NewsNewsBest 70s Sitcoms of 11: A Definitive List for...

Best 70s Sitcoms of 11: A Definitive List for 2023

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What were the most hilarious sitcoms from the groovy 1970s? Maybe Mary Tyler Moore or Sanford and Sons? This list of the greatest ’70s television sitcoms has all the most side-splitting shows from the era. Top hits from every genre, including comedy, drama, romance, and thrillers were released during the 70’s, but the popular sitcoms were some of the most entertaining shows on TV at the time.

The war drama-comedy M.A.S.H. regularly stole the show in the television ratings, but hits like All in the Family and Happy Days were hot on its heels. The top television sitcoms of the ’70s closely followed the culture around it: the innocence of the ’50s and ’60s was reflected in old shows like The Brady Bunch and Three’s Company, yet the face of an ever-changing America could be seen in shows like M.A.S.H.

Sitcoms where a family was at the center of the story were subtly being replaced with hilarious comedies like Hee Haw and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Whether it was Charlie’s Angels that cracked you up the most, or the quirky Mork and Mindy, share your love for the best 70s sitcoms of all time below!

What are the most uproarious ’70s sitcoms? Did the sitcoms you think are the best make the list? Are they still as side-splitting today as they were 50 years ago? Take a look and let us know your favorites from the hilarious 1970s sitcoms!

1. M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H premiered in 1972 and quickly gained recognition as one of the most highly acclaimed sitcoms in television history. Spanning eleven years, this show captivated audiences with its unique portrayal of the lives of medical personnel stationed at a field hospital during the Korean War. Inspired by Robert Altman’s film of the same name, M*A*S*H boasted an exceptional ensemble cast featuring Alan Alda as Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce, Loretta Swit as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, and Jamie Farr as Corporal Maxwell Klinger. The series skillfully intertwined comedy and poignant drama, shedding light on the emotional toll of war. The show’s remarkable success led to numerous awards, including multiple Emmys for Alan Alda.

Premiered: September 17, 1972
Actors: Alan Alda, McLean Stevenson, Wayne Rogers

2. All in the Family

All in the Family
All in the Family” was a groundbreaking and daring sitcom that aired from 1971 to 1979. It was created by Norman Lear and featured Carroll O’Connor as the iconic character Archie Bunker, a bigoted working-class man, and Jean Stapleton as his long-suffering wife Edith. The show fearlessly tackled controversial subjects like racism, sexism, and politics, using humor and sensitivity. It received numerous accolades, including Emmy Awards for both O’Connor and Stapleton. The influence of “All in the Family” on American television is undeniable, as it gave rise to successful spin-offs like “Maude” and “The Jeffersons.

Premiered: January 12, 1971
Actors: Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner

3. Happy Days

Happy Days
Happy Days, which aired from 1974 to 1984, takes us back to the nostalgic 1950s and early ’60s. The show revolves around the Cunningham family, with a focus on their son Richie, played by Ron Howard. We witness the ups and downs of teenage life through their experiences. Henry Winkler steals the show as the iconic Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, whose coolness and catchphrases like “Aaay!” and “Sit on it” became a cultural sensation. Happy Days not only earned multiple Emmy nominations but also paved the way for popular spin-offs like Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.

Premiered: January 15, 1974
Actors: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley

4. Sanford and Son

Sanford and Son
From 1972 to 1977, Sanford and Son brought laughter to living rooms across America. Starring Redd Foxx as the cantankerous junk dealer, Fred Sanford, and Demond Wilson as his beleaguered son, Lamont, this sitcom was loved for its sharp wit and unforgettable catchphrases, like the famous “You big dummy!” Created by Norman Lear, who drew inspiration from the British show Steptoe & Son, Sanford and Son earned multiple Emmy nominations during its run. Not only was it one of the first successful African-American sitcoms, but it also paved the way for more sitcoms featuring predominantly Black casts.

Premiered: January 14, 1972
Actors: Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson, Whitman Mayo

5. WKRP in Cincinnati

WKRP in Cincinnati
Let’s talk about this hilarious gem called WKRP in Cincinnati that graced our TV screens from 1978 to 1982. It had a fantastic cast, with Gary Sandy playing the role of the program director Andy Travis, Howard Hesseman as the DJ Johnny Fever, and Loni Anderson as the receptionist Jennifer Marlowe. This show was a unique blend of workplace comedy and rock-and-roll shenanigans. The mastermind behind it all, Hugh Wilson, drew inspiration from his own radio station experiences to create the characters of WKRP. Even though it didn’t immediately soar in ratings, WKRP in Cincinnati eventually achieved cult status thanks to reruns and syndication.

Premiered: September 18, 1978
Actors: Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson

6. Taxi

Taxi was a hit sitcom that aired from 1978 to 1983, revolving around the lives of diverse New York City taxi drivers and their eccentric dispatcher. The show featured the talented Judd Hirsch, who played the role of experienced cabbie Alex Reiger, and Danny DeVito, who portrayed the cantankerous dispatcher, Louie De Palma. Alongside them, the ensemble cast included Christopher Lloyd, Marilu Henner, and Tony Danza, creating a dynamic and entertaining group.

One of the aspects that made Taxi stand out was its ability to seamlessly blend humor and serious subjects. The show approached a wide range of topics with nuance, making the audience both laugh and reflect. This balanced approach resonated with viewers and contributed to the show’s success.

Throughout its run, Taxi was recognized with numerous Emmy Awards, solidifying its status as a top-notch sitcom. Among the accolades, Danny DeVito stood out, winning the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award. The talented cast and crew behind Taxi truly made their mark on television during those memorable years.

Premiered: September 12, 1978
Actors: Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito

7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which aired from 1970 to 1977, revolutionized the way women were portrayed on television. The character of Mary Richards, played by Mary Tyler Moore, was an independent career woman working in TV news production. This groundbreaking show, set in Minneapolis, fearlessly addressed feminist issues such as equal pay, all while maintaining a lighthearted tone.

The unforgettable ensemble cast included Ed Asner, who portrayed the gruff boss Lou Grant, and Valerie Harper, who played the role of neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern. Both actors received Emmys for their outstanding performances. Not only did the cast shine, but the show itself received numerous accolades throughout its run.

Premiered: September 19, 1970
Actors: Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod

8. The Jeffersons

The Jeffersons
Spinning off from the hit show All in the Family, The Jeffersons followed the lives of George and Louise as they climbed the social ladder and settled into a fancy apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. This groundbreaking sitcom, which aired from 1975 to 1985, fearlessly tackled topics of race and class with a touch of humor. The Jeffersons was a trailblazer in its genre, earning multiple Emmy nominations throughout its run. In fact, Isabel Sanford, who played Louise, even won the prestigious Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award in 1981.

Premiered: January 18, 1975
Actors: Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford, Mike Evans

9. The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple
The Odd Couple, a TV show based on Neil Simon’s play and film adaptation, told the story of two roommates who were complete opposites – Felix Unger, a super neat person played by Tony Randall, and Oscar Madison, a messy guy portrayed by Jack Klugman. This classic sitcom aired from 1970 to 1975 and perfectly captured the funny challenges of living together. It was full of clever humor and had a lot of charm. Both Randall and Klugman were recognized for their outstanding performances with Emmy Awards. The show became so iconic that it not only inspired a successful animated series but also a 2015 reboot.

Premiered: September 24, 1970
Actors: Tony Randall, Jack Klugman

10. The Bob Newhart Show

The Bob Newhart Show
The Bob Newhart Show, which aired from 1972 to 1978, was all about Bob Newhart’s hilarious dry wit as psychologist Dr. Robert Hartley. Alongside him was Suzanne Pleshette, playing his wife Emily. This sitcom gave us a peek into the Hartleys’ home life and Bob’s amusing encounters with his eccentric patients. With Newhart’s one-of-a-kind comedic flair and a fantastic supporting cast, The Bob Newhart Show quickly became a favorite among both viewers and critics. It even snagged some well-deserved Primetime Emmy nominations during its run.

Premiered: September 16, 1972
Actors: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Daily

11. Welcome Back, Kotter

Welcome Back, Kotter
Welcome Back, Kotter aired from 1975 to 1979 and it was all about Gabe Kaplan playing the role of Mr. Kotter, a teacher who comes back to his old school to teach a bunch of underachieving students called the Sweathogs. The show was a big break for John Travolta, who won hearts with his portrayal of the lovable Vinnie Barbarino. Both Kaplan and Travolta were even nominated for Golden Globe awards while the show was on air. Welcome Back, Kotter really connected with viewers by delivering heartfelt lessons about education and personal growth.

Premiered: September 9, 1975
Actors: Gabe Kaplan, Marcia Strassman, John Sylvester White

Michael Bennett
Michael Bennett
With over 5 years of experience, Michael Bennett is an experienced entertainment blogger recognized for straightforward reviews. His research expertise and thoughtfully crafted blog posts make him a source for readers seeking movie and tv show recommendations.


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