The 1970s was a time of bell bottoms, disco fever, and some of the grooviest sitcoms in television history, which brought us laughter, memorable characters, and groundbreaking storytelling.
If you were a fan of vintage humor, outrageous fashion, and catchy soundtracks, prepare to embark on this journey down memory lane. Here, we'll count down the 25 greatest sitcoms that defined an era.
1. The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)
Sure, this show technically started in the late '60s, but it soared to new heights of popularity in the '70s. The success of this sitcom in syndication led to several other television reunion films and spinoffs, including The Bradys, A Very Brady Christmas, The Brady Brides, The Brady Girls Get Married, and The Brady Bunch Hour.
2. Happy Days (1974-1984)
Happy Days, created by Gary Marshall, was one of those sitcoms that was the talk of the decade. Set in the nostalgic '50s, this iconic sitcom introduced us to the unforgettable characters of Richie Cunningham, Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli, and their gang. Do you remember?
3. MASH (1972-1983)
Next up on our list is MASH, a sitcom based on the novel “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors” and the feature film MASH.
This groundbreaking sitcom about a mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean War blended comedy and drama effortlessly, thereby captivating viewers completely. The witty banter, heartfelt moments, and unforgettable characters made it an instant classic.
4. All In The Family (1971-1979)
Archie Bunker's politically incorrect remarks and clashes with his family challenged societal norms. This controversial sitcom brought relevant issues to the forefront with humor and depth. Times referred to this sitcom as one of the top 100 television shows of all time in 2017.
5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
Mary Tyler Moore's portrayal of Mary Richards, an independent career woman, broke new ground for female characters on television.
In the sitcom, Tyler's character, Mary Richards, is an unmarried, independent woman who's more invested in her career than anything else. Sitting back to watch this sitcom was both hilarious and empowering.
6. The Odd Couple (1970-1975)
Two divorced men sharing an apartment — what could possibly go wrong? Felix and Oscar's clashing personalities and comedic chemistry provided endless laughs.
One is a slob, and the other is a neat freak. The only similarity between them is that they both are divorced and need a place to stay. This similarity drives the entirety of the show.
7. The Jeffersons (1975-1985)
Moving up to the East Side, George and Louise Jefferson became household names with their sassy humor and clever social commentary.
Apparently, this is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time and one of the longest-running sitcoms in history. The creators deserve their flowers for keeping it interesting till the end.
8. Three's Company (1977-1984)
This sitcom is timeless, and that's all I can say. Jack Tripper's mistaken identity and hilarious misunderstandings fueled this wacky sitcom.
Around the time of this sitcom's release, many sitcoms were being canceled after their sixth episode aired, but this sustained the time. It lingered on and became one of the best sitcoms ever made.
9. Taxi (1978-1983)
This ensemble sitcom about a group of New York City taxi drivers showcased a brilliant mix of comedy and heart. Revving up with a stellar cast, it hailed laughter all the way. Taxi truly had it all. It expertly blended comedy and drama, delivering laughs while exploring more profound themes.
The show provided a glimpse into the lives of these blue-collar workers, each with their dreams, struggles, and aspirations.
10. Good Times (1974-1979)
Follow the Evans family as they navigate life in a Chicago housing project. With dynamite characters like J.J. and Florida, this sitcom brought laughs and social commentary. The sitcom resonated deeply with audiences, especially within the African-American community, who saw their struggles reflected on screen.
It broke new ground by showcasing a predominantly black cast and addressing social issues often overlooked on television at the time. The show became a symbol of representation and empowerment for many viewers.
11. The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978)
The Bob Newhart Show was a sitcom that showcased the comedic genius of its star, Bob Newhart. From 1972 to 1978, this show entertained audiences with its witty writing, hilarious situations, and Newhart's unique brand of deadpan humor.
Bob Newhart's deadpan humor as psychologist Bob Hartley had us in stitches, and for so long, the show was all the therapy fans needed.
12. Sanford and Son (1972-1977)
Fred Sanford's junkyard escapades, along with his son Lamont made this show a classic. With memorable catchphrases and sparkling humor, it was pure comedic gold.
This classic show, based on the British sitcom Steptoe and Son, centered around the misadventures of Fred Sanford, played by the incomparable Redd Foxx, and his son Lamont, portrayed by Demond Wilson. It is one of the highest-rated sitcoms in history.
13. Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983)
This spinoff of Happy Days followed two best friends, Laverne and Shirley, as they navigated life in Milwaukee. Their hilarious misadventures and catchy “Schlemiel! Schlimazel!” song made it unforgettable.
This show chiefly showcased the power of friendships, the resilience of women, and the pursuit of happiness. The show's success can be attributed to its relatability, hilarious performances, and the timeless themes it explored.
14. Barney Miller (1975-1982)
Set in a New York City police station, this sitcom provided a witty and realistic take on the lives of the men in blue. The diverse cast and clever writing earned it a well-deserved spot on our list.
Even decades after its original airing, Barney Miller continues to be revered as a classic sitcom that stands the test of time. Its combination of humor, relatable characters, and thoughtful exploration of social issues set it apart from other shows of its era.
15. The Love Boat (1977-1986)
Board the Pacific Princess for a comedic voyage filled with love, romance, and guest stars galore. This sitcom cruise was a delightful escape every week, someone adds. One of my favorite parts about it is the catchy theme song performed by Jack Jones. It's a tune I'm sure fans are still humming today.
16. Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979)
You can't have a list of the greatest sitcoms ever made without including Welcome Back, Kotter. In this sitcom, Gabe Kotter returned to his alma mater as a teacher and dealt with a class full of misfits known as the Sweathogs.
The charismatic Kotter and his students became pop culture icons. His unique teaching methods and ability to connect with his students set the stage for countless hilarious and heartwarming moments.
17. Rhoda (1974-1978)
Rhoda Morgenstern's humorous adventures in New York City after moving from Minneapolis won hearts everywhere. Valerie Harper's brilliant performance made Rhoda a beloved character. This sitcom is an adaptation of “Rhoda Morgenstern” by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns.
As stated earlier, the show follows the adventures of Rhoda, a spunky and lovable character who moves from Minneapolis to New York City to pursue her dreams. Her encounter on this cause fuels the sitcom.
18. The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)
The Carol Burnett Show was an iconic variety sketch comedy series that graced television screens from 1967 to 1978. Led by the talented and hilarious Carol Burnett herself, this show became a beloved staple of American television, showcasing Burnett's incredible comedic skills and her ability to create unforgettable characters.
This variety show brought laughter into millions of homes, and the ensemble cast delivered memorable sketches and musical numbers.
19. Maude (1972-1978)
Beatrice Arthur shone as the strong-willed Maude Findlay, addressing controversial topics with wit and humor. This groundbreaking sitcom pushed boundaries and paved the way for future shows.
I love to see that, particularly, this show tried its best to challenge social norms and tackle important issues of the time. Generally, the show centers around the outspoken and progressive Maude Findlay, portrayed by the incomparable Bea Arthur.
20. The Honeymooners (1955-1956, revivals in the 1970s)
Although it originally aired in the '50s, the '70s revivals brought back Ralph Kramden's and Ed Norton's uproarious adventures. This timeless classic remained hilarious throughout the decades.
What set The Honeymooners apart was its ability to find humor in everyday situations. The show captured the struggles, hopes, and dreams of blue-collar workers, resonating with audiences who found comfort and laughter in the characters' relatability and experiences.
21. The Partridge Family (1970-1974)
Follow the musical adventures of the Partridge family as they toured the country in their psychedelic bus. This sitcom had catchy tunes and a groovy vibe. It brought the fictional Partridge family into viewers' living rooms, captivating them with their infectious energy and heartwarming adventures.
22. Soap (1977-1981)
This satirical sitcom mocked the conventions of soap operas with outrageous storylines and unforgettable characters.
It was a delightful blend of comedy and drama. Created by Susan Harris, it blended satire, farce, and soap opera tropes to create a hilarious and often controversial show that kept audiences hooked with its storylines and memorable characters.
23. One Day at a Time (1975-1984)
Ann Romano, a single mother raising two teenage daughters, tackled real-life issues with humor and grace. One Day at a Time was notable for its realistic portrayal of a single-parent household and its exploration of the complexities of family dynamics.
The show celebrated the strength and resilience of women, depicting Ann as a working mother who strived to provide a loving and stable environment for her daughters despite the obstacles she faced. This sitcom remains relevant even today.
24. The Munsters (1964-1966, revivals in the 1970s)
The Munsters is a timeless and delightfully spooky sitcom that originally aired from 1964 to 1966, with revivals in the 1970s. This iconic series, created by Allan Burns and Chris Hayward, brought a unique blend of comedy and horror to television.
25. The Good Life (1975-1978)
This British sitcom, also known as Good Neighbors, followed a couple's unconventional decision to live a self-sufficient life in suburbia.
The show centered around Tom and Barbara Good, played by Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal, a middle-class couple who abandon modern society's trappings and embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle in their suburban home. The quirky characters and witty writing made it a hidden gem of the '70s.