I love watching reruns of classic TV shows that I grew up with or that aired before my existence. Where I live there are two local stations dedicated to airing classic TV shows such Star Trek: The Original Series, The Jeffersons, and more. There are so many great classic shows, I wouldn't be able to list them all but here are five of my favorites:
5. Batman (1966-1968)
In spite of its campiness, this show has a special place in my heart. Who doesn’t love the introductions by the announcer, the theme song, and even Robin’s “Holy ____ Batman!” As a kid, this show was one of my first introductions to the caped crusader and I continue to enjoy watching reruns.
4. I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
Lucille Ball was one of the funniest people on television ever, and I mean EVER. Anytime her show comes on I watch. This is one of the few shows where if I’ve seen an episode more than once it still gets me giggling. With great episodes such as “Job Switching", "Lucy is Enceinte,” and “L.A. At Last!” this show remains a classic and withstands the test of time as one of the best sitcoms in TV history.
3. Amen (1986-1991)
Set in Philadelphia, this sitcom revolved around the deacon/lawyer Ernest Frye (played by Sherman Hemsley), who gets into trouble from his many schemes. He has an adult daughter named Thelma (Anna Maria Horsford) who likes the new young pastor of the Frye’s church, Reuben Gregory (played by Clifton Davis). Other church members rounded out the main cast, which included the elderly, lively, spirited, and voice of reason Rolly Forbes (played by Jester Hairston) who is one of my favorite characters on the show.
Lasting for five seasons, Amen featured a number of high profiled guests such as M.C. Hammer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Halle Berry, James L. Avery, and Loretta Devine. The show was part of the 1980s wave of successful sitcoms that featured predominantly black casts.
2. Adam-12 (1968-1975)
Adam-12 was a police drama focusing on two cops from the Los Angeles police department in their patrol unit 1-Adam-12. The show introduces viewers to officer Jim Reed is a rookie cop, less than a week out of the academy and is partnered with veteran officer Pete Malloy who has decided to resign from the force after the loss of his long time partner and friend was killed by an armed robbery suspect. On his last night on the force, Malloy is partnered with Reed at the request of Malloy’s lieutenant. After a night out on patrol with the rookie, Malloy finds a renewed purpose, and decides to stay on the job and be Reed’s partner during Reed’s nine-month probationary period.
What I loved about this show was that it’s a realistic-style drama that captures the daily life of a police officer as realistically as possible. Like the next show on my list Dragnet, each episode of this series was based on real life actual cases with the names changed to “protect the innocent.” Each episode focused on the many situations that police had to deal with during that time period from the silly and mundane to the serious and dangerous.
Which leads me to the final show on my list...
1. Dragnet (1951-1970)
This is also a police procedural drama and was created by Adam-12’s creator Jack Webb. Originally a radio series, Dragnet became a thirty minute TV series in 1951. Webb played Los Angeles police detective Sergeant Joe Friday, who solves cases along with his partners.
What I love about this show is just like Adam-12, Dragnet depicted police work as realistically as possible. The show highlighted both the mundane aspects of police work as well as the danger and heroism. The famous catchphrase “Just the facts, ma'am" is attributed to the show but Friday never said it in any episodes. In fact, Friday never actually said this in any of the show’s episodes. In addition, while showcasing different aspects of public safety infrastructure of Los Angeles, Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency! all take place in the same universe and often times had crossover episodes with each other where characters from the different series would appear in their fellow shows.
While these shows’ airtime has ended, they still are relatable and notable. Many of these classic TV shows were ahead of their time in regards to their content and the issues that they discussed. There are so many good classic shows that continue to air in syndication and I encourage you to watch if you’re not already doing so.
What are your favorite classic TV shows? List them below!