GenXer TV Shows

by elizaashe | created - 29 Jan 2013 | updated - 25 Jun 2017 | Public

TV shows worth mentioning: old and new. This list is a work-in-progress. I didn't watch TV much in between being a kid and now, so I'll update as I make new (noteworthy) discoveries.

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1. Fringe (2008–2013)

TV-14 | 46 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

An F.B.I. agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.

Stars: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole

Votes: 208,240

Great show only a few "filler" episodes. I cried at the end, like, really hard. And, love the strength and softness; the contrast; in the female lead role!

2. Dexter (2006–2013)

TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

By day, mild-mannered Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. But at night, he is a serial killer who only targets other murderers.

Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar

Votes: 604,857

Uneven quality across seasons; mostly highly entertaining. Totally ambitious paradox makes me wonder if I'm okay with his craziness and code of killing conduct. I am not convinced he is a psychopath if he is using rational means of right and wrong to make his kill choices. Kind of a strange show and very violent and gross at times in every way. So far from my normal life, it takes me away like a eewy gooey kind of Calgon.

3. Lost (2004–2010)

TV-14 | 44 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island.

Stars: Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim, Evangeline Lilly

Votes: 461,070

Never saw this when it was actually airing; much better to see it when I could watch it over short period of time. Last season kind of a stretch, but fun as hell overall.

4. Three's Company (1976–1984)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

The misadventures of two women and one man living in one apartment and their neighbors.

Stars: John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, Richard Kline

Votes: 10,814

Grew up with this one. Haven't seen it in years. Do not usually watch re-runs of any kind, but it must be documented as a GenXer. Makes me wonder, who is gay in this show anyway and what's with the pantyhose?

5. The Electric Company (1971–1977)

TV-G | 28 min | Family, Comedy

A comedy variety show that teaches basic phonetic and grammar concepts using live-action sketches, cartoons, songs, and Spider-Man episodes.

Stars: Jim Boyd, Morgan Freeman, Judy Graubart, Skip Hinnant

Votes: 1,617

Now getting really young. Loved this show as a kid. Learning was fun: music, dancing and people of every race and color like being friends which society said was supposed to be happening but was really only going on in public schools back then.

6. Happy Days (1974–1984)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Music

The Cunningham family live through the 1950s with help and guidance from the lovable and almost superhuman greaser, Fonzie.

Stars: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley

Votes: 14,457

Gotta list this one even though I haven't seen it in years. I think I would hate it today because there should be a female Fonz somehow. The Happy Days Fonz is kind of a patriarchal, sexist ass. But, it was true to the times and frankly still true in 2013, it's just not as overtly demeaning of least in the public places I go to.

7. Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Family, Romance

The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the nineteenth century American Midwest.

Stars: Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Rachel Lindsay Greenbush

Votes: 14,803

As a kid. loved Laura Ingalls Wilder - reminded me of a well-behaved Pippi or Annie. Freaked me out when they actually showed Albert detox from his morphine addiction. Might be in episode #180, "A Promise to Keep". After that season it got boring.

8. One Day at a Time (1975–1984)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

The misadventures of a divorced mother, her family, and their building superintendent in Indianapolis.

Stars: Valerie Bertinelli, Bonnie Franklin, Pat Harrington Jr., Mackenzie Phillips

Votes: 3,214

Valerie Bertinelli got even cooler when she married Eddie, but that was after the series ended. Remember really liking the mom character in this show. I wanted my mom to be like her.

9. Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.

Stars: Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain, Dana Plato

Votes: 8,495

This show cracked me up as a kid. Very sad when Dana Plato overdosed at age 34, then Gary Coleman dead at 42.

10. Fantasy Island (1977–1984)

TV-G | 60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Accounts of visitors to a unique resort island in the Pacific Ocean that can fulfill literally any fantasy requested, but rarely turn out as expected.

Stars: Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Christopher Hewett, Wendy Schaal

Votes: 6,014

Da plane! Awesome show.

11. Bewitched (1964–1972)

TV-G | 25 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A witch married to an ordinary man cannot resist using her magic powers to solve the problems her family faces.

Stars: Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Dick Sargent, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 14,804

The magical wife, can I have one? Loved the syfy touch in this show as a kid.

12. The Brady Bunch (1969–1974)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

The misadventures of a large family united when a widower and a widow marry.

Stars: Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Ann B. Davis, Maureen McCormick

Votes: 11,058

Even back then I felt like it was a little goodie-two-shoes-y, but I still know the intro song by heart. Funny how this sort of depiction of American Family is so freaking unreal and fake! Like, it should be remade into a syfy show. Oh, I think they did that with the Jetsons. Touche'.

13. Charlie's Angels (1976–1981)

TV-PG | 60 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A wealthy mystery man named Charlie runs a detective agency via a speakerphone and his personal assistant, John Bosley. His detectives are three beautiful women, who end up in a variety of difficult situations.

Stars: Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, David Doyle

Votes: 9,136

Farrah was the most gorgeous of them all - reminded me of Bo Derek. And, women with brains and guns, now you're talking.

14. Good Times (1974–1979)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

A poor family make the best of things in the Chicago housing projects.

Stars: Ja'net DuBois, Ralph Carter, BernNadette Stanis, Jimmie Walker

Votes: 5,191

JJ, too cool. Loved the way he answered the (analog rotary-dial) phone. Still do! But, seems like we barely say hello anymore, so EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH would be as annoying as those voice mails with the long instructions. Just hit star already. Back then there was time for just being like JJ. Problems were different. Life was different. Nostalgic, antiquated, but human, very human.

15. I Dream of Jeannie (1965–1970)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A United States astronaut finds his life vastly complicated when he stumbles on to a bottle containing a female genie.

Stars: Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Bill Daily, Hayden Rorke

Votes: 11,530

The epitome of sexism, but highly entertaining. Everyman's dream of having the perfect wife, the magic wife who never aged, had to get botox or boob lifts or whatever. She was master of the roost even in her utter female-ness, I guess the magic stuff was how the producers could slip that one in; how ironic.

16. The Muppet Show (1976–1981)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Music

Kermit the Frog and his fellow Muppets put on a vaudeville show at their theatre, bringing in a famous celebrity to help out for each episode.

Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz

Votes: 21,161

I so loved this show as a kid. Never liked Miss Piggy, though. I thought she was egoistic and arrogant, just like men were before they started taking Yoga and found out women have balls, too. The two old critic puppets? As a kid they reminded me of Siskel and Ebert, blessings for what they brought to the world. They must have inspired one another somehow.

17. Bosom Buddies (1980–1982)

30 min | Comedy

Two young single ad men must disguise themselves as women to live in the one apartment they can afford.

Stars: Tom Hanks, Peter Scolari, Donna Dixon, Holland Taylor

Votes: 2,857

Gay gay gay. And, so mainstream. Love the sneaker-y of this looking back. Such a great show.

18. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.

Stars: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

Votes: 62,857

This was old to me as a kid; intrigued by the scary, the peculiar and delightful syfy-ishness of it.

19. Saturday Night Live (1975– )

TV-14 | 90 min | Comedy, Music

A famous guest host stars in parodies and sketches created by the cast of this witty show.

Stars: Don Pardo, Lenny Pickett, Darrell Hammond, Kenan Thompson

Votes: 39,561

When it was good, it was good. But everybody I loved just died. The strangest thing. I hardly watch it since Chris Farley. I just couldn't take it anymore.

Never forget Luke and Laura. Probably why I dislike rom coms now, which has altered me for Life. I will not go see a rom com movie or tv show. I get bored out of my tree. Too much like real life. When I watch shows, I want to be taken away into some foreign life and study it; try to figure it out. The strange, the twisted, the weird; blood, guts, horror, vulgarity, fantasy, crime, murder, conspiracy, international espionage, intense suspense and crazy people, well, not sure about that last one, but hoping I've made my point here.

21. Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001)

TV-PG | 44 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Pulled to the far side of the galaxy, where the Federation is seventy-five years away at maximum warp speed, a Starfleet ship must cooperate with Maquis rebels to find a way home.

Stars: Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Robert Duncan McNeill

Votes: 52,162

Finally, a woman captain: Captain Kathryn Janeway, a top tv-heroine.

22. South Park (1997– )

TV-MA | 22 min | Animation, Comedy

Follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado.

Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Mona Marshall

Votes: 304,260

The start of urban lingo and for awhile, so utterly fresh, daring and funny.

23. Breaking Bad (2008–2013)

TV-MA | 49 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

Votes: 1,245,909

Amazing show. Found out about it during its second season. See what happens when you keep your gifts all stuffed up and repressed? You just end up in high crime. Oh my.

24. The Walking Dead (2010– )

TV-MA | 44 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins, and must lead a group of survivors to stay alive.

Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira

Votes: 795,378

Engrossing, sometimes slow and strangely realistic in some metaphorical way. Update: season three was too slow. It seemed to transform into something I thought would be better done as a play in like two hours, something like Les Misérables. Unspectacular and only slightly fantastical. Wah.

25. Revenge (2011–2015)

TV-PG | 44 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

An emotionally troubled young woman sets out to exact revenge against the people who wronged her father.

Stars: Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler

Votes: 107,936

Brain candy show. Over-the-top ridiculous and maddening...there is no end to this premise even when it (presumably) ends. Oh, check in: it's still going. I haven't watched it since May 2013. It stopped becoming so becoming. I'll catch up on a rainy day. Maybe.

26. Supernatural (2005– )

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Two brothers follow their father's footsteps as hunters, fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds, including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beaver, Misha Collins

Votes: 356,396

First season is a waste of time. Then, it gets going a bit - most episodes are decent, but some are so bad I don't finish. Overall, it's worth mentioning here especially since I feel like I'm waiting for the climax 8 seasons later...On with it! Update: I've enjoyed the very, very long season 8. Finally, some kind of something at the end. But not really. Who's gonna die or come back to life in the end? Will it be like the Wizard of Oz and they all just wake up back in their childhood home all happy go lucky? It is so campy it could go like that but it's been fun and I'll keep watching when 9 starts up.

27. American Horror Story (2011– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, including a house with a murderous past, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, a hotel, a possessed farmhouse, a cult, the apocalypse and a summer camp.

Stars: Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson

Votes: 251,960

I'm not hanging by a thread at the end of season 2 like I did with season 1. However, it's still a remarkably deranged show. Wonder what season 3 in New Orleans with witches is going to be like? Wish it lasted longer, it's too dang short!

28. Person of Interest (2011–2016)

TV-14 | 43 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An ex-assassin and a wealthy programmer save lives via a surveillance AI that sends them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes. However, the details of the crimes--including the civilians' roles--are left a mystery.

Stars: Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman, Michael Emerson

Votes: 154,128

I saw a random episode at a family visit. It did not do anything for me. But the premise is interesting to me, I forced myself to start with the pilot just to see...And, then I was addicted. This show must be watched in chronological order because there's this underlying story unfolding that holds what seemed so random the first time together and it's just as interesting if not more so, than the heroic deeds being done show after show. Reminds me of Fringe in that way. Transformation of characters, their ethics, values; the stuff of life but not really because it's like another kind of metaphor. I miss Fringe so I keep looking for a suitable refill and I'm a little thirsty still.

29. Hannibal (2013–2015)

TV-14 | 44 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

Explores the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.

Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne

Votes: 205,374

I cannot believe how enthralling this show is! There's the movies, yeah. Seem em. Don't watch reruns, too much to do. So far, at episode 9, I'm sucked in with the twisty flair that is appealing to me. It's got that extrasensory perception magical thing; that OMG! mystery grab, and a disconcerted flippancy like it's gonna pop open at any moment. Tense, gruesome, very well acted; engaging. Disturbing but in an almost satirical way. It's as good as AHS without the voodoo. This is just plain sickness from the good guys and the bad ones; they're all just demented and intense characters. The moments of irony and hannibalistic comedy I find freshly entertaining, no pun intended.

30. Bates Motel (2013–2017)

TV-MA | 45 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A contemporary prequel to Psycho, giving a portrayal of how Norman Bates' psyche unravels through his teenage years, and how deeply intricate his relationship with his mother, Norma, truly is.

Stars: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Nicola Peltz

Votes: 88,141

No way, not two movie for tv-series in the same season and unbelievable that it's also very entertaining. It moves so fast that you have to pause it if you leave for a moment because the whole world happens right then. Very fast-paced with multiple side dilemmas that keep me entranced. So far I'm not bored at all knowing what we all know that somehow this cute, seemingly straight-laced but sexualized kid, Norman Bates, is going to end up doing what he does so well especially to unknowing women in showers (can you hear the music?) The mom is just so outlandishly insane yet somehow explains her craziness so sometimes I want to feel sorry for her, but I don't trust her. The innuendo between mom and son is uncomfortable, but helpful to understand in terms of how Norman becomes the Norman we know from the classic flick, but now we get to see the making of his psychotic mind; this thing he has with women and how he comes to that place...So, it makes psychotic sense, but it's just nuts. It's less sophisticated than Hannibal, but no less entertaining if you like that kind of wicked weirdness.

31. Penny Dreadful (2014–2016)

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, scientist Victor Frankenstein, and medium Vanessa Ives unite to combat supernatural threats in Victorian London.

Stars: Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Reeve Carney

Votes: 102,156

32. Stranger Things (2016– )

TV-14 | 51 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying supernatural forces in order to get him back.

Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour

Votes: 648,796

33. The Fall (I) (2013–2016)

TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A seemingly cold but very passionate policewoman goes head to head with a seemingly passionate father who is in fact a cold serialist in this procedural out of Belfast. The only thing they share is their common complexity.

Stars: Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch, Aisling Franciosi

Votes: 66,707

34. The Exorcist (2016–2018)

TV-14 | 45 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Follows three priests dealing with cases of a demonic presence targeting a family and a foster home.

Stars: Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, Kurt Egyiawan, Hannah Kasulka

Votes: 22,500

35. The Killing (2011–2014)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A police investigation, the saga of a grieving family, and a Seattle mayoral campaign all interlock after the body of 17-year-old Rosie Larsen is found in the trunk of a submerged car.

Stars: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell, Liam James

Votes: 90,528

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