Color Television

By the time the 1970s arrived almost all television shows were shot in color. New technology made color production easier and more importantly, less expensive.

The 1970s offered lots of comedy, but the shows weren't cookie cutter. They ranged from the goofy sweetness of The Brady Bunch to the socially charged All In The Family.

News programs that offered investigative and more in depth coverage of issues were growing in popularity.

Here are some of the shows that changed how we watched television and changed our lives in the 1970s.

You may also enjoy Top TV Shows of the 1960's

You may also enjoy Top TV Shows of the 1980's.

You may also enjoy Top TV Shows of the 1990's.

Top TV Shows of the 1970s - M.A.S.H.

">M.A.S.H. produced 251 episodes between 1972 and 1983.

The finale which aired February 28th, 1983 was the most watched TV episode in U.S. history. The show currently appears in syndication and still has a strong fan base.

The television show was created after the movie M.A.S.H. was released to critical acclaim in 1970.


Hawkeye Pierce                                     Alan Alda

Trapper John McIntyre                       Wayne Rogers

Margaret Houlihan                                Loretta Swit

Frank Burns                                             Larry Linville 

Maxwell Klinger                                      Jamie Farr

Walter "Radar" O'Reilly                      Gary Burghoff

Charles Emerson Winchester III    David Ogden Spears

Henry Blake                                              McLean Stevenson

Sherman T. Potter                                 Harry Morgan

B.J. Hunnicutt                                          Mike Farrell


M.A.S.H. is set in the ficticious 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean conflict. While the doctors, nurses and support staff deal with the stress of war with comedy, the show wasn't afraid to tackle deeper issues. M.A.S.H. lasted much longer than the actual Korean war so fans had an opportunity to watch the characters grow and develope in their roles.

The Top TV Shows of the 1970s - All In The Family

All In The Family

All In ThAll In The Familye Family ran from 1971-1976 and aired 208 episodes.

It was loosely based on the British TV show, Till Death Us Do Part.

The show tackled issues that had previously been taboo on American television like Racism, breast cancer, the Vietnam War and homosexuality.

It remained the top rated television show throughout its run.


Archie Bunker       Caroll O'Connor

Edith Bunker          Jean Stapleton

Gloria Stivic            Sally Struthers

Michael Stivic         Rob Reiner


Archie Bunker is an extreme bigot with a surprising big heart. He wife Edith is timid and rarely challenges Archie's views. When their only child Gloria marries Michael Stivic, a student with a Polish background and extremely liberal views, the sparks fly.

Top TV Shows of the 1970s - Little House On The Prairie


Little Little House On The PrairieHouse On The Prairie ran from 1974-1982 with 203 episodes.

It was preceded by a two hour pilot movie.

Little House On The Prairie reflected old fashioned family values.

Michael Landon Directed most of the episodes.



Charles Ingalls                 Michael Landon

Laura Ingalls                     Melissa Gilbert

Mary Ingalls                      Melissa Sue Anderson

Carrie Ingalls                    Sydney and Lindsay Greenbush


Little House On The Prairie follows the lives on the Ingalls family in Walnut Grove, Minnesota in the 1870s and 1880s.

The show tackles the hardship of frontier life and explores themes of love, friendship and faith.

Top TV Shows of the 1970s - Charlie's Angels

">Charlie's Angels ran from 1976 to 1981 with 110 episodes.

The show was groundbreaking because it showed beautiful women who were strong, smart, tough and perfectly capable of doing work that was usually reserved for men.

Kate Jackson did not have to audition for the show. Her role was offered to her based on her successful work on the TV show The Rookies.

Jackson had a lot of imput into the development of the show.

The show spawned collectibles including dolls, games, cards and lunch boxes.

Farah Fawcett's image in a red bathing suit sold 12 million copies and remains the best selling poster of all time.


Sabina Duncan        Kate Jackson

Jill Munroe              Farah Fawcett Majors

Kelly Garrett           Jaclyn Smith

Kris                          Cheryl Ladd

Bosley                      David Doyle

Charlie                     John Forsythe


Sabrina, Jill and Kelly are graduates of the L.A. Police Academy who are stuck in desk jobs when they are offered work with a private investigation firm.

The work with Bosley, but they work for Charlie who's face is never seen.

Each week they use their beauty and brains to solve cases. Often one of the characters gets in trouble and must be rescued by the other two.

Top TV Shows of the 1970s - 60 Minutes

60 Min60 Minutesutes first aired in 1968 and is still on the air today, making it the longest running show in television history.

It's format has been copied by networks around the world.

60 Minutes has won 96 Emmy Awards.


Harry Reasoner

Mike Wallace

Ed Bradley

Dan Rather

Diane Sawyer

Christiane Amanpour


60 Minutes is broken into segments which are marked by a ticking clock.

Each segment contains an interview or investigative journalism piece.

One of the most popular elements of the show was Andy Rooney's weekly commentary.

Rooney provided a humorous, but insightful look into the top issues of the day.

He went into semi-retirement in October, 2011 and died a month later at the age of 92.