Move over Hollywood. Take a seat, New York. Boston has long been the backdrop or focus of many a television series. From comedy to drama, suspense to sci-fi, there’s something for everyone that’s looking for a tv show set in the greatest city on earth.

Below, you will find a list of some of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows that are “set in Boston.” Keep in mind, not all are made in Boston, but their stories are. When most people think of Boston TV shows, they likely  think of the most iconic show ever to be staged here, “Cheers.” It’s the show about a Boston bar that inspired a Boston bar to be named after it. Not to mention, the hugely popular comedy series, that racked up 28 Emmy Awards, inspired many a show to follow in it’s Boston footsteps.

  • 1. Cheers

    From 1982-1993 everyone wanted to go where “everybody knows your name,” as the theme song melodically repeated in it’s chorus. We all wanted to find out what would become of Sam and Diane? We all couldn’t wait until Norm came in through that door, so all the patrons could shout in unison, “NORM!” The little bar on Beacon Street was based on a real place, The Bull and Finch Pub. Sam, the bartender was an ex-Red Sox relief pitcher, and recovering alcoholic who decided to go into the bar business. It was all so Boston, and a show that holds up even today, forty years later. Cheers!

    https://twitter.com/TSting18/status/1575553193232121857

  • 2. Sabrina The Teenage Witch

    When your a witch, you may require a fictional town. But with Massachusetts’ witch history, our state was a good fit for a real setting for  Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. The animated comic book series, on which this witch show was based, had it’s story set in the fictional town of Greendale. For the TV show, Melissa Joan Hart’s character Sabrina lived in the made-up town of Westbridge, Massachusetts. Sounds real, though, right? Lest we forget, Sabrina’s cat was named Salem! The first four seasons of Sabrina aired on ABC from from 1996-2000. Then the last three seasons ran on  The WB from 2000 to 2003.

     

     

  • 3. Rizzoli and Isles

    TNT gave us 7 seasons of Boston dectective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. Rizolli, played by Angie Harmon is a fiesty, prickly and confident character, and her bff, Isles is steady, reliable character chock full of facts. The series is a crime drama that had viewers on the edge of their seats from 2010-2016. The show was based on the Rizzoli & Isles novels by Tess Gerritsen,

     

     

  • 4. Ally McBeal

    The show that launched the career of actress Calista Flockhart, also put creator David E. Kelley on the big map. In turn, it launched a few more Kelley lawyer shows set in Boston. Ally McBeal ran on Fox from 1997-2002. It was about a young lawyer working at a big Boston law firm. It’s not all drama, though. The show had plenty of quirky comedic moments spun around some eccentric characters. The show won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy in 1998 and 1999. It won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in ’99. Hey, if you were a fan of the show, there is reportedly a revival show  in devolopment for ABC.

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    The cast of “Ally McBeal” backstage at the 51st Annual Emmy Awards. From l-r: Greg Germann, Lisa Nicole Carson, Portia de Rossi, Calista Flockhart, Lucy Liu, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Vonda Shepard and Jane Krakowski. Photo by Brenda Chase/Online USA, Inc

  • 5. Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place

    Did you know Ryan Reynolds when…? The TV comedy series, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place stared as a mid-season replacement in 1998. The ABC show  ran for 4 seasons, ending with a finale in 2001.  The series starred a relatively unknown Ryan Reynolds, as well as Richard Ruccolo, and Traylor Howard as the title characters. The show follows the lives of Tufts University college friends, the guys work in a local pizza place. Fun fact, the show’s  “Beacon Street Pizza” was based on a real pizza place in Somerville call Theo’s Pizza. The show’s creator, Kenny Schwartz actually worked there while going to Tufts Univerity.

  • 6. Dawson's Creek

    Ahhh Capeside, Massachusetts. Another thoughtfully named fictitious town. Ok, cat’s out of the bag, this WB teen drama was set in what is described (by Wikipedia) as “a port city located in mid-Cape Cod. But, they actually shot the series in Wilmington, North Carolina. This show ran from 1998 -2003 and launched the careers of quite a few stars, from  young lead stars james Van Der Beek to Michelle Williams, Katie Holms and Joshua Jackson. The series is really a coming-of-age drama the touched on many subject from first love, to mental health, homophobia, death, and divorce.

    https://twitter.com/_TooUnderratedX/status/1584005739638845446

  • 7. City on a Hill

    Now, in it’s third season at Showtime, City on a Hill, stars Kevin Bacon as a retired FBI Agent living in Boston.  Showtime ‘s synopis reads as; “In early 1990s Boston, Assistant DA Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge) forms an unlikely alliance with a corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran, Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon). Together, they take on a case that ultimately changes the city’s entire criminal justice system.” Mayhem ensues. It’s based on a story co-written by Boston’s Ben Affleck. Plenty of exterior scenes were shot here, but most of the filming takes place in New York.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1cQoyTJQEL/?hl=en

     

  • 8. The Practice

    David E. Kelley loves the law and Boston. And so there was …The Practice. This TV drama centered around partners and their associates at a Boston law firm. It ran for 8 season on ABC, from 1997 to 2004. This show had a baby and it’s name was Boston Legal. (More to come on that.)  It won the Emmy for Oustanding Drama Series in 1998 and 1999. The series starred Dylan McDermott, James Spader, LisaGay Hamilton, Kelli Williams, Camryn Manheim, Steve Harris, Lara Flynn Boyle, Maria Sokoloff, and Ron Livingston, among others.

     

  • 9. St. Elsewhere

    One of the all-time great ensemble medical dramas. What makes this one better is the fact that it’s set in Boston. St. Elsewhere  ran on NBC from 1982-1988. It starred Ed Flanders, Norman Lloyd and William Daniels as teaching doctors at a run-down Boston hospital. The cast included some now big name stars including, Helen Hunt, Howie Mandel, Alfie Woodard, Ed Begley Jr, Mark Harmon and Denzel Washington!

  • 10. Boston Legal

    Thanks for loving Boston, David E. Kelley. This ABC spin-off of The Practice first aired in October of 2004 and ran until December of 2008. James Spader, William Shatner and Candace Bergen were the main stars. It was never a highly rated show, but certainly was critically acclaimed and earned 26 Primetime Emmy nominations. Winning Outstanding Drama Series twice.

  • 11. Suite Life of Zack and Cody

    Great to see Boston repped on the Disney Channel! This sweet story of suite life ran on Disney from 2005-2008. It was set at the fictional Tipton Hotel in Boston and the story centered on twins Zack and Cody Martin, played by Dylan and Cole Sprouse. The hotel’s heiress, London, was played by Brenda Song, and Ashley Tisdale, played the candy counter girl at the hotel. The twins’ mom was also the hotel lounge singer, played by Kim Rhodes. According to onlocationtours, most of the show was filmed on studio sets in Hollywood, but exterior shots were filmed in Boston. The hotel is played by the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Back Bay, and there were occasional shots of Fenway and other places in Boston.

  • 12. Boston Public

    Producer/Creator David E. Kelley was back again, representing Boston from 2000-2004 with his Fox- TV show, Boston Public. This drama series was about a fictional Boston public high school, called Winslow High. It was another big ensemble cast kind of series for Kelley that focused on the teachers, administration and students, delving into their work and private lives. This was a break out role for actress Rashida Jones. The show also starred Joey McIntyre, Michael Rapaport, Chi McBride, Anthony Heald, Jessalyn Gilsig, Nicky Katt, Jeri Ryan and more. 

  • 13. Crossing Jordan

    Crossing Jordan ran for 6 seasons on NBC. From 2001-2008 we watched actress Jill Hennessey play Dr.  Jordan Cavanaugh, a crime-solving forensic pathologist. Dr. Cavaanaugh worked in the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The show also starred an emsemble cast that included Jerry O’Connell.

  • 14. A Million Little Things

    A Million Little Things premiered in September of 2018, it was renewed for it’s 5th season, this year. The story is about a close group of friends in Boston, who are stunned after one of them unexpectedly dies by suicide. It’s about their friendship and coping with their loss. The title refers to the saying, “Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things”.

    In Boston, a tight-knit circle of friends is shocked after a member of the group unexpectedly dies by suicide. The friends realize that they need to finally start living life as they cope with their loss. The title is a reference to the saying “Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things”.

  • 15. Fringe

    Fringe is a scifi series created from J. J. Abrams. It ran from 2008-2013 on the Fox network. The series follows  members of the “Finge Division” of the FBI, based in Boston. “The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe.” (Wikipedia). Apparently,the series had quite the cult following and spawned 2 six-aprt comic book series, a game and 3 novels.

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