Top 10 Classic TV Shows about Fathers

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Father’s Day will be here soon. Many great classic TV shows have featured fathers. Here are 10 of my favorites.

10. Rifleman

1958-1963

This fun half hour western centers on widower, Lucas, who has a reputation with a rifle. Luke and his son, Mark, are trying to build a new life on their ranch.

Starring: Chuck Conners, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix

9. Seventh Heaven

1996-2007

A minister and his wife raise seven children while trying to keep their sense of humor.

Starring: Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Barry Watson, David Gallagher, Jessica Biel, Beverley Mitchell, Mackenzie Rosman, Nikolas Brino, Lorenzo Brino

8. Courtship of Eddie’s Father

1969-1972

This is a remake of a tear-jerker movie with Glenn Ford. Eddie works hard to try to find a wife for his widowed father.

Starring: Bill Bixby, Brandon Cruz

7. Home Improvement

1991-1999

Even though I’m not big on bungling fathers, this is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever watched.

Starring: Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Earl Hindman, Zachery Ty Bryan, Richard Karn, Jonathan Taylor Thomas

6. Bonanza

1959-1973

In one of the best westerns ever made, Ben and his three sons build a ranch in the Old West.

Starring: Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts

5. Family Affair

1966-1971

This is a tear-jerker that is rarely even seen on reruns. A teenager, and a twin boy and girl lose their mother and father. In their grief, they are separated and passed from relative to relative until they are all dropped off at Uncle Bill’s New York high rise condominium. Bill is a playboy and a bachelor with a butler and a string of girlfriends, but these orphans touch his heart and change his life.

Starring: Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot, Kathy Garver, Johnny Whittaker, Anissa Jones

4. Andy Griffith Show

1960-1968

This show is about a community more than a family, but the relationship between widower Andy and son Opie is an important dynamic to it.

Starring: Andy Griffith, Ronnie Howard, Don Knotts

3. The Bill Cosby Show

1984-1992

I love how this show made us all relate and laugh at ourselves. I don’t approve of Bill Cosby’s actions, but I don’t approve of most TV actors and their lifestyles. That being said, a list like this wouldn’t be complete without this show.

Starring: Bill Cosby, Fred Pinkard, Joyce Buifant, Lee Weaver, Olga James, Sid McCoy

2. My Three Sons

1960-1972

This is a show about a widowed father raising his three sons. It’s funny, heartwarming, and will sometimes bring a tear to your eyes. I especially like the later episodes with Willian Demarest, Barry Livingstone, and Tina Cole.

Starring: Fred MacMurray, William Demarest, Don Grady, Stanley Livingston, Barry Livingston, Tim Considine, William Frawley, Meredith MacRae, Tina Cole, Beverly Garland, Dawn Lyn, Ronne Troup, Daniel, Joseph, and Michael Todd

1. Leave It to Beaver

This show is my all time favorite when it comes to shows about fathers. On the surface, it looks like a typical 1950s family show, but it has so many nuances like the fact that Ward sometimes struggles to be a good father, and June doesn’t always agree with Ward about raising children.

1957-1963

Starring: Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont, Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers

So do you have a favorite TV show featuring fathers?

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Top 10 Classic Family Audience TV Comedies of All Times

10. Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963)

 

Starring :Barbara Billingsley as June Cleaver, Hugh Beaumont as Ward Cleaver, Jerry Mathers as Beaver (Theodore) Cleaver, and Tony Dow as Wally Cleaver

At first glance, this looks like the typical “father knows best” sitcom, but once you watch it for a while, you begin to notice the tongue in cheek ways they make fun of the typical family and the poignant moments of family life that are deeper than most series in this genre.

 

9, My Three Sons (1960-1972)

Starring:Fred MacMurray,Tim Considine,Don Grady,Stanley Livingston, Barry Livingston, William Frawley,Meredith MacRae,William Demarest, Tina Cole, Beverly Garland, Dawn Lyn, and Ronne Troup

 

This show was one of the first that showed families didn’t always fit stereo-types. The father was a widower raising three boys on his own who had a male gruff father-in-law, later uncle, as their housekeeper and nanny.

8. Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967)

Starring:Bob Denver (Gilligan), Alan Hale, Jr. (the skipper),Jim Backus (the millionaire),Natalie Schafer (and his wife),Tina Louise (the movie star – Ginger), Russel Johnson (the professor), and Dawn Wells (Mary Ann)

Gilligan’s Island is a sitcom about seven castaways that were stranded on a deserted island after a three hour tour. The theme song, along with the show, has become a pop culture icon. There’s no real character development here, but every character is a fun caricature of people we know. Most episodes revolve around trying to rescued and Gilligan messing it up. No deep subjects here, just pure entertainment and a never ending debate: Ginger (the movie star sex symbol) or Mary Ann (the girl next door).

7. Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)

Starring:Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts, and Frances Bavier

 

This sitcom characterizes small town life with American values that are fast disappearing. Even with the classic stereo-types, the writing on this show was so good, it didn’t rely on them.

6. Mork and Mindy (1978-1982)

Starring:Robin Williams and Pam Dawber

 

This sitcom about an alien who came to Earth to study the people launched the career of Robin Williams. His comedic genius outshined everyone although Pam Dawber worked hard to keep up as the straight girl. The episode, Mork’s Mixed Emotions, was one of the top 100 TV episodes of all time.

5. Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971)

Starring: Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer,John Banner, Robert Clary, Richard Dawson, Ivan Dixon and Larry Hovis

Hogan’s Heroes is classic comedy about a group of prisoners of war who helped others escaped and turned the war upside down for the Germans. Most of this is slapstick humor, but if you look deeper, it really is a tribute to the men who fought in World War II to keep the world safe from the Nazis. Some poignant moments are threaded through the comedy.

 

4. Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (1964-1969)

Starring: Jim Nabors and Frank Sutton

 

This spin-off of the Andy Griffith Show is about Gomer Pyle, a sad-sack in the Marines who constantly messes things up but tries hard and has his heart in the right place. You can’t help but root for him.

3. Alf (1986-1990)

Starring: Mihaly ‘Michu’ Meszaros as ALF, Max Wright, Anne Schedeen, Andrea Elson, and Brian Tanner

 

Everyone who grew up in the 1980s remembers this sitcom about a fuzzy alien trapped on Earth. It became a pop culture favorite that my children never missed when they were young.

2. Get Smart (1965-1970)

Starring: Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, and Edward Platt

Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, works for Control as a spy in this spoof of spy shows that made the Cold War fun. No great deep moments here, but it is good clean slapstick comedy that is so missing on TV today. Mel Brooks was one of the creators.

1. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)

Starring:

  • Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable
  • Phylicia Rashad as Clair Huxtable
  • Sabrina Le Beauf as Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux
  • Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable Kendall
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Theodore Huxtable
  • Tempestt Blesoe as Vanessa Huxtable
  • Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable
  • Clarica Taylor as Anna Huxtable

The liberal media has decided this show has no worth because of Bill Cosby’s accused transgressions. I don’t know whether Cosby is guilty or not, but I do know this is the best written and executed family comedy ever made.

So what are your favorites. Leave a comment.

A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy died one week ago today. He was more than the legendary Spock on Star Trek. He was also an actor, an artist, a poet, a photographer, a film director, and a musician. So it is only fitting for Word Sharpeners to honor him.

  • Born: March 26, 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Died: February 27, 2015
  • Married to Susan Bay since 1989
  • Children: Adam Nimoy and Julie Nimoy

Nimoy was also a devout Jew. His Vulcan greeting of “Live Long and Prosper” was actually a Jewish blessing. Here’s a video clip of him explaining it.

Here are only a few of the many TV shows and movies Nimoy starred in:

  • Queen for a Day (1951) – his debut
  • Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952)
  • Bonanza Episode – The Ape (1960)
  • The Untouchables Episode – The Takeover (1962)
  • Perry Mason Episode – The Case of the Shoplifters Shoe (1963)
  • Get Smart Episode – The Dead Spy Scrolls (1966)
  • Various Gunsmoke Episodes (1961-1966)
  • Star Trek (1966-1969)
  • Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
  • Star Trek III: In Search of Spock (1984)
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes – Unification I & II (1991)
  • Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
  • David (1997)
  • Star Trek (2009)
  • Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Leonard Nimoy was also a writer and wrote two autobiographies and some movie scripts:

  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Movie)
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Movie)
  • In Search of… Great Lovers (TV Show)
  • In Search of… Vincent Van Gogh (TV Show)
  • Vincent (TV Movie)
  • I Am Not Spock
  • I Am Spock
  • We are All Children Searching for Love
  • A Lifetime of Love
  • You and I
  • Come Be of Me
  • Will I Think of You?
  • Warmed by Love

RIP Leonard Nimoy. Live Long and Prosper!

Top 10 TV Shows from the Andy Griffith Genre

These were some of the best shows from when I was growing up. Clean humor, small town values, farming communities – great TV. To be on this list, the TV show had to be around in the 60s, was set in a small town or rural area, and had clean humor and family values from a different era. I excluded shows set in the past.

10. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

1969-1970

Starring Monte Markham

Short-lived TV show about a man who inherits money and moves to the big city.

9. The Real McCoys

1957-1963

Starring Richard Creena, Lydia Reed, and Walter Brennon

This show is about a hillbilly family that moves to California.

8. Mayberry RFD

1968-1971

Starring Ken Berry, George Lindsey, Jack Dodson, Arlene Golonka, and Frances Bavier (Aunt Bea)

This spin-off of the Andy Griffith Show is about the town folks of Mayberry after Sheriff Taylor and his family moved away. Not as good as the original, but it kept us going after Andy Griffith went off the air.

7. Mr. Ed

1961-1966

Starring Alan Young

A young architect and his wife move to the country and buy a farm that comes with a horse that can talk. Of course.

6. Green Acres

1965-1971

Starring Eddie Albert and Ava Gabor

Nothing is funnier than placing Eddie Albert and Ava Gabor in farm country in the middle of crazy characters and watching their reactions. This is loosely related to Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction.

5. Beverly Hillbillies

1962-1971

Starring Buddy Epson, Irene Ryan, Max Baer Jr., Donna Douglas, and Raymond Bailey

Jed Clampett, a down and out hillbilly, strikes oil on his farm and becomes rich. Of course, the thing to do is to move to Beverly Hills. Another show loosely related to Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.

4. Gilligan’s Island

1964-1967

Starring Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Natalie Schafer, Jim Backus, Dawn Wells, Tina Louise, and Russell Johnson

In case you’re wondering why I included this show, what’s more rural than a secluded island?

3. Gomer Pyle USMC

1964-1969

Starring Jim Nabors and Frank Sutton

The best spin-off of the Andy Griffith Show. Take a goofy, likable, backwoods mechanic and put him in the Marines under the toughest drill sergeant in the world, and you have this show. Too funny. I still remember how flustered Gomer Pyle would make Sergeant Carter. 

2. Petticoat Junction

1965-1970

Starring Bea Benaderet, Edgar Buchanan, Jeannine Riley, Gunilla Hutton, Meredith MacRae, Pat Woodell, Lori Saunders, Linda Henning

This little remembered TV show about three girls coming of age in rural America is one of my favorites. I wanted to be Betty Jo.

1. Andy Griffith Show

1960-1968

Starring Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, Frances Bavier

This is the show that defined the genre. Andy Griffith will always be remembered for small town values in Mayberry, USA.

 

Top 10 Classic Father TV Shows

10. Rifleman

1958-1963

This fun half hour western center on widower Lucas and his son Mark.

Starring: Chuck Conners, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix

9. Seventh Heaven

1996-2007

A minister and his wife raise seven children while trying to keep their sense of humor.

Starring: Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Barry Watson, David Gallagher, Jessica Biel, Beverley Mitchell, Mackenzie Rosman, Nikolas Brino, Lorenzo Brino

8. Courtship of Eddie’s Father

1969-1972

This is a remake of a tear-jerker movie with Glenn Ford. Eddie works hard to try to find a wife for his widowed father.

Starring: Bill Bixby, Brandon Cruz

7. Home Improvement

1991-1999

Even though I’m not big on bungling fathers, this is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever watched.

Starring: Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Earl Hindman, Zachery Ty Bryan, Richard Karn, Jonathan Taylor Thomas

6. Bonanza

1959-1973

In one of the best westerns ever made, Ben and his three sons build a ranch in the Old West.

Starring: Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts

5. Family Affair

1966-1971

This is a tear-jerker that is rarely even seen on reruns. A teenager, and a twin boy and girl lose their mother and father. In their grief, they are separated and passed from relative to relative until they are all dropped off at Uncle Bill’s New York high rise condominium. Bill is a playboy and a bachelor with a butler and a string of girlfriends, but these orphans touch his heart and change his life.

Starring: Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot, Kathy Garver, Johnny Whittaker, Anissa Jones

4. Andy Griffith Show

1960-1968

This show is about a community more than a family, but the relationship between widower Andy and son Opie is an important dynamic to it.

Starring: Andy Griffith, Ronnie Howard, Don Knotts

3. The Bill Cosby Show

1984-1992

I love how Bill Cosby makes us all relate and laugh at ourselves. A list like this wouldn’t be complete without this show.

Starring: Bill Cosby, Fred Pinkard, Joyce Buifant, Lee Weaver, Olga James, Sid McCoy

2. My Three Sons

1960-1972

This is a show about a widowed father raising his three sons. It’s funny, heartwarming, and will sometimes bring a tear to your eyes.

Starring: Fred MacMurray, William Demarest, Don Grady, Stanley Livingston, Barry Livingston, Tim Considine, William Frawley, Meredith MacRae, Tina Cole, Beverly Garland, Dawn Lyn, Ronne Troup, Daniel, Joseph, and Michael Todd

1. Leave It to Beaver

This show is my all time favorite when it comes to shows about fathers. On the surface, it looks like a typical 1950s family show, but it has so many nuances like the fact that Ward sometimes struggles to be a good father, and June doesn’t always agree with Ward about raising children.

1957-1963

Starring: Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont, Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers

Favorite Star Trek TV Shows

Every Trekie has their favorite Star Trek Series. I’m no exeption.

6. Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974)

Voices of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Majel Barrett

This is my least favorite although it did win Star Trek it’s first Emmy. In my opinion, Star Trek was never meant to be animated.

5. Enterprize (2001-2005)

Captain Jonathan Archer – Scott Bakula
T’Pol – Jolene Blalock
Charles Tripp Tucker III – Conner Trinneer
Malcolm Reed – Dominic Keating

I never was able to get into this series and finally stopped trying. It just didn’t work for me.

4. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999)

Captain Benjamin Sisco – Avery Brooks
Kira Nerys – Nana Visitor
Odo – Rene Auberjonois
Julian Bishar – Alexander Siddig

Deep Space Nine was the first Star Trek to have a black captain. The premise was having a Star Trek Station that stayed on one planet. Without the exploration, it lost some of the adventure. It substituted by added politics and religion of the planet where they were stationed. In my opinion, Star Trek doesn’t work without the exploration.

3. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)

Captain Jean-Luc Piccard – Patrick Stewart
Commander William Riker – Jonathan Frikes
Geordi LaForge – Lavar Burton
Tasha Yar – Deniese Crosby
Worf – Michael Dorn
Dr. Beverly Crusher – Gates McFadden
Deanna Troi – Marena Sirtis
Data – Brent Spiner
Wesley Crusher – Will Wheaton

I loved this version of Star Trek. It didn’t try to copy the original. Instead it came up with characters who reacted differently and fit the generation of the 80s. At the same time, the adventure and relationships that made Star Trek great were explored in a new way. I loved Picard and Riker.

2. Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)

Captain Kathryn Janeway – Kate Mulgrew
Chakatay – Robert Beltran
B’Elanna Torres – Roxann Dawson
Tom Paris –  Robert Duncan McNeil
Neelix – Ethan Phillips
The Doctor – Robert Picardo
Tuvoc – Tim Russ
Harry Kim – Garrett Wang

Voyager is my second favorite Star Trek series. The premise is to have their space ship hopelessly lost and trying to find its way home. This Star Trek had the first woman captain. The best thing about Captain Janeway was she led the ship in the same style a woman would lead. This was at a time where too many shows on TV had women leading like men. It was a refreshing change. I also loved the character, Tom Paris, who through this difficult situation had a chance to redeem himself from a lurid past and grow into a person of integrity.

1. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969)

Captain James T. Kirk – William Shatner
Mr. Spock – Leonard Nimoy
Dr. McCoy (Bones) – DeForrest Kelley
Uhura – Nichelle Nichols
Scott – James Doohan
Sulu – George Takei
Chekov – Walter Koenig

To this day, this is my favorite. I remember watching it with my family as a little girl. Not only did it take on issues of the day in a futuristic way, but the relationships between Captain Kirk, Spock, and Bones made the show great. Captain Kirk was the original captain who explored where no man has gone before in the same vein as adventurers and cowboys or the past. Nobody will ever take his place.

So leave a comment and let me know if you agree. Which are your favorites?

Top 10 Sci-fi TV Shows of All Time

I didn’t include anthologies such as Twilight Zone or Outer Limits in this list. I also didn’t include SteamPunk like Wild Wild West. All of these are great shows. I combined all the Star Treks into one because if I’d included them separately, there wouldn’t have been room for most of the others. I’ll include my Star Trek list in order of favorites next week.

Honorable Mentions: Max Headroom, Buck Rogers and the 25th Century, Six Million Dollar Man, Star Gate Series, X Factor, and Alien Nation

10. Mork and Mindy

1978-1982

Starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber

Let’s be honest. This was one of the silliest shows ever on TV. It proved the genius of Robin Williams in the silliest of scripts and launched his career. NaNoo NaNoo!

9. Alf

1986-1990

Starring Mihaly ‘Michu’ Meszaros, Paul Fusco, and Max Wright

What can I say? I love silly sci-fi shows when they’re done right. This one was.

8. Time Tunnel

1966-1967

Starring Robert Colbert, Lee Meriwether, and James Darren

The science part and the special effects were laughable, but this was the first time travel TV Series. I learned a lot of history when I was a kid by watching this show. Besides it was fun to watch James Darren.

7. My Favorite Martian

1963-1966

Starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby

This is the first TV show Bill Bixby starred in. When an alien lands, a reporter decides to shield him by introducing him as his uncle. This is one of the first comedy sci-fi TV shows.

6. Quantum Leap

1989-1993

Starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell

Who didn’t root for Sam to make things right that had gone wrong?

5. V The Original

1983

Starring Mark Singer and Faye Grant

I didn’t miss one episode of this show even though I didn’t own a VCR. I was on the edge of my seat to see what happened next.

4. Lost In Space

1965-1968

Starring Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright, Billy Mumy, and Jonathan Harris

You either loved this campy show or you hated it. I loved it.

3. Battlestar Gallactica

1980

Starring Lorne Green, Dirk Benedict, and Herb Jefferson Jr.

2004-2009

Starring Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, and Jamie Bamber

You might ask me which one. Both deserve the number 3 spot, but I liked the earlier one with Lorne Greene. I listed the dates and actors for both.

2. Dr. Who

1963-2012

StarringWilliam Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, John Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith

I’ll be honest. Although I lumped all the Star Treks together, only the original Star Trek Series nudges out Dr. Who for the number 1 spot, and that’s just barely. Dr. Who is awesome. Every doctor brought something different to the part, yet they were all The Doctor.

1. Star Trek Series

1966-1967

Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForrest Kelley

Since the original series is my favorite, I only listed the dates and actors for it. I remember watching it as a little girl when it was first on. I practiced holding in my emotions like Spock. You’ll have to wait a week to see which Star Trek gets my number 2 and number 3 spots. Neither one beats Dr. Who, but they would be number 3 & 4 on this list. I have always loved James T. Kirk. Star Trek is an icon of sci-fi series.

So do you think I got it right. What were your favorites?