TV Shows Set In Massachusetts?

Last week I wrote an exhaustive list of the best movies set in or filmed in Massachusetts. You can check that out here. I enjoyed making the list even though I wound up with hundreds of movies and it was a real challenge to pair it down to just 16. I thought this week I’d explore the small screen and look at the best TV shows set in Massachusetts, thinking, stupidly, that that would be easier. Boy was I wrong. Turns out there have been hundreds of tv shows set in Boston and Massachusetts. And what makes it even harder is that very few of them were actually successful. That has less to do with the unforgiving nature of Boston and more to do with the unforgiving nature of television.

How I Did It

I went to one of my favorite websites Ratingraph.com which uses user grades from IMDB.COM to rank tv shows and show you how they have progressed or degressed over the seasons. But I didn’t just say “Well Cheers has a score of 7.6 and Wings has a score of 7.7 so obviously Wings is better.” That would be insane and even though I am one of the few people who to this day will defend Wings, it was in no way shape or form as good as Cheers. So I added in how many votes each show got as well, which is only fair. If a show was only seen by the mother of the executive producer and she gave it a 10/10 it would show up on IMDB as the greatest show of all time. On top of that I also factored in how many seasons and episodes a show had. Again because a show may be beloved by a small group of people but if it got cancelled after only 6 episodes you can’t say it’s one of the best TV shows set in Massachusetts.

  • The Worst! Manimal

    ### Manimal (1983)
    **Genre:** Action, Drama, Fantasy, Crime, Adventure, Sci-Fi
    **Seasons:** 1
    **Episodes:** 8
    **IMDb Rating:** 6.4

    I had never heard of this show but it came up on the wikipedia shows for tv series set in Boston. Apparently it was a show about a doctor who could morph into  any animal he wanted? How that helps him as a doctor I don’t know, or care. It by far has the lowest rating of any tv show I could find set in Boston. Here is the trailer for the show:

  • Honorable Mention: The Last Of Us

    I didn’t include three shows that I am a big fan of for several reasons.

     

    The Last of Us: While excellent has only been on for One Season and is more of a mini-series and not a tv series. Also only the first few episodes were set in Boston and a very laughable version of Lexington. Probably the best zombie apocalypse series of all time, but it doesn’t make the cut for this list.

    via GIPHY

     

  • Honorable Mention: Kevin Can F**K Himself

    Kevin Can F— Himself: Also a great show that my wife, INEXPLICABLY, is a huge fan of (I sleep with one eye open). But also was only 2 seasons long. It gets really deep into what it would actually be like to be married to a sitcom character, and the setting in Worcester is perfect, but since it was so short I kept it off.

     

  • Honorable Mention: Ted - The TV Show

    Ted (The Tv Series):  In all honesty I did not expect to love the Ted tv show as much as I did. I wasn’t that big of a fan of the movies but the tv series manages to find a heart that was beating steadily beneath the weed and fart jokes of the movies. Don’t worry there are still plenty of weed and fart jokes, and the show is incredibly crass, but the characters are much more endearing.

     

    via GIPHY

  • #13 St. Elsewhere (1982-1988)

    Genre: Comedy, Drama
    Seasons: 6
    Episodes: 137
    IMDb Rating: 8.1

    Synopsis: “This groundbreaking medical drama set in the fictional St. Eligius Hospital in Boston, known as “St. Elsewhere,” offers a gritty and realistic portrayal of hospital life. The series focuses on the personal and professional challenges faced by the staff, blending drama with moments of humor.”

  • 12. Crossing Jordan (2001-2007)

    Genre: Drama, Crime, Mystery
    Seasons: 6
    Episodes: 117
    IMDb Rating: 8.0

    Synopsis: “Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, a forensic pathologist with a troubled past, works with her colleagues at the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Using her keen instincts and forensic expertise, she solves crimes and uncovers the truth behind mysterious deaths.”

  • 11. The Practice (1997-2004)

    Genre: Drama, Crime, Mystery
    Seasons: 8
    Episodes: 167
    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Synopsis: Focusing on the personal and professional lives of the lawyers at a Boston law firm, “The Practice” delves into the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by attorneys as they navigate the complexities of the legal system, defending clients in a variety of challenging cases.

  • 10. Wings (1990-1997)

    Genre: Comedy, Drama
    Seasons: 8
    Episodes: 172
    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Synopsis: Set at a small airport on Nantucket Island, “Wings” follows the lives and comedic mishaps of the Hackett brothers, who run a one-plane airline, and their quirky associates. The series combines humor with moments of drama, exploring the dynamics of work, friendship, and family.

  • 9. Falling Skies (2011-2015)

    Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure
    Seasons: 5
    Episodes: 52
    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Synopsis: Set in Massachusetts in the aftermath of a catastrophic alien invasion, the remnants of humanity fight to survive and reclaim Earth. The series focuses on former history professor Tom Mason and his family as they navigate the challenges of a post-apocalyptic world, leading the resistance against the alien oppressors.

  • 8. A Million Little Things (2018-2023)

    Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama, Mystery
    Seasons: 5
    Episodes: 87
    IMDb Rating: 8.2

    Synopsis: “This series explores the power of friendship through the lives of a group of friends who are inspired to live fuller lives after the unexpected death of a close friend. Each character faces their own set of challenges, but together, they discover the strength to confront their issues and embrace life.”

  • 7. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996-2003)

    Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Family
    Seasons: 7
    Episodes: 163
    IMDb Rating: 7.1

    Synopsis: Sabrina Spellman discovers on her sixteenth birthday that she is a witch. Balancing her ordinary teenage life with her magical training, Sabrina navigates the trials of adolescence with a unique twist, accompanied by her witty talking cat, Salem, and her eccentric aunts.

    via GIPHY

  • 6. Two Guys and a Girl (1998-2001)

    Genre: Comedy, Romance
    Seasons: 4
    Episodes: 81
    IMDb Rating: 8.0

    Synopsis: Originally titled “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” this sitcom centers around the comedic and romantic escapades of two college buddies, their friend, and the evolving dynamics within their group as they go about their daily lives, facing challenges and adventures together. Also see an up and coming Ryan Reynolds before anyone had any idea how far he’d go.

  • 5. Rizzoli & Isles (2010-2016)

    Genre: Drama, Crime, Mystery
    Seasons: 7
    Episodes: 105
    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Synopsis: Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles team up to solve crimes in this gripping series that combines crime-solving with the deep bond between the two women. Their contrasting personalities add depth to their partnership and the cases they work on together.

    via GIPHY

  • 4. Boston Legal (2004-2008)

    Genre: Comedy, Drama, Crime
    Seasons: 5
    Episodes: 101
    IMDb Rating: 8.1

    Synopsis: This legal dramedy spin-off from “The Practice” focuses on the personal and professional lives of the staff at Crane, Poole & Schmidt. With a blend of social commentary and witty banter, it tackles various legal cases and moral dilemmas facing the legal team.

  • 3. Cheers (1982-1993)

    Genre: Comedy
    Seasons: 11
    Episodes: 270
    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Synopsis: Set in a friendly Boston bar where “everybody knows your name,” this iconic sitcom revolves around the lives of the bar’s staff and regular customers. The show lasted 11 seasons and was often #1 in the ratings for most of it’s run. It was also such a strong show that one of the main characters (Shelly Long) left in the middle of its run and the show somehow GOT BETTER?!

    via GIPHY

  • 2. Handmaid's Tale (2017-Present)

    Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
    Seasons: 5
    Episodes: 56
    IMDb Rating: 8.1

    Synopsis: In a dystopian future, the United States has been overtaken by a totalitarian regime that turns fertile women into child-bearing slaves called Handmaids. This series follows Offred, one of these women, as she navigates the oppressive system in the hope of finding her daughter and gaining freedom.

    via GIPHY

  • 1. Fringe (2008-2013)

    Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
    Seasons: 5
    Episodes: 100
    IMDb Rating: 8.2

    Synopsis: “Fringe” delves into the intriguing world of fringe science, following an FBI agent teamed with a brilliant but eccentric scientist and his son. Together, they investigate unexplained phenomena and a series of interconnected mysteries involving parallel universes and complex conspiracies, challenging the boundaries of science and reality.

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