Quintessential 60's TV series

I was having a ball looking through the various lineups for prime time TV in the 1960’s (here, for example, is the 65-66 schedule), when I asked myself: which of these programs best captured the feel and spirit of the 1960’s? Which one(s) are unmistakably products of that wonderful decade?

There are many deserving candidates, but I won’t spoil it by listing examples except to say that I thought there were three that absolutely epitomized not just TV from the 60’s, but the 60’s themselves.

IMHO, they are

  1. Batman
  2. The Man From Uncle
  3. The Monkees

Batman and The Monkees each went a long way towards establishing what we’d now recognize as the look of the 60’s (well, at least, the peri-psychedelic 60’s), and the Man From Uncle, with its cool characters and nifty gadgets went an equally long way in the development of that 60’s paradigm, the “anti-hero”, and the fascination with technology, respectively (with Mission Impossible a very close second in regard to the latter). Of course, there’s a lot more to it than what I’ve briefly described, but I’m sure you get my point.

So, what do you think are the THREE quintessential 1960’s TV programs?

In no particular order:

Lost In Space

“The Prisoner”. :smiley:

The Avengers.

Dragnet, second series. What mainstream America really thought of hippies.


  1. The Beverly Hillbillies: For those who found the new times bewildering, they could sympathise with/ laugh at the Clampetts’ utter miscomprehension of modern society.

  2. Star Trek: A parable of American optimism- the Peace Corp in outer space. Plus women in miniskirts and go-go boots.

  3. Giligan’s Island: American society in microcosm, as multiple visitors embodying nearly every trendy topic payed a visit to the castaways.

Star Trek

The first because it was a decade of westerns (well, really like 1955-1970, but close enough), and Bonanza is probably the best-remembered.

Star Trek is 60s SF, with topical episodes, bright colors, etc.

Bewitched is a classic example of silly 60s comedy, though Gilligan’s Island or The Beverly Hillbillies could also be said to be prime examples, but I just like Bewitched more, albeit with Dick York as Durwood.

Sir Rhosis

The Dick Van Dyke Show Young, upwardly mobile, attractive suburbanites. Witty and contemporary.

Star Trek - What Lumpy said.

For third place I’d call it a tie between Laugh-In and The Monkees. Nothing special in terms of content, but visually and in attitude they captured a faint spark of what was happening.

I came here to mention Batman, but that was already in the OP

And evertyhing else I thought of mentioning was mentioned.

So how 'bot Get Smart.

I came here to mention Batman, but that was already in the OP

And evertyhing else I thought of mentioning was mentioned.

So how 'bout Get Smart.

*Get Smart * was the first show I thought of.

Wow, some outstanding choices. Thanks to all of you!

You know, I had forgotten about Laugh-In :smack: It’s gotta be right up there in terms of typifying the spirit of the (late) 60’s. Frankly, it’s a better choice than “my” Man From Uncle" for sure.

The Mod Squad

The Fintstones. - The original prime-time cartoon: laced with topical humour and guest stars.

The Munsters and The Addams Family showed us that it was OK to be different.

The Rifleman
Marcus Welby, M.D.
The Name of the Game

I’d go with the Smothers Brothers as the most representative. Loaded with 1960s anti-war, anti-establishment sentiment. I’d put Laugh-in second for the same reasons. And for a sappy, unrealistic sitcom, how about My Three Sons?

I don’t think Marcus Welby was in the 60s, was it?

Sir Rhosis

Where is the love of Down home Sit Corns

The Beverley Hillbillies, Andy Griffith Show, Petticoat junction.
The 60’s were also a time of Rural comedies (CBC killed them all when 1970 rolled around)

Just barely – it debuted on September 23, 1969.

Of the rural comedies, I think Green Acres best captured the overall spirit of the decade. The humor was often subversive (drug references and political gags), but the contrast between the Douglases and the long-time Hootervillians mirrored the tension between the arrival of “progress” and the desire to cling to the old ways, as well as the fact that the people on either side of the cultural divide often didn’t really understand what their “rivals” thought and did.

I’d also nominate either Laugh-In or The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour for the people who believe that “those who remember the Sixties weren’t really there”, while pointing out that there were plenty of folks who fought the anti-war hippie tide, and whose fondest television memory of the decade would be something like The Lawrence Welk Show.

God, how did I forget Andy Griffith? Replace Lost in Space on my list with it.

How do those exemplify the '60s?