The 25 Best TV Shows of the 1960s

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

The 1960s was a groundbreaking decade in American television. Nearly 90% of households owned a TV by 1960, ushering in the end of the Golden Age of Radio. Instead, evening television programming became the center of home entertainment. (Radio, on the other hand, transitioned its offerings to music broadcasts. Here are the biggest pop hits of the 1960s.)

By 1966, color broadcasts had become the new norm. The three available networks — NBC, CBS, and ABC — wildly expanded their serialized offerings to include not only a plethora of comedies, but also fantasy and sci-fi, adventure, drama, and a whopping 18 variety shows that aired during the decade.

To determine the best TV shows of the 1960s, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience rating from the Internet Movie Database. Television shows were ranked based on average IMDb user ratings. Only TV shows released between 1960 and 1967 that ran for at least two seasons were considered. Shows with fewer than 1,000 audience votes were excluded. Data is current as of September 2022.

Comedies abound on the list. Sketch comedy and variety shows are well represented, with “The Carol Burnett Show” topping the list as the best show of the decade. Another variety show, the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” which reached no. 25, was eventually canceled after a series of controversies over its satirical political content.

Espionage proved to be a popular theme, as a large number of spy shows made this list, including “The Avengers,” “Secret Agent,” “The Wild Wild West,” “Get Smart,” and “Mission: Impossible.” Horror/suspense also made a good showing with three appearances: “Thriller,” “The Outer Limits,” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.”

One animated show appears on the list, as does a soccer commentary show, and a gothic soap opera. The original “Star Trek” reached the top 10, and also appears on our list of shows that were so popular, they were turned into movies.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

25. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967-1969)
> IMDb user rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,496
> Starring: Tom Smothers, Pat Paulsen, Peter Cullen

Source: Courtesy of CBS

24. Mission: Impossible (1966-1973)
> IMDb user rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 9,815
> Starring: Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris, Peter Lupus

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

23. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1967-1973)
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 3,161
> Starring: Dan Rowan, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

22. The Addams Family (1964-1966)
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 17,664
> Starring: John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy

Source: Courtesy of 20th Television

21. 12 O’Clock High (1964-1967)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,186
> Starring: Frank Overton, Paul Burke, Chris Robinson, Robert Lansing

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

20. The Dean Martin Show (1965-1974)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,339
> Starring: Dean Martin, The Dingaling Sisters, Ken Lane, Lou Jacobi

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

19. The Fugitive (1963-1967)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 4,093
> Starring: David Janssen, William Conrad, Barry Morse, Paul Birch

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

18. Dark Shadows (1966-1971)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 4,806
> Starring: Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles, Nancy Barrett

Source: Courtesy of CBS

17. The Wild Wild West (1965-1969)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 5,363
> Starring: Robert Conrad, Ross Martin, Whitey Hughes

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

16. The Outer Limits (1963-1965)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,372
> Starring: Bob Johnson, Ben Wright, William Douglas, Robert Culp

Source: Courtesy of A&E Home Video

15. Secret Agent (1964-1967)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,386
> Starring: Patrick McGoohan, Peter Madden, Peter Brayham, Earl Cameron

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

14. Thriller (1960-1962)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,453
> Starring: Boris Karloff, Richard Peel, Henry Daniell, Lillian O’Malley

Source: Courtesy of CBS

13. Get Smart (1965-1970)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 12,558
> Starring: Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt, Robert Karvelas

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

12. The Avengers (1961-1969)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 7,906
> Starring: Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

11. Combat! (1962-1967)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 2,763
> Starring: Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert, Jack Hogan

 

Source: Courtesy of CBS

9. The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 14,944
> Starring: Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts, Frances Bavier

Source: Courtesy of Amazon Freevee

8. Doctor Who (1963-1989)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 37,446
> Starring: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

7. Star Trek (1966-1969)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 83,565
> Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols

Source: Courtesy of WTTV

6. The Three Stooges Show (1960-1972)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 1,106
> Starring: Hal Fryar, Curley Myers, Larry Vincent

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

5. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962-1992)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 3,885
> Starring: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Doc Severinsen, Skitch Henderson

Source: Courtesy of CBS

4. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962-1965)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 4,657
> Starring: Alfred Hitchcock, Hinton Pope, Jimmy Joyce, Lew Brown

Source: gordonflood / Wikimedia Commons

3. Match of the Day (1964-1964)
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 2,545
> Starring: John Motson, Gary Lineker, Barry Davies, Guy Mowbray

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

2. The Bugs Bunny Show (1960-1975)
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 33,736
> Starring: Mel Blanc, Pinto Colvig, Joe Bronx, June Foray

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1. The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 6,353
> Starring: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, The Ernie Flatt Dancers, Harvey Korman

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