35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

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Remember when outdoor activities didn’t warrant a second thought? Yeah, me either. COVID-19 has made many Americans stay at home more than ever, and what better way to kill time than watching classic TV shows? According to the American Time Use Survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent 2.8 hours a day watching television in 2019 — and the likelihood of that number skyrocketing in 2020 due to quarantine is inevitable.

35 classic TV shows

If one of your favorite pastimes includes binge watching shows, it might be time to stop looking for new ones and turn back in time to some of the classics. Throw some popcorn in the microwave and check out these 35 old TV shows worth your time, from the 1950’s through just last year.

Related: The 20 best TV shows of all time

1. I Love Lucy

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1951-1957
  • Seasons: 6 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

This sitcom is set in New York City where middle-class housewife Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) does everything in her power to enter show business with her band-leading, nightclub-owning husband, Ricky Ricardo (Ricky Arnaz). Check out this show to see all of the tricks and schemes Lucy plays with her friends Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) and Fred Mertz (William Frawley) in order to make her dreams of fame come true.

2. Gunsmoke

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1955-1975
  • Seasons: 20 seasons
  • Where to watch: CBS All Access

Taking place in Dodge City in the wild west, U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) is in charge of keeping the city in line. The problem is, no one wants to listen to or follow the rules. Explore 20 years of Marshall Matt engaging in brawls, gunfights, cattle rustling, threats to his power and fraud cases that’ll be sure to keep you on your feet.

3. Perry Mason

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1957-1966
  • Seasons: 9 seasons
  • Where to watch: CBS All Access

Call it the classic Law & Order if you will. Attorney Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) knows how to get to the bottom of even the most elusive crimes — defending his falsely-accused clients by weeding out the real culprit in every case. With help from Investigator Paul Drake (William Hopper)  and his secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale), Perry brings justice in the courtroom and constant trouble to the local District Attorney.

4. Leave it to Beaver

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Pat McDermott Public Relations / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1957-1963
  • Seasons: 6 seasons
  • Where to watch: Apple iTunes

Young kids are as curious as it gets, but no one beats Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) in this black-and-white sitcom. Follow Beaver and his family as the show explores his adventures at home, in school and around his suburban neighborhood. Achieving iconic status, this show exemplifies the typical 20th century suburban family.

5. Bonanza

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: NBC Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1959-1973
  • Seasons: 14 seasons
  • Where to watch: First two seasons on SlingTV

Set in Virginia City, Nevada, the Cartwrights have 1,000 square miles of land to explore on their Ponderosa Ranch. The head of the family, Adam Cartwright (Pernell Roberts), is tasked with raising his three sons, all from different wives who have since passed away. Bonanza documents their crazy adventures on the ranch — delivering action, adventure and drama involving their interpersonal relationships.

6. Batman

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Greenway Productions / Wikimedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1966-1968
  • Seasons: 3 seasons
  • Where to watch: YouTubeTV

If there’s anyone that can defeat the super villains of Gotham City, it’s none other than Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward). Watch the classic iteration of Batman as millionaire Bruce Wayne and his ward, Dick Grayson, turn superheroes by night (and sometimes day) to assist the local police in solving crimes in order to foil  supervillains’ plans in every episode.

7. The Andy Griffith Show

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1960-1968
  • Seasons: 8 seasons
  • Where to watch: Tubi

Starring Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, the widowed sheriff of the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, has little to no crime to attend to. Living with his Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), Andy spends his time with his son Opie (Ron Howard), deputy cousin Barney Fife (Don Knotts), the fascinating townspeople and psychotic girlfriends keeping the show on it’s toes.

8. Gilligan’s Island

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1964-1967
  • Seasons: 3 seasons
  • Where to watch: YouTubeTV

Ever wondered what it’d be like to be shipwrecked on an island? This show gives you a glimpse into the lives of seven castaways that did just that. Watch as the diverse cast of island survivors live off of fish and coconut cream pie and go through a series of trial-and-error to escape the island they just can’t seem to get off of.

9. Bewitched

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: ABC Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1964-1972
  • Seasons: 8 seasons
  • Where to watch: Sony Crackle

A witch bride and a mortal groom is a recipe for disaster, but Darrin (Dick York/Dick Sargent) didn’t know Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) was a witch until after they tied the knot. Vowing to live the life of a moral citizen, Samantha can’t help but use her supernatural powers in order to get out of sticky situations she encounters, further putting strain on her relationship with Darrin.

10. The Dick Van Dyke Show

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1961-1966
  • Seasons: 5 seasons
  • Where to watch: Tubi

This show follows the behind-the-scenes journey of three scriptwriters, Rob (Dick Van-Dyke), Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally (Rose Marie), as they come up with ideas for the fictional Alan Brady Show — cracking a boat-load of jokes along the way. The show also takes a closer look into Rob’s life at home with his wife, Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) in New Rochelle, New York.

11. Little House on the Prairie

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: NBC Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1974-1983
  • Seasons: 9 seasons
  • Where to watch: Philo

Based on the book series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the TV adaptation set in the late 1800s follows the Ingalls family, living in their tiny house on the banks of Plum Creek in a town called Walnut Grove. Narrated by Laura, the show walks viewers through her farm life, childhood and eventual adulthood — adding family elements along the way. Enjoy a nice, wholesome family experience through this long-running show.

12. Happy Days

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: ABC Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1974-1984
  • Seasons: 11 seasons
  • Where to watch: CBS All Access

This sitcom, set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, follows the life of teenager Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard), his family and, most reputably, his greaser-style, highschool dropout best friend, Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler). Watch Richie navigate life with his family, at his local high school and through the wise input from “The Fonz.”

13. Sanford and Son

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Robert Garner Attractions / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1972-1977
  • Seasons: 6 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

This classic sitcom follows 65-year-old Fred Sanford (Red Foxx) and his impatient son 34-year-old Lamont Sanford (Demond Wilson) living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Being junk dealers, they run into their fair share of trouble, and often struggle to make ends meet (Fred’s wife passed away 20 years prior). Lamont oftentimes tries to leave, but Fred always finds a way to make him stick around, sometimes going to extreme measures.

14. The Waltons

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1972-1981
  • Seasons: 9 seasons
  • Where to watch: Philo

Set in the historic era of the Great Depression, The Waltons own a sawmill in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and live on namesake Walton’s Mountain. The show is portrayed through the eyes of the Waltons’ oldest son, John-Boy (Richard Thomas), who wants to break free of the economic hardship his family is going through and eventually become a novelist. Watch as John-Boy and the rest of the family navigate through the struggles of the Great Depression in this show for the ages.

15. Charlie’s Angels

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: ABC Television / WikiMedia Commons

  • Air dates: 1976-1981
  • Seasons: 5 seasons
  • Where to watch: Sony Crackle

Set in Los Angeles, California, Sabrina Duncan (Kate Jackson), Jill Munroe (Jaclyn Smith) and Kelly Garrett (Farrah Fawcett) all graduate from the city’s police academy only to be given mediocre jobs not related to law enforcement. That is, until, they end up landing private investigator jobs in the Charles Townsend Agency, led by none other than Charles Townsend. Charles dubs them as “Angels” and they are sent on a bunch of missions with Charles’ assistant John Bosely (David Doyle).

16. The Golden Girls

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Golden Girls / ABC Television

  • Air dates: 1985-1992
  • Seasons: 7 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

Who said older women aren’t fun anymore? The Golden Girls heard you. This show revolves around four eccentric old women who are roommates in Miami after either being widowed or divorced. All four of them have diverse personalities that make people eager to return to get a good laugh as they share their stories and common digs. Check out this classic now streaming on Hulu.

17. Full House

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Full House / ABC Television

  • Air dates: 1987-1995
  • Seasons: 8 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

You got it dude! Nothing beats spending 30 minutes with the classic Tanner family in San Francisco, California. Follow the head of the house and morning talk show host Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) and his three daughters, DJ (Candace Cameron), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and little Michelle (Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen) navigate life after the loss of their mother to a drunk driver. Danny gets some help with raising three girls from his brother-in-law “Uncle Jesse” (John Stamos), his wife Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin) and his best friend Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier) as their roommates in this timeless family series.

18. Magnum P.I.

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Magnum P.I. / CBS Television

  • Air dates: 1980-1988
  • Seasons: 8 seasons
  • Where to watch: Philo

This show takes the idea of housesitting to the next level. Thomas Magnum (Tom Sellick) is a former Naval officer who left the forces because he skipped out on the prime years of his life. He finds himself in Hawaii working as a private investigator on cases across the state while also making sure no one touches renowned author Robin Nest’s estate — who never appears to be at the house. Check out this action movie that’s just as fun as it is intense.

19. ALF

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: ALF / NBC Universal

  • Air dates: 1986-1990
  • Seasons: 4 seasons
  • Where to watch: Tubi

Everyone’s favorite “alien life form,” ALF, has arrived in the U.S. from his home, planet Melmac. He ends up going into hiding with a suburban family in Fernando Valley, California, as the Alien Task Force keeps looking for him. After his home planet explodes due to everyone plugging in their hair dryers at the same time, he eventually becomes a permanent member of the Tanner family. Check out the family dynamic of a household with an alien in this classic show.

20. Growing Pains

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Growing Pains / ABC Television

  • Air dates: 1985-1992
  • Seasons: 7 seasons
  • Where to watch: Apple iTunes

A show similar to Full House, it follows a family consisting of psychologist, Dr. Seaver (Alan Thicke), his wife, journalist Maggie Seaver (Joanna Kearns) and their four kids Crissie (Ashley Johnson), Mike (Kirk Cameron), Ben (Jeremy Miller) and Carol (Tracey Gold). Having four kids would be a handful for anyone, but they always like to stir up trouble. See how this family navigates all of the ups and downs of being parents and children while still remaining a tight-knit group that has each other’s backs.

21. Friends

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Friends / NBC Television

  • Air dates: 1994-2004
  • Seasons: 10 seasons
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

This story follows six friends in their 20s who live in the heart of New York City. Over the course of 10 seasons, viewers see the ups and downs in each of their individual lives, conflict between the friends themselves, but most importantly, how they still stick together and define what a friendship is truly all about. Check out favorites like Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green and Courtney Cox as Monica Geller in this long-standing sitcom.

22. Fresh Prince of Bel Air

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Fresh Prince of Bel Air / NBC Universal

  • Air dates: 1990-1996
  • Seasons: 6 seasons
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

“This is a story all about how my life got twist-turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute just sit right there, and tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air.” Remember that catchy tune? It’s from none other than the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will (Will Smith) is from a dangerous area of inner-city Philly, so his mother sends him to live with his high-class stuffy relatives in the fancy Bel Air area of Los Angeles, California. Watch as Will brings his city roots to Bel Air and see how both his and his relatives’ lifestyles come together.

23. Beverly Hills 90210

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Beverly Hills 90210 / FOX Network

  • Air dates: 1990-2000
  • Seasons: 10 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

This show follows twins Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) as they adjust to life in Beverly Hills, California after living in Minnesota all their lives. They acquire a slew of friends, and the show lets everyone see the ups and downs of being a teenager and young adult in Beverly Hills, including heavy subjects like eating disorders, homophobia, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy.

24. Boy Meets World

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Boy Meets World / ABC Television

  • Air dates: 1993-2000
  • Seasons: 7 seasons
  • Where to watch: Disney+

Description: This show follows Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) alongside his best friend Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) as they navigate the worlds of middle school, high school and college. Check out the interactions these two goofballs have with their teachers, friends, girls and enemies in this light-hearted sitcom available on Disney’s new streaming platform Disney+.

25. ER

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: ER / NBC Universal

  • Air dates: 1994-2009
  • Seasons: 15 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

In this long-standing medical drama show, each episode documents life for ER staff in the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. The experiences range from truly heart wrenching to warm-hearted for patients and the people who work there, but one thing is for sure, the events that take place in the hospital will always keep you on your feet. Check out the 5th longest-running medical drama in the world on Hulu.

26. Lost

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Lost / ABC Television

  • Air dates: 2004-2010
  • Seasons: 6 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

When Oceanic Flight 815 traveling from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles, California, crashes on an island in the middle of nowhere, the survivors have to find a way to stay alive and try to escape the island. The show explores each survivor’s past and future in cutaways, giving the audience clues into who they really are. This one has a truly shocking series finale

27. House

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: House / FOX Network

  • Air dates: 2004-2012
  • Seasons: 8 seasons
  • Where to watch: Apple iTunes

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) is the leader of a medical team at fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey. Being a cynical, unconventional doctor that ironically relies on pain medication to stay sane, House often clashes with both the patients he treats and the medical staff he delegates responsibility to. But one thing is for sure, he is truly a great doctor and, in most cases, gets the job done. See House in action in this medical drama of the decade.

28. Gilmore Girls

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Gilmore Girls / The WB

  • Air dates: 2000-2007
  • Seasons: 7 seasons
  • Where to watch: Netflix

This woman-led show follows mother and teenage daughter Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) as they grow up in a small town called Stars Hollow after Lorelai, once living with her parents in high-class Hartford, Connecticut, got pregnant as a teen and left the house she felt so ostracized in. Both Lorelai and Rory have big ambitions, but in order for Rory to be sent to preparatory school, Lorelai had to ask her parents for a loan, in which they agree, upon the term that both of them have to join her parents for dinner every Friday night. See the conflict, resolution and everything in between in this tale of two cities.

29. One Tree Hill

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: One Tree Hill / The CW

  • Air dates: 2003-2012
  • Seasons: 9 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

This show takes you to a small town called Tree Hill in North Carolina where brothers Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) try to make it onto their high school’s well-respected basketball team, The Ravens. From the basketball team to drama with their girlfriends, this show has an endless amount of plots to tune into.

30. The O.C.

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: The O.C. / FOX Network

  • Air dates: 2003-2007
  • Seasons: 4 seasons
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

This show follows Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) as he gets adopted by rich and wise parents Sandy (Peter Gallagher) and Kristen Cohen (Kelly Rowan) of Newport Beach after being kicked out of his own home by his alcoholic, unstable mother. After Ryan becomes familiar with his new, quirky and smart adopted brother, Seth (Adam Brody), they live life outside of the box in an environment nothing short of stuffy. Watch as these two free spirits try to live authentic lives under the shadows of materialism and artificialism.

31. The Walking Dead

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: The Walking Dead / AMC

  • Air dates: 2010-present
  • Seasons: 10 seasons
  • Where to watch: Netflix

“Lions and tigers and zombies, oh my!” This show follows humans under siege during a zombie apocalypse. If fighting zombies sounds hard enough, non-zombie members of the cast form their own power cliques — putting other human survivors at risk on their own terms. Watch as the long-standing cast escapes death time after time through this nail-biter of a series — and you have some time to catch up, as pre-production for the 11th season was delayed due to COVID-19.

32. Stranger Things

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Stranger Things / Netflix

  • Air dates: 2016-present
  • Seasons: 3 seasons
  • Where to watch: Netflix

A little boy by the name of Will Byers is missing, and in the small town of Hawkins, everyone knows about it. What’s even more mysterious is that Will spent his time in a supernatural world called “The Upside Down” during his disappearance — only accessible through the possession of a demon called the shadow monster. His friends try to uncover the supernatural world leaking into their average lives by playing Dungeons and Dragons. With the help of their supernatural accomplice, Eleven, they fight the demons of The Upside Down full-time. Check out this series full of action, drama and characters you grow to love — oh, and a fourth season is on the way, so make sure to catch up in time.

33. Black Mirror

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Black Mirror / Netflix

  • Air dates: 2011-present
  • Seasons: 5 seasons
  • Where to watch: Netflix

Technology is a large part of our society today, and every year we become more reliant on it to complete everyday tasks. Black Mirror takes that concept and pushes it to the extreme, showing scenarios of what the world would be like if technology played an even larger role in how we function. Some scenarios appear to be very cool and would be desirable today, but most of them depict the negative impact technology can have on people, and the horrors of being over consumed in an artificial world. Check out this sci-fi series of long episodes and brace yourself for the hypothetical world of super advanced technology.

34. Shameless

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Shameless / Showtime

  • Air dates: 2011-present
  • Seasons: 10 seasons
  • Where to watch: Netflix

Frank Gallagher (William Macy), a disheveled single father has his hands full living in a house with six rambunctious children. Due to his alcoholism, he spends much of the time drinking and going missing as his children have to fend for themselves while also learning how to handle Frank and his shenanigans. Watch this coming-of-age show as the kids grow up over 10 seasons — handling their own obstacles and milestones that come along the way. An 11th season on the way, which is said to be the final season of this series.

35. Game of Thrones

35 of your favorite old TV shows worth watching again

Image: Game of Thrones / HBO

  • Air dates: 2011-2019
  • Seasons: 8 seasons
  • Where to watch: Hulu

This critically-acclaimed TV series follows mythical characters in the fictional land of Westeros as a number of powerful families battle to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. But while these families are battling, they have other enemies in their way — an ancient foe that wants to destroy them all, and the previous heirs of the land who are plotting to take it back from the far-away continent Essos, to which they’ve been exiled. Oh, and dragons. And zombies. Watch this action-packed fantasy drama and see who ends up coming out on top.

Bottom line

There is no question that new ideas and new shows will be released over the next few years, but with COVID-19 delaying production across the globe, it is worth seeing what shows from the past might align with your taste in TV. So, hop in the time machine, kick back the recliner and let the bingeing begin.

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