While there’s no shortage of new series in the era of Peak TV, especially thanks to the advent of several new streaming platforms, nothing quite beats the classics that defined TV of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Whether it's a show about a gang of friends (Cheers), a look at college life (A Different World), or a compelling legal drama about a defense lawyer (Perry Mason), these series set the course for many that followed. Thanks to those aforementioned platforms -- Amazon, Hulu, Netflix among them -- fans can go back and rewatch them from beginning to end.
A Different World
While appreciation for The Cosby Show has soured in recent years, there’s no reason not to watch its 1987 spinoff starring the beloved Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable, who is navigating life at her parents' alma mater, Hillman College. Fans of Netflix’s Dear White People and Freeform’s Grown-ish will want to go back in time with this college-set series.
Watch the all of A Different World on Amazon.
A former staple of Nick at Nite, the 1964 sitcom follows a young witch named Samantha who marries New York ad exec Darrin Stephens. The series then follows their suburban antics as a befuddled Darrin tries to keep Sam from using her powers while she tries to settle into being the perfect housewife.
Watch the first two seasons of Bewitched on IMDb TV via Amazon.
Before Friends there was Cheers starring Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Kirstie Alley and Woody Harrelson. The longtime staple of NBC’s “Must-See TV” Thursday night lineup is about a cozy bar where not only did “everyone know your name,” but friends and co-workers alike gathered for weekly trials and tribulations about love, work and life in Boston.
The Golden Girls
The beloved classic follows four women of a certain age -- Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) -- who live together in a Miami, Florida, home. While they occasionally clash, the quartet most often comes together to support each other through the ups and downs of aging gracefully.
Watch the all of The Golden Girls on Hulu.
I Love Lucy
All six seasons of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s classic sitcom about newlyweds living in the city can only be found on the streaming platform. No matter how many times you’ve seen iconic moments like the candy conveyor belt, the oversized loaf of bread or Lucy’s wahhhhhhhs, the show always makes you laugh out loud.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The popular sitcom follows Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), a thirty-something single woman striking out on her own after landing a job as an associate producer at WJM-TV. Over the course of the series, fans fell in love with not only Mary, but the other lovable characters -- her boss Lou Grant, news writer Murray Slaughter, anchorman Ted Baxter and homemaker Sue Ann Nivens -- that filled out the newsroom as well as her upstairs neighbor, Rhoda Morgenstern.
Watch the all of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Hulu.
The long-running, hugely popular series follows members of the military hospital stationed to care for the injured soldiers during the Korean War. The ensemble series famously stars Alan Alda (Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce), Wayne Rogers ("Trapper John" McIntyre), Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan), Larry Linville (Frank Burns) and Gary Burghoff (Walter "Radar" O'Reilly).
Murder, She Wrote
Angela Lansbury famously plays mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher, who has an uncanny ability to catch an unlikely high number of criminals lurking around idyllic Cabot Cove, Maine. Despite efforts to remake the series, none have come to fruition -- meaning there will never be another Fletcher.
One of the classic legal dramas is Perry Mason, which follows the titular attorney (played by Raymond Burr) as he defends several falsely accused people over the course of this long-running series. Of course, Mason couldn’t do it all alone. Revisiting this one is worth it now that HBO is remaking the series with Matthew Rhys taking over the role.
The long-running animated series really needs no explanation at this point. But for those who are new here, The Simpsons follows the antics of a blue-collar family -- Homer and Marge and their kids, Bart, Lisa and Maggie -- living in the every town, Springfield. The series has spawned a feature film, The Simpsons Movie, and a new short, Maggie Simpson in Playdate With Destiny, all of which is available on the same platform.
Watch the entire Simpsons franchise on Disney+.
The Twilight Zone
Seasons: 5 (original)
Without the 1959 original, there would be no Lost, Black Mirror or even Get Out. The anthology series about characters dealing with disturbing or unusual events influenced a whole generation of Hollywood’s most prominent writers and producers like Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele. The latter is behind the 2019 reboot, which has been renewed for a second season.
Watch both iterations of The Twilight Zone series on CBS All Access.
The Wonder Years
While there’s no shortage of nostalgic series currently airing on TV (ahem, The Goldbergs), nothing beats this classic take on life in the 1960s and ‘70s as seen through the eyes of adorably naive Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage).
Watch the all of The Wonder Years on Hulu.