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Best '60s TV Shows

by Kim Potts, posted Aug 24th 2009 4:00PM
Best Shows of the '60s Andy GriffithIn AOL TV's continuing countdown of the best TV shows of each decade, we travel back in time to the 1960s, when viewers were entertained by wacky sitcoms like 'Green Acres,' 'Bewitched' and 'The Addams Family,' a proliferation of Westerns that featured future superstars like Clint Eastwood and Michael Landon, variety shows like 'Laugh-In' and 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' and James Bond-inspired spy shows like 'The Saint' and 'I Spy.'

Viewers were also into grittier fare like realistic cop dramas ('Ironside,' 'Adam-12') and war action series ('12 O'Clock High,' 'Combat!'), though there was plenty of classic sitcom fun on the airwaves, too, from 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' to 'Get Smart' and 'My Three Sons.'

Take a look at our picks of the decade's best and let us know if we got it right. -- By Kimberly Potts
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The Best Shows of the '60s
In AOL TV's continuing countdown of the best TV shows of each decade, we travel back in time to the 1960s, when viewers were entertained by wacky sitcoms like 'Green Acres,' 'Bewitched' and 'The Addams Family,' a proliferation of Westerns that featured future superstars like Clint Eastwood and Michael Landon, variety shows like 'Laugh-In' and 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' and James Bond-inspired spy shows like 'The Saint' and 'I Spy.
ABC / Retna / Everett Collection
Phil Walter, Getty Images

The Best TV Shows of the 60s

    In AOL TV's continuing countdown of the best TV shows of each decade, we travel back in time to the 1960s, when viewers were entertained by wacky sitcoms like 'Green Acres,' 'Bewitched' and 'The Addams Family,' a proliferation of Westerns that featured future superstars like Clint Eastwood and Michael Landon, variety shows like 'Laugh-In' and 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' and James Bond-inspired spy shows like 'The Saint' and 'I Spy.'

    Viewers were also into grittier fare like realistic cop dramas ('Ironside,' 'Adam-12') and war action series ('12 O'Clock High,' 'Combat!'), though there was plenty of classic sitcom fun on the airwaves, too, from 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' to 'Get Smart' and 'My Three Sons.'

    Take a look at our picks of the decade's best and let us know if we got it right. -- By Kimberly Potts

    NBCU Photo Bank (2)

    40. 'The Flintstones'
    (1960-66)

    The first primetime 'toon for adults was like a Stone Age version of 'The Honeymooners,' and a spoof of futuristic life, with Wilma's garbage disposal (a hungry bird under the sink) and Fred's record player (another long-beaked bird served as the needle). The show also featured the beloved "Meet the Flintstones" theme song, which wasn't introduced until the series' third season.



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    ABC / Retna

    39. 'Rawhide'
    (1959-66)

    Among the most popular of the ubiquitous TV Westerns of the decade, 'Rawhide' revolved around a group of men who drove cattle across the country in the 1860s and '70s. It was a tough gig -- droughts, thieves, harsh weather and disease confronted the men -- which called for a tough hombre to lead the way: future Oscar winner Clint Eastwood, who played hothead cattleman Rowdy Yates.



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    Everett Collection

    38. 'The Flying Nun'
    (1967-70)

    It didn't get more high concept than the ABC sitcom about a nun (Sally Field) who could fly. How? "When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag" is how the 90-pound Sister Betrille explained her ability, which sometimes helped save her Puerto Rican convent, and sometimes complicated her life, like when a bird fell in love with her. Kookier still: Field released a 'Flying Nun' album in 1967.



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    ABC / Retna

    37. '12 O'Clock High'
    (1964-67)

    Adapted from the Oscar-winning 1949 flick starring Gregory Peck, the action-packed ABC war drama followed the adventures of the 918th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in World War II. Unlike most series, 'High''s commanders didn't send their troops out alone ... the leaders were fighting alongside their men, leading to the second season death of General Savage (Robert Lansing).

    Everett Collection

    36. 'Batman'
    (1966-68)

    The DC Comics' Caped Crusader really packed a POW! BIF! BAM! in this uber-campy ABC series take on the comic book classic, in which tights-sporting Batman (Adam West) and his sidekick Robin (Burt Ward) defended Gotham City from a lineup of colorful, wacky villains like the Penguin, the Riddler and the Joker, using the Batmobile, the Batcave's massive Batcomputer and a never-ending supply of bad Batpuns.



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    ABC / Retna

    35. 'Julia'
    (1968-71)

    The show starred Diahann Carroll as a widowed nurse raising her son in Los Angeles after her husband was killed in Vietnam. Simple concept, but the series made a huge impact as one of the first to showcase an African-American female lead. 'Julia' pleased many critics with its non-stereotypical minority lead, but angered others, who felt the NBC show ignored Julia's cultural background.

    NBCU Photo Bank

    34. 'Adam-12'
    (1968-75)

    Created by 'Dragnet''s Jack Webb, 'Adam-12' was another realistic look at cop life. LAPD vet Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) planned to retire after the death of his partner, but he stuck around to train rookie Jim Reed (Kent McCord), and two opposites bonded while covering cases that ranged from the funny to the tragic. The show was also the first writing gig for 'A-Team' creator Stephen J. Cannell.



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    NBCU Photo Bank

    33. 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'
    (1964-68)

    A descent into campiness led to a short run for the spy series, but not before two great seasons with clever plots (including an ep written by Harlan Ellison), great action and an impressive lineup of guest stars who helped American agent Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Russian agent Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) take on international bad guys THRUSH.



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    NBCU Photo Bank

    32. 'The Judy Garland Show'
    (1963-64)

    Even the legendary singer couldn't compete with ratings powerhouse 'Bonanza,' which is why the show only lasted one season. But Garland, who was in one of the stormier periods of her personal life, was in top form in the variety series, which, at its best, revolved around her grand musical performances, as well as guest gigs by Liza Minnelli, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Count Basie and Mickey Rooney.



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    Everett Collection

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JEREMY

What most readers don't know:Martin Landau was originally considered for the role of Spock on "Star Trek".When that role went to Leonard Nimoy,Landau went on to "Mission:Impossible".When Landau married co-star Barbara Bain and left the series,he was replaced by......LEONARD NIMOY.
Even Spock would say that's "fascinating".
What do you readers say?

July 08 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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