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Television in the 60s
Television became a universal habit in the 60s. Cinemas were closing in large numbers and there was good reason to believe that the small screen would destroy the cinema entirely. By 1960, nearly three quarters of the population had television, and by the end of the sixties, nearly ninety-five percent.
Britain only had two channels in 1960, BBC and IIV. A third channel BBC2 arrived in 1964. It was broadcast on 625 lines UHF, older sets could only receive 405 lines. BBC1 and ITV were still broadcast on the old band. In the mid sixties sets were sold that could receive both. The public were less keen on BBC2. Programmes were more high-brow. Consequently, take-up was slower than had been for ITV in 1955.
By the mid sixties, viewing habits had not changed significantly except for "Top of the Pops". The top five BBC programmes for that year were:
- 1. Dr Finlay's Casebook (9.15pm Sunday)
- 2. Black and White Minstrel Show (7.50pm Saturday)
- 3. Top of the Pops (7.30 pm Thursday)
- 4. Perry Mason (9.25pm Monday)
- 5. Z Cars (8.00pm Wednesday)
5.15 Juke Box Jury
5.40 Dr Who: Checkmate
6.05 News, weather
6.35 The 1965 Royal Tournament
8.50 Summer Comedy Hour
9.55 The Flying Swan
10.50 The Andy Williams Show
Midland ITV (ABC)
1.10 Summer Sport (Water skiing, racing, athletics,
5.5 Sports Round-up
5.15 Sir Francis Drake
5.45 News from ITN
5.50 Lucky Stars - Summer Spin
6.30 Opportunity Knocks
7.20 Hong Kong
8.15 The Best of Morcambe and Wise
8.50 Hawaiian Eye
9.50 Ghost Squad
10.45 Mainly Millicent
11.20 ABC Weekend, weather, Epilogue Close Down
Yes that's right television on BBC1 started at 5.15pm - although in other months "Grandstand" would have been shown on Saturday afternoon.
The "Western" on BBC1 was "Flame of the Barbary Coast" staring John Wayne and Ann Dvorak. "The Great Van Robbery" was a film about a daring robbery of a Royal Mint van. BBC2's "Cinema 625" was a Czech film called "Transport from Paradise" about concentration camps.
The "Summer Comedy Hour" BBC1 (8.50pm) was a play "Almost a honeymoon", by Walter Ellis. It made it's debut in the West End in 1930. In 1965, a play written in 1930 would have been considered old fashioned, rather than nostalgic. ITV's offering "Undermind" was a thriller about a sinister organisation that was trying to disrupt Western Society. This kind of theme was fairly common in sixties film and TV. At 7.20 on ITV London you could see "The Saint" staring Roger Moore.
PRIME TIME TV IN THE SIXTIES - History
More than half of the population now owned a black & white tube television, you were lucky if you could get five stations on it. The TV had no remote control, there was no cable TV at this time and you needed an outside antenna or an inside antenna which most people called "Rabbit Ears". In 1960 an RCA black & white 21 inch console TV cost $268, most people financed this for about $10 per month.
CBS was the most popular network on TV as the 1960's started with more than half of the Top 10 shows. NBC was second and ABC was a distant third.
TV Westerns were the most popular type show in the early 60's. The top rated Westerns were Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Have Gun Will Travel, Rawhide & Bonanza. It took Bonanza a season or two before it became a top show but then it was one of the most popular westerns ever.
There were a few shows that lasted the entire 1960's in prime time. These shows included Lassie, Ed Sullivan Show, Walt Disney's Wonderful World Of Color, The Red Skelton Show, Bonanza, & The Lawrence Welk Show.
There were not many popular sitcoms when the 1960's started. The series Father Knows Best ended production in the late 1950's but continued to air in prime time until 1962, the show had better ratings as a rerun compared to its original airings.
The first TV show of the 1960's to become a TV classic was the Andy Griffith Show. This show was a spinoff from the Danny Thomas Show Make Room For Daddy. The Andy Griffith Show was in the Top 10 every year during its original run from 1960 - 1968.
Some other top shows from 1960 included Real McCoys, Candid Camera, 77 Sunset Strip, My Three Sons, Dennis The Menace & Perry Mason.
In 1961 TV Westerns still toped the ratings but 2 new medical dramas made quite an impact. Sr. Kildare starring Richard Chamberlain and Ben Casey starring Vince Edwards were big ratings winners.
Hazel was the most popular sitcoms and My Three Sons and Car 54 Where Are You were also popular.
In 1962 sitcoms came on strong, The Beverly Hillbillies was the top show of the year. 1962 saw the return of Lucille Ball in The Lucy Show, this program became an all time classic and still holds up very well today. The Dick Van Dyke Show despite marginal ratings its first year came on strong in 1962 and The Danny Thomas Show remained strong as well.
In 1963 ABC took control of our televisions as The Outer Limits debuted, this was one of the best Sci-Fi shows of the 1960's but it never did well in the ratings.
CBS hit the jackpot with two sitcoms in 1963, Petticoat Junction & My Favorite Martian.
ABC made some waves with 2 sitcoms including McHale's Navy & The Patty Duke Show. ABC also had a big hit in the making with The Fugitive which debuted in 1963, this show would be one of the most watched in the 1960's.
In 1964 Peyton Place aired twice a week on ABC and was the first successful nighttime Soap Opera. The show was well written and well acted, it lasted five years on ABC.
Bewitched was the big hit of 1964 starring the beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery.
CBS had strong showings from Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. starring Jim Nabors, this was a spinoff from The Andy Griffith Show. CBS also had popular shows such as Gilligan's Island, The Munsters and the long running Red Skelton Show.
In 1965 Bonanza topped the ratings, NBC had another ratings winner with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. along with the sitcoms Get Smart & I Dream Of Jeannie.
The Lucy Show, The Andy Griffith Show and Petticoat Junction spinoff Green Acres all did well in 1965.
In 1966 the most popular new show was Batman, this aired twice a week on Wednesday and Thursday nights. This show was hip and action packed and was popular with kids. The show was actually well written and had great guest stars as the villains.
NBC countered with The Monkees, this real live Rock Group of the late 60's had many hits during the run of their TV show.
In 1967 The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour attracted the most attention as this was the most controversial show on TV at the time.
The Fugitive series wrapped up in 1967 and the final episode was one of the most watched shows in the history of television up to that point. Richard Kimble finally caught up with the one arm man.
In 1968 CBS ended the runs of The Andy Griffith Show & The Lucy Show, both series were still in the top 5 when they ended production. Both were replaced with spinoff series. Andy Griffith Show with Mayberry R.F.D. & The Lucy Show with Here's Lucy.
NBC had the big new show of the year with Rowan & Martin's Laugh In, old favorites on NBC also did well in 1968 including The Dean Martin Show, The Virginian and Bonanza. NBC also had a controversial show called Julia, the story of a Negro Nurse raising her son with no husband.
CBS hit the jackpot with its new Police Drama Hawaii Five O starring Jack Lord. Family Affair also had high ratings in 1968.
ABC countered Hawaii Five O with its own hip Police Show Mod Squad.
In 1969 two Medical Dramas had big impact. Medical Center starring Chad Everett and Marcus Welby M.D. featured the return of Robert Young to network TV after a nine year absence.
ABC had a fresh new group of shows including The Brady Bunch, Room 222, Courtship Of Eddie's Father and Love American Style.
Here are the shows that defined the groovy 1960s television:
1. The Twilight Zone (CBS) (WATCH NOW) – Although it began to air in the late 1950s, many consider The Twilight Zone as one of the quintessential TV shows of the 1960s. Produced and presented by Rod Serling (who also served as the head writer), The Twilight Zone deals with anything strange and paranormal, with surprising climaxes and morals at the end of every episode. Check out the article “The Twilight Zone – Its Impact on American Television History” for more of the show’s history and cultural impact.
2. The Andy Griffith Show (CBS) (WATCH NOW) – This beloved syndicated sitcom stars Andy Griffith, but not as himself (despite the title). Instead, he plays a widowed sheriff in a small, sleepy fictional town called Mayberry. Although the series started slow, it eventually became successful, keeping audiences entertained for eight seasons (1960-1968). Check out the article “Classic TV Sitcoms – The Andy Griffith Show” for more of its history.
3. The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS) (WATCH NOW)– This sitcom portrays the life of a nouveau riche family who still goes on with their rustic ways, much to the consternation of the upper-crust society in Beverly Hills. This popular CBS sitcom ran for nine seasons (1962-1971). Check out “Introduction to The Beverly Hillbillies” for more of the show’s history.
4. Star Trek (NBC) (WATCH NOW) – Creator Gene Roddenberry brought his concept, Star Trek, to the small screen in September 1966. The first production of the Star Trek merchandise, Star Trek follows the adventures and the challenges of the starship USS Enterprise and its crew. Star Trek was a groundbreaking show of the time: the special effects were top-notch, the script was above-average, and the characters are memorable, most notably: James T. Kirk, Commander Spock and Commander McCoy. Check out “The History of Star Trek” and “Star Trek Quotes” for more fun Star Trek trivia.
5. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (NBC) (WATCH NOW)– The original rapid-fire sketch/gag comedy show inspired future shows of this breed, including Saturday Night Live. Premiering in 1968, it ran for six successful seasons. They featured many celebrity guests, the most famous being Richard Nixon (and his tagline “Sock it to me”), who later maintained that his cameo spot on the show was instrumental to his successful presidential campaign.
6. Bonanza (NBC) (WATCH NOW) – Although it was first aired in 1959, Bonanza‘s peak of success reached throughout the whole s decade, making it the longest-running Western show in NBC’s broadcast history. Starring Lorne Greene, Bonanza follows the story of the wealthy Cartwright family and the adventures on their ranch.
7. The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS) (WATCH NOW)– The Dick Van Dyke Show was considered a TV trailblazer at the time – of course, things were way different back then. Despite the title, lead star Dick Van Dyke played the fictional role of a TV writer named Rob Petrie who encounters adventures (and misadventures) in his work and home life. Mary Tyler Moore (who played Rob’s wife) would later star on her own sitcom, the Emmy-award winning The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Check out the article “Interesting Facts about The Dick Van Dyke Show” for more fun trivia about this TV classic.
8. The Lucy Show (CBS) (WATCH NOW) – Lucy was not done yet – at least in bringing lighthearted entertainment to audiences. After the hugely successful sitcom I Love Lucy during the 1950s, Lucille Ball followed it up with The Lucy Show. She was still “Lucy,” but the show had a different premise. Here, Lucy is a widowed schemer who moves with her newly divorced friend into a new home together with their own children, and the wacky misadventures follow. Her I Love Lucy co-star Vivian Vance played her best friend on this sitcom.
9. Bewitched (ABC) (WATCH NOW) – Arguably the first fantasy sitcom, it stars Elizabeth Montgomery in her iconic role as a witch who marries a mortal and commits herself to a normal domestic life. But of course, her magical powers get in the way, and hilarity ensues. It ran for eight successful seasons (1964-1972) and paved the way for other TV sitcoms with this kind of concept, most notably I Dream of Jeannie.
10. Green Acres (CBS) (WATCH NOW) – Green Acres is the flipside of The Beverly Hillbillies it became popular largely because of its use of surrealism and satire. A New York City attorney decides to move to the country along with his classy and fashionable wife. He wishes to fulfill his old dream of becoming a farmer, but he often finds himself at a loss to adjust to rural life. It premiered in September 1965 and later enjoyed a six-year run. Check out the article “History of Green Acres.”
10 thoughts on &ldquo 1970s TV Shows: What Did People Watch? &rdquo
I love watchen dennis jay north
I would like to see these again: December Bride, Restless Gun, Marcus Welby, Medical Center, Chico and the Man, Barretta, Alice… great old shows!
There was a USA TV series about a reporter on a Metropolitan newspaper that lasted a couple of seasons. I think it was about the same time as the Lou Grant TV show but obviously wasn’t as successful. I am guessing it was the late 70’s and the newspaper TV series followed on from the Watergate scandal – “the reporters” rings a distant bell
There were more sitcoms than there are now, actually I miss them.
I think I have the name right, but there was show on for a short time Real People I have some pictures of the cast of stuff but can’t find anything on it
Loved Real People…I believe it was on from – .
I remember a man that was playing the part where he had been hit with some electrical device and could go back in time to fix a problem.
He did work for the Government . He was in jail and kept there till it was time to do his thing. What was the name of that show . I do not remember the name of the
Of the actor.
Quantum Leap? Starring Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett, who went from one life through the next in different time periods in his own lifetime.
PRIME TIME TV IN THE SIXTIES - History
A look at television’s most groundbreaking sitcoms and series during the 1950s to present day.
The Civil Rights Movement was a fight for Blacks to gain equal rights under federal law. However, the movement was more than a platform for social justice it also broke barriers for Blacks in the entertainment and television industry. Although slavery had been abolished, discrimination and racism still existed especially in mainstream television. Blacks continued to portray servant roles in mainstream movies and perform racist caricatures. This week the Los Angeles Sentinel celebrates Black History month and Black culture by taking a look back at the evolution of African American television and sitcoms.
“Amos n’ Andy”: Tim Moore, top, playing the roguish but likeable Kingfish, Spencer Williams, lower left, as the gullible and romantically-involved Andy, and Alvin Childress as the homey, logic-minded Amos are back with the release of 20 episodes of “The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show” on videocassette. The move has contributed to a reassessment of the series and its place in popular culture. The 1951-53 CBS show was the target of determined protests by the NAACP and has been virtually invisible since it was pulled from syndication in 1966. (photo courtesy: AP Photo)
Amos ‘n’ Andy (1951-1953)
In 1951, the comedy show, “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” hit the screens. The show was centered on The Kingfish’s get rich schemes which usually involved tricking his brothers. Many viewers found that the show ignored real-life problems Blacks faced, portrayed an inaccurate idea of the Black middle class, and perpetuated demeaning stereotypes. On the other hand, some argued that the show provided jobs for Black actors and “normalized Black life.”
Shortly after the show aired, Nielsen ratings ranked “Amos ‘n’ Andy” number 13. Once the NAACP caught wind of ratings, the association initiated a boycott of its sponsor Blatz Beer. In April Blatz Beer withdrew its sponsorship. However, CBS, continued the syndication of the series more than four times. In fact, the show remained in syndication for 13 years after it was withdrawn from the network schedule.
“I Spy”: Comedian Bill Cosby alongside his co-star, Robert Culp. (courtesy photo)
I Spy (1965-1968)
Who remembers the show “I Spy” starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby? The 1960’s television series was about a pair of intelligence agents posing as a tennis pro and his coach going on secret missions around the world. Although “I Spy” was a significant breakdown of Black stereotypes it created an invisible standard for Black actors on primetime TV Blacks are acceptable as long as they are partnered with white co-stars.
“Roots”: LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte in a scene from 1977’s ‘Roots’ (photo courtesy: Time Magazine)
During the 1970s, viewers began to see an increase in the number of roles for Black actors. Additionally, Black middle class and political influence began to grow. In 1977, the seven part mini-series “Roots” became the first major TV drama to feature a primarily Black cast, and tackle the issue of racism and slavery in primetime television. “Roots” was also one of the first of its kind to capture racial oppressions, lynching, and much more in a historical setting. The series was shown in 85 percent of homes in the U.S. and is still used today in classrooms around the world to jumpstart the conversation on Black history and slavery.
“Soul Train”: Youth show off their dance moves on America’s favorite dance show “Soul Train” (photo courtesy: National Museum of African American Music)
Soul Train (1971-2006)
“Soul Train” dubbed America’s favorite dance show was the longest running and groundbreaking show of all time. The music-dance show, which ran for 35 years, featured performances from R&B, soul, pop and hip hop artists as well as funk, jazz, disco and gospel artists. The show’s host, Don Cornelius, who started his career as a beat cop turned DJ, wanted to create a show that would have Black teens dancing to the latest hits by Black musicians. His inspiration came after the Civil Rights Movement. Cornelius believed there was a need for “Black joy” on television and thus “Soul Train” was created. Cornelius’ push for the show to air on networks was a struggle. In fact, he received much rejection. Critics claimed the show would be “hard to sell to affiliates in the South.” Although Cornelius agreed to syndicate the show, stations around the country either didn’t air it or “buried the episodes” in late-night time slots. Despite many setbacks “Soul Train” became a hit!
The Jeffersons & Sanford and Son (1970s)
The “Jeffersons” (1975-1985) is known as one of the top sitcoms of all time. The show depicted a Black family living the “American Dream.” The show focused on characters George and Louise Jefferson who stumbled upon a large sum of money. The couple, along with their son Lionel, move from Queens to a deluxe, luxury apartment in Manhattan.
“Sanford and Son” (1972-1977) is a U.S. version of the British show, “Steptoe and Son.” The comedy show is widely known for being a model of a successful African American sitcom, and is about the misadventures of a “cantankerous junk dealer” and his frustrated son.
“Cosby Show”: The Cast of the “Cosby Show” (photo courtesy: Bio.com)
The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
Bill Cosby hit television screens in the early 1960s and has since become a trailblazer in the entertainment industry. In 1984, Cosby alongside Phylicia Rashad, Sabrina Lebeauf, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe, and Keshia Knight Pulliam starred in the “Cosby Show.” The television series was one of the first of its kind to have a primarily Black cast. The show proved to naysayers that you can have an all-Black cast and become successful without leaning on the shoulders of white actors to bring in the ratings. The comedy show highlighted Black culture, history and touched on contemporary social issues.
“Different World”: The cast from “A Different World” (photo courtesy: HBCU Buzz)
A Different World (1987-1993)
The Cosby Show is known for playing a prominent role in the Black history of television however, the show’s spinoff, “A Different World,” was known as a game changer. The show, “A Different World,” was about a group of students at a historically Black university and their day-to-day challenges with surviving college. In the series, viewers see the “Cosby Show” character Denise Huxtable and her peers discuss serious social issues, romance, and friendship amongst many other relatable topics.
The evolution of Black actors in the entertainment and television industry was quite the sight to see. In fact, the list of Black groundbreaking shows is endless. Actors of color went from playing stereotypical Black-face characters and portraying servants to reintroducing Black culture and history to the world. Although there is room for improvement and continued change in Hollywood, we must stop to applaud all of the Black men, women, and networks who played a role in the change that we see in modern television shows like “Martin,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Black-ish,” “Being Mary Jane,” “Empire,” “Insecure,” all of the Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey series and many more.
21 Time Travel TV Shows You Need to Binge-Watch
The time travel trope is quintessentially romantic, with different themes and elements giving it a desperate, romantic air. There is the lone time traveler, bouncing across time in search of lost love. Or, a group of travelers unable to return home due to a rift in the space/time continuum. Better yet, the star-crossed lovers fated only to get snatches of time together. Swoon. There is so much to love about time travel TV shows!
At the Silver Petticoat Review, we love time travel TV shows so much we thought a list of binge-worthy shows was necessary. Depending on your taste in time travel stories, below are 21 binge-worthy dramas, romantic comedies, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories (plus some bonus recommendations at the end). Not all are traditional versions of the trope, but each one includes an element of time travel.
Get ready! Your watch list is about to become longer!
21 Binge-Worthy Time Travel TV Shows
(In No Particular Order)
Synopsis: With history threatened by an evil consortium, a historian, soldier, and scientist join forces to travel through time to save history. Their adventures take them across history, where they cross paths with some famous and lesser-known figures in history. Yet, each time they save history, they risk changing the future.
Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription), Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu
*One of my favorite time travel TV shows! A lovely, action-adventure romance with time travel!
#2 Doctor Who
Synopsis: Doctor Who follows the trials of an extraterrestrial Time Lord. Known as the Doctor, he/she travels through time to solve problems and battle injustice across the universe.
Using the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) to travel, the Doctor recruits companions to assist him/her. With various incarnations, Doctor Who is a sweeping adventure in space and time.
Note: There are many iterations of Doctor Who. Any would make our list of time travel TV shows. Pick your favorite!
Where to Watch: Philo (with subscription), Prime Video (also with subscription), YouTube, iTunes, Vudu
#3 DC&rsquos Legends of Tomorrow
Synopsis: With the world and timeline in catastrophic danger, time-traveler Rip Hunter sets out to save the world. Rip brings together an unlikely group of heroes and villains previously seen in Arrow and The Flash.
These heroes and villains must come together before they can save the planet. But can they put their differences aside before time runs out?
Where to Watch: The CW App and CW Seed (free), Netflix (with subscription), Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play
#4 12 Monkeys*
Synopsis: Cole travels from a post-apocalyptic future to save the world from a deadly plague. He meets Dr. Cassandra Railly, a virologist, who joins him in his crusade. It&rsquos a race against time, as they trace the epidemic to its source and discover that appearances are deceiving, and time itself is an enemy.
Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription), Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu
Related Post Romantic Moment of the Week: 12 Monkeys: Cassie and Cole
*Another personal favorite! When it comes to time travel TV shows, 12 Monkeys hits all the right notes!
#5 El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Department of Time)
Synopsis: A secret government agency recruits three people from different eras to protect Spain&rsquos history. They bounce through time, chasing time-traveling intruders bent on manipulating history for their own purposes.
Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription)
Synopsis: Several hundred years into the future, the last humans discover a way to send their consciousness back in time. These &ldquotravelers&rdquo assume the lives of random individuals. With only their knowledge of history and social media profiles to guide their way, the travelers quickly discover that experience in the 21st Century is as challenging as their mission.
Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription). Buy on Amazon Video, iTunes, or Google Play.
Content Warning: Rated TV-MA, the show has strong language, violence, and implied nudity.
#7 Scarlet Heart
Synopsis: A near-fatal accident sends Zhang Xiao, a 21st Century woman, back in time to the Qing Dynasty. It is Kangxi Emperor&rsquos reign, and Xiao is now the teenage daughter of a Manchu general.
Known as Ma&rsquoertai Roux, Xiao attempts to return to the future. Navigating new relationships and love, Xiao adjusts to her new life until one day, it disappears.
Where to Watch: Viki
Note: There is also a Korean version of Scarlet Heart, called Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Read our review here.
#8 Making History
Synopsis: Misunderstood college facilities manager Dan Chambers discovers time travel, using pop culture to become a beloved 18th Century figure. However, Dan fails to realize the impact time travel has on the present.
When Dan causes Paul Revere to delay his famous ride, he alters the events of the American Revolution. Dan then recruits well-liked history professor Chris Parish for help in correcting history.
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu
#9 Sleepy Hollow
Synopsis: Ichabod Crane comes back to life 250 years in the future, where he must solve a mystery going back to the time of the founding fathers.
However, he is not alone. Due to a blood curse, the headless horseman also comes back from the dead. The headless horseman begins a murder spree in present-day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod realizes that the headless horseman is the first of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Enter Detective Abbie Mills. Familiar with the supernatural, Abbie joins forces with Crane to stop the evil infecting Sleepy Hollow.
Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription, YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu
Synopsis: Former time agent, Captain Jack Harkness, leads the Torchwood Three to investigate unexplained extraterrestrial events on Earth. Part of a covert agency called the Torchwood Institute, the group, battles supernatural threats outside the protection of the British government and law enforcement.
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu
Content Warning: The series is TV-MA for strong language in a few episodes. It also includes sexual content and violence.
#11 Being Erica*
Synopsis: During therapy, Erica Strange shares her list of regrets with her therapist. In a twist in treatment, Erica goes back in time to those moments with a chance to make different decisions. Faced with rewriting her past or leaving things as they are, Erica faces each moment with humor and a new appreciation for her choices.
Where to Watch: Prime Video (free with subscription) Hulu (with subscription), iTunes, Vudu
*The writing in this show is fantastic!
Content Warning: Rated TV-14, it is at times TV-MA. There is sexual content as well as nudity and some bad language.
Synopsis: Around the world, a group of ordinary people is discovering they have superpowers. One man wants their powers for himself. To protect themselves, they must learn to help each other before he destroys them all.
Where to Watch: NBC (free), YouTubeTV (with subscription), IMDB TV (free), Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu
#13 The Librarians*
Synopsis: Based on the popular TV movies, The Librarians are a group of people who protect magical items throughout time. Consisting of an art historian, a thief, a mathematician, and a warrior, they travel through time to find supernatural objects and bring them under the protection of the Library.
Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription), Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu
#14 Early Edition*
Synopsis: Having lost his job and his marriage, Gary Hobson wakes up one morning to find a cat sitting on a newspaper bearing the next day&rsquos date. Gary quickly learns that this early edition allows him 24 hours to try and save many people&rsquos lives.
Where to Watch: All seasons are available for DVD purchase on Amazon Prime.
*When it comes to time travel TV shows, this one is an outlier. The only thing that travels in time is the newspaper. Still, it&rsquos Kyle Chandler&hellip..swoon!
Synopsis: Satoru goes back 18 years to prevent the death of his mother and three classmates.
Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription)
Synopsis: British Army Nurse Claire Randall is on her second honeymoon and looking forward to a career as an Oxford historian. Suddenly transported back to 1742, Clair finds her freedom and life are in danger.
To survive, she marries Jamie Fraser. An unexpected passionate relationship develops, and Claire becomes caught between two very different men in two very different lives.
Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription), YouTubeTV (with subscription), Starz (with subscription), Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes
Content Warning: Explicit sexual content and graphic violence
#17 The Eternal Love
Synopsis: Unhappy with a forced marriage, Qu Tan Er attempts to end her life. She awakens from her failed attempt with the spirit of another woman inside her body. The modern Xiao Tan is Tan Er&rsquos opposite.
Stuck in the past world, she is unable to return to the present day. Whenever one of the women lies, the other person takes control. Soon, complications in love arise, as the differing women fall in love with two different men.
What will become of the foursome? And will Xiao Tan be able to find her way back to her own time?
Where to Watch: Viki
#18 Lost in Austen*
Synopsis: This smart take on Jane Austen&rsquos Pride and Prejudice, finds modern, working girl Amanda Price trading places with Elizabeth Bennet.
Unable to return to her time, Amanda must try her best to fit in among the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys. Yet, her presence in the lives of these beloved characters sets changes to the course of the classic tale.
Where to Watch: Tubi (free), BritBox (with subscription), Amazon Prime
Synopsis: Detective Kiera Cameron, a cop from the year 2077, and a group of deadly criminals called Liber8 are trapped in present-day Vancouver. Kiera must stop Liber8 before they destroy the corporate world, altering the future as she knows it. She enlists the help of tech genius Alec Sadler to find a way back home.
In the meantime, Kiera takes a job with the Vancouver Police Department. With help from her partner, detective Carlos Fonnegra, they keep tabs on Liber8. Different beliefs and backgrounds lead to suspicion, but slowly, Kiera and Carlos learn to trust each other.
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu
Synopsis: Detective Raimy Sullivan lives with the pain and resentment of her father&rsquos death for 20 years. She believes her father, NYPD Officer Frank Sullivan, was corrupt, resulting in his death. However, everything changes when she hears his voice coming from an old ham radio.
With Raimy&rsquos warning in his ears, Frank survives the attempt on his life. Yet, the change in the past ends in tragedy for the future. Separated by time, connected by an old radio, the two detectives work together to find a way to rewrite the past without losing the ones they love.
Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription), Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play
#21 Seven Days
Synopsis: CIA Agent Frank Parker receives a special assignment by the NSA. He must travel back in time to prevent current-day catastrophes. Yet, there is a catch &ndash he must do so within seven days. Using a time machine built from alien technology, Frank races against time in the past to save the future.
Where to Watch: Buy on DVD.
Whether you are a fan of pure romance or romantic comedies, or simply love the adventure of time travel, there is something for everyone on our list of binge-worthy time travel TV shows. So dip in and travel back in time with some of the most swoon-worthy characters out there.
Want Even More Time Travel TV Shows? Check Out This List of Bonus Recommendations:
- 11.22.63 (TV-MA)
- The 4400
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- The Crossing
- Find Me in Paris
- The Flash (and other Arrowverse shows)
- Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes
- Queen In-Hyun&rsquos Man
- Quantum Leap
- Rooftop Prince
- Splash Splash Love
- Star Trek TV Shows
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
- Terra Nova
- Tomorrow, With You
- Time After Time
- Tru Calling
- The Umbrella Academy
What are your favorite time travel TV shows? Drop me a line below!
Paul Kantner, co-founder of the pioneer American psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane, once famously quipped that if you could ‘remember anything about the sixties, then you weren't really there’. The ‘swinging sixties’ supposedly left the stodgy and conservative fifties in their wake. People ‘made love not war’ and took ‘trips’ without leaving home.
For most New Zealanders, however, the 1960s were less exciting. Like the generations before them they simply got on with the business at hand – going to school and work and raising families. A strong economy based on high wool prices and secure markets meant that, as in the 1950s, New Zealand enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world. The country was shaken from this complacency when the export price for wool fell dramatically in December 1967 . Unemployment and inflation rose sharply in a warning of darker times ahead.
The arrival of television and jet travel shrank our world in the 1960s. We were exposed to other places, ideas and influences. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and other bands brought the latest British music to eager young Kiwi ears. Lyndon B. Johnson became the first US President to visit New Zealand. Kiwis also began to express themselves on a range of international issues, including the Vietnam War. It was observed by one publication in 1965 that opposition to the war was causing New Zealanders to behave 'in ways quite uncharacteristic of the species as recognised by their ancestors’.
In this feature we provide an overview of the decade and a year-by-year breakdown of some of its key events.
The Color Revolution: Television In The Sixties
Although limited color broadcasts took place during the 1950s, it wasn’t until the early 1960s that color TV started to take off. Thanks in large part to NBC, color TV grew at a furious pace, culminating in the color revolution of 1965.
Color’s Early Years: The 1950s
Although experiments with color television had coincided with the development of commercial black and white television, it was not until the 1950s that attempts were made to successfully launch color television. On January 12th, 1950, the general public was introduced to color television for the very first time when CBS demonstrated its “field sequential” color system on eight television sets in the Walker Building, in Washington . Faye Emerson was the main attraction in the demonstration, which had been ordered by the F.C.C.
The first commercial color broadcast took place at 4:35PM on Monday, June 25th, 1951, when CBS offered an hour-long program entitled “Premiere” to an ad-hoc network of five stations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Among those participating in the program were Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, Robert Alda, Faye Emerson, William S. Paley and Frank Stanton (the latter two board chairman and president of CBS, respectively) .
Thousands were able to watch the first color broadcast in auditoriums, department stores and hotels in the five cities, but the general public was left in the dark — literally. Because the CBS color system was incompatible with existing black and white television sets, for the hour the color special was on the air, viewers tuned to CBS in any of the five cities saw only a blank screen .
RCA demonstrated its “all-electronic” color system for the first time on October 9th, 1951. The test was also broadcast on WNBT, and because RCA’s system was compatible with existing black and white television sets, viewers were able to watch the demonstration (in black and white, of course) . On October 16th, RCA sent a fifteen-minute color variety show to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the first transcontinental color transmission. However, word of the test was withheld until early December on orders from AT&T .
On October 25th, manufacturing of color television was put on hold at the request of Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson and the National Production Authority due to scarcity of metals and the conflict in Korea . The ban was lifted on March 27th, 1953 . And on December 17th, the FCC approved color specifications from the National Television System Committee (NTSC) for a color system compatible with existing black and white sets . Color television was officially here to stay.
Color Adoption Slow
For a variety of reasons, including a lack of adequate production facilities for color television sets, the expense involved in converting existing television stations to color transmissions, and the cost of color sets for the general public, the adoption of color television was slow. During the first six months of 1954, fewer than 8,500 color television sets were manufactured in the United States . And for those households that owned a color set, only a small percentage of network broadcasts were even in color. During the entire 1954-1955 television season, for example, CBS only made nineteen color broadcasts .
By 1958, there were an estimated 350,000 color sets in the United States, the bulk of which were manufactured by RCA . That number had jumped to 500,000 by early 1960 . The more color sets in use, the more potential eyeballs for color programming — and more importantly, from the advertiser’s point of view, color commercials. Still, the only network actively pushing color programming was NBC, which had 179 affiliates broadcasting in color by February of 1961. NBC “color days,” which started in November of 1960, saw the bulk of an entire day’s worth of programming broadcast in color .
An April 1961 editorial in Television magazine entitled “The Time Has Come for Togetherness on Color” noted that in the seven years since the FCC approved color standards, the “black-and-white television system […] has passed the peak of its growth.” Color, on the other hand, “is still in the egg, and only skillful and expensive handling will get it out of the egg and on its feet.” The editorial called for “color activity at both the transmitting and receiving ends. People won’t buy color sets to see a majority of programs in the same shades of gray the old table top model in the corner delivers” .
However, even as NBC was increasing its color output, CBS was placing the impetus in the hands of the advertiser. In 1963, the network was broadcasting in color only if an advertiser would help pay for the added cost .
The Color Breakthrough
Two years later, another editorial in Television magazine declared that “the surge of interest in color in the past six months marks September 1965 as the date of the long-awaited color breakthrough” . What led to this surge in interest? The battle for ratings. A preliminary study released in March of 1965 by ARB (and paid for by all three networks) led NBC to announce that its color programming would give it a 1.4 ratings-point advantage over ABC and CBS . The study compared 4,600 color homes with 4,600 black-and-white homes. ABC and CBS cried foul, arguing that NBC had not checked the data.
According to ARB, the report was rushed to the networks before a final check could be performed because the networks could not wait. NBC acknowledged that there were some errors but insisted they were not significant . In any event, the thought of NBC enjoying any sort of lead in the ratings simply because its programming was in color provided the impetus the other networks needed to jump headfirst into color broadcasting.
NBC planned to broadcast the vast majority of its primetime programming — all but two shows — in color at the start of the 1965-1966 season. Only Convoy (because of black and white stock footage) and I Dream of Jeannie (due to the cost of expensive special effects) would be aired in black and white . Initially, both ABC and CBS planned to broadcast only a fraction of their schedules in color: ABC six and a half weekly hours and CBS only three programs per week , .
In May, CBS had upped its color quota to 28%, representing nine programs, including Lassie, My Favorite Martian, The Danny Kaye Show and Gilligan’s Island . As for ABC, by adding The King Family and The Hollywood Palace to its color slate, the network hoped to have one-third of its schedule in color by September .
By June, the count stood at 50% for CBS and 33% for ABC and both networks claimed they would be all-color for the 1966-1967 season . Color was on its way!
Color Households On The Rise
If 1965 was the watershed moment for color broadcasting, there was still the small problem of the viewing public not having color television sets. According to NBC, there were only 2,860,000 color households in the United States as of January 1st, 1965 (though that was up from 1,620,000 on January 1st, 1964) . By July 1st, the number stood at 3,600,000 and on October 1st it was at 4,450,000 color sets , . NBC’s figure for January 1st, 1966 stood at 5,220,000, an 85% gain over the January 1st, 1965 number but still only 9.7% of all television households .
Here are some additional figures, all from NBC’s quarterly color estimates:
From Black & White to Color
Programs that had started prior to the 1965-1966 season, or premiered in black-and-white during it, were forced to convert to color at the start of the 1966-1967 season, when all three networks were broadcasting their entire prime time line-ups in color, aside from news specials and films originally shot in black-and-white (much of the daytime programming on ABC and CBS was still in black-and-white) .
Shows that had to convert from black-and-white to color included, among others: The Wild, Wild West on CBS, one season in black-and-white (1965-1966) and three seasons in color (1966-1969) Gilligan’s Island on CBS, one season in black-and-white (1964-1965) and two seasons in color (1965-1967) The Andy Griffith Show on CBS, five seasons in black-and-white (1960-1965) and three seasons in color (1965-1968) Twelve O’Clock High on ABC, two seasons in black-and-white (1964-1966) and one season in color (1966-1967) I Dream of Jeannie on NBC, one season in black-and-white (1965-1966) and four seasons in color (1966-1970) and Bewitched on ABC, two seasons in black-and-white (1964-1966) and six seasons in color (1966-1972).
Switching to color wasn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Jack Chertok, producer of My Favorite Martian, told Broadcasting magazine in August of 1965 that there would be problems with some of the special effects used in the series: “Many of them depend on wires which we’ve kept hidden from viewers by using black wires against a black background. Now we’ll have to use colors matching the colored backgrounds. It will be harder but it’s not at all impossible” .
For programs that were in color the networks went to great lengths to insure viewers were aware of the vibrant entertainment they could be watching. Shows that had formerly been broadcast in black & white were now promoted as “In Color!” and promotional spots often made mention of the color status.
All of NBC’s promotional spots for the new fall season, used during the summer of 1965, were in color, while CBS reserved color only for those programs which would be broadcast in color .
After The Color Dam Burst
In January 1966, some 70% of the combined prime time programming from the three networks was in color broken down, almost 100% of NBC’s schedule was in color, 51% of CBS’s schedule and 49% of ABC’s schedule . NBC became the first all-color network when daytime game show Concentration switched to color on November 7th, 1966 . In January of 1968, TVB found that households with color television sets were watching between 40 and 70 more minutes of television on a daily basis than households with black-and-white sets .
The rush to color began in earnest prior to the start of the 1965-1966 season and for the most part was completed by the time the 1966-1967 season rolled around. It was left to viewers to catch up with the networks and purchase color television sets in order or be stuck watching in crummy old black-and-white.
Everything ancient is new again
The core "Flintstones" humor was anachronistic: suburban modernism in caveman clothing. Today, the 1960s milieu itself seems carbon-dated, but, in a curious way, elements of "The Flintstones" resonate, often by accident.
Fred's foot-powered, steamroller-propelled Flintmobile would be classified as a zero-emission vehicle, perhaps a response to climate change, i.e., an impending Ice Age.
The drive-in movie, featured in the credits, is back in vogue in our socially distanced pandemic era.
With a vinyl revival, record players no longer seem obsolete, although today's hipsters won't find the model that features a bird's beak needle and tortoise turntable.
Rick Moranis, who played Barney in the 1994 flick, is back on screen these days after a two-decade break.
Finally, blockheads like Fred and Barney never go out of style, which is not so good in real life but just fine in a cartoon.