Newsmax has presented the 50 best television shows promoting American traditions and family values. Besides sparking endless debate about what shows should displace some of those on our list, we hope it causes some to ponder how their own values and beliefs have changed as TV has morphed over the years. Admittedly, this is a very subjective undertaking. Following are the top ten shows from our total list of 50.
Before narrowing our discussion to the top ten shows, here are a few near-misses. While they all made our Top 50 list, these shows landed outside our Top 10: The Cosby Show, Duck Dynasty, Highway to Heaven, 7th Heaven, Walker, Texas Ranger, The Andy Griffith Show, Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Father Knows Best, Family Ties, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hee Haw, and M*A*S*H.
Now, here’s our list of the top ten family values shows in American television history.
1. Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983)
Based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder book series, the show featured a big, close-knit family learning life lessons together in Walnut Grove, Minnesota in the 1870s and 1880s.
2. The Waltons (1971-1981)
This program showed the struggles of a depression-era family living in the rural Virginia mountains and clinging together to help each other and neighbors survive the tough times.
3. The Lawrence Welk Show (1955-1971)
Running on ABC and then in syndication, the show featured the “champagne music” of Welk’s orchestra, based around wholesome family songs, patriotic themes, and Midwestern values.
4. Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963)
This program portrayed the idealized American suburban family with a strong, hard-working father, a supportive and loving mother, and two growing boys in the fictional community of Mayfield.
5. The Adventures of Superman (1952-1958)
Fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way,” Superman, played by George Reeves, battled criminals and always emerged victorious.
6. Wagon Train (1957-1965)
This show depicted brave pioneers on a trek from Missouri to California struggling to settle the frontier in the early West. It starred Ward Bond as wagon master Major Seth Adams.
7. Home Improvement (1991-1999)
Featuring a strong, if sometimes wacky, father figure (a rarity in modern TV), “Home Improvement” chronicled Tim Taylor, the host of a home improvement show and a father of three boys in a solid, stable family.
8. Lassie (1954-1973)
The fourth-longest running series in TV history, “Lassie” featured a beautiful collie wonder dog, who rescued his owner and a host of animals from threats as the pet of a war widow struggling to raise her son and run a small farm.
9. Smallville (2001-2011)
The show followed a young Clark Kent as he grew us and learned little-town values of compassion, caring, and bravery, and struggled to accept his future heroic role.
10. The Lone Ranger (1949-1957)
A pillar of American values like courage, justice, and doing the right thing, “The Lone Ranger” featured Clayton Moore as the Masked Man and Jay Silverheels as his “faithful Indian companion” Tonto. The duo battled the bad guys while never killing them – only shooting the guns out of their hands with silver bullets.
About the Author
John Blosser is an entertainment writer for Newsmax.