393633 01: Actor George Wendt, known as Norm on the sitcom "Cheers", looks at his beer August 23, 2001 on opening night at the "Cheers" bar in Boston MA. Drinking with him is owner Tom Kershaw who also owns the Bull & Finch Pub, which the popular sitcom is based on. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Boston is the best city in the world. It shouldn’t surprise you that some amazing television shows were set in Boston. Many of those TV shows, I bet you didn’t even know were set here. They may even be shows you’ve watched or even loved and you had no idea. And with the Frasier reboot happening and being set here in Boston, we wanted to refresh your memory (or even enlighten you) to the TV shows that were set right here in Boston.

Let’s first take a look at why Hollywood happens to have an obsession over Boston…especially lately. Well if you’re talking about movies specifically, there are amazing tax incentives for shooting in the Bay State. Any film production that spends more than $50,000 in The Bay State is eligible for a 25% production credit, a 25% payroll credit, and a sales tax exemption. That alone is tempting enough to bring Hollywood here. The geography and landscape in Massachusetts seems to also be a prime asset for TV and film creators. Many also cite the history and culture in the Boston area as being what lures filmmakers in. Regardless, Boston and Massachusetts has been a target for TV shows and film settings for decades.

We’re going to run down some of the best TV shows that have historically been set in Boston. Some go as far back as 1982. Now, these are not EVERY show that has been set in Boston. These are just some of the most recognizable and ones that have been fan favorites over the years. If you have any you’d like to add, please be sure to message us. In the meantime, let’s take a trip down memory lane as we get ready for yet another TV show set in Boston to make its debut in October. Happy watching!

  • Ally McBeal

    The show that made Calista Flockhart a household name. It was created by David E Kelly and ran from September 8, 1997, to May 20, 2002 about a Boston law firm called Cage & Fish.

  • Boston Legal

     The series aired from October 3, 2004, to December 8, 2008.  It’s a comedy drama that starred William Shatner, James Spader and Candace Bergen.  It received 26 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, including for Outstanding Drama Series in 2007 and 2008.

  • Cheers

    Okay okay, most of you know Cheers was set in Boston. Of course it’s the infamous bar where everybody knows your name.  It ran on NBC from September 30, 1982, to May 20, 1993 and had an all star cast of Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Rhea Pearlman, George Wendt and more. 

  • City on a Hill

    This crime drama series was created by Charlie MacLean, based on a story by Ben Affleck and MacLean.   It aired June 7, 2019 (online) and June 16, 2019 (Showtime). On August 2, 2019, Showtime renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on March 28, 2021.  Kevin Bacon starred and unfortunately it was canceled after three seasons. 

  • Crossing Jordan

    This American crime drama series aired on NBC from September 24, 2001, to May 16, 2007.  It starred Miguel Ferrer, Kathryn Hahn and Jill Hennessy as medical examiners and detectives. It lasted six seasons. 

  • Dawson's Creek

    Okay, the LATER seasons. This wildly popular show was set in the  fictional town of Capeside, Massachusetts and starred  James Van Der Beek as Dawson LeeryKatie Holmes as his best friend and love interestJoey PotterJoshua Jackson as their friend Pacey Witter and Michelle Williams as Jen Lindley, a New York City transplant to Capeside.  Dawson moved to Boston in the sixth and final season. 

  • Fringe

    This sci fi TV series was created by J. J. AbramsAlex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox television network on September 9, 2008, and concluded on January 18, 2013.  It was described as a hybrid between fantasy and drama and starred Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson. 

  • The Practice

    This American legal drama television series was created by David E. Kelley and centered on partners and associates at a Boston law firm.  It ran for eight seasons on ABC, from March 4, 1997, to May 16, 2004. With a cast of Dylan McDermott, LisaGay Hamilton, Steve Harris and Camryn Manheim it also won an Emmy for best Drama Series. 

  • Rizzoli and Isles

    This American crime drama TV series starred  Angie Harmon as Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as Maura Isles.   It premiered on TNT on July 12, 2010 and aired 105 episodes in seven seasons, concluding on September 5, 2016. 


  • Sabrina, The Teenage Witch

    Starring Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina Spellman, who, on her 16th birthday, learns she has magical powers.  It aired on September 27, 1996, on ABC to May of 2000.  It was based on the Archie Comics series of the same name.

  • St. Elsewhere

    This medical drama series aired on NBC from October 26, 1982, to May 25, 1988. It won 13 Emmys for its writing, acting, and directing.  It starred  Ed Flanders, Norman Lloyd, and William Daniels who taught interns at a Boston hospital. 

  • Spenser: for Hire

    The American crime drama series aired on ABC from September 20, 1985, until May 7, 1988.  This was ultimately canceled because of the cost to actually shoot it. Robert Ulrich starred as Spenser. 

  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody

    This sitcom aired on Disney Channel from March 18, 2005, to September 1, 2008. It starred Dylan Sprouse and Cole Sprouse as 12-year-old twin brothers who live in the luxurious Tipton Hotel in Boston.  

  • Two Guys and a Girl

    It aired for four seasons, ending with a planned series finale, its eighty-first episode, on May 16, 2001. It starred Ryan Reynolds, Richard Ruccolo, and Traylor Howard who play college students and work at a pizza place.

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