TV shows set in the ’50s have brought us some incredibly entertaining content. The 1950s is renowned for its impeccable style, toe-tapping music, and an array of unforgettable moments, making it the perfect backdrop for some of the most captivating TV shows. It’s fascinating to explore how television evolved during this era, paving the way for the marvelous shows we enjoy today.
One of the absolute gems among TV shows set in the ’50s is the sensational sitcom Happy Days – who can resist the charm of the iconic Fonz? Another timeless classic that will forever hold a special place in our hearts is Laverne & Shirley. However, the ’50s setting has also inspired more contemporary series like American Horror Story: Freak Show, The Company, and M*A*S*H, each offering a unique twist on the era. And let’s not forget the delightful animated shows set in the ’50s, such as Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks and The Little Lulu Show, which transport us to a whimsical world of imagination.
Now, let’s dive into the thrilling realm of these extraordinary TV shows set in the ’50s. Explore the marvelous stories, get lost in the captivating characters, and let your imagination run wild. Which of these enchanting shows set in the ’50s captures your heart? Share your favorites and join in the fun as we uncover the rankings of these remarkable period TV shows from the 1950s.
1. Call The Midwife
Call The Midwife” is a delightful period drama that takes place in the late 1950s and early 1960s in London’s East End. It follows the lives of midwives and nuns who join forces to offer care and assistance to underprivileged mothers and families. The show addresses significant topics such as poverty, prejudice, and the evolution of society, all the while honoring the remarkable strength and resilience of its female characters
Premiered: January 15, 2012
Actors: Jenny Agutter, Annabelle Apsion, Linda Bassett
2. Happy Days
Happy Days is a classic sitcom that takes us back to the 1950s, immersing us in the lives of teenager Richie Cunningham and his lovable crew in Milwaukee. It delves into the rollercoaster ride of adolescence, with Ron Howard taking the lead as Richie. But let’s not forget about the unforgettable Fonz, brilliantly portrayed by Henry Winkler. The Fonz became a cultural phenomenon, and it’s worth mentioning that the show even gave birth to the phrase ‘jumping the shark,’ thanks to a legendary episode featuring this iconic character.
Premiered: January 15, 1974
Actors: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley
3. The Queen’s Gambit
The Queen’s Gambit is all about this incredible orphan, Beth Harmon, played by the amazing Anya Taylor-Joy. It’s set in the 50s and 60s and takes us on Beth’s wild ride from nobody to worldwide sensation in the cutthroat world of chess. She’s not only fighting against her own demons but also against the sexism that’s all too prevalent in the male-dominated chess scene. People are loving this series because it’s not just some fluff; it actually shows chess strategy in a super accurate way. And guess what? It’s even making people want to play chess again!
Premiered: October 23, 2020
Actors: Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
M*A*S*H is a beloved TV series that takes place in the 1950s during the Korean War. It revolves around the surgical team stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The show skillfully combines comedy and drama to show the brutal realities of war. Two standout characters, Hawkeye Pierce (played by Alan Alda) and Hot Lips Houlihan (portrayed by Loretta Swit), have left an indelible mark on television history.
Premiered: September 17, 1972
Actors: Alan Alda, McLean Stevenson, Wayne Rogers
5. Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley is a sitcom spinoff from Happy Days, set in 1950s Milwaukee. It revolves around the lives of two best friends and roommates, as they deal with work and love. The show features Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as the main characters, who bring a great comedic chemistry and physical humor to the screen. Their hilarious antics have had a lasting influence on the sitcom genre.
Premiered: January 27, 1976
Actors: Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Eddie Mekka
Hollywood, a limited series by Ryan Murphy, takes us on a trip back to the 1950s, but with a fascinating alternate history twist. This show brings together a talented ensemble cast, including Darren Criss, Patti LuPone, and Jim Parsons, who bring to life both fictional and real-life characters from the entertainment industry. Brace yourself for an exploration of race, sexuality, and power dynamics, all set against a backdrop of glitz and glamour. Prepare to be transported to a world where anything can happen.
Premiered: May 1, 2020
David Corenswet, Patti LuPone, Jake Picking
7. Father Brown
Father Brown is a British period crime drama set in the early 1950s, based on the stories by G.K. Chesterton. It follows the adventures of the main character, played by Mark Williams, who is a Roman Catholic priest with a knack for solving mysteries. He relies on his sharp intuition and deep understanding of human nature to crack cases in his quaint Cotswold village. The show’s delightful setting and intriguing mysteries have attracted a dedicated fanbase.
Premiered: January 18, 2013
Actors: Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, John Burton
Fargo is an anthology crime series that takes inspiration from the Coen brothers’ film. It’s got this cool season set in the 1950s Midwest, you know? The show is all about that dark humor and those quirky characters we love, and it keeps that vibe going strong in every season. They mix things up by exploring different time periods and locations. And hey, they’ve got some big names like Ewan McGregor, Kirsten Dunst, and Ted Danson making appearances in the series. Pretty awesome, right?
Premiered: April 15, 2014
Actors: Juno Temple, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Grantchester is a British detective drama that takes place in the 1950s. It revolves around the crime-solving duo of Anglican priest Sidney Chambers, played by James Norton, and Detective Inspector Geordie Keating, portrayed by Robson Green. This show incorporates a mix of mystery, romance, and social commentary, tackling topics such as post-war trauma and evolving societal norms.
Premiered: October 6, 2014
Actors: Robson Green, Tessa Peake-Jones, Kacey Ainsworth
10. All Creatures Great and Small
All Creatures Great and Small is a heartwarming British drama set in the 1950s. It’s based on the beloved books by James Herriot. The series follows a young veterinarian named James Herriot, played by Nicholas Ralph. He moves to the Yorkshire Dales to work under the eccentric Siegfried Farnon, portrayed by Samuel West. The show’s got this picturesque rural setting and these charming animal stories that have made it a favorite among viewers.
Premiered: January 8, 1978
Actors: Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy, Peter Davison
11. A Place to Call Home
A Place to Call Home” is an Australian period drama set in the 1950s. It delves into the lives of the affluent Bligh family and their rural community. The show tackles powerful themes like love, loss, and social change, all brought to life by the exceptional performance of Marta Dusseldorp in the lead role as Sarah Adams. Viewers have applauded the series for its intricate characters and captivating storytelling
Premiered: April 28, 2013
Actors: Marta Dusseldorp, Noni Hazlehurst, Brett Climo