Special Report

The Best TV Show Released the Year You Were Born

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1959: The Twilight Zone
> IMDb rating: 9.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 78,338
> Series run: 1959-1964
> Cast: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

Creator and host Rod Serling wrote over 80 episodes of this groundbreaking anthology series. Best known for its sci-fi elements and twist endings, it spawned small-screen revivals and a disastrous 1983 film adaptation. Similar anthology shows such as “The Outer Limits” and “Black Mirror” wouldn’t exist without it.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Stringer / Getty Images News

1960: The Bugs Bunny Show
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 32,682
> Series run: 1960-1975
> Cast: Mel Blanc, June Foray, Jim Backus, Bea Benaderet

Mainly composed of previous Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, this beloved animated series debuted on ABC in a primetime slot. It became a Saturday morning fixture soon after and existed in one form or another for nearly four decades.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1961: The Diсk Van Dyke Show
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 9,992
> Series run: 1961-1966
> Cast: Diсk Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam

Created by Carl Reiner, this classic series alternated between the professional and personal struggles of a harried TV writer (Van Dyke). Winner of 15 Emmy Awards, it helped pave the way for the workplace sitcom sub-genre.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1962: The Beverly Hillbillies
> IMDb rating: 7.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 9,212
> Series run: 1962-1971
> Cast: Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Irene Ryan, Max Baer Jr.

A poor Ozarks family strikes it rich and heads to Beverly Hills in this fish-out-of-water sitcom. It was later remade as a 1993 film with a guest cameo by Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett in the original series.

Source: Courtesy of BBC Video

1963: Doctor Who
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 36,812
> Series run: 1963-1989
> Cast: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker

This pop culture cornerstone holds Guinness World Records for the longest-running sci-fi TV series in the world and the “most successful” sci-fi series of all time. Follow the title character as he (or she in the most recent iteration) explores the furthest reaches of space and time in a conspicuously British-looking vessel. The show was relaunched in 2005 and continues to air new episodes.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

1964: The Addams Family
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,679
> Series run: 1964-1966
> Cast: John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy

Single-panel comics by cartoonist Charles Addams laid the groundwork for this sitcom about America’s creepiest and kookiest family. It only ran for two seasons but eventually spawned an ongoing franchise, complete with shows, films, and Broadway musicals.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1965: Get Smart
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 12,007
> Series run: 1965-1970
> Cast: Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt, Robert Karvelas

“An insane combination of James Bond and Mel Brooks comedy” is how Brooks himself once described this parodic series (which he co-created). It centers on clumsy secret agent Maxwell Smart and his partner Agent 99 as they take on the evil spy organization KAOS. Multiple film adaptations and a short-lived series revival would follow.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1966: Star Trek: The Original Series
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 79,307
> Series run: 1966-1969
> Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols

Long before the ever-expanding franchise there came this original sci-fi series, which sends the crew of the USS Enterprise on various space-based adventures. Cancelled after just three seasons due to low ratings, it was later rediscovered through syndication. It remains to this day an ongoing cultural force with representation in virtually every medium.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1967: The Carol Burnett Show
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 5,891
> Series run: 1967-1978
> Cast: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, The Ernie Flatt Dancers, Harvey Korman

Broadway star turned TV comedian Carol Burnett headlined this Emmy-winning variety show, the first of its kind to have a female as host. It featured high-profile guest appearances along with a number of iconic sketches, including a famous parody of “Gone With the Wind.”

Source: Courtesy of National Educational Television

1968: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,462
> Series run: 1968-2001
> Cast: Fred Rogers, Betty Aberlin, David Newell, Joe Negri

From 1968 to 2001, the amiable Fred Rogers welcomed young viewers into his warm home and charming neighborhood. His memorable guest characters and approachable style made education seem effortless. This was the longest-running children’s television series of all-time until “Sesame Street” broke the record in 2003.

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