31. All in the Family
Air Dates: January 12, 1971–April 8, 1979
Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers, Danielle Brisebois
Sitcoms weren't supposed to be this angry, or this raw, or this politically incorrect. An adaptation of the BBC show Till Death Us Do Part, All in the Family was about a bigot named Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor). Bunker, a WWII vet with conservative notions about the past, wasn't a monster a heart, though he was backwards. The show's comedy (and drama) stemmed from pitting Bunker against the rest of his family (and by proxy, the world).
His wife, Edith, was full of compassion. Their daughter, Gloria, was a burgeouning feminist. Their son, Michael, was a hippie. And so this Queens household became a symbol for the upheaval of the American middle class. —RS