.
Notable Performance: Robert Stack as the Host
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 1: The Roswell Incident
#63. Happy Days (1974-1984)
Happy Days was set in the 1950’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It followed the Cunningham family, Howard and Marion and their kids Ritchie and Joanie. Their tenant, “The Fonz”, became an instant pop icon. It was even responsible for the much used phrase, “Jumping the Shark”, because in a Season 5 episode The Fonz actually jumped a shark on water skis. People think that the show was never the same after that, yet it did last six more seasons.
Notable Performance: Henry Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli
Memorable Episode: Season 3 Episode 3 & 4: Fearless Fonzarelli
#62. Picket Fences (1992-1996)
Picket Fences takes place in Rome, WI and follows Sheriff Brock as he investigates many bizarre happenings. Written and produced by David E. Kelley, this quirky drama was a bit ahead of its time. I think that it would be more well received now, than back in the 90’s. It was very smart and the critics loved it, but I think the low ratings were its ultimate demise.
Notable Performance: Kathy Baker as Dr. Jill Brock (Emmy Winner 1993, 1995 & 1996)
Memorable Episode: Season 2 Episode 5: The Dancing Bandit
#61. Taxi (1978-1983)
The premise doesn’t really seem that funny, a show about a New York City cab company. If the cast is Judd Hirsh, Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner and Christopher Lloyd then, guess what, it’s a laugh riot. Watch this show if only to see these actors at the start of their career, when they were really raw comedians. Taxi even managed to cast Andy Kaufman, who was basically hailed as a genius at this time. There is a nice camaraderie with these characters as they try to make it through life while working at the Sunshine Cab Company.
Notable Performance: Danny DeVito as Louie De Palma
Memorable Episode: Season 4 Episode 1: Jim The Psychic