For over seven decades, ABC has created some of the most unforgettable shows in television history, such as Laverne & Shirley, The Brady Bunch, and Taxi. ABC first made waves on the radio in 1943 and, five years later, it made its television debut, followed by hit series including Leave It to Beaver and Wagon Train. Since then, the infamous network has turned out dozens of popular shows and sitcoms, but some have had an immense impact on pop culture and audiences around the world that deserve to be placed in the category of exclusive greatness.

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ABC has always produced a blend of shows ranging from laugh-out-loud sitcoms to courtroom dramas and out of all the memorable series, only a select few have managed to stay in the network’s top slots. From the 1990s hit show, Full House, to the iconic Happy Days created by television legend, Gary Marshall, these are the best ABC series of all time, ranked.

10 ‘Full House’ (1987-1995)

Starring Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Candace Cameron Bure

The cast of Full House
Image via ABC

Bob Saget stars in the 90s sitcom, Full House, as Danny Tanner, who, after the death of his wife, is left to care for and raise his three young daughters. With the help of his brother-in-law, Jesse (John Stamos), and friend, Joey (Dave Coulier), they all pitch in on parenting duties and support the girls as they each navigate their way through the typical ups and downs of growing up.

Full House was a unique sitcom and one of the first to depict an American family without a mother figure. The show features a comically dysfunctional family who, many times, are faced with certain subjects and issues that most fathers weren’t known to address. Full House broke down various stereotypes about parenting mixed in with hysterical scenarios and famous catchphrases (specifically, the adorable “You got it dude!”) and, according to one of the show’s producers, it was considered to be The Brady Bunch of the 1990s.

Full House poster

Full House (US)

Creator
Jeff Franklin

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
8

Full House can be streamed on Hulu in the U.S.

Watch on Hulu

9 ‘The Practice’ (1997-2004)

Starring Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, and Lara Flynn Boyle

Helen Gamble (Lara Flynn Boyle) in The Practice standing in court.
Image via Twentieth Century Fox Television

Set in Boston, Massachusetts, the popular legal drama, The Practice, focuses on an ambitious attorney, Bobby Donnell, played by Dylan McDermott, who, unlike his partners, believes high-profile cases are not always about financial reward, striving to do the right thing for society before someone’s wallet. Torn between his instincts and legal ethics, Donnell tries to satisfy both his conscience and those in his prominent firm.

The Practice centers around the American justice system and legal proceedings led by McDermott, who is both intense and charming as the unconventional Bobby Donnell. There had been several notable courtroom dramas before The Practice, but it was one of the first to provide an extensive view into the legal process and ethical struggles many attorneys grapple with regularly. The series won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series in 1998 and 1999, and eventually led to the successful spin-off series Boston Legal.

The Practice

Release Date
March 4, 1997

Cast
Steve Harris , Camryn Manheim , Michael Badalucco , Jessica Capshaw , James Spader , Rhona Mitra

Main Genre
Drama

Seasons
8

The Practice can be streamed on Prime Video in the U.S.

Watch on Prime

8 ‘Maverick’ (1957-1962)

Starring James Garner, Jack Kelly, and Roger Moore

In the 1950s, television had a stack of entertaining Western series, but ABC’s Maverick mixed up the traditional Wild West setting with the smooth-talking poker player, Bret Maverick. Played by James Garner, Maverick tries his card-dealing luck on riverboats and inside saloons as he makes his way through the American Frontier accompanied by his brother, Bart (Jack Kelly).

Garner is magnificent in the popular Western series, Maverick, who initially doesn’t appear to be much of a threat with his suave words and peak appearance, but there’s more to this poker rounder than what meets the eye, making this an exceptional ABC series. The show featured significant guest stars, including Western icons like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef, and other classic stars such as Joel Grey, Robert Redford, and Connie Stevens. In 1994, the series was adapted into a movie starring Mel Gibson as Bret Maverick, appearing alongside Jodie Foster and Garner, who played an against-type role as Marshal Zane Cooper.

Maverick

Release Date
September 22, 1957

Cast
Jack Kelly

Seasons
5

Maverick can be streamed on Prime Video in the U.S.

Watch on Prime

7 ‘Taxi’ (1978-1983)

Starring Tony Danza, Judd Hirsch, and Danny DeVito

Louie and Alex talking in Taxi
Image via Paramount Television

An iconic sitcom, Taxi follows the misfit employees and drivers of the Sunshine Cab Company in New York City. For almost everyone on the payroll, the job at the cab company is simply temporary until they can find something in their intended career field, but in the meantime, the co-workers soon become more than just those they see daily and start to feel more like a family than a company.

Throughout its five-season run, Taxi earned over thirty Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning eighteen, which also includes three consecutive years of winning for Outstanding Comedy Series. With an eccentric cast of familiar faces such as Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, and Judd Hirsch, Taxi is considered to be one of the greatest sitcoms of all time and has remained in syndication since it ended in 1983. In 2023, Variety ranked Taxi at number seventy-five on its list of the 100 greatest television shows of all time.

Taxi TV Show DVD Cover

Taxi

Release Date
September 12, 1978

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
5

Creator(s)
James L. Brooks , Stan Daniels , David Davis , Ed Weinberger

Taxi can be streamed on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Watch on Paramount+

6 ‘Bewitched’ (1964-1972)

Starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, and Agnes Moorehead

Dick York as Darren and Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha looking at each other in Bewitched
Image via ABC

In the classic sitcom, Bewitched, Samantha (Elizabeth Mongomery) and New York advertising executive, Darrin Stephens (Dick York) are a young married couple living in the suburbs and, while they appear to be the all-American family next door, there’s one catch to this lovely couple; Samantha is secretly a witch. While the couple try to keep up their appearance and Samantha’s secret to themselves, there are moments where she simply can’t resist using her powers.

Bewitched was one if not the first series to take the element of fantasy and spin it into a relatable everyday family. Despite the show’s magical qualities, Bewitched still featured traditional themes of the family sitcom, such as raising children, hosting dinner parties, and, of course, relatives popping in unannounced, especially Samantha’s meddling mother, Andora, who is played by the underrated Golden Age star, Agnes Moorehead. Considering Montgomery’s contagious charm and the show’s unique quality of the supernatural, Bewitched is easily one of the best ABC shows of all time.

bewitched-dvd-cover

Bewitched

Release Date
1964-00-00

Creator
Sol Saks

Cast
Elizabeth Montgomery , Dick York , Agnes Moorehead , Dick Sargent , David White

Main Genre
Comedy

Bewitched can be streamed on Tubi in the U.S.

Watch on Tubi

5 ‘Three’s Company’ (1976-1984)

Starring John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, and Suzanne Somers

Chrissy (Suzanne Somers), Jack (John Ritter), and Janet (Joyce DeWitt), sitting together in Three's Company.
Image via ABC

When Janet Woods (Joyce DeWitt) and Crissy Snow (Suzanne Somers) need to find a new roommate to move into their Santa Monica apartment, they decide to give the room to a party-boy bachelor, Jack Tripper (the late John Ritter). As they become fast friends, the series chronicles the trio’s hilarious misunderstandings and miscommunications surrounding their individual lives that almost always lead to some hysterical escapades.

Three’s Company was one of the first sitcoms to portray male and female roommates living together as young singles. Aside from the series’ groundbreaking concept, Three’s Company is noted for its catchy theme song (Come and knock on our door!), tongue-in-cheek jokes, and slapstick humor mainly carried by Ritter, who delivers some of the best physical comedy ever seen on television. The show earned several Primetime Emmy Award nominations throughout its run, and, in 1984, Ritter won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

Threes Company TV Show Poster

Three’s Company

Release Date
March 15, 1977

Creator
Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, Bernard West, Brian Cooke, Johnnie Mortimer

Cast
John Ritter , Joyce DeWitt , Priscilla Barnes , Don Knotts , Richard Kline , Norman Fell

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
8

Three’s Company can be streamed on Pluto TV in the U.S.

Watch on Pluto TV

4 ‘Laverne & Shirley’ (1976-1983)

Starring Cindy Williams, Penny Marshall, and Michael McKean

Laverne and Shirley bowling.
Image via ABC 

Set during the 1950s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeny (Cindy Williams) are longtime roommates who work together as bottle cappers in a brewery and rely on each other to get through the rough times and celebrate the good times together. As they try to find their place in the world, they know they can always count on each other to help them find their way.

Laverne & Shirley is a spin-off of the hit series, Happy Days, and by the series’ third season, it was one of the most-watched television shows of all time. With the ridiculous antics of neighbors, Lenny and Squiggy (played by Better Call Saul star, Michael McKean, and David Lander) to always keep them on their toes and a turbulent single life, Laverne & Shirley became known for its physical comedy and playing against the traditional female stereotypes, establishing itself as one of the best ABC shows in television history.

Laverne & Shirley

Release Date
January 27, 1976

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
8

Laverne & Shirley can be streamed on Pluto TV in the U.S.

Watch on Pluto TV

3 ‘Modern Family’ (2009-2020)

Starring Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, and Ed O’Neill

The cast of Modern Family in the series finale
Image via ABC

In the mockumentary sitcom, Modern Family, viewers witness the everyday lives of an extended family who give an honest and usually hysterical view into the vast changing world of being a parent and child in today’s modern world. With parents, Claire and Phil (Julie Bowen, Ty Burell) and Claire’s brother, Mitchell and his husband, Cam (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet), plus their dad, Jay and his new wife Gloria (Ed O’Neill, Sofía Vergara), each family endure their own share of mishaps and antics while also trying to raise family’s of their own.

The award-winning series, Modern Family, is the epitome of a blended family and, through humor and heartfelt moments, speaks to a vast range of viewers, making it one of the all-time best ABC shows. Throughout its eleven-season run, Modern Family won twenty-two Emmy Awards, including, five for Outstanding Comedy Series, and in 2011, it won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series-Musical or Comedy. Modern Family continues to be a favorite among viewers and is remembered for its eccentric characters and diverse family units that accurately speak to a majority of today’s families across the globe.

Modern Family TV Show Poster

Modern Family

Release Date
September 23, 2009

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
11

Studio
ABC

Modern Family can be streamed on Peacock in the U.S.

Watch on Peacock

2 ‘The Brady Bunch’ (1969-1974)

Starring Florence Henderson, Robert Reed, and Maureen McCormick

The cast of 'The Brady Bunch' sitting at the base of their iconic staircase.
Image via ABC

Here’s the story…(Kidding) The Brady Bunch was a trailblazer for the family sitcom and while they might appear to be just your large everyday family, their family dynamic is what made them one of ABC’s greatest shows of all time. When a widower and father, Mike Brady (Robert Reed), who has three sons, meets a single mother, Carol (Florence Henderson), who has three girls, the two eventually get married and join their families together under one happy roof.

The Brady Bunch is a staple in the sitcom genre and is recognized for its first-of-its-kind family dynamic as well as its musical aspect, which led to the release of several hit records. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show was also known for being the first to use the multi-dynamic image technique in the show’s iconic opening, which eventually became known as the Brady Bunch effect. While The Brady Bunch became one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1970s, it gained additional notoriety for its variety of guest stars, including Vincent Price, Joe Namath, and lead singer of The Monkees, Davy Jones.

The Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch

Release Date
September 26, 1969

Creator
Sherwood Schwartz

Cast
Robert Reed , Florence Henderson , Ann B. Davis , Maureen McCormick , Eve Plumb , Susan Olsen , Barry Williams , Mike Lookinland

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
5

Studio
ABC

The Brady Bunch can be streamed on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Watch on Paramount+

1 ‘Happy Days’ (1974-1984)

Starring Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, and Marion Ross

The cast of Happy Days
Image via ABC

Ron Howard stars in the iconic sitcom, Happy Days, as teenager, Richie Cummingham, who lives in Wisconsin during the 1950s with his loving family. As Richie deals with the typical teen experiences and struggles, he’s supported by his best friends, Potsie (Anson Weber), Ralph (Don Most), and his cool, motorcycle-riding pal, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler).

Happy Days is the quintessential sitcom that altered the world of television forever. Despite initially earning mixed reviews from critics, Happy Days went on to become one of ABC’s biggest series and has been immortalized in American pop culture. Even though the series helped launch Howard’s career, Winkler’s character eventually stole the spotlight, gaining worldwide popularity for his bad boy with a heart-of-gold image and his infamous catchphrase, “Ayyye!” Happy Days is also known for its successful spin-offs, including Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber.

Happy Days TV-1

Happy Days

Release Date
January 15, 1974

Creator
Gary Marshall

Cast
Henry Winkler , Marion Ross , Tom Bosley , Anson Williams , Don Most , Scott Baio , Ted McGinley

Main Genre
Sitcom

Seasons
11

Distributor
CBS Television Distribution

Producer
William Bickley, Michael Warren, Anthony W. Marshall, Ronny Hallin, Fred Fox, Jr.

Number of Episodes
255

Happy Days can be streamed on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Watch on Paramount+

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